The Apotheosis of Jesus of Nazareth

A special “gift” for the Christian missionaries on occasion of Good Friday. I wish to show by an analysis of Wisdom Christology in Matthew’s gospel chapter 23, that the evangelist took the dramatic step of changing Jesus’ metaphysical status from creature to Creator by altering the Q tradition, and to reflect on the theological implications of this metamorphosis for Christianity, and where we go from here.

The Sign of Emmanuel: Was It About Jesus?

The authors of the New Testament have often quoted passages from the Old Testament, claiming such statements to be prophecies fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. The number of such quoted passages is actually very high. Among the evangelists, Matthew is the one having made this phenomenon characteristic to his Gospel. The prophecy carries a very important place in the Christian theology. Every Christian knows about the prophecies of the books of Psalms, Isaiah, and Daniel related to the childhood, life, mission, and death of Jesus. To every Christian, these prophecies are the clear evidence of the truth of Gospels and mission of Jesus in general. The problem is that according to the Bible, there exists true prophecies as well as false ones. Hence the question arises on the necessary criteria to distinguish a false prophecy from a true one.

What I Did Not Say And The Missionary Myopia

There are those who say that lying and deceiving is at the soul of all crime and that Christianity epitomizes these traits more than any other faith. As proof of their assertion they often quote Paul of Tarsus, arguably the true founder of Christianity, who is recorded to have said, “But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? Any why not do evil that good may come? – as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” (Romans 3:7-8)

The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhra)

The most universally recognized symbol of Jerusalem is not a Jewish or Christian holy place but a Muslim one: the Dome of the Rock, or Qubbat as-Sakhra as it is known in Arabic. When people see its golden dome rising above the open expanse of Haram as-Shareef, they think of only one place in the world. The Dome of the Rock is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated and most remarkable monuments of early Islam, visited every year by thousands of pilgrims and tourists. It is Jerusalem’s answer to Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, London’s Big Ben and Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas twin towers; dazzling the minds of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The Dome of the Rock is Jerusalem.

The Position of Jerusalem and Haram As-Shareef in Islam

During the Mi’raj, the Prophet(P) is reported to have received from God the command of five daily prayers (salah) that all Muslims must perform. Upon his return to Mecca, the Prophet instituted these prayers. It is significant to note that he made Jerusalem the direction (al-Qiblah) which Muslims must face while doing their prayers (narrated by al-Bukhari, 41 and by Muslim, 525). Jerusalem is thus called Ula al-Qiblatain (the first qiblah). The Prophet (P) and the early community of Islam worshipped towards the direction of Jerusalem during their stay in Mecca. After the Hijra’ (migration), Muslims in Medina also continued to pray facing Jerusalem for almost seventeen months until God commanded the Muslims to change their direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca (Qur’an 2:142-150). These established facts clearly signifies the importance of Jerusalem in Islam.