by Dale Brown
Though most Muslims would agree that Jesus (Isa) was a prophet sent from God (Allah), it is sad that many of them have not been able to benefit from His teaching and what He has done for them.
What is unknown to many is that the Qur'an speaks favorably of the Bible in many places. In support of the Old Testament the Qur'an states the following:
Indeed, We gave the Children of the Book, the Judgment, and Prophethood, and We provided them with good things and We preferred them above all beings.
We gave them clear signs of the Command: (Surah 45:15, 16a/16,17a). Surely We sent down the Torah (the five books of Moses or the Old Testament), wherein is guidance and light; thereby the Prophets who had surrendered themselves gave judgment for those of Jewry, as did the masters and the rabbis, following such portion of God’s Book as they were given to keep and were witnesses to. So fear not men, but fear you Me; and sell not My signs for a little price. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down - they are the unbelievers (Surah 5:47).
QUR'AN CONFIRMS NEW TESTAMENT?
And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus son of Mary, confirming the Torah before him; and We gave to him the Gospel (the New Testament), wherein is guidance and light, and confirming the Torah before it, as a guidance and an admonition unto the godfearing.
To let the People of the Gospel judge according to what God has sent down therein. Whosoever judges not according to what God has sent down - they are the ungodly (Surah 5:49-51)
Some Muslims claim that the Bible we have today has been corrupted and it is not as it was originally given. By taking this stand they are obviously unaware of the ancient manuscripts of both Old and New Testament Scripture that are still on hand. The Dead Sea Scrolls, found in the caves of Qumran, show that the text of the Old Testament has been reliably passed on to us. Some of the New Testament manuscripts that are available to us today are the John Ryland Manuscript, the Bodmer Papyrus, the Chester Beatty Papyri, the Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus, etc., all of which date back to the first five centuries. So we have proof of the Scriptural content before Islam arrived on the scene. And, because the Bible is the oldest revelation of Scripture, it would do us well to give heed to what it says. Jesus himself said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:34). Jesus never indicated even once that the Old Testament Scripture contained any error. In fact, he taught directly from them and said that the things that were happening during his ministry were taking place that the Scripture of the prophets be fulfilled (Lk. 24:27, Matt. 26:56).
If this were not enough, there are letters of church fathers who were taught directly by those who were eyewitnesses of Jesus.
The fact that Jesus himself did not write the New Testament is sometimes used as argument against the Scripture. In a court of law this would actually help to validate the events rather than to disprove them. Jesus Himself said, “If I alone bear witness of Myself, My testimony is not true… the very works that I do, bear witness of Me” (Jn. 5:31-36). The harmony of the synoptic gospel writers gives us not only eye witness accounts of the “works” (miracles etc.) of Jesus but also the historical events surrounding the man Himself. When Jesus prayed for the whole Church, apart from the apostles, as those who should “believe on Me through their word” (Jn. 17:20), he assumed permanent availability of that word, as though He was anticipating an apostolic New Testament record.
Then, there is the argument from Surah 19:37, that all of the Christian sects are divided. Of course, many of the apparent divisions of Christianity are external and trivial, while the elementary teachings concerning Christ are basically uniform. Christians are, after all, merely humans who express their faith in Jesus according to their experience, their education and maturity. But even where there may be serious differences, that does not make the Bible inadequate or invalid.
Divisions in the outward, visible church do not upset faith in the Bible for anyone who truly believes in the words of Jesus. He himself said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are wolves” (Matt. 7:15). He also said that many would say that they were Christians who in actual reality were not (Matt. 7:21-23). Other Bible passages say that we should beware of false gospels, false Christs and even false Jesus’ (Gal. 1:9, 2 Cor. 11:4, Matt. 24:24). We may conclude, then, that the state of the visible church today is just what Jesus and the scriptures indicated it would be. That means the problem is with people, while the scriptures themselves are validated and shown worthy of all confidence.
Of course if divisions were sufficient to invalidate the Christian faith or scriptures, Islam would have the very same problem. Many who claim to represent Islam are not good examples of that faith either; thus we have many factions within Islam (Sunnites, Shi’ites, Ahmdiyan, Sufis etc.).
Personal Transfomation—Through Self-Effort, or A New Birth?
To become a Muslim one must recite the standard Islamic confession affirming that there is only one God and that Mohammed is his prophet. A person is either a believer in God and his prophet Mohammed or he is an unbeliever. One is obligated to make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime to the shrine of Kaaba where many kiss the black stone that once represented the moon god of the ancient Quraish tribe. The crescent moon is still found on mosques, and national flags of Islamic countries.
To be a Christian one must also believe in only one God but it is necessary for the person to be actually transformed by the power of God. This comes about when a person turns his life over to God by taking Christ as his own Savior. When someone acts in faith, in receiving Christ, God in turn, acts in giving that person new life. He is born again, spiritually. Jesus said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3).
Whatever may be said about the similarities between the Jesus of the Quran and the Jesus of the Bible, there are many striking differences. To the Quran, Jesus “was only the Messenger of God” (Surah 4:171). To the Bible, Jesus is the only Savior and Lord who alone is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16), worthy of our utmost devotion and praise (Rev. 5:11-14), the Son of the living God (Matt.16:16).
The same Jesus that was born of the virgin Mary (Surah 3:47, Luke 1:34&35), fulfilled the divine pattern laid down for us by Moses (Ex. 12:5). By this virgin birth, God was able to provide for us a lamb without the blemish of sin that all other men have. By laying down his life for all of mankind Jesus became the lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world (Jn. 1:29), that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (Jn. 3:16).. Isaiah the prophet foretold of this lamb over 600 years before He appeared (Isaiah 53).
This Jesus who healed the sick and cast out demons (jinn) was the same one of whom the prophet and psalmist David said that God would not allow His Holy One to undergo decay (Ps. 16:10, Acts 2:27). Thus after shedding His blood on the cross, as was predicted, He was raised from the dead as proof of His resurrection power.
Jesus said the Holy Spirit of God would be left in His place as a comforter and teacher forever (John 14:16&26). On the day of Pentecost (also called Feast of the Harvest or Shavuot), while the second of the three major Jewish feasts was being celebrated (Exod. 23:14-16), God anointed those who believed in Jesus Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:17&18) and because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He still confirms His word through His servants today.
You too can be cleansed from your sins and be filled with the Holy Spirit. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (Rom. 10:9). “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
If you are in need of a miracle in your life, Jesus is waiting to answer your prayer. He said, “whatever you ask in My name that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (Jn. 14:13).
Ask God in the name of Jesus to fill you with the Holy Spirit that you may walk victoriously with God.
Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son’s name? Surely you know! Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar (Prov. 30:4-6).
This article available in hard copy form as a tract from the Author