The Way of Truth
Study 10: Death and Resurrection
The Death of Allah’s Promised Messiah (al-Masih) was Predicted by Scripture
We have seen in the previous lesson that Prophet Isa’s life was in total agreement and fulfillment of the prophecies about the coming perfect Qurban. Both his life and teachings pointed to the fact that he was the true Messiah (or Masih) Allah would send to save his people from their sins. Yet, some of the most important predictions concerning the Messiah to come dealt not with his life but with his death. We saw in an earlier lesson that the coming Messiah was to be sinless. Hence, he would not have to die for his own sins. Yet, according to Allah’s plan he would be punished and killed for the sins of others. As the prophet Shaya wrote over 700 years before the birth of Isa,
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by Allah, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Shaya 53:4-6)
The Messiah was to suffer and die for the sins of others.
The previous Scriptures predicted the death of the Messiah and the reason for that death. The Scriptures also predicted many details about that death. Thus, it was prophesied that the Messiah would not defend himself from the false charges brought against him. He would be silent before his accusers,
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Shaya 53:7)
It was prophesied in the holy Zabur that he would be betrayed by one of his own followers,
Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Zabur 41:9)
According to Scripture, his betrayer was to receive 30 pieces of silver from Isa’s enemies for betraying him,
I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. (Zakariyya 11:12)
According to the Taurat, anyone who was killed by crucifixion, by being hung on a tree or cross, was under Allah’s curse,
You must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under Allah’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:23)
It was prophesied that the Messiah (Masih) would undergo death by that very means thus taking on himself the curse of Allah that right the belong to others,
Masih redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Ibrahim might come to the Gentiles through Masih Isa, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:13, 14)
Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. (Zabur 22:16)
It was further prophesied that the Messiah who would die as a criminal for the sins of others would be buried in the tomb of a rich man,
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Shaya 53:9)
All these prophecies were made hundreds of years before the birth of Prophet Isa. Let us look next at how these were fulfilled in Isa’s life.
Prophet Isa taught that he would have to die
One of the most remarkable teachings of Isa was concerning his coming death. Despite the fact that he performed many signs and miracles, he always made it clear that the most important event in his life was still to come. Again and again throughout his life he tells his followers that “My time is not yet come”. It was not until just before his death that he finally said, “The time has come”. The real reason for his having come into this world was finally drawing near. The real reason was not that of performing miracles, healing the sick, or driving out evil spirits. They were all merely signs pointing to the fact that he was the Messiah who was to come. He saw himself knew that these were not the main things. He knew that the primary purpose of this coming to earth was to die. Isa’s death was not an unexpected, sudden thing. It had been predicted by Allah through the prophets hundreds of years before his birth. He often told his disciples that he would have to die. He explained to them not only the fact that he would be killed, but also that he would conquer death, and after three days in the grave rise from the dead. He claimed that he had both the power to lay his life down and to take it up again. He said,
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:17, 18)
Yet, before his death his disciples were not able to understand these things.
At this point we’re in a position to understand Isa’s words that we saw in the last lesson. He said that the true sign he would give that he was Allah’s Messiah was that of the prophet Yunus. As Yunus (pbuh) was in the fish’s belly for three days and nights, so Isa would be in the Earth’s belly three days and nights here he was again pointing to his death and resurrection. He says that the real proof he is the promised Messiah will be seen by the fact that he would die according to prophecy, be buried for three days, and then rise from the dead to conquer death.
The betrayal and arrest of Isa fulfilled Scripture
Let us look now at exactly what is recorded in the Injil concerning Isa’s death and resurrection. As was prophesied, it was one of his close disciples who betrayed him,
“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: `He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’
After he had said this, Isa was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.” (John 13:18, 21)
In fact, it was one of the 12 men Isa had personally chosen to travel with him and live with him. Further, as was prophesied, his betrayer, Judas Iscariot, received 30 pieces of silver from those who wanted to kill Isa.
The trial of Isa fulfilled Scripture
After his betrayal, Isa was brought to trial before the Roman governor. The charge that the religious leaders brought against him was blasphemy against Allah. According to the Law in the Taurat of Musa, the penalty of such a crime was stoning. However, the Roman authorities forbade the Jews from carrying out any punishments. They demanded that all trials be according to Roman law, which forbade stoning. Thus, the religious leaders who were accusing Isa of breaking the law were in their very charges breaking the law. Not only did they bring false charges against him, they also demanded his crucifixion in accordance with Roman law and contrary to the Law of Musa. Thus, in attempting to condemn Isa according to The Law the religious leaders actually broke it themselves.
When brought before the Roman authorities, Isa made no attempt to defend himself, again in fulfillment of Scripture,
[Pilate the governor] went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Isa, but Isa gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Isa answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19:9-11)
Indeed, his purpose was not to defend himself, but rather to fulfill the purpose for which he had come and save men from their sins. The Roman authorities were unable to find any truth in the charges brought against him and therefore desired to free him. However, the crowd would not allow his release. In his desire to please the crowd and gained popularity with the people, the Roman governor delivered Isa over to the crowd to be killed as they demanded.
The punishment of Isa fulfilled Scripture
The actual crucifixion of Isa took place outside the city gates of Jerusalem on a hill called Golgotha. Once again we see how this was in accord with Isa’s coming. According to the Law of Musa there was one special type of Qurban that was not offered at Allah’s house but was killed outside the camp. It is written in the Taurat as follows,
The LORD said to Musa and Harun: “This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting. While he watches, the heifer is to be burned–its hide, flesh, blood and offal. The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer. After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening. The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening. A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They shall be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin.” (Numbers 19:1-9)
The “water of cleansing” in this sacrifice was used to remove impurity and cleanse from sin. In just the same way, Isa was killed outside the city gates to remove impurity and cleanse from sin. It is recorded in the Injil,
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Isa also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. (Hebrews 13:11, 12)
The actual crucifixion was carried out by Roman military, those who were experts at such work. All steps were taken to insure a swift and certain death. His hands and feet were nailed to the cross and he was left to hang until dead. To hasten death it was decided his legs should be broken, however, when soldiers came to break them it was found he was already dead. All this took place in broad daylight and was witnessed by a large crowd of bystanders. Finally, he was officially declared dead by Roman authorities and was placed in his tomb. As prophesied, the tomb was that a rich man. It is written in the Injil,
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Yusuf, who had himself become a disciple of Isa. Going to Pilate, he asked for Isa’s body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Yusuf took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. (Matthew 27:57-60)
The religious leaders were afraid his followers would steal his body and therefore ask the Roman officials to place a guard at the tomb. Accordingly, the tomb was closed and sealed with a huge stone and a large Roman guard was stationed at the tomb. The religious leaders and Roman officials were thus satisfied that all necessary steps had been taken to insure no rumors could spread concerning any resurrection. His disciples, on the other hand, not understanding their Master’s teaching concerning his death and resurrection, were bewildered and terrified by the crucifixion. They had no thought whatsoever that he might rise from the dead.
The victory of Isa over death fulfilled Scripture
We see then, that Scripture written hundreds of years before his birth predicted Isa’s death and he himself had taught openly concerning it. It occurred exactly as he had said and as Scripture had foretold. Again, both Scripture and he himself had predicted his victory over death and resurrection from the dead three days after his death. Yet no one, not even his disciples, understood or believed it would happen. The following is the Injil’s account of what happened,
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Isa loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Isa’s head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Isa had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Isa’s body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Isa standing there, but she did not realize that it was Isa. “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Isa said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Isa said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Isa came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Isa came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Isa told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Isa did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Isa is al-Masih, the Son of Allah, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:1-18, 24-31)
Thus, exactly as had been predicted, Isa rose from the dead after three days in the tomb. The sign of the prophet Yunus was complete. At first his disciples who had not personally seen him refused to believe. However, he soon appeared to all of them and their last doubts were dispelled. In fact, for 40 days after his resurrection he went about openly teaching and preaching. There would be no mistake. His tomb was empty. He still bore the scars of the crucifixion on his hands and feet. The following is a brief record of those he appeared to after his resurrection, as found in the Injil,
and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, (1 Corinthians 15:5-7)
His disciples were finally able to understand clearly the teaching of the Taurat and Zabur concerning the Messiah’s life, death and resurrection. For the first time his teachings concerning his purpose in coming into the world was clear to them.
After rising from the dead, Isa preached for 40 days and was then taken to heaven by Allah
Finally, after openly preaching and teaching for 40 days his God-given task on earth was finished. For the last time he met with his disciples and gave them his final command. He told them to go into the entire world and preach and teach all men the things he had taught them. He gave them the promise that he would always be with them. Thus it is written,
Then Isa came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
After giving them this last command in broad daylight before a large crowd Allah took him up into heaven. As is written,
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Isa, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
Thus, the earthly work of Isa the Messiah was finished. The material in this lesson has been taken totally from Allah’s word. We have seen the prophecies of Isa’s death and resurrection and how it was actually fulfilled in his life. We saw that this was the major purpose of these is coming into the world. This now leads us to the question as to why his death and resurrection was so all important. We find the reason very clearly given in the Injil. For example, in the start of Isa’s ministry the prophet Yahya said upon seeing Isa,
The next day Yahya saw Isa coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of Allah, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Prophet Yahya understood that Isa was the prophesied Qurban that Allah was to send. Through this Qurban, Allah’s grace would be available to all. As Allah’s perfect Qurban it was necessary for Isa to die. In agreement with the Qurban of Prophet Musa, Isa offered himself up. His blood was shed for the sins of others. As it is written,
For Masih died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to Allah. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, (1 Peter 3:18)
We see that his death and resurrection was the very heart and crux of his coming to earth. He was coming to be Allah’s Qurban. He was coming to fulfill the promise made first to Adam and Hawa, then to Prophet Ibrahim, and then to various prophets and men of Allah through history. The promise was that Allah would make his grace available to all men. Isa’s death and resurrection were in total accord with the will and plan of Allah and was the key that unlocked the mercy and grace of Allah for millions and millions of people.
In future lessons we shall see how exactly we can be partakers in Allah’s blessing to Prophet Ibrahim. We shall see how we can receive Allah’s grace made available through the death and resurrection of ‘Isa al-Masih.
1. Prophecies of the death and resurrection of Prophet Isa were made hundreds of years before his birth.
2. When Isa said, “The time has come, ” what was he referring to?
A. His going alive to heaven
B. His death
C. The beginning of his ministry
3. When Isa said the sign of Prophet Yunus would be the sign that he was the Messiah what did he mean?
4. Those who charged Isa with breaking the law,
A. Kept the law themselves in the trial
B. Broke the law themselves in the trial
5. Isa fulfilled Scriptures during the trial by,
A. Pleading innocent
B. Keeping silent
C. Accusing his accusers of breaking the law themselves.
6. How was Isa buried?
A. In a securely sealed tomb with a large Roman guard outside
B. Left on the cross without burial
C. Buried 2 meters underground
7. Who believed the prophecies concerning his resurrection?
A. The Romans
B. No one
C. His disciples
D. The Jews
8. List those mentioned in the Injil to whom Isa al-Masih appeared after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15).
9. After giving a final command to his disciples Isa,
A. Was taken by Allah bodily up to heaven
B. Left his disciples and was never seen again
C. Died and was buried
10. Why was it necessary for Isa to die?