Q&A: Muhammad the Prophet of Peace? - Jeremiah 28:9

Muhammad the Prophet of Peace? - Jeremiah 28:9

Question

Islam asserts that the prophet who prophesies peace in Jeremiah 28:9 is Muhammad. Is this true?

Answer

Jeremiah 28:9 But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.
Islam asserts that this is a prophecy of a prophet that would prophesy peace. They claim the word "Islam" means peace. In Semitic languages, some words are created by inserting different vowels between the three root consonants (e.g. "iSLaM" and "SaLaM" are two derivations from SLM). So, Islam claims this passage to speak of Muhammad.

First, as to the meaning of the word "Islam." Bassam Darwich in an article called "Islam & Peace" states:

In order to find the meaning of a certain word in the Arabic dictionary, it is essential to search for the three letter infinitive verb which is called the root. Many words can be derived from the same root, but they don't necessarily have to have any similarity in their meaning. The word Islam, which means 'submission', is derived from the infinitive Salama. So is the word Salam which means 'peace' and so is the verb Salima which means 'to be saved or to escape from danger'. One of the derivations of the infinitive Salama means 'the stinging of a snake' or 'The tanning of the leather'. Hence, if the word Islam has something to do with the word Salam i.e. 'Peace', does that also mean that it must be related to the 'stinging of the snake' or 'tanning the leather'?

Muhammad used to send letters to the kings and leaders of the surrounding countries and tribes, inviting them to surrender to his authority and to believe in him as the messenger of Allah. He always ended his letters with the following two words: "Aslim, Taslam!". Although these two words are derived from the same infinitive Salama which is the root of Salam, i.e. 'Peace', neither one of them implies the meaning of 'peace'. The sentence means 'surrender and you will be safe', or in other words, 'surrender or face death'.

Second, context is important to the meaning of any text of Scripture. This is a confrontation between Jeremiah and the false prophet Hananiah. Jeremiah confronted this prominent false prophet over the question of Jerusalem's final destruction.

Third, in Jeremiah 28:8-9, Jeremiah is seen reminding Hanahiah that the true prophetic tradition was to stress judgment so that repentance could take place, rather than assuring security without repentance. Jeremiah says:

Jeremiah 28:8-9 From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.

We see false prophets spoken of throughout Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 8:11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace.

Jeremiah 14:13-14 But I said, "Alas, Sovereign LORD! The prophets keep telling them, 'You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.'" Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.

In essence, if Islam sees Muhammad in this text, then he is a false prophet!

Please see Christianity and Islam Contrasted .

Reference:

Darwich, Bassam. "Islam and Peace." www.answering-islam.org.

Richard Pratt, General Editor. Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2003.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).