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Is the Biblical Jesus also in Islam and previous religions?

Some Muslims say that there is no need to become a Christian, because all good practices and blessings of Jesus are also in the Qur’an, the Pillars of Islam and the Law of Moses. They support the critics of the Jews against Christianity that what Jesus did is already available in the Hebrew Scriptures, what Christians call the Old Testament. Is it true that Jesus did not bring something unique, but just did what others already had done?

Jesus has been raised from the dead

After Jesus died, he rose again from the dead. It is the main foundation fact of Christianity: "that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:4). Recent studies on information transmission from Jews in that period show that the resurrection of Jesus Christ as written in the Gospel is free from rumors and errors on the essential part [1]. For the first time in human history someone physically re-entered our world. The resurrection of Jesus Christ gave his followers hope and power. Islam is the only religion outside Christianity that has a notion of the resurrection of the dead. However, Muhammad borrowed the Christian concept of resurrection and copied it in the Qur’an, including Qur’an 16:38 and 64:7 [2]. But Muhammad or any prophet did not rise from the dead. Only Jesus Christ did. After the resurrection, all doubt disappeared about what Jesus had said and done proved that he was indeed God. There is no evidence that someone else raised from the dead. Therefore the resurrection of Jesus Christ is unique.

Jesus is from the order of Melchizedek

Melchizedek means “king of righteousness” (Hebrews 7:2). He was “priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18) and blessed Abraham (Genesis 14:19). Melchizedek is “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:3). In other words: Melchizedek comes from another world than our existing world. He is both angel, ruler and judge [3]. There is a prophecy in the Hebrew Scriptures that a successor of David will be king of Jerusalem and the will be of the order of Melchizedek: “The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 109:4). Since there are no precursors mentioned and it has nothing to do with an existing person on earth, it is a connection between Melchizedek and Jesus. Jesus is “called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:10). So Jesus is at the same level as the person who blessed Abraham, the spiritual father of both the People of Israel, Christians and Muslims. Because Jesus is according to the order of Melchizedek, he is as an eternal priest superior to all other priests and unique.

Qur’an says that Jesus was unique in many other ways

For most Muslims, Jesus is a mysterious person because he was created in a supernatural way: “[And mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ]” (Qur’an 3:45). This verse also mentions that Jesus is the Word of God. No other person in the Qur’an has this characteristic. Jesus is also the Spirit of God (Qur’an 4:171 and 5:110), faultless (Qur’an 19:19), creator (Qur’an 3:49) and the greatest miracle worker in (Qur’an 3:49; 5:110). Muslims believe that Jesus and not Muhammad will come back before the Day of Judgment (Qur’an 43:61). No Muslim can deny that Jesus Christ has a very extraordinary and unique nature.

Bible says that Jesus was unique in many other ways

The Bible is telling us that lived before he entered the womb of Mary. Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58) and “I came from the Father and entered the world” (John 16:28). Jesus has a divine nature and he is united with God: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus added new moral values to the world, including “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). He showed his own divine power by stopping the wind (Mark 4:41). He called people to believe he is God: “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves" (John 14:11). The Jews wanted to kill him because Jesus said he is God: “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:33). After his resurrection, no disciple of Jesus had any doubt he is God (John 20:28). Many others claimed they were God, however only Jesus Christ showed by highest moral values, the greatest miracle works and his resurrection he is God.

Conclusion

Similarities between Jesus Christ and that what other great spiritual leaders did exist, however Jesus did many actions no human body has done, including resurrection, he is part of an eternal order and he adding new moral values to our world. There is no reason to conclude that the Biblical Jesus Christ can be derived from what others did.

Notes

  1. Robert J. Hutchinson, Searching for Jesus: New Discoveries in the Quest for Jesus of Nazareth, Nashville, 2015.
  2. Resurrection, in: Hans Dieter Betz et al (ed), Religion Past & Present, Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion, Volume XI, Reg-Sie, Leiden 2012, 141.
  3. Melchizedek, in: Hans Dieter Betz et al (ed), Religion Past & Present, Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion, Volume VIII, Mai-Nas, Leiden 2010, 227.

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