A perfect Unit

Dear readers,
I would like to summarise here the most important points about the unity of the Tora, the Gospel and the Qur’an, but not without saying first why I think this is so incredibly important. When GOD had noticed that it is difficult for us human beings to listen to His commandments, even if He gives us the blessing of Paradise- or perhaps just because of that – He withdrew and left us here on earth (supposedly) alone, of course He is always with us.

The only way in which GOD speaks to us today, and also checks whether we seek and recognise Him and also follow Him, is first of all very directly through His Word that He has given us through His prophets. And secondly, indirectly through the fruits of our labours, or globally through the history of this world and how it is developing.

In the Qur’an paradise is often mentioned but only once in connection with a very concrete action. This is why I am convinced, this verse is so important: “If they followed the Tora and the Gospel, and what was sent down to them from their LORD, then truly they would be fed on what is above them and at their feet.”  (Sure V, verse 66).

Now one would have to think that Muslims would study and follow the Tora and the Gospel inquisitively. Instead, however, the teaching has spread among Muslims, that the Tora and the Gospel are falsified, which would contradict the Qur’an and the verse just mentioned above (and so many other verses in the Qur’an, see more in “Bible in Qur’an”).

The Qur’an describes the situation, this concerns Jews and Christians and Muslims equally, as follows: “Mankind were one community, and GOD sent (unto them) Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the Scripture with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed. And only those unto whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it, after clear proofs had come unto them, through hatred one of another. But GOD guides the believers to the truth about which they have been divided with His permission, for GOD guides whom He wills to the straight path.” (Sure II, verse 213)

Doesn’t this key fit into this world? Does it make sense that Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in the same GOD, each of them having received a scripture, believing that this scripture alone is sufficient?

Also in practice the scriptures complement each other perfectly. For example, holidays and two special weeks exist only in the Tora, prayer times during the day and a month of fasting exist only in the Qur’an, and ethically, no other scripture sets interpersonal accents as much as the Gospel.

The Tora is mainly about the world and worldly commandments, the Gospel about man and charity, and the Qur’an about GOD, worship and the hereafter.

The Qur’an says: “And this your community is one community, because I am the LORD of you all. So stay aware of Me!’; But they became divided and split into sects, and each party enjoys what they have.” (Sure XXIII, verses 52-53)

And wouldn’t this interpretation also be the key to social peace, also and especially with regard to Israel and the Middle East?

Professor Dr Stefan Leimgruber and Dr Andreas Renz write in their book “Christians and Muslims – what unites them, what distinguishes them” (and as far as Muslims is concerned, also Jews): “But a sweeping, unrestricted recognition of Muhammad’s prophetic claim and the Qur’an’s claim to revelation and thus Islam’s claim to salvation is opposed by the fact that the Qur’an explicitly negates some central Christian beliefs. This is on the one hand the trinitarian GOD-concept as well as the GOD-Sonship of Jesus, on the other hand the historical fact as well as the significance of the death of Jesus on the cross for salvation.”

In order to be able to read the scriptures as a unit the following points cause a problem:
1. Jesus is man and prophet, or GOD,
2. the designation of Jesus as the son of GOD,
3. the crucifixion of Jesus, which the Qur’an seems to negate at first sight,
4. and the significance of the crucifixion of Jesus for salvation.

The resolution of these points of conflict is, I think, not so difficult at all, and I would like to take a brief look at it with you.

1. On closer inspection, Jesus says at no point in the gospel that he is GOD. But rather he said “you will understand, that I do nothing in my own name, but only say what the FATHER has taught me”; (John 8:40). Or similarly, “and the word that you have heard is not from me, but from the FATHER who sent me”; (John 14:24). And Jesus says: “But the hour is coming, and it is already here, when the true worshippers will worship the FATHER in spirit and in truth; for so the FATHER wants to be worshipped“; (John 4:23). And this is exactly where the Qur’an leads us when it repeatedly emphasises that GOD has not taken a son.

2. But is that why the designation of Jesus as the Son of GOD in the Gospel contradicts the Qur’an/Tora? I mean no, because the Qur’an confirms that Jesus had no physical father. Mary’s pregnancy was therefore a very extraordinary affair, and the FATHER of Jesus was only GOD.
Moreover, through the very last Prophet of the Jewish Bible, Malachi, GOD says: “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a FATHER, where is the honor due Me? If I am a MASTER, where is the respect due Me?” says the LORD Almighty.” (Malachi 1:6)
So could it be accidentally, that the two prophets who came just after, are called “Son of GOD” concerning Jesus and “Slave of GOD” (Abd ALLAH) concerning Prophet Muhammad?
So the Bible looks in the Past with Jesus being borne as literal the son of GOD, showing us how to honor GOD as a son, and the Qur’an looks to future in which all people who fulfil the will of GOD will be one community, including the prophets, including Jesus.

3. Now among Muslims the opinion has become firmly established that it is not Jesus who was crucified but someone else in his place. But the Qur’an only says: “they killed him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them… they killed him not for certain. But GOD took him up unto Himself. GOD was ever Mighty, Wise.” ( IV 157-158)

But does this passage mean that Jesus hasn’t been crucified? Is it not rather that Jesus rose from the dead and thus simply didn’t die? So he was not killed and in this sense he was not crucified either. GOD did not abandon his messenger to death, but He saved him and raised him to Himself. And this is exactly what the Qur’an confirms.

4. Christians think they are redeemed by the death of Jesus, some passages in the gospel give this impression when Jesus speaks of his flesh and blood. In the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) in breaking the bread and giving the cup, Jesus speaks of his flesh and blood. And also in the gospel of John, Jesus takes up this parable, but here he explains the closer meaning to his disciples afterwards: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no use. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:62-63). Flesh and blood are therefore a parable for the WORD and the SPIRIT. Understanding this is very important, because Jesus explains in the synoptic gospels: “. . . He (Jesus) spoke to them only in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when he was alone with them” (Mark 4:34). Wine and bread, flesh and blood are thus a parable for the WORD, that is, the SPIRIT OF GOD. “Blessed are rather those who hear the word of GOD and follow it” (Luke 11:28).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with GOD, and the Word was GOD.” (John 1:1)

So it is not at all difficult to resolve the supposed contradictions, and the practical implementation is not difficult either.

In Tora & Gospel & Qur'an by Stephan Effenberger at 07. April 2020

A beautiful solution for Peace

A beautiful solution for Peace for Palestinians and Jews, that can be found in the Bible, would be the understanding that Palestinians are, along with Jews, the legal decendents of Israel.

In the Book of Ezekiel GOD says: “I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. …they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” (Ezekiel 37:22)

This verse is talking about the former two kingdoms of (the tribes of) Israel: the North Kingdom, represented by the tribe of Joseph/Ephraim and the South Kingdom, represented by the tribe of Judah. Until today, this prophecy hasn’t come true. So it should make wonder, which two nations are dividing Israel/Palestine today, if this verse ever should come true? Why Jews are talking about “the lost ten tribes”, represented by Joseph/Ephraim? I think, the first and only idea could be, regarding todays political situation, Joseph/Ephraim can be only represented by the Palestinians. So the next step should be, to examine the Bible about further remarks about Joseph/Ephraim, and if they can be related with the Palestinians. And you will get very astonishing results.

Jeremiah says: “In days to come you will understand this. At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the GOD of all tribes of Israel, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 30:24-31:1)

So how could the ten tribes of Israel (Joseph/Ephraim) be lost, or possibly not to be found?

“Ephraim will be laid waste on the day of reckoning. Among the tribes of Israel I proclaim what is certain. Judah’s leaders are like those who move boundary stones. I will pour out my wrath on them like a flood of water. Ephraim is oppressed, trampled in judgment.” (Hosea 5, 9-11)

With regard to today’s situation, it is true that the Jews are reducing the legitimate borders of the Palestinians, whose rights are not respected.

“For I am to Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah. I, yes I, snatch (the prey), / then I go away; I drag it away / and no one can snatch it away from Me. I go away, I return to my place, / (and wait,) until they seek Me guiltfully, until in their distress / they look for Me again”. ( Hosea 5,14-15)

In this quotation GOD speaks of the fate of the deportation, but also of the hoped and expected return of both tribes.

“Ephraim mixes with the nations; Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over. Foreigners sap his strength, but he does not realise it. His hair is sprinkled with grey but he does not notice. Israel’s arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the LORD his GOD or search for Him. Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless—now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria.” (Hosea 7, 8-11)

These verses also correspond very well to the present situation. First, by the expressed closeness of “Ephraim” to its Arab neighbours. Second, by the statement: “Foreigners sap his strength, but he does not realise it ”, for the Palestinians themselves today believe that they are Arabs (or Canaanites) and not Israelites.

“See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble because I am Israel’s FATHER, and Ephraim is My firstborn son.” (Jeremiah 31, 8-9)

So how could Ephraim be lost, and who else could be Ephraim, if not the Palestinians?

“In that day the LORD will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of His people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies will be destroyed; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.” (Isaiah 11, 11-13)

The first part of these verses show beautifully, how the word of GOD has already come true, with the return of Jews from all countries over the world back to Israel. And does the second part of this prophecy not really point to today’s conditions? The Palestinians are jealous of the Jews who are in control. The Jews, on the other hand, are not very friendly towards the Palestinians, most of whom are not even allowed to enter their homeland. And wouldn’t it be nice if that prophecy were fulfilled?

“How could I give you up, Ephraim, / how could I forsake you, Israel? How could I give you up like Adma, treat you like Zebojim? My heart turns against Me, My pity burns up. I will not execute My fiery wrath / destroy Efraim again. For I am GOD, not a man, / the HOLY in your midst. /That is why I do not come in the heat of wrath. They will go after the ETERNAL. / He roars like a lion, yes, He roars that the sons of the West Sea are coming / trembling. They shall come trembling like birds out of Egypt, like doves out of the land of Assyria. I will cause them to return to their houses, saith the LORD. Hosea 11,8-11)

What people, dispersed from Israel, now live in Syria and Egypt, if not the Palestinians?

Prophet Ezekiel proclaims: “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, take a piece of wood, and write on it Judah and the Israelites that are confederated with him. Then take another piece of wood, and write on it, Joseph (Ephraim’s wood), and all the house of Israel that are joined unto him. Then join the two together into a single wood, so that they become one in your hand. And when the sons of your people ask you, would you not explain to us what this means? then answer them, Thus saith GOD the LORD; I will take the wood of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and of the tribes of Israel that are confederate with him, and will lay it upon the wood of Judah. I make them one wood and they become one in My hand. The timbers on which you have written shall be in your hand before their eyes. Then say unto them, this says GOD the LORD; I will bring forth the children of Israel out of the nations whither they were compelled to go; I’ll collect them from all sides and bring them back to their country. I will make them one people in my land, on the mountains of Israel. I want them all to have one king. They will no longer be two peoples and will never again be divided into two kingdoms”. (Ezekiel 37:15-22)

Prophet Ezekiel lived at the time of the First Jewish Exile, at a time when the Israelites of the northern kingdom had long since been carried off. That means this verse has certainly not been fulfilled to this day. So when it says: “They will no longer be two peoples and will never again divide into two kingdoms”, then with “Joseph (wood of Efraim) and the house of Israel allied to him” today only the Palestinians can be addressed. Or is there anyone else, who would have a claim to Israel/Palestine today besides the Jews, if not the Palestinians? If this verse is really supposed to be fulfilled, then there is no other possibility at all: for the people who share Israel/Palestine with the Jews are the Palestinians.

Moreover, this verse describes today’s political situation in exactly the right way: a land divided by two peoples who lay equal claim to it. That the “wood of Ephraim” is laid upon the “wood of Judah” – and not vice versa – fits todays situation exactly. The land is currently mainly owned by the Jewish population, and the Palestinians would certainly like more space and freedom. Thus also the division of the country desired by GOD becomes clear: Jews and Palestinians should share the country peacefully without regional restrictions, as originally, it was the wish of Itzhak Rabin and Jassir Arafat.



In Jews & Palestinians by Stephan Effenberger at 07. April 2020