Tuesday, 16 March 2010

"For They Killed Him Not" - Part 5

The Truth About Jesus: A Muslim Perspective by Dr. Bleher, S. M. (2007) - www.idci.co.uk (Reg. Charity No. 1092139)


The Qur'an is not alone in this characterisation of Jesus' mission. According to Matthew 15:24 Jesus was "sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" and had no pretensions at being a universal prophet.

He is an important prophet and link in the chain of prophets to be sealed, or completed, by the final prophet Muhammad. As the Qur'an puts it:

"And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! I am a messenger of Allah to you, confirming that which was (revealed) before me in Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger who comes after me, whose name is the Praised One." (Al-Qur'an, chapter 61, verse 6)

This "Praised One", or "Ahmed" in Arabic, is the same as the Greek "Periklytos" which apprears in the gospel of John 14:16-17, where it is usually translated with "Counsellor" or "Comforter", an equivalent to the Greek "Parakletos".

In John 16:1-15 we hear Jesus explaining to his disciples that he will have to leave them, so that this Counsellor, the next prophet in line, can be sent.

Jesus thus, whilst being the Messiah, is not the final prophet to all mankind, a position reserved for Muhammad. Jesus is an Israelite prophet reforming the corrupted teachings of the Jewish Pharisees.

"And (He) will make him a messenger to the Children of Israel, (saying): I come to you with a sign from your Lord. I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah's permission. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah's permission. And I announce to you what you eat and what you store up in your houses. In this verily is a sign for you, if you are to be believers. And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden to you. I come to you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me. Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path." (Al-qur'an, chapter 3, 49-51)

Or as the Bible puts it in Matthew 5:17-19: "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them."

With the exception of some relaxations to the Rabbinical law, Jesus upheld the teachings of the Torah. In fact, he denounced them for not doing so themselves:

"Those of the Children of Israel who sent astray were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus, son of Mary. That was because they rebelled and used to transgress." (Al-Qur'an, chapter 5, verse 78)

Because the Jews rejected Jesus, God made his teachings succeed theirs and made his disciples gain the upper hand:

"O you who believe! Be Allah's helper, even as Jesus son of Mary said to the disciples: Who are my helpers for Allah? They said: We are Allah's helpers. And a party of the Children of Israel believed, while a party disbelieved. Then We strengthened those who believed against their enemy, and they became the uppermost." (Al-Qur'an, chapter 61, verse 14)

Jesus chose his disciples to continue the teaching of his messenger after him. For them his message was a call to the worship of the one and only God of the Ten Commandments:

"I am the Lord, your god... You shall have no other gods before me", or in Hosea 13:4: " I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt: you know no god but Me, and besides Me there is no saviour". His teaching is given in the narrative of the Qur'an:

"They surely disbelieve who say: Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Who ascribes partners to Allah, for him Allah has forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers." (Al-Qur'an, chapter 5, verse 72)

It is only after Jesus leaves this world that the teachings of Christianity and Islam begin to diverge.

to be continued, insyaAllah.

coming soon: Part 6 - "For they killed him not": Jesus' ascent to heaven without being crucified

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