The death and resurrection of Isa the Messiah is one of several important points upon which the Injeel and Quran differ. Which account about the end of Isa ministry is trustworthy?
The whole trustworthiness of the Quran stands or falls upon the claim that Isa the Messiah did not die on the cross. Why? Because if Isa did die on the cross and rise from the dead (as He claimed) then there would be no need for a further revelation like the one Mohammad gave.
First, it’s important to review the principles we have already discovered:
- Allah’s revelation is perfect and does not change
- Allah’s promises cannot be broken
- Man cannot thwart anything Allah does
These are important principles because Allah tells us in the Injeel that He loves us with an unchanging love. He tells us that He planned for Isa to die and rise from the dead before He was ever born. And He makes certain promises based upon Isa’s death and resurrection.
So, did Isa die on the cross? The Quran says in 4:157,
“They said, ‘We killed the Messiah Isa the Son of Mary, the Apostle of Allah’ – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them.”
This is an important claim because in the Quran only the enemies of Isa are said to have been fooled into thinking they crucified Him. Naturally, if Allah wanted to thwart Isa’ enemies into thinking this, and Isa’ disciples professed Islam, then His disciples would not have been led astray. Why, after all, would Allah want to deceive those who have professed to believe the truth and follow His Apostle?
The Injeel, however, tells a different story. The Injeel states that Isa’ disciples saw Him die on the cross. John 19:26, 27 says, “When Isa saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved (John) standing nearby…”
Women were among Isa’ followers; and they saw Him die on the cross. John 19:25 reveals, “Near the cross of Isa stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”
These were people who all loved and followed Isa. Those who followed Isa were His disciples. It is hard to conceive that Allah, being a God of truth, would want to deceive those [who believe the truth] into thinking that Isa died when He did not. In fact, the Quran states plainly, “I am not unjust to my servants.” (50:29)
Finally, remember the principles we have learned about Allah’s character. Allah does not change, His plans do not change, His word does not change. This is important because 600 years before Isa died, Allah announced His plans for Isa to die for the sins of others. Notice what the Prophet Isaiah says about Isa:
“He was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastising for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed…the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgmentHe was taken away…he was cut off from the land of the living..His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death. Because He has done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:5-9)
How do we know this prophecy refers to Isa? Look at the underlined words. Was there anyone in all of history to whom these words applied at one time? There is in fact, only one person – Isa the Messiah.
- His body was pierced by a soldier
- He was scourged by the Romans before being crucified
- He was oppressed because during His trial the only testimony accepted from Him was that which would condemn Him
- He never once protested His crucifixion
- His grave was assigned with the other men who were crucified with Him (two thieves)
- A rich man, Nicodemus, (a secret follower of Isa) asked for Isa body and buried Him in a grave he had made for Himself
The weight of evidence, from Isa’ followers, and from His enemies, is that He did indeed die on the cross; to be followed by His resurrection from the dead three days later.
Since Isa’ did in fact die on the cross. And since we have learned about Isa’ claim to deity, does this mean that God died on the cross? Certainly serving a God who does not have power enough to keep from dying does not sound like the right path, does it? But as you will see on this journey, Allah’s nature is not like ours. This is best demonstrated in His divine existence as a Triune God.