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6sman
07-18-2007, 07:46 PM
In the name of GOD, the Beneficiant, the Merciful!

Who was Jesus?

Salamu alaikum,

The person of Jesus[p] is one of the major differences between Christianity and Islam. Yet both these great religions make it compulsory to believe in Jesus[p], that makes it about 2 billion Christians and around 1.6 billion Muslims, more than half the world's population. If we desire to know about this great man, it is only fare that we consider both faiths[Christianity & Islam] and try to work out which of the two versions is more acceptable, logical and believable.

The questions, who was Jesus[p]? In muslim understanding Jesus[p] was a human, a mortal being; [Al-Qur'an 5:75], born of a virgin Mary[p]; [Al-Qur'an 3:42-48], a Prophet; [Al-Qur’an 19:30],[John 9:17], a Messenger sent to the bani Israel; [Al-Qur'an 3:49,5:75],[Mt 15:24], and a Messiah; [Al-Qur'an 3:45] who preached the Injeel[Gospel] of GOD; [Mr 1:8,15].
A worker of mighty miracles including bringing the dead to life by GOD's will; [Al-Qur'an 3:49,5:110],[John ch.11]. In the Qur'an, Jesus[p] is refered to as 'Holy'; [Al-Qur'an 19:19], i also refer you to a saying of the Prophet Muhammad[s]: [Sahih Bukhari, Vol.4, Book.54, H.506]. Jesus[p] is called a word and a spirit from GOD; [Al-Qur'an 4:171] and also 'Of the nearest to GOD'; [Al-Qur'an 3:45].

But the same Qur'an also denies Jesus'[p] divinity and that he ever claimed to be Almighty GOD; [Al-Qur'an 3:59, 5:17,72,116].

However, in Christian understanding Jesus[p] was a bit more[lot more]. "He was GOD", in some mysterious way. Mysterious because when you ask Christians 'how is Jesus[p] GOD?', more often you get the these replies; "GOD is a mystery", "You have to be a Chirstian first", "Muslims will never understand GOD" and so on...

I think there are two principle reasons for the modern Christian belief, 1. After Jesus's[p] departure, there came on the scene a man by the name of S.T. Paul who claimed to have seen Jesus[p] in a vision on the road to Damascus thus we read: 'And in the synagogues immediately he[Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, "He is the son of God." ' [Act 9:20] Notice this is the only place in the book of Acts where Jesus[p] is called son of GOD thus Paul alone was preaching this doctrine about Jesus[p]. Though Paul didn't think Jesus[p] to be GOD himself, he thought of him as an intermediate between man and GOD [1] The orignal disciples of Jesus[p] on the other hand were preaching: "And every day in the temple and at home they did not stop teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" [Act 5:42]. Notice that orignal disciples of Jesus[p] were not preaching him to be son of GOD but merely as the Messiah of GOD, the very belief muslims hold. In addition to that, the disciples were also preaching Jesus[p] to be a servant of GOD [2] as described in the Qur'an. [3] The disciples also called Jesus[p] 'a man approved of God' [4]. So we fined that it was not the orignal disciples who were preacing Jesus[p] as the son of GOD but a new man on the scene, St.Paul. Infact the disciples' belief in Jesus[p] was rather similar to the muslim conception

So the first real reason for dis-agreement in Christianity and Islam is not the Qur'an or the muslims but St.Paul teaching a new doctrine and a new Jesus Christ[p].

Reason #2 in my humble understanding is the editing, correcting and deleting in the Bible. Remember the first writings of the New Testament were by St.Paul who wrote around 50-60 C.E. The first of the Gospels, that is Mark, was writen around 65-70 C.E. So the earliest, Gospel of Mark was writen about 15 year after Paul had writen and introduced his new doctrine. Basically, the Gospels reflect one vision of Jesus[p], the vision of Paul alone. The Gospels are commentaries of Paul's belief and provide us with only the one prespective on Jesus's[p] life and his mission. Bart Ehrman (Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina) notes: "The Gospels were written 35 to 65 years after Jesus’ death....They are not written by Jesus' Aramaic-speaking followers. They’re written by people living 30, 40, 50, 60 years later....The accounts that they narrate are based on oral traditions that have been in circulation for decades...... Many stories were invented, and most of the stories were changed. For that reason, these accounts are not as useful as we would like them to be for historical purposes. They’re not contemporary, they’re not disinterested, and they’re not consistent."

Here are some examples of later editing in the Gospels.

We've seen that St.Paul did preach Jesus[p] as son of GOD, we fined several examples of how later scribes tried to work this title into the text of the NT; [Mark 1:1] "The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God." But we read down in the [NIV Footnote] "Mark 1:1 Some manuscripts do not have the Son of God." New American Bible: "although some important manuscripts here omit the Son of God." Scribes added the phrase son of God whilst making copies of Mark and after considering some important manuscripts, Biblical scholars took the text back to where it orignally was. The point to be noticed here is that when it comes back to its orignal form, it comes back to the Islamic belief that Jesus[p] was only a Messiah and not the son of GOD.

There are numerous other examples such as; [KJV Acts 8:37] "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." The verse bears a confession that Jesus is the son of God and its attributed to one of Jesus'[p] own disciples. But in the New American Bible, this verse is removed and is stated in the [NAB Footnote] "The oldest and best manuscripts of Acts omit this verse, which is a Western text reading" Again we find that whilst making copies of the earlier text, scribes edited these words to support this new doctrine of St.Paul.

Others like the famous begotten in [John 3:16], the old trinity confession in [1John 5:7] are examples of later additions.

The major problem however are not these later insertions which can be identified but the real difficulties lie in the orignal copies of the Gospels. Let me give you few examples. [Mr 1:34] "And he[Jesus] healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him." When we read Luke's account, we notice that he adds the phrase son of GOD. [5] When you consider that Luke's source material was the Gospel of Mark, it becomes obvious that the words son of God are Luke's own insertions and probably not in the orignal story. But this passage will not be revised since the words are found in earliest copies of the Gospel of Luke. Similarly, when you read [Matthew 8:1-4] and [Lu 5:12-16] then compare with [Mr 1:40-45], you'll again notice changes made to Mark's naratives by later Gospel authers;
1. Both 'Matthew' and Luke add the word 'Lord' to the lepper's plea.
2. Jesus[p] gets aggrevated in Mark, not so much in Luke and 'Matthew' does not even report Jesus'[p] wrath.
3. Both in Mark and 'Matthew' the lepper 'knelt' to Jesus[p] whereas in Luke, the man fell on his face.

These suttle changes show that people were trying to make Jesus[p] look good to such an extend that they would often promote him to divine being as we further observe in; [Mr 9:5] where Peter describes Jesus[p] as: Master. Later on, we read in [Mt 17:4] "And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here..." The writer of Matthew changes Jesus[p] from Master to Lord, making Jesus[p] look better. Furthermore, Jesus[p] described himself as Master in Mark [6] whereas in Matthew, he says Lord [7] Again corrections made by a later hand in order to promote Jesus[p] as though he was Divine.

[Mr 8:27-29] Jesus[p] asks his disciples: "Who do you say i am?", Peter answers, "You are the Christ.", which again is the Islamic understanding, that Jesus[p] was a Messiah. But in the Gospel according to Matthew, the writer adds "You are the Christ, the son of God." [8] Both statements are recorded on the same occasion which leads many Biblical scholars to conclude that this is Matthew's own insertion into the text of Mark which was his source material. So what we need is that we need to go back to the earlier source, the same source used by 'Matthew' and Luke: Mark, and we get the muslim message.

There are several other examples of how later Gospel writers changed the wordings of Mark to make Jesus[p] look Divine, such as [Mr 3:35] 'Jesus[p] says: "Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." ' Notice Jesus[p] describes GOD as GOD or 'Alaha' in aramiac but the writer of Matthew's Gospel quikly changes that to "whoever does the will of my Father." Suddenly Jesus[p] is calling GOD his 'Father' and with him being the son, relates a divine being.

In [Mr 6:50-51], the disciples were perplexed and terrified after seeing Jesus[p] walking on the sea. However in [Mt 14:33] we read; "And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." We see the disciples are no longer terrified and seem to know exactly who Jesus[p] was, so much so that they worshiped him. Again we need to go back to the earlier source and and the closer we move to the life-time of Jesus[p], we get the muslims message that GOD has no son and no partners in His divine attributes. John Fenton comments on the above passage: "Matthew omits this[terror], because in his Gospel the disciples are presented as men who have been given insight." [9] The Interpretor's One volume commentary: "The presence of Matthew’s favorite phrase little faith suggests either that he has created this story or that he has reworked it to suit his purpose." [10] New American Bible footnote: "This confession is in striking contrast to the Marcan parallel (Matthew 6:51) where the disciples are "completely astounded."

The muslim belief in GOD Almighty is that He is One and Unique without any persons. Jesus[p] in Mark' Gospel says: "Why do you call me good?"..."No one is good, except God alone." [11] Jesus[p] clearly makes a distinction between himself and GOD. He distances himself from GOD sating no one was good[including himself] other than GOD. But again 'Matthew' changes the wording thus the passage now reads: "And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good." [Mt 19:17] Notice the distinction Jesus[p] drew is no longer there. Jesus[p] further says as quoted by Mark: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." [12] This happen to be the statement of Prophet Moses[p] in [Deu 6:4-5]. When Moses[p] uttered the Shima, he was not refering to himself nor anyone else other than the One GOD thus Jesus'[p] statement is also to be interprated the same way. Something had to be done and 'Matthew' obliges. He throws out 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one' and only mentions the love part. [13] Thus the emphasis on GOD's uniqueness is no more, Jesus'[p] divinity is maintained and after later developments we come to know; [John 3:16] "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

If you compare the two reports [Mr 15:29-30] and [Mt 27:40], you will again notice that 'Matthew' has again edited the phrase son of GOD to show Jesus[p] as the divine son of GOD in a provocative sence. Again we should go by earlier narations and get the muslim message and also the Jesus[p] of Islam. Though 'Matthew' and Luke base their Gospels on Mark, they make intenional deletions, corrections, as well as additions to Mark's Gospel. So the theology was developing and the further it went, the bigger Jesus'[p] image became. From a human Messiah of Mark, to GOD like status in John, here are some major advances;

In the Gospel according to John, we hear Jesus[p] making marvelous claims like;

John 14:9: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."
John 6:35: "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life."
John 8:12: "I am the light of the world."
John 8:58: "Before Abraham was, I am."
John 10:7: "I am the door of the sheep."
John 11:25: "I am the resurrection, and the life."
John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
John 15:1: "I am the true vine."

Though as Biblical scholars point out, if Jesus[p] really went around saying these things, the other three Gospel writers would certainly have recorded them also. Its highly unlikely that sayings of such magnitude would fail to make it in our three earlier Gospels. A Christian scholar by the name of James Dunn writes: "If they[the above sayings] were part of the original words of Jesus himself, how could it be that only John picked them up and none of the others? Call it scholarly skepticism if you like, but I find it almost incredible that such sayings should have been neglected had they been known as a feature of Jesus’ teaching. If the 'I ams' had been part of the original tradition, it is very hard indeed to explain why none of the other three evangelists made use of them." [14] No wonder the favourite Christian Gospel is John, perhaps if it was Mark, things could be different.

Another quite significant change recorded exclusively by 'John' is the following statement attributed to Jesus[p]: "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour." [John 12:27] This is the basic theame of John's Gospel, that Jesus[p] came to die for our sins, as its believed today. Jesus[p] refuses praying to GOD to save him from crucifixion and is willing to suffer, declaring his divine purpose as the saviour of mankind. But this simply contradicts what Jesus[p] said as recorded by Mark, Matthew and Luke. Here is Mark's account: "And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch." And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt." [Mr 14:34-36] Jesus[p] is found pleading with GOD to be saved from crucifixion. He is in no mode of dying or even suffering instead prays to GOD that the hour may pass away. Even on the Cross, a desprate Jesus[p] cries out: E'lo-i, E'lo-i, la'ma sabach-tha'ni? which means, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Now why would Jesus[p] behaive in such a manner if he was truely willing? Again we should rely upon the earlier sources and not later theology to know who was Jesus[p]. And this is what the Glorious Qur'an brings us to, as a revelation from GOD, it brings us to back to that orignal Jesus[p] before his mission and life were re-modelled.

As mentioned above, muslims believe Jesus[p] to be a human being, a mortal man and a servant of GOD. Here are a few examples of Jesus's[p] humanity from the earliest Gospel[Mark] and notice how later Gospel writers make corrections to suit their own concept about Prophet Jesus[p].

[Mr 1:13], Jesus[p] being "tempted by the devil" which is very much a symbol of humanity. All synoptic Gospels make mention of this event except 'John' which coincides with the Gospel's basic notion of Jesus's divine nature.

[Mr 3:5], Jesus[p] is 'angry' at people who condenm him for healing a man with decayed hands on the Sabbath day. Noticeably, Luke and 'Matthew' remove the mention of Jesus'[p] anger whilst repreating the same event. They probably felt that aggravation did not suit a divine saviour. On an other similar occasion, Jesus[p] is again aggravated, this time at his own disciples; [Mr 10:14]. Though both 'Matthew' and Luke relate the story, they neglect describing Jesus's[p] anger. Worth relating also that when Mark described Jesus[p] as 'compassionate', 'Matthew' and Luke have no problem including it in their text but when Mark describes an angry Jesus'[p], both 'Matthew' and Luke remove the passage.

[Mr 3:9] "And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him." In case of crowd overflow, Jesus[p] tells his disciples to have an escape boat ready, to avoid being 'crushed'. Not surprisingly, both 'Matthew' [15] and Luke [16] omit the narrative.

[Mr 5:30-32] Jesus[p] is quoted, "Who touched me?" and he kept looking around as if he wasn't aware of what was going, which again shows his human nature. Infact he keeps looking until the woman reveals herself. 'Matthew' removes all of this and only mentions the healing; [Mt 9:20-22]. Luke does record it in his Gospel but 'John' doesn't.

[Mr 8:22-25] Jesus[p] heals a blind man but not before failing in his first attempt. A human Jesus[p] asks the blind man: "do you see anything?" Again all other Gospel writers conveniently forgot to mention the event even though both 'Matthew' and Luke use Mark as their source.

[Mr ch.11], Jesus[p] "curses the fig tree for not bearing fruits when it was not the season for figs." So the writer of 'Matthew' takes out the season part and even the fruits start bearing immediately.

What about Jesus[p] being called son of GOD in Mark's Gospel atleast three times? [17] Well, when you consider the evolusion throughout the Gospels, when 'Matthew' and Luke can make changes to Mark's Gospel then why not Mark making changes to his source material also? Some scholars point out that prophecies of Jesus[p] appearences; [Mr 14:28,16:7], are Mark's own editions because they are not available in the pre-markan account. Certainly when you consider how Mark often put words in Jesus[p] mouth, words which he could not have uttered. For example, [Mr 8:34-9:1] 'And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."

Jesus[p] is found prophecising the end of the world during that very generation, promissing the multitudes they would see him coming in the glory of GOD with the angels. The event however is yet to have taken and we are living in the 21st century. Shows that this prophecy attributed to Jesus[p] is also Mark's own view and a reflection of his own belief, not necessarily what Jesus[p] taught. And the title 'son of GOD' in Mark can also be explained in light of the Old Testament where a son of GOD would be like a servant of GOD or a holy one of GOD, not necessarily GOD Himself.

So to sum up, Mark's naratives have been re-fashioned by later Gospel writers to support Jesus'[p] divinity. we have seen tat initially, Jesus[p] was considered the Messiah only but later on, Jesus is the Messiah, the son of GOD. All of a sudden, from Jesus[p] calling GOD: 'Alaha', to 'Father'. From Jesus[p] being called 'Rabbi[Master]' to 'Lord'. Instead of Jesus[p] praying his GOD, people are praying to Jesus[p]. As we move through the Gospel, the emphasis on the Oneness of GOD becomes lesser and lesser and Jesus[p] is being called son of GOD more often. We've seen that before St.Paul's vision, Jesus[p] was a Holy man, a Prophet, a Messiah and a man approved of GOD and His servant but after he departed some including St.Paul thought Jessus[p] to be divine. About 15 years after Paul had preached, Mark writes his Gospel under his influence and as we more further in time, others introduce improved versions of Jesus'[p] story and by the time we get to John[100 C.E], Prophet Jesus[p] is made a divine being.

Therefore its not surprising to see Biblical scholars pointing out the lack of evidence for Jesus'[p] divinity. David Brown states; "There is good evidence to suggest that Jesus never saw himself as a suitable object of worship...[it is] impossible to base any claim for Christ’s divinity on his consciousness once we abandon the traditional portrait as reflected in a literal understanding of St. John’s Gospel." [The Divine Trinity, p.108]

Michael Ramsey wrote: "Jesus did not claim deity for himself...The title 'Son of God' need not of itself be of high significance, for in Jewish circles it might mean no more than the Messiah or indeed the whole Israelite nation, and in popular Hellenism there were many sons of God, meaning inspired holy men." [Jesus and the Living Past, p.39,42]

James Dunn concludes: "There is no real evidence in the earliest Jesus traditions of what could fairly be called a consciousness of divinity." [Christology in the Making, p.60]

Brian Hebblewaite admits: "It is no longer possible to defend the divinity of Jesus by reference to the claims of Jesus." [The Incarnation, p.74]

Not only is the alleged divinity of Jesus[p] in doubt but also the doctrine of Trinity[which is the most important fundamental belief in modern Christianity], when you consider the Monotheistic faith of early christians. The New Catholic Encyclopedia[officially approved by the Catholic Church], explains that the concept of the Trinity was not introduced into Christianity prior to the fourth century; "There is the recognition on the part of exegetes and biblical theologians, including a constantly growing number of Roman Catholics, that one should not speak of Trinitarianism in the New Testament without serious qualification. There is also the closely parallel recognition on the part of historians of dogma and systematic theologians that when one does speak of an unqualified Trinitarianism, one has moved from the period of Christian origins to, say, the last quadrant of the 4th century. It was only then that what might be called the definitive Trinitarian dogma ‘One God in three persons’ became thoroughly assimilated into Christian life and thought…it was the product of three centuries of doctrinal development." [The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14, p.295]

The Oxford Companion to the Bible: "Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament. Likewise, the developed concept of three co-equal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon." [Bruce Metzger and Michael D. Coogan (eds.), The Oxford Companion to the Bible (Oxford University Press, 1993) pp.782-783]

John McKenzie: "The Trinity of God is defined by the Church as the belief that in God is three persons who subsist in one nature. That belief as so defined was reached only in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and hence is not explicitly and formally a biblical belief."
[The Dictionary of the Bible, p.899]

As a muslim would say: 'Remove what is false and you get Islam'. Once we remove false doctrines and wrong potrayels of him, the only Jesus[p] we are left with is the Jesus[p] of Glorious Qur'an. The Gospels quote him of saying: 'Search ye the truth and the truth shall free you.' The Glorious Qur'an as the last revelation from GOD brings us back to the truth about Jesus[p]. It informs us of that orignal Jesus[p] before his image was re-fashioned and distorted. The Qur'an invites us to believe in that orignal Jesus[p], a servant of GOD, a man approved of GOD, a Prophet, a Messiah of GOD, a holy one of GOD and the Messenger of GOD who preached GOD's Injeel[good news]. I also invite you to believe in the Jesus[p] of Islam and pray to GOD Almighty that He may guide those who seek guidence to the path which is straight, ameen!

I thank you very much for a patient reading, Salamu alaikum, peace onto you!

Footnotes;

1. [Acts 17:24-31],[1 Corinthians 8:6],[1 Timothy 6:15-16]
2. [Acts 3:13, 3:26, 4:25]
3. [Al-Qur’an 19:30]
4. [Acts 2:22]
5. [Luke 4:40-41]
6. [Mr 13:35]
7. [Mt 24:22]
8. [Mt 16:16]
9. [The Gospel of Saint Matthew, p. 247]
10. [The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary (p. 627)]
11. [Mr 10:18]
12. [Mr 12:29-30]
13. [Mt 22:37]
14. [The Evidence for Jesus, p.36]
15. [Mt 12:15-19]
16. [Lu 6:17-19]
17. [Mr 3:11],[5:7],[15:39]

Source: http://www.geocities.com/mu6sman/whowasjesus1.html
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khairullah
08-09-2007, 10:06 AM
Masha Allah brother good information about Jesus (PBUH).

May Allah (swt) guide all of us. Ameen
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