some of the titles that the holy bible gives to the new religion and its followers are "the kingdom" or "the kingdom of the heavens". it is the new religion that jesus (pbuh) confirmed its transfer from the jewish nation to another nation. saying, "therefore, i tell you, the kingdom of god will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits." (matthew: 21/43).
in addition, the prophets kept on giving prophecies of this kingdom "the law and the prophets were until john: since then the good news of the kingdom of god is preached, and every one forces his way into it. but it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the law to become void." (luke: 16/16-17).
the prophet john the baptist gave prophecies that the kingdom’s time is close, matthew said: "in those days john the baptist came preaching in the wilderness of judea, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (matthew: 3/1-2).
threatening the jews, the baptist talked about the next kingdom, he said,: " in those days john the baptist came preaching in the wilderness of judea, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. for this is he who was spoken of by the prophet isaiah when he said, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “prepare the way of the lord, make his paths straight. now john wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. then jerusalem and all judea and the entire region about jordan were going out to him in, and they were baptized by him in the river jordan, confessing their sins. but when he saw many of the pharisees and sadducees coming to his baptism. he said to them, “you brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” .bear fruit in keeping with repentance: and do not presume to say to yourselves, “we have abraham as our father, for i tell you, god is able from these stones to raise up children for abraham. even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. i baptize you with water for repentance: but he who is coming after me is mightier than i, whose sandals i am not worthy to carry. he will baptize you with the holy spirit, and with fire. his winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. then jesus came from galilee to jordan to john to be baptized by him." (matthew: 3/1-13).
let us take a glance at the characteristics that john the baptist gave about the king of the kingdom.
first: the prophet will come after him. therefore, the coming cannot be jesus (pbuh) who was contemporary with john the baptist.
second: he is strong, and his strength exceeds the strength of john the baptist. such a description does not fit jesus (pbuh), who was as claimed by the christians, killed on the cross and close to john the baptist. there is no comparison between that and muhammad's (pbuh) victories over all his enemies. he reached a level of strength that enabled him to cleanse the earth from paganism, using soul and fire with his great message and his mighty strength. none of the above mentioned, fit anyone but muhammad the messenger of god (pbuh).
after john the baptist died, jesus (pbuh) renewed the prophecy that the kingdom is getting closer, "from that time jesus began to preach, saying, “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (matthew: 4/17). "and he went throughout all galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. "(matthew: 4/23). "soon afterward he went on through cities and village, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of god. and the twelve were with him," (luke: 8/1).
not only had jesus (pbuh) considered prophesying about the kingdom as his first mission, but also the only one. he said: " but he said to them, "i must preach the good news of the kingdom of god to other towns as well, for i was for this purpose." (luke: 4/43).
he ordered his disciples to spread the news that the kingdom is at hand, he said: "and proclaim as you go, saying, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (matthew: 10/7).
then jesus (pbuh) taught his disciples to say a phrase in their prayers. “father hallowed will be your name; your kingdom come.” (luke: 11/2) this phrase, the christians still practice until this day.
through all this, we can say that the message of jesus (pbuh) was a prophecy of the kingdom that john the baptist had told and described some of what will happen to it. this kingdom comes after jesus in a nation that will work for it, and will not lose it as the jews did.
what is this kingdom?
the christians’ answer is that “the kingdom is the prevailing of the christian faith all over the world after the coming of jesus". some interpreted it, as being the victory of the church over atheists. others interpreted it, as it is the prophecy of salvation with the blood of jesus (pbuh). priest tadros jacob malaty, in his commentary of the book of matthew, said, "the kingdom that was announced by jesus is "the good news kingdom “or "the gospel kingdom ", represented the salvation’s happy news that god gave us in his son jesus".
muslims wonder how the christians neglect the meaning of the kingdom; instead, they are attaching it to a chimera. the church was victorious and it ruled europe for many centuries, but we have not seen anything that was worth being a prophecy given by the baptist, jesus or the disciples.
similarly, the claimed salvation news cannot be the prophecy, which jesus walked around telling about in towns and villages. even his dearest disciples did not understand this meaning. among them were the two disciples that were headed towards emmaus after the crucifixion, they were crying because the salvation had ended with the death of jesus (pbuh). "and he said to them, ‘what is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk, and they stood still, looking sad? then one of them, named cleopas, answered him, “are you the only visitor to jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days? and he said to them, “what things?” and they said to him, “concerning jesus of nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before god and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. but we had hoped that he was the one to redeem israel. yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened."(luke: 24/17-21).
the two disciples were ignorant about the issue of salvation with the death of jesus; they were looking for another salvation, which is worldly salvation, which the children of israel were waiting for.
the crowds of believers that witnessed the crucifixion did not know that the crucifixion was the happy prophecy, which jesus (pbuh) gave. they returned crying, beating their chests and weeping "and all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.” (luke: 23/48-49).
the promised kingdom could not have been salvation with the blood of jesus. the texts mentioned things and signs that will take place before the coming of the kingdom. among these signs is the establishment of a new nation and a new kingdom. which did not take place before the spreading of christianity in the world, nor did it occur when jesus was crucified, matthew says: "as for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down. and they asked him, “teacher, when will these things be? and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place? and he said, “see that you are not led astray. for many will come in my name, saying, i am he; and “the time is at hand, do not go after them. and when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified: for these things must first take place; but the end will not be at once. then he said to them, “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. but before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. this will be your opportunity to bear witness. settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer. for i will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. you will be delivered up by parents and brothers and relatives and friends; and some of you they will put to death. you will be hated by all for my name's sake. but not n hair of your head will perish. by your endurance, you will gain your lives. but when you see jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. then let these who are in judea flee to the mountains; and let those who are inside the city depart; and let not those who are out in the country enter it. for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. alas, for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days, for there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the gentiles, until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled. and there will be signs in sun and moon and stars; and on the earth distress of nations, in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves. people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. and then they will see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads; because your redemption is drawing near. and he told them a parable; “look at the fig tree, and all the trees.” as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. so also, when you see these things taking place, know that the kingdom of god is near. truly, i say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. heaven and earth will pass away: but my words will not pass away. but watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. for it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. but stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the son of man." (luke: 21/6-36).
his saying: “and to stand before the son of man” connects the kingdom to the coming and the expected person. he was not talking about the spreading of christianity, but he was talking about the appearance of the final prophet; the son of man, and he was asking them to be prepared to meet him.
the kingdom is a nation that will work according to the will and the satisfaction of god, the cherisher and sustainer of the universe.
"the kingdom is a society on earth, which executes the will of god just as it is in the heavens,"says william barclay in his commentary on acts.
in one of jesus’ parables for the kingdom, he explained to his disciples the reason why the kingdom it will be transferred from the children of israel. he said:
"hear another parable: there was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put fence round it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants and went into another country. when the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruits. and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. again, he sent other servants, more than the first. and they did the same to them. finally, he sent his son to them, saying, “they will respect my son.” but when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “this is the heir. come, let us kill him, and have his inheritance. and they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. when therefore the owner the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” they said to him, “he will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons. jesus said to them, “have you never read in the scriptures, “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? therefore, i tell you, the kingdom of god will be taken from you and given to a people producing its fruits. and the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him. when the chief priests and pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. “(matthew: 21/33-45), (also luke: 20/9-19),
who is that great nation that will crush any nation it invades, and if a nation wanted to harm it will be disappointed? they are, with no doubt, the muslims who defeated the greatest two states of their time, the romans and the persians. they are the muslims who spread all over the world, and ruled, for an entire century, the land between china and france.
the previous prophesy of matthew refers to a prophesy in the prophets’ books, which is what came in david's psalms about the one who will come in the name of god "i thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. this is the lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. this is the day that the lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. save us, we pray, o lord: o lord, we pray, give us success." (psalms: 118/21-25).
muhammad (pbuh) said: “narrated by abu huraira: allah's apostle said, "my similitude in comparison with the other prophets before me, is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. the people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say: 'would that this brick be put in its place!' so i am that brick, and i am the last of the prophets.”. he was the brick that completed the prophet-hoods.
we should point to the mistake that peter made when he claimed that jesus (pbuh) is the brick that the builders rejected. he said: "let it be known to all of you and the people of israel that by the name of jesus christ of nazareth, whom you crucified, whom god raised from the dead, by him his man is standing before you well. this jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (acts: 4/10-12), though, the stone that david and jesus talked about was a victorious prophet-hood and a winning nation, and it was not in the children of israel as jesus (pbuh) testified.
however, peter had an excuse for his mistake. he was an illiterate man with no education as stated by those who heard his words and wondered about the miracles. we knew that from the writer of acts, as he said in this regard, "now when they saw the boldness of peter and john, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished." (acts: 4/13).
this unusual parable, that jesus (pbuh) told, talks about the jews denial of god’s graces and tenders, and of his choice of them by killing his prophets and abandoning his law. it tells about the transfer of the kingdom to a nation who will follow the commands of god, a nation that will become stronger over their enemies, and crush them.
this nation is despicable and despised "the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner"; however, god chose this nation in spite of the jews’ astonishment about the transfer of the kingdom to this despicable nation. it is the great fate and will of god " this is the lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes ".
who is this despicable nation? it is the arab nation, the children of the servant hagar, whom the holy bible despised, as sarah said:
“so she said to abraham, “cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son isaac." (genesis: 21/10).
proudly despising the arabs, paul said, "but what does the scripture say? “cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman. so, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman." (galatians: 4/30-31).
jesus (pbuh) gave more parables about the next kingdom. in one of them, he explained that the kingdom will not be of the children of israel, the nation that did not deserve god's choice.
matthew says: "and again jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, they would not come. again he sent other servants, saying, “tell those who are invited, see, i have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. come to the wedding feast. but they paid no attention made and went off their ways, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, entreated them shamefully, and killed them. the king was angry, and he sent his troops, and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. then he said he to his servants, “the wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find. and those servants went out into the roads and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. so the wedding hall was filled with guests. but when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. and he said to him, “friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” and he was speechless. then the king said to the attendants, “bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, for many are called, but few are chosen." (matthew: 22/1-14)
in another parable, he explained to them the people’s acceptance of the kingdom and submission to it, and he asked his disciples to accept it and submit to it. he said: "and he told them many things in parables, saying, “a sower went out to sow.” and as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. other seeds fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up, and choked them: other seeds fell on good soil, and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. he who has ears, let him hear. then the disciples came, and said to him, “why do you speak to them in parables?” and he answered them, “to you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. for to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance: but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. this is why i speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. indeed, in their case the prophecy of isaiah is fulfilled that says: “you will indeed hear but never understand; and you will indeed see but never perceive. for this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn, and i would heal them. but blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. truly, i say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. “hear then the parable of the sower. when anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. this is what was sown along the path. as for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receive it with joy. yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while: and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one hears the word and understands it. he indeed bears fruit and yields, on one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." (matthew: 13/1-23).
this biblical parable matches the one that muhammad (pbuh) gave about the way people reacted to his message. he said: (narrated by abu musa: the prophet said, "the example of guidance and knowledge with which allah has sent me is like abundant rain falling on the earth, some of which was fertile soil that absorbed rain water and brought forth vegetation and grass in abundance. (and) another portion of it was hard and held the rain water and allah benefited the people with it and they utilized it for drinking, making their animals drink from it and for irrigation of the land for cultivation. (and) a portion of it was barren which could neither hold the water nor bring forth vegetation (then that land gave no benefits). the first is the example of the person who comprehends allah's religion and gets benefit (from the knowledge) which allah has revealed through me (the prophets and learns and then teaches others. the last example is that of a person who does not care for it and does not take allah's guidance revealed through me (he is like that barren land.).
jesus told his disciples about the spread of the kingdom, which is the smallest among the seeds, but it is the greatest in spreading. matthew says:
"he put another parable before them, saying, “the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. it is the smallest all seeds, but when it has grown it is the larger than the entire garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. he told them another parable. “the kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened. all these things jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. "(matthew: 13/31-34). (also mark: 4/30-32).
athanasius, an egyptian priest, said in his interpretation of the book of matthew, "the examples that jesus gave in this chapter describe the kingdom on earth from the beginning to the end. the first example teaches us that the kingdom will be planted in the heart. the second, the devil will fight against it and plant a thorn, but the kingdom will grow and become a large tree (the mustard seed). the spirits of the people of the kingdom must merge in order to save and cleanse the world internally, as the yeast".
in another passage, he talked about the control of the new law over the previous law, saying, "the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field; which a man found and covered up. then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." (matthew: 13/44-46).
prophesying the prophet who will abolish the statutes with his statute, jesus (pbuh) said, "do not think that i have come to abolish the law and the prophets; i have not come to abolish them but to fulfill. for truly, i say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished." (matthew: 5/17-18), so who is the one that has it all?
he is the same prophet whom paul named “the perfect", and just by his arrival the statute will be canceled and abolished. "to one is given through the spirit the utterance of wisdom; and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same spirit. to another faith by the same spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one spirit. to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another the ability to distinguish between spirits; to another various kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:" (corinthians 1: 12/8-10).
that jesus (pbuh) not only talked about this prophet, but also explained that his time is late compared with the previous prophets. however, that will not deprive his nation from receiving great rewards, so he gave this example and said, "for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. after agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. and going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said; “you go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right i will give you. so they went. going out again about the sixth and the ninth hour, he did the same. and about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and he said to them, why do you stand here idle all day? they said to him, because no one has hired us. he said to them, you go into the vineyard too; and when evening come, the owner of the vineyard said to his foremen, call the laborers, and pay them their wages, beginning with the last up to the first. and when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. and on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, these last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat. but he replied to one of them: 'friend, i am doing you no wrong: did you not agree with me for a denarius? take what belongs to you and go, i choose to give to this last worker as i give to you. am i not allowed to do what i choose with what belongs to me? or do you begrudge my generosity? so the last will be first, and the first last.'" (matthew: 20/1-16). therefore, the latter won the reward and compensation.
the latter are the first ones as jesus (pbuh) said and confirmed by muhammad (pbuh) when he said: ((we are the latest the first)). and ((narrated by abu musa: the prophet said, "the example of muslims, jews and christians is like the example of a man who employed laborers to work for him from morning till night for specific wages. they worked until midday and then said, 'we do not need your money which you have fixed for us and let whatever we have done be annulled.' the man said to them, 'don't quit the work, but complete the rest of it and take your full wages.'but they refused and went away. the man employed another batch after them and said to them, 'complete the rest of the day and yours will be the wages i had fixed for the first batch.' therefore, they worked until the time of 'asr prayer. then they said, "let what we have done be annulled and keep the wages you have promised us for yourself.' the man said to them, 'complete the rest of the work, as only a little of the day remains,' but they refused. thereafter he employed another batch to work for the rest of the day and they worked for the rest of the day till the sunset, and they received the wages of the two former batches. so, that was the example of those people (muslims) and the example of this light (guidance) which they have accepted willingly.)).