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  • Title: Clearing Up Misunderstandings: Claims about Changes in the Bible

    Recently, some Muslims have thought that the Bible, the holy book of Christianity, has been changed over time. Even though the Quran or Islamic teachings don't directly say this, many people are still confused. Let's dive into this topic to get a better understanding.

    1. The main question is: if the Bible has been changed, where is the original version that hasn't been altered? This is important to figure out what the Bible was originally like.

    2. People who believe the Bible has been changed should be able to say exactly when these changes happened in history. Knowing the timing is important to believe these claims.

    3. Who is supposed to have changed the Bible? Figuring this out helps us understand why and how these changes might have happened.

    4. Some parts of the Bible are said to have been changed. It's important to find these parts and show evidence of what they originally said to prove they were changed.

    5. Why would someone want to change the Bible? Understanding their reasons helps us see what they were trying to achieve.

    6. How much of the Bible is said to have been changed? Knowing how many parts were changed helps us understand the scale of these claims.

    7. Finding out who might have made these changes gives us more context about what was happening at that time.

    8. Having historical evidence or records that support the idea of Bible changes is really important to believe these claims.

    9. Looking into how the Bible was translated and kept safe over time helps us understand how people tried to make sure the text stayed the same and the difficulties they faced.

    10. Lastly, looking at verses in the Quran that talk about the Bible being changed gives us a better idea of what Islam says about this.

    To sum up, clearing up misunderstandings about changes in the Bible means looking carefully at the evidence and reasons behind these claims. By exploring these questions, we aim to understand more and have
    positive discussions about this complex topic.

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  • The Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran

    By the Dead Sea is meant that part of the water beginning at the mouth of the Jordan River and about fifty-three miles long. At some places, its width is close to ten miles. On its eastern and western sides are rocky cliffs. It is about thirteen hundred feet below the level of the Mediterranean Sea, and according to the opinion of experts, this body of water is the lowest part of the surface of the earth. (Genesis 3:14; Numbers 3:34:12; Deuteronomy 3:7; Joshua 3:16) It was also called the "river of the plain" (Deuteronomy 17:3:49:4; Joshua 16:3; 3:12). The Western Sea and the Dead Sea to its east, compared to the Mediterranean occurring to the west of Palestine. Because of its occurrence, it was called the "Eastern Sea" (Ezekiel 8:48; Joel 2:2). Today, the Arabs call it the "Sea of Lot". In the middle of this century, some leather scrolls were discovered in some caves on its northwest side, which are related to ancient Hebrew manuscripts, apocrypha, fictitious works, and some Greek books and translations. Because of this, these scrolls are called the Muradar Sea scrolls.

    These caves are found in the valley that lies between the northwest of the Muradar Sea and Jerusalem. Local residents call it "Wadi-i-Qumran". This valley was once inhabited by those people who hid this literature in these caves. Those people are called the "people of Qumran", and these scrolls are called the "scrolls of Qumran".

    The story of the scrolls

    The term Dead Sea Scrolls is used for the documents that were discovered in the caves on the western shore of the Dead Sea in 1947 and later. History bears witness that Origen of Alexandria, a third-century Christian patriarch, used certain manuscripts found in a jar near Jericho. Another testimony is that Timothy I, a Nestorian patriarch of Baghdad, wrote in 800 AD. wrote to Archbishop Sargis of near Elam that he had been told by a resident of Jerusalem that an Arab hunter's dog had entered a cave near Jericho. When the dog did not return, he entered it himself. A large number of scrolls were found there. He informed some of the Jewish scholars of Jerusalem about them, and they came and took away many scrolls, most of which contained Old Testament books. These scrolls are believed to have belonged to a people called the "Assini". In this area, when the excavation work started in 1950 AD, the ruins of a big building were also discovered. In it, traces of pottery, cloth making, and dyeing were also found. In addition to this, Dhobi Ghat, Nargarish Gah, and a seventy feet long hall were also discovered, in one corner of which there were around a hundred food utensils. In the room adjacent to the hall, around 1,000 food and drink utensils were found. It gives a sense that the people who lived here lived like a community. The writings and rules discovered here are closely related to the rules of such a sect, and these two lived there from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD. Although the scrolls had existed in these caves for centuries, before 1948 the world had no idea what a revolution it would bring about the biblical text.

    In the spring of 1948, three Arab shepherds were grazing their sheep in this area. A shepherd lost his sheep, so he reached a cave in search of it. The shepherd boy named Muhammad Azib threw a stone inside the cave, and he heard the sound of a vessel breaking. Because the boy was young and it was getting evening, so he went back. After a few days, the boy went down inside the cave hoping to find some treasure. He found there some jars about ten inches wide and twenty-five to twenty-nine inches high. However, a Syriac Orthodox Christian from Bethlehem who was a cloth merchant agreed to sell the scrolls. They bought about four or five scrolls for twenty-four pounds, and other scrolls were bought by an antiquarian for seven pounds, which later reached the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This monastery was located in the part of Jerusalem that was later occupied by the Arabs. The archbishop immediately recognized that these ancient manuscripts were in Hebrew, but he could not determine whether they were manuscripts.

    In July 1948, Archbishop Samuel established a connection with an institution called the Bible Seminary in Jerusalem, where great work was being done on the study of the Bible and archaeology. Having come to give, the monk came into the house to look at these ancient manuscripts. He identified a manuscript and said that it is the Hebrew text of the book of the prophet Isaiah, which is very ancient, but another scholar of the Madrasa Bible disagreed with him. Professor Plow didn't pay much attention to him either.

    By the end of November of that year, the scrolls, along with the jars in which they were discovered, had been purchased by an antiquities dealer, Al-Ezer, a professor in the Department of Palestinian Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Suknik bought it for the university. Until then he was completely unaware of the scrolls being held by the Syriac Orthodox monastery. In the same year, Prof. Suknik also bought another copy for which the president of the Hebrew University, Dr. Yehudah L. Magnus promptly provided the funds, and Professor Suknik's assistant, Professor Babberkrot, undertook the delicate and important task of opening the manuscripts.

    In January 1947, Professor Suknik and the Syrians met at the YMCA in Jerusalem, in which the professor was allowed to borrow the monastery's scrolls for a few days. On February 6, 1948, he returned the scrolls, one of which was the Hebrew text of the Book of Isaiah, part of which he had copied for interest. After that, another meeting was arranged in which the presence of Archbishop Samuel and the President of the University was necessary so that this meeting could not take place due to some unfavorable circumstances after the transaction of the scrolls.

    On February 18, 1948, the acting director of the American School of Oztel Research in Jerusalem, John C. Trevor was informed on the phone by Father Patras Somi of the monastery that he should dig up the ancient manuscripts to see what they were. The next day, Father Somi wrapped up the five and brought them to him. Trevor recognized that one of the scrolls contained the scriptures of the prophet Isaiah in Hebrew. He asked Archbishop Samuel for permission to bring the scrolls to the American School and photograph them.

    On February 21, 1947, these scrolls were brought to the school. Some pictures of the scroll of the prophet Isaiah were taken by John Hopkins University Baltimore professor W. Sent by airmail to F. Albright. He wrote in a happy reply letter that this is the book of Prophet Jesus, which is related to 100 BC. This discovery was very important because the oldest manuscripts available up to that time only belonged to the 10th century AD, but with this discovery it became possible to access the Hebrew text that is almost two thousand years old.

    Archbishop Samuel was so impressed by this revelation that within a week he moved the scrolls to a safe place outside, which was a legal offense to export without permission from the Department of Antiquities.

    In May 1948, when the British rule ended in Palestine, the present independent state of Israel came into being. When the meeting of the Israeli Assembly was provided, Prof. Sokinak framed at each member's seat a copy of Isaiah chapter 40 that he had copied from the Syriac monastery manuscript. On this occasion, these words of Isaiah chapter 40, "Comfort, you comfort my people" will seem very meaningless to the Jews.

    Due to the Arab-Israeli conflict, no scientific work could be done in it, however, during February 15 to March 5, 1948, further excavation was done in the cave from which these scrolls were discovered. This work was done by Lancaster Harroding of the Department of Antiquities of the Government of Jordan and Madrasah Bible. De Vu performed. He took the books of the Bible from there; Discovered hundreds of chapters of Abakrfa and some other books.

    In 1949, Archbishop Samuel went to America with these precious manuscripts, where he entrusted them to the headquarters of the American School of Oznetal Research in Jerusalem and Baghdad (located in the United States) for the purpose of printing them. This work by Dr. Trevor and Dr. W. In the next few years, H. Brown-Lee did the work. Finally, the Israeli government bought the scroll from the Syrians for two and a half million US dollars on February 13, 1955, through General Lagael Yadan, son of Prof. The Israeli Prime Minister at that time announced that all these copies should be kept in a special room of the Al-Ajjaib house, which will be called the Temple of the Book. Between 1951 and 1954 CE, many valuable manuscripts were discovered during the excavation of "Khirbat-i-Qumran" (Ruins of Qumran).

    In 1952 AD, 40,000 pieces of about 400 scrolls were discovered from Cave No. 4. At that time, the Jordanian government set the price of one square inch at one pound. By which such shepherds became quite rich who used to search for these things. These literary gems were discovered from eleven similar caves. Today, except for the book of Esther of the ancient Hebrew era, there are copies of all the books that have been discovered from Qumran and they belong to the era of the second century BC to the first century AD.

    Determining the age of the scrolls of the Qumran Sea is not a mental innovation but has been scientifically based on the following three aspects:

    1.     Chronological order of the alphabet: The style in which letters in Hebrew or other languages are written in these scrolls, experts believe that it is the style of the second century BC to the first century AD. Dr. Albright supports this idea. B. Pottery: Experts also estimate from the history of pottery that the vessels used by this sect and the jars in which the scrolls were preserved are also related to the period of the second century BC to the first century AD. C. Linen: Experts have also worked on the linen pieces in which these scrolls were wrapped on a scientific basis. According to this analysis, these scrolls belong to the period from the second century BC to the first century AD.

    Identification of early scrolls:

    Some of the earliest scrolls of early discovery are as follows:

    A. The Scrolls of the Suryani Monastery:

    The scrolls were bought and later sold by the Syrian Archbishop Samuel of Jerusalem for the monastery; they were four in number.

    1.     Scroll of Isaiah: The complete scroll of the scriptures of Prophet Isaiah is written on twenty-seven sheets of leather and which are sewn together. This scroll is twenty-four feet long and about ten inches wide. It is also called the Scroll of St. Mark Isaiah. A copy of this scroll is in Faith Theological Seminary Gujranwala and another copy is in the museum of Pakistan Bible Society Lahore.

    2.     Book of Discipline: This scroll is about six feet long and nine and a half feet wide. It contains the rules and regulations of the Asini sect living in that area.

    3.     Commentary on Habakkuk: This scroll is a commentary on the first two chapters of the Prophet Habakkuk's scriptures in Hebrew. This leather scroll is about five feet long and six inches wide.

    4.     Apocrypha of the book of Genesis: This scroll is nine feet long and one and a half inches wide, it is a few chapters of the book of Genesis in the Aramaic language. It contains some additional information about Lamech, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham.

    B. Scrolls of the Hebrew University:

    The scrolls purchased by Prof. Sokinak for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are as follows:

    1.     Second Scroll of Isaiah: This is another scroll from the book of Isaiah. Its first thirty-seven chapters are not in good condition, but chapters 38 to 66 are in good condition.

    2.     The War of the Children of Light against the Children of Darkness: This scroll is a guide for the Holy War for the Children of Light. It is nine and a half feet long and six inches wide.

    3.     Psalms of Thanksgiving: This scroll contains psalms that the Essene sect used in their worship. Today, these seven early scrolls are housed in the Jerusalem Museum.

    The literature of Durbin al-Ahedin, which includes the Hebrew List of Priest, the Greek Septuagint translation, the Aramaic Targum, the Old Testament Apocrypha, apocryphal works, and many scrolls from Qumran, has provided indisputable testimony to the authenticity, authenticity, and soundness of the Holy Bible. Because of this literature, understanding of the current text of the Holy Bible is very helpful. As a whole, when we consider the history of the Old Testament, we are forced to conclude that God is a God who intervenes in the lives of nations and people. It is He who changes times and eras, He deposes and establishes kings. (Daniel 12:2 A) Reading the history of the Bible and the history of the world shows that kingdoms, nations, and kingdoms arose and became a part of the past with the passage of time. In all these historical situations, and especially in the historical events of the Bible, God Almighty was evident to the world that man is in a state of complete decline. Biblical history is actually the story of man being depraved and God loving him. Thanks to this love, when the time was fulfilled, God sent his son. From the birth of the Lord Christ, historically we enter the modern era.

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  • God used a Muslim to reach Muslims for Christ!

    Once one of my dearest friends told me, Gabriel, that God really works in a funny way. I asked how. He answered, God used a Muslim to reach Muslims for Christ and spread the gospel." Isn’t it funny yet interesting? 

     Is it funny? I don’t know. Interesting, for sure. I used to be an anti-Christian. And, to be very honest, so-called preachers were responsible for this. They used to come and give Bible and leave. They were acting crazy. This kind of act doesn’t really work in a Muslim country. I thought these people were crazy.

    Now I am a preacher for Christ. My way of preaching Jesus is different. I make friends. I talk about God. I talk about the similarities between Jesus and both religions, and then I hit the button where we should know why Jesus is God. It makes sense, right? The moral is that you have to make friends and find your own space with the other person. No debate; pure thoughtful talks.

    Life took me to another Muslim country, where I visited a coastal village. Everyone was Muslim there. My God, they were remote, backdated, and lovely. There were lots of youth to meet, and we made amazing friendships. Shared the gospel, and many people had a positive response. We bought a few Bibles and went to the village. The idea was to give it to whoever we talked to, but I never thought giving a Bible to someone would change my life.

    I mean it. Growing up as a Muslim kid, I was awfully ill-informed about God, and I wanted someone to help. Nine years ago, a friend of mine gave me a Bible. I saw the smile on his face. I never thought someone would be this happy to give me something.

    But now I know. We were all packed to leave, and I asked one of my friends from that village to come meet me for the last time. He said he just woke up, and we were ready to take the vehicle to leave. But he said, I am coming no matter what. I gave him a Bible and told him to read it, and I hugged him. He was looking at the book and said, “I am a Muslim." I replied, Yes, it’s Torah and Enjiel. Read it. He liked the approach.

    When he left, he said, “Thanks for the book." I was stunned and had tears in my eyes. I mean, that was just too sweet, and some random sinner like me doing this godly work was such an amazing feeling. I bowed down to God and thanked him for choosing me. I shared this story with Michael Bond, and he said, They are now your disciples; take care of them.

    Now, that was way too much for me. I was overwhelmed and full of joy. Am I doing something in life? Am I the chosen one? Jesus indeed chose a Muslim (ex-Muslim) to reach Muslims for him.

     

    Life is unpredictable, like Jesus’s second coming. You never know what is happening. You can be anty Christian yesterday and pro-Christian the next day. It’s his choice. 

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