When did Jesus ascend to Heaven?
Which is credible: Book of Acts or the Qur'an

The question above is based on supposition by a Muslim after reading about the evidence of skeptics becoming early day Christians. Consider Umar's question as follows with a quote from the Bible.

When Saul of Tarsus had a spiritual experience and Jesus spoke to him from heaven, isn't this the evidence that the Qur'an is correct and the Bible is false?

For example, the book of Acts has written, "....I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, `Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?' " `Who are you, Lord?' I asked. " `I am Jesus of Nazareth"

...while this not categorically stated, it can safely be assumed that the 'bright light from heaven flashed' as Jesus was descending from the heaven whilst Saul himself watches. I mean no mockery when I ask, isn't it that someone/or something descends after ascending (or the other way round). And could this be evident confirmation of the Qur'an version of the event?

The Answer

To begin to answer this question in a reliable and credible way, we must consider the research of the classic scholar, Dr. Colin Hemer, author of The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History. Archaeological and other physical evidence verifies the book of Acts to be credible. Scholars have found a 99.9% correlation between archaeological evidence and other evidence to the texts written into the book of Acts. The probability of the book of Acts being mythic is extremely low.

Based on evidence and scholarly analysis, we know that the mission trips of the Apostle Paul actually happened as written. Therefore, to believe and accept the spiritual stories written into Acts requires very little faith. And the book of Acts reveals when Jesus' ascension occurred. The initial verses of Acts support that Jesus died on the cross, then rose from the dead before the ascension into heaven occurred on the 40th day after Jesus reported resurrection. Consider the verses in Acts that support this viewpoint.

"After his suffering, he (Jesus) showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).

Jesus' ascension into heaven is recorded in a few verses later as noted here.

". . . he (Jesus) was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. " (Acts 1:9).

Based on Dr. Hemer's credible research, the book of Acts was recorded on paper about 62 CE (NOTE: the Qur'an was recorded on paper about 572 years after the book of Acts. This original (called the Hafsah Codex) and most credible version of the Qur'an was later destroyed by Muslims about 667 CE! WHY?).

When Saul of Tarsus met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus spoke from heaven. Since Acts records that Jesus ascended into heaven, there is no conflict based on the texts written into the book of Acts and the experience of the Apostle Paul.

However, there is conflict with the Qur'an, which claims that Jesus never died on the cross or rose from the dead. Instead, the Qur'an claims, without external or supporting evidence, that Jesus simply ascended into the heavens.

Now consider the writings of the Apostle Paul. According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus did in fact die on the cross and rise from the dead as taken from 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, and that more than 500 people were eyewitnesses of Jesus' death and resurrection.

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers [500] at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born [Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus]" (I Corinthians 15:3-8).

According to the Apostle Paul's writing, he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Later, the Apostle Paul wrote of this meeting as well as his discussions with other early day Christians.

The texts written into the book of Acts and letters written by the Apostle Paul agree that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. Since Saul of Tarsus was a skeptic that persecuted the early Christians, it took an extraordinary event to cause Saul of Tarsus to become the most evangelistic Christians of all time. Stated another way, "If Saul of Tarsus did not meet the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul would have continued as a skeptic."

Saul of Tarsus is not the only skeptic that became an early day Christian. All of Jesus' skeptical brothers became Christians. Furthermore, the gospels proclaim that even the disciples of Jesus were skeptics of Jesus after they witnessed Jesus' death on the cross. For example, "It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this (Jesus' resurrection) to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense" (Luke 24:10-11).

If the Qur'an is correct that Jesus did not die on the cross, then we would expect to find archaeological and other evidence that supports that claim. But the Qur'an has only a claim without supporting evidence. It is important to understand that not one archaeological find or any other physical evidence supports the claim of Muhammad in regards to Jesus not dying on the cross.

In contrast with the Qur'an, more and more evidence is being uncovered that supports the biblical stories of Jesus reported death on the cross and subsequent resurrection. Based on current available evidence, the probability of Muhammad being correct about Jesus is less than 2 chances in a billion. Due to these FACTS, we can make valid statements about the faith required to be a Muslim.

  1. To be a Muslim requires blind faith. This conclusion is valid at the 99.9% confidence level as verified by archaeological evidence for skeptics becoming Christians as well as other physical evidence.
  2. Examples of blind faith are the people who drank Kool-aid with Jim Jones at the Jonestown massacre. Or what if someone told you that God spoke to them directly and that God would give you some personal instructions through them? Would you believe it? Why then do you believe Muhammad without verification?

    Going beyond the phrase "blind faith" brings up a more descriptive idea, "imaginary faith". You must use your imagination to believe that Muhammad told the truth about Jesus despite the archaeological evidence that contradicts the fact that Jesus died on the cross. Or consider other examples of people who use imaginary faith. Among these are Mormons and Atheists. Atheists really like to gamble with their soul since their faith is equivalent to betting that an earthworm will win a horse race. Both Muslims and Mormons are essentially placing the same bet since no physical evidence has been uncovered to support the claim(s) of the author.

  3. Archaeological evidence and other physical evidence verifies that the Qur'an is based on spiritual deception. This conclusion is valid at the 99.9% confidence level as verified by archaeological evidence for skeptics becoming Christians as well as other physical evidence.

The archaeological evidence leads to the most important question of all, "Who is the source of the words written into the Qur'an?"

Why does Gabriel's Message to Muhammad
Contradict Gabriel's Message to Daniel?

To Daniel, Gabriel foretells that the Messiah will be killed. Jesus death on the cross met this requirement. However, to Muhammad, Gabriel reveals that Jesus was never killed. I have listed the opposing messages below.

Gabriel to Daniel

Gabriel to Muhammad

Messiah would be killed as the ultimate sacrificial offering.

". . . to make atonement for iniquity (in verse 24)
. . . the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing
(Daniel 9:24c, 26a: NASB).

The Einstein Method supports that Gabriel, who spoke to Daniel, foretells the future at the 98.5% confidence level.

Evidence that the Messiah was killed as foretold by Gabriel to Daniel is very extensive.

". . .they said, "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not" (Surah 4:157).

The Einstein Method supports that Gabriel, who spoke to Muhammad, could NOT foretell the future.

Simple logic supports that between the two prophets, Gabriel cannot be the same spiritual being. A message coming from outside time-space would not change to later contradict itself. We are forced to conclude that Daniel and Muhammad did not receive words from the same spiritual being. Who is the true archangel Gabriel?

Since Daniel accurately foretold the future, the Gabriel who spoke to Daniel came from God. This is supported by the Einstein Method at a high level of confidence. (To review, click "here").

However, a "false" Gabriel appears to have spoken to Muhammad from INSIDE time-space. No long-term prophecies have been observed. This infers that the message given to Muhammad is not from God. Muhammad appears to have been deceived. If the false Gabriel could foretell the distant future, then the message would be found acceptable. Logic requires that we question the Muslim world view.

In support of this conclusion, Gabriel's message to Muhammad attempts to refute the Christian message. The central Christian message states, "The Messiah died on the cross for the sins of humanity." From a Christian viewpoint, Muhammad's message is an attack on the foundation of the Christian faith. It is important to understand the message of God's love that Jesus brought to humanity. Jesus sacrificial death was foretold by the archangel Gabriel to Daniel the prophet.

Research by the classic scholar, Dr. Colin Hemer provides details that support the Qur'an is a false revelation at the 99.9% confidence level. This conclusion is based on archaeological evidence and analysis of both of the Qur'an and the Bible. To date, not even one archaeological item has been uncovered to support Muhammad's claim that Jesus did NOT die on the cross. In contrast, a substantial number of archaeological items now support the Christian view of Jesus' death on the cross. If you are a truth seeker, you will take the time to investigate for yourself.

The next page addresses Muslim misgivings about the Christian faith. The Christian message is about God's love for every human that will ever live. I hope and pray that you will read the next page from the viewpoint of Godís Love for you.

Go to Next Page Understanding the Christian Message of Love

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Based on the book:
"Gabriel's Faces: voice of the Archangel"
ISBN 0-9640404-2-5