“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
He promised to be with them always, yet he left them shortly afterwards when he ascended to heaven. How could he still be with them (and also with us) after he ascended?
The answer comes in what happened a little later. At the supper just before his arrest he had promised the coming of the Helper. Fifty days after his resurrection (and 10 days after his ascension) this promise was fulfilled. This day is called the Day of Pentecost or Pentecost Sunday. It celebrates a remarkable day, but it is not only what happened that day but when and why it happened that reveals the sign of Allah, and a powerful gift for you.
What happened on Pentecost
The complete events are recorded in the Book of Acts chapter 2 of the Bible. On that day, the Holy Spirit of God descended on the first followers of Isa al Masih PBUH and they started speaking loudly in languages from around the world. It created such a commotion that thousands who were in Jerusalem at the time came out to see what was happening. In front of the gathered crowd, Peter spoke the first gospel message and ‘three thousand were added to their number that day’ (Acts 2:41). The number of followers of the gospel has been growing ever since that Pentecost Sunday.
This summary of Pentecost is not complete. Because, just like the other events of the Prophet, Pentecost happened on the same day as a Festival that had begun with the Taurat in the time of the Prophet Musa PBUH.
Precisely 50 days after the ‘Firstfruits’ Sunday the Taurat required the Jews to celebrate Pentecost (‘Pente’ for 50). It was first called Feast of Weeks since it was counted by seven weeks. Jews had been celebrating the Feast of Weeks for 1500 years by the time of the Prophet Isa al Masih PBUH. The reason that there were people from all over the world to hear Peter’s message that day the Holy Spirit descended in Jerusalem was precisely because they were there to celebrate the Pentecost of the Taurat. Today Jews continue to celebrate Pentecost but call it Shavuot.
We read in the Taurat how the Feast of Weeks was to be celebrated:
Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD. (Leviticus 23:16-17)
Precision of Pentecost: Sign from Allah
There is a precise timing of the Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on people since it occurred on the same day as the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost) of the Taurat. The crucifixion of Isa al Masih occurring on the Passover Festival, his resurrection occurring on the FirstFruits Festival, and this coming of the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Weeks, are clear signs to us from Allah. With so many days in a year why should the crucifixion, resurrection, and then the coming of the Holy Spirit happen precisely on each day of the three spring festivals of the Taurat, except if this was to show us His plan?
Pentecost: The Helper gives New Power
In explaining the signs of the coming of the Holy Spirit, Peter pointed to a prophecy from the prophet Joel predicting that one day the Spirit of God would pour out on all peoples. The events of that Pentecost day fulfilled the prophecy.
One reason that the Gospel is ‘good news’ is that it provides power to live life better. Life is now a union between Allah and people. This union takes place through the indwelling of the Spirit of God – which began on the Pentecost Sunday of Acts 2. It is Good News that life can now be lived on a different level, in a relationship with God through His Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us a true inner guidance – guidance from God. The Bible explains it like this:
And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. (Romans 8:11)
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)
The indwelling Spirit of God is a second firstfruits, because the Spirit is a foretaste – a guarantee – of completing our transformation into ‘children of God’.
The gospel offers a new life not by trying-but-failing to keep the Law. Nor is it an abundant life through possessions, status, wealth and all the other passing pleasures in this world, which Suleiman had found so empty. Instead, the Injil offers a new and abundant life by the indwelling of the Spirit of God in our hearts. If Allah offers to indwell, empower and guide us – that has to be Good News! The Pentecost of Taurat, with the celebration of fine bread baked with yeast pictured this coming abundant life. The precision between the Old and New Pentecosts is a clear sign that this is the plan of Allah for us to have an abundant life.
We examined the final week of the prophet Isa al Masih PBUH. The Injil records that he was crucified on Day 6 – Good Friday, and he was raised back to life the following Sunday. This was foreseen both in the Taurat and the Psalms and Prophets. But why did this happen and what does it mean for you and me today? Here we seek to understand what is offered by the Prophet Isa al Masih, and how we can receive mercy and forgiveness. This will help us even understand Surah al Fatihah (Surah 1 – The Opener) when it asks Allah to ‘show us the Straight Way’ as well as understanding why ‘Muslim’ means ‘one who submits’, and why religious observances like wudu, zakat and eating halal are good intentions but insufficient in themselves for the Day of Judgment.
Bad News – what the Prophets say of our relationship with Allah
The Taurat teaches that when Allah created mankind He
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
“Image” is not meant in a physical sense, but rather that we were made to reflect Him in the way we functioned emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually. We were created to be in relationship with Him. We can visualize this relationship in the slide below. The Creator, as infinite ruler, is placed at the top while man and woman are placed at the bottom of the slide since we are finite creatures. The relationship is shown by the connecting arrow.
Allah is perfect in character – He is Holy. Because of this the Zabur says
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. 5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong (Psalm 5: 4-5)
Adam committed one act of disobedience – only one- and the Holiness of God required Him to judge. The Taurat and Qur’an record that Allah made him mortal and expelled him His presence. The same situation exists for us. When we sin or disobey in any way we dishonor Allah since we do not act according to the image that we were made in. Our relationship is broken. This results in a barrier as solid as a rock wall that comes between us and our Creator.
Piercing Sin’s barrier by Religious Merit
Many of us try to pierce this barrier between us and Allah by religious deeds or works that earn enough merit to break the barrier. Prayers, fasting, Hajj, going to mosque, zakat, alms to charity are the ways we seek to earn merit to pierce the barrier as illustrated next. The hope is that religious merit will cancel out some sin. If our many deeds earn enough merit we hope to cancel all our sins and receive mercy and forgiveness.
But how much merit do we need to cancel sin? What is our assurance that our meritorious deeds will be sufficient to cancel the sin and pierce the barrier that has come between us and our Creator? Do we know if our efforts for good intentions will be sufficient? We have no assurance and so we try to do as much as we can and hope it will be sufficient on Judgment Day.
Along with deeds to gain merit, efforts for good intentions, many of us work hard to stay clean. We diligently perform wudu before prayers. We work hard to stay away from people, objects and food that make us unclean. But the prophet Isaiah revealed that:
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
The prophet tells us that even if we avoid everything that make us unclean, our sins will make our ‘righteous acts’ as useless as ‘filthy rags’ in making us clean. That is bad news. But it gets worse.
The Injil summarizes this truth in the following way:
For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)
“Death” literally means ‘separation’. When our soul separates from our body we die physically. Similarly we are even now separated from God spiritually and are dead and unclean in His sight.
This reveals the problem of our hope in earning merit to pay for sin. The problem is that our hard efforts, merits, good intentions, and deeds, though not wrong, are insufficient because the payment required (the ‘wages’) for our sins is ‘death’. Only death will pierce this wall because it satisfies God’s justice. Our efforts to gain merit are like trying to cure cancer (which results in death) by eating halal food. Eating halal is not bad, it is good – and one should eat halal – but it will not cure cancer. For cancer you need a totally different treatment that puts the cancerous cells to death.
So even in our efforts and good intentions to generate religious merit we are actually dead and unclean as a corpse in the sight of our Creator
The Quran speaks of this in Surah As-Saffat where it says:
And we ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. And we left (the blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times. “Peace and salutation to Ibrahim” (Surah As-Saffat 37:107-109)
Allah ‘ransomed’ (paid the price) and Ibrahim received the blessing, mercy and forgiveness, which included ‘peace’.
Good News: The work of Isa al Masih on our behalf
The example of the prophet is there to show us the Straight Path in accordance with the request of Surah Al-Fatihah
Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.
It is You we worship and You we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path –
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray. (Surah al-Fatihah 1:4-7)
The Injil explains that this was an illustration to show how Allah would pay for sin and provide a cure for death and uncleanness in a simple but powerful way.
For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)
Up until now, it has all been ‘bad news’. But ‘injil’ literally means ‘good news’ and in declaring that the sacrifice of Isa’s death is sufficient to pierce this barrier between us and God we can see why it is good news as shown.
In his sacrifice and resurrection Isa al Masih became the gate through the barrier of sin that separates us from God. This is why the prophet said:
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.They will come in and go out, and find pasture.10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:9-10)
Because of this gate, we now can re-gain the relationship we had with our Creator before our sin became a barrier and we can be assured of receiving mercy and the forgiveness of our sins.
As the Injil declares:
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
The Gift of God to you
The prophet ‘gave himself’ for ‘all people‘. So this must include you as well as me. Through his death and resurrection he has paid the price to be a ‘mediator’ and offers us life. How is this life given?
For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)
Notice how it is given to us. It is offered as a … ‘gift’. Think about gifts. No matter what the gift is, if it is really a gift it is something that you do not work for and do not earn by merit. If you earned it the gift would no longer be a gift – it would be a wage! In the same way you cannot merit or earn the sacrifice of Isa al Masih. It is given to you as a gift. It is that simple.
And what is the gift? It is ‘eternal life’. That means that the sin which brought you and me death is now paid up. God loves you and me that much. It is that powerful.
So how do you and I obtain eternal life? Again, think of gifts. If someone wants to give you a gift you must ‘receive’ it. Anytime a gift is offered there are only two alternatives. Either the gift is refused (“No thank you”) or it is received (“Thank you for your gift. I will take it”). So also this gift must be received. It cannot just be mentally believed in, studied or understood. To be of benefit, any gift offered to you must be ‘received’.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (John 1:12-13)
In fact, the Injil says of God that
God our Savior,who wants all people to be saved … (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
He is a Saviour and His desire is that ‘all people’ receive his gift and be saved from sin and death. If this is His will, then to receive his gift would simply be submitting to His will – the very meaning of the word ‘Muslim’ – one who submits.
So how do we receive this gift? The Injil says that
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:12)
Notice that this promise is for ‘everyone’. Since he rose from the dead Isa al Masih is alive even now. So if you call on him he will hear and give his gift to you. You call out to him and ask him. Perhaps you have never done this. Below is a guide that can help you. It is not a magic chant. It is not the specific words that give power. It is the trust like Ibrahim had that we place in Isa al Masih to give us this gift. As we trust him He will hear us and answer. The Injil is powerful, and yet also so simple. Feel free to follow this guide if you find it helpful.
Dear Prophet and Lord Isa al Masih. I understand that with my sins I am separated from Allah my Creator. Though I can try hard, my efforts do not pierce this barrier. But I understand that your death was a sacrifice to wash away all my sins and make me clean. I know that you rose from the dead after your sacrifice so I believe that your sacrifice was sufficient and so I submit to you. I ask you to please cleanse me from my sins and mediate with my Creator so I can have eternal life. Thank you, Isa the Masih, for doing all this for me and would you even now continue to guide me in my life so I can follow you as my Lord.
The Lord said to Moses,2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.
3 “‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord.
The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
4 “‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:5 The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. (Leviticus 23:1-5)
Is it not curious that both the crucifixion and rest of the Prophet Isa al Masih coincided exactly with two Holy festivals prescribed 1500 years beforehand as shown in the timeline? Why is this? The answer reaches out to us all, even to how we now greet one another every day.
This coordination of the Prophet Isa al Masih with the festivals of the Taurat continues. The recitation from Taurat above dealt only with the first two festivals. The next festival was called ‘first fruits’ and the Taurat gave this instruction about it.
The Lord said to Moses,10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath…
14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. (Leviticus 23: 9-11, 14)
So ‘the day after the sabbath’ of the Passover was a third Holy day. Every year on this day the High Priest entered the Holy Temple and waved the very first grain harvest of the spring before the LORD. This signified the start of new life after the death of winter, looking forward to a plentiful harvest so the people could eat and be satisfied.
This was the exact same day after the Sabbath when Isa al Masih PBUH had rested in death, the Sunday of a new week on Nisan 16. The Injil records startling events on this same day that the High Priest went in the Temple to offer ‘first fruits’ of new life. Here is the record:
Isa al Masih Risen from the Dead
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
On the Road to Emmaus
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast.18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther.29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him,and he disappeared from their sight.32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.48 You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24: 1-48)
Isa al Masih’s Victory
The prophet Isa al Masih PBUH on that Holy day of ‘First Fruits’ achieved a great victory that his enemies and his companions did not believe possible – he came back to life victorious over death. As the Injil explains:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15: 54-56)
But this was not just a victory for the prophet. It is also a victory for you and me, guaranteed by the timing with the First Fruits festival with his resurrection. The Injil explains it like this:
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15: 20-26)
The prophet was raised to life on the same day as the First Fruits festival so we would know that we can participate in this same resurrection from death. Just as the First Fruits festival was an offering of new life with the expectation of a great harvest later in the spring, the Injil tells us that the raising of Isa al Masih was the ‘first fruit’ of the resurrection with the expectation of a larger resurrection later for all ‘who belong to him’. We saw in the Taurat and Qur’an that death came because of Adam. The Injil tells us that in a parallel way resurrection life comes through Isa al Masih. He is the first fruits of new life that we are all invited to participate in.
Easter: Celebrating the Resurrection of that Sunday
Today the resurrection of Isa al Masih is often referred to as Easter, and the Sunday that he rose is often remembered as Easter Sunday. But these words only came into use hundreds of years afterwards. The actual words used to remember the resurrection of Isa al Masih are not important. What is important is the resurrection of the Prophet as a fulfillment of the Festival of First Fruits begun hundreds of years earlier in the time of the Prophet Musa, and what this means for you and me.
This is seen for Sunday of the new week in the Timeline:
But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:9)
When he ‘tasted death’ on Good Friday he did so for you, me and ‘everyone’. Good Friday has its name because it was good for us. When he rose on the First Fruits Festival he now offers new life to everyone.
Resurrection and Peace of Isa al Masih in the Qur’an
Though given in less detail, the Qur’an labels the resurrection of Isa al Masih as one of three most important days. Surah Maryam recites it in this way:
[Isal al Masih said] “So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)”! (Surah Maryam 19:33)
The Injil also emphasizes the birth of Isa al Masih, his death and now his resurrection. Since his resurrection is ‘first-fruits’, the peace that was upon the prophet in his resurrection is also now available to you and me. Isa al Masih showed this when he greeted his disciples later on the day of his resurrection:
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John20:19-22)
The customary greeting that Muslims now extend to one another (‘salam ealaykum’ – Peace be upon you) was used by the Prophet Isa al Masih long beforehand to link his resurrection with the peace that is now given to us. We should remember this promise from the prophet every time we hear or say this greeting, and think of the gift of the Holy Spirit also now available to us.
Resurrection of Isa al Masih considered
The Prophet Isa al Masih showed himself alive from death over many days to his companions. These events from the Injil are narrated here. But it is instructive to note that even at his first appearance to his disciples it:
…seemed to them like nonsense (Luke 24: 10)
The prophet himself had to:
beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
And again later:
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24: 44)
How can we be sure if this is indeed Allah’s plan and straight way to give us life from death? Only God can know the future, so Signs revealed hundreds of years previously through the Prophets in Taurat and Zabur, and fulfilled by Isa al Masih were written to give us assurance:
so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1: 4)
So we can be informed on this vital topic of the sacrifice and resurrection of the Prophet Isa al Masih, links to four different articles are available:
This article reviews the Signs given in the Taurat (Law of Moses) pointing to Isa al Masih.
This article reviews the Signs in ‘the Prophets and the Psalms’. The goal of these two articles is to allow us to judge for ourselves whether it was indeed written that “The Masih will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day” (Luke 24:46) in these books.
This article will help us understand how to receive this gift of resurrection life from Isa al Masih.
This article addresses some confusion about the crucifixion of Isa al Masih, reviewing what the Holy Qur’an and different Islamic scholars have written about it.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. (Luke 23: 55-56)
The women wanted prepare the body of the prophet but time had run out and the Sabbath began at sundown Friday evening. This was the 7th day of the week and Jews were not permitted to work on this day. This command went back to the creation account in the Taurat. Allah had created everything in 6 days. The Taurat stated:
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:1-2)
So the women, though they wanted to prepare his body, were obedient to the Taurat and rested.
But the chief priests continued their work on the sabbath. The Injil records their meetings with the governor.
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate.63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. (Matthew 27: 62-66)
So that Sabbath day saw the chief priests working to secure a guard around the body in the tomb. The body of the Prophet Isa al Masih PBUH rested in death while the women rested in obedience on that Sabbath day of the Holy week. The Timeline shows how their rest that day mirrored the 7th day of Creation where the Taurat says that Allah rested from Creation.
Surah 62 (The Congregation, Friday – Al-Jumu’ah) tells us that the day of prayer for Muslims is Friday. But Surah al-Jumu’ah first gives a challenge – which the prophet Isa PBUH accepted in his role as Masih. Al-Jumu’ah, just before decreeing the day of prayer to be Friday, declared:
Say: “O ye that stand on Judaism! If ye think that ye are friends to God, to the exclusion of (other) men, then express your desire for Death, if ye are truthful!”
But never will they express their desire (for Death), because of the (deeds) their hands have sent on before them! and God knows well those that do wrong! (Surah 62 al-Jumu’ah: 6-7)
These Ayat mean that if we are true friends of Allah then we will have no fear of death, but since they (and we) have doubts about how good our deeds are we avoid death at great cost. But on this Friday, Day 6 of his final week, as a Jew, Isa al Masih faced this exact test – and he did it by starting with prayer. As the Injil explains about the prophet:
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:37-39)
Before we continue the events of this Friday, we will review the events leading up to this Friday prayer. Our avowed enemy, Shaytan, had entered Judas on Day 5 to betray the prophet Isa al Masih PBUH. The next evening on Day 6 the prophet shared his last supper with his companions (also called his disciples). At that meal he explained through example and teaching how we should love one another and about God’s great love for us. Exactly how he did this is described here from the Injil. Then he prayed for all believers – which you can read here. The Injil describes what happened next after his Friday prayer:
The arrest in the Garden
When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. (John 18: 1-13)
The prophet went to the garden just outside Jerusalem to pray. There Judas brought soldiers to arrest him. If we face arrest we might try to fight, run or hide. But the prophet Isa al Masih PBUH did not fight or run. He very clearly admitted that he was indeed the prophet that they were looking for. His clear confession (“I am he”) startled the soldiers and his companions escaped. The prophet submitted to arrest and was taken to the house of Annas for interrogation.
The First Interrogation
The Injil records how the prophet was interrogated there:
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”
22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. (John 18: 19-24)
The prophet Isa al Masih PBUH was sent from the former high priest to the high priest of that year for a second interrogation.
The Second Interrogation
There he would be interrogated in front of all the leaders. The Injil recorded this further interrogation:
53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together.54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him:58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’”59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death.65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him. (Mark 14: 53-65)
The Jewish leaders condemned the Prophet Isa al Masih to death. But since Jerusalem was ruled by Rome, an execution could only be approved by the Roman Governor. So they took the prophet to the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate. The Injil also records what happened at the same time to Judas Iscariot, the one who had betrayed him.
What happened to Judas the betrayer?
Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed.2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.”7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. (Matthew 27: 1-8)
Isa al Masih interrogated by the Roman Governor
Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer.13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?”14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd.16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas.17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.
19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27: 11-26)
The Crucifixion, Death & Burial of the Prophet Isa al Masih
The Injil then records in great detail how the Prophet Isa al Masih was crucified. Here is the account:
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”).34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.
38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar,put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. (Matthew 27: 27-56)
‘Pierced’ in his side
The Gospel of John records a fascinating detail in the crucifixion. It states:
Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” (John 19: 31-37)
John saw the Roman soldiers pierce the side of Isa al Masih with a spear. Out came blood and water separated, indicating that the prophet had died of heart failure.
The Injil records a final event on that day – the burial.
The Burial of Jesus
57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. (Matthew 27:57-61)
Day 6 – Good Friday
Each day in the Jewish calendar began at sunset. So that day 6 of the week began with the Prophet sharing his last supper with his disciples. By the end of the day he had been arrested, put on trial many times, crucified, pierced with a spear, and buried. This day is often referred to as ‘Good Friday’. That raises the question: How can a day of betrayal, torture and death of a prophet ever be referred to as ‘good’? Why Good Friday and not ‘Bad Friday’?
This is a great question that we answer by continuing the Injil’s account over the next days. But a clue is found in the timeline if we notice this Friday was on the holy day of Nisan 14, the same Passover day the Jews sacrificed a lamb for their deliverance from death in Egypt 1500 years before.
Most accounts of men conclude at their death, but the Injil continues so we can understand why this day could ever be thought of as Good Friday. The next day was the Sabbath – Day 7.
But first let us return to Surah Al-Jumu’ah, continuing from the ayat we studied.
Say: “The Death from which ye flee will truly overtake you: then will ye be sent back to the Knower of things secret and open: and He will tell you (the truth of) the things that ye did!”
O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of God, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! (Surah 62 al-Jumu’ah:8-9)
Isa al Masih, taking the challenge of Ayat 6 & 7, did not flee from death, but starting with prayer faced this great test, proving he was a ‘friend to God’. Is it not appropriate then, in memory of his courage, that Muslims were later commanded to set apart Friday as the day for prayer in the mosque? It is as if Allah does not want us to forget the service of the prophet!
Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22: 1-6)
We see that Satan/Shaytan took advantage of this conflict to ‘enter’ Judas to betray the prophet. This should not surprise us. Several Surahs in the Holy Qur’an say of Satan that:
Say to My servants that they should (only) say those things that are best: for Satan doth sow dissensions among them: For Satan is to man an avowed enemy. (Surah Al-Isra 17:53)
And indeed, Jesus will be [a sign for] knowledge of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path. And never let Satan avert you. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. (Surah Az-Zukhruf 43: 61-62)
“Did I not enjoin on you, O ye Children of Adam, that ye should not worship Satan; for that he was to you an enemy avowed? And that ye should worship Me, (for that) this was the Straight Way? But he did lead astray a great multitude of you. Did ye not, then, understand?” (Surah Ya-Sin 36: 60-62)
Towards the end of the Injil, Satan is described in a vision:
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon,and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12: 7-9)
From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. (Matthew 26: 16)
The next day – Day 6 – was the Festival of Passover that the Prophet Musa PBUH had begun 1500 years beforehand. How would Satan, through Judas, find his opportunity on this Holy day? We look at this next.
Day 5 Summary
The timeline shows how on the 5th day of this week, the great dragon, Satan, moved to strike at his greatest enemy – the Prophet Isa al Masih PBUH.
17 And he left them (the Jewish leaders at the Temple on Nisan 10) and went out of the city to where he spent the night.
18 Early in the morning (Tuesday Nisan 11, Day 3), as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. (Matthew 21: 17-19)
Many wonder why Isa al Masih spoke and withered the fig tree. The Injil does not directly explain, but the earlier prophets can help us understand. These prophets, when warning of coming judgment would often use the image of a fig tree withering. Notice how the withering fig tree image is used by the previous prophets in their warnings:
The vine is dried up and the fig tree is withered;
the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree—
all the trees of the field—are dried up.
Surely the people’s joy is withered away. (Joel 1:12)
“Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards,
destroying them with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees,
yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord. (Amos 4:9)
Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. (Haggai 2:19)
All the stars in the sky will be dissolved
and the heavens rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree. (Isaiah 34:4)
“‘I will take away their harvest,
declares the Lord.
There will be no grapes on the vine.
There will be no figs on the tree,
and their leaves will wither.
What I have given them
will be taken from them.’” (Jeremiah 8: 13)
The prophet Hosea PBUH went further, using the fig tree as a metaphor of Israel and then pronouncing a curse:
“When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert;
when I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree. But when they came to Baal Peor,
they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol
and became as vile as the thing they loved. 11 Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird—
no birth, no pregnancy, no conception. 12 Even if they rear children, I will bereave them of every one.
Woe to them when I turn away from them! … 16 Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit.
Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring.”
17 My God will reject them because they have not obeyed him;
they will be wanderers among the nations. (Hosea 9:10-12, 16-17; note Ephraim = Israel)
These curses were fulfilled when Jerusalem was first destroyed in 586 BCE (see here for history of Jews). When the prophet Isa al Masih withered the fig tree, he was symbolically prophesying another coming destruction of Jerusalem and Jewish exile from the land.
After cursing the fig tree, Isa al Masih continued to the Temple, teaching the people and debating the Jewish leaders. He gave many warnings about the Judgment of Allah. The Injil records the teachings and they are in full here.
The Prophet Predicts the Signs of His Return
The Prophet Isa al Masih then concluded with a dark prophecy of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. At that time, this temple was one of the most impressive buildings in the whole Roman Empire. But the Injil records that he foresaw its ruin. This began a discussion about his return to earth, and the signs of his return. The Injil records his teachings
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
The prophet began by predicting the complete destruction of the Jewish Temple. We know from history that this happened in 70 C.E. Then in the evening[i] he left the Temple and was at the Mount of Olives outside the city of Jerusalem. Since the Jewish day began at sunset, it was now the start of the 4th day in the week, Wednesday Nisan 12, when he answered their question and taught about the end of the age and his return.
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Here the prophet Isa al Masih looked past the coming destruction of the Temple. He taught that the period from the destruction of the Temple to his return would be characterized by growing evil, earthquakes, famines, wars, and persecution of his followers. Even so, he predicted that the Injil would be ‘preached in the whole world’ (v 14). As the world learned about the Masih, there would be a growing number of false prophets and false claims about him and his return. The true sign of his return in the midst of the wars, chaos and distress would be undisputable disturbances of the sun, moon and the stars. Somehow they will be darkened.
We can see that war, distress and earthquakes are increasing – so the time of his return is getting closer. But there are still no disturbances in the heavens – so his return is not just yet. But how close are we? To answer this question, Isa al Masih continued
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Remember the fig tree, symbolic of Israel, which he had cursed and had withered the day before? When the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE the withering of Israel occurred and it remained withered for thousands of years. The prophet told us to look for shoots of green and leaves coming out from the fig tree – and then we would know the time would be ‘near’. Our generation has seen a change in the ‘fig tree’ as Jews have returned to Israel. Yes, this has added to the wars, distress and troubles for many in our times, but this should not surprise us since the prophet warned about this in his teaching. In many ways, there is still a deadness to this ‘tree’, but the leaves of the fig tree are starting to green.
This should make us careful and watchful in our times since the Prophet warned us of being careless and indifferent regarding his return.
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:1-51)
The updated timeline shows how the prophet Isa al Masih cursed the fig tree on Day 3 – Tuesday – ahead of lengthy debates with the Jewish leaders. This action was symbolically prophetic of Israel. Then, on Wednesday, Day 4, he described the signs of his return – the greatest being the darkening of all the heavenly bodies.
Then he warned all of us to carefully watch for his return. Since we can now see the fig tree becoming green again, we should live carefully and watchfully.
The Injil records next how Shaytan (Iblis) moved against the prophet on Day 5, which we look at next.
[i]Describing each day that week, the book of Luke summarizes that: “Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives” (Luke 21:37)
Why is the location of Al-Aqsa (Al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā or Bayt al-Maqdis) and Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah) in Jerusalem so special? Many holy events have occurred there but few know what happened to the prophet Isa al Masih PBUH at this holy location. The Prophet had just entered Jerusalem at the exact day prophesied hundreds of years before, revealing himself as the Masih and a light to the nations. That date, in the Jewish calendar, was Sunday, Nisan 9, the 1st day of a Holy Week. Because of regulations in the Taurat, the next day, 10th of Nisan, was a unique day in the Jewish calendar. Long before, the Taurat recorded the Prophet Musa (PBUH) preparing the 10th plague against Pharaoh when he was directed by Allah:
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. (Exodus 12:1-3)
In that time Nisan was the first month of the Jewish year. So, every Nisan 10 since the prophet Musa, each Jewish family would select a lamb for the upcoming Passover festival – it could only be done that day. In the time of the Prophet Isa al Masih the Jews selected the Passover lambs in their Temple in Jerusalem – the same location where 2000 years before the Prophet Ibrahm (PBUH) had been tested in the sacrifice of his son. Today, this is the location of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock. So at one specific location (where Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock are today and where the Jewish Temple was in the time of the prophet Isa al Masih), on one specific day of the Jewish year (Nisan 10), Jews would select the Passover lamb for each family (the poor would select doves). As you might imagine, the vast number of people and animals, the noise of the bartering, the foreign exchange (since Jews came from many locations) would make the Temple on Nisan 10 like a frenzied market. The Injil records what the Prophet Isa al Masih did that day. When the passage refers to the ‘next day’ this is the day after his royal entry into Jerusalem, the 10th of Nisan – the exact day that Passover lambs were selected in the Temple.
11Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
12The next day(i.e. Nisan 10) … they were leaving Bethany… 15On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:11-17)
At the human level the prophet Isa al Masih went into the Temple on Monday (Day 2 of the holy week), Nisan 10, and stopped the commercial activity. The buying and selling had created a barrier for prayer to heaven, especially for the other nations. The prophet was a Light for these nations, so he broke the barrier between earth and heaven by stopping the commercial activity. But something unseen also happened at the same time. We can understand this from the title that the Prophet Yahya (PBUH) had given to Isa al Masih. In announcing him the Prophet Yahya had said:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
The Prophet Isa al Masih was ‘the Lamb of God’. In the sacrifice of Ibrahim, Allah was the one who had selected the lamb for Ibrahim in place of his son by catching it in a bush. This is why Eid al-adha is celebrated today. The Temple was at this location where that lamb had been selected – where al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock are today. When the Prophet Isa al Masih went into the Temple on Nisan 10 he was selected by Allah as His Passover Lamb. He had to be in the Temple on this exact day in order to be selected – and he was.
The Purpose of Isa as Passover Lamb
What was he selected for as Passover lamb? Isa’s teaching provides the answer. When he said, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’ he was quoting from the Prophet Isaiah (PBUH). Here is the full passage (what the prophet spoke is in red).
And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
to minister to him,…
and who hold fast to my covenant— 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:6-7)
The ‘Holy Mountain’ that Isaiah had written about was Mount Moriah, where the Prophet Ibrahim had sacrificed the lamb selected by Allah in place of his son. The ‘house of prayer’ was the Temple which Isa al Masih entered on Nisan 10. For Jews, the location and date of the festival combined the sacrifice of Ibrahim and the Passover of Musa. However, only Jews could sacrifice at the Temple and celebrate Passover. But Isaiah had written that ‘foreigners’ (non-Jews) would one day see that ‘their burnt offerings and sacrifices would be accepted’. In quoting the prophet Isaiah, Isa announced that his work would obtain an acceptance for non-Jews . He did not explain at this point how he would do this. But as we continue the account we will learn even as we recognize now that Allah had a plan to bless you and me
Next days in the Holy Week
After the Jews selected their lambs on Nisan 10, the regulations in the Taurat commanded them to:
Take care of them (the selected lambs) until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. (Exodus 12:6)
After that first Passover at the time of the prophet Musa, the Jews sacrificed their Passover lambs every Nisan 14. We add ‘taking care of the lambs’ and their sacrifice to the Taurat Regulations in the timeline for the week. In the lower half of the timeline we add the activities of the prophet for Day 2 of the week – his cleansing of the Temple and his selection as Allah’s Passover lamb.
When the prophet Isa al Masih PBUH entered and cleansed the Temple, this also had an impact at the human level. The Injil continues by stating:
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. (Mark 11:18)
In cleansing the Temple he was targeted by the Jewish leaders to be killed. We follow how the plots of the authorities, the actions of the prophet, and the regulations from Taurat combine together as we look at the events on Day 3&4 next.
Surah An-Nur (Surah 24 – The Light) gives a parable of ‘Light’. It states:
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! God doth guide whom He will to His Light: God doth set forth Parables for men: and God doth know all things. (Surah An-Nur 24:35)
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. (Genesis 1: 3-6)
Allah brought Light into existence on Day One of Creation. His Masih also used a parable of Light. But in his parable, ‘darkness’ represented nations that do not know God. In each day of his final week, Isa al Masih PBUH spoke and acted in a way that pointed back to the six days of Creation. We will look at each day in turn, starting with Day One – Light shining in Darkness.
The Light in Darkness
The Prophet Isa al Masih PBUH had just entered Jerusalem mounted on a donkey as the prophet Zechariah PBUH had prophesied 500 years earlier, doing so on the exact day that the prophet Daniel PBUH had prophesied 550 years earlier. The Jews had been arriving from many countries for the upcoming Passover festival so Jerusalem was crowded with Jewish pilgrims (like Mecca at the time of Hajj). Therefore the arrival of the prophet had caused a stir among the Jews. But it was not only the Jews who noticed the arrival of Isa al Masih. The Injil records what happened right after he entered Jerusalem.
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. (John 12:20-22)
The Barrier between Greeks and Jews in the time of the Prophet
It was extremely unusual for Greeks, (that is the Gentiles or non-Jews), to be at a Jewish festival. The Greeks and Romans of that time, since they were polytheists, were considered unclean and shunned by the Jews. And most Greeks considered the Jewish religion with only one (unseen) God and its festivals to be foolish. At that time, only Jews were monotheists. So these peoples regularly stayed apart from each other. Since the Gentile, or non-Jewish, society was many times larger than the Jewish society, the Jews lived in a sort of isolation from much of the world. Their different religion, their halal diet, their exclusive book of the prophets created a barrier between the Jews and the Gentiles, with each side hostile to the other side.
In our day, with polytheism and idolatry rejected by much of the world, we can easily forget how different this was in the time of this Prophet. In fact, in the day of Ibrahim PBUH, almost everyone apart from that prophet were polytheists. In the time of the Prophet Musa PBUH, all the other nations worshiped idols, with the Pharaoh himself claiming to be one of the gods. The Israelites were a little island of monotheism in the ocean of idol worship of all the surrounding nations. But the prophet Isaiah PBUH (750 BCE) had been permitted to see into the future and he foresaw a change for all these nations. He had written:
Listen to me, you islands;
hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the Lord called me;
from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name…. 5 And now the Lord says—
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
and my God has been my strength— 6 he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:1, 5-6)
4 “Listen to me, my people;
hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
my justice will become a light to the nations. (Isaiah 51: 4)
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:1-3)
So the prophet Isaiah had foretold that the coming ‘servant’ of the Lord, though Jewish (‘the tribes of Jacob’) would be a ‘light for the Gentiles’ (all the non-Jews) and this light would reach to the ends of the earth. But how could this happen with this barrier between the Jews and the Gentiles lasting hundreds of years?
That day when the prophet Isa entered Jerusalem the light began to draw the first Gentiles as we see some approaching the prophet. Here at this Jewish festival were Greeks who had journeyed to Jerusalem to learn about the prophet Isa al Masih PBUH. But would they, considered haram by the Jews, be able to see the prophet? They asked Isa’s companions, who brought the request to the prophet. What would he say? Would he permit these Greeks, who knew so little about proper religion, to meet him? The Injil continues
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12: 23-50)
In this dramatic exchange, including even a voice from heaven, the Prophet said that he would be ‘lifted up’ and this would draw ‘all people’ – not just the Jews – to himself. Many Jews, even though they worshiped only one God, did not understand what the prophet was saying. The prophet Isaiah had said it was due to their hard hearts – their unwillingness to submit to Allah – that was at the root, even as others believed silently because of fear.
The prophet Isa al Masih boldly claimed that he had ‘come into the world as a light’ (v.46) which the previous prophets had written would shine on all nations. On the day when he entered Jerusalem, the light first began to shine on the Gentiles. Would this light spread to all nations? What did the prophet mean by being ‘lifted up’? We continue through this last week to understand these questions.
The following chart goes through each day of this week. On Sunday, the first day of the week he fulfilled three different prophecies given by three previous prophets. First he entered Jerusalem mounted on a donkey as prophesied by Zechariah. Second, he did so in the time prophesied by Daniel. Third, his message and miracles started to light an interest among the Gentiles – which the prophet Isaiah had foretold would shine as a light to the nations and grow brighter to peoples around the world.
Surah At-Tawbah (Surah 9 – Repentance, Dispensation) generates discussion since it discusses Jihad, or striving. The Ayat give guidance for physical battle so there are different interpretations by various scholars. The Ayat from Surah At-Tawbah that discuss this are:
Go ye forth, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle, with your goods and your persons, in the cause of God. That is best for you, if ye (but) knew.
If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long, (and weighed) on them. They would indeed swear by God, “If we only could, we should certainly have come out with you”: They would destroy their own souls; for God doth know that they are certainly lying. (Surah At-Tawbah 9:41-42)
The rebuke in At-Tawbah 42 comes because if the journey to the battle was easy they would have followed, but those willing to ‘strive’ disappear when it was difficult. The succeeding ayat record the excuses and discussion of these half-hearted followers. Surah At-Tawbah then gives this reminder
Say: “Can you expect for us (any fate) other than one of two glorious things- (Martyrdom or victory)? But we can expect for you either that God will send his punishment from Himself, or by our hands. So wait (expectant); we too will wait with you.” (Surah At-Tawbah 9:52)
The admonition comes because normally there are two possible outcomes: Death (Martyrdom) or victory. But what if the struggle is so great that BOTH outcomes come about – both martyrdom AND victory. This was the struggle that the Prophet Isa al Masih PBUH faced on his long journey to Jerusalem – with his arrival there timed by the crescent or hilal moon to fulfill prophecies given hundreds of years earlier by prophets of Zabur. We explore how.
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (John 12:12-19)
The entry of Isa al Masih – according to Dawud
Starting with Dawud (PBUH), ancient Jewish Kings would annually mount their royal horse and lead a procession of people into Jerusalem. Isa al Masih re-enacted this tradition when he entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey on the day known as Palm Sunday. The people sang the same song from the Zabur for Isa al Masih as they had done for Dawud:
Lord, save us!
Lord, grant us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.
The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar. (Psalm 118:25-27)
The people sang this ancient song written for the Kings because they knew Isa had raised Lazarus, and so they were excited at his arrival into Jerusalem. The word they shouted, ‘Hosanna’ meant ‘save’ – exactly as Psalm 118:25 had written long before. What was he going to ‘save’ them from? The prophet Zechariah tells us.
The Entry Prophesied by Zechariah
Though Isa al Masih re-enacted what the former kings had done hundreds of years earlier, he did it differently. The prophet Zechariah PBUH, who had prophesied the coming Masih’s name, had also prophesied that the Masih would enter Jerusalem mounted on a donkey. The timeline shows the Prophet Zechariah in history, along with other prophets who predicted the events of Palm Sunday.
Part of that prophesy was quoted in the Gospel of John above (in blue text). Zechariah’s complete prophecy is here:
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. (Zechariah 9:9-11)
This King prophesied by Zechariah would be different from other kings. He would not become King by using ‘chariots’, ‘warhorses’ and ‘battle bow’. In fact this King would remove these weapons and would instead ‘proclaim peace to the nations’. However, this King would still have to struggle to defeat an enemy. He would have to strive as in the very greatest jihad.
This is clear when we recognize the enemy this king was to face. Normally, a king’s enemy is another king from an opposing nation, or another army, or rebellion from his people, or people who are against him. But the prophet Zechariah wrote that the King revealed on a ‘donkey’ and ‘proclaiming peace’ was going to ‘free the prisoners from the waterless pit’ (v11). The ‘pit’ was the Hebrew way of referring to the grave, or death. This King was going to free those who were prisoners, not of dictators, corrupt politicians or trapped in man-made jails, but those who were ‘prisoners’ of death.
When we speak of saving people from death we mean saving someone so that death is put off. We may, for example, rescue someone who is drowning, or provide some medicine that saves someone’s life. This ‘saving’ only postpones death because the person who is saved will die later. But Zechariah was not prophesying about saving people ‘from death’ but about rescuing those imprisoned by death – those already dead. The King coming on a donkey prophesied by Zechariah was to face and defeat death itself – freeing its prisoners. This would require an enormous striving – a jihad that had never been seen before. Scholars sometimes refer to the ‘greater jihad’ of our internal struggles and the ‘lesser jihad’ of our external struggles. In confronting the ‘pit’ this King would go through both of these struggles or jihads.
What weapons was the King going to use in this jihad or struggle with death? The prophet Zechariah wrote that this King would only take “the blood of my covenant with you” to his battle in the pit. His own blood would be the weapon with which He would face death.
By entering Jerusalem on the donkey Isa declared himself to be this King – the Masih.
Why Isa al Masih PBUH weeps with sorrow
On Palm Sunday when Isa al Masih entered Jerusalem (also known as the Triumphant Entry) the religious leaders opposed him. The Gospel of Luke describes Isa al Masih’s response to their opposition.
As he (Isa al Masih) approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:41–44)
Isa al Masih said specifically that the leaders should have ‘recognized the time of God’s coming’ on ‘this day’. What did he mean? What had they missed?
The Prophets had Prophesied ‘the Day’
Centuries before the prophet Daniel (PBUH) had prophesied that the Masih would come 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. We had calculated Daniel’s expected year to be 33 AD – the year that Isa al Masih entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Predicting the year of the entry, hundreds of years before it happened, is astonishing. But the time can be calculated to the day. (Please review here first as we build on it).
The prophet Daniel had predicted 483 years using a 360-day year before the revealing of the Masih. Accordingly, the number of days is:
483 years * 360 days/year = 173880 days
In terms of the modern international calendar with 365.2422 days/year this is 476 years with 25 extra days. (173 880/365.24219879 = 476 remainder 25)
When was the decree to restore Jerusalem which started this countdown? It was given:
In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes … (Nehemiah 2:1)
Which day of Nisan (a month in the Jewish calendar) is not given, but Nisan 1 is likely since it started the New Year, giving reason for the King to talk to Nehemiah in the celebration. Nisan 1 would also mark a new moon since months were lunar (like the Islamic calendar). New moons were determined in the traditional Muslim way – with recognized men observing the new crescent (hilal) of the moon. With modern astronomy we know when that new moon marking Nisan 1, 444 BC was first visible. The difficulty is to know if the first crescent was actually seen by the observers that day or if it was missed and the start of Nisan was delayed by one day. Astronomical calculations place the crescent moon of Nisan 1 of the 20th year of Persian Emperor Artaxerxes at 10 PM on March 4, 444 BC in the modern calendar. If the crescent appearance was missed, Nisan 1 would have been the next day March 5, 444 BC. Either way, the Persian decree to restore Jerusalem would have been issued March 4 or March 5, 444 BC.
Adding the 476 years of Daniel’s prophesied time to this date brings us to March 4 or 5, 33 AD. (There is no year 0, the modern calendar going from 1BC to 1 AD in one year so the arithmetic is -444 + 476 +1= 33). Adding the 25 remaining days of Daniel’s prophesied time to March 4 or 5, 33 AD gives us March 29 or 30, 33 AD, illustrated in the timeline below. March 29, 33 AD, was Sunday – Palm Sunday – the very day that Isa PBUH entered Jerusalem on the donkey, claiming to be the Masih. We know this because the coming Friday was Passover – and Passover was always on Nisan 14. Nisan 14 in 33 AD was April 3. Being 5 days before Friday April 3, Palm Sunday was March 29.
By entering Jerusalem on March 29 33AD, seated on a donkey, the prophet Isa PBUH fulfilled both the prophecy of Zechariah and the prophecy of Daniel – to the day. This is illustrated in the timeline below.
These many prophecies fulfilled on one day shows the clear signs that Allah used to reveal His plan about the Masih. But later that same day Isa al Masih fulfilled yet another prophecy from the Prophet Musa PBUH. In doing so he set in motion the events that would lead to his jihad with the ‘pit’ – his enemy death. We look at this next.
 Some examples on how ‘pit’ meant death for the prophets:
“But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:15)
For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. (Isaiah 38:18)
They draw near to the pit, and their life to the messengers of death. (Job 33:22)
They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die a violent death in the heart of the seas. (Ezekiel 28:8)
Their graves are in the depths of the pit and her army lies around her grave. (Ezekiel 32 : 23)
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. (Psalm 30: 3)
 For conversions between ancient and modern calendars (e.g. Nisan 1 = March 4, 444BC) and calculations of ancient new moons I use the work of Dr. Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. 1977. 176pp.