The Messiah is God Indeed!
A Response to a Muslim Dawagandist Pt. 1 Sam Shamoun Muslim dawagandist Sami Zaatari has ―responded‖ to my article concerning the Messiah being God and how this affects the credibility of Muhammad and the Quran. I had written that according to the Holy Bible the Messiah is a fully Divine Person sent to become a human being in order to fulfill all the promises God had made to the nation of Israel and to king David. I proceeded to argue from this fact that Jesus was basically claiming to be God when he claimed to be the prophesied Messiah of the prophetic Scriptures. I then went on to explain how this exposes Muhammad as a false prophet who placed himself in a dilemma for affirming that Jesus is the Messiah. Since the Holy Bible says that the Messiah is God Incarnate and since Muhammad taught that Jesus is the Messiah. However, Muhammad actually denied that Jesus is God thereby contradicting what the Holy Bible says concerning the Divine nature of the Messiah. In light of this mistake Muhammad could not have been a true prophet of God. Before Zaatari comes to his main response to my argument he brings up a red herring by mentioning an alternative way to get around the dilemma that Muhammad created by arguing for the possibility that it is actually the Holy Bible which is mistaken concerning the Person and work of the Messiah. He reasons that the Quran actually came to correct ―this false teaching and misunderstanding that was created by some people.‖ However, there are two main problems with this contention. First, Messiah is a Biblical concept, not an Islamic one. In fact, the Quran nowhere defines the word Messiah nor does it explain its significance, especially as it relates to Jesus. This means that a person must turn to the Holy Bible in order to understand who and what the Messiah is supposed to be. The second problem that Zaatari faces is that Muhammad claimed that his book actually came to confirm, not contradict or oppose, the teachings of the previous Scriptures. Muhammad even went out of his way all throughout the Quran to affirm the authority and reliability of the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians just as the following verses testify.
PASSAGES SHOWING THAT THE OLD TESTAMENT WRITINGS WERE TRUE AND UNCHANGED AT THE TIME OF CHRIST. The Islamic scripture attests that both Mary, the mother of the risen Lord, and John the Baptist confirmed and believed in all of the books of God: (It was said to his son): ―O Yahya (John)! Hold fast the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)].‖ And We gave him wisdom while yet a child. S. 19:12 Hilali-Khan And Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient. S. 66:12
It further asserts that Jesus was sent to testify that the Scriptures which he had access to were the revelations of God: And he will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be an apostle to the Children of Israel, ―I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by Allah‘s leave. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by Allah‘s leave. I will inform you of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. And I confirm the Torah that is BETWEEN MY HANDS (Wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati), and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear you God, and obey you me.‖ S. 3:48-50 - cf. 5:110 In regards to this passage renowned Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir writes, <the Tawrah and the Injil>. The Tawrah is the Book THAT ALLAH SENT DOWN TO MUSA, son of Imran, while the Injil is what Allah sent down to Isa, son of Maryam, peace be upon them, AND ISA MEMORIZED BOTH BOOKS… <If you believe. And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Tawrah,> affirming the Tawrah AND UPHOLDING IT,‖ (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged – Surat AlBaqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147, Abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; March 2000, first edition], Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, pp. 163, 165; bold and capital emphasis ours) There is more from the Quran concerning this issue: Yet how will they make thee their judge seeing THEY HAVE the Torah, wherein is God's judgment, then thereafter turn their backs? They are not believers. Surely We sent down the Torah, wherein is guidance and light; thereby the Prophets who had surrendered themselves gave judgment for those of Jewry, as did the masters and the rabbis, following such portion of God's Book as they were given to keep and were witnesses to. So fear not men, but fear you Me; and sell not My signs for a little price. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down - they are the unbelievers. And therein We prescribed for them: 'A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds retaliation'; but whosoever forgoes it as a freewill offering, that shall be for him an expiation. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down -- they are the evildoers. And in their footsteps we sent Jesus son of Mary confirming the Torah BETWEEN HIS HANDS (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati) and we gave to him the Gospel, wherein IS guidance and light, and confirming the Torah BETWEEN HIS HANDS (wa musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-tawrati), as a guidance and an admonition to the pious. S. 5:43-46 Here we are told that Jesus was sent to confirm the Torah which the prophets before him used to judge Israel. This means that the original Scriptures that God revealed had remained uncorrupt at least till the time of Christ. And:
And when Jesus son of Mary said, 'Children of Israel, I am indeed the Messenger of God to you, confirming the Torah that is BETWEEN MY HANDS (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina al-tawrati), and giving good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.' Then, when he brought them the clear signs, they said, 'This is a manifest sorcery.' S. 61:6 Here, once again, is Ibn Kathir‘s explanation of these texts: <'Isa, son of Maryam, confirming the Tawrah that had come before him,> meaning, he believed in it AND RULED BY IT… <and confirmation of the Tawrah that had come before it,> meaning, HE ADHERED TO THE TAWRAH, except for the few instances that clarified the truth where the Children of Israel differed. Allah states in another Ayah that 'Isa said to the Children of Israel… <…and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you.> So the scholars say that the Injil abrogated some of the rulings of the Tawrah… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged – Surat An-Nisa, Verse 148 to the end of Surat Al-An'am [January 2000, first edition], Volume 3, Parts 6, 7 & 8, pp. 193-194; bold and capital emphasis ours) And: ‗Isa said, ―The Tawrah conveyed the glad tidings of my coming, and my coming CONFIRMS THE TRUTH OF THE TAWRAH…‖ (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged, Volume 9, Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun [September 2000, first edition], p. 617; bold and capital emphasis ours) In light of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) in 1947 we are in a position to know for certain what the Torah which Jesus had in his possession looked like since these scrolls contained copies of OT Books which were composed before the birth of Christ. These copies are virtually identical with the OT Scriptures which we currently possess, which means that Jesus was basically confirming the very Hebrew Bible which both Jews and Christians read today! Hence, if what the Quran says about Jesus is true then Muslims such as Zaatari must accept the fact that their own scripture testifies to the authority and reliability of the OT Books that we currently possess.
PASSAGES SHOWING THAT THE JUDEO-CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES WERE TRUE AND UNCHANGED AT THE TIME OF MUHAMMAD. As we had noted earlier Muhammad stated that his Quran was ―sent down‖ to confirm the authority and reliability of the Books which the Jews and Christians of his time possessed: Children of Israel, remember My blessing wherewith I blessed you, and fulfil My covenant and I shall fulfil your covenant; and have awe of Me. And believe in that I have sent down, CONFIRMING THAT WHICH IS WITH YOU, and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And sell not My signs for a little price; and fear you Me. And do not confound the truth with vanity, and do not conceal the truth wittingly. And perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and bow
with those that bow. Will you bid others to piety, and forget yourselves while you read the Book? Do you not understand? S. 2:40-44 Say: ‗Whosoever is an enemy to Gabriel -- he it was that brought it down upon thy heart by the leave of God, confirming that which is BETWEEN HIS HANDS (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi), and for a guidance and good tidings to the believers.‘ S. 2:97 He has sent down upon thee the Book with the truth, confirming that which is BETWEEN HIS HANDS (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi), and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel aforetime, as guidance to the people, and He sent down the Salvation. As for those who disbelieve in God's signs, for them awaits a terrible chastisement; God is All-mighty, Vengeful. S. 3:3-4 Some of the Jews pervert words from their meanings saying, 'We have heard and we disobey' and 'Hear, and be thou not given to hear' and 'Observe us,' twisting with their tongues and traducing religion. If they had said, 'We have heard and obey' and 'Hear' and 'Regard us,' it would have been better for them, and more upright; but God has cursed them for their unbelief so they believe not except a few. You who have been given the Book, believe in what We have sent down, CONFIRMING WHAT IS WITH YOU, before We obliterate faces, and turn them upon their backs, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-men, and God's command is done. S. 4:46-47 And We have sent down to thee the Book with the truth, confirming the Book that is between his hands and preserving/witnessing/testifying to it (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi mina al-kitabi wa-muhaiminan alayhi)… S. 5:48 Here is how one particular Muslim translated this verse: ―To you We revealed the Book with the Truth, confirming previous Scripture and witnessing to their veracity…‖ (The Qur’an – A New Translation, by Tarif Khalidi [Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., First American Edition 2008], p. 89; bold emphasis ours) Muhammad even claimed that his Quran was a confirmation of Moses‘ Book in Arabic which he was supposedly familiar with: We did indeed aforetime give the Book to Moses: be not then in doubt of its reaching (thee): and We made it a guide to the Children of Israel. S. 32:23 Yet before it was the Book of Moses for a model and a mercy; and this is a Book confirming, in Arabic tongue, to warn the evildoers, and good tidings to the good-doers… They said, 'Our people, we have heard a Book that was sent down after Moses, confirming what IS BETWEEN HIS HANDS (lima bayna yadayhi), guiding to the truth and to a straight path. S. 46:12, 30 To top it off Muhammad actually defended the veracity of Moses‘ Book which he had access to against the disbelievers! But when the truth (i.e. Muhammad with his Message) has come to them from Us, they say: "Why is he not given the like of what was given to Musa (Moses)?" Did they not disbelieve
in that which was given to Musa (Moses) of old? They say: "Two kinds of magic [the Taurat (Torah) and the Qur'an] each helping the other!" And they say: "Verily! In both we are disbelievers." Say (to them, O Muhammad: "Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two [the Taurat (Torah) and the Qur'an], that I may follow it, if you are truthful." S. 28:48-49 It makes absolutely no sense for Muhammad to defend a Book and challenge the disbelievers to come up with a scripture that contains better guidance if he actually thought that Moses‘ Scripture had been corrupted or was no longer available. In fact, the ahadith testify that Muhammad praised a copy of the Torah which the Jews gave him and bore witness that it was the truth: … Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn `Umar said, ―Some Jews came to the Messenger of Allah and invited him to go to the Quff area. So he went to the house of Al-Midras and they said, ‗O Abu Al-Qasim! A man from us committed adultery with a woman, so decide on their matter.‘ They arranged a pillow for the Messenger of Allah and he sat on it and said… <<Bring the Tawrah to me.>> He was brought the Tawrah and he removed the pillow from under him and placed the Tawrah on it, saying … <<I TRUST YOU and He Who revealed it to you.>> He then said … <<Bring me your most knowledgeable person.>> So he was brought a young man… and then he mentioned the rest of the story that Malik narrated from Nafi`.‖ These Hadiths state that the Messenger of Allah issued a decision that conforms with the ruling in the Tawrah, not to honor the Jews in what they believe in, for the Jews were commanded to follow the Law of Muhammad only. Rather, the Prophet did this because Allah commanded him to do so. He asked them about the ruling of stoning in the Tawrah to make them admit to what the Tawrah contains and what they collaborated to hide, deny and exclude from implementing for all that time. They had to admit to what they did, although they did it while having knowledge of the correct ruling… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 5:41; bold and capital emphasis ours) Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, the renowned student of so-called Shaykh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and one of the Salafi Muslims‘ premiere scholars, used this very same narration along with several others to prove that the Torah (as well as the other inspired Books such as the Gospel) remains uncorrupted: On the other side, another party of hadith and fiqh scholars said: these changes took place during its interpretation and not during the process of its revelation. This is the view of Abi Abdullah Muhammad bin Ishmael Al-Bukhari who said in his hadith collection: “No one can corrupt the text by removing any of Allah‟s words from his Books, but they corrupted it by misinterpreting it.” Al-Razi also agrees with this opinion. In his commentary he said: There is a difference of opinions regarding this matter among some of the respectable scholars. Some of these scholars said: the manuscript copies of the Torah were distributed
everywhere and no one knows the exact number of these copies except Allah. It is impossible to have a conspiracy to change or alter the word of God in all of these copies without missing any copy. Such a conspiracy will not be logical or possible. And when Allah told his messenger (Muhammad) to ask the Jews to bring their Torah and read it concerning the stoning command they were not able to change this command from their copies, that is why they covered up the stoning verse while they were reading it to the prophet. It was then when Abdullah Ibn Salam requested that they remove their hand so that the verse became clear. If they have changed or altered the Torah then this verse would have been one of the important verses to be altered by the Jews. Also, whenever the prophet would ask them (the Jews) concerning the prophecies about him in the Torah they were not able to remove them either, and they would respond by stating that they are not about him and they are still waiting for the prophet in their Torah. Abu Dawud narrated in his collection that Ibn Umar said: A group of Jewish people invited the messenger of Allah to a house. When he came, they asked him: O Abu Qasim, one of our men committed adultery with a woman, what is your judgment against him? So they placed a pillow and asked the messenger of Allah to set on it. Then the messenger of Allah proceeded to say: bring me the Torah. When they brought it, he removed the pillow from underneath him and placed the Torah on it and said: I believe in you and in the one who revealed you, then said: bring me one of you who have the most knowledge. So they brought him a young man who told him the story of the stoning. The scholars said: if the Torah was corrupted he would not have placed it on the pillow and he would not have said: I believe in you and in the one who revealed you. This group of scholars also said: Allah said: ―And the word of your Lord has been accomplished truly and justly; there is none who can change His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.‖ [Q. 6:115] And the Torah is Allah‟s word. (Ighathat Al Lahfan, Volume 2, p. 351; bold and italic emphasis ours) It is interesting to find Muslim authorities using Q. 6:115 to prove that the Torah could not be corrupted since it is the word of Allah when you have Muslim dawagandists like Zaatari trying to argue otherwise! More importantly, since all of the revealed Books are the words of God this means that Q. 6:115 equally applies to all of them, not just the Torah. As such, none of the inspired Scriptures could ever be corrupted according to the Quran! This explains why scholars such as al-Bukhari believed that Books such as the Torah and the Gospel could not be changed since they are God‘s words. In case Zaatari has a hard time following the reasoning which led his own Muslim scholars to conclude that the inspired Scriptures cannot be corrupted according to Q. 6:115 we will break this down for him step by step.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
None can change the words of God. The Torah, Psalms/Zubur, Gospel/Injil etc., are the words of God. Therefore, no one is able to change or corrupt these Books. This means that these Books must still be in existence. These particular Books were entrusted to the Jews and Christians. This means that these communities must have the original uncorrupt revelations that God sent down in their possessions. 7. However, the only Scriptures that these respective communities have are the Books of the Holy Bible. 8. Therefore, the writings of both the Old and New Testaments must be the original, uncorrupt words which God sent down! Nor is this the only instance where Muhammad expressly confirmed the Scriptures in the hands of the Jews: Rafi b. Haritha and Sallam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi b. Huraymila came to him [Muhammad] and said: ‗Do you not allege that you follow the religion of Abraham and believe in the Torah WHICH WE HAVE and testify that it is the truth from God?’ He replied, ‗CERTAINLY, but you have sinned and broken the covenant CONTAINED THEREIN and concealed what you were ordered to make plain to men, and I dissociate myself from your sin.‘ They said, ‗We hold by WHAT WE HAVE. We live according to the guidance and the truth and we do not believe in you and we will not follow you.‘ So God sent down concerning them: ‗Say, O Scripture folk, you have no standing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and what has been sent down from your Lord. What has been sent down to thee from they Lord will assuredly increase many of them in error and unbelief. But be not sad because of the unbelieving people.‘ (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 268; bold and capital emphasis ours) Muhammad also believed that the Christians of his time had access to the original Gospel which God had given to Jesus. He even commanded the Christians to judge by that very Gospel! And in their footsteps we sent Jesus son of Mary confirming the Torah between his hands and we gave to him the Gospel, wherein IS guidance and light, and confirming the Torah between his hands, as a guidance and an admonition to the pious. Let the People of the Gospel judge according to what God has sent down therein. Whoever does not judge according to what God has sent down, such are the rebellious. S. 5:46-47 Elsewhere, the Quran refers to prophecies of Muhammad that could supposedly be found in both the Torah and Gospel which was with the Jews and Christians: those who follow the Messenger, 'the Prophet of the common folk, whom they find written down WITH THEM in the Torah and the Gospel, bidding them to honour, and forbidding them dishonour, making lawful for them the good things and making unlawful for them the corrupt things, and relieving them of their loads, and the fetters that were upon them. Those who believe in him and succour him and help him, and follow the light that has been sent down with him -- they are the prosperers.' S. 7:157
The problem that such passages pose for Muslims such as Zaatari is that the only Gospel which the Christians of Muhammad‘s time had access to were the writings of the NT, specifically the four canonical Gospels. In fact, one Islamic source goes so far as to identify the Gospel of John as the Gospel that God sent down for the followers of Christ: ―Among the things which have reached me about what Jesus the Son of Mary stated in the Gospel which he received from God for the followers of the Gospel, in applying a term to describe the apostle of God, is the following. It is extracted FROM WHAT JOHN THE APOSTLE SET DOWN FOR THEM WHEN HE WROTE THE GOSPEL FOR THEM FROM THE TESTAMENT OF JESUS SON OF MARY: ‗He that hateth me hateth the Lord. And if I had not done in their presence works which none other before me did, they had not sin: but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will overcome me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the law must be fulfilled, "They hated me without a cause" (i.e. without reason). But when the Comforter has come whom God will send to you from the Lord's presence, and the spirit of truth which will have gone forth from the Lord's presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that ye should not be in doubt.‘ ―The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the paraclete. (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, pp. 103-104; bold and capital emphasis ours) This shows that Muhammad actually believed that the NT writings which the Christians read were the very Gospel which God had revealed to Jesus!
CONCLUSION According to the Quran John the Baptist, Mary, and Jesus all had access to and confirmed the original uncorrupt Scriptures of God. Both the Quran and specific Islamic sources testify that Muhammad himself had access to the true, original unchanged Scriptures such as the Torah and the Gospel, which were in the possession of the Jews and Christians, and that one of the functions of his own book was to affirm the veracity of these inspired Books. Muslim scholars quoted Q. 6:115 which says that no one can change the words of Allah to prove that the revealed Books such as the Torah and the Gospel could not have been corrupted since they are the very revealed words of God. The only possible conclusion one can draw from all of this data is that Muhammad truly believed in the inspiration and reliability of the Holy Scriptures which were in the possession of the Jews and Christians at his time. This means that Muhammad confirmed the Biblical books that we currently possess since these are the very Scriptures which Muhammad‘s Jewish and Christian contemporaries were reading. Therefore, since the Quran claims to confirm the Holy Bible one would expect that it would agree and accept the Biblical understanding of who and what the Messiah is. However, as we saw in my article such is not the case since the Islamic scripture denies the Deity of the Messiah thereby contradicting the very inspired Books which it claims to affirm.
Thus, my point still stands concerning Muhammad, namely, by affirming that Jesus is the Messiah while denying his Deity he created a major problem for both himself and his followers. Muhammad turns out to be a false prophet and deceiver according to the testimony of the very Bible which he confirmed to be the uncorrupt revelation of God! For more on the issue of the Islamic view of the Holy Bible we recommend the articles found here. Now that we got that red herring out of the way we can move on to part 2 refuting Zaatari‘s gross distortion and misinterpretation of the Biblical passages that we raised in support of the Deity of the Messiah.
The Messiah is God Indeed!
A Response to a Muslim Dawagandist Pt. 2 Sam Shamoun We continue with our rebuttal to Zaatari‘s blatant distortion of the truth. Zaatari asserts that I am arguing for polytheism since according to my view God raises another God to sit on David‘s throne which essentially means that there are two Gods. Zaatari is operating under the assumption of unitarianism, interpreting my statements in light of his unitarian beliefs. The problem, however, is that Zaatari erroneously assumes that unitarianism and monotheism are interchangeable terms so that only a unitarian view of God can be considered truly monotheistic. Zaatari‘s criticism would only be valid if the true God is a singular Person which he is not since the inspired Scriptures testify that God is actually tri-Personal. To illustrate this fact, here is an OT text which speaks of a day in which Yahweh would send Yahweh to dwell in the midst of his people: ―And behold, the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him, and said to him, ‗Run, say to that young man, ―Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of men and cattle in it.‖ For I will be to her a wall of fire round about,‟ says Yahweh, ‗and I will be the glory within her. Ho! ho! Flee from the land of the north, says Yahweh; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens,‘ says Yahweh. Come, O Zion! Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon!‘ For this is what Yahweh of hosts says: ‗After HE has honored ME and has sent ME against the nations that have plundered you — for whoever touches you touches the apple of HIS eye- I will surely raise MY hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent ME. Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,‟ declares Yahweh. Many nations will be joined with Yahweh in that day and will become MY people. I will live among you and you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent ME to you.‘ Yahweh will
inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. Be still before Yahweh, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.‖ Zechariah 2:313 Yahweh says that when he comes to dwell in Jerusalem his people will then realize that Yahweh sent him to live with them! This seems to suggest that the prophets believed that there were two Gods… that is, until we read the rest of what Zechariah says: ―Yahweh shall become king over the whole earth; on that day Yahweh shall be the only one, and his name the only one.‖ Zechariah 14:9 NAB Zechariah clearly was a monotheist even though he wasn‘t a unitarian since this inspired prophet knew that the one true God was multi-personal!(1) Thus, God‘s true prophets didn‘t see any conflict with Yahweh sending Yahweh and their belief that there is only one God. This means that the only way that Zaatari can demonstrate that my position is actually ditheistic is if he can first prove that unitarianism is true; yet since unitarianism is false my view is in no way incompatible with Biblical monotheism. Next, Zaatari tries to tackle the passages I quoted to prove that the Messiah is God according to the OT Scriptures. Zawadi links to a unitarian website and to one of his ―replies‖ which he feels adequately address the issue of the Messiah being called the Mighty God in Isaiah 9:6-7. To read the thorough refutation of these feeble attempts of undermining the rather explicit and emphatic witness to the absolute Deity of the Messiah that this text from Isaiah furnishes (along with other key passages from this same inspired author) we recommend the following articles: http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/jesus_mighty_god.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/messiah_exaltation.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/messiah_deity_isaiah.htm In reply to Jeremiah 23:5-6 which calls the Messiah ―Yahweh our Righteousness‖ Zaatari quotes Jeremiah 33:15-16 to prove that Jerusalem itself is called by this very same name: ―In those days and at that time I shall make sprout for David a righteous Branch, and he will certainly execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem itself will reside in security. And this is what she will be called, Yahweh Our Righteousness.‖ Zaatari then reasons that the city of Jerusalem must be God as well according to my logic. However, this only exposes Zaatari‘s gross ignorance of the Holy Bible and shows that he hasn‘t read the inspired Scriptures carefully.
In the first place, the reason why Jerusalem is called by the name of the Lord is precisely because God dwells there: ―And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, ‗The ark of the covenant of the LORD.‘ It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. At that time they will call Jerusalem ‗The Throne of the LORD,‘ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.‖ Jeremiah 3:16-17 God‘s throne and name is in Jerusalem! ―Hark, the cry of the daughter of my people from the length and breadth of the land: ‗Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King not in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with their foreign idols?‘‖ Jeremiah 8:19 ―Why shouldst thou be like a man confused, like a mighty man who cannot save? Yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.‖ Jeremiah 14:9 ―The circumference of the city shall be eighteen thousand cubits. And the name of the city henceforth shall be, The LORD is there.‖ Ezekiel 48:35 ―But Judah shall be inhabited for ever, and Jerusalem to all generations. I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty, for the LORD dwells in Zion.‖ Joel 3:20-21 Jerusalem is named after its eternal King, being the place where Israel‘s God chose to dwell, a not uncommon practice. For example, Jerusalem is also called ―the City of David‖ since David made it the capital of his kingdom. In fact, the prophets envisioned a time when God would come and visibly dwell with his people: ―A voice cries: ‗In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.‘ … You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‗Here is your God!‟ See, the Lord GOD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.‖ Isaiah 40:3-5, 9-11 And as we saw earlier the prophet Zechariah spoke of the time when Yahweh would be sent by Yahweh to live in Jerusalem. According to this same inspired prophet Yahweh will reign as King in all the earth on that day: ―And the LORD will become king over all the earth; on that day the LORD will be one and his name one… Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go
up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, they will have no rain.‖ Zechariah 14:9, 16-17 With the foregoing in perspective we can now see that the reason why Jerusalem is called Yahweh our Righteousness is because this is where Yahweh God will visibly come to dwell for all its inhabitants to see. This is where the Messiah comes in. Since the Messiah is said to be Yahweh our Righteousness who comes to rule righteously in Jerusalem this means that he is the very visible manifestation of Yahweh God that all the peoples will look upon! In other words, it is not a coincidence that the Messiah sits on the throne forever and embodies the name of Yahweh since he is the incarnation of Yahweh God and his coming therefore marks the visible appearance of the God of Israel to mankind. For instance, here is what Zechariah wrote concerning Israel‘s King coming to save: ―Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. I will cut off the chariot from E'phraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.‖ Zechariah 9:9-10 The NT records that the Lord Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a foal in partial fulfillment of Zechariah: ―So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, ‗Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!‘ And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, ‗Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass's colt!‘‖ John 12:13-15 Now notice the connection between Yahweh and the Messianic King. The prophetic Scriptures testify that Yahweh will reign over all the earth as King while also affirming that the Messiah rules over all the nations forever. When these two facts are put together then the conclusion is that the Messiah is Yahweh God who will come to rule over all creation. Therefore, the Messiah is the human appearance, the visible extension so to speak, of Yahweh‘s personal presence which will be manifested to all his people and the world. Finally, in his haste to attack the explicit witness of Jeremiah 23:5-6 to the Divine nature of the Messiah Zaatari overlooked one crucial difference between this passage and 33:15-16. The text of Jeremiah 23:5-6 explicitly says that the Messiah‘s name shall be Yahweh our Righteousness whereas 33:15-16 doesn‘t mention the word name at all: ―‗Look! There are days coming,‘ is the utterance of Yahweh, ‗and I will raise up to David a righteous Branch. And a king will certainly reign and act with discretion and execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel itself will reside in security. And this is HIS NAME with which he will be called, Yahweh Our Righteousness.‘‖ 23:5-6
―In those days and at that time I shall make sprout for David a righteous Branch, and he will certainly execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem itself will reside in security. And this is what she will be called, Yahweh Our Righteousness.‖ 33:15-16 The Hebrew word for ―name,‖ shem, is used in the Holy Scriptures in respect to a person‘s characteristics, nature, essence, authority etc. The fact that Jeremiah 23:6 says that the Branch‘s name will be called Yahweh our Righteousness is significant since this affirms that the Messiah personally embodies the very characteristics and essence which underlie the name. This is in stark contrast to 33:16 where the word shem is not used. This omission seems to be intentional since Jerusalem does not embody the nature or character of Yahweh, but is the dwelling place of the Messianic Branch who does in fact bear the essential attributes and authority of God. To summarize the point of Jeremiah 23:5-6. God promises his people that he shall remove all their wicked rulers who are oppressing them and shall raise up for them the Messianic Son of David who will save them and who will insure that they dwell in perpetual safety. The reason why this particular Ruler will be able to maintain perfect justice unlike the kings who came before him is because he is more than an ordinary man. The Davidic King who shall come is none other than Yahweh God Almighty! For more on the topic of Jeremiah 23:5-6 we recommend the following articles and rebuttals: http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/jeremiah23.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/jesus_yahweh1.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/jesus_yahweh2.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/jesus_yahweh3.htm http://www.studytoanswer.net/judaism/jahtsidqenu.html Zaatari goes on to further demonstrate why he has no business defending Islam or critiquing the Holy Bible. He tries to undermine the plain and explicit testimony of Micah 5:1-4 to the Messiah‘s preexistence by appealing to NT texts which speak of God‘s foreknowledge! He appeals to Romans 8:29-30 and Acts 2:23 to prove that Micah 5:1-4 is simply indicating that God had planned beforehand to send the Messiah! However, these verses actually backfire against Zaatari since they prove that Micah 5 IS NOT about God predestining or foreordaining the coming of the Messiah. In fact, whereas Romans 8:29-30 and Acts 2:23 use the words predestine, foreknowledge and foreknew Micah 5:4 does not. Micah 5 doesn‘t say that God foreknew or predestined in eternity past that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem. The prophet clearly speaks of the actual preexistence of Messiah since he uses the same exact language which the OT uses in relation to God‘s eternal existence: ―Now you are walled about with a wall; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike upon the cheek the Ruler of Israel. But you, O Bethlehem Eph'rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from ancient times/long ago (miqqedem), from days of eternity (olam). Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in travail has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed
his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.‖ Micah 5:1-4 Now compare this with the following texts where Yahweh is said to be both qedem and olam: ―Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God (el olam).‖ Genesis 21:33 ―The eternal God (elohey qedem) is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting (olam) arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you, and said, Destroy.‖ Deuteronomy 33:27 And like the Messiah, Yahweh is also said to be from qedem and olam: ―Yet God my King is from of old (miqqedem), Who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth.‖ Psalm 74:12 ―Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (ume„olam ad-olam ata el).‖ Psalm 90:2 ―The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting (me„olam ata).‖ Psalm 93:1-2 Moreover, Yahweh‘s goings forth and purposes have been from qedem, from the days of olam: ―Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago (miqqedem)? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.‖ Isaiah 45:21 ―Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times (umiqqedem) things not yet done, saying, ‗My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,‘ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.‖ Isaiah 46:8-11 ―Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days of old (qedem), the generations of long ago (olamim). Was it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the dragon?‖ Isaiah 51:9 ―Are You not from everlasting (miqqedem), O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O LORD, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct.‖ Habakkuk 1:12 It is clear that Micah truly believed and taught that the Messiah is eternal, and therefore God (even though he also affirmed the Messiah‘s humanity), since this blessed prophet of God used the same exact terms to describe the Messiah‘s origins and actions that the Holy Bible uses in reference to Yahweh‘s timeless existence and deeds of old!
Zaatari again links to one of his articles which he erroneously thinks refutes the Trinitarian exegesis and understanding of Psalm 110:1. However, we have already addressed and thoroughly refuted Zaatari‘s claims in the following articles and rebuttals: http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/psalm110_1.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/luke_preexistence.htm http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/zaatari/trinity_shema1.html http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/zaatari/trinity_shema2.html http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/messiah_lxx.html Zaatari proceeds to attack a straw man argument by claiming that I used Psalm 72 to prove that the Messiah is God since it says that he will rule from sea to sea and shall be worshiped by the nations. That‘s not what I exactly said. Rather, my point was that since the Messiah shares in the very exclusive rule of God over all creation and receives the same exact worship that God does this means that he must be God. After all, God will not allow a creature to receive the same kind of worship that he receives nor will he allow a mere creature to sit on the same heavenly throne that God occupies as King over all creation. This leads me to Zaatari‘s next point. Zawadi argues that Daniel 7:13-14 testifies that God gave the Messiah the kingdom and power to rule. He then references John 13:3, 17:6-8, and 1 Corinthians 15:26-28 to prove that Jesus, John, and Paul affirm that God gave Christ all things. He further asserts that Paul says God himself is not subject to the Messiah but the other way round! For some strange reason Zaatari actually thinks that these points somehow undermine the Deity of Christ when in reality they only expose his utter desperation and his smoke and mirror tactics. In the first place, Zawadi‘s argument does absolutely nothing to undermine the fact that according to Daniel the Son of Man receives the very same exact worship which only God is supposed to receive. Compare the following: ―In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped (yipelachun) him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.‖ Daniel 7:13-14 ―Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship (yipelachun) and obey him.‖ Daniel 7:27 ―Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‗O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve (pelachin) is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve (pelachin) your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.‘‖ … Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‗Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to
give up their lives rather than serve (yipelachun) or worship any god except their own God.‘‖ Daniel 3:16-18, 28 – cf. 3:12, 14; 6:16, 20 The Aramaic verb pelach, translated as serve in the above texts, refers to the cultic worship which is to be rendered to God alone. The Greek translation of Daniel (e.g., the Septuagint [LXX]) uses the word latreuo for pelach. The following quotation of the Greek version of Daniel 7:9-28 that is taken from the writing of the 2nd Christian apologist Justin Martyr illustrates this: But if so great a power is shown to have followed and to be still following the dispensation of His suffering, how great shall that be which shall follow His glorious advent! For He shall come on the clouds as the Son of man, so Daniel foretold, and His angels shall come with Him. These are the words: 'I beheld till the thrones were set; and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool. His throne was like a fiery flame, His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The books were opened, and the judgment was set. I beheld then the voice of the great words which the horn speaks: and the beast was beat down, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. And the rest of the beasts were taken away from their dominion, and a period of life was given to the beasts until a season and time. I saw in the vision of the night, and, behold, one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven; and He came to the Ancient of days, and stood before Him. And they who stood by brought Him near; and there were given Him power and kingly honour, and all nations of the earth by their families, and all glory, serve Him (latreuousa). And His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not be taken away; and His kingdom shall not be destroyed. And my spirit was chilled within my frame, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and inquired the precise meaning of all these things. In answer he speaks to me, and showed me the judgment of the matters: These great beasts are four kingdoms, which shall perish from the earth, and shall not receive dominion for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I wished to know exactly about the fourth beast, which destroyed all [the others] and was very terrible, its teeth of iron, and its nails of brass; which devoured, made waste, and stamped the residue with its feet: also about the ten horns upon its head, and of the one which came up, by means of which three of the former fell. And that horn had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things; and its countenance excelled the rest. And I beheld that horn waging war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of days came; and He gave judgment for the saints of the Most High. And the time came, and the saints of the Most High possessed the kingdom. And it was told me concerning the fourth beast: There shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall prevail over all these kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall destroy and make it thoroughly waste. And the ten horns are ten kings that shall arise; and one shall arise after them; and he shall surpass the first in evil deeds, and he shall subdue three kings, and he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall overthrow the rest of the saints of the Most High, and shall expect to change the seasons and the times. And it shall be delivered into his hands for a time, and times, and half a time. And the judgment sat, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom, and the power, and the great places of the kingdoms under the heavens, were given to the holy people of the Most High, to reign in an everlasting kingdom: and all powers shall be subject to Him, and shall obey Him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was possessed with a very great astonishment, and my speech was changed in me; yet I kept the matter in my heart.' (Dialogue with Trypho,
Chapter 31. If Christ's power be now so great, how much greater at the second advent!; bold and italic emphasis ours) According to the Lord Jesus Christ God is the only Being who is to receive latreuo: ―Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‗All this I will give you,‘ he said, ‗if you will bow down and worship me.‘ Jesus said to him, ‗Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ―Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only (kai auto mono latreuseis).‖‘‖ Matthew 4:8-10 – cf. Luke 4:58 This means that the Son of Man must be a fully Divine Person otherwise he could not receive pelach/latreuo since that would be idolatry, e.g., rendering to a creature the worship and service due only to the Creator! As the following Evangelical scholars explain: ―… The book of Daniel contains a vision in which people of all nations, tribes, and languages ‗serve‘ someone who is ‗like a Son of Man‘ (Dan. 7:13 NASB) … In the Septuagint version of Daniel the word translated ‗serve‘ is latreuo, which is also used in the Rahlfs edition of the Septuagint and in other critical editions of the Greek Old Testament. In the Greek version of Daniel produced in the late second century A.D. by Theodotion, the word translated ‗serve‘ is douloo, a far more common Greek word that has a broader range of meanings. ―Whichever Greek translation one chooses to follow, the underlying Aramaic word (Daniel 2:4-7:28 was originally written in Aramaic, not Hebrew) is pelach, a word that is always used to refer to rendering religious service or performing religious rituals in honor of a deity. In other words, latreuo is an excellent Greek translation of pelach. That is why all extant ancient Greek versions of Daniel usually use latreuo elsewhere in Daniel to translate pelach (Dan. 3:12, 14, 18; 6:16, 20 [6:17, 21 in Greek]). In the early chapters of the book, Daniel and his Jewish friends had refused to ‗serve‘ the image of Nebuchadnezzar or to ‗serve‘ Darius, identifying themselves as those who ‗serve‘ only their God, the living God (3:12, 14, 17, 18, 28; 6:16, 20). In this setting, the vision of people from all nations ‗serving‘ the Son of Man presents a startling contrast. The ‗service‘ that Daniel and his friends refused to give to Nebuchadnezzar‘s image or to Darius, Daniel envisions all nations giving to the heavenly Son of Man. ―Daniel‘s reference to the Son of Man being ‗served‘ implies a divine status for the Son of Man, not merely because of the use of that one word, but because of the context in which it is used. The universal sovereignty attributed to the Son of Man is earlier attributed to Daniel‘s God by the Babylonian and Persian kings… This language of a kingdom that will not be destroyed and that will endure forever is then applied to the kingdom of the Son of Man… Within this larger context, the reference to all peoples ‗serving‘ the Son of Man is confirmed as an expression of religious devotion. The One whom you regard as Ruler of your entire universe for all time is by definition your God, and it would be the height of folly not to render devotion or service to him.‖ (Robert M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Part 1: The Devotion Revolution – Jesus Shares the Honors Due to God, Chapter 5. The Ultimate Reverence Package, pp. 67-69; bold emphasis ours)
And since Jesus claimed to be this very same Son of Man this means that he claimed to be God! In fact, according to the NT every creature worships Jesus in the same way that they worship God! ―And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: ‗You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.‘ Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‗Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’Then I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‗To him who sits on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!‘ The four living creatures said, ‗Amen, and the elders fell down and worshiped.‖ Revelation 5:8-14 The second problem with Zawadi‘s assertion is that it conveniently overlooks the reason the NT writings give for the Son being exalted by the Father and receiving authority from him. According to the inspired Scriptures Jesus assumed the status and position of a servant in order to perfectly fulfill the Father‘s will, part of which included dying on the cross on behalf of the sins of God‘s people: ―The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.‖ John 10:17-18 ―It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‗Lord, are you going to wash my feet?‘ Jesus replied, ‗You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.‘ ‗No,‘ said Peter, ‗you shall never wash my feet.‘ Jesus answered, ‗Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.‘ ‗Then, Lord,‘ Simon Peter replied, ‗not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!‘ Jesus answered, ‗A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.‘ For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‗Do you understand what I have done for you?‘ he asked them. You call me ―Teacher‖ and ―Lord,‖ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an
example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.‘‖ John 13:1-17 ―For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.‖ Luke 22:27-30 ―For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.‖ Mark 10:45 The reference to the coming of the Son of Man is an allusion to Christ‘s preexistence, i.e., Jesus came from some prior place in order to serve, a point brought out more clearly in the following passage. ―‗For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.‘ At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, ‗I am the bread that came down from heaven.‘ They said, ‗Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I came down from heaven”?‘ … ‗But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.‘ … Jesus said to them, ‗I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.‘‖ John 6:38-42, 51, 53-58 In light of Jesus‘ voluntary act of humbling himself to become a servant, the Father responded by exalting him to the highest place, to the status he had before he became flesh. In the words of the blessed and inspired Apostle Paul: ―Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though existing in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be exploited, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,‖ Philippians 2:5-9 This is further brought out by Jesus‘ own words: ―When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‗Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him
authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed … Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.‘‖ John 17:1-5, 24 Jesus asks that the Father glorify him – in fact to give him the very Divine glory he once shared with the Father before the world began – in return for having glorified the Father on earth by accomplishing his will. Hence, instead of exalting himself the Son waited for the Father to glorify him for having humbled himself in perfect obedience to his beloved Father. The Lord was simply practicing what he had preached to others: ―Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.‖ Matthew 23:12 – cf. Luke 14:11; 18:14 And what his disciples had taught the Churches: ―Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and he will exalt you.‖ James 4:10 ―Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you‖ 1 Peter 5:6-7 This explains why the Son of Man received his kingdom from the Ancient of Days since Daniel was seeing Christ in his post-resurrection exaltation where he went from being a Servant on earth to a King who now reigns from heaven. As far as Paul‘s comments in 1 Corinthians 15:26-28 are concerned the following author does an excellent job of bringing out the actual point of this blessed Apostle: ―Yet Paul could not allow himself to end with the idea of Christ handing over the kingdom to God. This would leave unanswered the question of what happens to Christ at that point, and could even imply that Christ hands over the kingdom and has no further involvement with God. But for Paul, Christ and God cannot be separated,214 and so he adds the statement that Christ will subject himself to God. By subjecting himself, Christ is returning to the source from which he came. Christ confirms in his subjection that his sphere of reality belongs within God’s sphere of reality—there is no separation between the two.215 He is, in a sense, returning home. And thus, God is found to be ‗all in all.‘ This is true not only because Christ finds his fullness in communion with God, but also because God cannot be all in all without Christ… ―In none of these passages is Paul‘s primary focus to define the relationship between God and Christ, although even within these apparently hierarchical texts Paul describes Christ as functioning in divine roles alongside God (15:25). Rather, Paul uses the relationship between God and Christ to illustrate further principles within the larger argument. The unity of God and Christ promotes unity among the church. God is the source of all things, including Christ;
Christ without God is not Christ, but equally, God without Christ is not ‘all in all.‘‖ (Suzanne Nicholson, Dynamic Oneness – The Significance and Flexibility of Paul’s One-God Language [Pickwick Publications An imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, OR: January 2010], 2. The Function and Coherence of Paul‘s Monotheistic Concepts—1 Corinthians 8:4–6, pp. 101-102; bold emphasis ours) 214. By this I do not mean to imply they are one person, for they clearly are distinct. Rather, I‘m arguing that Christ and God are unified in their will and purposes. They share in the divinity of the one God. 215. See also Bruce, who argues that this passage emphasizes the oneness of God: the kingdom of Christ merges into the kingdom of God, and in this way the promise that the Messiah‘s kingdom will know no end is fulfilled. Christ then subjects himself to God, ―but since the Son is the image and revelation of the Father, ‗Father and Son are really one in this activity‘‖ (Corinthians, 148). In the final statement, Bruce quotes from Cullmann, Christology of the New Testament, 293. That Nicholson's explanation is correct is easily proven by reading what the blessed and holy Apostle wrote in another inspired epistle: "and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age BUT ALSO IN THE ONE TO COME. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." Ephesians 1:19-23 The Lord Jesus, according to Paul, will continue to reign supreme over all creation in the age to come, meaning throughout eternity. The third difficulty with Zaatari‘s argument is that it once again presupposes unitarianism since it assumes that Jesus cannot be God if he receives authority from someone else. If unitarianism was true then this would be a valid criticism since a uni-personal God does not receive something from another since he is the one who gives all things to everyone.(2) However, why should we assume that this would also be true in the case that God is multiPersonal? Who is to say that a multi-Personal God is incapable giving and receiving within himself? In fact, neither Jesus nor the inspired authors of the Holy Bible saw any problems with Christ being fully God and with his receiving authority from the Father to rule, judge, save etc. Unlike Zaatari, God‘s prophets and apostles could see that a difference in role or function doesn‘t necessarily imply a difference in nature, i.e., just because the Father orders and sends the Son, or gives him authority, this doesn‘t mean that the Son is lesser than the Father in nature, essence or glory. According to the testimony of the inspired Scriptures, the Father and the Son (along with the eternal Spirit) are fully God and therefore coequal in essence, even though the Father appoints the Son to carry out specific tasks or roles.
The final problem that Zaatari faces is that all of these Biblical statements about the Messiah conflict with the teachings of Muhammad. Muhammad denied that Jesus rules forever and didn‘t believe that every creature would worship Jesus in the same way that they worship God. Since Muhammad contradicted these rather plain and explicit Biblical truths he is therefore a false prophet whom every honest seeker of truth must shun. This concludes the second part of our discussion. It is now time to move on to the third part of our rebuttal. Endnotes (1) Interestingly, Zechariah prophesied that Yahweh will actually descend upon the Mount of Olives with all his holy ones and that the Mount will literally split in half as a result of Yahweh‘s feet resting on it! ―Lo, a day shall come for Yahweh when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city. Then Yahweh shall go forth and fight against those nations, fighting as on a day of battle. That day HIS FEET shall rest upon the Mount of Olives, which is opposite Jerusalem to the east. The Mount of Olives shall be cleft in two from east to west by a very deep valley, and half of the mountain shall move to the north and half of it to the south. And the valley of Yahweh mountain shall be filled up when the valley of those two mountains reaches its edge; it shall be filled up as it was filled up by the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then Yahweh, my God, shall come, and all his holy ones with him. On that day there shall no longer be cold or frost.‖ Zechariah 14:1-6 NAB What makes this all the more amazing is that the New Testament teaches that it is Jesus who will descend upon the Mount of Olives with all his saints! ―When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, ‗Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.‟ Then they returned to Jerusalem FROM THE MOUNT CALLED OLIVET, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away.‖ Acts 1:9-12 NAB According to the men dressed in white (who were obviously angels) Jesus will return the same way he went into heaven, i.e., Christ will descend upon the Mount of Olives since this is the place from which he ascended into heaven. And: ―Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. (Amen.)‖ 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 NAB
This means that when Zechariah saw Yahweh‘s feet touch the Mount of Olives he was actually seeing Christ in his resurrected, glorified physical body returning to the earth from heaven! (2) This is why statements such as the following, Lo! We, only We, inherit the earth and all who are thereon, and unto Us they are returned. S. 19:40 Nay, but We shall record that which he saith and prolong for him a span of torment. And We shall inherit from him that whereof he spake, and he will come unto Us, alone (without his wealth and children). S. 19:79-80 Pose a problem for Zaatari‘s unitarian views since Allah is supposedly uni-personal (we say supposedly since the Islamic data shows otherwise). As such, how can a uni-personal God receive anything from anyone if he is supposed to be the Creator and Possessor of all things? In fact, Zaatari employed the same reasoning in a youtube video he produced to refute the Deity of Christ: ―Folks, God is the owner of everything; he doesn‘t inherit it he already owns it… Logically if Jesus was God he would have already owned since the beginning of the days. But as Hebrews says Jesus was the heir. A heir is not an owner, a heir is someone who inherits something. Therefore, Jesus is not God because God doesn‘t inherit his own creation. He already owns it from the start since he created it! How can I inherit something that I created? I own it, I don‘t inherit it, I made it so its mine; not for someone else to give to me. So this conclusively proves that Jesus is not God because he is heir; he‘s not the owner because only God is the owner! So quite frankly I don‘t know why Christians bring this verse up to prove that Jesus is God, because it proves that he is not God because he inherits everything; he doesn‘t own it! Thank you… And I repeat – a heir is someone who inherits something, he doesn‘t own it. God owns everything since he made it.‖ However, since it is his own god that inherits from others this means that Allah cannot be god according to Zaatari‘s own logic! For more on this issue and to read our response to Zaatari‘s desperate polemics against the Deity of Christ we recommend the following articles and rebuttals: http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zaatari_heir.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/christ_heir.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/father_glorifies_jesus.htm http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/allah_as_heir.htm http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_allah_inherits.htm Interestingly, not long after publishing our response to Zaatari‘s attack against the Deity of Christ he conveniently removed his youtube video!
The Messiah is God Indeed!
A Response to a Muslim Dawagandist Pt. 3 Sam Shamoun We now come to the final part of our rebuttal (1, 2). Zaatari ―addresses‖ my citation from Isaiah 52:13-15 where the Messianic Servant is highly exalted and in so doing completely distorts and ignores what I had actually said. He even manages to attack a straw man in the process! Indeed, the Messiah shall be exalted and shall be high, that's why he's the Messiah, that's why is he is a very special man! Now having said that, high and privileged as the Messiah is, he is not as high or as exalted to the level of God, because again, the Bible makes it clear that God had given these things to Jesus, and that Jesus is under God, and God not under Jesus. Zaatari‘s comments lead me to suspect that he didn‘t even bother to read what I actually wrote. I clearly demonstrated that Isaiah describes the Servant‘s exaltation in the same way that the prophet describes Yahweh‘s enthronement over all creation (cf. 52:13; 5:15-16; 6:1; 33:5; 57:15). In fact, Isaiah expressly says that Yahweh alone will be exalted with all others being humbled: ―The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD ALONE will be exalted in that day. The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, for all the towering mountains and all the high hills, for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, for every trading ship and every stately vessel. The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD ALONE will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear.‖ Isaiah 2:11-18 However, since the Servant is also exalted to the same heights of Yahweh and his throne this means that he shares in the unique sovereign rule of Yahweh over all creation: A. Yahweh‘s throne is high and lofty and he alone is exalted. B. The Servant shall be very high and lofty. C. Therefore, the Messianic Servant shares in Yahweh‘s unique rule and status. Noted Christian scholar Richard M. Bauckham does a wonderful job of explaining this. ―Isaiah 52:13 states, with emphasis, the exaltation of the Servant, presumably following the humiliation and death described in the following passage. There are two points to notice about it: (1) The words ‗exalted‘ and ‗lifted up‘ (‗my Servant shall be exalted and lifted up‘) occur also in Isaiah 6:1, introducing Isaiah‘s vision of God on his throne (where the throne is described as ‗exalted and lifted up‘), and in Isaiah 57:15, which describes God, dwelling in the heights of heaven, as himself ‗exalted and lifted up‘. The combination of the two Hebrew roots rum (‗to be high‘, ‗to be exalted‘) and nasa (‗to lift up‘) is rare in the Hebrew Bible, and the verbal coincidence between these three verses is striking. Modern Old Testament scholars think the two later passages, Isaiah 52:13 and 57:15, must be dependent on Isaiah 6:1… So, in the light of the connections with Isaiah 6:1 and 57:15, the
meaning of Isaiah 52:13 is that the Servant is exalted to the heavenly throne of God. This is why, in John 12:38-41, Isaiah 53 and 6 are brought together, and Isaiah is said to have seen Jesus‘ glory, that is, when he saw the glory of the Lord in his vision in chapter 6 of his prophecy. (2) If Isaiah 52:13 means the Servant was exalted to share the heavenly throne from which God rules the universe, then it is readily connected with Psalm 110:1, which was, as we have seen in section 2, the central Old Testament text for the early Christian inclusion of Jesus in the identity of God. Therefore two New Testament references to the exaltation of Jesus to the right hand of God combine allusion to Psalm 110:1 with allusion to Isaiah 52:13 (Acts 2:33; 5:31) and combines allusion to Psalm 110:1 with allusion to Isaiah 57:15 (Heb. 1:3). ―The Servant, in both his humiliation and his exaltation, is therefore not merely a human figure distinguished from God, but, in both his humiliation and his exaltation, belongs to the identity of the unique God. This God is not only the high and lofty one who reigns from his throne in the high and holy place; he also abases himself to the condition of the crushed and lowly (Isa 57:15). And when the nations acknowledge his unique deity and turn to him for salvation, it is the Servant, humiliated and now exalted to sovereignty on the divine throne, whom they acknowledge.‖ (Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel – God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity [William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI/ Cambridge, U.K. 2008], 3.2. Christological monotheism: The early Christian reading of Isaiah 40 - 55, pp. 36-37; bold emphasis ours) Zaatari then claims that Psalm 110:1 actually proves that the Messiah is not as highly exalted as the Lord since he is said to be seated at Jehovah‘s right hand. Zaatari takes this to mean that the Messiah is subject to and under the command of God, which proves that the Messiah is not exalted to God‘s level! In the first place, being seated at someone‘s right hand doesn‘t always signify subordination in rank or status just as the following example shows: ―When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king's mother, and she sat down at his right hand.‖ 1 Kings 2:19 Even though Solomon was king and had his mother seated on a throne at his right hand this didn‘t make her subordinate to him. In fact, Solomon was required by the Law of Yahweh to honor his mother by being subject and respectful to her (cf. Exodus 20:18; 21:15, 17; Leviticus 19:3; 20:9; Deuteronomy 21:18-21; 27:16). This explains why Solomon bowed before his mother since he was giving her the honor which the Law of God required all good and righteous children to render to their parents. Secondly, Zaatari is again presupposing unitarianism since he erroneously assumes that Jesus cannot receive anything or be subject to another if he is God. However, if God is indeed triPersonal then there is absolutely no problem with one Divine Person subjecting himself to or receiving something from another Divine Person within the Godhead. In fact, if Zaatari‘s logic were sound (which it is not) then the following Biblical citation proves that Jesus was less human then Mary his mother and Joseph his adoptive father since he willfully subjected himself to both of them:
―And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.‖ Luke 2:51 Zaatari should have no problem seeing the problem with this assertion since Jesus‘ subjection to his parents has no bearing on the fact that he was a true flesh and blood human being. In light of this why should Jesus‘ subjection to the Father affect his absolute Deity if his subjection to his earthly guardians does absolutely nothing to undermine his true humanity? Thirdly, Zaatari also commits a categorical fallacy by confusing rank and function with essence and nature. Just because someone receives something from someone or is subject to another doesn‘t make that individual inferior in essence or value. For instance, just because Solomon bowed to his mother and was subordinate to her this didn‘t make him any less human than her. Or just because Jesus subjected himself to Mary and Joseph this doesn‘t mean that he was any less human than they were. This simply shows that they are distinct persons with different roles and functions. In a similar manner, Jesus receiving certain things or being subject to the Father doesn‘t make him any less Divine than the Father. It simply highlights the different roles and functions that the Father and the Son have or assume in relation to one another. Fourthly, the Messiah isn‘t merely sitting at God‘s right hand but is actually sitting on the very same heavenly throne of God. Nor is he simply sitting on God‘s own throne doing nothing but is actually ruling creation from there: ―and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, FAR ABOVE ALL RULE AND AUTHORITY, POWER AND DOMINION, AND EVERY TITLE that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.‖ Ephesians 1:19-23 "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority... Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." Colossians 2:9-10, 3:1 ―Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.‖ Hebrews 8:1-2 ―looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.‖ Hebrews 12:2 "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him." 1 Peter 3:21-22
―Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.‖ Revelation 5:6 ―For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."Revelation 7:17 ―A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God AND TO HIS THRONE.‖ Revelation 12:1-5 ―Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God AND OF the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God AND OF the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.‖ Revelation 22:1-3 This explains why God‘s kingdom is also called the kingdom of Christ: ―For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.‖ Ephesians 5:5 ―Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‗The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord AND OF His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.‘‖ Revelation 11:15 By stating that the Messiah rules over all creation from God‘s very own heavenly throne the Holy Bible is clearly placing Jesus within God‘s own unique Divine identity as Ruler over all things! As Bauckham puts it, 5.3. Divine sovereignty over all things That it is on God‘s own heavenly throne itself, the throne of glory, that Jesus sits beside God is explicit in some of the texts (Heb. 8:1; 12:2; Rev. 3:21; 5:6; 7:17; 22:3) and should probably be assumed for all. Partly with the exegetical help of Psalm 8:6, this participation in God‘s cosmic rule is frequently expressed by the formulae ‗all things‘ or ‗heaven and earth‘ (or fuller cosmic formulae) or, for emphasis, both. This language, constantly used of God‘s relationship with his creation in Second Temple Jewish texts, is significant because IT IS THE WAY THAT JEWISH MONOTHEISM DISTINGUISHES GOD FROM ALL OTHER REALITY (‘all things’), AS CREATOR AND RULER OF ALL. By including Jesus in the full cosmic scope of God’s sovereignty, New Testament terminology places Jesus CLEARLY ON THE DIVINE SIDE OF THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN GOD
AND ‘ALL THINGS.‘ While Daniel 7:14 and Psalm 2:8 provided the basis for thinking of a universal rule on earth of the Messiah (Sib. Or. 5:416; 1 En. 62:6), it is the cosmic scope of Christ‘s sovereignty which places it in that unique category which his enthronement on the divine throne in the highest heaven symbolizes. OF NO PRINCIPAL ANGEL OR EXALTED HUMAN IN SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH TEXTS IS IT SAID THAT HAS AUTHORITY OVER ALL THINGS OR OVER HEAVEN AND EARTH. Another way in which the fully cosmic rule of the exalted Christ is stressed is by reference to the subjection of all the heavenly powers to him. The texts portray the submission both of the rebellious angelic powers (1 Cor. 15:24-28; Ascen. Isa. 11:23) and of the obedient ones (Eph. 1:20-21; 1 Pet. 3:22; Ascen. Isa. 11:24-32; cf. Rev. 5:11-14; Ep. Apos. 3). It is noteworthy that specific ranks of angels are those in high authority in the heavens: ‗principalities‘ (archai: 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21), ‗authorities‘ (exousiai: 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; 1 Pet. 3:22), ‗powers‘ (dunameis: Eph. 1:21; 1 Peter 3:22) and ‗dominions‘ (kuriotetes: Eph. 1:21). (Ibid., pp. 176-177; bold and capital emphasis ours) The following Evangelical scholars also help us to better understand just how truly astonishing Jesus' heavenly enthronement at the Father's right side is: ―A careful examination of Psalm 110:1, and Jesus‘ application of it (in conjunction with Daniel 7:13) to himself, reveals how remarkable Jesus‘ claim was and why it seemed to the Sanhedrin to be blasphemous. It was one thing to enter God‘s presence and yet another to sit in it. But to sit at God’s right side was another matter altogether. In the religious culture and milieu of Jesus’ day, to claim to sit at God’s right hand was tantamount to claiming to equality with God … ―Jesus, then, was claiming the right to go directly into God‘s ‗throne room‘ and sit at his side. The temerity of such a claim for any mere human would be astonishing to the Jews of Jesus‘ day. The priests of the Sanhedrin, to whom Jesus made this claim, could not, as a rule, even go into the inner sanctum of the temple, known as the Holy of Holies. Many of them probably had never been inside it. The Holy of Holies could be entered only on a specific day in specific ways by one specific person. Failure to follow the instructions exactly resulted in death. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, carrying the blood of a bull as offering for personal purification and the blood of a ram as offering for atonement for the people. This was followed by a change of garments and ritual washings (Lev. 16). In other words, one entered into God‘s presence in the temple cautiously. ―If entrance requirements to the earthly Holy of Holies were so strict, we can imagine what the Sanhedrin priests would have thought about Jesus claiming to have the right to enter God‘s heavenly presence. After all, the earthly temple was, according to Josephus, viewed as a model of the heavenly one. Worse still, though, Jesus was claiming that he was going to enter permanently into the heavenly Holy of Holies and sit down. Jesus might as well have claimed that he owned the place! Indeed, this is what his statement amounted to. As Darrel Bock has put it, Jesus‘ claim ‗would be worse, in the leadership‘s view, than claiming the right to be able to walk into the Holy of Holies in the temple and live there!‘‖ (Robert M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Part 5: the Best Seat In The House: Jesus Shares the Seat of God‘s Throne, Chapter 20. God‘s Right-Hand Man, pp. 244-245; bold emphasis ours)
Zaatari focuses on the fact that Isaiah 52:13 calls the Messiah Yahweh‘s Servant and once again erroneously thinks that this somehow undermines the Deity of the Messiah. However, this ignores the explicit statements from Isaiah that the Servant is actually the Mighty God who comes to be born as a child in order to die as an atoning sacrifice for sins as a way of bringing salvation to all the nations, and to also reign on David‘s throne forever (cf. 9:6-7; 11:1-10; 16:5; 42:1-9; 49:1-10; 52:13-15). In fact, Isaiah‘s teaching perfectly comports with the NT since the inspired Christian Greek Scriptures claim that Jesus is God who assumed the role of a servant by becoming man in order to die on the cross: ―just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.‖ Matthew 20:28 ―For, let this mind be in you that [is] also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought [it] not robbery to be equal to God, but did empty himself, the form of a servant having taken, in the likeness of men having been made, and in fashion having been found as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death -- death even of a cross, wherefore, also, God did highly exalt him, and gave to him a name that [is] above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee may bow -- of heavenlies, and earthlies, and what are under the earth -- and every tongue may confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.‖ Philippians 2:5-11 Young‘s Literal Translation It is apparent that Paul here is echoing the language found in Isaiah, particularly 52:13 and 53:12: ―See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.‖ ―Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his soul/life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah‘s statement that the Servant poured out his life unto death finds its parallel in Paul‘s claim that Jesus emptied himself, i.e., to pour out something is to empty it. Paul‘s reference to Jesus taking the form of a servant and to God highly exalting him further connects this ancient Christian hymn with Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Thus, Jesus is the Mighty God who became a Servant by volunteering to be born as a human being so as to die on the cross in order to atone for the sins of God‘s people. After perfectly accomplishing God‘s will Jesus was highly exalted over the entire creation, going from the status of a humble servant to his current position as the sovereign Lord of all. Zaatari then quotes the Quran and ahadith to prove that the false religion of Islam also affirms the honorable position of the Messiah! To show the utter futility of this assertion we will simply summarize the Holy Bible‘s teaching regarding the Messiah‘s exalted status.
1. The Messiah is the Mighty God and Yahweh our Righteousness whose origins are from eternity itself. 2. The Messiah sits enthroned on God‘s own throne over all creation forever. 3. The Messiah receives the worship which God alone is supposed to receive. Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the Islamic sources realizes that Islam DOES NOT affirm any of these inspired Biblical truths and therefore does not give the Messiah the honor which God‘s true Word says he deserves. The fact is that the false prophet Muhammad refused to give Christ the same honor that God deserves even though Jesus said that it was God‘s express will that everyone honors his Son in the same exact way that they honor the Father: ―Moreover, the Father judges no one but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son JUST AS they honor the Father. He does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.‖ John 5:22-23 As if Zaatari couldn‘t make it any worse for his case he concludes his ―rebuttal‖ with a prayer, an invocation to Jesus to return! Jesus is the Messiah, the Messiah is not God, and therefore Jesus is not God, COME JESUS COME, we await your arrival with the Mahdi to establish the kingdom of justice and truth, Amen! (Capital and italic emphasis ours) In obvious mockery of the way I conclude many of my articles and rebuttals Zaatari invokes Jesus and requests that he come back. The problem with Zaatari‘s invocation is that it is directed to someone whom Zaatari claims is not God despite the fact that Islam teaches that all acts of worship must be directed to Allah alone: Say (O Muhammad): "Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for God, the Lord of the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists). S. 6:162 Hilali-Khan And that the mosques are Allah's, therefore call not upon any one with Allah: And when the slave of Allah stood up in prayer to Him, they crowded on him, almost stifling. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): I pray unto Allah only, and ascribe unto Him no partner. S. 72:18-19 This includes invocations which are called dua in Arabic: And invoke not besides God, any that will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers). S. 10:106 Hilali-Khan And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides God, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them? S. 46:5 Hilali-Khan The hadiths concur:
Narrated An-Nu'man ibn Bashir: The Prophet said: Supplication (du'a') is itself the worship. (He then recited:) "And your Lord said: Call on Me, I will answer you" (xI.60). (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 8, Number 1474) Narrated Anas ibn Malik Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Supplication is the pith of worship." Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith Number 697; ALIM CD-Rom Version) Zaatari himself agrees since this is what he writes, Ibn Abbas has been reported to have said: The Messenger of Allah used to teach us tashahhud just as he used to teach us a Sura of the Qur'an, and he would say: ALL services rendered by words, ACTS OF WORSHIP, and all good things are due to Allah The very first part of the tashahhud conclusively refutes Shamoun. Notice what we are commanded to say, we are commanded to say that ALL ACTS OF WORSHIP belong to Allah! No where does the text say that acts of worship belong to Allah AND the prophet Muhammad? (Muslims Pray to the Prophet Muhammad?) Since Zaatari doesn‘t believe that Jesus is God this means he is guilty of worshiping a creature like the Creator and has committed a blatant act of shirk! This is what happens when individuals decide to mock the living God… God makes them look like the fools that they truly are. Now the reason why I invoke Jesus is precisely because I believe that he is God and therefore worthy of all worship and praise. In conclusion, our refutation to Zaatari‘s smokescreens conclusively demonstrated that Muslims do face major problems with the teachings of their false prophet since Muhammad taught that Jesus is the Messiah while denying the Messiah‘s Divine nature. As such, Muhammad stands condemned by the true God according to the revelation found in his true Word, the Holy Bible, since he perverted the truth about the Messiah and misled countless numbers of individuals by preaching a false gospel. ―But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!‖ Galatians 1:8-9 ―I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough… For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan
himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.‖ 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, 13-15 ―Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:22-23 ―Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.‖ 2 John 1:7-11 Amen! Come, Lord Jesus come! You are the eternal Son of God and the Divine Messiah who was to come. We pray that by your grace we will continue to love and worship you forever, O risen Lord of glory! Amen.