“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
The Muslim month of Ramadan has just come to an end. It is a month when Muslims the world over fast from the first glimmer of sunrise until sunset every day. During Ramadan Muslim men and women will eat no food nor drink any water until night falls.
Working in an inner city school, I have many Muslim teacher colleagues and friends and teach many Muslim children. A number of times this month in the staff room or classroom, conversations and discussions have begun about the month of Ramadan and what this month means to them as Muslims. On each occasion, when involved, I explained that I am, “a man of the Book,” the Muslim term for a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Deep discussions followed.
Frankly, I was surprised by the response. In each discussion I was told by my Muslim colleagues that Christians and Muslims actually worship the same God—which I disagreed with, and that both Islam and Christianity revere Jesus Christ in exactly the same way, which I also disagreed with.
The general belief from my Muslim friends and colleagues was that there was not really that much of a difference between Christianity and Islam. Often the statement was made that within Islam Jesus is also treated as being a great prophet, perhaps one of the greatest, “just like in Christianity.”
But the Jesus of Christianity, the Jesus I know is so much more than merely a “great prophet.” I gently explained that while many may think that the Islamic Jesus—or Isa, as he is known within Islam, are one and the same person, in reality they are two entirely different people with two very different missions.
The Jesus Christ I know and worship as my Lord and God is not the Isa respected and even venerated within Islam. They are two completely different people.
Muslims, for example, do not believe that Jesus died on the cross. Nor do Muslims believe that Jesus is the penal substitution for sin. There is no penal substitution for sin within Islam. Muslims believe that Jesus was rescued from death by Allah and ascended into heaven in a rapture like event and there he waits, to this day, eager to come back and finish his work on earth.
Muslims do believe in the second coming of their Jesus, or Isa as he is known. This is a fact that surprises many Christians. It is a sad truth that there are many more Muslims anticipating the return of Isa today in our world than there are Christians anticipating the return of Jesus. This, though is where the similarity ends.
In the Islamic tradition, Isa has very specific goals to achieve upon his return. According to Islamic tradition, Isa will return to a place just outside of Damascus, to a mosque and when he does return he will meet the Islamic Mahdi (the Twelfth Imam, the great Awaited One). This Mahdi will be leading a vast army.
Many within Islam are awaiting the arrival of this Twelfth Imam today and believe it will only happen during a time of unprecedented war and chaos. (Much like the war and chaos engulfing the Middle East today.)
Isa will declare himself to be a Muslim and will be asked to lead prayers by the Mahdi, but he will refuse, deferring instead to the Mahdi for this privilege. The Mahdi will lead the prayers and Isa will stand behind him in deference.
Once Isa has made Hajj to Mecca his primary goal will then be to institute and oversee the implementation of Sharia Law throughout the world. This Islamic version of Jesus will then hold the Christian nations to account for “falsely” believing that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and not Allah.
If Christians and Christian nations will not convert immediately to Islam, it will be Isa who will slaughter them and will comprehensively bring an end to Christianity. Isa will then eliminate all other world religions in favor of Islam. Isa will be the greatest Muslim evangelist of all time.
Isa’s other primary role will be to confront and kill the Dajjal—the Islamic antichrist along with all of his followers. All of Dajjal’s followers are Jews. This is what in part accounts for such hatred of the Jews and Israel in the Islamic world today. Muslims believe it will be the Jews who will make up the majority of the followers of their own version of antichrist—the Dajjal.
In the ultimate perversion of biblical truth, it will be Isa himself who leads the final “crusade” against the Jewish nation. Within Islam, it will be Isa who will bring them to the sword and bring an end to their nation once and for all. It will be Isa who will ultimately destroy the Jews, not save them.
Once this is accomplished Isa will marry and have children, after which he will die, be buried and be mourned amongst the children of Islam.
And herein is the fallacy of Islam and all other world religions, including hybrid notions of religion like “Chrislam.” The Isa of Islam is not the Jesus of the Bible.
Why, then, are the air waves and bookstores full of work by Christian leaders who are busy promoting efforts to find common ground between Islam and Christianity?
This effort to promote common ground between the two faiths is remarkably strong from within Islam too, as the unsuspecting comments of my friends and students attested to. Yet how can there possibly be common ground between the two?
The Isa of Islam is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Islamic Isa offers no forgiveness of sins because there is no reconciliation to an Almighty God. There is no propitiation for the sins you have committed.
Isa is not Jesus.
Isa is not the Anointed One of the Lord God Almighty, he is not the Son of Man envisioned by the prophet Daniel. He is not the one looking ‘as if he had been slain’, presented to the Ancient of Days sat on his awesome, glorious throne. Isa is not the one presented with the seven sealed document, the title deeds to the planet Earth and all of the universe, depicted in the book of Revelation.
Isa is not the one in heaven who “all the elders fell down and threw their crowns at His feet.” Nor the one that the whole Heavenly host prostrated themselves before in worship.
Isa is not the same Jesus who walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee two thousand years ago bringing sight to the blind, healing the sick, making the lame walk again, empowering the dumb to bring praise to the God of all Creation.
Isa is not the Jesus who raised little Jairus’ daughter from the dead and then gave her a cuddle. Nor is it the same Jesus who wept when he heard that his friend Lazarus had died because he witnessed the pain and grief his death had caused to those around him.
Isa is not the same Jesus Christ who hung on the cross in agony, despised and rejected of all men, yet who still forgave those who were butchering him before he finally “gave up the ghost.”
Isa cannot relieve you of your sins nor give you relief or comfort if you are suffering, nor would he want to. Isa is not Jesus, the Messiah, the living Christ and our great High Priest. He is not the Son of the living God. Isa is a false Jesus, a replica, a replacement, an empty white washed tomb with empty hope on the outside and inside he only offers desolation, brimming with despair.
The real Jesus is He who says to you today, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”(Matthew 11:28).
It is this Jesus that proclaims, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
The Islamic Isa is not the God-man, Jesus Christ. The real Jesus loves you more than you could ever understand or comprehend, and not a minute of any day goes by when you are not on His mind.
This is the real Jesus, the man who is also God. The same Jesus who was hammered onto a cross and agonized for hours so that you and I could live. The same Jesus that spoke the very words of creation, bringing the universe itself into being. The same Jesus that flung the stars out into space and knows each one of them by name:
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (Psalm 147:4).
This Jesus is the man who could have climbed down from the cross at any moment, bringing to an end the agony that was wracking his body, but who chose instead to stay until the very last drop of his blood was spilt (John 19:34).
Jesus the Christ chose to remain in that agonized state, experiencing every degree of the separation, shame, abandonment and horror that are the portion of the condemned and guilty; (our portions because we are guilty)until the very last dregs of God’s wrath had been poured out upon Him, all so that you and I would not have to endure it.
This is the Jesus who has made those who call on His name the sons and daughters of the living God, heirs of salvation along with Him.
And this Jesus did it for one simple reason: Because he loves you. Isa, by contrast, cares not one jot about you.
The question asked by the man in prison in the book of Acts is echoed by every human heart at some point, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)
The response from Jesus Christ, the God-man, is always the same:
“…He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
The Islamic Isa is not Jesus Christ, despite efforts from many prominent Christians and Muslims who are claiming otherwise. All arguments or insinuations that suggest Isa and Jesus are one and the same, either from Muslims or “progressive” Christians is nothing less than deception.
Believe only in Jesus Christ for your salvation, put your faith in Him alone, and you will live; for salvation is found in no one else:
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Jesus Christ alone is Lord and He will share his glory with no man.