The 124,000 Prophets/messengers/warners
I have been noticing many facebook groups talking about these 124,000.
The theory is that there were prophets for the nations and cultures [Quran 2:285]. I noticed many Muslims have stated that all these prophets were the way, delivered the truth and had the word of God. Then they go on to state that Muhammad came then for all nations and the prophets were sealed.
P1. 124,000 messengers sent for every nation
P2. Each messenger was the way, delivered the truth [Quran 29:46]
P3. Muhammad is for all nations
So Therefore to answer the three statements:
1. If the 124,000 were the way and delivered the truth, then we should be able to follow any prophet that we choose. Shouldn’t matter which one we follow as truth is immutable and eternal.
But let’s define truth:
1. Truth exists
2. Truth is immutable
3. Truth is eternal
4. Truth is mental –not independent of mind
5. Truth is superior to the human mind
6. Truth is God
Truth exists—there is knowledge, and therefore the object of knowledge. To say truth doesn’t exist is self-referential nonsense (self-refuting).
Truth is immutable—what is true today will be true tomorrow, and we know this because if it is truth, its truth always. Pragmatism is not truth.
Truth is eternal—truth will never perish.
Truth is mental—it presupposes the existence of minds. Truth cannot exist without a mind, and an eternal mind means eternal truth.
Truth is superior to the human mind—truth cannot be subjective and individualistic. The human mind is changeable, finite, mutable, and subject to error. Truth therefore transcends human reason, and superior to the human mind.
Truth is God—an ontological ground for truth. Truth cannot be anything perishable or contingent (dependent upon something else), therefore the truth always has existed in an eternal mind. Only God possesses these attributes; God must be truth and he has this attribute.
2. So now that we know truth is God this means we should be able to find it no matter which prophet we follow. The Bible has many people that were prophets, around 40. The Bible also has a long history of 1500 years during this process. This is an abundant amount of truth from many sources where God has interacted with his followers, showing history, many literary forms (genres) which include poetry, laments, personification, Anthropomorphism, hyperbole, Litotes, Ellipsis, Parables, Allegories, Riddles, Symbols, Narrative, Tragedy, Parallelism, Chiasms, Wisdom, Epistles, Apocalyptic, and so on… With this, each literary form will require an exegesis and hermeneutic to properly get the authorial meaning for then and there to understand the here and now (Homiletical principle).
3. I disagree as if Muhammad was for all nations and is the role model for all time we should be able to imitate him today. So can we marry a 6 year old today? No. Can we have 11 wives at a time? No.
Role Model = a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated. So Muhammad cannot be imitated in that sense so he was only for those of his nation and era.
With that being said, we also know that the Quran affirms the Gospel.
1. The verses below are from the Quran, which presuppose the availability of the true revelation of God to the people of Muhammad's day. [Surah's 3:71,93; 10:94]
2. A true Muslim is obliged to believe in all the revelations of God. Surah's [2:136; 4:136; 29:46]
3. The Quran makes no distinction between God's revelations. [Surah 2:136]
4. The Qur'an claims that NO ONE can change the Word of Allah. [Surah's 6:34; 10:34]
5. Allah's word cannot contain error and cannot change.
6. Allah is said to preserve the Qur'an [Surah's 15:9; 85:21-22]
7. The words of Allah are said to be unalterable [Surah 6:34; 18:27; 6:115, 10:64 and 50:29]
Let’s take a look at those verses that confirm the Torah and Gospel during Muhammad’s day:
5:44 Sahih International
Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah ] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah , and they were witnesses thereto. So do not fear the people but fear Me, and do not exchange My verses for a small price. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers.
5:45 Sahih International
And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives [up his right as] charity, it is an expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.
5:46 Sahih International
And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous.
5:47 Sahih International
And let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the defiantly disobedient.
5:48 Sahih International
And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.
3:3 Sahih International
He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel.
3:4 Sahih International
Before, as guidance for the people. And He revealed the Qur'an. Indeed, those who disbelieve in the verses of Allah will have a severe punishment, and Allah is exalted in Might, the Owner of Retribution.
2:40 Sahih International
O Children of Israel, remember My favor which I have bestowed upon you and fulfill My covenant [upon you] that I will fulfill your covenant [from Me], and be afraid of [only] Me.
2:41 Sahih International
And believe in what I have sent down confirming that which is [already] with you, and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And do not exchange My signs for a small price, and fear [only] Me.
2:136 Sahih International
Say, [O believers], "We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him."
2:285 Sahih International
The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His messengers." And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination."
3:93 Sahih International
All food was lawful to the Children of Israel except what Israel had made unlawful to himself before the Torah was revealed. Say, [O Muhammad], "So bring the Torah and recite it, if you should be truthful." [this means people of Muhammad’s day had the uncorrupted Torah, same one as in the Dead Sea Scrolls before Jesus’ time.]
4:136 Sahih International
O you who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.
5:68 Sahih International
Say, "O People of the Scripture, you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to you from your Lord." And that which has been revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase many of them in transgression and disbelief. So do not grieve over the disbelieving people.
6:92 Sahih International
And this is a Book which We have sent down, blessed and confirming what was before it, that you may warn the Mother of Cities and those around it. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in it, and they are maintaining their prayers.
10:94 Sahih International
So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.
29:46 Sahih International
And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him."
So as far we know, if we believe the Quran is true, the Quran affirms the Torah and Gospel of the day of Muhammad. However, we also know that the findings in the cave at Qumran was the discovery of the dead sea scrolls around 1949.
“Dead Sea Scrolls: Dramatic Evidence for the Reliability of Messianic Prophecy The Dead Sea Scrolls comprise the oldest group of Old Testament manuscripts ever found, dating back to 100--200 B.C. This is dramatic, because we now have absolute evidence that Messianic prophecies contained in today’s Old Testament (both Jewish and Christian) are the same Messianic prophecies that existed prior to the time Jesus walked on this earth. It goes without saying, manuscript reliability and textual criticism have taken cosmic steps forward! Check it out – There is no question that Jesus Christ was the Messiah that the Jews were waiting for!” - See more at: www.allaboutarchaeology.org
We can verify what was before Muhammad scientifically and compare it to what we have today. And the Textual critics have done this for the last 2-3 centuries. We know what we have today is accurate beyond a reasonable doubt.
As for the New Testament we also have texts that predate Muhammad which attest to what we have today and verified as 99% accuracy before and after Muhammad. The complete Bible is found in the Codex Sinaiticus which can be found online at:
“Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek. The New Testament appears in the original vernacular language (koine) and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. In the Codex, the text of both the Septuagint and the New Testament has been heavily annotated by a series of early correctors.” [ibid]
We also have “The Codex Vaticanus, so called because it is the most famous manuscript in the possession of the Vatican library, is generally believed to be from the fourth century, and is thought to be the oldest (nearly) complete copy of the Greek Bible in existence. Lacking from it are most of the book of Genesis, Hebrews 9:14 to the end, the Pastoral Epistles, and the book of Revelation; these parts were lost by damage to the front and back of the volume, which is common in ancient manuscripts.”
The Quran affirms the Torah and Gospel, Dead Sea Scrolls affirm the Old Testament, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus and all other manuscript copies also affirms the New Testament.
What do scholars say?
Of the remaining differences, virtually all yield to vigorous textual criticism. This means that our New Testament is 99.5% textually pure. In the entire text of 20,000 lines, only 40 lines are in doubt (about 400 words), and none affects any significant doctrine. [Geisler and Nix, 475]
Greek scholar D.A. Carson sums up this way: "The purity of text is of such a substantial nature that nothing we believe to be true, and nothing we are commanded to do, is in any way jeopardized by the variants." [ Carson, D.A., The King James Version Debate (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), 56]
“The first thing to say is the first thing that I almost always say, even though my conservative evangelical critics among the scholars refuse to notice that I have said it (repeatedly!) and pretend that I never have said it, which is this: the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of differences are immaterial, insignificant, and trivial. Many of them cannot even be represented by different translations of the (different) Greek texts into English. Probably the majority matter only in showing that Christian scribes centuries ago could spell no better than my students can today. And *they* didn’t have dictionaries! Let alone spell check.”
“So, it is true that the huge majority of variations don’t matter. But do *any* of them matter? Well, the answer to that question depends entirely on what it is that you think matters. For a lot of people – including, I’m assuming (but cannot be certain), the reader who asked the question – if none of the variants would require a radical change of any fundamental Christian doctrine, then, well, none of them ultimately matters. So unless there are variations that indicate that Jesus’ mother was *not* a virgin, or that say that he was *not* the Son of God, or that claim that he never *was* raised from the dead – well, unless there are variants like *that*, then the variants don’t matter.” [Bart Ehrman Bart Ehrman on Variants, do they matter?