While Muslims confirm that Jesus had committed no sins, was born of a virgin and performed miracles, they reject Christian beliefs that he is the Christ, that he was crucified, and that he resurrected. In other words, they reject the very foundation of Christianity. As St. Paul asserted, without the resurrection, Christians have nothing.
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-17).
Muslims claim that God took Jesus to heaven prior to the crucifixion, so many believe that someone else was crucified in Jesus’ place. They further believe Jesus will reappear on the earth in the end times – yet he will be inferior to the Imam Qaim ( Abu’l-Qasim Muhammad ibn al-Mahdi). Their “Christ” is the Mahdi (who tries to substitute himself for Jesus) – yet their descriptions of the Mahdi correspond with Christian descriptions of the anti-Christ as revealed in the Book of Revelation. They believe the Mahdi is superior to Jesus, as reported in their traditions:
“None of us is without a tyrant ruler of his time dominating him, except for this Imam Qaim, behind whom will Prophet Isa (Jesus) pray. (The Promised Mahdi, p. 171).
Portending the Mahdi
They further believe the Mahdi will destroy all non-believers when he arrives:
“On seeing the fulfillment of many of the signs promised in the traditions, a large number of unbelievers will turn towards Islam. Those who persist in their disbelief and wickedness shall be killed by the soldiers of the Mahdi. The only victorious government in the entire world will be that of Islam and people will devotedly endeavor to protect it. Islam will be the religion of everyone, and will enter all the nations of the world.”
“The Mahdi will offer the religion of Islam to the Jews and the Christians; if they accept it, they will be spared, otherwise they will be killed. Thus, for example, the following tradition in which Ibn Bukayr asks Imam Rida the interpretation of the verse: ‘To Him submits everything that is in the heavens and the earth, in obedience and in aversion.'”
The Imam relates:
The particular verse is revealed in reference to the Qa’im. When he appears, he will offer the religion of Islam to the Jews, Christians, Sabians, and the disbelievers in the east and the west. Anyone who willingly accepts Islam will be asked to pray, give alms, and perform all the obligatory acts; and anyone who refuses to do so will be killed. This will continue until there remains none but a believer in and worshipper of One God everywhere on the earth.”
“There are two kinds of hadith: one in favor and the other objecting [to the death of the Christians and Jews]. However, it must be pointed out that those traditions that agree with the Qur’an have preponderance over those that do not, and therefore the latter must be of necessity rejected as unreliable. Accordingly, the Jews and the Christians will remain under the government of the twelfth Imam, but they will have abandoned their belief in the trinity and all forms of disbelief connected with associating partners to God, and become worshippers of One God.” (https://www.al-islam.org/al-imam-al-mahdi-just-leader-humanity-ayatullah-ibrahim-amini/chapter-14-signs-appearance-zuhur)
Two Egyptian authors, Muhammad Ibn ‘Izzat and Muhammad ‘Arif wrote a book called “Al Mahdi and the End of Time” where they quote Ka’b al Ahbar, who compared the white horse mentioned in the Book of Revelation to traditional Muslim beliefs about the Mahdi.
“It is clear that this man is the Mahdi who will ride the white horse and judge by the Qur’an (with justice) and with whom will be men with marks of prostration on their foreheads [Marks on their foreheads from bowing in prayer with their head to the ground five times daily].”
The Mahdi is also believed to come during a time of turmoil, initially bringing world peace as the head of one world government. He will be granted supernatural powers from Allah, which he will use to work miracles and earn alliances. He will invade Israel and will rule from Jerusalem for approximately seven years. Then he will take control of the world, implementing Sharia law and eliminating any Jews and Christians who refuse to convert to Islam. His army will carry black flags with the word “punishment” on them. These descriptions correlate with the anti-Christ in the Book of Revelation.
The Mahdi and the Book of Revelation
“I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, ‘Come!’ Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:1-8)
“Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” – (Revelation 12:17)
“The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?’
The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
Whoever has ears, let them hear. ‘If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.’ This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” (Revelation 13:4-10)
What does the Quran say about Jesus?
According to the Quran in the following chapters (Surah), we learn this of the Prophet Isa (Jesus):
“That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;-but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. (4:157)
“O People of the Book [Christians and Jews]! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not ‘Trinity:’ desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. (4:171)
“In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” (5:17)
“And in their footsteps we sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.” (5:46)
“Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food.” (5:75)
“Allah will say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah?’ He will say: ‘Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart.’” (5:117)
“They say: ‘(Allah) Most Gracious has begotten a son!’ That they should invoke a son for (Allah) Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (Allah) Most Gracious that He should beget a son.” (19:88, 19:91-92)
Biblical verses about Jesus
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” – 1 John 2
“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. – 1 John 20-23
In conclusion, a holy war is in the future of the world. For 1,878 years the world was without the country of Israel, so predictions about the anti-Christ or the Mahdi could not have come true. Yet following World War II in 1948, compassion for the Jewish diaspora erupted, leading to the formation of the nation of Israel.
Furthermore, the U.S. recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.
Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.
But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.” – President Donald Trump
In recent years, a group who calls itself the Sanhedrin in Israel has been discussing the construction of a “Third Temple.” Recall Daniel’s prophecy concerning the end times.
“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.” (Daniel 11:31)
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand–” (Matthew 24:15)
Christians should not ignore today’s trends in Europe and the Middle East where Islam is growing. Muslims do not revere Jesus; they deny his divinity and the foundation upon which Christianity has been built: the resurrection. They claim Jesus will return, yet will pray behind the Mahdi. They further claim Jesus will deny his own divinity – and will say he never claimed to the Son of Man.
Jesus stated he is the Son of Man over eighty times in the Gospels. Further, due to his claims of divinity and direct reference to the prophet Daniel’s prophecies of the Son of Man, the Jewish priests demanded that he be killed for “blasphemy.”
“Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?
‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’
The high priest tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?’ he asked. ‘You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’
They all condemned him as worthy of death.” (Mark 14:60-64)
C.S. Lewis said it best when referencing the notion that Jesus is a mere prophet.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (CS Lewis, Mere Christianity).