Do Muslims And Christians Believe In The Same Jesus?

It is written:

2 Corinthians 11:3-4-But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

Many believe that Islam and Christianity teach the same basic facts about Jesus of Nazareth.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

First, it is true that Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, and that He worked many miracles in His life.

Sura 3:47-“‘(Mary) said: ‘O my Lord! how shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?’ He said: ‘Even so; Allah creates what He wills.’”

According to the Quran, Jesus healed the blind and lepers and raised the dead (Sura 5:110).

Second, the Quran absolutely denies that Jesus is the Son of God.

Sura 5:116-And behold! Allah will say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Did you say to men, ‘Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?’ He will say: “Glory to You! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, you would have indeed known it.”

According to the Bible, Jesus is God and yet a separate Person from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

For example, notice what John tells us:

John 1:1-In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Here, the Bible tells us that Jesus (i.e., the Word) was ‘with’ God and at the same time ‘was’ God. When we look closely into the Greek of this passage, we learn some amazing things. Please carefully consider this lengthy quotation from James White:

“The English word “was” is about as bland a term as you can find. Yet in Greek, it is most expressive. The Greeks were quite concerned about being able to express subtleties in regard not only to when something happened, but how it happened as well. Our little word “was” is poorly suited to handle the depth of the Greek at this point. John’s choice of words is deliberate and, quite honestly, beautiful. Throughout the prologue of the Gospel of John, the author balances between two verbs. When speaking of the Logos as He existed in eternity past, John uses the Greek word rlv, en (a form of eimi). The tense’ of the word expresses continuous action in the past. Compare this with the verb he chooses to use when speaking of everything else-found, for example, in verse 3: “All things carne into being through Him,” eyeve ro, egeneto. This verb2 contains the very element missing from the other: a point of origin. The term, when used in contexts of creation and origin, speaks of a time when something came into existence. The first verb, en, does not. John is very careful to use only the first verb of the Logos throughout the first thirteen verses, and the second verb, egeneto, he uses for everything else (including John the Baptist in verse 6). Finally, in verse 14, he breaks this pattern, for a very specific reason, as we shall see. Why emphasize the tense of a little verb? Because it tells us a great deal. When we speak of the Word, the Logos, we must ask ourselves: how long has the Logos existed? Did the Logos come into being at a point in time? Is the Logos a creature? John is very concerned that we get the right answer to such questions, and he provides the answers by the careful selection of the words he uses. Above we noted that John gave us some very important information about the time frame he has in mind when he says “in the beginning.” That information is found in the tense of the verb en. You see, as far back as you wish to push “the beginning,” the Word is already in existence. The Word does not come into existence at the “beginning,” but is already in existence when the “beginning” takes place. If we take the beginning of John 1:1, the Word is already there. If we push it back further (if one can even do so!), say, a year, the Word is already there. A thousand years, the Word is there. A billion years, the Word is there.’ What is John’s point? The Word is eternal. The Word has always existed. The Word is not a creation. The New English Bible puts it quite nicely: “When all things began, the Word already was.” Right from the start, then, John tells us something vital about the Word. Whatever else we will learn about the Word, the Word is eternal.4 With this John begins to lay the foundation for what will come…The next phrase of John 1:1 tells us something new about the Word. The Word is eternal, but the Word was not alone in eternity past. “The Word was with God (rtpbS toy 9e6v).” Yes, it is the same word “was,” again pointing us to an eternal truth. The Word has eternally been “with God.” What does this mean? Just as Greek verbs are often more expressive than their English counterparts, so too are Greek prepositions. Here John uses the preposition npoS (pros). The term has a wide range of meanings, depending on the context in which it is found. In this particular instance, the term speaks to a personal relationship, in fact, to intimacy….When you are face-to-face to-face with someone, you have nowhere to hide. You have a relationship with that person, whether you like it or not.5 In John I: 1b, John says the Word was eternally face-to-face with God, that is, that the Word has eternally had a relationship with God….But John beautifully walks the fine line, balancing God’s truth as he is “carried along” by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21, NIV). John avoids equating the Word with all of God through his use of the little Greek article, the equivalent of our word “the” (o). It may seem “nit-picking” to talk about such a small thing as the Greek article, but as my friend Daniel Wallace points out, “One of the greatest gifts bequeathed by the Greeks to Western civilization was the article. European intellectual life was profoundly impacted by this gift of clarity.”8 He also notes, “In the least, we cannot treat it lightly, for its presence or absence is the crucial element to unlocking the meaning of scores of passages in the NT.”9 The writers of Scripture used the article to convey meaning, and we need to be very careful not to overlook the information they provide to us through the use, or nonuse, of the article. The third clause of John 1:1 provides us with an example of what is known in grammar as a predicate nominative construction.1° That is, we have a noun, the subject of the clause, which is “the Word.” We have an “equative” or “copulative” verb, “was,” and we have another noun, in the same case or form as the subject, which is called the nominative case, that being “God.” We need to realize that in Greek the order in which words appear is not nearly as important as it is in English. The Greeks had no problem putting the subject of a sentence, or its main verb, way down the line, so to speak. Just because one word comes before another in Greek does not necessarily have any significance. What does this have to do with John 1:1? Well, in English, the final phrase would be literally rendered, “God was the Word.” But in English, we put the subject first, and the predicate nominative later. The Greeks used the article to communicate to us which word is the subject, and which is the predicate. If one of the two nouns has the article, it is the subject. In this case, “Word” has the article, even though it comes after “God,” and hence is our subject. That is why the last phrase is translated “the Word was God” rather than “God was the Word.” Stay with me now, for there is another important point to be seen in the text. If both of the nouns in a predicate nominative construction like this one have the article, or if both lack the article, this is significant as well. In that case, the two nouns become interchangeable. That is, if “Word” had the article, and “God” did, too, this would mean that John is saying that “God was the Word” and the “Word was God.” Both would be the same thing. Or, if neither of them had the article, we would have the same idea: an equating of all of God with all of the Word. “God” and “Word” would be interchangeable and equal terms. You see, much has been made, especially by Jehovah’s Witnesses, of the fact that the word “God” in the last clause of John 1:1 is anarthrous, that is, without the article. You will notice that there is no form of the Greek article preceding the term AEOS (theos). Because of this, they argue that we should translate it “a god.” This completely misses the point of why the word theos does not have the article. If John had put the article before theos, he would have been teaching modalism, a belief we mentioned earlier that denies the existence of three divine persons, saying there is only one person who sometimes acts like the Father, sometimes like the Son, sometimes like the Spirit. We will discuss modalism (which is also often called “Sabellianism”) later. For now, we see that if John had placed the article before theos, he would have been making “God” and the “Word” equal and interchangeable terms. As we will see, John is very careful to differentiate between these terms here, for He is careful to differentiate between the Father and the Son throughout the entire Gospel of John.” One commentator has rightly noted regarding the prologue, “John is not trying to show who is God, but who is the Word.”2 The final phrase tells us about the Word, emphasizing the nature of the Word. F. F. Bruce’s comments on this passage are valuable: The structure of the third clause in verse 1, theos en ho logos, demands the translation “The Word was God.” Since logos has the article preceding it, it is marked out as the subject. The fact that theos is the first word after the conjunction kai (and) shows that the main emphasis of the clause lies on it. Had theos as well as logos been preceded by the article the meaning would have been that the Word was completely identical with God, which is impossible if the Word was also “with God.” What is meant is that the Word shared the nature and being of God, or (to use a piece of modern jargon) was an extension of the personality of God. The NEB paraphrase “what God was, the Word was,” brings out the meaning of the clause as successfully as a paraphrase can.” In the same way, the New Living Translation renders John 1:1, “In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God.”” (James R. White, The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering The Heart Of Christian Belief, 50-55 (Kindle Edition); Minneapolis, Minnesota; Bethany House Publishers)

Please notice that the Apostle John teaches us that Jesus is God, and yet is separate from God the Father. This is because God is three Persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-and these three are one (1 John 5:7). As such, the Jesus of Islam is quite different from the Jesus of the New Testament.

Third, the Quran denies the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

“That they said [in boast], “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”; but they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no [certain] knowledge. But only conjecture to follow, for a surety they killed him not:-Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; 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. (sura 4:157-59) One thing is absolutely certain to Islam-Jesus did not die on the cross. Although they cannot confidently say what did happen, Muslims boldly state what did not happen. Muslim scholars attempt to disprove the Gospels by asserting that His followers were not present at the crucifixion. This is blatantly false, as the apostle John, Mary the mother of Jesus, and other followers clearly were there. Muslim traditions offer numerous explanations for what happened on the day of the crucifixion. The three most popular follow: • Jesus hid while one of His companions died in His place. • God made Judas Iscariot to appear like Jesus and to take His place. • Simon of Cyrene replaced Jesus before the crucifixion. Perhaps the oddest story holds that Satan, who attempted to stop the message of Allah from being transmitted, was himself placed on the cross as punishment for his disobedience. Jesus Is Coming Back The Qur’an claims that Jesus was born peacefully and will die peacefully. Jesus is credited with saying, “So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)” (sura 19:33). The generally accepted Muslim view affirms that Jesus did not die, but that Allah raised (rafa’u) Him to himself. The Qur’an explains that “People of the Book … must believe in Him before his death” (sura 4:159). According to Islam, since Jesus, a human just like Adam, has not died, His ministry cannot be complete. Tradition explains that He will appear to all just before the final judgment. He then will battle the Antichrist, defeat him, confess Islam, kill all pigs, break all crosses, and establish a thousand years of righteousness. Some expand on this notion and explain that Jesus will subsequently die and be buried beside the prophet Muhammad.8”. (Ergun Mehmet Caner & Emir Fethi Caner, Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs, 2115-2127 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Kregel Publications)

The teaching of the Quran on these matters is very interesting, because they point to a much later date of information regarding Jesus than the New Testament Scriptures.

One man, Nabeel Qureshi, spent a great deal of time investigating the evidences for both the Quran and the Bible. His conclusion lead him to the amazing conclusion that the Bible is the Word of God and Jesus Christ is His Son.

“To be a Muslim, one must confess the shahada: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.” The best way to assess the truth of the shahada is by investigating the prophetic status of Muhammad and the claim that Allah inspired the Quran. Even though my heart’s deepest desire was to defend the Islamic faith and remain Muslim, the truth became unavoidable: There was no argument I could use to defend Muhammad’s prophetic status, and there was no compelling reason to think the Quran was from God. Once again, it was not just that history did not support the traditional narratives of Islam, but rather that history proved to be entirely incompatible with Islamic origins. When using the same standards to assess the origins of Islam as are used to assess the origins of Christianity, we find a gaping hole in the historical record. The contemporary records of the mid-seventh-century Arabs, supposedly the very earliest Muslims after Muhammad’s time, show that they were not referred to as Muslims and that they never referred to their holy book, never mentioned Muhammad’s name, never referred to Mecca, and did not pray toward Mecca. Given the vast array of records from that time, especially those of the many nations conquered by Arabs, this is not an argument from silence. The contemporary historical record is simply incompatible with the traditional narrative of Islam. Similarly, the history of the Quran is incompatible with the narrative we were taught as Muslims. We had been told that the Quran had never been changed, every letter remaining exactly the same from Muhammad’s time until today. On the contrary, the Quran had been fundamentally altered, being very fluid originally as an oral text and then evolving into a written text that remained in various degrees of flux even to this day. The traditional Islamic narratives of Muhammad and the Quran are fundamentally incompatible with the historical records. These are the pillars of Islamic confidence, and their foundations are ungrounded. This meant that if I wanted to remain Muslim, I would have to do so based on some reason other than objective truth. I could remain Muslim because I liked the Islamic message, because I desired the discipline of sharia, or because I just wanted to keep my family happy. But if there was one thing Islam had taught me, it was that I must submit to God and not to man. That meant following the truth, no matter where it led. Of course, the very reason I had been investigating the case for Islam was to respond to the case for Christianity. Now I had explored every recourse, and I had to be honest with myself and assess for the last time the case for Christianity and the case for Islam. THE EVIDENCE FOR CHRISTIANITY OVER ISLAM After thoroughly investigating the truth claims of Islam and Christianity, even while a Muslim, there was no avoiding the obvious truth: The evidence in favor of Christianity was far, far stronger than the evidence for Islam. The three core claims of Christianity, that Jesus died by crucifixion and rose from the dead proving he was God, are very firmly grounded in history. Even though Islam denies these points, I concluded that the historical evidence for Jesus’ death on the cross was as strong as anything historical could be, that his resurrection from the dead was by far the best explanation of the facts surrounding his crucifixion, and that his claiming to be God was the best way to account for the proclamation of the early church. These conclusions were not idiosyncratic but were based on the consensus of scholars across the theological spectrum. 1 In other words, the truth of the Christian message makes the most sense of the historical evidence. By contrast, neither of the core truth claims of Islam, that Muhammad is a prophet and that the Quran is the Word of God, are compelling. Muhammad’s character does not make one think he was a man chosen by God, nor was he prophesied in the Bible. He had no miraculous scientific insights either recorded in hadith or in the Quran. The Quran, for that matter, cannot be shown to be inspired by its literary quality, by fulfilled prophecies, by mathematical patterns, or by miraculous preservation. The traditional Islamic narrative is incompatible with both the history of Christianity and even with its own historical records. To believe in the Islamic account of Christian origins while taking the historical records seriously, we would have to conclude that Jesus was an utterly incompetent Messiah and Allah is a deceptive God. The historical record of Islamic origins makes many scholars wonder whether Muhammad existed, and it makes scholars think the Quran was originally far more fluid and indeed a very different kind of book than it is today. The Islamic narratives of Christian origins, and even of Islamic origins, are incompatible with history. In other words, to believe the truth of Islam is to ignore the historical evidence. As a Muslim, I wanted to base my beliefs not on blind faith, not on what appealed to me, and not even on my family’s heritage. I wanted to ground my faith in reality. If I wanted to take the records of history seriously, I had to abandon my Islamic faith and accept the gospel. But that would come at a tremendous cost, essentially everything I had ever known. Is it worth sacrificing everything for the truth? Is the truth worth dying for?” (Nabeel Qureshi, No God but One: Allah or Jesus? (with Bonus Content): A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity, 289-291 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)

Following Jesus and the Bible over the teachings of Islam cost Nabeel a very high price; yet as he testifies in his books, there is no greater treasure than the assurance of salvation. He being dead yet speaks!

Why not submit to God’s plan of salvation (cf. Acts 2:37-47) today?

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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