21. Resurrected First, Does ‘Issa Return for Revenge?
The Sura “The served Table” recounts that ‘Issa (Jesus) can give back life: “And by My permission, you made the dead revive” (s. 5, 110), which sends us in the Gospel, for example, to the revivification of Lazarus, dead for four days (John 11).
In the Sura “Maryam,” we read: “Peace be on me [‘Issa] the day when I was born and the day when I will die and the day when I will be caused living [which is generally rendered by resurrected]” (s. 19,33). Jesus has known a cruel death, and if afterwards he is “caused living”, is he returning to revenge himself? The Gospel says: “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’” (John 20, 19). He brings Peace – and even more besides – he does not appear to organize his vengeance with his friends. Is his vengeance spoken of on the Day when he will come to judge?
Not then either, this “Day of judgment” will not be a vengeance, but a purification necessary for the accomplishment of the reign of God on earth, through the annihilation of the Antichrist Ad-Dajjal and of those who will have clearly chosen him. The time of this Reign will serve to prepare the day of the Resurrection. By being the first resurrected, Jesus opens this awaited road to the Resurrection.
The Koran has kept this waiting for the Resurrection by underlining that Allah is capable of accomplishing it (sura “The Resurrection” 75, 1-4), but it has lost the scenario of the end. The Koran poses the question: “Is He not Able to revive the dead?” (s. 75, 40), but it doesn’t also explain the how and the why. Saint Paul explains how we will resurrect: it will be with a body incorruptible, glorious, strong, spiritual (1 Cor 15, 35-44). Regarding the reason for the Resurrection, it is for us to rejoin God with all that we have been on earth, only purified. Jesus (‘Issa) is the first on this road, and there is more besides.
Having known death, he the Word emanating from God, Jesus (‘Issa) brings life into the abode of the dead, and he does it by his voice, in an encounter: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man” (John 5, 25-27).
Jesus (‘Issa) is the Son of man, that is to say, the one about which the prophet Daniel announced that he would come on the clouds of heaven to judge the earth (Dn7). Thus, when he will return, not on the earth (it would be useless and deceptive) but “on the clouds” (Mt 24, 30), some will recognize and accept him, others will not endure even to see him, and thus will be accomplished the judgment of the world in his Encounter.
While waiting, the resurrected Jesus (‘Issa) can already encounter us with his Holy Spirit and ask us, as he did to Peter on the border of the lake: “Do you love me?” (John 21, 15). To love Jesus is to follow him. The history of the resurrection of Jesus is in some way a kind of vengeance of Love against Evil on the part of a God who wants good and life.
When we will see Jesus with his resurrected body (incorruptible, glorious, strong, spiritual – 1 Cor 15, 35-44) and he will have judged the earth, he will reign not by physical and military constraint, but by the attraction of his love (“Do you love me?”). In this way he will prepare those who are to live again in the life of Heaven. Finally, he will take us to Heaven to live in a stable manner in the divine love, and thus will be completely accomplished the promise of the Angel Gabriel (Jibril) to Maryam: “of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1, 33).