Resurrection and ascension into heaven of Isa Al Masih
Surah Al Miriam 19, 33
“… and the day I will be raised alive.”
Injiil, Matthew 27 (CEV) The crucifixion (3)(Jesus Is Buried) 57 That evening a rich disciple named Joseph from the town of Arimathea 58 went and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate gave orders for it to be given to Joseph, 59 who took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. 60 Then Joseph put the body in his own tomb that had been cut into solid rock and had never been used. He rolled a big stone against the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 All this time Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb. (Guards on the tomb) 62 On the next day, which was a Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees went together to Pilate. 63 They said, “Sir, we remember what that liar said while he was still alive. He claimed that in three days he would come back from death. 64 So please order the tomb to be carefully guarded for three days. If you don’t, his disciples may come and steal his body. They will tell the people that he has been raised to life, and this last lie will be worse than the first one.” 65 Pilate said to them, “All right, take some of your soldiers and guard the tomb as well as you know how.” 66 So they sealed it tight and placed soldiers there to guard it.
My dear fellow Muslim and fellow student of the holy books. Before we go on now to the other two historic sensations of the first resurrection to a new body life and ascension of Isa Al Masih to heaven we must pause a minute in the search of his true identity.
We have now arrived at zero point in world history. It is Saturday 4th April 33AD and it seems that Satan had won victory by destroying the savior of mankind at that Roman cross at Jerusalem in Palestine. Unless Allah himself in his mercy actually does something right the next day, Isa would be proven to be a liar, deceiving his closest companions in this world and all of humanity with an empty promise. Unless Allah had acted out his plan faithfully, there would be no hope for us for to live together with him for eternity, no hope for forgiveness, no solution for the world’s sin problem, whether we be Muslim, Christian or belong to any other religion.
But Allah did act on the third day; and again, the Jews tried to prevent the next biggest miracle in human history by guarding the tomb where Isa laid. They were afraid of the disciples to make up a fake resurrection story themselves, in order to fool humanity. For us true Muslim, we have more than two witnesses to believe his coming back to life is factual historic truth, I have laid out here two records from the Injil, namely Matthew’s gospel as well as Luke’s as it is written in the word of Allah, faithfully translated from the original Greek. They are very much complementary stories looking each from a different angle, like the two other remaining gospel accounts:
Injiil, Matthew 28 (CEV) The resurrection (1)(Jesus Is Alive) 1. The Sabbath was over, and it was almost daybreak on Sunday when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 Suddenly a strong earthquake struck, and the Lord’s angel came down from heaven. He rolled away the stone and sat on it. 3 The angel looked as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards shook from fear and fell down, as though they were dead.
5 The angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was nailed to a cross. 6 He isn’t here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come; see the place where his body was lying. 7 Now hurry! Tell his disciples that he has been raised to life and is on his way to Galilee. Go there, and you will see him. That is what I came to tell you.” 8 The women were frightened and yet very happy, as they hurried from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples.
9 Suddenly Jesus met them and greeted them. They went near him, held on to his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid! Tell my followers to go to Galilee. They will see me there.”(Report of the Guard) 11 While the women were on their way, some soldiers who had been guarding the tomb went into the city. They told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 So the chief priests met with the leaders and decided to bribe the soldiers with a lot of money. 13 They said to the soldiers, “Tell everyone that Jesus' disciples came during the night and stole his body while you were asleep. 14 If the governor hears about this, we will talk to him. You won’t have anything to worry about.” 15 The soldiers took the money and did what they were told. The Jewish people still tell each other this story. (What Jesus' Followers Must Do) 16 Jesus' eleven disciples went to a mountain in Galilee, where Jesus had told them to meet him. 17 They saw him and worshiped him, but some of them doubted.
18 Jesus came to them and said: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth!
19 Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teach them to do everything I have told you.
I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.
This is the end of Matthew’s account of the extraordinary events. Luke’s Injil tells us more of the individual witnesses to whom Isa appeared and spoke to. He repeatedly made clear that the Messiah would had to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, as he told them and as it had been written in the Law of Moses,(Tawrat) the Prophets (Anbian) and the Psalms (Zaboor):
Injil, Luke 24, 1-53 (NIV)(Jesus Has Risen) 1. On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
(On the Road to Emmaus) 13 Now that same day two of them were
going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about
everything that had happened. 15 As
they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up
and walked along with them; 16 but they
were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he asked.“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.(Jesus Appears to the Disciples) 36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened
their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He
told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will
suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and
repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all
nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
On Sunday morning, April 5th, 33AD historic miracle of Isa Al Masih’s new body resurrection took place, which is celebrated ever since by Sunday being the worldwide holiday and day off worldwide, including Pakistan. In addition, Easter (Qayamat Al Masih) is the Eid celebration of a victorious Isa Al-Masih each spring at a weekend of a similar time set. His death was not in vain. On the Sunday after His death, Isa Al-Masih was raised back to life. His was the first bodily resurrection of any human being ever into a immortal body.
B. The bodily ascension into heaven
Surah Ahl-e-Imran 3, 55
“… and raise you to Myself
and clear you of those who disbelieve (Jews)
Now we need to halt once more for the significance of the resurrection of Isa Al Masih before reading on in the story of ascension. The Injil teaches the new believers that without the resurrection taking place there would be no forgiveness of sin and no hope for the paradise for his followers. In other words Allah’s plan for saving mankind would have been spoiled:
Injil, 1 Corinthians 15, 17-18 (NIV)
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
Injil, Luke 24, 1- 53, continued (NIV)
48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
(The Ascension of Jesus) 50 When
he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany,
he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While
he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple,
praising God. The witnesses of Isa’s ascension into heaven were many and
the Injil is very clear on his being seated there next to Allah as the next two
Injil, Hebrews 1:3 (NIV)
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Injil, 1 Peter 3, 22 (CEV)
22 Christ is now in heaven, where he sits at the right side of God. All angels, authorities, and powers are under his control.
Every Muslim I have met so far believes that Isa is now alive in heaven, from where he will come back again. As Muslims we hold different believes on when, where and with whom he will return. However, few are informed or take note that he is part of Allah united sitting on the right hand side of the throne in heaven. It is noticeable that in the case of Stephen, the first martyr for his name, stoned by the Jews for blasphemy, Isa would stands up in honor for the one follower, faithful until death:
Injil Acts 7, 55-56 (NIV)
55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Alhamdulillah. There is much more to read in the Injil, and there is much more which could have been written about him. However, who would take the time and effort, when most are not even able to study and understand the Holy Qur’an in detail. In hope this will lead to a more saving understanding:
Injil, John 20, 30-31 (CEV)
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Injil, John 21, 25 (CEV)
25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
In summary of the death, resurrection and ascension, as a true Muslim, we learn that Isa Al-Masih is referred to as “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of this world” (Injil, John 1:39, 36), see Chapter 4 with Yahiya’s testimony. He became the Passover Lamb for the whole world, to save people from death and eternal hellfire. Only Isa Al-Masih could be the Passover Lamb because He is the only person who never sinned, as we see in Chapter 2.
He said to his closest friends, the disciples, just days before he died:
Injil, Matthew 26:28 (NIV)
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”
Christians now call the Friday before Easter Good Friday. Many find it strange to call it “good” since Isa Al-Masih was killed that day. But it is good for all people that He was sacrificed. He became the ransom for all people's sins:
Injil, Mark 10:45 (NIV)
45 For even the Son of Man
did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for
Freedom from sin is promised to those who accept the sacrifice of Isa Al-Masih as the payment (punishment) for their sins, both past and future
Injil, 1st John, 1, 9 (NIV)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.
Isa Al-Masih is God's gift. He is this
perfect sacrifice. He has provided salvation as a gift to us.
Injil, Romans 3, 23 (CEV)
23 All of us have sinned
and fallen short of God’s glory. 24 But God treats us much
better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and
sets us free from our sins. 25-26 God sent Christ to be our
sacrifice. Christ offered his life’s blood, so that by faith in him we could
come to God. And God did this to show that in the past he was right to be
patient and forgive sinners. This also shows that God is right when he accepts
people who have faith in Jesus.
One perfect sacrifice is enough to
fulfill the requirement of God’s law for all people for all time.
Isa Al Masih, the carpenter of Nazareth, changed the wood of the cross into the door to life for all true Muslim seekers. That is the very heart of the Injiil – the cross has the power to transform us. Minus is turned to plus, negative to positive. Through the cross, darkness changes to light, death to life, hate to love, sin to forgiveness, chains to freedom, fear to faith, despair to joy, brokenness to wholeness, and hell to heaven. It happened to me and will happen to you now. How? Isa said “ask and you shall receive”. Ask Him to forgive your sins and come into your heart. He will do it now. Alhamdulillah.