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The Gospel According to Islam

Copyright 1979 by Dr. Ahmad Shafaat

Chapter 1 Chapter 4 Chapter 7 Chapter 10 Chapter 13 Chapter 16 Chapter 19 Chapter 22 Chapter 25
Chapter 2 Chapter 5 Chapter 8 Chapter 11 Chapter 14 Chapter 17 Chapter 20 Chapter 23 Chapter 26
Chapter 3 Chapter 6 Chapter 9 Chapter 12 Chapter 15 Chapter 18 Chapter 21 Chapter 24 Chapter 27

CHAPTER 22

  1. Then spoke Jesus to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

  2. All therefore that they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not you after their works: for they say, and do not.

  3. All their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

  4. And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

  5. And greetings in the market places, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (Note 1)

  6. And after two days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread; and the chief priests, and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft.

  7. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people; (Note 2) even though many of the people would not fight for Jesus.

  8. And Jesus knowing that the chief priests and the scribes sought now to take him by force, he hid himself with his disciples. (Note 3)

  9. Thus ended the public ministry of this messenger of God to Israel. He came to his people with a sign from their Lord in that he would make for them the figure of a bird out of clay, and would breath into it and it would become a bird by God's leave:

  10. And he would heal those born blind, and the lepers, and would quicken the dead by God's leave:

  11. And he would declare to them what they ate, and what they stored in their houses.

  12. Surely in this there was sign for them if they did have any faith.

  13. But they received him not, save a few.

  14. And the unbelievers plotted and God too planned, and God is the best of planners. (Note 4)

  15. He made Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and the unbelievers plots a means of their own punishment and a means for the coming of the Savior of the nations. (Note 5)

  16. And this is the parable concerning the children of Israel and the prophets sent to them.

  17. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the wine fat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.

  18. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from them of the fruit of the vineyard.

  19. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.

  20. And again he sent to them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.

  21. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.

  22. The lord of the vineyard therefore came and destroyed the husbandmen, and gave the vineyard unto others.

  23. So likewise God will take away the kingdom of heaven from the children of Israel because of the way they treated John and Jesus and other prophets, and He will give it to the children of Ishmael and Kedar:

  24. As the Scriptures say, The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.

  25. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. (Note 6)

  26. Thus did God make the coming of Jesus a preparation for the Savior of the nations, and Jesus did indeed announce his coming.

  27. As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before your face, which shall prepare your way before you.

  28. And the night Jesus hid himself from the world, he had a vision and he saw a fig tree, very old and without much fruit.

  29. And he saw people coming to it, and seeking of its fruit that they might satisfy their hunger and thirst, but they find nothing but leaves.

  30. And Jesus curseth the fig tree and it withered from the roots.

  31. Then there came another planter from afar and he planted a tree that it might give fruit unto the end of time.

  32. And people of all kinds came to it and ate of its fruit. (Note 7)

Go to Chapter 23


 

Notes (Chapter 22)

1Mark 12:38-40; Matt. 23:1-6. Jesus still accepts the authority of Moses and has not the slightest idea that in a few days he will die to free his people from the Mosaic Law (as Matthew seems to think) . He is only disapproving the rigidity, extremism and hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees in general. [return]

2Mark 14:1-2; Matt. 26:1-5; Luke 22:1-2. Temple authorities could not catch Jesus by words, so they plan to use force. The disturbance he had caused by casting the traders and money changers out of the temple was serious enough from the point of view of the authorities, but perhaps they may have ignored it were it not the fact that they found Jesus too clever and ambitious to be left alone. The canonical gospels imply that the chief priests had heard that Jesus might be planning to launch himself as the Messiah (Mark 14:61, etc). This might have come from hearsay generated by some of Jesus' ambiguous claims of Messiahship or the disciples' public profession of it, or the information might have come from someone close to Jesus, such as Judas Iscariot. In any case, the information had the effect of increasing the authorities' concern about Jesus, and they decided to arrest him before he went too far. To minimize the public discontent, they planned a secret arrest for the last day of the festival, hoping that the pilgrims will disperse before the news of the action gets out. They did not want to wait for too long either because then Jesus might have left Judea and successfully avoided his arrest. [return]

3John 12:34-36. The Gospels do not say how Jesus came to know of the chief priests' plot. But it seems that Jesus had disciples or sympathizers among the temple authorities (Cf. John 18:16), and it was probably such a sympathetic priest who informed Jesus about plans of his arrest. This brought an end to Jesus' dramatic performance during the last few days of the feast and put him on the defensive. His disappearance from the public scene made the authorities only more determined to arrest him. [return]

4Qur'an 3:49-54. Jesus' public ministry has now come to an end. If at this point we look back at it, it does not appear very successful. We find that by and large Jesus' people rejected or ignored him. The stories about his extraordinary thaumaturgical performances in Galilee and his bold speech and action in Jerusalem during the festival week won him same admiration, but for the most part this admiration was indifferent and temporary. In Galilee, he managed to make and keep only a few dozens of disciples, while, in Jerusalem, the attention he gained did not win him any real support: there was, for example, no uproar when he was arrested and condemned to death.

Yet whatever little following Jesus left behind turned out to be sufficient to provide the desperately needed nucleus for crystallization of discontent within Judaism and in the Roman empire, and there evolved a political force that defeated the two systems that collaborated in trying to put an end to Jesus' mission. This was the planning of God, the best of planners. [return]

5The force of opposition generated by Jesus' work (see Note 4 above), however, did not lead to anything very positive until the advent of Islam. What the world needed was a basis for constructive integration of the experience of mankind to advance it on the path of spiritual and material development. Christianity could not provide such a basis. For one thing, it itself lacked integrity. For another, it was too exclusive to even see the need for such integration. Jesus was the only begotten son of God, he was the way, and salvation was possible only within the Church (John 1:18; 14:6; 15:4-7). Without Jesus and outside the church, there was darkness and death (John 15:4-7), not possibly valid experience to be integrated. Islam, on the other hand, by teaching true unity and transcendence of God and genuinely rising above exclusiveness was able to provide the much needed basis for constructive integration of human achievements. In this highly significant development Christianity, of course, played an important role. First, it prepared the way for Islam itself, and, second, it considerably enriched human experience even after the advent of Islam. [return]

6Cf. Mark 12:1-12, Matt. 21:33-46; Luke 20:9-18; Isa. 5:1-7. The synoptists no doubt look toward the Gentile mission (even though they have preserved ample evidence to show that the question of such a mission did not rise during Jesus' life [cf. Note 1, Chapter 4]. [return]

7Cf. Mark 11:12-14, 20. Matt. 21:18-19. [return]

 


 

CHAPTER 23

  1. And the next day Jesus said to his disciples, He that has a purse, let him take it, and he that has no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

  2. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors.

  3. And they brought two swords and showed these to Jesus, and he said, By God's leave, it is enough for the faithless. (Note 1)

  4. Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him to them.

  5. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

  6. And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said to him, Where will you we go and prepare that you may eat the Passover?

  7. And he sends forth two of his disciples, and said to them, Go you into the city to such a man, and say to him, The Teacher said, Where will I keep the Passover with my disciples?

  8. And he will take you to a large upper room, and there make ready for us.

  9. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said to them: and they made ready the Passover. (Note 2)

  10. And when they had sung an hymn, and the supper was ended, (Note 3) Jesus began to teach them, and to tell them all things that must come to pass after him,

  11. Saying, I came to reform the traditions of the elders, and to clean the house of prayer, but my people seek to kill me.

  12. Verily I say to you, the temple is no more a house of God, but a den of thieves, and a symbol of the dead past;

  13. And there shall come a time, when this structure of stones shall be thrown down, and destroyed with utter destruction. (Note 4)

  14. And God will smite the children of Israel, because that they rejected His messengers, and will scatter them like unto sheep without a shepherd.

  15. And then there shall arise the Man (Note 5) of perfection with great power and glory; and he will build a new house of prayer, that men may worship the One True Living God in spirit and in truth.

  16. And he will be a staff to the righteous, on which they will support themselves and not fall, and he will be the light of the nations, and the hope of those who are troubled in heart.

  17. All who dwell on earth will fall down, and bow the knee after him, and bless and laud and celebrate the Lord.

  18. And for this cause has he been chosen before the creation of the world; and before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were made, his name was named before the Lord. (Note 6)

  19. Peter therefore asked Jesus, Teacher, tell us what is that blessed name.

  20. And Jesus answering said, His name shall be Admirable Counselor, as it is prophesied by Esias:

  21. For us a child is given, for us a son is born: and the dominion shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Admirable Counselor, Angel of Mighty Counsel. (Note 7)

  22. And when he is come, the kings of the earth, and the strong who possess the power, will be of downcast countenance and the word of his mouth shall slay them; for God will put His own words in his mouth, as He promised to Moses.

  23. Saying, I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto you, and I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken to My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require a reckoning of him. (Note 8)

  24. And all the people of the world will hearken to his words, save those who follow the way of the Antichrist.

  25. For the Antichrist covers me and hides the truth from them.

  26. Howbeit when he will be let loose, God will destroy him, and will reveal me again, and the stumbling-block will be removed.

  27. Then will all the nations of the world follow the Counselor, and bless and laud and worship the One True Living God.

Go to Chapter 24


 

Notes (Chapter 23)

1Luke 22:35-38. In response to the information that temple authorities might take him by force, Jesus unsuccessfully tried to provide some defense for himself. The disciples could provide only two swords or knives. Yet with God planning for him, Jesus' resources were ultimately sufficient to defeat his adversaries. [return]

2Mark 14:12-17; Matt. 26:17-19; Luke 22:7-14; John 13:1-2. The synoptic description of the preparation of the last supper shows that Jesus was hiding himself from most of the outsiders and moving very cautiously. The date of the last supper is in some doubt. The synoptic Gospels set it as a Passover meal, while the fourth Gospel puts it a day earlier. John's dating is less reliable not only because that gospel was written later than the synoptic gospels but also because a theological motivation of its dating is more readily detectable: John wants Jesus' death to coincide with the paschal lamb sacrifice in the temple (and therefore moves back the last supper by a day) to make Jesus truly "the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29; 1 Car. 5:7). [return]

3Mark 14:26. We follow John in omitting the "institution" of the Eucharist and in putting a "farewell discourse" after the supper. It is doubtful whether at the last supper the institution of the Eucharist actually took place; it is more probable that the Eucharist was a practice that got gradually institutionalized after the (claimed) death of Jesus. From the feeding miracles attributed to him and the Gospel allusion to feasts with publicans, it appears that Jesus often had meals with his disciples, probably something after the community meals of the Essenes. As Jesus' messianic consciousness evolved, he probably began to relate these meals with the messianic banquet (cf. Luke 22:16-18). After his (claimed) death, these meals began to be more regular and naturally became occasions for remembering anecdotes from Jesus' life, especially the exciting events that took place after he came to Jerusalem, Moreover, since Jesus did not leave behind any specifically Christian institutions (the Acts indeed tell us that for quite a while after Jesus the Christians continued to be part of the Jewish synagogue community, following Jewish customs and laws and attending synagogue services), sharing of meals was in the beginning the only social practice on which a specifically Christian fellowship could be built within the Jewish community. As a result, the community meals assumed a very unique position in the Christian history and gradually got institutionalized and became an object of theological deliberations. [return]

4Mark 13:2; Matt. 24:2; Luke 21:6; Qur'an 17:7. [return]

5The figure of Man or Son of Man was known to Judaism and other religions before Jesus. In the New Testament, this figure is at times identified with Jesus (Mark 10:33, etc). But at other times it is clearly distinguished from him (e.g., in Luke 12:8: "Everyone who acknowledges me (i.e. Jesus) before men the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God ..."). Since the early church would have no reason to distinguish Jesus from the Son of man if he himself did not make such a distinction, it is more than likely that the identification between Jesus and the Son of man was made by others after him. This view is now shared by an ever-increasing number of New Testament scholars, including Rudolf Bultmann, John Knox, F. Hahn, A. J. B. Higgins, R. H. Fuller, and H. E. Todt.

In the Qumran tradition, the figure of Man was originally probably identical with the eschatological prophet expected in the scrolls and elsewhere in the Jewish tradition on the basis of Deuteronomy 18:18-19 (see G. Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Penguin Books, 1975, p. 50). There is basis to think that Jesus' view of Man derived in part from the Qumran tradition. Thus, in John (14:15-17,25-27; 15:26-27; 16:7-15), Jesus promises a figure bearing the title "Parakletos," which means "Counselor" and Arab Christians expected a messenger called "Ahmad," which means "Admirable" (Qur'an 61:6), and equivalents of the same two names are found in a title ("Admirable Mighty Counselor") given to Man in the scrolls. (See Hymns III, and also Note 1, Chapter 3 and Note 3, Chapter 24.) The expectation of the figure bearing the names "Admirable" and "Counselor" must ultimately go back to Jesus himself, since otherwise Christian tradition cannot be expected to contain references to a future figure implying insufficiency of Jesus. These observations provide further support for the view that Jesus talked about Man or Son of Man as someone other than himself. [return]

6Similitudes of Enoch 46:1-5; 48:1-10; 63:2-16. Tr. Charles. Fragments of other books of the Enoch series have been found at Qumran, and it seems likely that the Similitudes also had contact with the Qumran tradition. It has also been proposed that the Similitudes is not pre-Christian but Jewish-Christian. [return]

7Isa. 9:6. The passage is the ultimate source of the title "Admirable Mighty Counselor" found in the Qumran tradition and the titles "Parakletos" and "Ahmad" used in the Christian prophecies (cf. Note 6 above), and probably also of the title "the Spirit of truly" of John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13. (Cf. Note 3, Chapter 24.) [return]

8Deut. 18:18-19. [return]

 


CHAPTER 24

  1. Then the disciples asked Jesus, Teacher, when will the end be?

  2. And Jesus answering said unto them, Of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not even the angels in heaven, but only the Father. (Note 1)

  3. For the prophets know nothing of the future which they are not taught, and they see nothing which they are not shown.

  4. Watch therefore: for you know not when the day of our Lord comes.

  5. For as the days of Noah were, so shall also the day of our Lord be.

  6. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,

  7. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall the coming of the day of our Lord be. (Note 2)

  8. And it is also known only to God how much longer shall I abide with you.

  9. I therefore bid you that you keep my words, and follow the Law according to what I have taught you.

  10. That you worship the One True Living God in spirit and in truth, and that you love one another.

  11. It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Counselor (Note 3) will not come.

  12. But if I go away, God will send him, that he may teach all the nations,

  13. And abide with them to the end of the age.

  14. I have yet many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now.

  15. Howbeit when the Counselor, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth and teach you all things, for be shall not speak of himself but what things he shall hear that shall be speak; and he will declare things that are to come.

  16. He shall glorify me, because he will receive from the same Spirit, of which I have received. (Note 4)

  17. And after these sayings Jesus solemnly took the covenant of the prophets from his followers.

  18. Saying, God has given you wisdom and a book. Then comes to you the Counselor confirming what is with you, do you believe and render him help? Do you agree and take this God's covenant as binding on you?

  19. They said, We do. And Jesus said, Then bear witness, and God is with you among the witnesses. (Note 5)

Go to Chapter 25


 

Notes (Chapter 24)

1Mark 13:32; Matt. 24:36; Qur'an 33:63; 67:26; 79:42-46. The contradiction between this saying and the promise that the kingdom of God would be established within the lifetime of the first generation of Christians arises because of the failure of the Christian tradition to make distinction between the messianic kingdom and the end of the world, a distinction Jesus himself maintained. (Cf. Note 3, Chapter 19.) Jesus expected the former to be established during his life, while he declared ignorance about the time of the latter. [return]

2Matt. 24:37-39, 42. [return]

3Cf. John 16:7; 14:17; 15:26. In the King James Version of the New Testament, the original Greek title "Parakletos" (often written in English as "Paraclete") is translated , "Comforter", that is, one who consoles the loved ones after someone's death. This translation is, however, rightly rejected by many of the great scholars on the ground that John does not portray the Parakletos as a comforter, nor does the Holy Spirit, with which he is identified in John, take such a role in the Jewish and Christian traditions. Moreover, the statement of John 16:7 ("... it is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, [the Paraclete will not come...") conflicts with the idea of the Paraclete as a comforter since it would be an absurdity to say that someone departs from his loved ones only in order that a consolater may come to console them.

Probably the best explanation of the title is obtained by translating it (with some modern versions) as Counselor and relating the figure with "Geber" of the Qumran scrolls. Apart from the fact that Geber is also called Counselor (Note 5, Chapter 23), there are other close parallels between Geber and John's Paraclete.

  1. One of the primary functions of the Paraclete is to teach (John 14:26; 16:13), and the same is true of Geber whose only explicitly given function is to "instruct the upright in the knowledge of the Most High and teach the wisdom of the sons of heaven to the perfect of way" (All quotations from the Qumran scrolls are from the Community Rule IV and Hymns III in Vermes' translation.)

  2. Both Geber and the Paraclete are associated with lasting works and total manifestation of truth. Thus, with the coming of Geber, an everlasting Covenant will be established with the perfect of way, and "there shall be no more lies and all the works of falsehood shall be put to shame." The Paraclete also brings something lasting and complete; he abides for ever and teaches all things and guides into all truth (John 14:16, 26; 16:13). (That the Paraclete abides forever does not mean that he will be physically immortal but simply that his work will be everlasting. Geber, too, can be said to abide forever, since, in Isaiah 9:6, he is given the title Abi ad, which the Targum of Jonathan renders as "one abiding for ever.")

  3. The writer of Hymns III, speaking probably as the teacher of righteousness who founded the Qumran sect, talks about his sufferings at the hands of his wicked enemies and suggests that he has become a child-bearing crucible from which Geber shall be brought forth painfully, meaning that his sufferings are a means for the coming of Geber. This has a parallel in the introduction of the Paraclete in John 15:26-27 and 16:7 in the context of world's persecution of Jesus and the statement in the latter passage that the departure of Jesus via the cross, painful as it may be for the disciples, is necessary for the coming of the Paraclete.

  4. In John (14:17; 15:26; 16:13), the Paraclete is also called "the Spirit of truth." This title is of extremely rare occurrence in our sources for the New Testament study; and almost all of them rare references are found in one of the Qumran passages about Geber (Community Rule III-IV). The title is not given to Geber in that passage, but the way it closely links him with the total and lasting manifestation of truth and complete and final victory of the spirit of truth over the spirit of falsehood would require only a small step in seeing him as the Spirit of truth in human form or, applying the title to him in a hyperbolic way (something like the way the words of Jesus are called "Spirit" in John 6:63). Additional basis to think that "the Spirit of truth" became one of the titles of Geber is provided by Isaiah 9:6. In the LXX of this passage, which also provided the Qumran tradition with another title of Geber (cf. Note 5, Chapter 23), the man-child ( = Geber) is called "Angel of great counsel"; and since in the Qumran documents the Spirit of truth is referred to by corresponding descriptions or titles, such as "Angel of truth," "Spirit of true counsel," etc., it is quite possible that "Angel of great counsel" and "the Spirit of truth" were understood to be equivalent concepts.

In conclusion, Geber and the Paraclete have corresponding titles and functions and are probably corresponding figures, with the Paraclete being a Christianized form of Geber. [return]

4John 16:12-15, For the title "the Spirit of truth," see the last note. [return]

5Qur'an 3:81. [return]

 


Chapter 1 Chapter 4 Chapter 7 Chapter 10 Chapter 13 Chapter 16 Chapter 19 Chapter 22 Chapter 25
Chapter 2 Chapter 5 Chapter 8 Chapter 11 Chapter 14 Chapter 17 Chapter 20 Chapter 23 Chapter 26
Chapter 3 Chapter 6 Chapter 9 Chapter 12 Chapter 15 Chapter 18 Chapter 21 Chapter 24 Chapter 27

 

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