The most important message of ALL of the gospels, including the Biblical, Ebionite and Gnostic gospels, was that Jesus was the Messiah. According to Jewish belief, here are the qualifications for anyone who claims to be the messiah:
“First of all, he must be Jewish – “…you may appoint a king over you, whom the Lord your God shall choose: one from among your brethren shall you set as king over you.” (Deuteronomy 17:15)
He must be a member of the tribe of Judah – “The staff shall not depart from Judah, nor the sceptre from between his feet…” (Genesis 49:10)
He must be a direct male descendant of King David and King Solomon, his son – “And when your days (David) are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall issue from your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will make firm the throne of his kingdom forever…” (2 Samuel 7:12 – 13)
He must gather the Jewish people from exile and return them to Israel -“And he shall set up a banner for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12)
He must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem – “…and I will set my sanctuary in their midst forever and my tabernacle shall be with them..” (Ezekiel 37:26 – 27)
He will rule at a time of world-wide peace – “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:3)
He will rule at a time when the Jewish people will observe God’s commandments – “My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow My ordinances and be careful to observe My statutes.” (Ezekiel 37:24)
He will rule at a time when all people will come to acknowledge and serve one God – “And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says the Lord” (Isaiah 66:23)
All of these criteria are best stated in the book of Ezekiel Chapter 37 verses 24-28:
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. they shall also follow My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, in which your fathers have dwelt and they shall dwell there, they and their children, and their children’s children forever; and my servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them, it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, which I will give them; and I will multiply them and I will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. And my tabernacle shall be with them: and I will be their God and they will be my people. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary will be in the midst of them forevermore.
If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be “The Messiah.” A careful analysis of these criteria shows us that to date, no one has fulfilled every condition.”
“According to Matthew, 5 Jesus paraphrased these qualifications when he said: 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
According to Galatians 3, Paul claims that the ‘curse’ of the crucifixion nullified these qualifications for Jesus:10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” The curse can be found in Deut 21:22-23.
So, according to Paul, either Jesus was cursed or the law was cursed. It was impossible for one to remain a Jew and view any part of the Mosaic law as cursed. This is why the Gospel of the Ebionites in 7th Century Arabia, as reported in the Quran, says: And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of All?h.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.”
In other words, Jesus was not crucified, so neither Jesus nor the Torah were cursed. To the contrary, according to this gospel, Jesus, fulfilled all the patrilineal requirements to be the messiah which was reinforced by the angelic annunciation to his maternal parent. This special annunciation was a strong Jewish tradition and an indication that the child would be sent to fulfill a special role. A similar annunciation was also made to Abraham, Hagar, the wife of Manoah and Zachariah regarding the births of Isaac, Ishmael, Samson and John the Baptist respectively. So, according to this gospel, Jesus fulfilled the messianic expectations and it was the Jews who refused to acknowledge him as the messiah. So, the Jews lacked the faith to follow their messiah into the promised kingdom. This is why Jesus is reported to have said in Matt 21:43:“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” Jesus mission was carried forward by the “Praised One” (Muhammad/Ahmad) who was foretold by Jesus.
Jesus foretold Muhammad as ‘the Praised One’ according to the Quran 61:6: “And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is the Praised One (Ahmad in Arabic).” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”
The name Muhammad is derived from the root ‘hmd’ which means ‘to praise’. Muhammad as the Praised One was foretold by Jesus in Matthew 23:39 which is the LXX quotation of the Hebrew text of Psalm 118:26 where the Hebrew word ‘baruk’ means ‘praised’ or Ahmad in Arabic. According to Strong’s Bible Dictionary: barak baw-rak’: a primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason):–X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), PRAISE, salute, X still, thank.
The name was translated into Greek as Euloghmenos which means ahmad in Arabic and praised in English. Here is the translation of Matt 23:39:: 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Euloghmenos (Ahmad/the Praised One’) is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” In other words, Jesus told his disciples that they would not see him until the people proclaim that the Praised One or Muhammad comes in the name of God or Allah in Arabic. This means that the Jesus would not see his disciples until the Day of Resurrection which would not occur until Muhammad came as a Prophet sent by Allah.
Luke 13:35 is even more explicit. “Behold, your (the Jew’s) house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time comes when ye shall say, Euloghmenos (the Praised One) is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” In other words, the Davidic covenant, which the Messiah was to fulfill, would be fulfilled when the Praised One came ‘in the name of’ God or Allah. (The Peshitta, the Syriac (Aramai Bible, uses the word baruk for Matthew 23:39 and Luke 13:35). Luke 13:35 confirms Matthew 21:43 in which Jesus says that the kingdom of God would be taken from the Jews and given to another nation. “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” So, the house of David (kingdom of Judah) remained desolate and expelled from Jerusalem until Omar ibn Khattab restored the Christian expelled Jews to Jerusalem in 637 CE. The Quran is always precise and correct, Al Hamdu Lilah!