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18. Bible and Qur'an Series
BOOKLET 2 - What Indeed Was the Sign of Jonah?
(A reply to Ahmad Deedat's Booklet: What was the Sign of Jonah?)


During 1978 Deedat published another booklet entitled ‘Resurrection or Resuscitation?’ which, like his booklet on the Sign of Jonah, attempts to prove that Jesus came down alive from the cross - a theory with no foundation in either the Bible or the Qur'an, one disowned by Christians and Muslims, and held to only by the Ahmadiyya sect, which has been denounced as a non-Muslim cult in Pakistan.

Early on in this booklet, as in others he has written, Deedat promotes arguments, which are based on nothing but his own ignorance of the Bible and to some extent of the English language. He speaks of a conversation he once had with a "reverend" and boldly says of Luke 3:23:

I explained that in the “most ancient” manuscripts of Luke, the words ‘(as was supposed)’ are not there. (Deedat, Resurrection or Resuscitation?, page 7).

Very significantly he gives no authority for this statement and we are amazed at it for it is absolutely false. This man seems to think he can say what he likes about the Bible, no matter how factually absurd his statements are. Every manuscript of Luke's Gospel, including all the most ancient manuscripts, begins the genealogy of Jesus by saying that he was the son, as was supposed, of Joseph (meaning that he was not his actual son, having been born of his mother Mary alone). There is just simply no evidence for Deedat's fatuous claim. So much for his self-acclaimed knowledge of the Bible! We are sure, discerning Muslims will have seen by now that this man is no true scholar of the Christian Scriptures.

He appears to believe that the words quoted are missing from the oldest texts because they appear in brackets in some English translations. But any scholar will know that the use of brackets is a common form in the English language by which passing comments and personal notations are characterized. There are no such brackets in the Greek text, but as the words in Luke 3:23 are clearly a comment, some translations place them in brackets. In the Revised Standard Version this form appears often where brackets are used for passages, where no such brackets are used in the original Greek, simply because, like the Arabic of the Qur'an, such forms are not used in Greek to identify comments or personal remarks. (The same goes for inverted commas to identify a quotation. Inverted commas were used in neither classical Greek nor in classical Arabic). Examples are Acts 1:18-19, Romans 3:5, Galatians 1:20 and 2 Peter 2:8. Deedat's argument is based entirely on false premises and erroneous suppositions.

His attempts to prove that Luke 24:36-43 shows that Jesus must have come down alive from the cross are equally unfounded. He bases his whole argument on a complete misconception of Biblical teaching about the resurrection. It is widely accepted that every man has a body and a spirit. At death the body dies and the spirit leaves the body. The Bible teaches plainly that the body and spirit will again be united at the resurrection but that the bodies of true believers will be changed and that they will be raised in spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). This means that the spirit will be clothed with a body that will reveal the true character of the spirit and will be eternal. Deedat, however, completely misunderstands this and erroneously takes “spiritualized” to mean that the body itself will not be raised from the dead and transformed but that the spirit alone will be “raised”.

When Jesus appeared to his disciples after coming out of the tomb, they were “startled and frightened and supposed that they saw a spirit” (Luke 24:37). Deedat argues that this means that they had believed that Jesus was dead and so thought it must be his ghost, but the Bible makes it plain why they were so amazed. The doors had been locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews and yet Jesus suddenly stood among them (John 20:19). Having been raised from the dead in a spiritualized body, he could appear and disappear at will and was no longer bound by physical limitations (cf. also Luke 24:31, John 20:26).

Nevertheless, because Jesus called on the disciples to handle him and because he ate a piece of a fish before them (Luke 24:39-43), Deedat suggests that this shows that Jesus had not risen from the dead. He bases this argument on the assumption that a spiritualized body cannot be material in any way but must only be a spirit. He argues that Jesus was trying to show his disciples that he had therefore not risen from the dead and says:

He is telling them in the clearest language humanly possible that he is not what they were thinking. They were thinking that he was a spirit, a resurrected body, one having been brought back from the dead. He is most emphatic that he is not! (Deedat, Resurrection or Resuscitation?, page 11).

So, according to Deedat, Jesus is stating in the “clearest language humanly possible” that he had not been raised from the dead. Yet, in the very next thing that Jesus said to his disciples, we find him stating quite plainly that this was in fact precisely what had happened - that he had indeed been raised from the dead. He said to them:

“Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.” (Luke 24:46-47)

In the “clearest language humanly possible”, therefore, we find that Jesus told his disciples immediately after eating before them that he had just fulfilled the prophecies of the former prophets that he should rise from the dead on the third day. So once again we find Deedat's argument falling to the ground and that purely because he is not a genuine scholar of the Bible and has no reasonable grasp of Biblical theology.

The Bible plainly teaches that it is the body itself - a material substance - that will be raised at the resurrection (see Jesus' own teaching in John 5:28-29), but that it will be transformed. Today two men can be ploughing the same field. If they are identical twins it will be almost impossible to tell them apart. Yet the one may be righteous and the other wicked (Matthew 24:40). The difference is not outwardly apparent but it will be in the resurrection. A spiritualized body means that the condition of the body will be determined by the state of the spirit. If the man is righteous, his body will shine like the sun (Matthew 13:43); if he is wicked he will not be able to hide his rottenness as he can do now, but it will be exposed in all its misery in the state of his body. This is what we mean when we say people will have “spiritualized bodies” in the resurrection. Note clearly that the resurrection thus leads to a spiritualized body and not just to a risen spirit. The Bible puts it like this:

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)

It is the body itself that is buried in a perishable state and it is the same body that is raised imperishable. This passage shows quite plainly that it is the same physical body, buried as a seed - is sown into the ground, which will be raised as a spiritual body. This is plain Biblical teaching which Deedat so obviously misrepresents.

In 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 the Bible again makes it clear that it is not the wish of true believers to become exposed spirits without bodies. Rather they long for their mortal bodies to be replaced by spiritual bodies which are immortal.

Once again we find that Deedat's efforts to discredit Christianity come purely from suppositions based on his own inadequate knowledge of the Bible, and he appears to be one of those who are guilty of “reviling in matters of which they are ignorant” (2 Peter 2:12). Jesus' own statement that he had appeared in fulfillment of the prophecies that the Messiah would rise from the dead on the third day shows quite plainly that there is no foundation whatsoever for Deedat's attempts to prove that Jesus had come down alive from the cross.

Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day and in his own body ascended to heaven not long thereafter. He has gone to prepare a place for those who love him and who will follow him all their days as Lord and Savior of their lives. When he returns he will raise them too from the dead and will clothe them with immortal bodies, granting them access to his eternal kingdom which he waits to reveal at the last time. True Christians can confidently say:

But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)

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