Refuting One Dawgandists desperate attempts of denying the obvious
Muslim neophyte Sami Zaatari thinks he has refuted (*) my article on the Trinitarian implications of Isaiah 6 (*)
Zaataris Smoke and Mirrors Exposing the tricks of one Islams finest magicians
However, what this "rebuttal" demonstrates is that Zaatari has become a master of straw man arguments, evasion tactics and cheap debate tricks. For instance, Zaatari claims:
The Trinitarian argues that since the seraphim's said Holy three times, this must refer to a triune God. For starters this is not an argument, nor proof of anything. The only reason why a Trinitarian believes it implies something is because he believes God is made up of three persons! So since the Trinitarian already has a preconceived idea of God, he has already has made his mind up and has read into the text. He reads the text, and he sees what he wants to see, the text says holy three times, and since he believes in three, he assumes that refers to three Lords.
And a little later he says:
So therefore the entire basis of the Trinitarian falls apart from this fact, and the Trinitarian must admit it. The Trinitarian is the one who made the claim that since the lord is called Holy three times, this refers to three different persons. If this was true then logically it should continue and say lords in the plural, rather it says lord, in the singular, referring to ONE person, not THREE persons.
That is not the Trinitarian argument, and this would indeed be a weak point if we were resting our case on the simple fact that the seraphs cried out holy three times. In fact, we challenge Zaatari to quote the article where we said "that since the seraphim's said Holy three times, this MUST refer to a triune God."
Our point was that it is evident from reading the entirety of what Isaiah wrote, and interpreting it in light of the overall teachings of the Holy Scriptures, that the reason why the seraphs cried out thrice holy is because they were worshiping and glorifying the Triune God. It is apparent that Zaatari knows that he is incapable of refuting our arguments which explains why he decided to distort our position in order to attack a straw man.
Isaiah and Yahwehs Uni-Plurality
Seeing that Zaatari claims to be responding to my article one would think that he would at least address the citations I presented from Isaiah proving that this blessed prophet truly believed that Yahweh his God is Tri-Personal.
For example, in the article we sourced the following text to prove that the inspired prophet believed in the absolute Deity of the Messiah:
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." Isaiah 9:6-7
Isaiah says that a child will be born who is none other than the Mighty God coming to rule on Davids throne forever! What makes this so amazing is that Isaiah takes every one of these titles and uses them for the one true God Yahweh:
"In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God." Isaiah 10:20-21
"O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth." Isaiah 25:1 NKJV
"All this also comes from the LORD Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom." Isaiah 28:29
"For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isaiah 57:15 NKJV
"But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name." Isaiah 63:16
By applying every one of the Messianic titles of Isaiah 9:6 to the one true God Yahweh, the prophet leaves absolutely no doubt that he was identifying the birth of the child as the human appearance, the very incarnation of Yahweh God Almighty.(1)
Isaiah also believed that the Messianic King would bear the sins of the people by dying as a sacrifice to God:
"See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 52:13-15, 53:1-12
There are two indications that this Servant is the Messiah. First, the Servant will be highly exalted and lifted up, implying that God will enthrone him next to himself since this is the same language that Isaiah uses for Yahwehs exaltation:
"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) 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 2:11-12, 17-18
Interestingly, the Quran itself teaches that Allah exalted Jesus to himself:
And (remember) when Allah said: "O 'Iesa (Jesus)! I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you [of the forged statement that 'Iesa (Jesus) is Allah's son] of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you (Monotheists, who worship none but Allah) superior to those who disbelieve till the Day of Resurrection. Then you will return to Me and I will judge between you in the matters in which you used to dispute." S. 3:55 Hilal-Khan
But Allah raised him ['Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise. S. 4:158 Hilali-Khan
Seeing that Isaiah has already mentioned that the Messiah rules forever as the Mighty God this seems to strongly support that he is this very Servant who is exalted with Yahweh.
Second, the Servant is said to come out of a dry root in 53:2, a term used by Isaiah elsewhere in reference to the Branch from Jesse, the father of David:
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD - and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea." Isaiah 11:1-4, 10
The Branch and Root of Jesse is the One who rules on Davids throne, i.e. the Messiah, indicating that the Root of Isaiah 53:2 is none other than the Messianic Ruler.
And just in case Sami tries to squirm his way out of this and deny that Isaiah 9:6-7 or Isaiah 53 are Messianic texts by appealing to orthodox Jews to prove that they are not, here are a couple of rabbinic quotes for good measure:
The prophet saith to the house of David, A child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and he has taken the law upon himself to keep it, and his name has been called from of old, Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, He who lives forever, the Anointed One (or Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us. (The Targum of Isaiah, J.F. Stenning, Editor and Translator [Oxford: Clarendon], p. 32; bold emphasis ours)
Another explanation: He said to him: I have yet to raise up the Messiah of whom it is written, For a child is born to us (Isa. IX, 5). (Midrash Rabbah Deuteronomy, Rabbi H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, Editors; Rev. Dr. J. Rabbinowitz, Translator [London: Soncino Press], I.20, p. 20)
Behold my servant. Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong: as the house of Israel looked to him through many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peopled, and their complexion beyond the sons of men. (Targum Jonathan, 2nd Century A.D.)
The Messiah--what is his name? The rabbis say, the leprous one; those of the house of Rabbi say, the sick one, as it is said, "Surely he hath borne our sickness." (The Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b, 500 A.D.)
He is speaking of King Messiah: "Come hither" draw near to the throne "and dip thy morsel in the vinegar," this refers to the chastisements, as it is said, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities." (Ruth 2:14 commentary from The Midrash Rabbah, 6th Century A.D.)
Source: 1, 2
All of this affirms that Isaiah believed that, a) God could become a man without ceasing to be fully Divine, b) that the Christ (who is Jesus) is God Almighty since the only One who will sit on Davids throne forever is none other than the Messiah, and c) that the One who sits enthroned is multi-Personal.
Discussing the Reason why the Bible Writers often use the singular in reference to God
Zaatari continues to expose his gross misunderstanding of the doctrine of the blessed and glorious Trinity. He asserts that since the entire passage of Isaiah 6 uses the singular, i.e. LORD, King, throne, his etc., this somehow disproves the Trinity and establishes unitarianism. Talk about someone being so desperate and badly distorting or grossly misunderstanding Trinitarianism!
Interestingly, Zaatari provides the refutation for his own argument when he says that,
Rather everything he is saying is referring to a singular BEING, Isaiah saw the Lord, and the Lord was sitting on the throne. (Emphasis ours)
Precisely, Zaatari! We couldnt have said it any better! The reason why the Biblical writers use singular nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, participles etc. is to denote the fact that Yahweh is a singular Being. Yet Zaatari needs to stop begging the question and start proving that Yahwehs eternal Being precludes the possibility of his also existing as a multiplicity of Divine Persons.
After all, the Bible writers do use the singular in specific contexts where they have a plural subject in view. Note, for instance, the following examples:
"And he blessed Joseph and said, The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, THE ANGEL who has redeemed me from all evil, BLESS the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." Genesis 48:15-16
Here, the verb for bless is singular even though Jacob refers or prays to two subjects, specifically God and the Angel!
The Apostles of the risen Lord Jesus do something similar:
"Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear (kateuthunai) the way for us to come to you." 1 Thessalonians 3:11
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved (ho agapesas) us and by HIS grace gave (dous) us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage (parakalesai) your hearts and strengthen (sterixai) you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Although Paul refers to both the Father and the Son as loving, gracing, encouraging etc. he uses singular verbs all throughout here which is simply his way of describing their actions as essentially being one!
"There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever." Revelation 22:5
Compare this with the following:
"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty AND THE LAMB are its TEMPLE. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb IS ITS LAMP. The nations will walk by ITS LIGHT, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it." Revelation 21:22-24
John shows here that both the Father and the Son are the one Temple and glorious Light of the new creation. Thus, the Lord God who gives light to the new creation is actually the Father and the Son together!
John further writes:
"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. They will see HIS face, and HIS name will be on their foreheads." Revelation 22:1-4
In the above citation John claims that the believers will see "HIS" face, have "HIS" name on their foreheads, and will serve "HIM." Yet John states elsewhere in his inspired Book that the glorified believers will have the name of both the Father and the Son, and that they both have servants who serve them:
"To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze By her teaching she misleads MY servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols." Revelation 2:18, 20b
"Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him MY new name." Revelation 3:12
"Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had HIS name and HIS FATHER'S name written on their foreheads These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God AND the Lamb." Revelation 14:1, 4
"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God AND OF Christ and will reign with HIM for a thousand years." Revelation 20:4-6
"The angel said to me, These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent HIS angel to show HIS servants the things that must soon take place. " Revelation 22:6, 16
Finally, notice that both God and the Lamb share one Divine throne and that the river of the water of life flows from it, an allusion to the Holy Spirit issuing forth from the Father and the Son to sustain the new creation. We know that this refers to Gods Holy Spirit since in the Gospel of John we are told that:
"On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified." John 7:37-39
We, therefore, have a depiction of the Triune God together as they manifest their glory in the new heavens and earth!
What makes this all the more interesting is that earlier in the book John experiences a vision where, like Isaiah before him, he sees the heavenly throne room and the four living creatures whom Isaiah identified as the seraphim crying out "Holy, holy, holy."
But here is the amazing part about all of this. John sees the Lord Jesus standing in the midst of the throne, being worshiped by the entire creation, and the Holy Spirit whom he identifies as the Seven Spirits of God right there before the throne!
"After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven Spirits (or sevenfold Spirit) of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." Revelation 4:1-11
"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 (or sevenfold Spirit) of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 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 5:6-14
"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, AND TO the Lamb. All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen! Then one of the elders asked me, These in white robeswho are they, and where did they come from? I answered, Sir, you know. And he said, These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. 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 7:9-17
Unlike the living creatures and the elders who are encircling the throne the Lord Jesus actually stands in the center of, as well as sits on, the Divine throne!
"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne." Revelation 3:21
"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 12:5
Johns vision simply provides further support for our exegesis concerning Isaiah seeing the glory of the Triune God in his vision, which accounts for why the seraphs cried out holy three times, one for each specific member of the Godhead.
Biblical uses of the Plural in reference to the Deity
Moreover, Zaataris comments further imply that if Yahweh is a uni-plurality then the plural would have been used, i.e. Lords, thrones, their etc. In fact he actually says this in his "rebuttal." If this is the case then what does Zaatari do with the following examples where the plural is used in reference to Yahweh?
"and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel, because there God (Elohim) had revealed himself (nigluw) to him when he fled from his brother." Genesis 35:7
The verb which modifies God (Elohim) is nigluw (revealed) and is the plural of gla, and should thus be translated as, "Gods, They revealed themselves to him."
It shouldnt surprise the readers that Jacob could use such plurals for God since he was aware that the God who was revealing himself to him was/is multi-Personal. After all, Jacob knew that Yahweh had an Angel who was also God, just as we saw above and further see from the following text:
"In the breeding season of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, Jacob, and I said, Here I am! And he said, Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred." Genesis 31:10-13
Here is another example of the use of the plural in reference to Yahweh:
"For your Maker (`Osayik) is your Husband (bo`Şlayik), the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called." Isaiah 54:5
The word `Osayik is the plural participle of asa and bo`Şlayik is the plural noun form of baal, and literally means, "For your Makers are your Husbands."
Moreover, what will he do with Daniel speaking of thrones, plural, one upon which the Ancient of Days sits?
"As I looked, THRONES were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened." Daniel 7:9-10
Daniel then shows us who the other person is that occupies one of these thrones:
"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 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
Amazingly, the Son of Mans rule is described in the very same way that Daniel refers to the reign of the Ancient of Days:
"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 and obey him." Daniel 7:27
And according to the NT Jesus Christ is the Son of Man who rules forever and is worshiped by all creation:
" Again the high priest asked him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One? I am," said Jesus. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Mark 14:61b-62
"But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:30-33
"and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:11
Now Zaatari may get real desperate and claim that there is a contradiction in the Bible since in certain places we are told that the Father and the Son share one throne, whereas Daniel depicts them as sitting on separate thrones.
Just in case he does we simply need to reiterate the point that the Biblical description of God and Christ sitting on a single throne is intended to convey the notion that they both share the same rule over the entire creation, and that the kingdom belongs to both of them equally:
"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person - such a man is an idolater - has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ AND OF God." Ephesians 5:5
"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord AND OF his Christ, and HE will reign for ever and ever." Revelation 11:15
"Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down." Revelation 12:10
Yet when the Holy Scriptures speak of two distinct seats, e.g. one for the Father and the other for the Son, this is to denote the fact that they are two distinct Persons, precisely what Trinitarianism teaches.
In light of the foregoing will Zaatari now admit that the inspired Scriptures do teach that God is a uni-plurality, or will he find other explanations to squirm his way out of admitting that the Holy Bible confirms this revealed truth?
Even though we can provide other passages where the plural is used these examples will have to suffice for now. For more on the use of the plural we recommend the following articles: 1, 2
And for a more thorough discussion concerning Jesus enthronement we suggest reading the following articles: 1, 2
The Holy Bible and the use of the Royal Plural
Zaatari then appeals to the majestic plural, otherwise known as the royal plural or the plural of majesty. In so doing he does nothing more than to commit an anachronistic or chronological fallacy by reading back into an ancient text certain linguistic features which did not exist at the time.
Moreover, Zaatari shows that he has no clue what a royal plural is since this expression actually presupposes that the person in question is speaking on behalf of a larger group, and not just for himself!
Thus, even if this were a case of a royal plural this would simply reinforce my point that Yahweh is speaking on behalf of others, specifically on behalf of the entire Godhead.
For a thorough discussion of this point we recommend the following articles and rebuttals: 1, 2
Yahweh and his heavenly council
Zaatari brings up another possibility, namely, that Yahweh was speaking of both himself and the seraphim that Isaiah also saw in the vision.
Here, Zaatari may have a point since there are other places where Yahweh addresses his heavenly council, such as the following:
"Micaiah continued, Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, "Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?" One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, "I will entice him." "By what means?" the LORD asked. "I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets," he said. "You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. "Go and do it." So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you." 1 Kings 22:19-23
But with that said this still wouldnt refute the fact that Yahweh would also be speaking on behalf of the entire Godhead. In other words, Isaiah would be seeing the individual members of the Godhead speaking collectively as Yahweh to the host of heaven since, as we documented in our paper, the prophet was aware that his God is Tri-Personal.
Or, if one assumes that Isaiah saw one specific Divine member of Yahweh here, perhaps Christ, this still doesnt negate the fact that that Person would obviously be speaking for the other Divine Persons of the Godhead as well, not just for himself.(2)
So even if the plural of Isaiah 6 referred to Yahweh and the seraphim this wouldnt mean that the Yahweh who was speaking here is uni-personal, or that he wasnt speaking in reference to the entire Godhead along with the heavenly host, since all the evidence from Isaiah (as well as the rest of the inspired Books) conclusively shows that Gods true prophets and messengers knew that their God is multi-Personal.
I conclude with Zaataris own words. Isaiah chapter 6 does not teach that God is a uni-personal Being, and is therefore a great chapter refuting the unitarian position. Muslim neophytes like Zaatari need to do better, and try harder, or should just accept the truth that neither the Holy Bible, Gods true Word, nor the Quran, Zaataris false scripture, teaches unitarianism.
And the Triune God does indeed know best!
Zaatari produced a "reply" to my response concerning Isaiah 6 and the Trinity (*).
There isnt really much to rebut since he tries to brush aside the great bulk of my comments as being irrelevant to the discussion at hand since they come from other books than Isaiah. Zaatari continues to expose his inability to grasp and comprehend the beliefs of others by once again claiming that Isaiahs use of singular nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, participles etc. somehow undermines the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Yet this simply demonstrates why Zaatari needs to retire from doing apologetics and find another line of work since he is constantly embarrassing himself by displaying such ignorance.
Zaatari claims that his response wasnt directed specifically to rebutting me, but was intended to be a refutation to Trinitarians in general, despite the fact that he specifically links to my article! It seems obvious that Zaatari is simply trying to get out of the hole that he dug for himself since he could see from my rebuttal that he is in way over his head and had no business addressing my article on Isaiah 6.
Zaatari tries to further save face by defending his contention that I somehow claimed that Isaiah 6:3 proves the Trinity all by itself:
Shamoun challenges me, therefore I will be more than happy to oblige, this is what the Trinitarian heretic wrote:
It is our contention that the reason why God is called thrice holy and uses the plural pronoun is because the prophet Isaiah, as well as the rest of the biblical writers, believed that God is a Triune entity
So as you can see, the missionary by his own words wrote that he believes that God is called holy three times because the writer of Isaiah believed that God is a Triune entity, meaning thee persons! Therefore it seems the missionary must pay attention to what he writes in the future, off course the missionary will now squirm and make an excuse and claim we are attacking straw man and he meant something else, yet you can read what he said.
Now here is the context of my statement in order to allow the readers to see for themselves how Zaatari is simply trying to avoid admitting that he was mistaken since he realizes that I exposed him for distorting my argument:
It is our contention that the reason why God is called thrice holy and uses the plural pronoun is because the prophet Isaiah, as well as the rest of the biblical writers, believed that God is a Triune entity. In other words, books such as Isaiah help us to see clearly that the reason Yahweh used the plural pronoun is in order to help his people know that he exists as a uniplurality, that he is a multi-Personal Being.
For instance, Isaiah knew that God and his Spirit are the Ones who commission and empower prophets and messengers:
As my above comments clearly show, I wasnt saying that Isaiah 6:3 absolutely proves that God is a Trinity. Rather, I emphatically stated that the evidence furnished from the book of Isaiah indicates that the reason why the seraphim cried out holy three times is because God is Triune in nature.
He then challenges me to prove from Isaiah 6 that God is a Trinity by showing where this particular text uses the plural. Since Zaatari didnt get it the first two times let me try to assist him once again in order to leave him without any excuse whatsoever for being so Biblically illiterate.
Do the seraphim shout that Yahweh is thrice holy? Yes, of course.
When we study this in light of the overall context of the book of Isaiah does this bear any significance on the fact that God is Triune? Again, of course it does since Isaiah believed that there are three distinct Persons who are God, namely the Father, the Angel of his Presence, and the Holy Spirit. For the details please consult our initial response to Zaatari as well as our article on Isaiah 6.
Did we further document that this Angel is the same Person as the child who was born to rule on Davids throne, the One identified as the Mighty God? Yes we did.
Did we also establish the fact that this child is the Messiah? More than once (*).
Moreover, does Isaiah use the plural in another passage? He sure does:
"For your Makers (`Osayik) are your Husbands (bo`Şlayik), the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called." Isaiah 54:5
We had already noted the fact that Osayik is the plural participle of asa and bo`Şlayik is the plural noun form of baal. Now if were to apply Zaataris logic here wouldnt this prove that Isaiah clearly believed that Yahweh is multi-Personal seeing that he uses the plural? If Zaatari is to be consistent then the answer must be yes.
Hopefully, Zaatari will finally get it.
We now turn to Zaataris attempt of addressing Pauls use of the singular in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17:
According to Christians we are saved by the grace of Jesus, who supposedly died for our sins, hence the text can't be referring to the Father but is specifically referring to Jesus ALONE which is why we see singular words being used!
Talk about a blatant distortion of what Christians believe! Yes, it is true that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus, but it is equally true that we are also saved by the grace of the Father without this implying that the Father died on the cross. After all, it was the grace of the Father which sent forth the Son to die for our sins, and it was the grace or favor of the Son which allowed him to accept this fate on our behalf:
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:14, 16-17
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." John 3:16-18
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Fatherand I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my lifeonly 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 10:11, 14-18
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillmentto bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:3-12
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressionsit is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:1-9
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1-2
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." Titus 2:11-14
" To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." Revelation 1:5b-6
Zaatari continues to expose his ignorance:
If Shamoun wants to contend that we are saved by BOTH the grace of Jesus and the Father, then I can contend likewise, and I can contend that the passages are only referring to the Father, since that is one gets from the reading:
16May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Yet he conveniently overlooks that, a) Paul refers to both the Father and the Son which establishes that he has two Persons in view, both of whom are equally responsible for loving, gracing and encouraging believers, and that b) I also cited the following text:
"Now may our God and Father himself AND our Lord Jesus clear (kateuthunai) the way for us to come to you." 1 Thessalonians 3:11
Since Jesus Christ is mentioned after the Father we would be forced to argue, much like Zaatari erroneously does for 2 Thessalonians, that the singular can only be referring to him, e.g. Christ is the One who opens the way for believers, which is clearly a Divine function. Now anyone with a little bit of knowledge of the Greek language can see that this is not the case since Paul includes the Father along with the Son in his prayer that a way be made open for him and his companions to reach the Thessalonians.
Pauls point in these passages is that the Father and the Son are both fully responsible for all the blessings, protection and privileges that the believers receive. Nor are these the only texts where Paul invokes both the Father and the Son for blessings upon believers:
"To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 1:7 (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3)
"Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 6:23
At other times the Apostle refers only to Christ:
"then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." Romans 16:20
"The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen." 1 Corinthians 16:23-24
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen." Galatians 6:18 (cf. Philippians 4:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; Philemon 1:25)
There is one place where he even prays to all three Divine Persons!
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ AND the love of God AND the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Corinthians 13:14
Paul wasnt the only one:
"Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love." 2 John 1:3
"John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you FROM him who is, and who was, and who is to come, AND FROM the seven Spirits before his throne, AND FROM Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth " Revelation 1:4-5a
"The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen." Revelation 22:21
As if he couldnt get anymore desperate Zawadi commits the fallacy of false dilemma for falsely assuming that Pauls use of the singular somehow proves that he was endorsing modalism, e.g. that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one Person!
Even though Pauls use of the singular does establish that the Father and the Son are one in some sense this doesnt mean that it is in terms of their Person. The unity that Paul envisions between the Father and the Son is in respect to their nature and ability, not in relation to their Person, since the Apostle clearly goes out of his way to show that the Son IS NOT the Father, just as the following texts demonstrate:
"For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us allhow will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who diedmore than that, who was raised to lifeis at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Romans 8:3, 26-27, 31-34
"But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, Abba, Father." Galatians 4:4-6
God sent his Son and the Spirit of His Son, not himself, and the Son and the Spirit intercede before the Father, all of which presupposes their personal distinctions. This clearly proves that their unity is in terms of their nature and Being.
As renowned NT and Evangelical scholar, Murray J. Harris, noted:
"At the beginning of each of Paul's letters is a salutation that ends with a standardized formula: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ' (1 Cor. 1:3 and elsewhere). The apostle is not saying that there are two distinct sources of grace and peace, one divine and one human; significantly the preposition from (in Greek) is not repeated before the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, Father and Son jointly form a single source of divine grace and peace. Of no mere human being could it be said that, together with God, he was a font of spiritual blessing. Only if Paul had regarded Jesus as fully divine could he have spoken this way." (Harris, Three Crucial Questions About Jesus [Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI 1994], p. 77; bold emphasis ours)
Reformed apologist Dr. Robert A. Morey concurs:
" Grammatically, the authors are looking equally to the Father and the Son for grace, mercy, and peace. They could do this only if they assumed that the Father and Son were equal in nature they are indications of what the author is praying for and to Whom he addresses those prayers.
"The apostles prayed to the Father and to the Son that They might grant the saints grace, mercy, and peace. The apostles looked up to heaven to both of them equally. The ontological relationship between the Father and the Son is clearly the assumption which underlies their prayers to them. The deity of the Son is seen from the fact that He has to be omniscient to hear their prayers and eternal, omnipresent, and omnipotent to answer them.
"The objection that the Father and the Son are only functioning as equals in all these passages misses the point. They can function as equals only because they are equal. The apostles assumed that the Father and the Son were ontologically one nature and equality. Thus, they could function as one." (Morey, Trinity - Evidence and Issues [World Bible Publishers, Inc.; Iowa, Falls, IA 1996], Chapter Nineteen. The Trinity in the New Testament, p. 444; bold emphasis ours)
For a thorough refutation of the modalistic heresy we recommend the following link: http://christiandefense.org/oneness.htm
And here is Zaataris "response" to my claim that the plural of majesty is unattested in Biblical Hebrew:
Then I guess someone forgot to mention that to the Israelites who were alive back then, since they never believed in any Trinity, or a Triune God!
Zaatari thinks that if he repeats his point over and over again that this will somehow make it true. Simply repeating an assertion ad nauseum ad infinitum doesnt prove anything except that the person doing so has absolutely no case whatsoever. We ask the readers to consult the materials on our site where we provide plenty of documentation that the Hebrew Scriptures do confirm that God is a Tri-Personal Being.
He proceeds to commit the fallacy of appealing to authority:
For further reading concerning this issue visit this link:
And also visit
www.jewsforjudaism.org since the Jews know their Hebrew tongue better than you, and since you Trinitarians have been prone to mistranslate the Hebrew, AND THE Greek, as well as the Arabic Quran, you therefore cannot be trusted when it comes to languages since you Trinitarians are notorious in twisting language to suit your flimsy doctrines.
Does Zaatari not realize that if these groups are correct then Muhammad is a deceiver and imposter? After all, both the Unitarians and orthodox Jews believe that the Messiah is an eternal King who ushers in the last age. Furthermore, orthodox Jews reject Jesus as a false Messiah whereas Unitarians not only accept him as the Messiah but also believe that Christ died on the cross for our sins and then rose from the dead. Now if these are the individuals which Zaatari trusts and appeals to then he must be consistent and accept the fact that if either one of them are correct then Muhammad is a false prophet since he affirmed that Jesus is the Messiah while denying his death on the cross and resurrection, as well as rejecting the fact that Christ is an eternal king who rules over an eternal kingdom. Unfortunately for Zaatari he cannot have his cake and eat it too, even though he badly wants to.
For more on this subject we recommend the following articles: 1, 2, 3, 4
He then claims that all of the following texts have been mistranslated by Trinitarians:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." John 1:1-3
"Jesus said to them, Truly, truly I say to, before Abraham came into being I AM." John 8:58
"But to the Son he says, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever, and the righteousness scepter is the scepter of your kingdom is." Hebrews 1:8
"For to us a child is born, for to us a Son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
And this is coming from a gent who knows absolutely nothing of the Biblical languages! To see who is really doing the mistranslation we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:
This concludes our rebuttal. Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father! Amen.
(1) All of these factors should put to rest Zaataris most recent attempt of denying that Isaiah 9:6 identifies the Messiah as the Mighty God (*). His desperation is such that he has to appeal to the eisegesis of Unitarian "Christians" to argue that El Gibbor really means "Mighty Hero"!
Zaatari also appeals to Ezekiel 31:11 and 32:12 to show where the word El Gibbor (as well as its plural) is used in relation to others. Here, Zaatari is mistaken since Ezekiel 31:11 does not use El Gibbor but simply El.
"I will give it into the hand of a mighty one (el) of the nations. He shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out." Ezekiel 31:11
And I believe he meant Ezekiel 32:21, not 12 since this verse uses the word gibborim, not eley gibborim.
By appealing to these passages Zaatari thinks he has found a way of refuting the doctrine of the Trinity and the perfect Deity of the Lord Jesus.
There are several problems with this approach. In the first place, even if we take for granted that there are other so-called mighty gods, this in no way undermines the fact that the Messiah is Yahweh God. The assumption here is that if the anti-Trinitarian can show that there are beings that are called mighty gods then Jesus automatically falls within this same category. This is a non-sequitor since there can be individuals who are called mighty gods without this making them Yahweh and without this changing the fact that Jesus is Yahweh God.
Second, these so-called mighty gods are the gentile leaders and kings of the nations, as the surrounding context shows:
"In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt, and send them down, her and the daughters of majestic nations, to the world below, to those who have gone down to THE PIT: Whom do you surpass in beauty? Go down and be laid to rest with the uncircumcised. They shall fall amid those who are slain by the sword. Egypt is delivered to the sword; drag her away, and all her multitudes. The mighty chiefs (eley gibborim) shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol: They have come down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword. Assyria is there, and all her company, its graves all around it, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, whose graves are set in the uttermost parts of THE PIT; and her company is all around her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who spread terror in the land of the living. Elam is there, and all her multitude around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who went down uncircumcised into the world below, who spread their terror in the land of the living; and they bear their shame with those who go down to THE PIT. They have made her a bed among the slain with all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for terror of them was spread in the land of the living, and they bear their shame with those who go down to THE PIT; they are placed among the slain. Meshech-Tubal is there, and all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for they spread their terror in the land of the living. And they do not lie with THE MIGHTY (giborim), THE FALLEN FROM AMONG THE UNCIRCUMCISED, who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war, whose swords were laid under their heads, and whose iniquities are upon their bones; for the terror of the MIGHTY MEN (giborim) was in the land of the living. But as for you, you shall be broken and lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword. Edom is there, her kings and all her princes, who for all their might are laid with those who are killed by the sword; they lie with the uncircumcised, with those who go down to THE PIT. The princes of the north are there, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who have gone down in shame with the slain, for all the terror that they caused by their might; they lie uncircumcised with those who are slain by the sword, and bear their shame with those who go down to THE PIT. When Pharaoh sees them, he will be comforted for all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, slain by the sword, declares the Lord GOD. For I spread terror in the land of the living; and he shall be laid to rest among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword, Pharaoh and all his multitude, declares the Lord GOD." Ezekiel 32:17-32
From the preceding context we can see that this refers to the fall of Pharaoh to the grave where the dead heathen kings are.
The thing to remember is that the Scriptures speak out against viewing these heathen rulers as gods of any kind. For instance, Ezekiel is told to take up the following lament against the ruler of Tyre:
"The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because your heart is proud, and you have said, I am a god (el), I sit in the seat of the gods (elohim), in the heart of the seas, yet you are but A MAN, and NO god (el), though you make your heart like the heart of a god- you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you; by your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth- therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god (elohim), therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They shall thrust you down into THE PIT, and you shall die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Will you still say, I am a god (elohim), in the presence of those who kill you, though you are but A MAN, and NO god (el), in the hands of those who slay you? You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD."" Ezekiel 28:1-10
Yahweh rebukes a gentile king for thinking that he was a god when in fact he was nothing more than a mere man.
Isaiah speaks of the destruction of Babylon in a similar manner to Ezekiel 32:
"When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution. The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, "Since you were laid low, no woodcutter comes up against us." Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were LEADERS OF THE EARTH; it raises from their thrones all who were KINGS OF THE NATIONS. All of them will answer and say to you: "You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!" Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to SHEOL, to the far reaches of the pit. Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: "Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert And overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?" All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb;" Isaiah 14:3-18
God destroys the king of Babylon for thinking that he could be like God, and even brings him down to the pit to be where the other heathen rulers are. Elsewhere in Isaiah, Babylon is rebuked for claming the prerogatives of Yahweh:
" Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, Who say in your heart, I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children: These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, No one sees me; Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, I am, and there is no one besides me." Isaiah 47:8-10
Assyria was another nation which thought it was a god:
"And he will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, and he will make Nineveh a desolation, a dry waste like the desert. Herds shall lie down in her midst, all kinds of beasts; even the owl and the hedgehog shall lodge in her capitals; a voice shall hoot in the window; devastation will be on the threshold; for her cedar work will be laid bare. This is the exultant city that lived securely, that said in her heart, I am, and there is no one else. What a desolation she has become, a lair for wild beasts! Everyone who passes by her hisses and shakes his fist." Zephaniah 2:13-15
"Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: "Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, The LORD will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, The LORD will deliver us. Has any of the gods of the nations DELIVERED his land OUT OF THE HAND of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria OUT OF MY HANDS? Who among all the gods of these lands have DELIVERED their lands OUT OF MY HAND, that the LORD should DELIVER Jerusalem OUT OF MY HAND?"" Isaiah 36:13-20
"The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, He has set out to fight against you. And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: "Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?"" Isaiah 37:8-13
Hezekiah prays and God responds to the taunt of the Assyrian king:
"Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, YOU ALONE, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that YOU ALONE are the LORD Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David. And the angel of the LORD went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword. And after they escaped into the land of Ararat, Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place." Isaiah 37:14-20, 33-38
Notice that Hezekiah beseeches Yahweh to save his people from the Assyrians in order to show that he alone is God. Thus, as far as the biblical writers are concerned there are no other gods which exist alongside Yahweh.
In light of the foregoing, it is quite evident that Ezekiel 32:21 and 31:11 do not say that these heathen rulers were actually gods, albeit in a lesser sense than Yahweh. Nor are the terms being used metaphorically, as Zaataris source erroneously assumes. From the overall context of the Scriptures we can safely conclude that these gentile kings are called gods in irony, i.e. here are rulers who were wrongly considered gods by the peoples and yet died a humiliating and shameful death, dying like any other mere mortal.
This is completely unlike the context of Isaiah 9 where the child is given the very titles of God by an inspired prophet as an indication of his character and rule.
Moreover, Zaatari conveniently turns to the book of Ezekiel while ignoring the fact that Isaiah uses the exact phrase El Gibbor in 10:21 in reference to the one true God, Yahweh. Thus, if this phrase means "Mighty Hero" then Isaiah is identifying both Yahweh and the Messiah as this one Mighty Hero who defends and fights for Gods people. In other words, the Messiah is El Gibbor in the same sense that Yahweh is since he is given all of the very titles which Isaiah applies in other places to God, even though the prophet emphatically stresses the point that there is only one true God (El, Elohim):
"You are my witnesses, declares the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior." Isaiah 43:10-11
"This is what the LORD says Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." Isaiah 44:6-8
"I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other Declare what is to be, present it let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me." Isaiah 45:5-6, 21
"Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will to all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do." Isaiah 46:9-11
Hence, the Messiah is not a mighty god like the heathen kings, but is THE Mighty God in the same sense that Yahweh is since he is Yahweh God incarnate. A careful examination of the entire context of Isaiah, as well as the overall context of the Scriptures, proves this beyond any reasonable doubt.
Zaatari then says:
No Jew ever believed that the Messiah would be God, and no where in the context of Isaiah chapter 9 is such a doctrine taught.
Talk about begging the question and a hasty generalization! No Jew ever believed that the Messiah is God? Really? What about the Jewish followers of Jesus such as John and Paul, both of whom expressly taught that Jesus is God Almighty? What about the Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians etc. who do believe in the Trinity and in the Deity of the Lord Jesus?
And since Zaatari is appealing to the Jews to prove his position will he accept the fact that rabbinic or orthodox Judaism believes that the Messiah is an eternal King who ushers in the last age? If so then this means Muhammad was a false prophet for affirming that Jesus is the Messiah but denying the significance this has on his Person and work. For more on this subject we recommend the following articles:
(2) It is interesting that, according to John, Isaiah actually saw the prehuman Christ in Isaiah 6:
"Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turnand I would heal them. Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him." John 12:37-41
John sources Isaiah 6:9-10 and then says that the glory that Isaiah saw there was the glory of the preincarnate Son, the Lord Jesus!
This supports our point that even if Isaiah were speaking of one specific member of the Godhead this wouldnt deny the fact that Yahweh is Triune in nature or that the Person whom the prophet saw couldnt be representing the other Divine members. After all, the apostle John knew that the Son is not the Father (even though he believed that both of them are God), which means that if Isaiah did see Christ (and John says he did) then he obviously wasnt seeing the Father. And if he wasnt seeing the Father then this indicates that Isaiah knew (by inspiration of course) that the Person speaking to him wasnt the only One who is God and must have therefore been speaking on behalf of the other Divine members who also happen to be Yahweh.
Rebuttals to Sami Zaatari
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page