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Bible Correspondence Course

13. The Coming of Isa al-Masih

Among Muslims and many others, Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam (his peace be upon us) or Jesus, is generally known by the title Messiah. In the Qur'an, Isa bin Maryam alone is called the Messiah - Al-Masih. Eleven times He is given this title and occasionally He is referred to by this title without His name. However, the Qur'an does not give an explanation as to why Sayyidna Isa is called the Messiah.

The title 'Messiah' is extremely important to Christians and Jews; and also to Muslims because of references to it in the Qur'an.

The English word 'Christ' comes from the Greek word 'Christos'. The word 'Messiah' comes from Hebrew. Both words mean the same, - "the Anointed One" or "the One set apart for a special purpose".

In the Old Testament this word is sometimes applied to an anointed priest or leader.[1] It was also given to the prophets of God.[2] In addition it was given to the Persian king Cyrus who was anointed by God to prepare the way for the rebuilding of the city and the temple of Jerusalem after its destruction by an earlier king, Nebuchadnezzar.[3]

This title became more important when it was revealed to Hazrat Daniel that the Messiah would come after the rebuilding of Jerusalem.[4] It then became the accepted title of the one who was to be the mighty deliverer and the ruler of God's Kingdom. Not only Hazrat Daniel, but also prophets like Hazrat Isaiah, Hazrat Micah, Hazrat Zechariah and several others spoke frequently of His coming.[5]

1) The Testimony of the Angel

When an Angel appeared to Maryam (Mary) to tell her that she was going to give birth to a son, the Angel said, "You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins"[6]. It was no accident that Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam received this name which means, 'the Lord saves'. After Sayyidna’s birth, an Angel appeared to some shepherds looking after their flocks near Bethlehem. They were terrified, but the Angel said, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord."[7]

2) The Testimony of One Disciple

One day Sayyidna Isa al-Masih asked His disciples, "Who do you say I am?" One of them, Peter, replied that He was indeed the Messiah of God. Sayyidna told him that his understanding was from God, but warned him not to tell anyone.[8] This was because it was not yet time for God to reveal to the Jews that Sayyidna Isa al-Masih was the Messiah. Immediately after Peter's declaration, Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam began to talk of how He would suffer and give up His life. He was underlining the fact that the Messiah, Al-Masih, was to be a suffering Messiah and not one with a sword in His hand and ruling a worldly or physical kingdom.[9]

3) The Testimony of Sayyidna Isa

One day, far away from the big towns and cities, at the side of a well in the despised area of Samaria, Sayyidna Isa al-Masih chose to reveal that He was indeed the Messiah to a person who was an outcast in the eyes of the Jews of that day - a Samaritan woman. After Sayyidna Isa had told her that God was looking for people who would worship Him in spirit and truth, the woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming. When He comes, He will explain everything to us". Sayyidna Isa al-Masih declared, "I who speak to you am He."[10]

After Isa al-Masih had fulfilled His mission and ascended to heaven, the apostles understood God’s unfolding plan and did not hesitate to tell others, boldly declaring Him to be the long awaited Messiah. For example, Peter told the Jews at Pentecost, "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ".[11]

4) The Messiah & Son of God

It is very significant to see that in the Christian Scriptures the title 'Christ' or 'Messiah' (Masih) is used in parallel with the title 'Son of God'. Very often these two titles are found together.

Jewish believers called Sayyidna Isa al-Masih both the Messiah and the Son of God. As we mentioned before, Peter was the first one to do so, "You are the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of the living God."[12] Martha, the sister of Lazarus, the man whom Sayyidna Isa Ruh-u'llah raised from the dead, used the two titles together in her expression of faith in Him. Her words were, "I believe that you are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God, He who was to come into the world".[13]

These titles are used together throughout the Injil. We also see that during Sayyidna Isa’s trial, the Jewish high priest used both titles when asking Him if He was the Messiah. "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of God". In confirming the claim, Sayyidna Kalimatu'llah added, "In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."[14]

In saying this, Sayyidna Isa al-Masih was referring to His second coming. The Jews were right in their belief that the Messiah was to come from heaven and would establish the Kingdom of God, but they failed to understand the difference between His two comings. At His first coming Sayyidna Isa al-Masih wa Shafi'u'llah was to be a suffering Messiah, and at His second coming He is to be the victorious Mighty King and Judge.

References:

  1. [1] Leviticus 4:5, 2 Samuel 1:14
  2. [2] Psalm 105:15
  3. [3] Isaiah 45:1
  4. [4] Daniel 9:25
  5. [5] Isaiah 11:1-5, 42:1, Micah 5:2, Zechariah 6:12-13
  6. [6] Matthew 1:21
  7. [7] Luke 2:8-14
  8. [8] Matthew 16:13-30, Luke 9:20-21
  9. [9] Matthew 16:21-28
  10. [10] John 4:25-26
  11. [11] Acts 2:36
  12. [12] Matthew 16:16
  13. [13] John 11:27
  14. [14] Matthew 26:63-64

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