The death of Jesus (pbuh) is the basis of salvation for the majority of the Christian denominations out there. Redemption of sin could have only taken place by a “loving” god sending down his only son that he loved so much to die for our sins. But, what if Jesus(pbuh) didn’t die?
The Quran claims to be a ‘furqan’ – meaning a “criterion” that distinguishes between truth and falsehood.
“And We sent down the Book to you for the express purpose, that you should make clear to them those things in which they differ, and that it should be a guide and a mercy to those who believe.” (Quran 16:64)
With regards to the death (crucifixion) of Jesus (pbuh) that Quran makes a very clear concise statement:
“…and their saying : we killed Christ Jesus, son of Mary, The messenger of Allah – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it was made to appear to them so; and those who disagree concerning it are full of doubts; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; For surely they killed him not; but Allah took him up unto Himself; and Allah is ever mighty, wise.” ((The Quran 4:157-158))
Then, the question arises why according to Christianity did Jesus(pbuh) die? When the bible is accessed objectively, rationally, and logically to see if it has anything to match the Qur’anic narrative of Jesus’s (pbuh) crucifixion. We find that it confirms what is talked about in the Qur’an, that “but they killed him not, nor crucified him…”.((The Quran 4:157)) Here are 6 reasons why according to the bible Jesus (pbuh) did not die.
1. A 6 hour Crucifixion?
Crucifixion is a slow painful death; it takes someone 3 days and 3 nights to finally reach death in an agonizing manner((Piers D Mitchell et al. (April 2006). “Medical theories on the cause of death in crucifixion”. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine)). If we read the passages from Mark 15:25-37, it reads:
25 And it was the THIRD hour, and they crucified him.
26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.
28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.
29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah,thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,
30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.
32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
33 And when the SIXTH hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the NINTH hour.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias.
36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.
37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
The day began at 6 am, and he was put on the cross on the third hour which makes it 9 am. Then, on he sixth hour (12 pm) which was noon God made it dark and on the nineth hour (3pm) he gave up the ghost. According to the bible ((The Gospel according to Mark 15:25-37 [King James Version])), Jesus was on the cross for only 6 hours roughly 9am to 3pm, which is not enough to kill someone.
2. No legs were broken.
A common practice to speed up the process of crucifixion was to shatter or break the legs of the person using a thick iron club called crurifragium (( Koskenniemi et al. (2005). “Wine Mixed with Myrrh (Mark 15.23) and Crurifragium (John 19.31-32): Two Details of the Passion Narratives”. Journal for the Study of the New Testament (SAGE Publications))). This was done for the aforementioned purpose, additionally to deter others from committing similar offenses. In John 19:31-33 it reads:
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32 Then came the soldiers, and break the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
The two thieves on the side of Jesus had their legs broken, but when it came to Jesus they did not break his legs.
3. Sign of life, not sign of death.
I want you to imagine, as you are reading this article, for some very odd reason your mother came into the room. She looked very upset and bothered. She’s nervously holding something behind her back. You ask her: ” Mom, what’s wrong?!”. She comes closer and responds in a very sad tone of voice: “I’m sorry son..”. Then, she thrusts a knife into your heart. You feel a sharp excruciating pain, you fall down, your vision is blurry and you slowly blank out with your mother stand above you.
The reason I gave this analogy is to prove a point. Prior to you stabbing you, you were alive. When, your mother stabbed you, you bled. Medically it’s a fact that within 20-30 seconds after death measurable brain activity stops(( Lind B et al. “A review of total brain ischaemia models in dogs and original experiments on clamping the aorta”. Resuscitation (Elsevier) )), prior to which the blood coagulates, thus making it impossible for blood to gush out.
When Jesus was stabbed with a spear, blood and water came gushing out. In John 19:34, it reads:
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Hence, the bleeding in this case shows a sign of life, not a sign of death.
4. Jesus is compared to Jonah.
Jesus gives a clear-cut straightforward parable in the Gospel according to Matthew 12:40 about the his own fate in the heart of the earth:
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man (Jesus) be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The astounding thing about this parable is that Jesus chose to compare himself to Jonah in a very unique way. So the food for thought here is: Was Jonah alive or dead when he was thrown into the sea? Every Christian has been told this story, and I don’t think anyone would differ in their answer. Jonah was definitely alive, if that’s the case then according to Jesus, Jesus is… definitely alive as well.
Christians may argue, it refers to ‘spiritual’ life or something along that line. The counter argument to this is, where does it say: ‘For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man (Jesus) be [in spirit] three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’
We are merely interested in objectively and logically analyzing the bible, and we can see that according to this verse, Jesus didn’t die. Rather, he was alive just like Jonah was in the belly of the whale.
5. Jesus prayed to be saved, and the father answered.
In Hebrews 5:7 it says:
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
Before Jesus is approaching his death and crucifixion he cries out weeping to god, asking him to save him from the incoming death, and his prayer was heard. The conviction that god always hears Jesus’s prayers is elaborated further in John 11:41-42, where it says:
41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
So, if he prayed to God to be saved from death and his prayers are always answered. Before, the crucifixion if he prayed to be saved then his prayer was…answered. And Jesus was saved from death. Or there are two illogical alternatives that no Christian would dare agree with which are that : Either Jesus was lying? Or God incapable of saving him?
6. A body that dies is resurrected as spirit, Jesus was resurrected as flesh and bones.
According to the bible in 1 Corinthians 15:42, a body that dies is resurrected as a spirit:
42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable (body); what is raised is imperishable (spirit).
When, Jesus (assuming he died, for the benefit of the argument) comes back in the upper room, greets his terrified disciples with “shalom” – a very Islamic greeting that you see Muslims greet each other with nowadays, and asks them to handle him, then to give him broiled fish and a honeycomb in Luke 24:36:
36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.”
37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.
38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
39 “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
42 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish;
43 and He took it and ate it before them.
Jesus clearly makes the statement that he is flesh and bones((The Gospel according to Luke 24:39 [English Standard Version])).Additionally, a spirit does not need any food but our physical body, becomes weak after a while, do. Thus, clarifying even more succinctly that he was flesh and bones. The logical conclusion is that he hadn’t died. Because, the dead (according to the bible((1 Corinthians 15:42 [English Standard Version]))) are resurrected as spirits, and not flesh and bones.
Therefore, upon objectively assessing the bible, my humble position is that it points us towards the Islamic narrative. That Jesus (pbuh) did not die. Any counter arguments would require a detailed inference of the bible leading towards a different conclusion than mine, and with the supporting evidence that was used to determine that conclusion. For any questions or disagreements feel free to engage with me via Facebook, Ask.fm, or by email.