A perfect Unit

Dear readers,
I would like to summarise here the most important points about the unity of the Tora, the Gospel and the Qur’an, but not without saying first why I think this is so incredibly important. When GOD had noticed that it is difficult for us human beings to listen to His commandments, even if He gives us the blessing of Paradise- or perhaps just because of that – He withdrew and left us here on earth (supposedly) alone, of course He is always with us.

The only way in which GOD speaks to us today, and also checks whether we seek and recognise Him and also follow Him, is first of all very directly through His Word that He has given us through His prophets. And secondly, indirectly through the fruits of our labours, or globally through the history of this world and how it is developing.

In the Qur’an paradise is often mentioned but only once in connection with a very concrete action. This is why I am convinced, this verse is so important: “If they followed the Tora and the Gospel, and what was sent down to them from their LORD, then truly they would be fed on what is above them and at their feet.”  (Sure V, verse 66).

Now one would have to think that Muslims would study and follow the Tora and the Gospel inquisitively. Instead, however, the teaching has spread among Muslims, that the Tora and the Gospel are falsified, which would contradict the Qur’an and the verse just mentioned above (and so many other verses in the Qur’an, see more in “Bible in Qur’an”).

The Qur’an describes the situation, this concerns Jews and Christians and Muslims equally, as follows: “Mankind were one community, and GOD sent (unto them) Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the Scripture with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed. And only those unto whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it, after clear proofs had come unto them, through hatred one of another. But GOD guides the believers to the truth about which they have been divided with His permission, for GOD guides whom He wills to the straight path.” (Sure II, verse 213)

Doesn’t this key fit into this world? Does it make sense that Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in the same GOD, each of them having received a scripture, believing that this scripture alone is sufficient?

Also in practice the scriptures complement each other perfectly. For example, holidays and two special weeks exist only in the Tora, prayer times during the day and a month of fasting exist only in the Qur’an, and ethically, no other scripture sets interpersonal accents as much as the Gospel.

The Tora is mainly about the world and worldly commandments, the Gospel about man and charity, and the Qur’an about GOD, worship and the hereafter.

The Qur’an says: “And this your community is one community, because I am the LORD of you all. So stay aware of Me!’; But they became divided and split into sects, and each party enjoys what they have.” (Sure XXIII, verses 52-53)

And wouldn’t this interpretation also be the key to social peace, also and especially with regard to Israel and the Middle East?

Professor Dr Stefan Leimgruber and Dr Andreas Renz write in their book “Christians and Muslims – what unites them, what distinguishes them” (and as far as Muslims is concerned, also Jews): “But a sweeping, unrestricted recognition of Muhammad’s prophetic claim and the Qur’an’s claim to revelation and thus Islam’s claim to salvation is opposed by the fact that the Qur’an explicitly negates some central Christian beliefs. This is on the one hand the trinitarian GOD-concept as well as the GOD-Sonship of Jesus, on the other hand the historical fact as well as the significance of the death of Jesus on the cross for salvation.”

In order to be able to read the scriptures as a unit the following points cause a problem:
1. Jesus is man and prophet, or GOD,
2. the designation of Jesus as the son of GOD,
3. the crucifixion of Jesus, which the Qur’an seems to negate at first sight,
4. and the significance of the crucifixion of Jesus for salvation.

The resolution of these points of conflict is, I think, not so difficult at all, and I would like to take a brief look at it with you.

1. On closer inspection, Jesus says at no point in the gospel that he is GOD. But rather he said “you will understand, that I do nothing in my own name, but only say what the FATHER has taught me”; (John 8:40). Or similarly, “and the word that you have heard is not from me, but from the FATHER who sent me”; (John 14:24). And Jesus says: “But the hour is coming, and it is already here, when the true worshippers will worship the FATHER in spirit and in truth; for so the FATHER wants to be worshipped“; (John 4:23). And this is exactly where the Qur’an leads us when it repeatedly emphasises that GOD has not taken a son.

2. But is that why the designation of Jesus as the Son of GOD in the Gospel contradicts the Qur’an/Tora? I mean no, because the Qur’an confirms that Jesus had no physical father. Mary’s pregnancy was therefore a very extraordinary affair, and the FATHER of Jesus was only GOD.
Moreover, through the very last Prophet of the Jewish Bible, Malachi, GOD says: “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a FATHER, where is the honor due Me? If I am a MASTER, where is the respect due Me?” says the LORD Almighty.” (Malachi 1:6)
So could it be accidentally, that the two prophets who came just after, are called “Son of GOD” concerning Jesus and “Slave of GOD” (Abd ALLAH) concerning Prophet Muhammad?
So the Bible looks in the Past with Jesus being borne as literal the son of GOD, showing us how to honor GOD as a son, and the Qur’an looks to future in which all people who fulfil the will of GOD will be one community, including the prophets, including Jesus.

3. Now among Muslims the opinion has become firmly established that it is not Jesus who was crucified but someone else in his place. But the Qur’an only says: “they killed him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them… they killed him not for certain. But GOD took him up unto Himself. GOD was ever Mighty, Wise.” ( IV 157-158)

But does this passage mean that Jesus hasn’t been crucified? Is it not rather that Jesus rose from the dead and thus simply didn’t die? So he was not killed and in this sense he was not crucified either. GOD did not abandon his messenger to death, but He saved him and raised him to Himself. And this is exactly what the Qur’an confirms.

4. Christians think they are redeemed by the death of Jesus, some passages in the gospel give this impression when Jesus speaks of his flesh and blood. In the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) in breaking the bread and giving the cup, Jesus speaks of his flesh and blood. And also in the gospel of John, Jesus takes up this parable, but here he explains the closer meaning to his disciples afterwards: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no use. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:62-63). Flesh and blood are therefore a parable for the WORD and the SPIRIT. Understanding this is very important, because Jesus explains in the synoptic gospels: “. . . He (Jesus) spoke to them only in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when he was alone with them” (Mark 4:34). Wine and bread, flesh and blood are thus a parable for the WORD, that is, the SPIRIT OF GOD. “Blessed are rather those who hear the word of GOD and follow it” (Luke 11:28).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with GOD, and the Word was GOD.” (John 1:1)

So it is not at all difficult to resolve the supposed contradictions, and the practical implementation is not difficult either.

In Tora & Gospel & Qur'an by Stephan Effenberger at 07. April 2020

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