COULD JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM AGREE ON ONE GOD?
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are three monotheistic religions. Their total population today is over 56% of the world population. Although many controversies exist between them, they have in common, the same Father. They are all descendants of Abraham. This means that they should believe in Abraham's God and in what He wrote in the Bible regarding this covenant between Him and Abraham’s descendants written in Genesis 17:7 -
"I WILL ESTABLISH MY COVENANT AS AN EVERLASTING COVENANT BETWEEN ME AND YOU AND YOUR DESCENDANTS AFTER YOU FOR THE GENERATION TO COME, TO BE YOUR GOD AND THE GOD OF YOUR DESCENDANTS AFTER YOU."
This important verse should be considered by these three dominant religions as a cornerstone for any future reconciliation between them. Because, God who knows everything in advance, foresaw our conflicts of today and He is expecting that His children will, one day, have the wisdom to join together and use His above mentioned prophecy to build a constructive discussion which will dissipate their differences and reunify them as children under one God.
These three monotheistic religions have also in common the knowledge of who God is. They know that He is eternal. He has always been and will always be. They know that He is Omnipresent, meaning that He is always everywhere; He can be simultaneously with each one of us wherever we are. He is Omniscient, meaning that He knows every thing and every one of His creatures by name and, He even knows the number of each one's hair, He knows our deepest thoughts and the status of our soul. He can speak, read and write all human languages, He knows our needs and inspires scientists, musicians and artists to invent or create whatever is required to fulfill His creatures needs and enjoyment. He is also Omnipotent, His power exceeds our imagination. He created the universe simply by saying "Let there be" light, land, oceans, vegetation, animals, birds, fish etc. and everything was. The masterpiece of His creation is the human race. He created us in His own image and likeness. He gave us the privilege of procreation, a privilege that He didn't grant to His angels. Love, Wisdom and Good are what God is. He is our Heavenly Father. Whatever good feeling, love, wisdom we perceive is from Him and whatever knowledge, intelligence or talent we have is from Him. Nothing bad comes from Him and when we do bad deeds like killing, hating, cheating or stealing our neighbor's possessions or dignity it hurts Him and causes Him suffering. He gave us His ten commandments to guide us and to protect us from satan’s attacks. He loves us with an unlimited and unselfish love and likewise He wants us to love Him and love each other. We can speak for hours about God's goodness and what He can do but we will never understand how He does it. It is beyond our poor limited human mind. We know that He is eternal but we have difficulty imagining when eternity started and when it will be ended.
Since Abraham and until now, many events have happened. Judaism goes back over 3700 years, Christianity to 2000 years and, Islam to 1390 years. After such a long time and an interval of hundreds of years between each one of them, there is no doubt that, the everlasting covenant, established between God and Abraham's descendants, not only has been forgotten, but has also been broken. This can be unfortunately noticed today with all the wars and conflicts happening between God's nations.
Is there any hope that this broken covenant may be restored one day? Maybe yes and, maybe no. What we know for sure is that, at the end of time, God will have full control and will punish those who are the reason for breaking His covenant and altering His Words.
With these 3700 years of history behind us, and the variety of opinions and beliefs between conservatives, radical and extremists within each religion, it is almost impossible to find a common ground on which everyone can agree.
What we should also consider, is the existence of a satanic power that aims to contradict God's plan. As long as we are submitting to this evil power, wars and destruction will continue to rain upon us. God gave us the gift of freewill. Our destiny is in our hands. We can either continue to kill each other through these stupid wars until the end of time or enjoy living peacefully together.
According to our knowledge, there are only two historic facts that could be the reason for our differences.
1) ABRAHAM’S DESCENDANTS
The full story can be read in the Bible in Genesis, Chapter 15 through 18. Hereunder is a summary of this historical story:
In his old age, Abraham was childless and in a vision, the Lord promised him a huge land, from Egypt to Iraq for him and his descendants. His wife Sarah, also old, who had not borne him any child, realizing how sad he was proposed to him that he sleep with her Egyptian slave Hagar, hoping to build a family through her. Abraham agreed and slept with her slave. When Hagar knew that she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. This upset Sarah who complained to her husband. Abraham said to his wife Sarah, "Do with her whatever you think best." So Sarah mistreated Hagar who finally fled from her. The angel of the Lord found Hagar and told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” He also said to her "You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, he will be a wild donkey of a man: his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all his brothers." So Hagar bore Ishmael to Abraham who was 86 years old at that time. Thirteen years later when Abraham was ninety-nine and Sarah ninety, the Lord appeared to Abraham and told him that He will bless his wife Sarah and she will give him a son and his name will be Isaac. He also told Abraham not to worry about Hagar because she will be the mother of nations from whence kings of people will come.
The above story can partly explain the reason of such existing hostility felt today between Islam and Judaeo-Christianity due to the fact Islam was founded by the descendants of Ishmael and Christianity by descendants of Isaac. There are other reasons that will also be developed later on.
2) THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF GOD'S DWELLING WITH US ON EARTH
It was 2700 years ago, and 700 years before God's dwelling among us that He announced to His people in the Old Testament of the Bible through His Prophets His coming on earth. Why did He want to come on earth? The answer is because of His infinite love for us. His selfless love impels Him to grant to each one of us, at the day of our conception, the freewill which is the freedom to chose between obeying Him or disobeying Him. Unfortunately and probably because of the lack of maturity on one hand, and the evil power which is around us on the other hand, our ancestors disobeyed Him and so did all the following human generations. God has tried, through His Holy Scripture, to show us the right way and gave us the Ten Commandments. Useless to say that it didn't work either. Creatures denied their Creator and forgot even about His existence. God could have abandoned us or destroyed the evil power to save us, but this is not our God's nature. He does not want to force us to love Him. He wants us to decide. But He also understands our weakness and knows our difficulties of believing in what we do not see. So He decided to dwell among us, show us the way and prove to us, with miracles, that He is our living God. He also wanted to save us from our sins which are leading our souls and spirits to an eternal death. Therefore in order to let us be prepared for His coming, He announced, through His prophets in the Holy Bible, over 350 prophecies covering the most important events that will occur during this unique and unprecedented manifestation of Himself among His creatures on this earth.
These prophecies are very important to all God's people. If most of us are not familiar with them today, is explained by the fact that the invention of the printing press was only around 1440. This means that when Christianity and Islam were founded, their faithful and the general public did not possess a printed bible to enrich their knowledge. They were unaware of all facts and they still unaware up till now although the Bible is very accessible. Everyone understands that our occupations and family responsibilities today do not leave us too much time to consolidate our faith through bible study.
To help those who are willing to develop their faith and have not enough available time to look for all the 350 prophecies mentioned above, hereafter are 33 selected prophecies which will help them and also convince those who still have a doubt about Jesus’ Birth, Crucifixion, Death Resurrection, and Ascension.
HIS BIRTH: (Isaiah 7:14-Isaiah 9:6-Isaiah 8:8-Psalms 22:9 Psalms 72:10 -11-Psalms 89:27-Micah 5:2-Daniel 9:25)
HIS TEACHINGS: (Psalms 78:2-Isaiah 9:1,2-Isaiah 48:6,7- Isaiah 48:17- Isaiah 61:1)
HIS MIRACLES: (Isaiah 35:5,6-Isaiah 42:7)
HIS BETRAYAL: (Psalms 35:11-Psalm 41:9-Psalms 55:12-14-
HIS CONDEMNATION: (Psalms 31:13)
HIS HUMILIATION: (Psalm 18:6-Psalms 88:3,6-9-Isaiah 50:3,6)
HIS CRUCIFIXION: (Psalms 22:14-18-Isaiah 53:5-8-Zechariah 12:10)
HIS DEATH: (Psalms 31:5)
HIS BURIAL: (Isaiah 53:9,12)
HIS RESURRECTION: (Psalms 118:17,18-Isaiah 25:8-Isaiah 26:19)
HIS ASCENSION: (Psalms 68:18-Daniel 7:13.14)
The above 33 selected prophecies, as well as all the 350 prophecies are written in the Old Testament of the Bible and in the Jewish Torah. In other words all the three monotheistic religions are concerned about them. Therefore any disagreement about the Scriptures can easily become an agreement after a friendly discussion.
Unfortunately no serious discussions are happening at the top levels. Thus any misinterpretation can generate conflicts due to a lack of communication.
The heart of all controversies between Christians and Jews, on one hand and Christians and Moslems on the other hand is the birth of the Messiah also expressed as the Son of God or God incarnate. The Jews believe in the Messiah but for them, the Messiah hasn’t come yet. Moslems agree that Jesus was miraculously born from a virgin but for them, He is not the Son of God. He is a prophet like their prophet Muhammad.
Lets then start with the "BIRTH" which is the heart of all controversies. In Isaiah, God has explained very clearly that the fact that He dwelt among us, as God doesn't mean that He is two Gods. This is very clear in all Isaiah’s prophecies.
THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE ONE GOD
THEREFORE THE LORD HIMSELF WILL GIVE YOU A SIGN: THE VIRGIN WILL CONCEIVE AND GIVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND WILL CALL HIM IMMANUEL.
IMMANUEL is the contraction of three words; IM = (with) - MAN = (us) and U'EL = (God) === "GOD IS WITH US"
This explanation confirms that the SON is GOD.
ISAIAH 9: 6
"FOR TO US A CHILD IS BORN, TO US A SON IS GIVEN, AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE ON HIS SHOULDER. AND HE WILL BE CALLED WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE."
In this second prophecy, God confirms that:
- The Son is God (He will be called ........, Mighty God)
- The Son is the Father (He will be called ......, Everlasting Father)
- The Son is Jesus (He will be ......., Prince of Peace which also means in Hebrew God is Salvation or YESHUA, which in English, means JESUS or Savior)
This Isaiah 9:6 is very clear and can confirm to any one of the following testimonies:
a) THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE ONE GOD.
b) THERE IS ONE GOD WHO IS FATHER AND SON.
c) JESUS AND GOD ARE ONE.
d) JESUS IS THE FATHER AND THE SON.
From the above, we have seen that the Old Testament of the Bible has testified that the Father and the Son are one. Let’s see what Jesus said in the New Testament (the Gospel or also The Good News).
JOHN 10: 25,30
The Jews were there gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works (miracles) in my Father's name testify about me, I and the Father are one"
John also wrote in a different situation a similar statement, when one of His closest disciples asked Him to show them the Father.
JOHN 14: 8-10
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me who is doing His work."
THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE ONE GOD
We know that we are created in God's image and likeness: (Genesis 1; 28)
We know that we are: BODY - SOUL - SPIRIT (1 Thessalonians 5: 23)
The BODY of God in the flesh has been revealed to us in JESUS CHRIST.
The SOUL of God has been mentioned by Jesus to His disciples just before He was arrested and betrayed by Judas in Matthew 26: 38, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
The SPIRIT of God is the HOLY SPIRIT that He sent to us after His Ascension to Heaven. He explicitly said in John 16:12-15 to His disciples, that the HOLY SPIRIT will receive, from Him, what he will make known to them. He said explicitly in John 16:12-15 "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit), comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that He will receive what He will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what He will make known to you."
What is very explicit in these verses of John is the confirmation of the unity of God with his Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are all in one God, FATHER - SON - HOLY SPIRIT.
We can say: As JESUS is the revelation of God in the Flesh, the HOLY SPIRIT is the revelation of God in the Spirit.
Now that we have seen that Christians believe in one God although He was incarnated in the flesh and His Spirit is upon us, He is neither three Gods nor a sliced God.
Let us see now what is the nature of disagreements between Judaism and Christianity on one hand and Islam and Christianity on the other hand.
JUDAISM / CHRISTIANITY
The Jews believe in the coming of the Son of God or the Messiah.
For them, the Messiah didn't yet come. They are still waiting for Him.
Isaiah 9:6 stated above, was announced 2700 years ago but they are still waiting. This is to say that they reject the fact that Jesus who came 2000 years ago was the Messiah.
Question #1: What happened to the Jewish Bible? Why did it stop? Did they hear about other prophets since the birth of the Messiah?
Question #2: Why, one year after the birth of Jesus, did their King Herod, order the killing of all boys in Bethlehem and in its vicinity who were 2 years or younger? Was it because he had heard about the birth of the future ruler of Israel? Didn't he commit this terrible massacre for fear of losing his throne?
Question #3: About 29 years after the massacre, didn't the Jews witness Jesus’ ministry in their daily life? Didn't they see His miracles, including the resurrection of people days after they died? Didn't they interrogate Him to see if He was the Messiah? Didn't He affirm that He was? Didn't they try to arrest Him several times but failed because their people had already discovered that He was the Messiah and were protecting Him? Didn't they finally catch Him in the Gethsemane garden? Didn't they falsely accuse Him to Pilate, the Roman Governor who let his soldiers humiliate Him and finally crucify Him, like a criminal on the cross, although they knew that He was the Messiah?
Question #4: Why the total of those who believe in Him is actually about 1.2 billion Christians and the total of those who don’t believe in Him is actually now only 15 million Jews?
ISLAM / CHRISTIANITY
Argument 1: They recognize Jesus and recognize that He was miraculously born from a virgin. But, for them he is not the Son of God. He is a prophet like Moses, Abraham or Muhammad.
Answer 1 : They probably didn't read Isaiah 9:6 explained in the above section THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE ONE GOD”
Argument 2: They believe that Jesus was condemned to be crucified, but He wasn't crucified. He was miraculously saved.
Answer 2: They should read those prophecies regarding His Crucifixion, Death, Burial, Resurrection, and ascension listed in the above section (2) THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF GOD'S DWELLING WITH US ON EARTH
Argument 3:They believe that the Son of God will come again and fight against the antichrist shortly before the last days, but the Son of God will not be Jesus.
Answer 3: Here again they have to read Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6 explained in detail in the above section THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE ONE GOD”
Argument 4: They consider that the Angel Gabriel is the Holy Spirit.
Answer 4: They should read the totality of John 16: 12-15 in the above section “THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE ONE GOD.” They probably have read only John 16: 12-13 and omitted reading what Jesus said in verse 14, “He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” They also omitted reading what Jesus said in verse 15, “All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
Argument 5: They believe that Jesus Christ didn't claim to be God.
Answer 5: Jesus said many times I and the Father are one. See John 10:25-30 and John 14: 8-10 listed in the above section “THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE ONE GOD
Argument 6: They believe that the spirit of truth mentioned above in John 16:7, which is also interpreted in other Bibles as “paraclete” or “helper” is a prophecy of the coming of Muhammad.
Answer 6: Here again they didn't continue reading the remaining verses after John 16:7. If they would have continued reading John16:7-15 they would have gotten the explanation in John 16:14-15 as already explained here in the above argument #4. By doing so they would have found the truth and wouldn’t have misinterpreted or falsified God’s written word in the Holy Bible.
Argument 7: They believe that the Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is a denial of monotheism.
Answer 7: They have to read the explanation in the above section “THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE ONE GOD.”
Argument 8:They believe that Jesus, like Muhammad, gave a lesson in monotheism when He said in Mark12:29, “The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O’Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
Answer 8:This is true. Jesus always said that there is only one God. He never said that He is a second God. He always confirmed that He and the Father are one, which has also been fully explained in all the prophecies. Read Isaiah 9:6 in the above section.” THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE ONE GOD”
Comments: From the above we can conclude that Moslem’s knowledge about the Old and the New Testament is very superficial and fragmentary. This can be understood from the fact that Islam started in the 16th century. At that time Bibles were not available to the general public. For example the Arabic translated Bible was available only in the 19th century. Most of their knowledge was based on oral communication. This lack of a solid knowledge created a lot of misunderstandings and contradictions when comparing their faith to Christianity. If we study the above points of disagreement we can notice and assess the reasons. If they read carefully the bible, which is now available in all languages, they will certainly be much more realistic in all their criticisms.
I hope that the above explanations brought some answers and clarification to those who are seeking the truth. God knows that our human mind has its limitations. He knows that some people are confused. Although they believe in Him as our God in heaven, have difficulties in believing that he was among us in the flesh 2000 years ago. For these people God wrote in John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God believe also in Me" and in John 10:30 Jesus said "I and the Father are one" and in John 14:6 Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
This last phrase said by Jesus needs some explanation. We know that Jesus and the Father are one. He knows that we believe in Him as a Father but He also wants us to believe in Him as our Savior. Think about it. The almighty God humbled Himself and came on this earth to save our soul and spirit from an eternal death. He was humiliated and crucified like a criminal on a cross for our transgressions. He sacrificed Himself like a lamb, He shed His blood to wash our sins and, after all what He endured for our own sake, what does He receive in return? Rejection and denial. Don't you agree that those who deny Him as a Savior do not deserve to be saved by Him? All what God is asking, is to recognize Him as our Savior. Not because He is seeking our recognition, He does not need that. He rather needs our trust and faith to accomplish His saving action that cannot be fulfilled unless we truly believe in Him as our Savior. We have to understand that the washing of our sins is a miracle that God can do only if we participate in the miracle by believing in Him. This has always been when Jesus was performing His miracles. If the blind were able to see and the paralytics were able to walk. If the dumb spoke and the deaf heard and if the leprous were cured, it was only because they believed in Him. It was always by people's faith in Jesus that they were saved.
God's love for us is beyond our understanding. All He cares for, is our salvation. He wants us to enjoy eternity with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom.
Those who persist on denying Him as a Savior and are rejecting His company while they are living, their wish will be done in the after life when they pass away. Their soul and spirit will be, once for all, separated from God's presence for eternity. This is described in the Scriptures as "an eternal death"
Although God's love for all His children will never cease, He will, with regret, let them go away from Him only because He respects their choice based on the freewill that He has granted them since they were conceived. He is certainly willing to save them, but He cannot force them. They made their choice.