Some Muslims believe that the coming of the Prophet Muhammad was prophesied in the Bible. What do Christians think about that?
Which verse are you referring to?
In the Bible, God told Moses “I will raise up for them (i.e. the Israelites) a prophet like you from among their brothers and they will put my words in his mouth and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” This prophet does not come from within the Israelite race but rather from among their brothers, which refers to the Arabs. Actually the description “from among your brothers” refers to other Israelites and not foreigners. In another verse of the Bible, God says “You may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set is king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you who is not your brother.”
What about another verse in which Jesus said “And they will ask the father and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever, the spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you.” In this verse Jesus was foretelling the coming of the Holy Spirit and not another human prophet.
Muslims do not think this verse refers to the Holy Spirit because the Spirit was already present on earth. Why then would Jesus foretell his coming?
Jesus already acknowledged in the verse that the Holy Spirit lives with his disciples. He is now promising that the Holy Spirit will later come and dwell inside them. Other parts of the verse also makes it clear it cannot refer to Prophet Muhammad.
Which parts of the verse?
Jesus told his disciples “And I will ask the father and he will give you another counselor.” This promise is to his disciples, not to another group of people later. Jesus commanded his disciples not to leave Jerusalem before they receive the Holy Spirit. Therefore clearly the counselor is referring to the Holy Spirit. The counselor will also be with his disciples forever and will reside inside them. A human prophet would not be able to do that. However the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit resides in the heart of every believer.
Yes it seems impossible for that promise to refer to another human prophet.
Jesus also said the world neither sees him nor knows him because the counselor is an invisible Spirit. But Jesus said the disciples already knew the counselor because he resided with them. So it can’t be referring to another human prophet that is yet to be born because the disciples would not have known that person. But the disciples knew the Holy Spirit because Jesus who lived with them was full of the Holy Spirit.
I can see that there are so many reasons why the counselor refers to the Holy Spirit and not another human prophet. However, some claim that the Greek word for counselor which is “paracletos” should actually be “pariklutos” which means “praised one”. This could refer to a human prophet that is highly praised can’t it?
The problem with this argument is that there isn’t a single Bible manuscript that contains the word “pariklutos” which means “praised one” in place of “paracletos” which means “counselor” so this argument has no basis at all.
If someone thinks that the word should “pariklutos”, shouldn’t he at least be able to show an appearance of this word? If not how could anyone believe his theory? Would any religion allow someone to comment that it should have been another word in their scripture without producing a single evidence?
I guess not.
Knowing what our manuscripts tell us is so important because that is the foundation of Bible interpretation.
Yes we should talk more another day on how reliable the Bible manuscripts are.