Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath

Sam Shamoun

Bassam Zawadi wrote a paper where he tries very hard to deny that Jesus was claiming to be God when he identified himself as the Lord of Sabbath. He states that:

Now Christians argue that Jesus claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath is something that only God could claim.

Well there are several replies to this. The first one is given by Sam Shamoun in his debate with Sami Zaatri on the topic "Is Jesus God", which can be downloaded here. 

Sam Shamoun tried to show that Jesus calling him self the Lord of the Sabbath means he declared himself to be God. Sami Zaatri replies back and says that it is only a title of honor and that even the name Gabriel means "strong God". Sam Shamoun replies back.

Sam Shamoun said in the 1st hour, 10th minute 25th second...

You assume that Gabriel is a title referring to the characteristic of the angel. On the contrary, Gabriel is not a title signifying the nature of the angel but signifying the God that the angel represents. Often times, persons and angels are given names, which are depictive of the God that they serve. Example: eeneehoo means "My God is he". That's not calling him God, its calling Yahweh his God. So often times messengers are given names that signify and describe the God that they serve.

Sam Shamoun does not realize that he shot himself in the foot. He said that terms like these could be given to messengers to signify the God that they represent. So isn't it possible that this was a title given to Jesus to signify the God that he came to represent?


First, I didn’t say "eenehoo" means "My God is he", but that the name Elihu has this meaning.

Second, as I indicated the name Gabriel doesn’t signify the nature of the angel but of the God whom the angel serves. Yet is this analogous to Jesus’ use of the title "the Lord of the Sabbath"? Not at all since the text clearly demonstrates that Jesus wasn’t attributing this title to the Father:

"So THE SON OF MAN IS Lord even of the Sabbath." Mark 2:28

Jesus expressly says that he as the Son of Man IS the Lord of the Sabbath. Christ wasn’t applying this to the Father but to himself, to his own Person, since he, not the Father, became the Son of Man. So my point still stands.

Moreover, here is what Gabriel has to say about the Lord Jesus:

"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.’" Luke 1:26-35

Gabriel is clearly NOT at all Jesus’ equal, but a creature that is subordinate and subject to God’s beloved Son. In fact, angels like Gabriel are commanded to worship Christ since he is their Sovereign Lord and Creator:

"For to what angel did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’? Or again, ‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son’? And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, ‘Let all God's angels worship him.’ Of the angels he says, ‘Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.’ But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your comrades.’ And, ‘You, Lord, did found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all grow old like a garment, like a mantle you will roll them up, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end.’ But to what angel has he ever said, ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies a stool for your feet’? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?" Hebrews 1:5-14

One inspired author was granted a vision where he saw all creation, not just the angels, worshiping the Lord Jesus:

"And I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’ And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down BEFORE THE LAMB, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; and they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and by your blood did ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ And I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, ‘To him who sits upon the throne AND TO THE LAMB be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped." Revelation 5:1-14

Thus, Zawadi hasn’t simply shot himself in the foot; he has actually blown both his feet right off by raising this issue!

As if this wasn’t bad enough note how he exposes his complete ignorance and inability to understand what he reads and hears:

Also notice how Shamoun contradicts himself...

Sam Shamoun said in the 1st hour, 51st minute 52nd second...

I didn't say Jesus never said he was God. I didn't say that. Again you misrepresent me even though I corrected that lie and distortion. I said while on earth Jesus didn't say it because he had to safeguard the distinction of persons between the Father and Son and first provide supernatural proof of who he is. Once that was done, once he gave the convincing proof, once he established that he is not the Father then after that he could speak of himself being as God.

Shamoun says that Jesus never claimed to be God while on earth. However, Jesus said that he was the Lord of the Sabbath while he was on earth. So according to Shamoun that means Jesus never claimed to be God by saying that statement. But then Shamoun argues that Jesus did claim that he was God by calling himself the Lord of the Sabbath. But Sam said that Jesus never declared it on earth. It is so clear how Shamoun contradicts himself.


What Zawadi withholds from his readers is the reason why I gave the above answer. Zaatari challenged me to show him where Jesus said, "I am God." Zaatari didn’t ask me to show him where Jesus implied that he was God without having to say those precise words. In fact, here is Zaatari’s challenge in his own words:

He never met my challenge of showing me where said I am God, something he said he would. (Source: Zaatari's debate review){1}

What I said was that Jesus never came out and said he was God in those exact words while on earth since this may have resulted in some confusion. As the late NT Catholic scholar Raymond E. Brown stated:

"The question concerns Jesus a Galilean Jew of the first third of the first century, for whom ‘God’ would have a meaning specified by his background and the theological language of the time. By way of simplification (and perhaps oversimplification) let me say that I think by a Jew of that period ‘God’ would have been thought of as One dwelling in the heavens - among many attributes. Therefore, a question posed to Jesus on earth, ‘Do you think you are God?’ would mean did he think he was the One dwelling in heaven. And you can see that would have been an inappropriate question, since Jesus was visibly on earth. As a matter of fact the question was never asked of him; at most he was asked about his relationship to God." (Brown, Responses to 101 Questions on the Bible [Paulist Press; Mahwah, N.J. 1990], p. 98; bold emphasis ours)

As time went by the believers came to understand that Jesus wasn’t the Father even though he was God in essence. This led them to the realization that the noun "God" wasn’t limited to the Father but could be used in a broader sense to refer to Christ as well without this implying that Jesus was the same Person as the Father. As Brown puts it:

"… I would say that by that time (i.e. the last decade of the first century), under the impact of their quest to understand Jesus, Christians had in a certain sense expanded the meaning of the word ‘God.’ It no longer for them simply covered the Father in heaven; it covered the Son on earth. They had come to realize that Jesus was so intimately related to God, so filled with God's presence, that the term God was applicable to him as it was to the Father in heaven. May I emphasis that this does not involve a change in Jesus; it involves a change and growth in the Christian perception of who he was." (Ibid., bold emphasis ours)

Brown says regarding whether Jesus believed he was God:

"Did Jesus have an identity which his followers later came to understand in terms of his being God? If he was God (and most Christians do agree on that), did he know who he was? I think the simplest answer to that question is yes." (Ibid. p. 99; bold emphasis ours)

Another scholar, evangelical author Murray J. Harris, provides several reasons why the noun "God" is infrequently used of the Lord Jesus by the NT writers without this implying that they did not affirm or hold to Christ’s Deity:

"First, in all strands of the NT, theos generally signifies the Father… When we find the expression theos pater we may legitimately deduce that ho theos estin ho pater. And since pater refers to a particular person (not an attribute), the identity between ho theos and ho pater as proper names referring to persons must be numerical. ‘God’ must be equated with ‘the Father.’ If Jesus were everywhere called theos so that in reference to him the term ceased to be a title and became a proper noun like 'Iesous, linguistic ambiguity would be everywhere present.

Another reason why theos regularly denotes the Father and rarely the Son is that such a usage is suited to protect the personal distinction between the Son and Father… which is preserved everywhere in the NT, but nowhere more dramatically than where the Father is called ‘the God of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Eph. 1:17) or ‘his God and Father’ (Rev. 1:6) and where Jesus speaks of ‘My God’ (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34; John 20:17; cf. Rev. 3:2, 12), or, in an address to Jesus reference is made to ‘your God’ (Heb. 1:9). God was the one to whom Jesus prayed, the one he called his Father (e.g., Matt. 11:25). It was ho logos, not ho theos, of whom John said sarx egeneto (John 1:14).

Clearly related to this second reason is a third. The element of ‘subordinationism’ that finds expression not only in the four authors who use theos as a christological appellation but also elsewhere in the NT may have checked any impulse to use theos regularly of Jesus. By customarily reserving the term theos for the Father, NT writers were highlighting the fact, whether consciously or unconsciously, that while the Son is ‘subordinate’ to the Father, the Father is not ‘subordinate’ to the Son. One finds the expression ‘the Son of God’ where God is the Father, but never ‘the Father of God’ where God is the Son.

A fourth reason that may be suggested for the comparatively rare use of theos as a christological ascription was the danger recognized by the early church that if theos were applied to Jesus as regularly as to the Father, Jews would have tended to regard Christianity as incurably deuterotheological and Gentiles would probably have viewed it as polytheistic. If theos were the personal name of the Father and the Son, Christians would have been hard pressed to defend the faith against charges of ditheism, if not polytheism, however adamant their insistence on their retention of monotheism.

Fifth, behind the impulse generally to reserve the term theos for the Father lay the need to safeguard the real humanity of Jesus against docetic or monophysitic sentiment in its embryonic form. In the early years of the church there was a greater danger that the integrity of the human ‘nature’ of Jesus should be denied than that his divinity should be called into question, witness the fact that docetism not Arianism was the first christological deviation.

Finally, the relative infrequency of the use of theos for Jesus corresponds to the relatively infrequent use of ontological categories in NT Christology which is functional in emphasis…" (Harris, Jesus As God - The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus [Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI 1998], pp. 282-283; bold and underline emphasis ours)

In light of the foregoing, it comes as no surprise that Jesus didn’t simply come out and say, "I am God," while on earth. Christ affirmed his Divine identity in other ways which insured that his audience wouldn’t assume that he was claiming to be the Father.

As a helpful illustration of this point, note the way Jesus identified himself as the Sabbath’s Lord:

"And he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’" Luke 6:5

Christ says that he as the Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath. This is significant since Jesus was identifying himself with the figure that the prophet Daniel saw:

"As I looked, THRONES were placed and one that was Ancient of Days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened… I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

Daniel sees two figures, one whom he calls the Ancient of Days which is undoubtedly God Almighty. He also sees the figure of a man who rides on the clouds of heaven, indicating that this is entity is more than a human figure. This particular human is pictured as a Divine being since he does what God is said to do, namely ride on the clouds of heaven:

"Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty, who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who hast stretched out the heavens like a tent, who hast laid the beams of thy chambers on the waters, who makest the clouds thy chariot, who ridest on the wings of the wind," Psalm 104:1-3

"An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them." Isaiah 19:1

Furthermore, the very verb used here in reference to the Son of Man being served or worshiped is used elsewhere in connection to the service given to God alone!

"Nebuchadnez'zar said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed'nego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set at nought the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.’" Daniel 3:28

Thus, we have a specific Son of Man who is a Divine figure that reigns over all creation forever.

By identifying himself as the Son of Man Jesus made sure to safeguard the personal distinction between he and the Father since his audience would have known from Daniel that the Son of Man was personally distinct from the Ancient of Days. At the same time, Christ confirmed his own Divine identity by calling himself the Son of Man and the Lord of the Sabbath. More on the title Son of Man shortly.

Secondly, we should not forget that Jesus was GIVEN all authority (Matthew 28:8[sic]) and therefore had the authority to break the Sabbath with God's permission and will. Therefore, this was only a title of honor in order to signify that authority GIVEN to hm.


First, Zawadi is obviously confused since he quotes a text where the post-resurrected Christ is given authority to rule over all creation:

"But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.’ And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Hail!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’ … Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.’" Matthew 28:5-10, 16-20

In light of the foregoing, how can this passage prove Zawadi’s contention that God permitted Jesus to "break" the Sabbath when the verse he is quoting is referring to an authority that Christ received after his resurrection? If anything this implies that Jesus shouldn’t have been doing the things he did on the Sabbath since he hadn’t received any authority until much later. Yet Jesus did have the right to do what he did and not merely because the Father granted him this right! Jesus could work on the Sabbath because he is God. What Zawadi thought was a text proving his assertion actually backfires against him and affirms the point we have been making.

Second, the authority that Jesus was given In Matthew 28:18 is that which he set aside when he became a man. Christ relinquished his authority as ruler at the Incarnation in order to become a servant:

"And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’" Matthew 20:24-28

Christ later received back his authority as Sovereign King after completing the work God sent him to do. For more on this issue please read the following articles:

Zawadi continues:

Thirdly, Jesus said that "the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" All Christians agree that when Jesus calls himself the "Son of Man" then he is emphasizing his human nature. Now how can Jesus' human nature claim to be God? Shouldn't it be his Godly nature that does it?


To begin with, it is vital to remember that Jesus was identifying himself as the Son of Man whom the prophet Daniel saw in an inspired vision. As we demonstrated earlier Daniel’s Son of Man isn’t simply a human being, but rather he is a Divine Being who happens to also be human. Thus, by calling himself the Son of Man Jesus was claiming to be both human and Divine at the same time.

This is why Jesus could say that as the Son of Man he has authority to forgive sins, something which God alone can do:

"And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘My son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven," or to say, "Rise, take up your pallet and walk"? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ -- he said to the paralytic – ‘I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’" Mark 2:5-12

It also explains why Jesus could say that as the Son of Man he will judge all the nations in order that all may give him the same exact honor that God receives:

"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46

"The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, EVEN AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him… and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man." John 5:22-23, 27

In fact, Jesus as the Son of Man sits at God’s right hand and comes again on the clouds with his angels to gather his elect:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out HIS angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather HIS elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matthew 24:29-31

"But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.’" Acts 7:55-56

The foregoing conclusively shows that when the title Son of Man is used of Christ it doesn’t simply refer to his humanity. It is also an allusion to his Deity, to his Divine identity.

More importantly, Zawadi fails to realize that Jesus and the NT writers may use a specific title for Christ that applies to one of his natures even though they may have his other nature in view. This is because even though Christ has two distinct natures he is still one Divine Person. Putting it simply, the one Person of Jesus has both divine and human properties by virtue of having two natures, divine and human, simultaneously. These distinct sets of properties coexist together in the One Person of Christ.

As such, the NT can address Christ as the Son of Man, man etc., in contexts where his Deity is in view and can refer to him as God’s Son, Lord etc., in situations where his humanity is being emphasized. In order to illustrate this point more clearly please note the following texts:

"No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man." John 3:13

"Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?" John 6:62

Jesus can speak of himself as the Son of Man who came down from heaven even though he only took on flesh when he came to the earth. Prior to the virgin birth Jesus didn’t exist with a human nature and therefore wasn’t a Son of Man.

"None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." 1 Corinthians 2:8

Paul affirms Christ’s Deity by calling him the Lord of glory and also confirms his full humanity by referring to his crucifixion. Yet since Christ is one Person with two natures, Paul can say that the Lord of glory was crucified even though it was the humanity of Jesus, his physical body, which was nailed to the cross.

For more on this point please consult the following paper:

Fourthly, no where do we even see that the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy when he said this statement.


First of all, it is irrelevant whether the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy or not. What is relevant is whether Christ is affirming his Deity by using titles which belong to God alone.

Second, Jesus’ statement that he is Lord over the Sabbath was made in direct response to the Jews taking offense at Christ and his followers working on this sacred day:

"At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.’ He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.’ And he went on from there, and entered their synagogue. And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?’ so that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘What man of you, if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, whole like the other. But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him, how to destroy him.’" Matthew 12:1-14

Jesus not only claimed to be master over the Sabbath but that he was also greater than the temple itself! In order to appreciate the full implications of such a statement note what Christ says about the temple in his showdown with the Jewish rulers:

"Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it AND BY HIM WHO DWELLS IN IT; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it." Matthew 23:16-22

The temple was the place that housed the very presence of God, the earthly location where God dwelt. Christ saying that he is greater than the temple is the height of blasphemy since no creature could dare make such an assertion; that is unless, of course, Jesus is God and can therefore say such things without blaspheming!

Jesus defended his actions by saying that he could do things that others could not do, as well as permit his followers to do likewise, because he has authority over the Sabbath and is greater than the temple. And as the above text expressly shows, Jesus’ response and actions is what led the Pharisees to eventually want to kill him.

This isn’t the only time that Jesus evoked such a reaction for working on the Sabbath:

"After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered… A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, ‘Do you wish to get well?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.’ Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, ‘It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.’ But he answered them, ‘He who made me well was the one who said to me, "Pick up your pallet and walk."’ They asked him, ‘Who is the man who said to you, "Pick up your pallet and walk"?’ But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.’ The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.’ For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." John 5:1-3, 5-18

Jesus essentially justifies his actions by affirming his equality to the Father. Jesus reasons that just as God is not bound to keep Sabbath since he is Sovereign over it and can therefore work on this day, in a similar fashion Christ can also work on it since he is God’s Son and the Sabbath’s Lord. It is little wonder that the Jews tried even harder to kill him since they understood what he was saying.

Moreover, since Zawadi appealed to the Jews as a gauge to measure whether Christ claimed to be God, here are several places where the Jews wanted to kill the Lord Jesus for his Divine claims which they took to be blasphemous:

"‘Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.’ The Jews said to him, ‘Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, "If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death." Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple." John 8:51-59

"And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?’ But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I AM; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ And the high priest tore his garments, and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?’ And they all condemned him as deserving death." Mark 14:60-64

"The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.’" John 19:7

Will Zawadi now accept that Jesus made Divine claims in light of the reaction of the Jews? We highly doubt that he will and are pretty certain that this last point of his is nothing more than another desperate attempt of evading the plain meaning of Jesus’ words.

As one can see from the foregoing, Zawadi’s rebuttal is desperately weak and will fail to convince any objective person that Jesus wasn’t claiming to be God when he identified himself as the Lord of the Sabbath.

And we now conclude with some advice to Zawadi:

Please make sure you have carefully understood what you have read and heard since this will save you from being embarrassed and exposed for distorting people’s statements. This will also prevent the impression that you are nothing more than a fraud and deceiver for perverting what others say. If you continue this path of distortion then this will make it obvious that you can do nothing better than to attack straw men and/or throw out red herrings.

Bassam Zawadi responded to this article, and the discussion continues: 1, 2, 3.


{1} It is vital that we address Zaatari’s assertion that I never met his challenge during the debate. The truth is that Zaatari ran from the debate before I ever got the chance to answer him. In fact, he was suppose to debate a second topic right after we had finished the first one, but he conveniently made excuses to leave the Paltalk room since it became apparent that he was in way over his head and couldn’t refute the material which was being leveled against him. Zaatari apparently realized that he was losing and so needed to find a reason to run and save face.

Here is the passage which I was prepared to present during the debate in answer to his challenge:

"And I heard a loud voice saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God (tou theou - the God) is with men, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people and God (ho theos - the God) himself will dwell with them and be their God.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be HIS GOD and he will be my son.’" Revelation 21:3-7

The evidence strongly supports the view that Jesus is speaking in these references. For instance, Christ is said to be the God who comes to dwell with mankind:

"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’- which means, ‘God (ho theos - the God) with us.’" Matthew 1:22-23

"teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I AM with you ALWAYS, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

The Lord Jesus promises to be with all believers till the end of the age, which is a claim of omnipresence! Since God alone is omnipresent this provides additional evidence that Christ claimed to be God.

Furthermore, Jesus in Revelation identifies himself as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End:

"When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I WAS DEAD, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.’" Revelation 1:17-18

"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again." Revelation 2:8

The First and the Last is just another way of saying that Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Interestingly, both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Quran agree that the First and the Last is a title of God:

"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.’" Isaiah 44:6

"Hearken to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am He, I am the first, and I am the last." Isaiah 48:12

He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward; He has knowledge of everything. S. 57:3 Arberry

This in itself sufficiently proves that Jesus claimed to be God since only God can call himself by this title.

Moving on:

"And he said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent HIS ANGEL to show his servants what must soon take place. And behold, I AM COMING SOON.’ Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book… Behold, I AM COMING SOON! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the EndI, Jesus, have sent MY ANGEL to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star’… He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. COME, LORD JESUS." Revelation 22:6-7, 12-13, 16, 20

It is Jesus who is the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets that sent his angel and is coming soon, who expressly identifies himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End!

And here is the final line of evidence connecting Jesus with the Divine Speaker of Revelation 21:6-7:

"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

Jesus the Lamb does what God in 21:7 says he will do, give believers to drink from the spring of living water. This isn’t the only place where Jesus is said to do this:

"Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living waters’ … Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’" John 4:10, 13-14

"On the last day, 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.’" John 7:37-38

Thus, the foregoing presents a very strong case that Jesus is the One who identifies himself as the God of all believers in Revelation 21:6-7. At the very least, the above texts show that Jesus claims and ascribes to himself the very functions and titles of God Almighty.

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