This week’s discuss uses the subject of ‘The Passion of Jesus Christ’ which always attracts the attention of Christians during the arrest, the crucifixion, and the triumphant victory over death by Jesus Christ, to deal with an issue of utmost concern to me. There will be very little to talk here about the passions of Jesus Christ, because much has been written and acted on it, including the award-wining 2 hour 7 minutes epic drama co-written with that tittle and one directed by Mel Gibson (the film earned a whopping $480 million for Mr. Gibson), which was cast in 2004. The film depicted the betrayal of Jesus Christ by one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, and the capture, trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ by the Roman authorities.
Prophet Isaiah, an 8th century B.C.E. prophet of Judah, in the Bible Book written with that same name, had heavily prophesied the manner of birth and death of the ‘Lamb of God’ some 700 years before the ‘Lamb’, Jesus Christ, was born. So with King David and other unanimous authors of the Bible Book of Psalm which was written over a period of five centuries from the post-Exilic period, not earlier than the fifth century B.C.
To state with the divine nature of birth, the prophesies on the birth of Jesus Christ were fulfilled during the reign of His Imperial Majesty, Caesar Augustus (September 23rd, 63 B.C.E. – August 19th, 14 C.E.), the first Emperor in the ancient Roman Empire. Originally called Gaius Octavinusor Octavius Caesar), and the only surviving member of the Roman first triumvirate. Others were, Gnaius Pompeius also called Magnus Pompey, and Marcus Lucinus. Caesar Augustus was the imperial authority overseeing the affairs of Bethlehem in Judea where Jesus was born. King Herod the Great (74 B.C. – 4 B.C) was in charge of Judea which he ruled with the approval of Rome, which heavily influenced his ascension to power with the support of the Roman Empire. King Herod almost succeeded insnuffing life out of infant Jesus.
Back to the death of Jesus Christ, the Jewish Sanhedrins is an assembly of either twenty-three or seventy-one elders of Jewish scholars and clerics in the Holy Torah. They are appointed as tribunals to try sensitive cases of religious nature, and sometimes interface in other state matters concerning Jewish tradition and culture. The Jewish Sanhedrin is traditionally composed of members drawn from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees.
The Sanhedrin worked in concert with Emperor Augustus (63 B.C. -14 A.D), a blood-thirsty man who was on throne when Jesus Christ was born and also presided at the trial of Jesus Christ and gave orders for his crucifixion when Pontius Pilate (Marcus Pontius Pilatus) was the Roman Prefect (Governor) of Judea between 26 C.E and 36 C.E.
With this brief introduction, in my discussion today, I have decided to move away from the docility and emotional outbursts of acknowledging the sufferings and victory over death by Jesus Christ to the more aggressive need to protect the work of Jesus Christ which is presently bearing threatened across the world by such forces as the ones which Jesus Christ defeated while He was on the earth.
In a book titled, “Deliverance from the Cross” written in London by Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, and published by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission (then located at 45 Idumagbo Avenue, Mainland, Lagos) where I bought the book more than twenty five years ago, but now located at Ahmadiyya Bus Stop, Sango –Oshodi Road, Lagos State) the author discussed the birth, the ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He also discussed the shroud, resurrection, ascension, second coming, and post-crucifixion matters relating to Jesus Christ.
His motive in discussing the very foundation of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ upon which the religion of Christianity is founded, is to disparage those Christian doctrines through misapplication of the relevant portions of the Holy Bible which throwlight on those doctrines. To say the least, that book is a mischievous attempt to destroy the very foundation of Christianity.
In two other books written by two ex-Christians now converted to Islam, notably Muhammed Chidiebere Mbonu (his book is titled, “Calling Christians Back to Truth”) whom I have spoken with through my Muslim brothers at the national Mosque in Abuja as he sojourned in Sudan for a course in Islamic studies, and Habibullah Emeka Okocha, a former Christian Reverend Minister, (his book is titled, “Jesus: God or Man”), the divinity of the personality of Jesus Christ together with the very essence and import of Christian doctrine and teachings are questioned.
Furthermore, in several of the books written by another Muslim brother who I regard as an intellectual friend because of his deep knowledge of issues, Hussaini Yusuf Mabera of Centre for Islamic Propagation and Comparative Religious Education, MaberaIddi Area, Sokoto State. (His books include “Synopsis of the Bible and the Dogma of Trinity”,“ Is Jesus Christ Son of God,” , “The Bible says: Jesus is not God”, “Jesus did not die on the Cross”, “Is Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of the world?- The Bible’s Response” , etc, etc), the same views are promoted to demean the Christian religion and assert the superiority of Islam over Christianity.
To prove the reality of the events surrounding the life and times of Jesus Christ which shows the futility of these recent attempts to discredit history that has survived beyond the 2,000 year mark, I had once observed in a work titled, “The Unquestionable Excellency of Jesus Christ” (Published in the Kaleidoscope on 20th December 2020) that much of the events recorded in the New Testament including the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were collaborated by several secular and sometimes, pagan historians of the time who did not even believe at that time that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. Such secular historians including a Romano- Jewish historian called Josephus Flavius (born Yosef ben Matityahu, 37AD-100A.D.)
I have read many books written by our Muslim brothers that disprove of both the divinity of Jesus Christ (His Sonship of God) and the manner of His death on the Cross. Several of these works, including those written by Hussaini, a seasoned Islamic scholar and one of the Nigeria’s religious leaders that I respect for their deep spirituality, do not give enough respect for the personality of Jesus Christ and what He represents in the religion of Christianity.
By the way, I must first observe, without his permission, the kindheartedness of Hussaini and acknowledge his efforts and prayers for my family at a time of great tribulation, when my daughter, Onyinyechi was hospitalized. Though Onyinyechi did not make it as God wanted it to be, I still appreciate Hussaini’s efforts and prayers as I kept in touch with him, including his efforts to link us up with the local Dawaa group for prayers.
I am a keen believer in cross-religious dialogue and understanding especially as it concerns the two Abrahamic religions of Islam and Christianity. I have deep knowledge of the two religions having studied the Holy Bible since my childhood and bought my first Glorious Quran at the University of Maiduguri Bookshop in 1984. I have several other editions of the Glorious Quran, which I believe, but for the interpretative deficiencies of subsequent generations of clerics since the Holy Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W) issued that work, that Holy book was basically inspired by God. So, the point I want to make here is that I do not agree with the submission of Hussaini that the religion of Islam is superior to Christianity. I have in library many more books by excited new Muslim converts, Islamic scholars, and Muslim clerics which dwell on the same issues of the birth of Jesus Christ, the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, the rise from the dead of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of Jesus Christ to Heaven on the fortieth day. All of these books are basically written to destroy Christianity.
Were these books which evidently disparage the core doctrines that sum up the Christian belief system done in reverse by Christians and directed against Islam, they would have caused more uproars in Nigeria and around the world than Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” which almost cost the author his life. Much as I am a proponent of inter-religious dialogue so that we will be able to understand what happens at the other side and the underlying reasons behind the general spiritual and emotional make-ups of one another, it is important to observe that Islamic scholars and Muslim clerics must desist from attacking the core doctrinal value of Christianity as has become their habit across the world. It is my belief that Islamic Dawaa activities can be done in many other ways including correct application of the works of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and living by example. Personally, I see so many good things about the religion of Islam which can be promoted by Islamic Dawaa activities than attacking the very foundation of Christianity. My Muslim friends know that I have high regards for their religion which I have gained so much knowledge about over the years.
I have studied the world’s most visible 22 religions since my teenage years, actually, since my fourteenth year in life, when I got interested in several mystical organizations across the world and registered with some of them in what has become a life-long study of the mysteries of life. I have also practiced some of these religions including African Traditional Religion of different shades and Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism of Soka Gakai International. I have come to the conclusion that no religion is better than the other. Every religion is meant to meet with the spiritual level and the evolutionary rung the ladder of growth in spiritual consciousness of people where the religion is founded/located. The nearer the group consciousness of people where the religion is founded/located to the higher and greater virtues of light, life and love, the better the religion, and the more chances it has to lead man back to his origin, the God-head. The import of a religion is known and understood in the conducts of its adherents in the human community. The teaching of a religion is deemed to be false, unwholesome and pretentious when its adherents are unable to apply the basic life principle and test of a true religion, which is showing love, extoling and showing the light, exuding and protecting life. The bloated rhetoric of a false religion can only be promoted by wrongly-regarded and elevated scholars and clerics who act God, and not seen in the life and conducts of people practicing the religion.
It is unfair to Christianity that Islamic scholars and Muslim clerics subject the Holy Bible and the divine personality of Jesus Christ to intellectual inquiry and analyses while at the same time object to Bible scholars and Christian theologians looking deep into the religion of Islam and the personality of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).For example, I have in my many years of writing about the religion of Islam and the personality of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) never failed to observe the S.A.W. (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam – May Blessing and Peace Be Upon Him) appellation and recognition of the Holy prophet (S.A.W.), or written the word, ‘Allah’ (S.W.T.) without using the appellation, S.W.T. (Subhanahu WaTa’ala – Glory to Him, The Exalted)
This discuss, therefore, aims at calling Islamic Scholars and Muslim clerics to order, to let them know that the divine personality of Jesus Christ and all He taught must be respected. This should be the minimum requirement for a better relationship between the two religious of Abrahamic ancestry.
As for my two Igbo brothers converted to Islam whose books were earlier mentioned, my understanding is that one needs not a change of the religion of his fathers to become a better person. There are very good virtues in all religions. Remember that all the founding fathers of religions or others on whose teachings some religions were founded, were inspired by God to impact a certain knowledge of God to members of their immediate environment.
This is the reason why Jews upon whose pristine belief system and the laws of patriarch Moses (Musa) were built both the Christian and Islamic religious doctrines have not all gone out of Judaism to practice Christianity and Islam.
For the seeming injustice against patriarch Ishmael which I understand to be human error as a result of the Jewish caste system which forbade the son of a foreign woman to inherit a Jewish man with a Jewish wife, I would long have converted to Islam, if I had not been careful to see the hand of Godin all manifestations of life including the fact that the genealogy of Jesus Christ started as far back as Jacob. (Israel), descended from Sarah. Having accepted the decision of God in favor of Isaac and not Ishmael, I also reasoned that two wrongs cannot make a right, for which reason the injustice of our forefathers can be corrected today with love amongst us, and not perpetuated with hate between Christians and Muslims. Secondly, since Islam also believe in the sovereignty of Allah (S.W.T.), and total submission to the decision of Allah (S.W.T), no injustice was actually done to patriarch Ishmael.
The truth is that the inert nature of a person does not change with a change in religion which, oftentimes, is influenced not by altruistic reasons, but pecuniary reasons of self-interest and survival amidst the harsh realities of life.
To drive home the peaceful nature of Christianity which has been taken advantage of, there was a case in Nigeria where a young lady celebrity teared out pages of the Holy Bible and used same to wrap and smoke weed (marijuana or Indian hemp). Where that act to be done with the pages of the Glorious Quran, that lady would have been dead for long. A ‘fatwa’ would have been placed on her head and long executed. But the last time I heard of that lady, she was said to have repented of her actions, apologized, and become a born-again Christian. This example is a true case of the Christian God as God of light, life, and love and mercy, which glories not on the destruction of the soul it created. It also shows the Christian God as a God which fights its battle without a death sentence passed and executed on errant souls by human beings who are not themselves infallible.
While Christians believe that Christ is the word (Logos) which the Holy Bible is simply a medium to convey, some Muslims seen to believe more on the Glorious Quran, the empirical medium of the message- the printed matter which they reverence above human souls who may be accused of desecrating it- than the message contained therein.
Because Christianity believes that Christ is the living word of God written in the Bible, this belief opens up an opportunity for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Holy Trinity, to reform and purify the heart to the expectation and glory of God. This is why sanctification is the easiest way to recognize a true and committed Christian.
Were the comments in those books I mentioned here to swap places from Muslims to Christians, there would have been cries of the desecration of the Glorious Qur-an. But such peaceful attitudes by Christians towards the obvious desecration of the Holy Bible and the personality of Christ confirms the true test of their knowledge and understanding of the teaching of Jesus Christ, their spiritual master, who had asked them to extend love to even those who, through their actions, show to be their enemies. No form of Christian evangelism or Islamic Dawaa activities can be greater and more impactful, converting souls to the kingdom of God, than living by example, showing love to people even on the face of unwarranted provocation.
It is obviously as a result of lack of regard for the Holy Bible, the personality of Jesus Christ and His works on earth by some Muslims that Christian lives which are daily wasted by several Islamic groups around the world are attached with little value. Though Christianity teaches peace and love, nobody has an exclusive right over violence. Our generation may be calm to take all this rubbish, but what about the generations following us? The world may be mired in religious violence in future if Muslims do not curb their appetite and penchant to destroy Christian lives. Jesus Christ was not docile, neither was His divinity in doubt. His victory over the people who turned the house of God into a market for buying and selling attests to his physical prowess. Secondly, several attempts were made several times by his traducers to apprehend him without success. The Holy Bible records that many times His traducers will either pass by without seeing Him, or become unable to identify Him in the company of His disciples. Other times, He will simply walk away from the midst of His traducers without being seen or noticed, having employed an adept’s mystical exercise and secret known till present day to those who have attained the mountaintop as the ‘Cloud’ process. Jesus Christ was not caught by his traducers until His time was up. They had no power to do that, and wouldn’t have been able to do that. He actually gave Himself up, after reprimanding Judas Iscariot of the latter’s future attempt to betray Him. The betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas Iscariot explain the fact that the ‘Cloud’ process cannot fail unless from inside. Literarily, it can only cave-in. It also shows that like birth, the time people die is a factor solely controlled by God, as it throws light on the truth that true believers do not die the physical death unless their time is up. Somehow, a believer must die and a certain story told to capture the manner of his death, though he dies at the fullness of His time. Why are some Christian docile, afraid to die, preferring not to defend the truth and their religion because they want to live?
It is my opinion that no religion is completely free of consecutive generations of interpretative deficiencies which robs it of some of its original values. Neither Islam, nor Christianity! This is why I see myself as a reformist Christian because I have actually spent time and effort to find out how Christianity used to be, for which reason I find it a worthy course to be part of those who will put things back as they used to be in the days of Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, I must advice Islamic scholars and Muslim clerics to first remove the logs in their eyes to be able to see the specks in the eyes of others. They should restrain themselves from disparaging Jesus Christ, His works, and Christianity. It is not that people like me (we are very many right now around the world) do not have anything contrary to say about Islam or the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).
As a matter of fact, with my verse knowledge of history, the occult world, the subject of Satanism, proficiency in the mystical arts and multi-disciplinary exposure which has been ensured by providence making it possible for me to traverse the different scape in both ancient and modern knowledge perspectives, I have seen several unwholesome, distasteful things going on in that religion. I have done so much work about the life and times of the Holy prophet (S.A.W.) and the religion of Islam to be able to present to the world a much, much deeper and factual work on certain practices in that religion that will open up a lot of things far, far more and beyond the nature of that 546 page personal opinion on the Glorious Quran by the British Indian writer, Salman Rushdie, called “The Satanic Verses.” But my reverence for both the religion of Islam and the person of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) can never allow me to descend that low. Peace and unity in the world is another reason why certain knowledge acquired by me over the long period of my spiritual and intellectual pursuit, can never be released to the public. Another reason why that chapter of my life and everything pertaining to it must remain closed is because I have subjected all of them to the empirical verification of the Holy Bible and subservient to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. My Muslim friends must, therefore have this type of restraint and intellectual discipline that will prevent all of us going to the street with the contrary information we have about one another’s belief system.
People who dwell on the illusion that the world will ever be an Eldorado where everything goes on well without the truth being obstructed by falsehood, without darkness prevailing on the light, will continue to be disappointed because the concept of life as granted by God is anchored on the balance of opposites wherefore the presence of light will naturally attract darkness because we will be unable to quantify the efficacy of light were darkness not to oppose it, and not there to differentiate it. As Christians, we are able to appreciate the value of Jesus Christ because of the power of the darkness surrounding us. The only thing that have sustained the existence of human life on earth up till now is the presence of the virtues which Jesus Christ lived, taught, and died for. As we approach the end time and tarry for His Second Coming when we shall herald Him in his glory and majesty, we observe that the world is continuously moving away from the practice of those same virtues Jesus Christ lived, taught and died for – those same virtues for which the end time saints are daily persecuted.
Finally, whatever anybody, including my Muslim brothers and friends may want to say in condemnation as to both the nature and date of Easter, the Christian festival of Easter, to me as a reformist Christian and the works of Jesus Christ, is a symbol. Easter reminds me, and must remind all true Christians, of the passions, the sufferings and the last moments of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the earth that rejected Him.
My joy today as it will be on the last day as I shall experience Him in His glory, is that though He was rejected by the earth which understood Him not, He showed us the more important need, by His death, resurrection, ascension, to look heaven-wards beyond the temporal power of mortal death which used to be the fear and anathema of true believers in Him.
Oh! death, where is thy sting? Christ is risen! Hallelujah!!
Happy Easter Celebration to you all!!!
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