A Series of Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses Pt. 9, a post by Sam Shamoun

A Series of Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses Pt. 9

 

Unless stated otherwise, all Scriptural quotations taken from the 2013 revised edition of the New World Translation (http://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/).

 

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society teaches that the spirit creature named Michael is not only the foremost angel but that he is also the only archangel of God. The Society further claims that this angel is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Note the following references:

 

Aside from Michael, no archangel is mentioned in the Bible, nor do the Scriptures use the term “archangel” in the plural. The Bible describes Michael as the archangel, implying that he alone bears that designation. Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that Jehovah God has delegated to one, and only one, of his heavenly creatures full authority over all other angels. (Awake!, February 8, 2002, p. 17: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102002085)

 

Order and Rank. As with the visible creation, so also in the invisible realm there is order and rank among the angels. The foremost angel, both in power and authority, is Michael, the archangel… (Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 1, Angel, p. 106: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200000277?q=Michael+angel&p=par)

 

ANGELS—HOW THEY ARE ORGANIZED

 

Jehovah has his vast angelic family organized as follows:

 

The angel foremost in power and authority is Michael the archangel, or Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 9) Seraphs, cherubs, and other angels are under him. (“The Watchtower”, January 15, 2006, Angels—How They Affect Us, Box on p. 7: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2006041)

 

However, the inspired Scriptures teach that Michael is actually only one of the chief or foremost angelic beings:

 

“But the prince of the royal realm of Persia stood in opposition to me for 21 days. But then Mi′cha·el, ONE of the FOREMOST (ha’rishonim) princes, came to help me; and I remained there beside the kings of Persia.” Daniel 10:13

 

The Jehovah’s Witness Reference Bible (http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1001060030?q=Da+10%3A13&p=par) has a note indicating that the Hebrew phrase translated as “foremost” (i.e., rishonim, plural of rishon) can also be rendered as “first” (http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/fn/r1/lp-e/1001060030/227), which would therefore mean that Michael is simply one of the first princes.

 

Furthermore, the Hebrew word can mean “chief” or “head” as well. In fact, here is how Daniel 10:13 is translated in the three Bible versions contained in the JW Library Application, which can be downloaded for free (http://www.jw.org/en/online-help/jw-library/):

 

“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, ONE of the CHIEF princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” King James Version (KJV)

 

“but the prince of the Persian empire stood in my way twenty-one days. But here has Michael, ONE of the CHIEF princes, come to help me, and I was superfluous with the kings of Persia.” Byington Translation

 

“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo, Michael, ONE of the CHIEF princes, came to help me: and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” American Standard Version (ASV)

 

Moreover, the Greek word rendered as “arch” in the phrase archangel is archo, and can mean “chief/to be chief,” “leader/to lead,” “rule/to rule” etc. (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G757&t=KJV; http://biblehub.com/greek/757.htm). What makes this of interest is that the Greek version (commonly referred to as the Septuagint [LXX]) of Daniel 10:13 renders the Hebrew word for prince (sar) as archon, which is from archo!

 

“And the ruler (ho archon) of the kingdom of the Persians stood right opposite me twenty days and one day. And behold, Michael, one of the rulers (heis ton archontoon) of the ones foremost, came to help me; and I left him there with the ruler of (tou archontos) the kingdom of the Persians.”

 

In light of the foregoing, how can Michael be THE foremost angel if we go by the New World Translation’s rendering of Daniel 10:13 where it identifies him as ONE of the foremost princes of God? Doesn’t this translation imply there are others that are just as powerful as he is?

 

And if we go by the other English versions that the Society endorses and makes available, all of which refer to Michael as only one of the chief princes, then this implies that he isn’t the only archangel since the phrase itself simply means chief or principal angel. As such, how can he be the ONLY chief angel there is when he is said to be one of the chief or principal spiritual rulers of God?

 

More importantly, since Michael is only one of a few (several/many?) chief or foremost rulers how could he therefore be identical to the Lord Jesus Christ when the latter is clearly described as the King of kings and Lord of lords,

 

“Before God, who preserves all things alive, and Christ Jesus, who as a witness made the fine public declaration before Pontius Pilate, I give you orders to observe the commandment in a spotless and irreprehensible way until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which the happy and only Potentate will show in its own appointed times. He is the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords, the one alone having immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal might. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:13-16

 

“and from Jesus Christ, ‘the Faithful Witness,’ ‘the firstborn from the dead,’ and ‘the Ruler of the kings of the earth.’ To him who loves us and who set us free from our sins by means of his own blood—and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—yes, to him be the glory and the might forever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

 

“These will battle with the Lamb, but because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those with him who are called and chosen and faithful will do so.” Revelation 17:14

 

“I saw heaven opened, and look! a white horse. And the one seated on it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. His eyes are a fiery flame, and on his head are many diadems. He has a name written that no one knows but he himself, and he is clothed with an outer garment stained with blood, and he is called by the name The Word of God. Also, the armies in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. And out of his mouth protrudes a sharp, long sword with which to strike the nations, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron. Moreover, he treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his outer garment, yes, on his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:11-16

 

Titles which are elsewhere ascribed to Jehovah himself?

 

“For Jehovah your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the God great, mighty, and awe-inspiring, who treats none with partiality and does not accept a bribe” Deuteronomy 10:17

 

“Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For his loyal love endures forever.” Psalm 136:3

 

“The king said to Daniel: ‘Truly your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a Revealer of secrets, because you were able to reveal this secret.’” Daniel 2:47

 

In fact, Jesus is said to possess absolute sovereign authority over the entire creation, with everything being subjected to him:

 

“Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: ‘All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.’” Matthew 28:18

 

“… It is according to the operation of the mightiness of his strength, which he exercised toward Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named, not only in this system of things but also in that to come. He also subjected all things under his feet and made him head over all things with regard to the congregation, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills up all things in all.” Ephesians 1:19b-23

 

“But our citizenship exists in the heavens, and we are eagerly waiting for a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our humble body to be like his glorious body by his great power that enables him to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21

 

“So you have acquired a fullness by means of him, the one who is the head of all government and authority… If, however, you were raised up with the Christ, go on seeking the things above, where the Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 2:10, 3:1

 

“Baptism, which corresponds to this, is also now saving you (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the request to God for a good conscience), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is at God’s right hand, for he went to heaven, and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22

 

How, then, can Christ and Michael be the same Person when the latter is simply one of the chief spiritual rulers and therefore among those that are in complete subjection to the Lord Jesus? In fact, doesn’t the inspired Greek Scriptures say that all of God’s angels worship the Son?

 

“But when he again brings his First-born into the inhabited earth, he says: ‘And let ALL God’s angels worship him (kai proskynesatosan auto PANTES angeloi theou).’” Hebrews 1:6 (New World Translation of the Christian Scriptures, Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee, Revised 1970 C.E. Edition)

 

Since the verse says ALL God’s angels worship the risen Lord, not just some or many, wouldn’t this naturally include Michael as well seeing that he is also an angel?

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Islam advocates inhumane warfare

  1. [2.191] And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.
  1. [4.91] You will find others who desire that they should be safe from you and secure from their own people; as often as they are sent back to the mischief they get thrown into it headlong; therefore if they do not withdraw from you, and (do not) offer you peace and restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and against these We have given.you a clear authority.

In these texts there is no concept of the civilian or non-combatant who should be spared. Anyone who does not belong to your group should be killed wherever and whenever it is possible to do so. In other words if you can’t win a war on the battlefield carry on fighting and killing in the homes, residences, villages, towns and streets of your enemies. Kill all or any of them that you can find and get your hands on. Is this a superior civilization or a barbaric tribalist civilization.?

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Islam, the religion of terror

The Family of Imran

  1. [3.151] We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they set up with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the fire, and evil is the abode of the unjust.

The Accessions

  1. [8.12] When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

The Ant

  1. [27.89] Whoever brings good, he shall have better than it; and they shall be secure from terror on the day.

The Mountain

  1. [52.45] Leave them then till they meet that day of theirs wherein they shall be made to swoon (with terror):

The Banishment

  1. [59.2] He it is Who caused those who disbelieved of the followers of the Book to go forth from their homes at the first banishment you did not think that they would go forth, while they were certain that their fortresses would defend them against Allah; but Allah came to them whence they did not expect, and cast terror into their hearts; they demolished their houses with their own hands and the hands of the believers; therefore take a lesson, O you who have eyes!
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A Series of Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses Pt. 8b, a post by Sam Shamoun

A Series of Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses Pt. 8b

 

We continue from where we previously left off.

 

Scripture teaches that death is the wages or payment of sin

 

Another point that the Scriptures make is that death is the payment for sin, which is why we are all destined to die since all of us inevitably sin:

 

For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

 

Once again, the Holy Scriptures do not proclaim that Christ died for the sin of Adam alone, but that he did so for all our sins:

 

“For among the first things I handed on to you was what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, yes, that he was raised up on the third day according to the Scriptures;” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

 

The Apostle Paul further spoke of Christ becoming a curse for all of us in order to remove the Law’s curse upon us:

 

“All those who depend on works of law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not remain in all the things written in the scroll of the Law by doing them.’ Moreover, it is evident that by law no one is declared righteous with God, because ‘the righteous one will live by reason of faith.’ Now the Law is not based on faith. Rather, ‘anyone who does these things will live by means of them.’ Christ purchased us, releasing us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: “Accursed is every man hung upon a stake.’ This was so that the blessing of Abraham would come to the nations by means of Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promised spirit through our faith.” Galatians 3:10-14

 

The Apostle’s point is clear: All of us stand accursed, e.g., condemned to death, since none of us have been able to live according to the Law. Yet Jesus stepped in our place in order to take upon himself the curse that we deserve, so that we might live by faith in and through him.

 

Related to the above point, Paul elsewhere speaks of Christ having tasted death for everyone!

 

“But we do see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels, now crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death, so that by God’s undeserved kindness he might taste death FOR EVERYONE. For it was fitting that the one for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the Chief Agent of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both the one who is sanctifying and those who are being sanctified all stem from one, and for this reason he is not ashamed to call them brothers… Therefore, since the ‘young children’ are sharers of blood and flesh, he also similarly shared in the same things, so that through his death he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil, and that he might set free all those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. For it is not really angels he is assisting, but he is assisting Abraham’s offspring. Consequently, he had to become like his ‘brothers’ in all respects, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, in order to offer a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the people. Since he himself has suffered when being put to the test, he is able to come to the aid of those who are being put to the test.” Hebrews 2:9-11, 14-18

 

The inspired Scriptures explain that the reason why he tasted death for everyone is because he came to bear everyone’s sins:

 

so also the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many; and the second time that he appears it will be apart from sin, and he will be seen by those earnestly looking for him for their salvation.” Hebrews 9:28

 

“In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving a model for you to follow his steps closely. He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth. When he was being insulted, he did not insult in return. When he was suffering, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the One who judges righteously. He himself bore our sins in his own body on the stake, so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness. And ‘by his wounds you were healed.’ For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-25

 

This explains why both Paul and Peter could write of Christ dying for the ungodly and unrighteous:

 

“For, indeed, while we were still weak, Christ died for ungodly men at the appointed time. For hardly would anyone die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man someone may dare to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if when we were enemies we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more we will be saved by his life, now that we have become reconciled. Not only that, but we are also rejoicing in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:6-11

 

For Christ died once for all time for sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, in order to lead you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18

 

These passages are simply echoing (in fact, in some instances even quoting) what the prophet Isaiah wrote centuries before the Lord was born:

 

“Who has put faith in the thing heard from us? And as for the arm of Jehovah, to whom has it been revealed? He will come up like a twig before him, like a root out of parched land. No stately form does he have, nor any splendor; And when we see him, his appearance does not draw us to him. He was despised and was avoided by men, A man who was meant for pains and was familiar with sickness. It was as if his face were hidden from us. He was despised, and we held him as of no account. Truly he himself carried our sicknesses, And he bore our pains. But we considered him as plagued, stricken by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgression; He was crushed for our errors. He bore the punishment for our peace, And because of his wounds we were healed. Like sheep we have all wandered about, Each has turned his own way, And Jehovah has caused the error of us all to meet up with him. He was oppressed and he let himself be afflicted, But he would not open his mouth. He was brought like a sheep to the slaughter, Like a ewe that is silent before its shearers, And he would not open his mouth. Because of restraint and judgment he was taken away; And who will concern himself with the details of his generation? For he was cut off from the land of the living; Because of the transgression of my people he received the stroke. And he was given a burial place with the wicked, And with the rich in his death (bamota – lit. “his deaths” [cf. Heb. 2:9]), Although he had done no wrong And there was no deception in his mouth. But it was Jehovah’s will to crush him, and he let him become sick. If you will present his life as a guilt offering, He will see his offspring, he will prolong his days, And through him the delight of Jehovah will have success. Because of his anguish, he will see and be satisfied. By means of his knowledge the righteous one, my servant, Will bring a righteous standing to many people, And their errors he will bear. For that reason I will assign him a portion among the many, And he will apportion the spoil with the mighty, Because he poured out his life even to death And was counted among the transgressors; He carried the sin of many people, And he interceded for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:1-12

 

Isaiah claims that the Servant will bear or carry the sins of all God’s people, and even speaks of the Servant’s deaths (bamota), plural, not death, singular. This echoes what the apostle Paul wrote in Hebrews 2:9 concerning Jesus having tasted death for everyone.

 

Moreover, it is obvious that Isaiah depicts the Servant as taking the place of the sacrifices, which Jehovah commanded the high priest to present to him in the most holy place on the Day of Atonement:

 

“He will then slaughter the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the curtain and do with its blood the same as he did with the bull’s blood; he is to spatter it toward the cover and before the cover. He must make atonement for the holy place concerning the acts of uncleanness of the Israelites and concerning their transgressions and their sins, and that is what he should do for the tent of meeting, which is located among them in the midst of their acts of uncleanness. No other man should be in the tent of meeting from the time he goes in to make atonement in the holy place until he comes out. He will make atonement in behalf of himself and his house and in behalf of the entire congregation of Israel. He will then come out to the altar, which is before Jehovah, and make atonement for it, and he will take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on the horns of the altar on all sides. He will also spatter some of the blood on it with his finger seven times and cleanse it and sanctify it from the acts of uncleanness of the Israelites. When he has finished making atonement for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he will also present the live goat. Aaron will lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it ALL THE ERRORS of the Israelites and ALL THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS and ALL THEIR SINS, and he will put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man designated to do this. The goat will carry upon itself ALL THEIR ERRORS into a desert land, and he will send the goat away into the wilderness. Aaron will then enter into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the holy place, and he will lay them down there. He must bathe himself in water in a holy place and put on his garments; then he will come out and offer up his burnt offering and the people’s burnt offering and make atonement in his own behalf and in behalf of the people. He will make the fat of the sin offering smoke on the altar… It will serve as a lasting statute for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, you should afflict yourselves, and you must not do any work, whether a native or a foreigner who is residing among you. On this day atonement will be made for you, to declare you clean. You will be clean from ALL YOUR SINS before Jehovah. It is a sabbath of complete rest for you, and you should afflict yourselves. It is a lasting statute.” Leviticus 16:15-25, 29-31

 

Since these sacrifices, which were to atone and cleanse Israel from all of it’s errors, sins and transgressions, were meant to foreshadow or point to Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice, this only provides further confirmation that Jesus didn’t come to die just for Adam’s sin. Rather, the Lord died to make atonement and provide purification for all the errors, sins and transgressions committed by all of God’s people.

 

The Dilemma

 

Since the Holy Bible plainly teaches that Christ came to pay the debt for all of mankind’s sins, and that he came to taste death for everyone since all have sinned, not just for Adam and his sin, this raises a major dilemma.(1) If Jesus were merely a man or a finite creature then his death would be an insufficient payment, since the Scriptures teach that the ransom price to save a single life is too costly for any human being to be able to pay. This explains why the Holy Bible says God alone is the Savior since he alone is able to save and ransom mankind from their sins:

 

“Those who are trusting in their wealth And who boast about their great riches, None of them can ever redeem a brother Or give to God a ransom for him, (The ransom price for their life is so precious That it is always beyond their reach); That he should live forever and not see the pit… But God will redeem me from the power of the Grave, For he will take hold of me. (Selah)” Psalm 49:6-9, 15

 

“But I am Jehovah your God from the land of Egypt; You knew no God except me, And besides me there is no saviorFrom the power of the Grave I will redeem them; From death I will recover them. Where are your stings, O Death? Where is your destructiveness, O Grave? Compassion will be concealed from my eyes.” Hosea 13:4, 14

 

Now if this is the case with the salvation of one individual, how much more impossible would it be for a creature to save an innumerable host of people? And yet according to Revelation 7:9-17, Jesus ransomed a countless number of human lives from all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues!

 

Therefore, how can Jesus be a mere finite creature when he has done what only Jehovah God is able to do, namely, save and redeem a host of people that cannot be numbered?

 

Endnote

 

(1) The Society itself implicitly agrees that Jesus came to pay the debt for all sins committed by everyone, since this is what it rights in the same publication we cited in the first part of our discussion:

 

13 How was the ransom paid? On the 14th day of the Jewish month Nisan in 33 C.E., God allowed his perfect and sinless Son to be executed. Jesus thus sacrificed his perfect human life “once for all time.” (Hebrews 10:10) On the third day after Jesus died, Jehovah raised him back to spirit life. In heaven, Jesus presented to God the value of his perfect human life sacrificed as a ransom in exchange for Adam’s offspring. (Hebrews 9:24) Jehovah accepted the value of Jesus’ sacrifice as the ransom needed to deliver mankind from slavery to sin and death.—Romans 3:23, 24…

 

15 The forgiveness of sins. Because of inherited imperfection, we have a real struggle to do what is right. All of us sin either in word or in deed. But by means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, we can receive “the forgiveness of our sins.” (Colossians 1:13, 14) To gain that forgiveness, however, we must be truly repentant. We must also humbly appeal to Jehovah, asking his forgiveness on the basis of our faith in the ransom sacrifice of his Son.—1 John 1:8, 9. (What Does the Bible Really Teach?, The Ransom—God’s Greatest Gift, pp. 51, 53)

 

By saying that Jesus presented his sacrifice as a ransom for Adam’s offspring so that we can receive forgiveness of sins by means of that sacrifice, the Society is virtually admitting that Christ died for more than Adam’s sin. Rather, Christ also died for all the sins that we have committed, which is why we can receive forgiveness from, and reconciliation with, God.

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Mohammed’s actions speak louder than his words # 1

The Murder of Abu Afak

This event took place around 2 A.H. In this incident Muhammad requested his men to kill an old Jewish man named Abu Afak, said to be 120 years old. He was a man with much experience and many years who probably became alarmed and concerned observing Muhammad and his followers. His method of rebellion was writing poems. It is chronicled that Abu Afak spoke out and urged his fellow Medinans to question Muhammad. Below are the details from Muslim sources.

From “The Life of Muhammad, op cit., page 675,

SALIM B. UMAYR’S EXPEDITION TO KILL ABU AFAK

Abu Afak was one of the Ubayda clan. He showed his disaffection when the apostle killed al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit and said:

“Long have I lived but never have I seen An assembly or collection of people More faithful to their undertaking And their allies when called upon Than the sons of Qayla when they assembled, Men who overthrew mountains and never submitted, A rider who came to them split them in two (saying) “Permitted”, “Forbidden”, of all sorts of things. Had you believed in glory or kingship You would have followed Tubba” [NOTE: Tubba was a ruler from Yemen who invaded what is presently Saudi Arabia: the Qaylites resisted him]

The apostle said, “Who will deal with this rascal for me?” Whereupon Salim b. Umayr, brother of B. Amr b. Auf, one of the “weepers”, went forth and killed him. Umama Muzayriya said concerning that:

You gave the lie to God’s religion and the man Ahmad! (Muhammad)

By him who was your father, evil is the son he produced!

A “hanif” gave you a thrust in the night saying

“Take that Abu Afak in spite of your age!”

Though I knew whether it was man or jinn

Who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught).

Additional information is found in the Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, (Book of the Major Classes) by Ibn Sa’d, Volume 2 [1] page 32:

Then occurred the “sariyyah” [raid] of Salim Ibn Umayr al-Amri against Abu Afak, the Jew, in [the month of] Shawwal in the beginning of the twentieth month from the hijrah [immigration from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD], of the Apostle of Allah. Abu Afak, was from Banu Amr Ibn Awf, and was an old man who had attained the age of one hundred and twenty years. He was a Jew, and used to instigate the people against the Apostle of Allah, and composed (satirical) verses [about Muhammad].

Salim Ibn Umayr who was one of the great weepers and who had participated in Badr, said, “I take a vow that I shall either kill Abu Afak or die before him. He waited for an opportunity until a hot night came, and Abu Afak slept in an open place. Salim Ibn Umayr knew it, so he placed the sword on his liver and pressed it till it reached his bed. The enemy of Allah screamed and the people who were his followers, rushed to him, took him to his house and interred him.

From a contemporary Muslim scholar – Ali Dashti’s “23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad” [2] page 100:

“Abu Afak, a man of great age (reputedly 120 years) was killed because he had lampooned Mohammed. The deed was done by Salem b. Omayr at the behest of the Prophet, who had asked, “Who will deal with this rascal for me?” The killing of such an old man moved a poetess, Asma b. Marwan, to compose disrespectful verses about the Prophet, and she too was assassinated.”

Prior to listing the assassinations Muhammad had ordered, Ali Dashti writes on page 97: “Thus Islam was gradually transformed from a purely spiritual mission into a militant and punitive organization whose progress depended on booty from raids and revenue from the Zakat tax.” So here an aged man was killed upon Muhammad’s direct command. He was no apparent physical threat to Muhammad, and he did not urge people to commit violent acts against Muhammad or his followers. There was no discussion with Jewish leaders, no dialogue with Abu Afak, simply an apparent outright killing of one of Muhammad’s weak and defenseless critics. The aged Abu Afak urged the people who lived in Medina to doubt and question Muhammad’s words and acts. Muhammad’s sayings probably seemed strange and dictatorial to the old man, and he chided the Arabs that put their faith in Muhammad with satirical verses. But apparently when Muhammad heard of this he viewed the 120-year-old man as a threat, not to his life, but to his credibility. Nowhere does it say that Abu Afak urged his fellow Arabs to attack or harm Muhammad, yet in creatively speaking his mind for the benefit of his friends, this man was killed. Further understanding can be gleaned from the last statement in Umama b. Muzayriya’s verse: “Though I knew whether it was man or jinn …who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught).”

This statement displays that Muhammad’s henchmen knew exactly what they were doing. They knew it was cold-blooded murder they were committing at Muhammad’s request. They also intended to keep it secret, to hide their deeds from the populace at large, which is why Umama said he wouldn’t reveal who murdered Abu Afak.

This article is reproduced from the website WikiIslam.

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A Series of Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses Pt. 8a, a post by Sam Shamoun

A Series of Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses Pt. 8a

All Scriptural quotations taken from the 2013 revised edition of the New World Translation (http://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/).

Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that Christ offered his human life as a ransom that perfectly corresponds to Adam’s life, which he forfeited or lost due to his sinful disobedience:

9 Since a perfect human life was lost, no imperfect human life could ever buy it back. (Psalm 49:7, 8) What was needed was a ransom equal in value to what was lost. This is in harmony with the principle of perfect justice found in God’s Word, which says: “Soul will be for soul.” (Deuteronomy 19:21) So, what would cover the value of the perfect human soul, or life, that Adam lost? Another perfect human life was the “corresponding ransom” that was required.—1 Timothy 2:6…

11 How could one man serve as a ransom for many, in fact, millions of humans? Well, how did humans numbering into the millions come to be sinners in the first place? Recall that by sinning, Adam lost the precious  possession of perfect human life. Hence, he could not pass it on to his offspring. Instead, he could pass on only sin and death. Jesus, whom the Bible calls “the last Adam,” had a perfect human life, and he never sinned. (1 Corinthians 15:45) In a sense, Jesus stepped into Adam’s place in order to save us. By sacrificing, or giving up, his perfect life in flawless obedience to God, Jesus paid the price for Adam’s sin. Jesus thus brought hope to Adam’s offspring.—Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22. (What Does the Bible Really Teach?, 5. The Ransom—God’s Greatest Gift, pp. 50-51: http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/the-ransom-gods-greatest-gift/)

Based on this assumption that the ransom has to be equal in value to what was lost, the Society reasons that Jesus could only be a mere human being, no more no less. They contend that if Jesus were a God-Man, or more than a human being, then his ransom would greatly exceed what God’s justice demanded since Adam was a perfect human being who forfeited his human life by sinning. Adam wasn’t a god-man, or a divine and human figure in one, when he died, and therefore his sin doesn’t require the death of a God-Man to atone for it.

Jehovah may demand more than an exact ransom price or compensation

To start off with, God’s justice doesn’t always mean that the ransom price or compensation that is to paid must be of the same exact value, since there are occasions where God demands more than the value of the thing that is forfeited, destroyed, stolen etc. Note, for instance, the following cases:

If a man steals a bull or a sheep and he slaughters or sells it, he is to compensate with five bulls for the bull and four sheep for the sheep. (If a thief is found in the act of breaking in and he gets struck and dies, there is no bloodguilt for him. But if it happens after sunrise, there is bloodguilt for him.) He must make compensation. If he has nothing, then he must be sold for the things he stole. If what he stole is found alive in his possession, whether it is a bull or a donkey or a sheep, he is to make double compensation. If anyone puts his animals out to graze in a field or a vineyard and lets them graze in someone else’s field, he is to make compensation with the best of his own field or with the best of his own vineyard. If a fire starts and spreads to thornbushes and it causes sheaves or standing grain or a field to be consumed, the one who started the fire must make compensation for what was burned. If a man gives his fellow man money or articles to keep and these are stolen from the fellow man’s house, if the thief is found, he must make double compensation. If the thief is not found, the owner of the house must be brought before the true God in order to determine whether he put his hand on the goods of his fellow man. In all cases of illegal possession of goods, concerning a bull, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or anything lost of which he may say, ‘This is mine!’ both parties will present their case before the true God. The one whom God pronounces guilty is to make double compensation to his fellow man. If a man gives his fellow man a donkey or a bull or a sheep or any domestic animal to keep and it dies or gets maimed or gets led away while nobody is looking, there should be an oath made between them before Jehovah, that he did not lay his hand on the goods of his fellow man; and the owner must accept it. The other man is not to make compensation. But if the animal has been stolen from him, he is to make compensation to its owner. If it was torn by a wild animal, he is to bring it as evidence. He is not to make compensation for something torn by a wild animal. But if anybody asks to borrow an animal from his fellow man and it gets maimed or it dies while its owner is not with it, the man who borrowed it must make compensation. If its owner is with it, he is not to make compensation. If it was hired, the money paid for the hire is the compensation.” Exodus 22:1-15

As can be seen from this list, Jehovah demanded more than exact compensation or restitution. In certain circumstances, a person was required to pay up to five times the amount owed!

Here are a few more examples:

Jehovah continued to speak to Moses, saying:If someone behaves unfaithfully by unintentionally sinning against the holy things of Jehovah, he is to bring to Jehovah a sound ram from the flock as a guilt offering; its value in silver shekels is set according to the standard shekel of the holy place. And he will make compensation for the sin he has committed against the holy place AND HE WILL ALSO ADD A FIFTH OF ITS VALUE. He will give it to the priest, so that the priest may make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him.’” Leviticus 5:14-16

Jehovah went on to say to Moses: ‘If someone sins and behaves unfaithfully toward Jehovah by deceiving his neighbor in connection with something entrusted to him, or something deposited with him, or he robs or defrauds his neighbor, or he finds something lost and is deceptive about it, and if he swears falsely over any such sin he may commit, this is what he should do: If he has sinned and is guilty, he must return what he stole, what he extorted, what he took by fraud, what was entrusted to him, or the lost thing that he found, or anything about which he swore falsely, and he must make full compensation for it, AND HE WILL ADD TO IT A FIFTH OF ITS VALUE. He will give it to the owner on the day his guilt is proved. And he will bring to the priest as his guilt offering to Jehovah a sound ram from the flock according to the assessed value, for a guilt offering. The priest will make atonement for him before Jehovah, and he will be forgiven for anything he may have done resulting in his guilt.’” Leviticus 6:1-7

“‘Now if a man eats a holy thing by mistake, he must add a fifth of its value and give the holy offering to the priest.  So they should not profane the holy things of the Israelites that they contribute to Jehovah and cause themselves to incur punishment for their guilt because of eating their holy things; for I am Jehovah, who is sanctifying them.’” Leviticus 22:14-15 – cf. Numbers 5:6-8

The foregoing shows that it is not the case that Jehovah’s justice insists that the ransom price or compensation must exactly correspond to the value of the thing forfeited, lost, destroyed etc.

This now brings us to our next point.

Scripture teaches that sin is a debt owed to God

In what is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” Christ depicts sin as a debt to God which needs to be pardoned:

You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.  Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.  Give us today our bread for this day; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’ For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; whereas if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:9-14

Note the key verse here:

and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12

Christ even employed two parables that further describe sin as a debt owed to God:

Then Peter came and said to him: ‘Lord, how many times is my brother to sin against me and am I to forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him: ‘I say to you, not up to seven times, but up to 77 times. That is why the Kingdom of the heavens may be likened to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. When he started to settle them, a man was brought in who owed him 10,000 talents. But because he did not have the means to pay it back, his master ordered him and his wife and his children and all the things he owned to be sold and payment to be made. So the slave fell down and did obeisance to him, saying, “Be patient with me, and I will pay back everything to you.” Moved with pity at this, the master of that slave let him off and canceled his debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves, who owed him 100 de·nari·i, and grabbed him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back whatever you owe.’ So his fellow slave fell down and began to beg him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ However, he was not willing, but he went and had him thrown into prison until he could pay back what he owed. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they became greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all the things that had happened. Then his master summoned him and said to him: “Wicked slave, I canceled all that debt for you when you pleaded with me. Should you not also have shown mercy to your fellow slave as I showed mercy to you?” With that his master, provoked to wrath, handed him over to the jailers until he repaid all that he owed. My heavenly Father will also deal with you in the same way if each of you does not forgive your brother from your heart.’” Matthew 18:21-35(1)

And:

Now one of the Pharisees kept asking him to dine with him. So he entered the house of the Pharisee and reclined at the table. And look! a woman who was known in the city to be a sinner learned that he was dining in the house of the Pharisee, and she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil. Taking a position behind him at his feet, she wept and began to wet his feet with her tears, and she wiped them off with the hair of her head. Also, she tenderly kissed his feet and poured the perfumed oil on them. Seeing this, the Pharisee who had invited him said to himself: ‘If this man were really a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman it is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.’ But in reply Jesus said to him: ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ He said: ‘Teacher, say it!’ ‘Two men were debtors to a certain lender; the one was in debt for 500 de·nari·i, but the other for 50. When they did not have anything to pay him back with, he freely forgave them both. Therefore, which one of them will love him more?’ In answer Simon said: ‘I suppose it is the one whom he forgave more.” He said to him: ‘You judged correctly.’ With that he turned to the woman and said to Simon: ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet. But this woman wet my feet with her tears and wiped them off with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but this woman, from the hour that I came in, did not stop tenderly kissing my feet. You did not pour oil on my head, but this woman poured perfumed oil on my feet. Because of this, I tell you, her sins, many though they are, are forgiven, because she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.’ Then he said to her: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Those reclining at the table with him started to say among themselves: ‘Who is this man who even forgives sins?’ But he said to the woman: ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’” Luke 7:36-50

In light of the foregoing, it is not surprising to discover the Holy Bible teaching that Christ didn’t simply pay the debt for Adam’s sin, but that he did so for all our sins in order to bring about our forgiveness/ransom/release/purification/cleansing/loosening etc.

By means of him we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one, yes, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his undeserved kindness.” Ephesians 1:7

Furthermore, though you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcised state of your flesh, God made you alive together with him. He kindly forgave us all our trespasses.” Colossians 2:13

However, if we are walking in the light as he himself is in the light, we do have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we make the statement, ‘We have no sin,’ we are misleading ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we make the statement, ‘We have not sinned,’ we are making him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s.” 1 John 1:7-10, 2:1-2

and from Jesus Christ, ‘the Faithful Witness,’ ‘the firstborn from the dead,’ and ‘the Ruler of the kings of the earth.’ To him who loves us and who set us free from our sins by means of his own blood—and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—yes, to him be the glory and the might forever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

This next passage is quite remarkable because it plainly states that Jesus’ sacrificial death ransomed a host of human beings that could not be numbered, whom he has made absolutely pure and righteous by his blood, which is the reason why God permits them to stand before his glorious presence forever and ever:

After this I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. And they keep shouting with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ All the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell facedown before the throne and worshipped God, saying: ‘Amen! Let the praise and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’ In response one of the elders said to me: “These who are dressed in the white robes, who are they and where did they come from?’ So right away I said to him: ‘My lord, you are the one who knows.’ And he said to me: ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD, and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down on them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them and will guide them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.’” Revelation 7:9-17

Jesus has basically done what the inspired Hebrew Scriptures teach Jehovah does, namely, purify his people from the guilt of all their sins and transgressions:

And I will purify them from ALL THE GUILT OF THEIR SINS against me, and I will forgive ALL THE GUILT OF THEIR SINS AND THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS against me.” Jeremiah 33:8

We have more on this topic in the next segment of our question.

Endnotes

(1) The following Evangelical NT scholars’ explanation of the parable concerning the unmerciful servant gives us an idea of the great debt which we owe to God, and the impossibility of being able to pay it off so as to avoid being sent into prison, i.e. hell:

“… In Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant, his debt to the master (representing God) is said to be ten thousand talents, whereas his fellow servant’s debt to him was a hundred denarii (Matt. 18:24, 28). To put these numbers in perspective, one denarius was the typical wage paid to a servant in Jesus’ day, so that a debt of a hundred denarii was a considerable sum (equivalent to several thousand dollars today). However, a talent was equivalent to six or ten thousand denarii (probably the latter in this context). For a servant to earn just one talent would require, then, more than twenty-five years. Ten thousand talents was a ridiculously huge debt–one that would take such a servant more than a quarter of a million years to discharge. It would be comparable to someone working a minimum wage job owing his company something like five billion dollars. The point of the story is that it’s hopeless–the debt can never be paid and the debtor will never get out of prison.

Jesus’ parable directly challenges the common sentiment that sending someone to Hell for eternity is out of proportion, that the punishment does not fit the crime. He characterizes the ‘debt’ that we owe to God as an astronomical sum. The servant’s debt to his master is a million times greater than the substantial debt his fellow servant owed to him. That is the way Jesus pictures for us the enormity of our sin in God’s eyes.” (Kenneth Boa & Robert Bowman Jr., Sense & Nonsense About Heaven & Hell [Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], 11. Hell to Pay, p. 103)

Since the Holy Bible clearly says that Jesus came to pay the debt of everyone’s sin he could only do so if he possessed infinite riches, which is precisely what the NT teaches:

For you know the undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich, he became poor for your sake, so that you might become rich through his poverty.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

To me, a man less than the least of all holy ones, this undeserved kindness was given, so that I should declare to the nations the good news about the unfathomable riches of the Christ and should make everyone see the administration of the sacred secret that has been hidden through the ages in God, who created all things.” Ephesians 3:8-9

This is so that their hearts may be comforted and that they may be harmoniously joined together in love and may have all the riches that result from the full assurance of their understanding, in order to gain an accurate knowledge of the sacred secret of God, namely, Christ. Carefully concealed IN HIM are ALL the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3

And yet the only way Christ could possess infinite riches is if he were/is God since God alone is infinitely rich:

O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and beyond tracing out his ways are!” Romans 11:33

This explains why the inspired Scriptures teach that only God is capable of ransoming mankind from death and corruption (cf. Psalm 49:6-9, 15).

Thus, Jesus does what only Jehovah God is capable of doing.

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Sam Solomon tells Islam like it is # 3

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