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Stoning Jesus

In the Koran, it says:

Who revealed the Book which Moses brought, a light and guidance for mankind, which ye have put on parchments which ye show, but ye hide much (thereof), and (by which) ye were taught that which ye knew not yourselves nor (did) your fathers (know it)? Say: Allah. (Koran 6:92, Pickthall)

The Book which Moses brought is the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The Torah is a light and a guidance for mankind. From it one can learn what is right and what is wrong. The Torah prescribes stoning as one manner in which capital punishment is to be administered for certain sins. In this blog I am going to look at the reasons for stoning and attempt to ascertain why the Jews wanted to stone Jesus.

In the Gospels, we read:

And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:23-29, NASB)

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:56-59, NASB)

Jesus had been talking to the Jews. After He said to them, “Before Abraham was born, I AM,” they wanted to stone Him. In another place in the Gospel according to St. John, we read:

“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a Man, make Yourself out to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:30-38, NASB)

Here, the Jews wanted to stone Jesus after He said, “I and the Father are one.” Some people say that what Jesus meant when He said this was that He was in agreement with the Father and was doing the Father’s will. If that is true, then is there a place in the Old Testament that says that one should be stoned for obeying God? No, of course not.

Let us look at some passages in the Torah about stoning and see which ones the Jews were using to justify stoning Jesus.

Working on the Sabbath

This passage in Numbers says that a man was stoned for picking up sticks on the Sabbath.

And the children of Israel were in the wilderness, and they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And they who found him gathering sticks on the Sabbath day brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel. And they placed him in custody, for they did not determine what they should do to him. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Let the man be by all means put to death: do ye all the congregation, stone him with stones. And all the congregation brought him forth out of the camp; and all the congregation stoned him with stones outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses. (Numbers 15:32-36, LXX)

This is the only incident where someone was stoned for not observing the Sabbath. Nowhere else in the Old Testament is it mentioned that anyone was ever stoned for doing so. However, in Exodus there is a commandment to put someone to death for working on the Sabbath. (Exodus 31:15)

Jesus was not breaking the commandment regarding the Sabbath. So, in both instances when the Jews wanted to stone Him, they did not want to do that because He was breaking the Sabbath.

Disobeying Parents

Another reason for stoning someone is for disobeying one’s parents.

And if any man has a disobedient and contentious son, who hearkens not to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother, and they should correct him, and he should not hearken to them; then shall his father and his mother take hold of him, and bring him forth to the elders of his city, and to the gate of the place: and they shall say to the men of their city, This our son is disobedient and contentious, he hearkens not to our voice, he is a reveler and a drunkard. And the men of his city shall stone him with stones, and he shall die; and thou shalt remove the evil one from yourselves, and the rest shall hear and fear. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21, LXX)

Jesus was already a grown Man. This passage would not apply to Him. Anyway, in the Koran it says that Jesus was “faultless.” (Koran 19:19) Jesus also said that He always does those things that please God. (John 8:29) So, He never disobeyed His mother or His stepfather while He was growing up.

Fornication

Another reason for stoning was for fornication, that is, having sex before one becomes married.

And the father of the damsel shall say to the elders, I gave this my daughter to this man for a wife; and now he has hated her, and attaches reproachful words to her, saying, I have not found tokens of virginity with thy daughter; and these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall unfold the garment before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take that man, and shall chastise him, and shall fine him a hundred shekels, and shall give them to the father of the damsel, because he has brought forth an evil name against a virgin of Israel; and she shall be his wife: he shall never be able to put her away. But if this report be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel; then shall they bring out the damsel to the doors of her father’s house, and shall stone her with stones, and she shall die; because she has wrought folly among the children of Israel, to defile the house of her father by whoring: so thou shalt remove the evil one from among you. (Deuteronomy 22:16-21, LXX)

The two passages in the Gospels say nothing about Jesus having sex with anyone. He was not married, but He never committed fornication.

Adultery and Rape

Two other reasons for stoning are for committing adultery and for rape.

And if a man be found lying with a woman married to a man, ye shall kill them both, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou remove the wicked one out of Israel. And if there be a young damsel espoused to a man, and a man should have found her in the city and have lain with her; ye shall bring them both out to the gate of their city, and they shall be stoned with stones, and they shall die; the damsel, because she cried not in the city; and the man, because he humbled his neighbour’s spouse: so shalt thou remove the evil one from yourselves. But if a man find in the field a damsel that is betrothed, and he should force her and lie with her, ye shall slay the man that lay with her only. And the damsel has not committed a sin worthy of death; as if a man should rise up against his neighbour, and slay him, so is this thing; because he found her in the field; the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to help her. (Deuteronomy 22:22-27, LXX)

Jesus was not accused of having committed either of these sins by the Jews in those Gospel passages.

Practicing the Occult Arts

Fortune telling and sorcery are also punishable by stoning in the Torah.

And as for a man or woman whosoever of them shall have in them a divining spirit, or be an enchanter, let them both die the death: ye shall stone them with stones, they are guilty. (Leviticus 20:27, LXX)

Jesus was once accused of casting out devils by Beelzebub (that is, Satan).

Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. (Matthew 12:22-24, KJV)

No one wanted to stone Him for doing that though. In those Gospels passages (John 8:56-59; 10:30-38), there is no allegation of sorcery lodged against Jesus.

Human Sacrifice to False Gods

Another reason for stoning is for offering one’s child to a false god.

Thou shalt also say to the children of Israel, If there shall be any of the children of Israel, or of those who have become proselytes in Israel, who shall give of his seed to Moloch, let him be surely put to death; the nation upon the land shall stone him with stones. (Leviticus 20:2, LXX)

Jesus did not have any children. Therefore, this passage does not apply to Him.

Cursing God

Another reason for stoning was for cursing God.

And there went forth a son of an Israelitish woman, and he was son of an Egyptian man among the sons of Israel; and they fought in the camp, the son of the Israelitish woman, and a man who was an Israelite. And the son of the Israelitish woman named THE NAME and curse; and they brought him to Moses: and his mother’s name was Salomith, daughter of Dabri of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in ward, to judge him by the command of the Lord. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Bring forth him that cursed outside the camp, and all who heard shall lay their hands upon his head, and all the congregation shall stone him. And speak to the sons of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, Whosoever shall curse God shall bear his sin. And he that names the name of the Lord, let him die the death: let all the congregation of Israel stone him with stones; whether he be a stranger or a native, let him die for naming the name of the Lord. (Leviticus 24:10-16, LXX)

Jesus did not curse God when He was speaking to the Jews.

Before looking at the next two reasons for stoning in the Torah, let us first look at these passages in the Old Testament.

God’s Name

Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”  (Exodus 3:13,14, NASB)

I God, the first and to all futurity, I AM. (Isaiah 41:4, LXX)

Be ye My witnesses, and I too am a witness, saith the Lord God, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I AM: before Me there was no other God, and after Me there shall be none. (Isaiah 43:10, LXX)

Hear Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of Israel, who are borne by Me from the womb, and taught by Me from infancy, even to old age: I AM; and until ye shall have grown old, I AM: I bear you, I have made, and I will relieve, I will take up and save you. (Isaiah 46:3,4, LXX)

In these passages, God calls Himself I AM. In Hebrew and also in Aramaic this is only one word. In the first passage about stoning Jesus, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” I AM is what God called Himself when speaking to Moses from the burning bush. He told Moses to tell the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14) In the second Gospel passage, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” The Jews wanted to stone Jesus for blasphemy. They understood that what Jesus was claiming was that He is God.

Proselyting for False Gods

According to the Torah, someone can be stoned for trying to get people to worship any other god but the one and only true God.

And if thy brother by thy father or mother, or thy son, or daughter, or thy wife in thy bosom, or friend who is equal to thine own soul, entreat thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, of the gods of the nations that are round about you, who are near thee or at a distance from thee, from one end of the earth to the other; thou shalt not consent to him, neither shalt thou hearken to him; and thine eye shall not spare him, thou shalt feel no regret for him, neither shalt thou at all protect him: thou shalt surely report concerning him, and thy hands shall be upon him among the first to slay him, and the hands of all the people at the last. 10 And they shall stone him with stones, and he shall die, because he sought to draw thee away from the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10, LXX)

If Jesus was claiming to be God, then in the Jews’ opinion He would be leading them away from the true God. They did not believe the words of Jesus. Therefore, they wanted to stone Him.

Idolatry

The next passage from the Torah forbids idolatry. Idolaters can be stoned.

And if there should be found in any one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God gives thee, a man or a woman who shall do that which is evil before the Lord thy God, so as to transgress his covenant, and they should go and serve other gods, and worship them, the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which he commanded thee not to do, and it be told thee, and thou shalt have enquired diligently, and, behold, the thing really took place, this abomination has been done in Israel; then shalt thou bring out that man, or that woman, and ye shall stone them with stones, and they shall die. He shall die on the testimony of two or three witnesses; a man who is put to death shall not be put to death for one witness. And the hand of the witnesses shall be upon him among the first to put him to death, and the hand of the people at the last; so shalt thou remove the evil one from among yourselves. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7, LXX)

If Jesus claimed to be God and the Jews did not believe His words, then they would find a just reason for stoning Him in this passage. The Jews believed that He was not God and was claiming to be God. Therefore, they wanted to stone Him.

In John 8:58, Jesus claimed to have existed before Abraham. There is no teaching about reincarnation in the entire Bible, nor is that doctrine taught in the Koran. Jesus said:

So Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” (John 7:16, NASB)

I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world. (John 8:26, NASB)

I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father. (John 8:38, NASB)

For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. (John 12:49, NASB)

He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:24, NASB)

Whenever Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM,” He was speaking the words that the Father told Him to speak. The words of Jesus are the words of Allah. Jesus claimed to be Allah.

In the Koran, it says:

They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. (Koran 5:17, Pickthall)

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (Himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord. (Koran 5:72, Pickthall)

Jesus is Allah, but Allah is not Jesus. Whenever one says that Allah is Jesus, one is speaking the heretical doctrine of the Sabellians. The Sabellians believed that there is only one hypostasis in the Deity and that Jesus is the incarnation of that one hypostasis. They denied the existence of two other hypostases in the Deity: the Father and the Holy Spirit. They believed that Jesus manifested Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which were three different modes of the Deity’s existence and not three different hypostases of God.

The Orthodox Christian doctrine is that there are three distinct hypostases in the Deity. These hypostases are not three distinct gods, but three distinct Persons who are one and the same God. Everywhere the Father is, there is the Son and the Holy Spirit. Everywhere the Son is, there is the Father and the Holy Spirit. Everywhere the Holy Spirit is, there is the Father and the Son.

All three hypostases share the same essence. One essence, one God. The same essence, the same God. Each hypostasis is God in His entirety, but distinct from the other two.

In Koran 5:72, it says that Jesus said: “O Children of Israel, worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord.” In the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus said to St. Mary Magdalene:

Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” (John 20:17, NASB)

Since each hypostasis of the Deity is Allah (that is, God) in His entirety, it is appropriate, therefore, for one hypostasis to call another hypostasis Allah, or God. In Koran 5:72 and in John 20:17, Jesus was not denying that He is Allah. He was merely calling another hypostasis of the Deity Allah. Koran 5:72 teaches that Jesus is not a unipersonal God who manifests Himself in three different modes of existence. Jesus acknowledges the existence of at least one other hypostasis in addition to Himself in that verse from the Koran.

Every part of God’s essence belongs to all three hypostases. If it were possible to divide the divine essence of Allah into tiny, infinitesimal particles, each particle would belong to all three hypostases of the Deity. The divine essence, however, is unknown. No one knows of what substance God consists. In fact, no one will ever know.

Jesus is a Man. He is 100% human and 100% God. The two natures are joined together without division, without separation, without mixture, and without change. The divine nature of Jesus is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. The human nature is limited in power, knowledge, and location. His divine nature is infinite. His human nature is finite.

Now, let us look at these passages about Jesus’ trial before the Jewish High Priest and the Sanhedrin.

But He held His peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto Him, Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I AM: and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned Him to be guilty of death. (Mark 14:61-64, KJV)

Art Thou the Christ? Tell us. And He said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer Me, nor let Me go. Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art Thou then the Son of God? And He said unto them, Ye say that I AM. And they said, What need we any further witness? For we ourselves have heard of His own mouth. (Luke 22:67-71, KJV)

Jesus was questioned by the High Priest in St. Mark’s Gospel. He was questioned by several Jews in St. Luke’s Gospel.

The Jews wanted to put Jesus to death because of blasphemy. He called Himself “I AM.” He said that He is God. Deuteronomy 13:6-10 and 17:2-7 are the basis for putting Jesus to death in the Jews’ opinion.

The Jews did not want to stone Him because the Passover lamb was going to be sacrificed the next day. They wanted the Romans to execute Him. So, they delivered Him to the Roman governor Pilate. (See Matthew 26:3-5 and John 19:14.)

Jesus was crucified by the Romans and not by the Jews as some seventh century Jews asserted. (See Koran 4:157.) He voluntarily laid down His life. No one took it from Him.

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father. (John 10:17,18, NKJV)

He was buried and arose from the dead. He appeared to over 500 people during a forty day period of time. (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20,21; Acts 1:1-3; I Corinthians 15:3-8)

When He was on the Cross, there were two thieves that were crucified on both sides of Him. St. Luke recorded this conversation of the thieves with Jesus while He was on the Cross.

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise. (Luke 23:39-43, KJV)

Jesus told one of the thieves that He would be with Him in Paradise. In the Koran, it says that Jesus was among the righteous.

And Zachariah and John and Jesus and Elias. Each one (of them) was of the righteous. (Koran 6:85, Pickthall)

It also says in the Koran that anyone who ascribes partners unto Allah is forbidden Paradise.

Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden Paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. (Koran 5:72, Pickthall)

Jesus went to Paradise with one of the thieves. Jesus is, therefore, not a partner of Allah, that is, a separate god from Allah. (See Koran 5:116.) Jesus is Allah.

The Father is Allah. The Son is Allah. The Holy Spirit is Allah. However, there is only one Allah. The Father is neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit. The Son is neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. God is love. (I John 4:8,16) God is the Loving. (Koran 11:90; 85:14) All three hypostases love each other with constant, unconditional, self-sacrificial love. There is no dissension or contention in the Trinity.

To conclude, the Jews wanted to put Jesus to death because He claimed to be God. The basis for doing so, in their opinion, is found in two passages from the Book of Deuteronomy. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10 and 17:2-7) There are three distinct hypostases in the Deity who are one and the same God sharing the same essence. Jesus is one of these hypostases. Jesus went to Paradise. He was among the righteous. (Koran 6:85) He never claimed to be a separate god from Allah. (Koran 5:116) He said, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) Jesus is Allah (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58), but Allah is not Jesus. (Koran 5:17,72) Jesus is the Son of God, who is also God. Jesus is not the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is not a unipersonal God who manifests Himself in three different modes like the Sabellians teach. Jesus is also human. As human, He is finite and limited in His abilities. As God, He is infinite and able to do all things. Those who disbelieve what Jesus said concerning Himself in the Gospels are “disbelievers in the truth” and Allah has prepared for them “a shameful doom.” (See Koran 4:150-152.)

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