Friday, December 12, 2014

The Koran Points to Jesus Christ

I am not an expert on Islam or the Koran. I have not read the Koran. Until very recently, I had not read any of the Koran. Now I can say I have read a few verses. So why would I say that the Koran points to Jesus? Because it's not my idea, I got it from a former imam (Muslim priest) whose Western name is Mario Joseph. 
Mario gave an interview on Spanish TV which is available on Youtube [1]. A written transcript is available at [2]. He described his background -  his childhood, his family, and that he studied for ten years to become an imam. When someone asked him "who is Jesus?", he began to study the question. What he found from the pages of the Koran led him to the Bible. He has converted to Christianity.

What did he find in the Koran?

Let me present a summary of Mario's arguments.

Some background. The Koran, Islam's holy book, has 114 chapters, 6666 verses. Interestingly, Mohammed's name is found in only four places, but Jesus' name is found 25 places. No women's names are mentioned anywhere in the Koran, except Maryam, that is Mary, the mother of Jesus. She actually gets two whole chapters, chapter 3 "Family of Maryam" and chapter 19 "Maryam". The Koran asserts that Mary was sinless. [3]And [mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds
And some Muslims believe in the Assumption of Mary, that is, they believe she went directly to heaven Wikipedia 'Mary In Islam' [4]. Mario lists ten points about Jesus based on Ch:3 45-55.

  • Jesus is the "Word of God" 
  • Jesus is the "Spirit of God"
  • Jesus spoke at 2 days old
  • Jesus made live bird from mud
  • Jesus cured a man born blind
  • Jesus cured a leper
  • Jesus gave life to dead people
  • Jesus went to heaven
  • Jesus is still alive
  • Jesus will come again
Quoting just two verses here. [5] [And mention] when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ]. [5] [Mention] when Allah said, "O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ.

Then Mario says that Mohammed is not "Word of God" or the "Spirit of God". Mohammed is not alive and will not come back. So he asked his his teacher, "Teacher, how did God create the universe?" The teacher answered that he created the universe through the Word.

So then he asked his teacher, "Is the Word Creator or creation?" If the Word is creator, then Jesus is creator, then the Muslims must become Christian. If the Word is creation, how did God create the Word? Mario was confused and prayed for understanding. He believes this was his answer from the Koran, in his words, "If you have any doubt in this Koran, go read the Bible, or ask the people who read the Bible." [6] So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.

The Bible also says Jesus is the Word of God, John 1:1. It also says Jesus gave them power to become children of God, John 1:12. But the Koran teaches people are slaves and Allah is master. The Koran says to fight with non believers in 18 places. It says to kill the one who rejects Islam. Mario concludes "To have eternal life, you need Jesus".

I applaud Mario for his courage in converting from Islam to Christianity, and for his wisdom in seeing through the Koran to the Bible. 

I don't agree with all his statements or theology. For example, the Koran may claim that Jesus spoke at two days old, but it is not recorded in the Bible. Likewise, making a live bird from mud, it's an interesting story. The other eight assertions are Biblical however, so maybe...

Later in the interview, he insists that Catholicism is the true form of Christianity. I think he may have gravitated to it because it had something familiar from Islam that he could retain, that is the veneration of Mary.  I would say that Mario has gone from worshiping the wrong God to worshiping God wrongly, a big step in the right direction. But we are all at different points on our journey.

His interview is worth watching, there is obviously more than I included here. You can also gauge his sincerity and conviction, especially when he speaks about miraculous events in his own life.
I found other Mario Joseph references on the Net like dangerous-road-from-imam-to-catholic-preacher [7]. 

According to Al-jazeerah [8], six million Muslims convert to Christianity every year, however CNN [9] says "little data is available on conversion, but what little there is suggests Islam loses as many adherents via conversion as it gains". David Garrison, author of "A Wind in the House of Islam" [10] said in an interview with World Magazine [11] that between 2 and 7 million Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last two decades. Whatever the exact number, many many Muslims are converting, some like Mario at great risk.

Most of this is happening in the Middle East and Africa, after all that's where most of the Muslims are. But someday you might be seated next to a former Muslim. Or you may be challenged to "give an answer for the hope that is in you" if a Muslim should ask "who is Jesus?"