The Messiah Herald Issue 08 January 2018 - Page 6

COVER STORY COVER STORY THE NATIVITY A S THE STORY GOES, JESUS Christ was born to the Virgin Mary, a devout Jew whose piety, faith and servitude to God were unrivalled by any other woman. She had not been touched by any man when she received glad-tidings from Gabriel that she would give birth to a prophet of God. When she asked how she would be able to bear a child while being a virgin, she was assured that it would be done through the power of the Lord. Certain details regarding the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth are unclear and sources vary greatly in their narratives of the immaculate birth. According to canonical Christian text, Jesus was born in Bethlehem after a heavily pregnant Mary made the journey from Nazareth with her husband, Joseph, to register for the census. Unable to find an inn for the night, Joseph and Mary stayed in an innkeeper’s barn where the birth of Jesus Christ took place. A group of local shepherds came to pay their respects to the newborn king after a legion of angels gave them the good news of his birth. The three wise men from the east made their way to the Son of God, having been guided to the location of his birth by a special star. The primary scripture in Islam, the Koran, has a slightly different view on the birth of Jesus Christ and the life of Mary. According to the Koran, Mary’s mother had prayed to God for a child. While Mary was still in the womb, her mother promised to devote her for a lifetime of service to God. [KORAN 3:33-36] Mary grew up under the guardianship of the prophet Zechariah at the temple in Jerusalem. [KORAN 3:37] The Koran declares Mary to be the best of all women. Unlike the Bible, the Koran indicates that Mary was unmarried during the birth of Jesus Christ. The Koran is ambiguous about the exact city Jesus was born in, though it is mentioned that Mary withdrew to a secluded place during her pregnancy. When the pregnancy pains struck her, she held onto a dry palm tree; God miraculously filled it with ripe dates and provided a freshwater rivulet under her to restore her health. When she brought her baby to the temple in Jerusalem, people accused Mary of adultery. Mary remained silent; Jesus Christ replied to them from the cradle and declared himself to be a messenger of God. [KORAN 19:29-34] This is one of the miracles attributed to Jesus Christ that is not found in the orthodox Christian scripture, however, the gnostic Syriac Infancy Gospel mentions a similar incident. ‘He has said that Jesus spoke, and, indeed, when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary His mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to thee; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world.’ His Divine Eminence Ra Riaz Gohar Shahi confirms in His book, The Religion of God (Divine Love), that Jesus was from Jerusalem and he did, in fact, speak miraculously in infancy. JESUS: SON OF GOD? According to Christianity, Jesus is the only begotten Son of God because Mary was able to conceive through the Holy Spirit. Islamic scripture also supports the notion that Mary conceived through the advent of a divine ‘breath’ in her. However, while Christians believe that Jesus’ body is the son of God, Muslims believe that God cannot beget anyone. Could there be truth in both interpretations? The belief that God has sons and daughters predates the birth of Jesus Christ. His Divine Eminence Ra Riaz Gohar Shahi reveals that when Adam the Eminent One descended from the heavens to the Earth, those who witnessed it declared him to be a son of God 1 . In Hinduism also, personalities known as Devta and Devi were believed to be sons and daughters of God. God created Adam the Eminent One in his own image. Adam the Eminent One had progeny through different means. Some of his offspring came forth through Eve while others came from his left and right thighs. If God does not beget children through sexual reproduction, as the Koran asserts, it does not negate the possibility of God having children. Many examples of asexual reproduction exist in nature. According to revelations from His Divine Eminence, as Adam was made in God’s image, the way Adam produced offspring from his thighs was also based on God’s own system. While Adam’s progeny was physical, God is an ethereal being; when offspring emerge from his thighs, they take the form of entities. In the past, when these divine spirits would be sent to Earth, the bodies they were sent into became known as a ‘son’ or ‘daughter’ of God. One such spirit was sent along with Jesus Christ also, thus endowing him with the title: the Son of God. However, this is just one of the many ranks attributed to Jesus Christ. MESSIAH HERALD / ISSUE 08 / JAN 2018 HIS MINISTRY J ESUS IS THOUGHT TO HAVE LIVED in Egypt for some time before moving to Nazareth. From Nazareth, he travelled throughout Israel, attracting the Israelites and Gentiles alike towards him. By all accounts, Jesus led a remarkable life. He was wise beyond his years, compassionate, generous, steadfast, authoritative and forgiving - all qualities of a great leader. He boldly rejected the hypocrisy of the religious clergy in Israel, questioned the spiritless rites and rituals that had become so central to the Jews and called for them to remember the true teachings of Moses and Abraham. He introduced a radically different approach to faith and divinity - so different, in fact, that he was accused of going against the law of Moses. While Moses’ law decreed the stoning of adulterers, Jesus declared, ‘Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone.’ [JOHN 8:7] Where the law advised that an eye be taken for an eye, Jesus taught his disciples to turn the other cheek. [LUKE 6:27-31] Along with his extraordinary teachings, Jesus’ miracles astounded many. He raised the dead, cast out evil spirits, healed the ailing, cured the blind, breathed life into birds of clay and much more. His followers were growing in number exponentially and the religious clergy, threatened by his outspoken criticism of their ways, searched for a pretence upon which they could kill him. They sought the help of the Roman authorities in persecuting Jesus. The Romans found no justification to kill Jesus, yet under the pressure of the Jewish priests, they reluctantly sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion. His ministry lasted no more than 33 months. 1 Adam and Eve were not the first people to ever inhabit the Earth. Find out more about our true history in HDE Gohar Shahi’s book, The Religion of God (Divine Love). 7