Appendix G: Fulfilment of Prophecy in the Death and Resurrection of ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)
Fulfilment of Prophecy in the Death and Resurrection of ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)
When ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)talked of his own suffering, death and resurrection both before and after the event, he spoke about it as something that must happen, because it was prophesied in the Scriptures.
‘Īsā took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the Prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be handed over to people from the other nations. He will be mocked, abused and spat on. 33 And they will flog him and kill him. On the third day, he will be raised to life’(Injīl, Luke 18:31-32).
‘Īsā said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the Prophets have said!Did not al-Masīh have to suffer these things and then come into his glory?’ And starting with (the Taurāt revealed through) Mūsā, and with all the Prophets, he explained to them what was written in all the Scriptures about himself(Injīl, Luke 24:25-27).
‘Īsā said to them, ‘This is my teaching that I gave you while I was still with you: everything that is written about me in the Taurāt of Mūsā, the Books of the Prophets and the Zabūr must be fulfilled.’Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.He said to them, ‘This is what is written: al-Masīh must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day...’(Injīl, Luke 24:44-46).
These verses make it clear that ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)understood the earlier Scriptures of the Taurāt, the Zabūr and the Books of the Prophets to be preparing the way for and prophesying his own suffering, death and resurrection.
One early glimpse of how ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)understood his martyrdom, which at that time was still in the future, is seen in his conversation with Prophets Mūsā and Ilyās (pbut)on the mountain top.
Suddenly two men were talking with ‘Īsā; and they were Mūsā and Ilyās, 31 who appeared in splendour. They were speaking about ‘Īsā’s departure, which he would soon fulfil in Jerusalem(Injīl, Luke 9:30-31).
In Greek, the language in which the Injīl was originally written, the word translated ‘departure’ is literally, ‘exodus’. It was used as a way of talking about a person’s death. But ‘Exodus’ is also the name of the second book in the Taurāt, which describes the exodus (literally, ‘going out’) of the Banī Isrā’īl from the land of their slavery and oppression in Egypt under Pharaoh. Allah used the Prophet Mūsā (pbuh)to lead them out to freedom.
So al-Masīh ‘Īsā’s death is linked to the Exodus, and it is something Sayyidnā ‘Īsā (hpbuu)‘would soon fulfil in Jerusalem.’
A central and crucial part of the original Exodus event was the Passover. Allah had sent ten plagues on the Egyptians.The tenth of these plagues was the death of the first-born son in every household in Egypt. To escape this judgement of Allah, the Banī Isrā’īl were instructed that every household should sacrifice a lamb and put some of its blood on the door frames of the house. Then when the LORD passed through the land of Egypt striking down every first-born son, he would see the sign of the blood and pass over that house, so that the first-born son of that household would be spared.
On that night, the Banī Isrā’īl were to eat the lambs that had been slaughtered along with bitter herbs and unleavened bread (bread made without yeast).
Up to this point Pharaoh had refused to let the Banī Isrā’īl leave. After the death of every first-born son in Egypt, Pharaoh now commanded the Banī Isrā’īl to go. In this way, Allah SWT brought them out of Egypt, the land of their slavery.
At that time, they were commanded by Allah to commemorate this event at the same time every year, eating the Passover meal on the evening of the 14thday of the first month of their calendar, and eating only unleavened bread for the following seven days.
In the purpose and will of Allah, it so happened, that al-Masīh ‘Īsā’s martyrdom took place at the Eid of Passover. On the evening before his suffering and martyrdom, he celebrated the Passover with his disciples, and used the meal as a dramatic explanation of the meaning of his own death.
Then he took bread and, giving thanks to Allah, he broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this as a reminder of me.’
20 ‘Īsā did the same with the cup after the meal and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’.(Injīl, Luke 22:19-20)
The bread broken up and the cup were signs or symbols of al-Masīh ‘Īsā’s body which would be broken and his blood that would be shed the next day. The Banī Isrā’īl ate the Passover lamb, by whose sacrifice they had been saved from the judgement of Allah. In a similar way, the disciples ate the bread and drank from the cup as signs of al-Masīh’s body and blood, and that they gain benefit from his death – that his death was for them – that by his death they gain life.
Prophet Ibrāhīm’s Sacrifice
The Passover sacrifice was to some extent modelled on an earlier event in which a sheep was killed in the place of a son. That event was the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrāhīm (pbuh) which is commemorated every year at Eid ul-Ādhā. Allah had commanded Prophet Ibrāhīm (pbuh)to sacrifice his son.At the last second Allah stopped Prophet Ibrāhīm (pbuh)and provided a sheep caught in the bushes as a sacrifice in place of his son. In the Qur’an, Allah SWT says,
Then We ransomed him with a great sacrifice(as-Sāffāt 37:107).
The Taurāt account of Prophet Ibrāhīm’s sacrifice ends with a prophecy:
So Ibrāhīm named that place ‘The LORD Will Provide’. And it is said to this day, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided’(Taurāt, Genesis 22:14).
Covenant and Sacrifice
Al-Masīh ‘Īsā’s words, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you’(Injīl, Luke 22:20), allude to the time whenAllah made a covenant with the Banī Isrā’īl at Sinai, after he had brought them out of Egypt.
In Taurāt, Exodus 24:1-8 we read of the covenant-making ceremony which involved the ritual of animal sacrifice. When Allah made a covenant with the Banī Isrā’īl, animals were sacrificed and their blood collected in bowls. Prophet Mūsā (pbuh)then read the covenant to the people and they promised to obey.We then read,
Mūsā took the blood and sprinkled it on the people. He said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the Lordhas made with you according to all these words’(Taurāt, Exodus 24:8).
The New Covenant
The history of the Banī Isrā’īl was characterised by their repeated breaking of Allah’s covenant demands. This resulted in Allah’s judgement, and eventually led to their being exiled in Babylon in the 6thCentury BC. During that time, when the Banī Isrā’īl experienced Allah’s judgement and curse for their rebellion against him, the Prophet Jeremiah (pbuh)prophesied these words of hope:
‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord,
‘when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Isrā’īl
and with the house of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took hold of their hand
to bring them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was their Master,’
declares the Lord.
33 ‘This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Isrā’īl
after that time,’ declares the Lord.
‘I will put my Taurāt within them
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will someone teach their neighbour,
or say to a brother or sister, “Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,’
declares the Lord.
‘For I will forgive their offences
and will remember their sins no more.’(Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 31:31-34)
When ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)says, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood...’ he is claiming that he himself is the one who fulfils Prophet Jeremiah’s prophecy.
Book of the Prophet Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Just before his arrest, ‘Īsā al-Masīh(hpbuu), knowing what is about to happen to him, quotes from the Scriptures,
‘For I tell you, this Scripture must be fulfilled in me, “And he was counted with the lawless.” Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment’(Injīl, Luke 22:37).
This quotation is taken from the final verse of a prophecy from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 52:13-53:12, about a figure called the Servant of the LORD. ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu) appears to have been meditating on this prophecy as he enters his own period of intense suffering, and he identifies himself as the suffering and exalted Servant in the prophecy.
Here is the prophecy in full.
See, my Servant will have insight;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly honoured.
14 Just as many were horrified at him –
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any person,
his form hardly recognisable as human.
15 In this way he will sprinkle many nations,
kings will shut their mouths in front of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
53 Who has believed our report,
and to whom has the arm of the LORDbeen revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of the dry ground.
He had no dignity or splendour that we saw in him,
nothing in his appearance that we desired.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, familiar with sickness.
Like one from whom people hide their faces,
he was despised, and we considered him worthless.
4 But in fact, he took up our sicknesses
and carried our suffering.
We thought he was being punished by Allah,
struck down by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
he was crushed for our sins;
the punishment that brings us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 Like sheep we have all gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORDhas placed on him
the sin of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb he was led to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 Arrested and sentenced, he was taken away.
As for his contemporaries, who even considered
that he was cut off from the land of the living,
that for the rebellion of my people he was struck down?
9 He was given a grave with the wicked,
and with a rich man in his death,
even though he had done no violence,
and his mouth uttered no deceit.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to bring him to weakness by crushing him,
and though you make his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and live long,
and the will of the LORDwill succeed in his hand.
11 Because of his suffering,
he will see the light and be satisfied.
By his knowledge my righteous servant will make many righteous,
and he will bear their sins.
12 Therefore I will allocate to him the many,
and he will allocate the strong as plunder,
because he poured out his life in death,
and was counted with the lawless.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the lawless.
This prophecy speaks of horrific suffering, but it begins and ends describing the triumph, vindication and high honour of the LORD’s Servant after his suffering.
Zabūr, Psalm 22
In the narrative of ‘Īsā al-Masīh’s martyrdom, we read in Injīl, Luke 23:34, ‘The soldiers also divided up his clothes by casting lots.’
This is a clear echo of Zabūr, Psalm 22:18, which says,
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my clothing.
Zabūr, Psalm 22 is a remarkable prophecy that came through the Prophet Dāwūd (pbuh)around 1000 BC. It relates the experience of appalling suffering and then victory of an individual person, from the point of view of that person. The experience related has no known parallel in the life of Prophet Dāwūd (pbuh)himself, about which we know a considerable amount from the Holy Books.It does, however, have striking resemblance to the experience of al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu), as recorded in the Injīl.
Another example, is the description of the sufferer being mocked and insulted:
All who see me mock me;
they sneer and shake their heads.
‘He trusted in the Lord,’ they say,
‘let the Lordrescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him’(Zabūr, Psalm 22:7-8).
These words describe so closely the mockery and derision experienced by ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu).
The second part of this Psalm relates the experience of victory, joy and praise of Allah SWT after suffering (v22-31). This also resonates with the experience of ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu), for whom suffering and martyrdom were not the end, because he rose from the dead in triumph.
Vindication and Honour
The human verdict on Sayyidnā ‘Īsā (hpbuu)– the verdict of both the Jewish and Roman governing bodies – was that he was worthy of death, and so they condemned and killed him. But Allah SWT vindicated ‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)by bestowing upon him the highest honour and glory by raising him from the dead.
As the Injīl says,
He was handed over, according to Allah’s plan and purpose and his knowledge ahead of time. You killed him by nailing him to a cross, by the hands of people who don’t have the Taurāt.24But Allah raised him from the dead! He set him free from the agony of death, because it was impossible for him to be held captive by death (Injīl, Acts 2:24).
Taurāt, Exodus 7:14 – 12:30, Qur’an, al-A’rāf 7:134-135,
And when the torment came down upon them, they said, “O Moses! Call upon your Lord for us by the covenant He has made with you. If you lift this torment from us, we shall surely believe in you, and we shall surely send forth the Children of Israel with you.” 135But when We lifted the torment from them, for a term they were to fulfill, behold, they reneged.
Taurāt, Exodus 12:14-20, 24-27.
Taurāt, Genesis 22:1-19, Qur'an, As-Sāffāt 37:83-113.
Taurāt, Exodus 19:1-24:18. See entry under Covenantin the Glossary.
See Books of 1 Samuel 16:1-31:13, 2 Samuel 1:1-24:25, 1 Kings 1:1-2:12, 1 Chronicles 11:1-29:30. See also Qur’an, al-Baqarah 2:251; an-Nisā‘ 4:163; Sād 38:21-26.
 Injīl, Luke 23:35-37, Matthew 27:41-43, which says,
In the same way, the Jewish high priests along with the ulemā and the elders were mocking him, 42‘He saved others, but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Isrā’īl! Let him get down off the cross now, and we’ll believe in him! 43He trusted in Allah! Let Allah rescue him now if he wants him…’