The irreconcilable difference between the Bible and the Quran, and between Christianity and Islam, is in the issue of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, "Leave out the cross and you have killed the religion of Jesus. Atonement by the blood of Jesus is not an arm of Christian truth; it is the heart of it."
Christianity is the final religion in the plan of God for mankind. No other true religion can come after it. God sent Moses and the Jewish prophets to set the foundation for Christianity. The Old Testament, by its offerings, prophecies, types, symbols, and characters was the foundation on which Christianity was built.
Jesus Christ and His crucifixion are the grand subject of the Old Testament. When Christ came and was crucified, the plan of God for the redemption of mankind was completed. This is what Christ proclaimed when he said "it is finished" (John 19:30). The great building of the plan of God was perfected magnificently. Judaism is the foundation, Christianity is the building built upon that foundation.
How can it be accepted that, after this royal building was erected and perfectly completed, a man who came six hundred years later could challenge this grand design, claiming that his religion is the only religion accepted by Allah?
On what foundation was his religion built? There are no prophecies, types, symbols, or characters to point to Islam in the whole Bible.
But concerning Christianity, we read a massive number of prophecies pointing to Jesus Christ and his crucifixion in the Old Testament.
One chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah portrays the sufferings of the crucified Christ and how that He would be buried in a rich man's tomb. That chapter was written seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The four gospels confirm that the prophecies written in that chapter were fulfilled to the letter.
David, who was a king as well as a prophet, prophesied Christ's crucifixion. This is what David wrote:
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet (Psalm 22:16).
David died an honorable death in his palace, but his son according to the flesh, Jesus Christ, died by crucifixion - the only death in which the hands and the feet are pierced.
All the offerings mentioned in the book of Leviticus were a type of Jesus Christ who was to be crucified. The crucified Christ was the burnt offering, the meat offering, the trespass offering, the peace offering, and the sin offering. God was preparing His people through these offerings, prophecies, symbols, and types for the crucifixion of His son Jesus Christ.
The fiery serpent made of brass and lifted up on a pole in the wilderness was a symbol of Christ on the cross. It gave life to those who were bitten by fiery serpents if they looked at it in faith. Jesus referred to that symbol when He said:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:14, 15).
We have to remember that the brazen serpent was in the shape of the fiery serpent, but with no poison in it. Jesus came in the form of man, yet was born without sin, and lived a sinless life.
The Quran Denies the Crucifixion of Christ
With all these solid proofs, which confirm the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Muhammad, who came six hundred years later, a man who never lived in the land of Israel, who was illiterate, unable to read the prophecies of the true prophets concerning the birth, the life, the death, the burial, the resurrection, the ascension, and the second coming of Jesus Christ, denied in his Quran the crucifixion of Christ.
Here are the words of the Quran:
That they said [in boast], "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah," but they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no [certain] knowledge. But only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not (Surat Al-Nisa 4:157).
This verse in the Quran which says that someone other than Jesus was crucified is in total contrast with the Bible. The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are centered around the crucifixion of Christ. If Christ was not crucified, then the New Testament, indeed Christianity as a whole, is null and void.
The three days of the Quran
We have to realize that the Quran mentions three days in the life of Jesus Christ:
The day of His birth
The day of His death
The day of His resurrection
In Surat Maryam, the Quran records that Jesus said:
Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive (Surat Maryam 19:33 MPT).
It is clear that every day come chronologically one after the other.
The Day of Jesus’ Birth
Christ was born in Bethlehem; that is the day when He took the form of a servant, and became a man. Here I should say that it is impossible for the finite to be infinite, but it is quite possible for the infinite to become finite and remain infinite. The king can become a soldier and remain a king.
The Day of Jesus’ Death
Christ was crucified on the cross for the sin of mankind; that is the day He died. The Muslim clerics have many different interpretations concerning Christ’s death, but they deny his crucifixion.
The Day of Jesus’ Resurrection
Christ was raised from the dead by His own power. he said to the Jews:
Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up... He was speaking of the temple of his body (John 2:19-21 NKJ)
This is the day of His resurrection.
By His triumphant resurrection He was declared to be the everlasting Son of God. The apostle Paul says concerning this fact:
Christ our Lord who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:3 NKJ)
The death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary was a necessity to glorify God and redeem mankind.
The apostle Paul summed up the central theme of Christianity in the following words:
Redemption that is in Christ Jesus;... to demonstrate his righteousness... that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:23-26 NKJ).
Christianity does not proclaim a God who is a despotic dictator who forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills without any basis of justice, but a God who is a just God, and who is also the justifier.
The only logical solution for the problem of sin is the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. The sinless and perfect Savior died to redeem sinful and wretched men.
Eye Witnesses tot he Crucifixion
The apostle Peter declared tot he Jews who lived at the time of the crucifixion of Christ:
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it (Acts 2:22-24).
The apostle John, who was an eye witness of the crucifixion of Christ recorded:
Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced (John 19:32-37).
Thomas, one of the disciples, put his finger in the pierced hands of the risen Christ, and cried out:
My Lord and my God (John 20:28).
These words were not an exclamation but a confession.
More than five hundred people saw the risen Christ (I Corinthians 15:6).
All of the events of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ were "according to the scriptures" and fulfilled Old Testament prophecies tot he letter (I Corinthians 15:1-4). All of the witnesses of these events - many of whom were martyred because of their testimonies - are more than sufficient to confirm the truth about the crucifixion of Christ.
More importantly, the crucifixion of Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world:
. . . knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you (I Peter 1:18-20 NKJ).
If Muhammad and his Quran deny the crucifixion of Christ, then we have to apply to Muhammad the words of the apostle Peter:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of (2 Peter:1, 2).