There is a popular teaching in the Muslim world today that Muhammed is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). Mohammed’s appearance in the Tanakh would give authority in their view that he is the final and greatest prophet, superseding Judaism and Christianity. I was interviewed briefly on Al Hayat TV about this issue.
In Song of Solomon 5:16, the Shulamite turns to the daughters of Jerusalem and states that her beloved is “desirable.” The word in Hebrew here is “Makhmadhim.” The root “khamad” is the same root as the name “Mukhamad.” The root means desirable. It is also the root of the word in the Ten Commandments, “Thou shall not covet.” In modern Hebrew, the word “Khamud” is a common nickname for friends and lovers, meaning, “sweet-heart.”
Muslims claim that the word in Song of Solomon is a plural noun of honor referring to their prophet. The word is indeed a plural noun but it is obviously not referring to anyone; it is describing the character of the beloved in the poem. This word is parallel to the noun that comes before it, saying that the mouth of the beloved is “sweet.” The original Hebrew has both in a plural noun form, “sweet things” and “desirable things.”
I mentioned that it is good for Muslims, Jews and Christians alike to refer to the text of the Tanakh, since indeed it should be the original source of authority for all three religions. Song of Solomon was written approximately 1,000 years before the time of Yeshua (Jesus), and 1,600 years before the time of Muhammed.
For thirty years I have been involved with reconciliation conferences with Arab Christians. It has been my dream that we would go beyond just reconciliation and begin to cooperate in sharing the gospel and advancing the kingdom together.
About 10 years ago I was scheduled to speak at a reconciliation conference in Jordan. I told the organizers that I wanted to teach in Hebrew. They said that to arrange the translation would be too difficult. However, some Arab Pastors from Iraq heard the conversation and ran up to say that they wanted to hear the gospel in Hebrew.
At that moment a revelation was birthed in my heart. There are many intense feelings among Arabs toward Jewish people. Because of Jihadist indoctrination, much of those feelings are extremely antagonistic. There is an obsession in the Muslim world concerning Israel. I believe that obsession can be used by God for good. For Arab Muslims to hear the gospel preached to them from a Jew, from Israel, in Hebrew (with translation or subtitles) would be a captivating and transforming experience.
We desire to share the gospel with Muslims. Our effort has primarily been to support Arab evangelists who risk their lives to share the good news with their own people. They do more than we could ever do. (We thank God for such partners as Harun, Basaam, Zach, Jack, Samir, Victor, Amir and many others.) The time has come for the message of love and salvation, coupled with racial reconciliation, to go forth from Arabs to Jews, and from Jews to Arabs.
Here is a summary of the second message I recorded last week with our friends at Al Hayat (- we hope this is just the beginning):
“For centuries there has been great enmity between our peoples. There is only one way to escape this cycle of hatred; it comes from Yeshua the Messiah. He taught: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” – Matthew 5:44. He is the only person in history to teach this kind of love.
He not only taught this love, He lived it. He gave His life on the cross to forgive us of sins and to break the cycle of hatred. Someone had to take the first step. Yeshua’s act of sacrificial love was that first step. It was an intervention of God to stop the cycle of hatred to start the cycle of love. On the cross, Yeshua prayed, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” – Luke 23:34.
Those of you from Muslim background might say that it is forbidden for you to believe in Yeshua as the Son of God. But it is also forbidden to us as Jews to believe in Him. Yet today there are thousands of Jews and Muslims who have found salvation and reconciliation through Yeshua the Messiah. Through Him we can become spiritual brothers and sisters in love.
If you want to get out of the cycle of hatred, there is a way. I cannot determine for you what you want. I cannot make you want to escape that hatred. But for those of you who DO want to get out of that hatred, I have good news for you: THERE IS A WAY. Yeshua is that way (John 14:6). Hatred is a form of spiritual darkness. Yeshua is the light of the world (John 1:5, 9).
Everyone says they want peace. But a peace treaty without love will never be successful. Until the hatred is taken out of our hearts, there can never be peace. Only the sacrificial love of Yeshua on the cross can take the hatred out. We must make a distinction between cause and effect. Peace is the effect. Love is the cause. Yeshua is the source of true love from God.
We reach out our hands to you in Yeshua’s name. Come to Him to find forgiveness, eternal life, divine love – and even reconciliation between Jew and Arab.”
Please pray for all those who are sharing the gospel with Muslims. It is a critical mandate in this generation. Pray for the gospel of salvation and reconciliation to go forth between Jews and Arabs alike.
Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.
He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.
Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.