The Prophet and Elijah

Jewish priests went to John the Baptist, asking: "Who are you?" (John 1:19). He answered and denied (John 1:25) that he was...

  1. the Messiah,
  2. the Prophet, or
  3. the return of Elijah.

Apart from these three Prophets, numerous passages of the Old and New Testaments promise another even greater One to come, the LORD of Hosts. We'll examine the question of "Who is the LORD of Hosts?" after first ascertaining the identity of the previously mentioned three.

One need scarcely attempt to prove that Jesus of Nazareth is Christ, the Messiah, as the Gospels set forth adequate prophetic proofs. And greater than the prophetic proofs is the proof of His own Person and the power of His words, "Words of eternal life" (John 6:68). Let us move on to identify "the Prophet".

The Prophet

Who, then, is "the Prophet"? Our clues are found in the verses where Moses specifically promises His coming. In Deuteronomy 18:15 He says: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like Me from among you, from your brethren, you shall listen to Him." The key phrases in this verse are: "a Prophet like Me" and "from among your brethren. You shall listen to Him."

A Prophet like Moses

Similarities between Moses and Muhammad:
Moses Muhammad
Orphaned; adopted and raised by:
Pharaoh Muhammad's uncle
From Egypt to Sanai desert From Mecca to Medina
Promulgated strong civil and religious laws:
10 Commandments. Qur'an
Leader of their nation:
Israel Arabia
Fought heathens*:
Baalists Mecan Idolators

* Note: The battles God commanded Muhammad to wage against the Mecans were always of defensive character: the Jewish wars were admittedly more severe (see Deut. 20: 10-17). The only time Muhammad wared against the Jews was when they aligned with the Mecan idolators and actively battled against Him. Why did the Mecan idolators resist Muhammad: because He taught of Allah ("the One God") and the Prophets (Jesus included). And why did the Jews league with pagan idolators to resist Muhammad: for the same reason they sided with the pagan Romans to resist Jesus.

The similarities between Moses and Muhammad extend even to such details as

Jesus was not a Prophet like Moses: Jesus was not married, had no children, did not establish social laws, did not lead a nation, did not fight heathens, had a very brief ministry, and died an unnatural death at a young age. Muhammad was a Prophet like Moses.

"...from among your brethren"

Muhammad appeared in Arabia in the midst of the dispersed Jewish tribes. What Moses meant by saying that the Prophet would come "from among your (i.e. the Jews) brethren" is that He would be descended from Abraham's first son, Ishmael - the father of the Arab race. Abraham's second son, Issac, was the father of the Jewish race. Thus the Arabs are the "brethren" of the Jews. The Prophet Muhammad was an Arab. Aramaic, the language spoken by the Jews in Israel from about 300BC, is related to Arabic - both being Semitic tongues.

The conventional Christian spin on the phrase "...from among your brethren" is that it means from amongst the Jews, and thus refers to Jesus. However, if Moses had intended the Jewish population as the milieu of the Prophet, He would have said "...from amongst you" or "...from amongst the children of Israel." Jesus was a Jew (John 1:11) – not an Arab as foretold by Moses of the Prophet. Muhammad arose from amongst the brethren of the Hebrews – the Arabs.

"You shall listen to Him"

Moses told the Jewish people: "You shall listen to Him (the Prophet)." Yet when Muhammad did come they treated Him almost as viscously as they treated Jesus. Nevertheless Jews were subjugated under Muslim rule for about 1300 years, hearing five times a day, every day, the Muslim call to prayer, that "there is no God but the one God, and Muhammad is His Messenger"

The Hebrews listened to the Prophet, Muhammad.

Jesus Himself described three Prophets to follow His own Dispensation:

  1. The Helper, Who in the original Greek scripture, is recorded as "Paracletos" (John 16:7). This is the Prophet, Muhammad.
  2. Christ returned - "I will come again" (John 14:3). This is the Báb.
  3. The Lord of Hosts is the "Spirit of Truth" (John 16:13), Bahá'u'lláh.

The Helper

Though known in the West only as "Muhammad", He is known in the East by a number of other names (all derived from the same Arabic root "to praise") including "Mahmud", "Ahmad", etc. It is interesting to note that the name "Ahmad" means "Paraclete" in Arabic. Jesus promised that He would send another (John 16:7). His words (spoken in Aramaic) were later recorded in Greek as "Paracletos" which means "Helper" in English.

The following chart shows how Muhammad was a "Helper" to Christians; Muhammad's mission was, in large part, to cleanse Christianity of false teachings (Matthew 13:24-30) that Jesus knew would be introduced into His religion:

Christianity in Muhammad's time:
Adulterated by man Purified by Muhammad
Three gods in One. God is One and indivisible.
Sacraments, superstitions, priestly powers, celibacy. Highly personal relationship with God, pure and simple religion.
Jesus is God. "We are God's Messengers"

The standard Christian belief is that "The Helper" (Gr. Paracletos) that Jesus said He would send (John 16:7) is the Holy Spirit. If that were true it would mean that the Holy Spirit was never in the world until after the ascention of Jesus. Further, if Jesus meant to send the Holy Spirit, why did He not say so?

In addition to purifying Christianity, Muhammad saw His mission as a judgement upon the sin of the Jews for their loss due to rejection their Messiah Jesus (See John 16: 8-11)

After talking about the Helper, Jesus continues talking about yet another Who will come – The Spirit of Truth (John 16: 12-15) – and this is likely the cause of the confusion the Christians.

Christ returned

Besides sending the Helper, Jesus promised to come again. Just as John the Baptist came "in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17) although they weren't actually the same individuals (John 1:21), so too did the Báb come in the spirit and power of Christ.

Some similarities between Jesus and the Báb
Jesus The Báb
Short intense ministry:
3 years 6 years
Youthfulness during ministry:
Aged 30 - 33 Aged 25 - 31
Chosen followers:
12 Disciples 18 Letters of the Living
Denounced corruption of:
Judaism Islam
Triumphant entry into:
Jerusalem Tabriz
Interrogation and scourging:
Jerusalem Tabriz
Important woman follower:
Mary Magdalene Tahirah
Opposed by government:
Roman Persian
Encouraged fellow victim:
Thief Mirza Muhammad 'Alí
Public martyrdom:
Crucified and pierced by Roman soldiers. Shot by Persian Islamic military firing squad when the original Armenian Christian firing squad refused a second attempt after their first volley miraculously missed the mark.
Ascended early afternoon:
3:00 PM 12 noon
Sun was darkened at noon:
Matthew 27:45 Dawnbreakers, page 515

Both were also given credit for performing healing miracles and were recognized as child prodigies. Furthermore, the Báb came as the great fore-runner of Bahá'u'lláh ("The Spirit of Truth") and, as such, was the return of John the Baptist, who was the return of Elijah.

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Author - John Roncalio. © 1973, 2003, John Roncalio.
The views expressed herein are those of the author who is solely responsible for their contents.