Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice IX : Crucifixion 1


Dr. Badawi begins a new section entitled "Crucifixion" with this first segment. First, He presents the Qur'an's claim that Jesus was not crucified. Badawi proceeds to list several heretical groups which did not believe in the crucifixion of Jesus and then attempts to convince us [unsuccessfully] that the Nag Hammadi codices deny the historical fact that Jesus died on the cross.

After his brief introduction, Dr. Badawi begins to attack the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, beginning with the Psalms of David. First, we must understand that the Messianic prophecies were given by God so that the Jews could identify their Messiah when He came. A second important issue that we must keep in mind is the concept of typology. Typology was one of the major ways that the New Testament authors studied Old Testament prophecy and history. When the Jews of the first century studied the Psalms, they often read them through typological eyes - that is, they saw the coming of their promised Lord and Messiah predicted in the events, as well as the prophecies, in the Old Testament. Please remember that typology is a way of looking at, and studying, history. In this case, we are concerned with the history of the interaction between God and Israel. There are two major types of prophecies: historical types (individuals and human events) and cosmological types (divine persons and divine events).

Host: What about the suggestion that all of those who believe in Jesus unanimously accept the crucifixion?

Jamal Badawi: There are 1 billion humans who believe in Jesus but do not believe that he was killed - the Muslims based on Sura 4:157-158:

That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-

The fact that many people believe something that is incorrect, does not make it correct! There are several problems with this passage. First, why would the Jews "boast" that they killed the Messenger of God? Think about it for a minute. The Jewish followers of Jesus did not kill him. In fact, they were horrified when he was put to death. The Jewish enemies of Jesus were certainly happy to have Him out of their way, but they would never have called him the Messiah or a "Messenger" of God since they viewed such statements as blasphemy! Second, to make matters worse, God's "illusion" convinced Christ's followers, as well as His enemies, that He had been crucified. So, if the Qur'an is true [which I do not believe to be the case], then God's "illusion" actually deprived the followers of Jesus, both then and now, of any chance of salvation. How could God be so dishonest, by tricking the followers of Jesus, and so cruel, since [according to the Qur'an] those who believe in the divinity of Jesus will be punished?

In the early Christianity, there were seven sects who believed that Jesus was not killed but someone else was substituted. This includes the Corinthians, Thessalidians, Basilides, Carpocates, Nazarites. When the Gospel according to Barnabas was discovered, it also says that Jesus was not killed but an angel carried him away and Judas was killed. The Nag Hammadi shows that Jesus was not killed but was watching the crucifixion. It is not just a Muslim opinion, early Christians also believed this. Some scholars have analyzed the Psalms of David for prophecies of the crucifixion.

Issue 1: As I mentioned in an earlier segment, it is not difficult to find fringe groups, in any religion, which deny many of the central tenants of the faith. Even among groups which call themselves "Muslims", there is not universal agreement about what happened to Jesus. The Ahmadiyya believe that He fainted on the cross while the Nation of Islam believes that Jesus was killed by a policeman in Jerusalem.

Issue 2: The Gospel of Barnabas is a Medieval forgery which teaches many doctrines which are contrary to orthodox Islam as well as orthodox Christianity. Also, if the Gospel of Barnabas is true, why did all of the disciples lie about what happened and why did God allow this fraud to go on for so many centuries?

Issue 3: Many codices of the Nag Hammadi DO CLAIM that Jesus was crucified:

The Apocryphon of James

For the good will not enter into the world. Scorn death, therefore, and take thought for life! Remember my cross and my death, and you will live!" But I answered and said to him, "Lord, do not mention to us the cross and death, for they are far from you." The Lord answered and said, "Verily, I say unto you, none will be saved unless they believe in my cross. But those who have believed in my cross, theirs is the kingdom of God.

The Gospel of Philip

Not only must those who produce the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, do so, but have produced them for you. If one does not acquire them, the name ("Christian") will also be taken from him. But one receives the unction of the [...] of the power of the cross.

My God, my God, why, O Lord, have you forsaken me?" It was on the cross that he said these words, for he had departed from that place.

Philip the apostle said, "Joseph the carpenter planted a garden because he needed wood for his trade. It was he who made the cross from the trees which he planted. His own offspring hung on that which he planted. His offspring was Jesus, and the planting was the cross." But the Tree of Life is in the middle of the Garden. However, it is from the olive tree that we got the chrism, and from the chrism, the resurrection.

He who has been anointed possesses everything. He possesses the resurrection, the light, the cross, the Holy Spirit. The Father gave him this in the bridal chamber; he merely accepted (the gift). The Father was in the Son and the Son in the Father. This is the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Gospel of Thomas

55. Jesus said, "Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be my disciple, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters, and carry the cross as I do, will not be worthy of me."

Host: What are the basic premises in analyzing the prophecies in the Book of Psalms?

Jamal Badawi: We can not take these prophecies literally, there are allegories. In the case of the Psalms, there are repeated statements about a righteous servant of God and is praying to be saved from his enemies and death. Some point to the Psalms as evidence, but if this is the case, these Psalms must be consistent. If you examine these, as a whole it shows that Jesus will be saved from the cross at the critical moment and someone else will be killed in his place.

The Psalms present many cosmological types of prophecies. Dr. Badawi will mention some of the many predictions which the Psalms make about Jesus and then attempt to discredit these prophecies by dwelling endlessly on several points:

1. The Psalms were talking about someone other than Jesus, usually King David.

Many of the Psalms describe the trials of King David. One important fact that we need to remember is that the Jews of the time of Jesus interpreted these events typologically. In other words, David (along with Moses, Hezekiah, and Josiah) were characters in Jewish history which provided a "prototype" for the Messiah to come. The Psalms formed a retrospective look at Jewish history as well as providing detailed predictions of the future, especially the coming of the Messiah.

2. Dr. Badawi will claim that the "righteous servant" in these Psalms was not punished, but escaped and the enemy perished.

Ultimately, through the resurrection, Jesus did escape death and His enemies. The one who betrayed Jesus did in fact perish, taking his own life.

3. Dr. Badawi tells us that these Psalms cannot be talking about Jesus because the "righteous servant" establishes a kingdom on this earth.

These Psalms contain prophecies which will be fulfilled when Jesus returns and establishes the millenial kingdom over which He will rule.

Host: Could you tell us about these?

Jamal Badawi: Psalm 22 is cited by many Christians, Mark and Matthew, Luke and John, as well as Hebrews refer to it. The basic evidence in verse 1 is God, God why have you forsaken me? These are the words which Jesus is claimed to have said on the cross. In verses 6-8, it talks of someone who is scorned and mocked and many connect this to the Gospel. The Psalm also talks about those who will divide his garments. In verse 14, he complains that his bones are out of joint, this would apply to the crucifixion. In verse 16 in talks about the piercing of hands and feet. This is totally out of context according to Dennis Meinham, this describes something that happened in the past in 1 Samuel 27 and 30, 1 Chronicle 12, it describes the trial of David and his conflict with Saul the first King of Israel. When he asked God why he foresoke him, he is expressing his distress with the enemies surrounding him. This happened when the Amelkites invaded, some were against David and wanted to kill him. 1 Samuel 30:1-6 is a reference for this. Number 26:56 said they cast lots. Garments can be women based on Genesis.

Let us look at Psalm 22:

Verses 1-10:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him." Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God.

David has, apparently been forsaken by God, and scorned by his enemies. However, David is confident that God, the God of his fathers and of his youth, will never abandon him.

Verses 11-18:

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

In this passage, David laments his desperate struggle with death (and foreshadows the death of the Messiah by crucifixion) at the hands of his enemies.

Verses 19-21:

But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

David prays that Yahweh will deliver him from a terrible death, and finds an answer

Verses 22-26:

I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him-- may your hearts live forever!

David addresses the elect and the world in praise because God triumphs.

The words of this Psalm describe the plight of David and also foreshadow the suffering of the Messiah, with who the typology of the Jews of the time of Jesus identified with David.

Host: The term pierce my hands and feet seem to appear to crucifixion?

Jamal Badawi: When we use these terms, it does not have to be literal. In Deuteronomy 28:13, God threatens the Israelites that the sky will become brass and iron, although this was not literal. Even if we take this as literal, it applies to the suffering of David because of the invasion. The term pierced in the original Hebrew does not exist, it says like a lion. The RSV has a footnote for this verse. The famous Dennis Meinham says that this is a prayer of David.

Actually, Dr. Badawi is referring to Deuteronomy 28:23. Here, Badawi is referring to Psalm 22:16 and he is taking issue with the translation.

The term "lion" is found in most Hebrew manuscripts while the Septuagint, Syriac, and some Hebrew manuscripts use the term "pierced". However, when we look at the context, the term "pierced" makes more sense. For example, which sounds more accurate:

Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and feet.


Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, like a lion at my hands and feet?

First, both "Dogs" and "Men" are plural while "lion" is singular. Second, exactly what is the lion doing at the Psalmist's hands and feet? I would say, based on the context of this passage, that the Psalmist is being attacked. I would imagine, if a lion is part of the scene, that the lion would be eating the Psalmist! Why is the lion sitting at the writer's hands and feet? The "pierced" translation, in spite of the fact that it depends on an unusual plural form, is favored by translators. I cannot imagine that any Bible scholar today would argue that the "lion" translation is accurate.

Verse 24 shows that God responded to the prayer of this person. Verse 26 also says that the afflicted will eat and talks about praising the Lord, that does not apply to someone who died on the cross.

How did God not respond to Jesus? He raised Him from the dead! Jesus indeed ate with His disciples after the resurrection (Luke 24:42) and God the Son continued to praise God the Father until His ascension into heaven.

Host: Is there any other Psalm that is presented as a prophecy of the crucifixion?

Jamal Badawi: Psalm 31:5, the person who is praying says into thy hands I commit my spirit which is what Jesus said on the cross. Verse 11 says he will be scorned and abandoned, verse 13 says that the enemies were plotting to take his life. We can pick and chose anti-evidence that this servant was not crucified. In verse 1 and 17, the servant is praying that God never puts him to shame and the greatest shame is to be hanged on the tree. He is praying in verse 15 to be delivered from his enemies. Verse 4 could mean the face of Judas, verse 17 shows that the wicked will be put to shame, possibly the shame was put on Judas. It is impossible for someone who is a sincere servant of God would be rejected by God as verses 7 and 8 says:

I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.

If we take this Psalm as a whole, it means that God responded to saved him.

God did indeed save David. I believe that the main theme of this Psalm is that we should rely on God when we are in distress. Psalm 31 has fewer prophetic implications than many of the other Psalms, so, perhaps, Dr. Badawi is using this Psalm as a red herring?

Host: Are there any other prophecies which say that Judas was killed?

Jamal Badawi: Psalm 9:5-6

You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished.

The righteous servant speaks about being saved from his enemies. In Psalm 31, and 34 it says let the afflicted be glad. In verse 6 it says that God saved him and the angels incant the person who fears God. In the Gospel of Barnabas, it says that the angels took Jesus away. In Psalm 34:20 it says that God will preserve all of his bones, not that no bones were broken, but that he will be saved intact.

Psalm 9:5-6 is not talking about Judas at all! Those afflicted with sin are glad for their salvation through Jesus. In regard to Psalm 34:6-7 :

This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Does not claim that the angels saved Jesus. In this Psalm, David pretended to be insane before Abimelech. Verse 20 is probably the only Messianic prophecy in this Psalm:

he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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