Crucifixion and the Qur'an
Muslims claim to believe all the prophets of the Bible including Jesus, yet Mohammed would not have known about any of these people apart from the Bible. All the prophets spoke of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Jn.5:39 all the Scripture testifies of Him. Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest prophet (from the Old Testament era) because he announced his coming (Isa.40:3 , Mal.3:6) Muslims say the greatest is Mohammed, that he is even greater than Jesus, though he is called the apostle.
Almost all the prophets spoke of the coming of the Lord visiting man. They practiced the sacrifice of animals, well aware of its effect on covering their sins. This did not come from Moses but is traced back to Adam in Genesis 3.
One of the most puzzling contradictions inside the Qur'an is the subject of Jesus' death. The Qur'an writes of the day that Christ was to die, yet in the same book, teaches that He did not die on the cross. Instead, God raised Jesus up to Himself. A gap between Jesus' birth and the Ascension is evident. The Qur'an avoids the matter of Jesus, as a prophet, dying for man's sins, leaving it unresolved and with contradictory opinions. While the Muslims accept the Old Testament over the New Testament documents, they also seem to overlook the fact that Jesus, who claimed to be the Messiah, would die. The Bible is absolutely clear on this fact the Old Testament teaching this throughout from the beginning but also in typology foretelling of the lamb whom John announced would take away the sins of the world. (Isa.53; Ps. 22:1 6; Dan. 9:28; Zech 12:10,13:6). Ahmad Dedat a leading Muslim apologist stated the very opposite,” Throughout the length and breadth of the 27 books of the New Testament, there is not a single statement made by Jesus Christ that “I was dead, and I have come back from the dead.” The Christian has wrongly been belaboring the word resurrection. Again and again, by repetition, it is conveyed that the resurrection is proving a fact…Jesus Christ never uttered the word “that I have come back from the dead,” in the 27 books of the New Testament not once. He’s right he never uttered it once, but over a dozen times plainly from his own mouth and in parables.
In addition, the Muslims fail to acknowledge Christ's fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies in the minutest detail. Throughout the gospels Jesus states he will be delivered up to be killed. John the prophet in Jn.1:29 introduces Jesus to Israel as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Clearly a reference to the Old Testament typology of the sacrifices made to cover sin, especially the Passover. And he is described by John the apostle in Rev.1:18 as the living one, “I Am he who lives, and was dead and behold I am alive forever more.” There is hardly a book that does not mention it. Mt.17:22; 20:18 Mk.8:31,9:30-32, 10:332-34. Lk.9:43-45, 18:34. Jn.6:51, 10:11, 11:49-52, 15:13 In fact Jesus predicted his death on 3 separate occasions in the gospels. Mt.16:21 “From that time forward Jesus explained to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Lk.24:44, 46, 47 Out of his own mouth he explains the law, the prophets and the psalms and says this is what is written: the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day…Jn.3:14-15. Jn.12:24 “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Even the parables mention this occurring Mt.21:33-40 vs. 37-38 God sends his son to Israel his vineyard, they recognize he is the heir and kill him. This is the overall theme of the gospel accounts. To reject this is to reject the whole New Testament since the epistles are literally lined with statements as in Heb. 2:9. “now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Heb.2:14 …”that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death.” (also Lk.24:25; Heb.10:5; 1 Jn.4:10; Acts2:23; Phil.2:6-8. In fact 20% of the gospels is devoted to the facts of his death and resurrection and it is a consistent teaching throughout the New Testament. 1/3rd of the book of Mark. Is devoted to his last week of life and the crucifixion.
Statements from the Muslim side are reflected by lbn Taymijga, stating,” Not a single one of the Christians was a witness with them, rather, the apostles kept a distance through fear, and not one of them witnessed the crucifixion” Surat al Nisa 4:157-158. “And because of their saying: we slew the messiah Jesus son of Mary. Allah's messenger-they slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared unto them, and Lo’! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up to himself.” In another translation it continues “and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;- And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them”
Essentially, this is a false statement, at least from the Bible's perspective. All one has to do is read the Gospel accounts which state that John was standing by the cross and heard the words that Jesus spoke. Mary (Jesus mother), other women, and even Peter may had been there at a distance. What is implied by this statement of Ibn and the Qur'an's Sura is that one can't be sure that Jesus really died when His Mother and some apostles were there. Despite the fact that the Roman soldiers were experts in killing and had to complete their duties faithfully under penalty of death. To say on the day of judgment it will be proven that those who believe Jesus died will be proven false is to reject not only the whole New Testament but the Old Testament as well.
Also, there is the eyewitness account that medically proves that blood and water came out after Christ's body was punctured by the spear. The Roman soldier himself pronounced that Jesus was dead. Paul states in 1 Cor.15:12-16 “that if Christ is not risen then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty and we are found to be false witnesses of this fact.” Paul points to over 500 people who could attest to this fact and that many were still alive and could be questioned then.
Jesus' death is also recorded in the Talmud, which is hardly a friend to Christianity. Despite the Biblical truths and even outside historical writings (such as Josephus and Tacitus), the Muslims still adhere to the view that someone else was crucified in His place. Judas is usually the one mentioned or Simon, who carried the cross. Muslim theologians seem to disagree on the matter of another substituting Christ on the cross. One of the more popular explanations is that God cast Christ's likeness onto someone else. Within this concept there are numerous versions.
1) A Jew named Judas entered the house where Christ was to arrest him , but did not find him. God then caused the likeness of Christ (A’isa) to be on Judas, when he exited the house looking like Jesus people arrested him and he was crucified.
How just and fair would God be to do a switch like this onto an innocent man who would be crucified unwillingly. The Biblical account says that Jesus was arrested in Gethsamane by the Roman troops in front of his disciples. That he went to the cross willingly.
2) When the Jews arrested Jesus they set a watchman over him, God caused a miracle and took him up took him up heaven and caused his likeness to fall on the watchman in which he was taken and crucified.
Once again an innocent man is punished instead. God does not play tricks like this.
3) Another is that one of Jesus friends was promised paradise and volunteered to die in his place. Again God caused Jesus likeness to fall on this man and he was taken to be crucified. Surah 4.157: That they said, “We slew the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of God”-yet they did not slay him neither crucified him, only a likeness of that which was shown to them.”
All of Jesus followers were promised heaven-paradise, so this is no incentive to participate in this deception. What they are saying is that Jesus didn't want to die and did all he could to avoid it. This is hardly ethical and goes against everything he taught His disciples.
4) One of Jesus followers, Judas who betrayed him guided the Jews to him and God made Judas appear to be like Jesus and he was crucified in his place.
Of all of these explanations, this is the most flawed, since the Scriptures show that Judas hung himself afterwards for betraying Jesus fulfilling Old Testament prophecy.
All these stories are to try to explain away that Jesus would die since according to the Qur'an God only kills false prophets so if Jesus is a true prophet he could not be crucified. Interesting to note that Irenaeus points out this replacement theory came from a Gnostic named Basilides in 130 A.D. “Wherefore he suffered not. But a certain man a Cyrenian, was impressed to bear his cross for him, that men should suppose him to be Jesus, while Jesus himself took on the appearance of Simon and stood by and mocked them”…(Irenaeus Adv.Haer. I. Xxiv. 3-5) This came from a Gnostic who denied that God could take on the flesh of men since Gnostics had a teaching that the flesh is evil and the Spirit was pure.
Mani an Iranian philosopher and false prophet/apostle originated in Persia in the early 200’s was also involved on Gnosticism. It was Mani who believed that someone was crucified by the Jews in place of Jesus, the same as the teaching of the Qur'an (Surah 4.157)
However, the Qur'an does say that true prophets are killed, Sura 2:61 “wretchedness and baseness were stamped upon them [that is the Jews] and they drew on themselves the wrath of God. This because they disbelieved the Signs of God and slew the prophets unjustly, because they rebelled and transgressed.” I know of no Muslim who will deny the prophet John the Baptist was killed by Herod and will one day be raised up.
The crucifixion is a major obstacle to a Muslim. How can God punish an innocent person especially one who is His own Son? What needs to be asked is how can God justify changing someone else to look like Jesus and have him be crucified in his place for crimes he did not commit. By making another to look like A’isa, Jesus and have others believe this is deliberately deceptive. If God did raise him to heaven without a crucifixion as the Muslims claim why even punish another in his place. How do they explain his staying forty days afterwards?
Muslims will claim that God approved of sacrifices of animals but never a human.
The following is a quote from the Qur'an Sura 37:99-111 (Abraham is sacrificing his son) “ Verily I repair to my god who will guide me O Lord give me a son, of thy righteousness. We announced to him a youth of meekness and when he became full grown youth, his father said to him said my son I've seen in a dream that I should sacrifice thee so consider what thou seest right. He said ' 0 my father do as thou are commanded, if Allah please thou will find me. And when they both submitted themselves to the will of God and he had thrown him down upon his forehead and we cried out to him ‘0 Abraham thou has indeed fulfilled the vision. See how we recompense the righteous? This was indeed a decisive test and we ransomed his son with a noble victim. We left this for him among posterity, peace be upon Abraham. Thus we reward the doers, for he was of our believing servants.”
So here we have God approving of Abraham's sacrifice of his son as a ransom value.
The Qur'an does not tell us which of Abraham's two sons was to be sacrificed. Muslim scholars insist it was Ishmael yet the Bible states it was Isaac. The fact still remains God told Abraham to offer up his son.
If the Qur'an approves of this sacrifice why not the supreme one. Remember Abraham said God will provide a lamb and on the same mount almost 2,000 years later, He did just that.
For 1,400 years God trained 'the Jews to practice sacrifices for forgiveness of their sins. Even before Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made sacrifices to God. Both the Old and New Testament agree on this practice
We find all the prophets sacrificed because this was obedience to the law. Adam, Abraham and Job sacrificed before the law was given on Mt. Sinai. A true prophet knows this was the way to atone for our sins. If Mohammed claims to be inline with the Old Testament prophets he must conform to their teachings. You can’t accept some of God's prophets and reject others nor can you discard some of their practices and keep others.
There is also another reference to sacrifice in Quranic literature “The prophet sacrificed two rams, one was black, and the other was white, and put his foot on their sides as he killed them and cried, in the name of God, god is great. (Mishkat book 4 chpt.49) This is in reference to the scapegoat in the Old Testament.
Here is a question to ask a Muslim. If you have children, would you be ready to die for them? Their answer is of course, Yes. Our heavenly Father has a Son, and He was willing to give Him for us to make us His children.
The Muslim's insist that no true prophet will be killed. In Matthew 23:31 Jesus scolds the Pharisees for their unbelief saying, “you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.” In vs.34 he states therefore indeed I send you prophets, wise men and scribes some of them you will kill and crucify”… Luke 11:49 “Therefore I will send them prophets and apostles, some of them they will kill and persecute that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation. From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple shall be required of this generation.” Jesus Himself said that the prophets were killed in and around Jerusalem so why would He be excluded. Certainly Jesus is not speaking about the false prophets being killed. Many of God's prophets were tortured and killed according to God’s Will and Purpose, even by their own people. Zechariah was stoned, Jeremiah was chained and put in prison, and Isaiah was killed. Hebrews 11:35-37 says, “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated.” God allowed his prophets to be tortured and killed, in them same way God had a purpose in allowing His Son to be killed, for our sins. It is Jesus who said “no man takes my life I lay it down on my own.”
What is even more perplexing and confusing is the Muslim belief that Jesus ascended into Heaven and that He will die after His Second Coming and will be raised with everyone else in the general resurrection at the end of time. When He comes back, He will tell all the Christians to follow Mohammed. This changes the whole new covenant with Jesus as its focus and His ruling in the kingdom (Isa.9:6). Since Islam as a religion denies his death it only makes sense they would have to deny His resurrection.
Yet there is some hint of this truth in Surat Maryam 19-33 In reference to Jesus “Peace be upon me the day I was born and the day I die and the day I shall be raised alive.” This is as clear as the Biblical record.
The Muslim can deal with this in only one way, by saying that He will die after His Second Coming and will be raised with everyone else in the general resurrection at the end of time. What would be the purpose of killing him and his being raised then? Would this make him a false prophet according to Islam? And what of Isaiah and so many of the prophets that spoke of his death; even Jesus himself who said in Luke 24:44-48Jesus said that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me. "And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." And you are witnesses of these things.”
The fact of the matter is settled with Jesus calling John the Baptist whom Jesus called the greatest prophet that ever lived introducing Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” If John is a true prophet then Jesus did die. For lambs were slain to take away sin. Then they have to change the testimony of John as well. If the rest of the eye witnesses the apostles and prophets were true He really did rise. If Jesus is a true prophet he said himself he would die and rise the third day. This is the testimony of God that a Muslim must come face to face with.