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Home For Middle Easterners Letter to a Friend - 3

Letter to a Friend - 3

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My Dear Friend

In this my third letter I would like to explain the crucifixim of Isa you.

In our holy Bible and the New Testament it says: "We preach Christ crucified: a stumbline block to Jews and foolishness to  Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor 1:23 .24).

Even for the disciples themselves, before the coming of the Hoiy Spirit, the cmcifixion of Jesus was hard to accept (Mat. 16:21,,22). Likewise, the death of Jesus, particuiarly on a cross, has been a big stumbling block to followers of Islam since its very beginning. Mohammed himself said that when Jesus comes for judgment in the last day, he will break the cross. The death of Jesus is the major theme that has been debated, time after time, between Muslims and Christians and between Muslim scholars themselves.

The Lord Jesus has commanded us to preach his gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15). We preach Christ crucified to Jews rnd Gentiles. To every one. iniluding our Muslim friends, we must proclaim the essence and necessity of the sacrificial death of Jesus. "God lives in unapproachable light, Whom no one has seen or can see" (1 Tim. 6:16). We cannot know God by our imgination about him, otherwise, he would not be God. The death of Jesus as an atoning sacrifice has revealed to us that God is the most righteous, just and merciful.
In the cross of Jesus, mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed (Ps. 85:10).

Upon hearing of the death of Jesus, you may say my friend: The Qur'an says, "They killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them." Our Ukma (scholars and commentators) say that Allah cast Jesus' likeness upon one of Al-Hewaryeen (his disciples) whom the Jews crucified thinking that he was Jesus, while Jesus was taken alive to heaven.

But I say: In the Qur'an, Jesus says, "Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again). " So, it is clear that Jesus did die.
After his resurrection from the dead, he was taken  alive to heaven.

But you my friend say: No, Jesus did not die. He was taken alive to heaven and will come again on the day of judgment and stay on earth for 40 years. Then he will die and be buried by Muslims.

But I reply: "My friend: The Qur'an says of  Yehia (John the Baptist) the same words that are said of Jesus: "Peace on him the day he was born, the day that he dies, and the day that he will be raised up to life (again). We know that Yehia dred like the others.
According to this verse, Jesus died like Yehia.
Muslim: But our Ulama tell us that Jesus will die in the future when he comes and stays on earth for 40 years.
Christian: My friend, it is clear from the Qur'an that Jesus did, physically, die in the past, not in the future. It says: "Behold! Allah said: 'OJesus! I willtake thee (causing you to die) and raise thee to myself 'and

'I (Jesus) was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when thou didst take me up (caused me to die) thou wast the Watcher over them'."

God spoke many times in the past, in the Torah, that Christ would come and die as a ransoming sacrifice for every one who would believe in him.

Now You my Muslim friend say: But why do I need
someone to die as ransom for me? Allah is omnipotent end c,rn forgive me without an atonement

But I reply: "My friend: The idea of the  atonement sacrifice is in the Qur'an. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. In order that his son not be sacrificed, God ransomed him with a lamb. Even in the Qur'an, Allah sard, 'And we ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice."
Accordingly, Muslims celebrate Eed Ul- Adha (he feast of Sacrifice). The Qur'an also says: 'Allah has already ordained for you (O men) the dissolution of your oaths." The Qur'an commentators state that the dissolution of an oath is by a ransoming sacrifice.

Then you my Muslim friend say: But we forgive people who trespass against us by just forgetting  what they do to us. If we, human beings, can do that, cannot the almighty God do the same?

But I reply: "My friend: Firstly, when we forgive those who trespass against us, this does not mean that God will automatically forgive them. To be forgiven by God, they themselves have to confess their sins and ask God to forgive them. If I sin against you, my sin will be, first and foremost, against God.

The Torah tells us that the wrfe of Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard, askedJoseph to sleep with her. He refused and said to her; "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Gen. 39:9). David, the king and prophet, committed adultery and killed. In El-Zabowr (Psalms) we  read thar he confessed to God and said: ' Against you, you only, have I sinned and done  what is evil in your sight" (Ps. 51:4).

Second, God cannot sin, and cannot forgive sin by just forgetting it. The Injil (New testament)  says "if we are faithless, he will remain faithful,  for he cannot disown himself " (2 Tim. 2:13 ).

Yes, he is a merciful, compassionste and loving,  God. He is also, holy and just. Therefore, he cannot and his nature and essence do not allow him to forgive sinners without dealing with their sin.

But you my Muslim friend say; Why shedding blood?  Can't we offer God any gift without killing an animal  or a man like Jesus? Is God blood-thirsty?

But I reply: When God permitted man to eat meat after the flood of Noah, God commanded man not to eat meat that has the lifeblood (Gen. 9:4). In the book of Leviticus, God also says: 'Any person who has any blood, I will set my face against the person who eats blood, and will cut him off from his people. For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life" (Lev l7: 10, 1 I ).
God is not bloodthirsty but we know that there is no one who has not sinned, and the Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23 ). Accordingly, all the unforgiven sinners will be punished by eternal death, in hell. Because all of us have sinned, al1 of us deserve death, and nothing can make atonement for man's death but mans death. Because man's life is in his blood, therefore, his blood must be shed unless a substitute can be found.

In the past, in the Torah, God commanded his people to offer sacrifices as a substitute for their own blood. When they slaughtered a living creature, animal or bird, they could see it suffering and dying. Then, they would know how sin is utterly sinful.
But, at the same time, animal is not equal to man. Therefore, blood of animal sacrifices could not and cannot forgive sins or make atonement for man. That is whyJesus sacrificed himself for us.

But you reply: Vhy is it specificallyJesus who dies for people? Vhy does not God sacrifice another man or an angel and not Jesus, his righteous prophet?

I then say; My friend, the person who can make atonement by his death for man, before God, has to be:
> A man, so that he can be equal to man and redeem him.
> Sufficient for all people, every where, and throughout the history. Otherwise, each believer would need a man to die as a ransom for him.
>An uncreated person. Otherwise, he would be owned by his creator, God.
Consequently, he would not be able to offer himself to God because he already belongs to God.
.>A sinless one. Otherwise, he would need someone else to die for him.
>Unlimited in his greatness for sin is against God who has no limit in his greatness and the redeemer has to be sufficient for the reouirements of the holiness and justice of this great unlimited God.

If God offers to put to death a sinless or righteous one instead of sinful people, he will be unjust. But if he punishes people because of their sins, and takes their punishment upon himself instead, he will be a just, merciful and loving God; he will show people the deepest and greatest love ever. That is what God really did. The Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, the Holy One, the unlimited one in his greatness, came to us and lived amongst us as e norm'rl mrn. but without sin. He sacrificed himself as the atonement for you. If you believe that Isa died and rose again for you. Then you will  will not perish at the judgement,  but have eternal life. I pray you will do this now.

Fayek Iskander was ordained a Presbytertan minister in Egpt in 1978 and came to Australia in 1992. Now a minister of the PCA, he works as a missionary with  Australian Presbyterian World Mission.

Please contact me through this website if you believe you are now a follower of Isa and I will suggest some resources  to help you in this new journey you are on.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 February 2011 21:29  

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