Muslim Jesus vs. Biblical Jesus
In the Quran, Jesus is referred to as Isa. Consequently, some Christians quickly say, “Muslims believe in Jesus.” However, I maintain that the quranic Isa is not the same as the biblical Jesus that I worship.
Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Messiah. Chapter 19 of the Quran describes the birth of John the Baptist, the annunciation of the birth of Isa by the angel, and the actual birth of Isa. However, that is where the similarity ends. In the quranic account, Jesus speaks from his cradle, denies his deity, and, in an attempt to deny that he was the Son of God, declares, “It is not befitting to the majesty of Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him!” The Quran goes on to explain how Jesus could be born without a father: “When He (Allah) determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is” (Quran 19:35, Yusuf Ali Translation). The same chapter (sura) goes on to proclaim disaster for those who say Allah has begotten a son (Quran 19:88-92), and in 9:30 the Quran calls down God’s curse on all who say Christ is the Son of God. In a footnote on 19:89, Ali comments that this belief is a “stupendous blasphemy against Allah.”
Muslims believe that Isa ascended into heaven. In denying the crucifixion of Isa, the Quran mentions that, “God raised him up unto Himself;” (Quran 4:157). Some Muslims take from this that Isa is in the presence of God. However, most Muslims believe that Jesus is in an inferior level of heaven. The Hadith, the oral traditions of what Muhammad said and did, have been written down, sorted, and collected. The hadith provide the basis for what Muslims believe and practice. Various hadith describe Jesus as being in the second or third level of heaven. One popular tradition (Miraj) tells of Muhammad’s ascension into heaven. On his way to the seventh heaven, he mentions seeing Jesus and John the Baptist in the second heaven. By comparison, Adam was in the first level, Joseph greeted him in the third level, Enoch was in the fourth heaven, Aaron the fifth, and Moses was in the sixth. He met with Allah in the seventh heaven, and the only other prophet mentioned there was Abraham. Volume 4, Book 54, Number 429: Narrated Malik bin Sasaa: “Then we ascended into the second heaven … Then I met Isa and Yahya (John) who said, ‘You are welcomed, O brother and a Prophet.’” From The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan (Medina: Islamic University of Medina, 1391 AH).
Unlike Christians, who believe that Jesus is coming again to receive His Church unto himself, establish His kingdom, defeat Satan and the Anti-Christ, and judge the nations, Muslims believe that Isa is returning to establish Islam as the world’s religion, marry, father children, die, and wait to be resurrected and judged like all people. According to Muslim belief, Isa will break all the crosses, kill all the swine in the world, and help to establish Islam as the true religion.
Christians believe that Jesus is deity. He is the Son of God, born of a virgin, crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended to heaven, seated at the right hand of God and exalted (Acts 2:22-36). Only Jesus’ atonement provides salvation. The attempt to strip Jesus of His deity and leave Him as a mere human erodes the basic Christian concept of the nature of God.
Anything less than a concept of God that includes Jesus as the Son of God is not the same God I worship.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death
to keep its hold on him.