M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam
The Holy Quran, sunnah and ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa and the majority of Islamic literature and sources substantiate the truthfulness of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, peace be upon him. We have and continue to publish many well-researched articles in this respect. However, this series of articles will endeavour to shed some light on the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas through the Bible.
Opponents of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, especially Christians, raise many allegations against the messiahship of the Promised Messiahas based on their sacred books, but at the same time, they overlook many Biblical references which clearly prove the truth of his claim.
One of their very many objections is that the Messiah of the Latter Days, who in their view is Prophet Jesusas, is to descend directly from the Heavens or the skies with his material body, but Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas was born here on earth, so he cannot be the Messiah of this age.
Apart from other compelling historical evidence that proves Prophet Jesusas was neither raised to the Heavens with his body of flesh, nor did he die on the cross for the sins of humanity, but rather had a natural death, the Bible also openly supports this fact and further points out that he would not himself come as the Messiah but someone else would appear in his body and spirit in the Latter Days.
The Bible, referring to the fact that Jesus would not be seen after he passed away, states:
“[…] I am going to the Father [God] and you will no longer see me [Jesus].” (John 16:10)
At another place, indicating that another person would be sent in his name, it is stated:
“For I [Jesus] tell you that you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord [Jesus].’” (Mathew 23:39)
The above sayings clearly substantiate that a chosen one of God, other than Jesusas, would come in his name and be the Messiah of the Latter Days.
It is for this reason that the Promised Messiahas said:
“Of the wonders which God has bestowed upon me, one is that I have met Jesus the Messiah several times in a state of perfect wakefulness which is called a [divine] vision. I have talked to him and have ascertained from him the nature of his real claim and teachings. A major point, which is worthy of attention, is that Jesus the Messiah is so disgusted with the doctrines of Atonement, Trinity, and Sonship, as if these are the great impostures that have been fashioned against him. This evidence of vision is not without support.
“I believe firmly that if a sincere seeker after truth would come and stay with me for a period and would wish to meet Hazrat Masih [the Messiah] in a vision, he would be able to do so through the blessings of my supplications and attention. He can also talk to him and receive his affirmation of what I have stated, for I am the person in whom the soul of Jesus, the Messiah, resides by way of reflection.” (A Gift for the Queen, pp. 19-20 [English Translation of Tohfa-e-Qaisariyyah])
The verses of the Bible on the subject of ascension and the second coming of Elijah also support the above view of the Promised Messiahas.
Regarding the ascension of Elijah, it is stated:
“As they [Elijah and Elisha] were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire with horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up into heaven in a whirlwind.” (II Kings 2:11)
The Bible, on the second coming of Elijah, says:
“Behold, I [God] will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord [Jesus]. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
The above verses led the Jews to believe in the bodily ascension of Elijah to the Heavens and just as the Christians are expecting the physical return of Jesus to earth from the skies as the Messiah of the Latter Days, the Jews were also waiting for the fulfilment of the divine promise, i.e. descent of Elijah from the Heavens before the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. However, as Elijah had passed away just as Jesus died a natural death never to be seen again, he did not appear.
On the other hand, the prophecy of the second coming of Elijah was fulfilled in the name of John the Baptist who came as a reflection of Elijah.
The Bible says:
“The disciples asked him [Jesus], ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’ Jesus replied, “Elijah does indeed come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognise him, but have done to him whatever they wished. In the same way, the son of man will suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that He was speaking to them about John the Baptist.’” (Mathew, 17:10-13)
The above verses clearly show that the second coming of Elijah did happen in the person of John the Baptist and the disciples of Jesus come to know about it from him. However, as was predicted by Jesus, the Jews did not believe in John the Baptist, the forerunner of Messiah, and thus persecuted Jesus because in their view Elijah was to bodily descend from the Heavens before the appearance of Jesus, the Messiah.
In this regard, the Promised Messiahas said:
“The ‘descent’ or the ‘coming’ does not mean the coming of the Messiah, son of Mary; it is actually a figure of speech signifying the coming of someone resembling the son of Mary; and that, in accordance with divine intimation and revelation, it is the present writer – my own humble self – to whom it applies.
“I am only too well aware that as soon as this view of mine, which is based on clear and definite revelation, is made public, many a hostile pen shall come alive and a public outcry full of horror and rejection will ensue […]
“Let it be clear, that according to the Bible, our own books of ahadith and other records, only two Prophets are supposed to have physically ascended to the Heavens, namely Elijah, also known as Elias, and Messiah son of Mary, also known as Isa or Jesus.
“Concerning both these prophets, some books of the Old and New Testament say that they were raised to the Heavens and shall return to the earth some time in the Latter Days and that people will actually witness their descent from the skies. The ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa also contain words to the same effect.
“Concerning Elias, whose Biblical name is Elijah, the Gospels positively declare that the prophecy of his descent from the skies has been fulfilled with the birth of Yahya, or John, son of Zechariah. The Messiah, son of Mary declares in unmistakable terms, ‘He is indeed the Elijah who was expected to come. Acknowledge him if you will.’ [Mathew 11:13-15 & 17:10-13]
“Through this arbitration by no less a person than a prophet of God, the case of Elijah, his ascension to the skies and subsequent descent has been effectively settled and the manner and meaning of the ‘Second Coming’ clearly determined. This, therefore, is the doctrine, consistent with the Gospels, to which Christians should unanimously subscribe, that Elijah, whose descent was awaited, did, in the time of the Messiah, return from the Heavens in the person of John who was born to Zechariah, with the temperament and qualities of Elijah.” (Elucidation of Objectives, pp. 1-4 [English translation of Taudih-e-Maram])
The Bible also confirms that the Messiah of the last age will be a new creation and thus not the same Jesus of Nazareth. Hence, it says:
“Jesus told them [his disciples], ‘I tell all of you with certainty, when the son of man sits on his glorious throne in the renewed creation [Latter-Day Messiah], you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, governing the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Mathew 19:28)
The above verse plainly signifies that the second coming of the Messiah would not be the old self of Jesus but a new creation. It also compels one to believe that the Messiah of this age was none other than Prophet Ahmadas as he was a renewed creation of Allah the Almighty.
Hence, the Messiah of the Latter Days was not to descend from the Heavens or the skies but was to appear as an embodiment of Jesus of Nazareth and possess his attributes and qualities as a reflection.
The Promised Messiahas has very aptly summed up the above discussion, as he said:
“All our opponents who live today shall die and none of them shall ever see Jesus son of Mary descending from the Heavens; then their children that are left after them shall also die and none from among them shall ever see Jesus son of Mary descending from Heaven and then their third generation shall also die and they too shall not see the son of Mary descending from the Heaven. Then God shall cause great consternation in their hearts, that a period of Christian domination has passed and the world has witnessed a great change, yet the son of Mary has not descended from the Heavens. Then, in dismay, the wise among them shall forsake this belief and three centuries from now shall not have passed when those who await the second coming of Jesus son of Mary, whether they be Muslims or Christians, shall abandon this concept altogether. Then shall prevail only one religion over the whole world and there shall be only one religious leader. I came only to sow the seed, which has been planted by my hand. It shall now grow and flourish and there is none who can hinder its growth.” (Tadhkiratush-Shahadatain, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 20, p. 67)