Jesus' death according to the Quran

In fact, they did not kill him, nor did they
crucify him, but it appeared to them that they did.

The death of Jesus has been one of the most controversial subjects in the world. The traditional Christian view is that Jesus was crucified and suffered to take away the sins of the world on his shoulders, whereas traditional Muslim scholars proclaim that the words "appeared to them that they did" in 4:157 mean that God substituted another man who was crucified in place of Jesus.
As it happens, both traditional Christians and traditional Muslims are totally wrong. The Quran gives us the truth of this matter and how God is much more Benevolent and Merciful than to allow His faithful servant to suffer and die a slow painful death on the cross!

The Quranic explanation of the death of Jesus does not support either of the above interpretations. The correct meaning of the Quranic words "it appeared to them" is given light in the following verse

God said, "O Jesus, I am putting you to death, raising you to Me and cleansing you of those who disbelieved. 3:55

Jesus' soul was raised by God just before his arrest and crucifixion by the Romans. Thus, his persecutors arrested, tortured and crucified a body without a soul. Jesus (the real person) was already gone to the world of souls (
3:55, 4:157). This is not any different from a person in a coma for a day or more before being pronounced dead. The bodily functions may still be operating, but the soul of the person would have already departed.

The Quranic narration was amazingly confirmed in the Nag Hammadi scrolls which were discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. In these scrolls we read that the one crucified was only the body/flesh of Jesus but that his soul had already departed:

"The Savior said to me, "He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is the fleshly part." [Apocalypse of Peter,
VII, 3, 81] from THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY (Harper & Row, 1977, James M. Robinson, ed, Page 339).

We also learn from the Quran that the death of Jesus was not unique, but that the souls of all believers are raised unto God just before the moment of physical death; thereby they do not taste death. Please see: Death of Believers