Did Jesus only appear to die? In this video clip Dr. Cynthia directly asks Dr. Licona for his opinion of the possibility that Jesus did not die on the cross, but that Jesus only appeared to die on the cross. This is not a significant issue for non-Muslims. They readily accept that Jesus not only appeared to die on the cross, Jesus actually did die on the cross. Not so for Muslims.
The standard Muslim interpretation of the Qur’an is that Jesus only appeared to die on the cross (Surah 4:157). Most feel Allah cast his image upon someone else, possibly Judas, and that Jesus was taken to heaven directly from the cross, before death. So, in contrast to the secular world, which accepts that Jesus died on the cross but doubts the resurrection, Muslims accept a resurrection of sorts to heaven, but deny that Jesus died on the cross, saying that it only appeared to them at the time that he did.
Dr. Cynthia points out that if it is true that Jesus only appeared to die on the cross, and it was not until the time of Mohammed that Allah clarified the misunderstanding, we are left with the fact that God would have deceived his true followers (indeed, Christians are called Muslims in the Qur’an) for six hundred years. That would make Allah a deceiver, which, as Dr. C points out, is exactly what the Qur’an calls him as well (Surah3:54). If Jesus did not die on the cross, then Jesus is a false prophet and God is a deceiver.
Muslims are there left either with a god that deceives his sincere followers by making the believe that Jesus died when he only appeared to die on the cross, or that the truth actually is found in the Bible, and confirmed by historians, that Jesus did die on the cross.