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How the theology of the Psalms proves that Muhammad was a false prophet

Seeing how Muslims love to quote Psalm 84:5-6 to somehow prove that pilgrimage to Mecca is mentioned in the previous Scriptures, I have decided to, therefore, show how the theology of the Psalters actually contradicts the teachings of Muhammad.

We begin by looking at the following Psalm:

Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed (Mashicho), saying, ‘Let us tear off their bonds and cast away their ropes from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord ridicules them. Then He will speak to them in His wrath and terrify them in His burning anger: ‘I have installed My king on Zion, My holy hill.’ I will declare the decree of the Lord: He said to me, ‘You are My son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. You will break them with a scepter of iron; you will dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now then, you kings, be wise; be admonished, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear; tremble with trepidation! Kiss the son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, for HIS wrath kindles in a flash. Blessed are all who seek refuge in Him.” Psalm 2:1-12

Here we have God announcing to the rulers of the earth that they all must bow down to his Son, the anointed King that he has installed in Zion, i.e. Jerusalem, since God’s King is the Heir to whom all nations must submit. This is further elaborated on in the following passage:

“A Psalm of David. The Lord said to my lord (Adoni), ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ The Lord shall send your mighty scepter out of Zion; rule in the midst of your enemies. Your people will follow you in the day of your battle; on the holy mountains at dawn of the morning, the dew of your youth belongs to you. The Lord has sworn and will not change, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’” Psalm 110:1-4

Astonishingly, David confesses and acknowledges a Lord alongside Yahweh, One who is greater than him, whom God invites to sit at his right hand as God gradually subjugates and/or destroys all of this particular King’s enemies.

What makes this even more astonishing is that sitting at God’s right hand means that David’s Sovereign will be reigning along with Yahweh as a co-occupant of God’s heavenly throne since the Psalms are quite clear that Yahweh sits enthroned in heaven over all creation:

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord ridicules them.” Psalm 2:4

“The Lord is in His holy temple, His throne is in heaven; His eyes see, His eyes examine mankind.” Psalm 11:4

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:19

David’s Lord is therefore depicted as being exalted to reign with God himself over all creation.

That’s not all the Psalm says:

The Lord (Adonay) is at your right hand; HE shall strike down kings in the day of HIS wrath. HE shall judge among the nationsHE shall fill them with dead bodies; HE shall scatter heads all over the land. HE shall drink of the brook in the path; then HE shall lift up the head.” Psalm 110:5-7

The King at God’s right hand is called Adonay, which is a divine epithet that points to the divine identity of David’s Sovereign, as the following Messianic Jewish author explains:

“… Unlike v. 1, where the vowels used generally (although not exclusively) indicate a human master (’adoni) rather than God, in v. 5 the vowels indicate that it is certainly a Divine Master being described. This has led many commentators to assume that this is not the King at Yahweh’s right hand but instead Yahweh at the King’s right hand.57

Yet it is better to view this as the King at the right hand of God. First, grammatically, all the third-person singular pronouns in vv. 5-7 refer back to the Lord (’adonay).

The Lord [’adonay, the messianic king] is at Your right hand; 

He will crush kings on the day of His anger.

He will judge the nations, heaping up corpses;

He will crush leaders over the entire world.

He will drink from the brook by the road;

therefore, He will lift up His head.

Plainly, it is the King who battles and drinks. Since there is no change in subject, it is the King who is called the Divine Lord (‘adonay) in v. 5. Edward J. Kissane notes the error of understanding ’adonay as Yahweh while taking the third singular pronouns that follow as referring to the King: ‘This introduces a change in subject of which there is no indication in the text. If the Messiah is the subject of v. 7, he must also be the subject of the preceding verses.’58

“Secondly, just as it is the Lord (’adoni) who is seated at the right hand of God in v. 1, so He is once again described in v. 5 as the one who is on the right hand of God. As Perowne says, ‘It is hardly probable that in so short a Psalm the King should first be said (ver. 1) to be at the right hand of Jehovah, and then that in ver. 5 Jehovah, on the contrary, should be said to be at the right hand of the King.’59 The logical conclusion is that the King is called ‘the Lord’ (’adonay), A TITLE RESERVED FOR GOD ALONE. While it is possible to object that the King would not have been granted a divine title, there are implications of the King’s deity throughout the psalm. In light of Ps 45:6 saying to the King, ‘Your throne, God, is forever and ever,’ therein calling Him ‘God’ (’elohim), why is it so objectionable, apart from dogmatic presupposition, for Him to be called ‘Lord’ (’adonay) in this one?

“Thus, in 110:5-6 the victorious Divine Messiah is graphically depicted defeating all who have rebelled against God. He crushes kings and rulers, judges the people (nations), and heaps up corpses, indicating that no rebels will escape. The violence of the imagery recalls Isa 63:1-6, where the messianic King tramples through the winepress of the nations, staining His garments with blood and crushing nations in His anger.60 The psalmist says all this will occur on ‘the day of His anger,’ with the pronoun ‘His’ referring to the King. Since the phrase ‘day of anger’ (yom ’ap) occurs in only six verses in Scripture61 AND IN EACH CASE IT REFERS TO GOD’S WRATH, this would imply that the triumphant King IS INDEED A DIVINE KING.62” (Michael Rydelnik,Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? [B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN 2010], pp. 178-179 https://books.google.com/books?id=3hm6YdykoKUC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false; bold and capital emphasis mine)

57 VanGemeren, “Psalms,” EBC 5:699; Kidner, Psalms 73-150, 396; Kraus, Psalm 60-150, 351-52; Mitchell, The Message of the Psalter, 262.

58 E. J. Kissane, The Book of Psalms (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1954), 2:194.

59 Perowne, The Book of Psalms, 2:309.

60 Perowne has objected to the messianic interpretation of this section, wondering how it can describe the Messiah as “literally reigning from Zion” and engaging “in fierce and bloody war with his enemies” (The Book of Psalms, 2:296). This sort of objection stems from a false image of Jesus as the meek and mild one. Although at present “He will not break a bruised reed” (Isa 42:3), in the Hebrew Bible there are many wrathful images of the Messiah executing justice against the nations, such as Psalm 2 and Isaiah 63. There will one day be a literal battle in which the Messiah will crush all rebellion against the true God. D. Sayer’s observation is helpful: “We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him ‘meek and mild,’ and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies” (The Whimsical Christian: Eighteen Essays [New York: Macmillian, 1978], 14).

61 Job 20:28; Lam 2:1, 21-22; Zeph 2:2-3.

62 Davis, “Is Psalm 110 a Messianic Psalm?” 166. (Ibid.)

We thus have David’s Lord being identified as God in the flesh, One who is personally distinct from Yahweh while also being one with him in essence.

Here is how some of the rabbinic authorities understood and interpreted this particular Psalm:

“Rabbi Yudan said for Rabbi Aha Bar Hananiah: in the future the Holy one blessed be He will sit the King Messiah at his right and Abraham at his left, and Abraham’s face crumpled and he said: the son of my son sits at the right and I sit at the left? but the Holy one blessed is He reconciled him by saying: the son of your son sits at your right and I sit at your right hand…” (Yalkut Shimoni on Tehilim 110; bold and underline emphasis ours)

And the Holy one, blessed be he, will fight for Israel and will say to the Messiah: ‘Sit at my right’ [Psalm 110:1]. And the Messiah will say to Israel: ‘Gather together and stand and see the salvation of the Lord’.” (T’fillat R. Shimon ben Yochai; bold and underline emphasis ours)

… AND THY STAFF alludes to the royal Messiah, as in the verse The staff of thy strength the Lord will send out of Zion (Ps. CX, 2). (Midrash Rabbah, Genesis LXXXV: 9; bold and underline emphasis ours)

… That same staff also is destined to be held in the hand of the King Messiah (may it be speedily in our days!); as it says, The staff of thy strength the Lord will send out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies (Ps. CX, 2). (Midrash Rabbah, Numbers XVIII, 23; bold and underline emphasis mine)

And here is what the Artscroll Tanach Commentary Tehillim states:

Sforno says that this Psalm is dedicated to the future king Messiah. He is on God’s right hand and the ministering angels are on the left. The armies of Gog and Magog will attack, but HaShem will subdue them until they come crawling to the feet of the Messiah.

This next quotation is rather remarkable:

In the decree of the Prophets it is written Behold My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high (Isa. 52:13), and it is also written Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth (Isa. 42:1). In the decree of the Writings it is written, The Lord said unto my lord: “Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Ps. 110:1), and it is also written I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the Ancient of days, and he was brought before Him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him (Dan. 7:13, 14).

In another comment, the verse is read I will tell of the decree: The Lord said unto me: Thou art My son … Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession (Ps. 2:7, 8). R. Yudan said: All these goodly promises are in the decree of the King, the King of kings, who will fulfill them for the Lord MESSIAH (The Midrash on Psalms, William G. Braude, Translator (New Haven: Yale, 959), Yale Judaica Series, Volume XIII, Leon Nemoy, Editor, Book One, Psalm 2:9; bold and capital emphasis mine)

It is interesting to see how the above reference combines Isaiah 42:1, 52:13 and Daniel 7:13-14 with Psalms 2 and 110 and applies them all to the Messiah. This isn’t the only rabbinic source that does so:

“I will now proceed to my exposition. 13 Behold my servant shall have understanding. From the prophet’s saying ‘understanding,’ it may be seen that all the lofty predicates which he assigns to him have their source in this attribute; in virtue of his comprehensive intelligence he will attain an elevation above that even of the most perfect men in the world. He shall be high and exalted, and lofty exceedingly. According to the Midrash of our Rabbis; he will be higher than Abraham, who was first of all a ‘high father,’ and afterwards a father of a multitude. He will be more exalted than Moses, who was ‘exalted’ above the exalted ones of Levi (cf. Num. iii. 32), who was a prophet such that ‘none arose like him in Israel,’ (Deut. xxxiv. 10), who ‘saved’ Israel ‘with a great salvation’ (cf. I Chron. xi. 14) when they came out of Egypt, and the report of whom spread into all places until ‘the dukes of Edom were confounded’ before him, and ‘trembling seized the mighty men of Moab, and all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away’ (Ex. xv. 15). But this one will be exalted far above Moses: for when he gathers together our scattered ones from the four corners of the earth, he will be exalted in the eyes of all the kings in the whole world, and all of them will serve him, and will exalt him above them, as Daniel prophesies concerning him, ‘All nations, peoples, and tongues shall serve him’ (Dan. vii. 14, 27)He will be loftier than Solomon, whose dignity was so lofty that he is said to have ‘sat on the throne of the Lord’ (I Chron. xxix. 23), and our Rabbis say that he was king over both the upper and the nether world. But the King Messiah, in his ALL-COMPREHENDING INTELLIGENCE, will be loftier than Solomon. Exceedingly above the ministering angels, because that same comprehensive intelligence will approach [God] more nearly than theirs. For it is an exceedingly high privilege, that one whose nature is compound and material should attain to a grade of intelligence more nearly Divine than that which belongs to the incorporeal; and so it is said of him that ‘his strength is greater than that of the ministering angels,’ because these have no impediment in the exercise of their intellect, whereas that which is compound is continually impeded in consequence of material element in its nature. Accordingly, the grade of his intelligence being such as this, he is said to be ‘lofty exceedingly,’ and his strength to be ‘greater than the angels.’… And when this ‘servant of the Lord’ is born, he will continue to be marked by the possession of intelligence enabling him to acquire from God what it is impossible for any to acquire until he reaches that height wither none of the sons of men, EXCEPT HIM, have ever ascended: from that day he will be counted with his people Israel, and will share their subjugation and distress; ‘in all their affliction’ (Is. lxiii. 9) he will be exceedingly afflicted; and because of their being outcasts and scattered to the ends of the world, his grief will be such that the colour of his countenance will be changed from that of a man, and pangs and sicknesses will seize him (for great grief, as physicians know, by producing melancholy, subjects a man to many diseases); and all the chastisements which come upon him in consequence of his grief will be for our sakes, and not from any deficiency or sin on his part which might bring punishment in his train, BECAUSE HE IS PERFECT, IN THE COMPLETENESS OF PERFECTION, as Isaiah says (xi. 2f.). Truly all his pains and sicknesses will be for us…” (R. Mosheh Kohen Ibn Crispin (14th century AD), as cited by Driver and Neubauer, The “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah, pp. 101-103; bold and capital emphasis mine)

To say that the rabbi’s words concerning the supra-human qualities of the Messiah are astounding would be a wild understatement!

Here are the citations from Isaiah and Daniel respectively, which the rabbis interpreted as being Messianic:

“See, My servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.” Isaiah 52:13

“I saw in the visions of the night, and behold with the clouds of the heaven, one like a man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was brought before Him. And He gave him dominion and glory and a kingdom, and ALL peoples, nations, and tongues shall serve him; his dominion is an eternal dominion, which will not be removed, and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

one like a man was coming: THAT IS THE KING MESSIAH.

and… up to the Ancient of Days: Who was sitting in judgment and judging the nations.

came: arrived, reached. (The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16490#showrashi=true&v=13; capital and italicized emphasis mine)

Astonishingly, these verses ascribe to the Davidic King the very worship and functions, which are elsewhere attributed to Yahweh God Almighty!

For instance, it is Yahweh who rides the clouds,

“The oracle of Egypt. See, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and shall come into Egypt; and the idols of Egypt shall tremble at His presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in its midst.” Isaiah 19:1

“the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will in no way acquit the guilty. In gale winds and a storm is His way, and clouds are the dust of His feet.” Nahum 1:3 – cf. Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19-20, 24; 33:7-11; 40:34-38; Numbers 10:34; Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalm 68:4, 33-34; 104:3

Who alone is high and lofty,

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. One cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.’ The posts of the door moved at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.’” Isaiah 6:1-5

“For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15 – cf. 2:11-17; 33:5, 10; Psalm 83:18; 113:5-6

And whom all the nations must serve or worship:

“Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” Daniel 7:27 – cf. 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28; 6:16, 20, 26

This further confirms that Israel’s coming Potentate is no mere flesh and blood human being.

The Psalms have more to say.

“My heart is overflowing with a good thought; I am speaking my works for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skilled scribe. You are fairer than all the sons of men; favor is poured on your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, with your splendor and your majesty. In your majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and your right hand will teach you awesome things. Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; peoples will fall under you. Your throne, O God (Elohim), is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is an upright scepter. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions… Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your own people, and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him… I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the people will praise you forever and ever.” Psalm 45:1-7, 10-11, 17

“A Psalm of Solomon. Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s son… May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. May those who dwell in the wilderness bow before him, and his enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba offer a gift. May all kings bow down before him; may all nations serve him… May his name endure forever; may his name increase as long as the sun. May men be blessed IN HIM; may all nations call him blessed!” Psalm 72:1, 8-11, 17

In these specific Psalms, Israel’s King is said to be God (Elohim) whom God anoints to rule over the nations forever, and whom all the nations must worship and praise forever.

That these are also considered Messianic prophecies is confirmed by the way the Aramaic paraphrases of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Targumim, render these particular Psalms:

  1. Your beauty, O King Messiah, is greaterthan the sons of men;the spirit of prophecy has been placedon your lips; because of this the Lord [29] has blessed you forever… 7. The throne of your glory, O Lord,[30] lasts forever and ever; the scepter of your kingdom is an upright scepter. 8. Because you[31] have loved righteousness and hated wickedness – because of this the Lord your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your fellows…
  2. Composed by Solomon, uttered in prophecy. O God, give your justrulings to the King Messiah, and your righteousness to the son of King David. (The Psalms Targum: An English Translation, by Edward M. Cook http://www.targum.info/pss/ps2.htm; bold emphasis ours)

[30] O LORD: O God in heaven.

[31] Because you: + O King Messiah. (Ibid. http://www.targum.info/pss/ps2.htm#_ftn30)

Even the renowned medieval rabbinic scholar Rashi was constrained to admit that the rabbis interpreted Psalm 72 in respect to the Messiah, even though he tried to explain it in regards to Solomon:

May there be an abundance of grain: Heb. פסת, an expression of spreading… increase and abundance. Our Sages, however, explained this as an expression of loaves of white bread during the messianic era (Keth. 111b, Shab. 30b), AND THE ENTIRE PSALM AS REFERRING TO THE MESSIANIC ERA. Another explanation… is an expression of good will, like… placating; the people are appeased and accepted by the Holy One, blessed be He, when He gives plenty in the world. (The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16293#showrashi=true&v=16; capital and underline emphasis ours)

With the foregoing in perspective, it is quite obvious that the Psalms DO NOT prophesy the coming of Muhammad, nor do they speak of making the pilgrimage to Islam’s pagan shrine in Mecca. How could the Psalmists have spoken of Muhammad when he expressly denied all of the following points, which these inspired authors stated about God’s Anointed King?

He is God’s uniquely begotten Son.

He’s David’s sovereign Lord.

He is called Adonay, a divine title which points to his divine identity and to his essential unity with Yahweh.

He is even called the God (Elohim) who reigns on his throne forever.

He is the Heir whom God has given all the nations as his rightful possession and inheritance.

He is to be worshiped and served by all the nations and their kings forever in the same way that God Almighty is worshiped and served.

Since Muhammad basically denied all of these basic truths about God’s appointed King he, therefore, stands condemned as a false prophet by the inspired message of God’s true emissaries such as David, a revelation that speaks of the coming Messianic King in highly exalted terms.

With that said we are ready to proceed to the next segment where we will see how these Psalms confirm the inspired teachings of the Christian Scriptures.

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