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Home For Middle Easterners Letter to a Friend

Letter to a Friend

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My dear Friend,

In my last letter to you I attempted to show you that the Qur’an says that Isa is the sacrifice promised by Allah for our sins. Isa died so we may enter paradise when we die. Also that Isa proved by his life, death and resurrection as recorded in the Qur’an that he is Allah. He come born of a virgin to rescue us from Allah’s coming judgement.

Because Allah is Holy and justice he made a unique way for us to be saved from His wrath. This was through his only son Isa, dying in our place. He overcame death so we might live forever with Him and Allah in heaven. All this is wonderfully stated clearly in the references we found in the Qur’an.

Allah wants us to respond to this amazing good news by believing Isa is the promised saviour. He is Allah and therefore to be worshipped as our saviour and king. We are also to be sorrow for living our own lives and worshipping other things and people instead of Allah. We are idolaters and deserving of eternal damnation in hell. Allah asks that we turn away from these idols to serve Him and His son Isa.

We deserve is His wrath and hell. Why because we are all infected with Adam’s sin. This results in physical and spiritual death. But Allah in His amazing grace loves us and forgives our sins through Isa alone. This is not our because we are good or do good works. He treats us when we believe as though we had never sinned! He lloks on us and only sees Isa perfect life.

This was because Isa is the only person not to be infected with Adam’s sin as fortold in the Qur’an. We are at core sinners but Allah has given us his Spirit which changes us from the inside out. His spirit help us know Him and love and serve Him and Isa his son every day of our lives. This is what it is to worship Allah.

This is not an easy thing to believe so I now wish to write a second letter to you repeating what I said in my last letter but also attempting to prove to you that in The Old Testament, there are also amazing prophecies about Isa that have been perfectly fulfilled in His day. In fact Isa came and fulfilled perfectly all 300 prophecies made about him. The major ones we will ccarefully consider soon.

Now my friend you and I agree on a number of very important spiritual truths.

We agree that that it is vital that we know God as he truly is. Not to know him is a form of idolatry.

We agree that there is one God, and there has only ever been one God. He is the God who created the whole universe, including us as human beings on this earth. He is also the on who will judge every last man, woman and child who has ever lived.

We agree that God alone determines what is right and what is wrong. Because of his hot justice, there will be a separation at the Last Day between those who are going to paradise and those who are going to hell - and this separation is for all eternity

We also believe that this God has made himself known to the world.

We both believe that God has spoken; he has not remained silent. You believe the Allah has spoken in the Qur'an while we Christians believe that the Bible is God' Word. The Qur'an speaks of many prophets - in fact, Muslims usually acknowledge that there were up to 720,O0O prophets. These include Adam, Noah, Abraham Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus. The last-mentioned me are all referred to in the Qur'an and in the Bible. God has not shouted out his wt to the world, but has spoken to prophets who have then spoken to their people concerning the things that God has told them.

Sometimes it is said that Muslims and Christians are the only two peoples on the earth who believe in Jesus.

The Qur'an tells us;
> Jesus performed miracle (Surahs 3:46i 5:772-775),
> He is joined to the Holy Spirit (Surah 2:87),
>He is the Messiah (Surah 3:45). ln all this we agree. We also both believ
>He was born of a virgin (Surahs 3:47; 79:2O-22), and that he is God's Word
(Surahs 3:45; 4:771).

Muslims claim that the Qur'an is eternal; it is perfect in every way, and cannot be changed. The Bible claims to be God's true and perfect Word. lt is actually 66 books, written over about 1500 years by about 40 human authors, but it asserts that behind it all is one divine mind. We have already seen that both the Qur'an and the Bible tell us of prophets, so it is fair to raise the issue of prophecy in order to decide which book comes from God.

Does the Qur’an have any prophecies? The Qur'an tells of the prophets, but it records what the prophets said and did through Muhammad. There is no independent witness to his claims. All the prophets are supposed to be equal, and to have proclaimed the same message. But, in the end, the authority is Muhammad himself; he is seen as the last and greatest prophet.

But what about prophecies? There are two kinds of prophecies in lslam:

(a) there is Surah 30 (The Roman Empire) which tells of the defeat of the Persians
by the Romans, but it is not obvious what that is referring to. The Romans were
always fighting the Persians, and defeated them more often than not. lt is not
unfair to say that this prophecy is rather vague.
(b) the prophecy from the Hadith which is narrated by Abu Huraira: 'Allah's Apostle
said: "The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends
amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs, and abolish the
Jizya tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable
gifts).' This is found in Bukhari, Volume 3, Book number 43, Hadith 656. This
prophecy cannot be tested until after the event. We cannot know whether it is true
or not until after Jesus' return to earth. The same must be said of the prophecy
of Surah 111 (The Palm Fibre) that Muhammad's uncle would die an infidel and
go to hell. lt is a real prophecy, but its truth or otherwise can only be determined
at the Last Day.

How can we test what is said about God? In the seventeenth century the French
scientist and Christian believer, Blaise Pascal, argued that 'The most weighty proofs of
Jesus are the prophecies.' He said this because there are many prophecies in the Bible.
In fact, the God of the Bible challenges other so-called gods: 'Bring in your idols to tell
us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may
consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell
us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods' (lsaiah 4t:22-23a). God
also said: 'who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before
me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what iS yet to come
- yes, let him foretell what will come' (lsaiah 44:7).

Even before the time of lsaiah, Moses had declared: 'When a prophet speaks in the
name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word
that the Lord has not spoken: the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need
not be afraid of him' (Deut.18i22). That is the challenge, the test. lt is surely a fair
and reasonable test. The true God has the future in his hands. He alone can reveal
it before it unfolds.

The prophet and king, David, declared that the coming priest-king is the Lord sitting at
the right hand of God the Lord (Psalm I1:O:L). lsaiah sees that he will be both human
and divine: 'For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be
on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting
Father, Prince of Peace' (lsaiah 9:6). He will defeat the last enemy, which is death
(Psalm 16:8-11 ; lsaiah 53:7O-L2). God told the prophet Abraham that 'all the families
on earth will be blessed through you' (Genesis 12:3 ). And the rest of the Old
Testament testifies that when the Messiah came, he would call the Gentiles in to
worship him (lsaiah 49:6; see too Psalms 22; 72). The Messiah as the true king of lsrael
(2 Samuel 7: L3-16) is also the king of the whole world (Psalm 2 ).

These are startling prophecies. They may unsettle you at first. But we must deal with
them; we cannot ignore them. Can they be true? The Christian claim is as John Trapp
put it 'The Old Testament is the New Testament foretold. The New Testament is the
Old Testament fulfilled.'

We have seen that the Bible contains prophecies Does the Bible prophesy the coming of Muhammad?
Muslims claim that Moses and Jesus both prophesy the coming of Muhammad in Deuteronomy 18:15
('The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must
listen to him') and John 14:16 ('And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another
Counselor to be with you forever'). In the words of Surah 6t6: 'And (remember) when
'lsa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), said: "O children of lsrael! | am the Messenger of
Allah unto you, confirming the Taurat (Torah) which came before me, and giving glad
tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad. But when he
(Ahmad i.e. Muhammad) came to them with clear proofs, they said: "This is plain
magic."'

But Jesus - not Muhammad - is the prophet like Moses. In Deuteronomy 18:2 the
'brothers' are not the lshmaelites but fellow Jews. Even clearer is the reference in
Deuteronomy 17 where God predicts that lsrael will ask for a king such as the other
nations have (Deut.17:14). God tells lsrael to 'be sure to appoint over you the king the
Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a
foreigner over you, one who is not a brother lsraelite' (Deut.17:15).

The apostle Peter told the people of Jerusalem that Jesus is the one who fulfils the
prophecy of Deuteronomy (Acts 3: L9-26; see too John 1:45 ; 6:14). Jesus is the final
revelation of God (Hebrews t:t-2). To see Jesus is to see the Father, the one in whom
the fullness of the Deity dwells bodily (John 14:9 ; Colossians 2:9 ).

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit - not Muhammad - is the one within his people who would
remain forever (John 14:16-17 ). Jesus told his disciples of the coming of the Spirit 'But
you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you' (John L4:t7)' On the day of
Pentecost, he was poured out on all people (Acts 2:17 ). Muhammad did not live with
the disciples in the first century, nor remain with his people forever, nor is he within
them, nor could he ever be poured out on all kinds of people.

Can we look in some detail at just one of the prophecies of the Bible?

My friend, I am asking you to bear with me for a while as we look at one prophecy
in the Bible, and test it. The prophecy comes from the prophet lsaiah. The prophet
lsaiah preached during the eighth century B.C., and prophesied for some fifty years
(about 740-687 B.C.).

You might ask whether his book was corrupted, or written after the coming of
Jesus. But we know that about 190 years before Jesus was born, the book Sirach
(Ecclesiasticus) referred to lsaiah (Sirach 48:22-24 ). Just after World War ll the Dead
Sea Scrolls were found at Qumran, and one of these scrolls was the famous lsaiah
Scroll. This is dated in the second century before Jesus' birth, so it is clear that
lsaiah cannot have been written after the ministry of Jesus. We need to remember
that most Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Christ but religious Jews still accept
lsaiah as a part of their Scripture. All of us - Jews, Muslims, Christians, and all people
- should test this: ls it right for the Jews to accept lsaiah but not to accept that he
points to Jesus?

lsaiah the prophet wrote a long book, which we call lsaiah, of some 66 chapters. lt
contains four servant songs (42, 49, 50, and 53). The fourth one is the most explicit.
It tells of a haunting, broken figure, the servant of Jehovah, who is both horribly
degraded and yet greatly glorified. Here lsaiah gives us a most extraordinary prophecy
of the coming of the suffering servant. Actually, the whole prophecy goes from lsaiah
52:13 through to lsaiah 53:12, and it is reprinted here in full:
52 13 See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and
greatly exalted.

14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him - his
appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his
form marred beyond human likeness

15 so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths
because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and
what they have not heard, they will understand.

53:1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the
Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out
of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by man, a man of sorrows, and
familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we
considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for
our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon
him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his
own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquiU of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before
her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can
speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of
the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in
his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit
in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see
his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will
prosper in his hand.

11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life, and be
satisfied; by his knowled{e my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will g;ive him a portion among the great, and he will
divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life
unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore
the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
This is a remarkable prophecy. What is it saying?
What would happen to the suffering servant?
(lsa.52:13-15)

lsaiah first introduces his subject: 'See, my servant'. This servant will be exalted as
no one else (lsa.52:L3), and also suffer as no one else (lsa.52:I4). That is a unique
combination - for one man to suffer so much and also to be exalted so highly. We
read that Jesus is Lord but also that he took on the role of a servant, even washing
the feet of his disciples (John 13:3-5 , L2-L4).
Yet it is the crucifixion that demonstrates this more clearly. Jesus was whipped, he
was mocked, he was left to cry out in thirst, and his form was marred beyond human
likeness. The cross is a strange ornament; it was a cruel and barbarous form of torture
- the ultimate in humiliation.
-
Yet lsaiah prophesies that it brings life: 'So will he sprinkle many nations, and kings
will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand'(lsa.52:15). The Hebrew priests
in the Old Testament period used to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifices on the altar.

These point to the greater reality that God's suffering servant would shed his blood to
cover the sins of many, even Gentiles. Kings will be silenced, including the god-kings
of ancient E€ypt, Babylon, and Rome. The one whose appearance was so marred that
he looked grotesque is also the one before kings shall shut their mouths and bow in
reverence. Indeed, every sinner will shut his mouth before the king. As Professor H.
C. Leupold put it: 'Never was man brought so low; never was anyone raised so high.'
This is the one born in a stable, who worked in a carpenter's shop, who never wrote
a book, but who has the name above every other name.
How did the world respond to the suffering servant?
(lsa.53:1-3).

The servant would meet with misunderstanding and disdain: 'Who has believed our
message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before
him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or
majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by man, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him
not' (lsa.53:1-3).

We mifht think that when Jesus came amongst his people, he would have been
received with applause and acclaim. The truth is, however, that 'Even after Jesus had
done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.
This was to fulfil the word of lsaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"' (John 12:37-38 ) There are
many people today who do not believe lsaiah's prophecy although they themselves are
part of the proof that it is true. 'He came to that which was his own, but his own
did not receive him' (John I:1,!). lt has ever been like this - the gospel of Christ is
rejected or isnored or distorted.

Christ came in unpromising circumstances, like a root in dry ground. Physically, Jesus
possessed no beauty or majesty that people would be attracted to him. Forget all the
pictures of Christ which you see on stain-glass windows and in books. He did not have
the looks to get him on the cover of a women's magazine or to earn him a spot on
television. At first sight, he seemed so ordinary, more like us than like one who is
Lord of all. We usually judge by appearances in the first place, but appearances can
be deceotive.

People fled from Christ, they hid their faces from him, they were embarrassed by him,
and were ashamed to confess him. They did not esteem him or give him the honour
which is His due. We complain when people do not treat us as we think that thev
should, but Jesus was shunned by those whom he came to save.
What does it me for Jesus to be the substitute for sinners?
(Isaiah 53 : 4-6)

'Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him
stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our
transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us
peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone
astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity
of us all.'

This is the heart of the servant song. lf verses 1--3 tell of the world's misunderstanding,
verses 4-6 tell of God's purposes of substitution. What belonged to us? Infirmities,
sorrows, transgressions, iniquities, and punishment. What did Christ do? He bore
them, he carried them away. In the Hebrew sacrificial system recorded in the book of
Leviticus, the animal that was sacrificed - usually a bull or a goat or a lamb - to p;
the penalty for sin. This was a shadow pointing to the reality of what God's sufferir
servant would do. He was afflicted because of them, he was wounded, bruised ar
suffered stripes. He was the sin-bearer.

The Qur'an too deals with the idea of sacrifice. lt tells of Abraham's near sacrifir
of his son: 'And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice' (Surah 37:LO7). A great
momentous sacrifice is provided as a substitute for Abraham's son. The ram dies
the place of Abraham's son. Why is this remembered every hajj? Why does any Musli
who performs the hajj receive new status? The Kabah is supposed to be directly und
the throne of Allah.

What does it mean? What does it point to? Surely rams do not take away sins.
lshmael is'the Father of the Ransom', what truth is to be found in that descriptior
Why are animals sacrificed at Mecca? Why were animal sacrificed in the Old Testamen
And why did God command Abraham to sacrifice his son, and then provide a substitu
for him? The answer is that these are shadows pointing to the reality. ln the Ne
Testament, Jesus is the Lamb of God who dies for the sins of all people who tu
from sin and put their trust in him. He is the sacrifice, the substitute, the one wt
bears the terrible wrath of God against sinners in order that they might be accepte
by God. At the cross God is just in punishing sin and merciful in forgiving sinner
What God demanded of Abraham, he then did himself in sending Jesus to be tf
sacrifice to pay for our sins.

Are You and I sinners? (Isa 53:6 )

We are all like sheep who wander astray, who follow the world, and do the wror
thing. As a Muslim, you might reply: 'That is not true of all of us. The prophets we
sinless.' But the Qur'an does not say that. You regard Adam as a prophet, but I
sinned. The Qur'an says in Surah 2 (The Cow): 'Then the Shaitan (Satan) made the
slip therefrom (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We sai
"Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling plat
for you and an enjoyment for a time."' (2:36; 7:24) This means that sin and fishtit
are a result of Adam's sin.

Also, death came into the world: 'He said: "Therein you shall live, and therein you shi
die, and from it you shall be brought out (i.e. resurrected)."' (Surah 7:25) We live i
fallen sinners in God's world. Surah 16 (The Bees) says: 'And if Allah were to sei:
mankind for their wrong-doing, He would not leave on it (the earth) a single movit
creature' (1-6:61). The Hadith has Moses telling Adam: 'O Adam! You are our fath
who disappointed us and turned us out of Paradise'. According to the Qur'an, evr
the prophet Abraham said of Allah: 'And who, I hope, will forglve me my faults on t
Day of Recompense' (The Poets, 26:82). ln addition, Moses asks Allah to forgive h
(The Narration, 28:L6). King David too repented, and received forgiveness according
to Surah 38:24-25.

In fact, Muhammad himself is told: 'So know, O Muhammad, none has the right to
be worshipped but Allah, and ask forgiveness for your (singular) sin, and also for
believing men and believing women' (The Fighting, 47:tg). Sahih al-Bukhari also
records Muhammad praying that Allah would forgive his sins. In Surah 80:1--15
Muhammad is rebuked for ignoring a blind man. lt seems that the Qur'an itself teaches
that Muhammad was a man who sought the forgiveness of his sins, and who did not
know whether he would enter Paradise.

ls this not a true picture of our lives as human beings here on earth? Sin infects
every society - whether in Australia, China, Africa, Europe, the Americas, or the
Middle East. lt also infects every person - man, woman, and child; white man, black
man, dusky man; whether rich or poor, intelligent or mentally challenged; living in a
socialist economy or in a capitalist society; whether a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist, a
Hindu, an atheist, or a Muslim. Sin runs through all our veins.
Who pays for my sins? (Isaiah 53:6 )

We think that we know better than God. All of the problems are on our side of the
ledger. We have all run up debts to God which we cannot pay. We owe him perfect
obedience. We have not rendered that to him. The wages of sin is death. Who will pay
it? Christ or us? The Bible is saying that either you pay for your own sins (which is an
horrific thought) or you accept that Christ himself paid for them at Calvary.
The heart of the Injil is that lsa is our substitute - 'the Lord has laid on him the
iniquity of us all' (lsa.53:6). The one who had no sin was made to be sin for us
(2 Cor.5:21); he was cursed in bearing the curse which was on us because of our
disobedience (Gal.3:13); lre died as the righteous for the unrighteous (1- Peter 3:18).

So the wrath of love did strike him,
And in its mighty flood,
The pollution of my wickedness
Was cleansed by his dear blood.
That is the gospel of substitution.
Mine, mine was the transgression,

But Thine the deadly pain (Paul Gerhardt). The crucified one is the exalted one.
The world did not recognise him, and does notrecognise him. But the wonderful truth is
that God punished his own Son to fulfil his own justice, so that he could extend mercy to you.
Here is how John Stott put it: 'Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only
God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself and puts himself where onlv man deserves to be.'
How can Jesus pay for my sins? (Isaiah 53:7 )

'He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led lik
lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not o
his mouth' (lsa.53:7). When we suffer, we squawk. But Jesus was silent like a sh
before its shearers. At his trial, Jesus made no attempt to defend himself (Matt
26:62-63: 27:12-14). He came to die according to God's eternal plan and purpose.
are disobedient leading to death, but the New Testament says that Christ was obed
to death (Philippians 2:8 ). The Messiah came to earth with the deliberate intentior
offering himself up for his people. He was completely submissive to his Father's
When the nails were driven into his hands, Christ was not enduring something '
he could not have avoided. lt was his voluntary offering to his Father on behalf of
sin-stained people across all the nations of the world.

Christ did not die because he sinned. All the sons of Adam have died or will
because of their stns, but that is not true of Christ. He died with the wicked ones
(lsa.53:7). He was crucified between two criminals as a blasphemer who made him
out to be equal to God, a Sabbath breaker (who healed people on the Sabbath),
one who threatened the temple. So he died with the wicked ones. Yet he received
honourable burial, in the tomb of a rich one (Matthew 27:57-60 ). This was unexpe(
in one sense - condemned criminals are not usually buried in the tomb of a rich man.
Yet it was not unexpected because lsaiah prophesied it centuries before it happer
Though he had died with the wicked ones, he had done no violence nor was ti
any deceit in his mouth (lsa.53:7).

He had not threatened violence against the tem he meant that he would raise the
temple of his body (John 2: L9-2t). Nor was he deceiving anyone when he claimed to
be equal with God because he is the ete Son of God (John 5:18 ; this in no way implies
that God has a wife). lsaiah the prophet sinned with his lips (lsa.6:5). But not the one
he is writing about. He is totally sinless, Never once did he do something and then wish
he could have his time over again. Never once did he utter a word which he wished he
could retract. Never once didthink any thought which caused him to feel ashamed. Never
once did he fail to plehis holy Father. His life was totally holy, consecrated to God.
Did the innocent die for the guilty? (Isaiah 53:8-12 )

Because Christ was innocent, he did not die for his own sins - he had none.
died on behalf of others - 'my people' (v.8), offspring (v.10), for many (vv.tt-I2)
transgressors (v.12). He was unjustly put to death by men to fulfill the justice of t
He was cut off from the land of the living (v.8) as a criminal, a blasphemer. Bu
was no criminal, no blasphemer. The soldiers cast lots for his robe, others watr
before they did their shopping, others were busy talking to their friends. What did
death of this man matter?

But it did matter. lt was all a case of substitution. lt was not only unjust men who
put Christ to death, but God the Father bruised or crushed Christ and caused him to
suffer (v.10). Christ's death was a guilt offering. Christ bore the iniquities of his people
(v.1-1-). He did that so that many would be justified by trusting in him (v.11). They
will
be acquitted even though they are guilty. They will be acquitted because Christ has
paid their price - the ransom is paid in full. That is the only claim that you can make
before the throne of God. That is your claim or else you have no claim.
I
ln verses IO-I2 a new element comes into the passage. The suffering servant was
dead and buried in verses 8 and 9. But God who struck the servant (v.4) and laid on
him the iniquity of us all (v.6) and caused him to suffer (v.1-0) was pleased to prosper
him. God has no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats (lsa.L:1L), but he
was pleased with the sacrifice of the servant. lt was impossible that death should hold
the servant. Verse 1O says that the Lord would see his offspring; he would prolong his
days. That expression is used 21 times in the Old Testament, almost always to refer to
the prolongation of earthly life. The great exception is here where it refers to one who
has died. The one who was dreadfully humiliated and debased will rise in triumph.
'Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils
with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered
with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the
transgressors' (lsa.53:1-2). This is the language of victory in battle.

The cross appeared such a massive defeat but it was not; it was God's victory over sin
and death (Colossians 2:1-5 ). lt was Satan who was defeated. He now has no claim
over God's people. The cross was followed by the resurrection. Adam's disobedience
led to death; Christ was obedient unto death that he might have life forevermore. The
apostle Peter writes: 'Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace
that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find
out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing
when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow' (1 Peter
L:tO-Ll). Surely lsaiah 53 fits that so well. Great suffering was followed by great glory.
Who has defeated sin and death? (Isaiah 53:10-12 )

Jesus is the one prophesied by lsaiah. Jesus Christ is the one despised by the world
who bore the iniquity of his sheep. Here is the sinless substitute for sinners - one
dying for the many, the just for the unjust. Yet marvellously, although a little
cryptically, the resurrection of the suffering servant is prophesied. This is Christ's
victory over the grave. Sin has been defeated, and also death. We sin and we die. That
is true of you and me and everyone who has ever lived on this earth, Christ excepted.
Muhammad's only sons died in childhood, and ultimately Muhammad himself died in
632. So Muhammad failed to defeat sin and death.

To die as a sinner is die under the terrible judgment of God. The wrath of
remains eternally on such a person. But to die as a justified sinner, one who trr
in Christ alone, is to share eternally in his triumph. When the spoils are divided,
which side will you be?
Where to now?

The Qur'an says that Christians are 'nearest in affection' to Muslims (The Table Spread
5:82).

Remember that the Qur'an tells you that Jesus did miracles (Surah 3:46; 5:L72-1,L3), is
joi to the Holy Spirit (2:86), is the Messiah (3:45), was born of a virgin (3:47; L9:2Oand
is God's Word (3:45; 4:L7t). This is close, very close, yet not close enough.
The problem is that the Qur'an says that Jesus was never crucified. In the wordr
Surah 4:t57: 'And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'lsa (Jes
son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor cruc
him, but the resemblance of 'lsa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they k
that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (cert
knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e.
(Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)].'

Yet we have already seen that Jesus' death was prophesied hundreds of years be
it happened. lt is found in the prophecies of .Jews, who generally believe in Je
crucifixion, but not his resurrection or his Lordship. Many of the early Christians v
Jews. People who strictly believed that there is only one God, and that to worship
other is idolatry, came to trust Jesus as Lord and Christ, the one who came to
the penalty for their sins, and rose from the dead to defeat death itself. You ei
have to believe the words of lsaiah, who prophesied the death and resurrectior
Christ, over 700 years before it happened, or the words of Muhammad, who trier
correct eyewitness accounts of the death and resurrection of Christ, about 600 yr
after it happened.

Blaise Pascal wrote: 'Jesus is the centre of all, the object of all; whoever kn
not him, knows nothing aright, either of the world or of himself ... In him is all
happrness, our virtue, our life, our light, our hope.' Jesus is the one with whom
all have to do - he came into this world in a unique way, being born of a virgin
lived a unique sinless life as Lord of all and servant of his people; and his wor
perfect in that he saves all who turn from sin and cast themselves upon his m
and grace. Gandhi is dead, Buddha is dead, Confucius is dead, Hitler is dead, Khor
is dead, the apostle Paul is dead, Muhammad is dead, you and I will be dead.
Jesus said: 'l am the resurrection and the life' (John 11:25 ).

How can you go to Paradise?

To go to Paradise, you have been looking to the five pillars of lslam: the confession
of Allah, and Muhammad as his prophet; prayer five times a day; the giving of alms;
pilgrimage to Mecca (hal); fasting during Ramadan. You have noted what Surah tt:!I4
says: 'For those things that are good remove those that are evil.'you have hooed
that the angel on your right shoulder will triumph over the angel on your left shoulder.
lf this occurs, Paradise will be open to you, with its promise of 70 beautiful virgins,
luscious fruit, wine, and Sold (Surahs 37, 56, 74, g3).

Jesus, however, demands that we must be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect
(Matthew 5:48 ). We are commanded to be perfect, but we are unable to be so.
Muslims and Christians agree that it is because of Adam that we were expelled from
the Garden. One man undid us all. lsaiah 53 prophesies that only one man - Jesus
the Christ - can restore us.

We can only experience light and life through the suffering and death of our sinless
substitute. His death is the sinner's victory:

'Tis finished - The Messiah dies
For sins, but not his own;
The great redemption is complete,
And Satan's power o'erthrown.

lt has been said that at Calvary heaven's peace and perfect justice kissed a
guilty world in love. All this was prophesied by lsaiah; it is recorded in the Gospels;
and it is received gratefully by sinners who repent of their sins.
We are under sin, death and judgment in Adam, or we are under righteousness
and life in Christ. Christ opens his arms to you now: 'Come to me, all you who are
weary and burdened, and I will give you rest' (Matthew tL,28). This is God's Word
to you, verified by the fact that the God who prophesies truly is the true God. you
have two options before you.

Your first option might be to continue as you have done - to try to save yourself
in the presence of Allah by your works, and plead before Allah that you have done
your best. All your religious convictions, all your past life, all your friends and family,
all your natural instincts tell you that this is all you can do. But perhaps deep down
in your soul you know that your works are not enough to please Allah, and you
have not always done your best. Somehow, your life is still stained with sin and
corruption. God who is holy cannot accept anyone who is sinful. Your second option
is a far more radical one. lt is to ponder the words of John Duncan from 19th century Scotland:
'There is nothing but Christ between us and hell; and, thanks be to God, we need nothing else.'
Even more compelling are the words of the apostle Paul: 'l have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me, and gave himself for me' (Gal.2:20).

These are things to think about. According to the Qur'an itself, the prophet of lslam
is dead, while Jesus (lsa) is alive in heaven.

Adapted from a tract by Peter Barnes
Revesby, 2008

For comments & discussion contact us at www.christianlibrary.org.au


Last Updated on Monday, 14 February 2011 21:30  

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