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John 10:8: Did Jesus downplay the prophets?

Some Muslims claim that Jesus was wrong according to John 10:7-8 by saying all prophets before him were false: “All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them” (John 10:8). Did Jesus really downplay the prophets before him?

1. The false prophets of Jesus’ time were the Pharisees and the Scribes

“All who have come before” in John 10:8 refers to “thieves and robbers”. Note that here is written “are” and not “were”, so it is present time, that means in the time of Jesus Christ. Who were those “thieves and robbers”? It were the Pharisees and the Scribes, Jesus warns many times against them: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows" houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation” (Matthew 23:14). See also Luke 11:39 and 11:52 [1].

2. Jesus as the Word of God must be followed

In the previous verse, John 10:7, Jesus said: “I am the door of the sheep”. That refers to the following verse, John 10:9: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture”. Jesus Christ is according to the Bible (John 1:1-14) the Word of God. The Word of God is God’s Will to be followed. Jesus Christ, the Word of God is the door to eternal life and all blessings of God. “All who have come before me” are not the Word of God and were not a mediator between man and God [2]. Jesus as the Word of God must be followed, not prophets of flesh.

3. Thieves and robbers is a reference to Muhammad

“Thieves and robbers” can also be a reference to religious leaders after Jesus Christ was one earth, including Muhammad. He commanded to kill Jews, took slaves markets, promoted violence and committed piracy. Muhammad was a thief and robber (John 10:8) and with the guidance of Jesus Christ the spiritual sheep will not listen to him (Matthew 7:16-20 and 10:16).

4. Conclusion

Jesus had critic to the Pharisees and the Scribes, not the prophets. He explained that eternal life of blessings of life can only be found in him.


1. George G. Findlay, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, University Press, Cambridge, 1891, John 10:8.
2. Charles J. Ellicott, A Bible Commentary for English Readers, Volume 6, The Four Gospels, Cassell and Company, 1905, John 10:8.

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