How are we Saved? - Samuel Green vs Shabir Ally

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It was a pleasure to meet with Shabir again. Here are a few comments I ask you to consider after watching the debate:
1. Shabir displayed the cover of, "The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible" translated by Martin Abegg et al, and claimed that it showed that some versions of Isaiah 53 do not have the servant die (21:44, 1:56:20). I asked for a reference to this claim during the debate (1:09:00) but none was given. I have this book and have now checked, and it does not make this claim. In this book the authors publish the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) Old Testaments books. They list any variants within the DDS and also compare to the LXX and Masoretic Texts. So do any of the Isaiah DSS say that the servant does not die? The answer is no. What follows are the verses from Isaiah 53 (pages 359-360) which indicate the death, or otherwise, of the servant:

53:7 ... like a lamb that is led to the slaughter ... (DSS, LXX, MT, all agree about death.)
53:8 ... For he was cut off from the land of the living ... (DSS, LXX, MT, all agree about death.)
53:9 Then they made his grave with the wicked, and with rich people (his tomb, DSS)/(in his deaths, MT)/(in his death, LXX).
53:12 ... because he poured out his life to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the their transgressions. (DSS, LXX, MT, all agree about death.)

The only variant about his death is whether the reading is “tomb” or “death” in 53:9. But as the death of the servant is also stated in verses 7, 8, and 12, and all sources agree, then it is impossible to conclude that the reference to “tomb” in DSS 53:9 is a denial of death because the death of the servant is stated elsewhere in verses 7, 8, and 12. For Shabir’s argument to work all of these other references to death would also need variants which offer an alternative to the death of the servant, but they do not. I am happy to be corrected but I cannot see any evidence from this book for the suggestion that in some Isaiah scrolls the servant does not die. Please read Isaiah 53 and make up your own mind.

2. He said there was no Old Testament prophecy about a specific individual called the Messiah to come (22:50). Again this is wrong. The Messiah is the son of David (2 Samuel 7:13-16, Psalm 2) and we are specifically told of a coming son (Isaiah 9:6ff et al) who will bring God's kingdom. This is basic teaching about the Messiah.

I will not go through every point. My hope is that debates such as these will help Christians and Muslims understand each other's books and religions better. My concern is that Shabir presents his material with convincing confidence yet when I check these references they do not say what he claims. I hope that those of you who want to learn by watching these debates will check all of the references given by both speakers.


Shared on: 20 Dec 2016

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