Monday, March 15, 2010
The Bible contains numerous prophetic passages concerning many important events and peoples throughout its pages. The Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires are just a few of the more important ones that immediately come to mind.
For a number of years now, I have asked myself this question: Does the Bible predict the rise of Muhammad and/or Islam? One would think that this massive cultural/political/religious movement, which has been inextricably linked with Christians and Jews for well over millennia now, would at the very least be mentioned in the Bible. To make a very long story ‘short’, yes, I have come to believe that it does.
In this post, I will examine one such passage: Isaiah 63:1-7:
1 Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."
2 Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?
3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
4 "For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come.
5 "And I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me; And My wrath upheld Me.
6 "And I trod down the peoples in My anger, And made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."
7 I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, According to all that the LORD has granted us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them according to His compassion, And according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. (NASB)
Though commentators traditionally apply the above to Jesus Christ, I think that Muhammad is clearly a better fit.
Muhammad was first of all an Edomite (see information below); Jesus was not.
Muhammad spent a lot of time in Bozrah during his merchant days; Jesus never went to Bozrah.
Muhammad was a military leader, hence the “red apparel”, “garments like the one who treads in the wine press”.
Muhammad for quite sometime was essentially “alone” in Mecca; he was persecuted and had his life threatened on many occasions by the Meccans. However, he later exacted vengeance on the Meccans, and “trod down the peoples in My anger”.
Muhammad constantly praised God and contrasts the blessings “granted us” with the “great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them”.
Excursus: Edomites and Arabs
The Bible strongly implies that the descendants of Ishmael and Esau (Edomites) were closely linked through marriage/bloodlines and geography. Esau married one of Ishmael’s daughters (see Gen. 28:9; 36:3); and Ezekiel 25: 12-14 links Edom with Teman and Dedan, indicating that the descendants of Esau ranged from North Arabia (i.e. Edom/Idumea) all the way thru South Arabia (i.e. Dedan). Pslam 83:6 links the “tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites” together. Note the following comments:
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states:
We also find northern Arabian tribes mentioned among the descendants of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25:1-4) and Hagar (25:12-15) and among the descendants of Esau (Gen. 36). (1979 edition - Vol. 1, p. 220.)
A Baptist website has the following to say:
The descendants of Ishmael and Esau would remain closely associated throughout their history. (In Psalm 83 -- as we shall see, the descendants of Esau and those of Ishmael are found in alliance against End-Time Israel.) As God had foretold, a great people sprang from Ishmael. Today's Arabs are the family of Ishmael grown great!…Consider the additional fact that Edomites intermarried with the stocks of Ishmael and Canaan. The Edomites were descendants of Esau (who was also called Edom), the elder son of Isaac and Rebekah. Earlier, when Jacob and Esau were yet in Rebekah's womb, "the children struggled together within her" (Gen 25:22). [LINK]
Further, Arab historians in the past have usually divided the ancient Arab people into two major groups: the pure Arabs (identified with Southern Arabia); and the mixed Arabs (identified with Northern and Western Arabia)—Muhammad and his descendants are part of the mixed Arabs (see Thomas Patrick Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, pp. 18, 19.).
Looking forward to others thoughts and reflections on this passage from the Bible.
Grace and peace,