Another round begins. Here is Meherally's weak attempt at rebutting me posted on November 10. Yet, before responding I would like to comment on something. I face a dilemma since to respond to Meherally is to give his rebuttals a credibility that they do not have since they lack any real substance behind them. Yet, by not responding the readers might get the impression that his points are valid and irrefutable, which they certainly are not. Hence, it is for the sake of the readers that I choose to respond in order that they may clearly see how easily Meherally's arguments are refuted. Let us therefore proceed.
AN UNCONDITIONAL PROMISE BY GOD IN THE BIBLE MADE CONDITIONAL BY SAM
In his original article Sam Shamoun wrote:
God promised that it would be Isaac's descendants who would inherit the land given to Abraham. (Genesis 13:14-18, 15:18-21, 28:13-14). Ishmael had no part in the inheritance and promise given to Isaac through Abraham.
To the above I had responded as under:
THE BIBLICAL FACTS:
When God promised the land to prophet Abraham, his name was Abram. God had asked Abram to change his name to Abraham when he was ninety-nine years old. (see Genesis 17:1-5). Ishmael the eldest son was at that time thirteen years old. Isaac was born one year after the name change. In other words, Isaac was not even born when the land was promised by God. The name Isaac appears for the first time in the Bible in Gen. 17:19. The land was promised by God was to the seeds of Abram, (see K.J.V.), And it was forever. There is no record of God going back on His Promise. Genesis chapter 28 deals with God's promise to Jacob.
Instead of going back to the original languages of the Holy Bible in order to know what specific words meant in a specific context, Meherally insists on building his case on a translation. Notice that Meherally speaks of seeds in the plural, appealing to the KJV of the Holy Bible to establish the point that the promise of inheriting the land of Canaan extended to all of Abraham's children (i.e. "seeds"), not just to Isaac. The term in the original Hebrew language is zera. This term is a collective singular noun and can refer to the entire progeny of an individual. In order to know the extent of the progeny one must read the context in which it appears. Walter C. Kaiser Jr., former Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, comments on the term zera and how it is applied to both Abraham and to Eve, the first one to receive the promise of a seed that was to come and destroy Satan in Genesis 3:15:
"... Already in Genesis 3:15 we have come to understand that this 'seed' can be a collective noun and embrace one's whole biological progeny. At the same time, however, there is something distinctively singular and individualistic about this seed, for a certain 'he' will have it out with the Evil One in some future day (3:15), even though 'he' acts only as one of the woman's descendants. Paul picked up the same theme in Galatians 3:16, insisting that the text of the OT said 'seed' (a collective singular noun), not 'seeds' (a plural noun). He was not appealing to some midrashic or rabbinic principle of interpretation, as many have recently argued, echoing the latest eddies of thought stimulated by recent discoveries from Qumran and by rabbinical studies; he was carefully observing that the divine revelation had distinctly chosen the collective singular word over the plural in order to provide for the single but inclusive concept of corporate solidarity between the one and the many." (Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament [Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids MI, 1995], pp. 48-49; bold emphasis ours)
Kaiser goes on to say:
Kaiser's point that the promise became progressively narrow is essential in seeing the fallacy behind Meherally's logic, as we shall shortly demonstrate.
The Holy Bible identifies the seed as Israel in the collective sense, and the Messiah Jesus in the singular sense. The first fact I have clearly demonstrated in my previous postings. Let me just repeat the one passage alluded by Meherally above, a passage which I had already commented on in an earlier post:
Let us break down this chapter and see how it totally negates all of Meherally's points:
These points from the passage itself make it impossible for Ishmael or his descendants to be part of the covenant promises, something which Meherally has personally refused to see and accept.
That seed also refers to the Messiah Jesus becomes apparent from the proceeding passages:
"'But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.' Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace..." Micah 5:2-5
"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:31-35
Jesus fulfills the promise made to Abraham that his seed would inherit Canaan as an everlasting possession. This promise shall be realized when Christ comes again in glory to reign over his enemies as God's eternal king:
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Revelation 19:11-16
Hence, Jesus shall come again and restore the kingdom to Israel and to his saints who shall reign with him forever, fulfilling all of God's promises to Abraham.
It should be pointed out that ancient rabbinic commentaries also believed that the singular "seed" of Abraham referred to the coming Messiah-King:
"From them their King (Messiah) shall arise and their Redeemer be of them, and among them, and the SEED of the children of Jacob shall rule over many nations." Targum Palestine
Hence, to see Ishmael's descendants in these passages is going way beyond the intended meaning of scripture.
Sam responds to the above as under:
Here Akbarally is actually being deceptive. Notice that in my article I cited Genesis 13:14-18, 15:18-21 and 28:13-14. Let us read what these verses actually say and then proceed to expose Meherally's straw man and red herring arguments:
"The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD." Genesis 13:14-18
The above Declaration, as recorded in Genesis 13:14-18, is the First and Foremost Promise for the Land in the Bible. The Land is given by God to Abram and to Abram's offspring. The verse also tell us that the God's promise was everlastingly valid and applicable forever. There was no Condition or Restriction attached by God to the above Promise.
Actually, even though the promise stipulates that the land will be an everlasting possession God gave conditions whereby Israel could remain in the land perpetually. These conditions are found in Deuteronomy 28:1-68. If Israel disobeyed the covenant obligations then God would expel them from the land, but not permanently. Hence, despite the fact that Israel has failed to keep their covenant obligations, God is faithful and will (has, depends on one's position on the restating of the land of Israel to the Jews) restore the land to Abraham perpetually when the Messiah comes to rule forever. It is therefore only in the Messiah, Abraham's true seed, that the promise of possessing Canaan perpetually shall be fully realized.
(NOTE TO THE READERS- It should also be pointed out that not all commentators agree that the phrase "everlasting possession" necessarily implies that Israel was to literally dwell in the land forever. Rather, the phrase is used to refer to an indefinite period of time that is unforeseeable from the perspective of man. This is based on the fact that the term used for everlasting, olam, does not necessarily mean everlasting but can be used to refer to an indefinite time period. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon provides these meanings:
1) long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world
King James Word Usage - Total: 439
ever 272, everlasting 63, old 22, perpetual 22, evermore 15, never 13, time 6, ancient 5, world 4, always 3, alway 2, long 2, more 2, never + 0408 2, misc 6
(Source: Blue Letter Bible)
An example where olam is used to refer to an indefinite time period as opposed to everlasting time is Numbers 25:13. In that passage we are told that the Aaronic priesthood is an everlasting priesthood, and yet we know that this priesthood has been replaced by the melchizedek priesthood assumed by the Lord Jesus Christ. [cf. Hebrews 7:12] Hence, Israel was not to inherit the land forever but for an indefinite period of time determined by God until all he has purposed has been accomplished. Either way, neither interpretation allows for Ishmael and his descendants to be partakers in the land promised to Israel.)
Having noticed that the Promise of God was unrestricted and applicable to **ALL** the offspring of Abram, Sam strays from his original mission of quoting the cited verses. Instead he keeps on ADDING irrelevant verses from totally different part of the history of Abraham as well as from the history of Jacob, Moses and the Israelis to make it a Conditional One.
It is Meherally who has failed to read carefully and clearly who "ALL the offspring of Abram" entailed. If he had done so, he would have clearly seen that offspring refers to Israel, not Ishmael since God personally omitted the latter from having any share in the covenant made with Abraham, Sarah and their son Isaac.
1. Sam ADDS verses from Genesis 15: 12 to 17 in his rebuttal, which are not mentioned in the originally cited verses, as if they were in the same context, but they are not. The narration of the promise starts from 17ff.
Sam then writes:
According to this promise, the ones who were to inherit the land of Canaan were the very ones that were to first serve as slaves in a foreign land for four generations. The only seed who ever served as slaves for four generations were the Israelites in Egypt, never the Ishmaelites:
Comment: There was no mention of the "Land of Canaan" or "The only seed who ever served as slaves" in the First and Foremost Promise of God which was forever and unconditional. The issues raised have no relevance to that Promise.
Just as there is not a single place in the entire Bible stating that Ishmael is a partaker in the covenant promises of God. Yet, we find God specifically mentioning Isaac by name as being a partaker of the promises made to Abraham. Mr. Meherally, can you please produce a single verse where God specifically mentions Ishmael by name and includes him in the covenant promises originally made with Abraham? I have shown where Isaac is specifically mentioned and where Ishmael is omitted from those promises.
Furthermore, Genesis 15:12-16 specifically states that the ones who were to possess the land were the same ones that were to be slaves in a foreign land for four generations. This is only true of Israel who served in Egypt as slaves for four generations. It is not true of Ishmael or his sons.
Finally, your point that the first mention of the promised land (i.e., Genesis 13:14-15) did not specify who the seed was is perhaps the weakest attempt to escape the weight of my arguments thus far. The fact is that to argue just from that passage would leave you with problems as well since Abraham had no offspring at the time! Hence, we must continue reading Genesis in order to discover the identity of the offspring that was to receive the promises made to Abraham. Once this is done, it will become quite apparent to any open-minded individual that the offspring refers to Israel, not the descendants of Ishmael.
2. Sam then ADDS verses from Exodus 3:6, 7-8 in his rebuttal, which relates to the history of Jacob when God makes a promise to Jacob and has no relevance.
3. Sam then ADDS verses from Deuteronomy 4:37-38 in his rebuttal, which relates to the history of Moses, when God brings Moses and his people out of Egypt and has no relevance.
4. Sam then ADDS verses from Deuteronomy 9:4-5 in his rebuttal, which relates to the history of Israelis when they are about to cross the Jordan and has no relevance.
The reason why I cited these passages was to demonstrate the point I was making, namely that the Israelites were the ones who lived in a foreign land as slaves, were delivered from slavery and settled in the land of Canaan, all in fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham. This would have been apparent to Meherally had he just read my citations within context, something he constantly neglects. Therefore, these citations are quite relevant in refuting your arguments.
Finally, Sam decides, it is enough of the Smoke Screen and Stops. Sam turns around and goes back to the First and Foremost Unconditional Promise and writes:
Furthermore, not only did the promise of inheritance precede the birth of Isaac it also preceded Ishmael's birth as well! This means that Meherally' point that the promise of inheriting the land was given before Isaac's birth proves absolutely nothing since it is not the timing of the promise that is important. Rather, what matters is the identity of Abraham's children whom God promised would inherit the land, an identity revealed in the Holy Bible as the nation of Israel.
MY RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE:
DOES THIS NOT CONCLUSIVELY PROVE, IN SPITE OF YOUR DECEPTIVE TACTICS, THAT THE LAND THAT WAS GIVEN TO ABRAM IN THE BEGINNING, BELONGED TO **ALL** THE DESCENDANTS OF ABRAHAM AND NOT TO ISAAC ALONE? PLEASE ADMIT YOU HAVE LOST THE BATTLE AND ALLAH'S TRUTH HAS SURVIVED. WHEN THE SACRIFICE HAPPENED ISHMAEL WAS THE ONLY SON.
All this proves is your inability to accept what the Holy Bible actually has to say, forcing your theological presuppositions into your interpretation of scripture, reading into the text things not stated. Hence, you have shown yourself incapable of correctly interpreting either the Holy Bible or the Quran, since you often twist and misquote passages to suit your purpose. You also must constantly repeat yourself, as you do in the above paragraph, despite the fact that your arguments have already been addressed and rebutted.
The reason why this is so is because it is hard to defend a lie, but quite easy to defend God's truth. Thus, it is apparent to any open-minded reader that the Holy Bible is quite easily defended since it is the inspired word of God, completely true in all it reports, unlike the Quran.
Responses to Akbarally Meherally
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