Some Misunderstood Verses of the Bible Now Put Back in Their Contexts: With the Necessary Corrections to Shabir's Misinterpretation of these Same Passages, Part 1

Sam Shamoun


"I and the Father are one"
And Other Verses Commonly Misunderstood to Mean
That Jesus is God

"I and the Father are one"

John 10:30 is often quoted to show that Jesus is equal to God. But when you read the verse in its context you will find that the passage taken as a whole proves the opposite.

People are often content to quote the verse in isolation to show that Jesus said "I and the Father are one" and then the Jews picked up stones to stone him because they understood him to mean that he is claiming to be God. It is only when you read the passage to see what comes before and after this verse that you will realise that the Jews misunderstood what Jesus was saying. In fact, Jesus tried to explain what he meant, and the explanation he gave is still in the Bible for everyone to see. It is surprising that so many people who say they love Jesus ignore his explanation and repeat the mistake which was made by the enemies of Jesus. Here is the passage as it appears in the New International Version of the Bible:


We really don't know what Christians Shabir is referring to since informed Christians do take into consideration the entire context when interpreting the passage.


22It was winter, 23and Jesus was in the temple area, walking in Solomon's Colonnade.

24The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

25Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.

27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one."

31Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"

33"We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

34Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'?

35If he called them 'gods' to whom the word of God came — and the scripture cannot be broken — 36what about one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, `I am God's Son'?" (John 10:22-36).

The passage when viewed as a whole shows clearly that Jesus is not God. Let us observe the following points:


In actuality, when the passage is properly exegeted Jesus is clearly claiming to be God.


1. The disbelieving Jews insisted that Jesus should tell them if indeed he is the Christ so they should not remain in suspense about his identity (verse 24). A Christ as the title is used in the Bible refers to a human being who is anointed as King of Israel. The title is used for other humans as well (eg. Isaiah 45:1, Cyrus the Persian is called God's Christ). The Jews were expecting another Christ (Christ is a Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah, and the Arabic word Maseeh). So they asked Jesus whether he was the one they were waiting for. Jesus replied that he had already told them, and he even performed miracles in God's name to prove his claim to be the Christ (verse 25), yet they do not believe him (verse 26) because they are not Jesus' sheep (verse 26). Those whom the Father had given to Jesus, are Jesus' sheep (followers), and they believe Jesus when he said that he is the Christ (verses 27-29).

2. The true followers of Jesus will never perish, because Jesus gives them eternal life.

According to the same Gospel (John 17:3), eternal life means to believe that the Father is the only true God, and that Jesus is the Christ and messenger of that one true God.


The Gospel actually says more than what Shabir claims since the Evangelist clearly presents Jesus as more than a mere messenger of God. To the Evangelist, Christ is actually the eternal Son of God, the Agent of creation and the perfect revelation of God to man:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:1, 3

"He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." John 1:10

"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." John 1:14

"No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." John 1:18

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:31

In fact, if one reads Jesus' words in context one will discover that Christ affirms his divine sovereignty and eternal preexistence:

"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: 'Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.'" John 17:1-5

Christ claims to have the authority to grant eternal life to all that the Father gives him. Jesus also claims to have existed with the Father in the same divine glory before the world even began.

Hence, the entire Gospel must be read in light of the Evangelist's desire to present Jesus as God the Son.


Jesus gives this knowledge to all those whom the Father has given to him (chapter 17:2). What Jesus was speaking, then, were the words which, if believed, will mean eternal life for all those who believe in them. This is why in the same Gospel, Peter is quoted as saying on behalf of the disciples to Jesus, "You have the words of eternal life." We know and believe that you are the Holy One of God" (John 6:68-69). So they believed that Jesus was not God, but the Holy One whom God sent (i.e. the Christ and Messenger of God). The Good News Bible makes this passage slightly plainer:

You have the words that give eternal life. And now we believe and know that you are the Holy One who has come from God. (John 6:68-69)


Jesus had the words of Life due to the fact that he himself was Life Incarnate:

"In him was life, and that life was the light of men." John 1:4

"I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself… Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear HIS voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." John 5:25-26, 28-29

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." John 6:51

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' 'Yes, Lord,' she told him, 'I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.'" John 11:25-27

Finally, the disciples believed that Jesus was more than a messenger of God since they also believed that Christ was their very God and Savior:

"Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'" John 20:28

"Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:" 2 Peter 1:1

This affirms that to the NT writers, "God" meant more than just the Father. To them, "God" also included both the Son and the Holy Spirit.


3. No one can snatch away the disciples from Jesus (verse 28), because they were given to him by the Father, and the Father is greater than all (verse 29). Since the Father is helping Jesus to keep his disciples, no one can snatch them out of Jesus' hand just as they cannot snatch them out of the Father's hand.


Correction. The text does not say that the Father is helping Jesus to keep his disciples safe. Rather, the text is clear that it is both the Father and the Son who are keeping true believers from perishing.


When Jesus said that he and the Father are one, he means exactly this: that the Father is helping him to accomplish his tasks; and when he is busy trying to save his disciples from being snatched away by the evil one, the Father is making sure that not one of them will be lost except, of course, the one who was to betray him.


Shabir is wrong again. It is not just the Father who is keeping the disciples safe by helping Jesus. It is Jesus, along with the Father, who keeps his followers from perishing. This implies co-equality between Father and Son.


4. Jesus said that the Father is greater than all (verse 29), including Jesus. Anyone having any doubt about this can read John 14:28 where Jesus declares: "The Father is greater than I." In spite of this clear statement of Jesus, many who claim to follow him insist that Jesus is equal to the Father. Whom should we believe — Jesus himself or those who claim to follow him? His true followers can be distinguished as the ones who stick to what Jesus himself said. Here is what Jesus directed his followers to do:


We are amazed to see how many errors Shabir has committed in exegeting this passage. The text does not say that the Father is greater than Jesus. Jesus' point is that the Father is greater than all those who would try to snatch the sheep out of the hands of both the Father and the Son:

"My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; NO ONE can snatch them out of my Father's hand." John 10:29

The context shows that the Father is greater than any one of those who would try to oppose God's purpose in preserving true believers from perishing.

Secondly, Shabir commits a categorical fallacy since the passage in John 14:28 does not refer to Jesus' nature but to his position. The Father is greater in position. Yet the Father and Son are equal in nature. Shabir has therefore confused Jesus' nature with his position.

Thirdly, there is a very good reason why Christians believe that Christ is claiming equality of essence and nature with the Father. The Holy Bible clearly states that God alone gives eternal life and preserves believers from perishing:

"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand." Deuteronomy 32:39

What distinguishes Yahweh from the other gods of the nations (who are obviously false) is his ability to grant life and insure that none can deliver from his hand. Yet, this is precisely what Christ claims to be able to do, namely give eternal life and insure believers that none can snatch them out of his hand of power.

This is precisely why Christians believe that Jesus is equal with the Father in essence and nature since we believe in all that Jesus taught.


If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples. Then you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32)


If Shabir had continued reading further into the passage, he would have seen what this teaching entailed:

"They answered him, 'We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?' Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" John 8:33-36

Part of the teaching which Christ binds upon on the conscience of true believers is the belief that Christ is the sovereign Son of God who alone is able to set men free from bondage to sin. This is something that Shabir chooses to reject and hence is not a true follower of Christ.


5. When Jesus said, "I and the Father are one" (chapter 10, verse 30) the Jews picked up stones to stone him (verse 31). Jesus could not understand their behaviour, because he had said nothing wrong. So he asked them what he had done wrong to make them want to stone him (verse 32). They replied that Jesus had committed blasphemy since he was only a man yet he claimed to be God (verse 33). But it is clear from the Bible passage above that Jesus did not claim to be God. He only claimed to be the Christ (verse 25).

When did he say he was God? They were deliberately misquoting Jesus and putting words in his mouth which they will try to use later as false evidence against him so they could have an excuse to kill him.


The reason why the Jews accused Jesus of claiming to be God is due to Jesus' statement that he and the Father were one. Claiming oneness with God in this context is the same as claiming equality with God. By claiming equality with God Christ was implying that he was also God. Only one who is essentially God in nature can ever be equal with God.

Interestingly, Jesus never accused the Jews of falsely putting words into his mouth. Had Christ not meant what the Jews understood him to mean we would have expected Christ to correct their misunderstanding. Yet, the Lord Jesus never corrected them. Hence, by not correcting them Christ was thereby implicitly affirming the charge leveled against him.


6. Jesus admits that he said, "I am God's Son" (verse 36). But he said that this means nothing more than the fact that God had set him apart as his very own and sent him into the world (verse 36). The fact that God set him apart means that God selected him for a task, set him apart from the rest. The Arabic title for a person like this is Mustafa (meaning The Chosen One). All of God's Prophets deserve this title. The fact that God sent him into the world means that he is God's Messenger. He is sent with a message from God. Obviously, the God who sent Jesus is not Jesus himself.


Shabir commits the fallacy of equivocation. He equivocates on the meaning of "sent" and assumes that it has the same meaning when applied to Christ as when applied to others. Yet, Jesus' point that God sent him must be understood within the context of the Gospel itself. Jesus claims to have been sent by God from heaven:

"For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." John 6:33

"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." John 6:38

"At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, 'I am the bread that came down from heaven.' They said, 'Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, "I came down from heaven"?'" John 6:41-42

"But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." John 6:50-51

"But he continued, 'You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.'" John 8:23

"'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'" John 8:58

"I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father." John 16:28

"And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." John 17:5

In light of these statements, Jesus was not claiming to simply be a mere human messenger commissioned by God to preach to other human beings. Rather, Christ is the divine preexistent Son who came down from heaven to accomplish the Father's purpose in saving the elect.


7. Jesus tried to explain to them that even if he said something which they misinterpreted as meaning that Jesus is claiming to be God, they should realise that some human beings were called 'gods' in the Bible, and the Jews do not disagree with this (verse 35), so they should not disagree with Jesus so quickly before he gets a chance to explain his words. To get a fuller understanding of what Jesus is saying here, let us

refer to the Bible passage to which he called their attention. The passage is in the 82nd Psalm:


We agree with Shabir that in order to understand Jesus' point we must take into consideration the passage alluded to by Christ, specifically Psalm 82:6-7:


"I said, `You are "gods";
you are all sons of the Most High.'
But you will die like mere men;
you will fall like every other ruler."
(Psalms 82:7-8)

The passage from the Psalms shows that God had honoured some humans by calling them "gods." But of course they were not really gods. This is just a figurative expression used in the Bible. Jesus reminded the Jews of this so that they should understand that even if he says something that makes them think he is claiming to be God, they should take it as a figurative expression that does not mean what it sounds like.


Shabir again equivocates on the meaning of words. He assumes that Jesus' claim to divinity must be understood in the same metaphorical sense as when the term "gods" or "sons of God" is applied to others figuratively. Yet, Shabir fails to realize that different words mean different things in different contexts, specifically when applied to different individuals.

We shall see below that Jesus is called "God" and "the Son of God" in a completely unique sense from the rest who were thus called.


Furthermore Jesus clarified that what he actually said was that he was God's Son (verse 36). He says that if others can be called "gods," he does not see why they object to him calling himself God's Son which means that God had selected him and sent him with a message for the people.

The clear meaning of the passage, then, is that Jesus is not God. He is one selected by God (i.e. he is Mustafa) and he is sent by God (i.e. he is God's Messenger). When he calls himself God's Son he means nothing more than that.


We have already addressed what Jesus meant by claiming that God had set him apart by sending him into the world. Here, we respond to Shabir's claim on Jesus' contrast of his role as God's Son with those human agents who were called "gods" in a figurative sense. The following response is taken from one of our articles:

Jesus' usage of Psalms 82:6 was to imply that what the Scriptures call humans allegorically, he was in actuality since he does what only God can do. This point is brought out more clearly in the verses that follow immediately after John 10:34:

"'If those to whom the word of God came were called "gods" - and the scripture cannot be annulled – can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, "I am God's Son"? If I am not doing the works of my Father (i.e. giving eternal life, raising the dead etc.), then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.' Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands." John 10:35-39

If anything, Jesus' response served to reinforce to the Jews that Jesus "though, only a human being," was making himself "God." (cf. John 10:33). Amazingly, nowhere does one find Jesus denying the charge by simply coming out and saying that he was not God. Had he not been God he was obligated to do so, yet instead he only reinforces the Jewish accusation. (see also this related article.)

The clear meaning of the passage, then, is that Jesus is God the Son. He is one selected by God the Father as his final and perfect representative, being the one and only unique divine Son of God:

"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

When Jesus calls himself God's Son he means to say that he is a distinct person from the Father, yet completely equal with him in nature. You cannot get any higher than that.


Yet, duespite the detailed study of the passage as above, some will hold on to tradition and reject the explanation that Jesus provided in verses 34-36. They will insist on taking verse 30 out of its context and give it a meaning which Jesus said is the wrong meaning.

They will then agree with what the Jews said and disagree with what Jesus said. This attitude leads to confusion, as we will presently see.


Yet, despite the detailed study of the passage above, Shabir will continue to hold on to Islamic tradition and reject the explanation that Jesus provided in verses 34-36. He will insist on taking verse 30 out of its context and give it a meaning that Jesus never intended his audience to walk away with.

He will then agree with what many anti-Christs have said and disagree with what Jesus said:

"Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also." 1 John 2:22-23

This attitude leads to confusion, as we will presently see.


Even if verse 30 is taken in isolation to change its meaning from what Jesus meant, it does not solve anything. It only raises more problems. Jesus cannot be one and the same as the Father whereas he said himself that the Father is greater than he (John 14:28). Jesus said that he and the Father are in fact two (John 8:14-18). And no one had seen God at any time although they had already seen Jesus (1 John 4:12). The best solution for all this is to go back to the teachings of Jesus himself, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free (John 8:31-32).


Trinitarians do not believe that Jesus is the same person as the Father, but affirm that they are two distinct persons inseparably united as one. They are one in nature, not one in person. A.T. Robertson, perhaps the greatest Greek grammarian of this century, states:

"One (en). Neuter, not masculine (eis). Not one person (cf. eis in Galatians 3:28), but one essence or nature. By the plural sumus (separate persons) Sabellius is refuted, by unum Arius. So Bengel rightly argues, though Jesus is not referring, of course, to either Sabellius or Arius. The Pharisees had accused Jesus of making himself equal with God as his own special Father (John 5:18). Jesus then admitted and proved this claim (John 5:19-30). Now he states it tersely in this great saying repeated later (John 17:11, 21). Note en used in 1 Corinthians 3:3 of the oneness in work of the planter and the waterer and in 17:11,23 of the hoped for unity of Christ's disciples. This crisp statement is the climax of Christ's claims concerning the relation between the Father and himself (the Son). They stir the Pharisees to uncontrollable anger." (Robertson, Word Pictures of the New Testament)

NT commentator William A. Hendriksen explains:

"Note how carefully both the diversity of the persons and the unity of essence is expressed here. Jesus says, ‘I and my Father.’ Hence, he clearly speaks about two persons. And this plurality is shown also by the verb (one word in Greek) ‘we are’ ('esmen). These two persons never become one person. Hence, Jesus does not say, ‘We are one person’ (eis), but he says, ‘We are one substance ('en).’ It has well been said that 'en frees us from Charybdid of Arianism (which denies the unity of essence), and 'esmen from Scylla of Sabellianism (which denies the diversity of the persons)." (Hendriksen, Commentary on the Gospel of John [Banner of Truth; London 1964], p. 126)

Furthermore, the Father is greater in rank, not in nature. Again Trinitarians believe that the Father and Son are equal in nature, but not in position. Robertson in his Word Pictures of the New Testament explains:

I go away, and I come (upagw kai ercomai), both futuristic presents (7:33; 14:3,18). If ye loved me (ei hgapate me). Second-class condition with the imperfect active of agapaw referring to present time, implying that the disciples are not loving Jesus as they should. Ye would have rejoiced (ecarhte an). Second aorist passive indicative of cairw with an, conclusion of second-class condition referring to past time, "Ye would already have rejoiced before this" at Christ's going to the Father (verse 12). Greater than I (meizwn mou). Ablative case mou after the comparative meizwn (from positive megaß). The filial relation makes this necessary. Not a distinction in nature or essence (cf. 10:30), but in rank in the Trinity. No Arianism or Unitarianism here. The very explanation here is proof of the deity of the Son (Dods).

Dr. Robert A. Morey continues:

"Subordination, in the context of the economical Trinity, does not pose any difficulty whatsoever for the Trinitarian. The Father is ‘greater’ than the Son by virtue of His office of being the Sender and Jesus the Sent (John 14:28). That the Father is greater in rank does not logically imply that He is better in nature." (Morey, Trinity - Evidence and Issues [World Publishing; 1996], p. 439 bold emphasis ours)

Finally, the Holy Bible says that God the Father cannot be seen. That is why God the Son became man in order to reveal the invisible God to men by giving them a clear and accurate understanding of the true God.

The preceding statements tell us that Shabir either does not know what Trinitarians actually believe and if so, then he needs to study what we actually believe instead of attacking a straw man. Or Shabir does know what we believe but chooses to misrepresent our beliefs. If so, then his entire credibility as a critic of both the Holy Bible and the Quran is suspect.


Before Abraham was, I am

John 8:58 is one of the most misused verses of the Bible. Because Jesus in that verse says "Before Abraham was, I am," two implications, one unnecessary, and the other false, are drawn from that verse. The unnecessary implication is that since Jesus existed before Abraham that means he existed always. This is a preconceived notion that people force into the text. "Before Abraham" does not mean "always". Melchezidek in the Bible is shown to have existed before Abraham (Hebrews 7:3). Does that mean that Melchezidek is God? Obviously, we cannot take a created being as God.


First, it is a bit presumptuous for Shabir to accuse Christians of misinterpreting the text. Shabir thinks that by claiming the Christian interpretation is wrong he then somehow satisfies the burden of proof for his own faulty interpretation. We will shortly demonstrate that Shabir has not provided the burden of proof necessary in establishing his interpretation over the orthodox Christian interpretation.

Secondly, Shabir misquotes Hebrews 7:3 since nowhere does the passage say that Melchizedek preexisted Abraham. If anything, Hebrews 7:3 proves that the Lord Jesus is an eternal Being!

"He is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest for ever." RSV

The author of Hebrews builds upon the mysterious qualities of Melchizedek (cf. Gen. 14:17-20) and ties that with Christ. Melchizedek is pictured as an eternal figure having no recorded birth, death or human descent.

These points have been deliberately omitted in order to present Melchizedek as an Old Testament type of Christ. The word resembling is the Greek term aphomoiomenes, which comes from aphomoioo. According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,

Aphomoioo. This verb means "to copy", rarely "to compare," and in the passive "to be or become like" or "make oneself out to be like." The only NT instance is in Heb. 7:3, which says that Melchizedek "is like" the Son of God. The point may be that the Son of God is the prototype, or that the OT text is taken to be a Messianic prophecy, i.e., a sign that points forward to Christ. (Gerhard Kittel & Gerhard Friedrich ed., Abridged in one volume by George W. Bromley [Grand Rapids, Mi., Eerdmans, 1985], p. 684)

Melchizedek typifies Jesus in that he is made to resemble the eternal aspect of Christ's being, a mere shadow of the One who was to come. Jesus is the reality of what was only typified in Melchizedek. The point that Hebrews is establishing is that Jesus is an eternal being, having no beginning and ending, and continues on as an eternal priest.

The NIV Study Bible, compiled by the world's leading biblical scholars, notes:

"…contrary to the practice elsewhere in the early chapters of Genesis, does not mention Melchizedek's parentage and children, or his birth and death. That he was a real, historical figure is clear, but the author of Hebrews (in accordance with Jewish interpretation) uses the silence of Scripture about Melchizedek's genealogy to portray him as a prefiguration of Christ. Melchizedek's priesthood antiquates Christ's eternal existence and his unending priesthood…"

W.E. Vine indicates,

"He was made 'like unto the Son of God,' and the similarity lay in this, that he had 'neither beginning of days nor end of life.' Accordingly it was as the Son of God that Christ was without beginning of days. His Sonship was therefore unoriginated and eternal." (Vine, The Divine Sonship of Christ [rp. Minneapolis; Klock & Klock, 1984], pt. 2, pp. 16-17)

George W. Zeller & Renald Showers conclude:

"The strong testimony that this verse presents for the eternal Sonship of Christ must not be missed. The blessed Spirit of God guided the pen of Moses in such a way that the biography of Melchizedek says nothing about his parents or his birth or his age or his death. These deliberate omissions were for the purpose of presenting Melchizedek as a type of the Son of God… As the 'Son of God' He was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.'" (Zeller & Showers, The Eternal Sonship of Christ - A Timely Defense of this Vital Doctrine [Loizeux Brothers, Inc.; 1993 by George Zeller], p. 48 emphasis ours)

Thirdly, Shabir again gives a faulty and misleading impression since Christians do not say that the reason Jesus preexisted Abraham is due to Christ being "before Abraham." Let us quote the passage in context to see where the true emphasis lie:

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham WAS BORN, I AM!"

Christ claims to have been already existing even before Abraham had been born. Hence, the emphasis lie on Abraham having come into existence at a point in time in contrast to Christ who had no beginning to his existence. A.T. Robertson comments:

Before Abraham was (prin Abraam genesqai). Usual idiom with prin in positive sentence with infinitive (second aorist middle of ginomai) and the accusative of general reference, 'before coming as to Abraham," "before Abraham came into existence or was born.' I am (egw eimi). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between genesqai (entrance into existence of Abraham) and eimi (timeless being) is complete. See the same contrast between en in Numbers 1:1 and egeneto in Numbers 1:14. See the contrast also in Psalms 90:2 between God (ei, art) and the mountains (genhqhnai). See the same use of eimi in John 6:20; John 9:9; John 8:24,28; John 18:6.

Other scholars agree:

"…the aorist genesthai 'came into being,' used of Abraham, is contrasted with the present eimi, which can express duration up to the present, 'I have been <and still am>' as well as the simple present, 'I am.' Jesus claims that his mode of existence transcends time, like God's, and his I am is understood by the Jews as a claim to equality with God…" (J.N. Sanders & B.A. Mastin as cited by Robert M. Bowman Jr., Jehovah's Witnesses Jesus Christ &The Gospel of John [Baker Book House; Grand Rapids, MI, 1995], pp. 111-112 bold emphasis ours)

Bowman goes on to say in refutation of Jehovah's Witnesses' misinterpretation of this passage:

"He (Jesus) chose the term that would most strongly contrast the created origin in time of Abraham with his own timeless eternality, the present tense verb eimi… Thus, had Jesus wished to say what JWs understand him to have said- that he merely existed for a long time before Abraham- he could have said so by saying, 'Before Abraham came into existence, I was,' using the imperfect tense emen instead of the present tense eimi. (This point was made by Chrysostom and Augustine, and reaffirmed by such Reformers as Calvin, and is also a standard observation found in most exegetical commentaries on John and never, to this author's knowledge, disputed in such works.) Such a statement would have left open the question of whether or not Jesus had always existed, or whether (like the angels) he had existed from the earliest days of the universe's history. Or, had he wished to make it clear that (as JWs believe) he had himself come into existence some time prior to Abraham, he could have said so by stating, 'Before Abraham came into existence, I came into existence" (by using the first person aorist egenomen instead of eimi), or perhaps more simply, 'I came into existence before Abraham.' Having said neither of these things, but rather, having chosen terms which went beyond these formulations to draw a contrast between the created and the uncreated, Jesus' words must be interpreted as a claim to eternality." (Ibid., pp. 115-116 bold emphasis ours)


The false implication is that Jesus by saying "I am" was uttering God's name which God declared to Moses in Exodus 3:14-15.

The Bible is confusing on this point because it gives three versions of God's calling Moses, and the three versions do not agree with each other. The best that can be said is that the name of God announced there is Yahweh. Compare the three versions below:

1. The Yahwist version (Exod 6:28 - 7:7) says nothing about the name of God being revealed because for the Yahwist editors the name Yahweh was already known among the Israelites. They say that this name was being used since the time of Enosh, the grandson of Adam (Genesis 4:26).

2. The priestly version (Exod 6:2-13) contradicts this by saying that this name was not known before (Exod 6:2). God's command to Moses here is

So say to the Israelites, "I am Yahweh . . ." (Exod 6:6),

and Moses repeated this to them (6:9).

3. But in the Elohist version (Exod 3:13-22) God's instruction to Moses is different:

This is what you are to say to the Israelites. "I am has sent me to you" (Exod 3:15).

It would appear from this that God's name is "I am," but it is clear upon careful study that in this passage the Elohist scribes substituted "I am" for "Yahweh" in the same instruction given in (Exod 6:6).


Shabir appeals to the Documentary Hypothesis, a theory long outdated and debunked by biblical scholarship. Let us see what happens when this same type of methodology used by Western scholars is then applied to the Quran:

"Relevant to this matter is a significant point which does not seem to have been noticed by Western scholars, namely that the word Allah does not occur in the earliest passages of the Qur'an, or does so only rarely. The relative dating of the Qur'an is, of course, a notoriously difficult matter about which Western scholars are not agreed, while few Muslims accept the Western approach to chronology. The absence of the word Allah in early surahs can be illustrated from the latest attempt to place the suras in chronological order, that of Regis Blachere in his French translation. In what he reckons to be the first seventeen surahs, the word Allah occurs only three times, namely in his seventh (91:13), his tenth (95:8) and his sixteenth (87:7); and of these, he considers the verses 91:13 and 87:7 to be later than the rest of the surah. Instead of Allah, on finds 'your Lord' (rabbuka) as in 96:1,3 or 'we' as in 94:14. The word Allah occurs, of course, in the invocation at the beginni ng of each surah, but these would be added later.

"The story of the 'satanic verses'… shows the persistence of some confusion between Allah conceived monotheistically and Allah as a 'high god.' The truth of the story cannot be doubted, since it is inconceivable that any Muslim would invent such a story, and it is inconceivable that any Muslin would accept such a story from a non-Muslim. It also appears to be vouched for by a verse from the Qur'an (22:52). Many Muslims reject the story as unworthy of Muhammad, but there is nothing unworthy of him in holding that his knowledge and understanding of his 'Lord' developed during the early years of hi prophethood as the revelation multiplied." (The History of al-Tabari Volume VI- Muhammad at Mecca, translated and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt & M.V. McDonald [State University of New York Press, Albany 1988], pp. xxxiii-xxxiv)

The editors continue to relate the story of the "satanic verses" and then make the following comment:

"The point to be emphasized is that Muhammad did not immediately appreciate that there was a contradiction between this permission for intercession and a genuine monotheism. This does not necessarily mean that he accepted the idea of the believers in Allah as 'high god' that there were other deities which could intercede with him. Some of those who heard the verses might certainly have understood them in this way, but Muhammad himself probably thought of the three goddesses as angels. It is to be noted that verse 26 of the same surah speaks of the possibility of intercession by angels: 'How many angels there are in the heavens whose intercession is of no avail save after God gives leave to those whom he chooses and accepts!' The full story of the rejection of the 'satanic verses' will never be known. What is certain is that a fresh revelation canceled them and replaced them by others. It is from this time, too, that the revelations emphasize that 'there is no deity but God' and he must be t he sole object of worship. Even the possibility that the goddesses might be angels is rejected: 'they are but names which you have named, you and your fathers' (53:23). Thus, in the end, the Qur'an decisively rejected belief in Allah as 'high god', but it is part of the background against which the accounts of Muhammad's call must be considered. (Ibid. pp. xxxiv-xxxv)

These editors claim that the term Allah was not used in the earliest Suras. They also claim that Muhammad's monotheism was evolving throughout the years. The belief in Allah as a 'high god' who had gods or angels interceding on behalf of believers was a view that Muhammad at first adopted within his framework of monotheism. It wasn't until after the 'satanic verses' had been annulled that Muhammad then completely rejects intercessors altogether.

Hence, in light of the fact that Allah was not used during the formation of the first suras we can safely assume that there were competing texts in circulation amongst the Muslims. One group opted for the use of Rabb when addressing God, whereas the other group insisted on the term Allah. This also accounts for the reason why the same story is often repeated in the Quran with variations since the competing texts described the same event differently.

A third group then came along and gathered all these conflicting texts together and edited it into one coherent piece.

Would Shabir accept this reasoning? If not, then why does he accept such liberal views on the formation of the biblical text seeing that both archaeology and the consensus of biblical scholarship have sufficiently debunked these views?

Furthermore, if the use of different names is a sign of contradiction and editing then we would have a field day with the Quran.

Sura 20:12, 14 - "Verily I am thy Lord!… Verily, I am God: There is no god but I: So serve thou Me (only), And establish regular prayer For celebrating My praise"


Sura 27:8, 9- "And Glory to God, The Lord of the Worlds. O Moses! Verily I am God, the Exalted In Might, the wise!"


Sura 28:30- "Verily I am God, the Lord of the Worlds."

We have the same story told three different times and each time God describes himself differently. Did God say "I am thy Lord… Verily I am God: There is no God but I"? Or did he say to Moses, "Verily I am God, the Exalted In Might, Wise"? Or did he actually say, "I am God, Lord of the Worlds."

Unlike the above examples from Exodus where the author is recording different episodes of Moses' encounter with God that took place on the Mount, these stories are all relating the same event at the precise moment God began speaking to Moses.

The reason why the God of the Bible uses different names at different times is to emphasize his different qualities. Interestingly, the Quran itself agrees with this:

Say: "Call upon God, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Neither speak thy Prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between." S. 17:110 Y. Ali

"Allah's are the fairest names. Invoke Him by them. And leave the company of those who blaspheme His names. They will be requited what they do. S. 7:180 Pickthall

"Allah! There is no God save Him. His are the most beautiful names." S. 20:8 Pickthall

"He is Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifieth Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise." S. 59:24 Pickthall

Finally, Glenn Miller explains the point of Exodus 6:3 that the name Yahweh was not known to the Patriarchs:

There are a few points to consider:

1. Yahweh's name was in use in Israel MUCH EARLIER than Ex 6 (162 times in Genesis, with 34 of those on the lips of speakers. It is imbedded in peoples names, such as Joshua and Jochebed)

2. in Ex 3.13f, God tells Moses to use the name 'Yahweh' on the elders of Judah, that they will recognize and listen to that name...

3. in the Ex 3 passage, however, you get the sense that God is about to 'cement' this name into the minds of his people...the passage in 15 ("the name by which i am to be remembered from generation to generation") leads us to believe something is about to happen vis-a-vis His name YHWH.

4. in the ex 6 passage, we get the difference...the 1st two verses do NOT say 'I did not make my NAME known', but rather 'I did not make MYSELF known to them AS YAHWEH'. In other words, His dealings with Abe was 'according the character of an El Shaddai' instead of 'according to the character of a YAHWEH'. (The content of the name YAHWEH was about to be revealed in the massive display of power, judgment and redemption called the EXODUS!)...

El Shaddai was a governing, protecting, covenant-making/keeping God--involved in provision, etc.---but NOTHING AS ABRUPTLY SALVIFIC as the Exodus!

The Hebrew actually has a preposition (beth) in front of the phrase El Shaddai and is technically called the BETH ESSENTIAE, with the force of focus on the character of the name...see Zond Pict. Ency. Bible, "Name": "In both instances it is the character or capacity of that name that is in view, not the bare knowledge of the name as the label for this person. Likewise, the 'name' also stood for his reputation, character, and accomplishments in doctrine and deeds." (notice how this last sentence becomes the major focus of the exodus event—"God makes a Name for Himself" as the redeemer and creator the nation of Israel.

I do not know what your reference to 'healer' is about; YAHWEH itself means only 'i am (present with you)' [best guess, the 'i am' is all we REALLY know…the context suggests that His presence with the Israelites is the issue]...or 'i exist (in contradistinction to the gods of Egypt)' [the Hebrew construction 'i am, i am' generally means 'i CERTAINLY/Definitely am'…technical term for the construction is "idem per idem"]

So, the name was known BEFORE exodus 3&6, but in the Exodus event God pours 'intense, new content' into the Phrase…"the Real and Only God, who saves and is present with His people". (Source)

Interestingly, the idea that God's name symbolizes God's attributes is something that is not foreign to Islam. In Islam, Allah has ninety-nine names which represent his ninety-nine attributes or qualities. In light of this fact, we are surprised that Shabir would even bring up this objection.

(For further comments on this issue see the following article. )


Even if God really did announce his name to be "I am" as in Exodus, chapter 3, verse 15, this still does not prove that Jesus applied the name "I am" to himself. Jesus never said his name is "I am". He is quoted as saying "Before Abraham was I am" (John 8:58).

If "I am" is Jesus' name, then we should be able to replace the "I am" in this passage with "Jesus," since these are both names of Jesus. The passage would then read as follows: "Before Abraham was, Jesus." This, of course, makes no sense because the idea that Jesus called himself "I am" is not there in the text, but it is someone's own interpretation forced into the text. Notice that we would have no difficulty replacing the "I am" in Exodus 3:15 with either "God" or "Yahweh", as follows:

This is what you are to say to the Israelites. "God has sent me to you" (Exod 3:15).

This is what you are to say to the Israelites. "Yahweh has sent me to you" (Exod 3:15).


Shabir again seemingly does not understand that names in the Holy Bible represent certain aspects of a person's nature and character. This is precisely why the NT writers applied different names to Jesus in order to emphasize different aspects of his being. For instance, the name "Jesus" represents Christ's role as Redeemer:

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

The name Jesus in Hebrew is Yeshua which means "Yahweh is salvation" or "Yahweh saves." Hence, the name alludes to Christ's function as Savior.

Matthew also applies the title "Immanuel" to Jesus:

"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 with us.'" Matthew 1:22-23

The title refers to Jesus being the visible manifestation of God's glory and power amongst his people. Hence, "Immanuel" points to the fact that in Christ God had come to visibly dwell with mankind.

Jesus did not use the phrase "I AM" as a personal name. Rather, the phrase "I AM" points to Christ's timeless existence. Christ used the title to affirm that he is an eternal Being, and as such transcends the bounds of time. This is why Jesus could precede Abraham in time, since he was already existing before Abraham ever came into being.


Another point worth paying attention to is this: the writer of the fourth gospel never believed Jesus to be God. This proves that Jesus never said he is God. Otherwise, how could it be possible that the author of the fourth gospel never knew it? He believed that the Father is the only true God, and that Jesus is the Christ and messenger of God (see John 17:3).


For a thorough refutation of Shabir's assertion that the fourth Gospel denies that Jesus Christ is God see above for citations from John as well as this article.


Furthermore, a distinction which is present in the Greek version of the Bible is lost from the English versions. In the Septuagint Greek version of the Old Testament, the phrase translated "I am" is "ho on" in the Greek. If the author of the fourth Gospel wanted to show his readers that Jesus repeated the phrase, he would no doubt have quoted Jesus as saying, "Before Abraham was, ho on." But he did not. Instead, he quoted Jesus as saying, "Before Abraham was, ego eimi." Readers of his Greek manuscript, then, would have seen that Jesus' statement in John 8:58 is different from God's statement in Exodus 3:15. And this, of course, is what the author of the fourth Gospel intended.


Shabir presumes that Jesus' use of the "I AM" in no way identifies Jesus as Yahweh. We have already shown how the phrase points to Jesus' timeless existence. This alone proves that Jesus is Yahweh, since Yahweh alone is eternal.

Furthermore, although Jesus' use of "I AM" does not directly tie in with the Greek version of Exodus 3:14-15, it does however tie in with the "I AM" statements of Isaiah:

"Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called: I am he (ani hu); I am the First, and I am the Last." Isaiah 48:12 NRSV

That the phrase "I AM" in Isaiah implies Deity can be clearly seen in the following verses:

"Now then, listen, you wanton creature (i.e. Babylon), lounging in your security and saying to yourself, 'I AM (Greek Septuagint- ego eimi), and there is none besides me'… You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, 'No one sees me.' Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, `I AM, and there is none besides me.'" Isaiah 47:8, 10

God rebukes Babylon for claiming to be the "I AM", believing herself to be a God like Yahweh. Hence, the "I AM" is used to denote absolute Deity and sovereignty, being used as a synonym for Yahweh.

Interestingly, in one place Isaiah uses the phrase "I AM" to contrast God's ability to proclaim the future with the inability of the false gods in doing likewise:

"All the nations are gathered together, and princes shall be gathered out of them: who will declare these things? or who will declare to you things from the beginning? Let them bring forth their witnesses, and be justified; and let them hear, and declare the truth. Be ye my witnesses, and I too am witness, saith the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I AM (Greek- ego eimi): before me there was no God, and after me there shall be none. I am God: and beside me there is no Saviour. I have declared, and have saved; I have reproached, and there was no strange god among you: ye are my witnesses, and I am the Lord God, even from the beginning; and there is none that can deliver out of my hands: I will work, and who shall turn it back?" Isaiah 43:9-13 LXX

Compare this to what Jesus tells his disciples:

"I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I AM (Greek- ego eimi)." John 13:19


Furthermore, the Syriac Peshitta version of the Bible, one of the old versions of the Bible, reads in John 8:58, "Before Abraham was, I was." Was this changed from what the author wrote? How can we know? Suppose this was the original phrase, then those who rest their case on the common rendering will be disappointed on the Day of Judgement.


Shabir tries to argue the possibility that the passage in John 8:58 was changed due to the fact that an English translation of the Syriac version of the NT reads differently. Yet, Shabir fails to tell his readers that the Syriac does not differ from the Greek at this point. The difference lies in the decision of the translator of the Peshitta to translate the verb in the past tense as opposed to the present tense. This is nothing more than a smokescreen attempt by Shabir to mislead readers into believing that a scribe(s) changed the text of John 8:58 from its original reading.

Finally, even the English rendering of the Peshitta affirms that Jesus existed before Abraham ever came into being! Hence, no matter what translation one looks at Jesus' point still comes out crystal clear.


Why not rest our case on a much more plain verse of the Bible — one in which Jesus clearly differentiates between himself and God? Take this one for example, where Jesus says to his enemies:

You are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God" (John 8:31).

Who is Jesus then? A man who told the truth which he heard from God. In other words, he was a messenger of God. When a clear statement like this is issued from the lips of Jesus, why wrangle with the passages that are not so clear, and try to twist them to mean the opposite of what Jesus has been saying in other clear verses all along?


The problem is not in the Christian understanding of the person of Christ since we believe all of Jesus' words. Christians wholeheartedly believe that Jesus is fully man. Yet, we also believe Jesus when he claims to be fully God as well.

The problem is with Shabir since his theology can only allow for a human Jesus to emerge from the pages of the NT. Yet, the Holy Scriptures will not allow for a human Jesus to emerge from its pages. That is why Shabir must go out of his way to twist the clear scriptural witness to the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Anyone who wishes to convince himself/herself that Jesus is God should look for clear evidence in the Bible to show that Jesus is God. But the clear evidence is to the contrary. The Bible teaches again and again that Jesus is not God, but a Servant of God (e.g. Matthew 12:18).


Anyone who wishes to convince himself/herself that Jesus is not God should look for clear evidence in the Bible to show that Jesus is not God. But the clear evidence is to the contrary. The Bible teaches again and again that Jesus is God the Son who willfully took on the form of a servant, while never ceasing to exist in the very essence and form of God:

"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:6-8

The late NT Scholar William Barclay states:

"… It is not doubtful that Paul thought of Jesus Christ in terms of God. He says of Jesus that he was in the form of God. (Phil. 2:6). He then goes on to say that Jesus was found in human form (Phil. 2:8, RSV), where the AV renders that he was found in fashion as a man. The RSV somewhat misleadingly translates two Greek words by the English word form, whereas the AV correctly distinguishes between them. In the first instance the word is morphe, which means the unchanging and unchangeable essential nature of a thing; the second word is schema, which means the changing and altering external form of a person or a thing. For instance, a man has always the unchanging morphe of manhood; that is what he essentially is; but he will have different schemata, different outward forms, in babyhood, childhood, youth, maturity and old age. A tulip, a rose, a chrysanthemum, a marigold, a daffodil, a delphinium all have the same morphe, the same essential nature, for they are all flowers; but they have very different outward schemata, outward forms. Paul says that Jesus was in the morphe of God; that is to say, the essential nature of Jesus is the same as the essential nature of God; but he says that Jesus was found in the schema of a man; that is to say, he temporarily took the form of manhood upon him. The NEB renders the Greek well here. In translating the word morphe it renders the passage: 'The divine nature was his from the first.' In translating the word schema it says that he was 'revealed in human shape.' This passage leaves us in no doubt that Paul believed that the nature of Jesus is the nature of God." (Barclay, Jesus As They Saw Him [Eerdmans Publishing Company; Grand Rapids MI, rpt. 1998], pp. 27-28)

Hence, according to the NT Jesus always existed in the nature of God, yet only became a servant when taking on 'human shape.'


In the very next chapter of John, chapter 9, v.35, Jesus declares that he is the son of man (RSV). And anyone who knows the Bible as the Israelites to whom Jesus spoke will know that a son of man cannot be God. The Bible declares that God is neither a man nor a son of man (Numbers 23:19).


We agree with Shabir that a son of man can never be God, nor is God a son of man by nature. Yet the eternal God can become a son of man without ceasing to be God. This is precisely what happened at the Incarnation, namely that God the Son took upon himself the nature of man without ceasing to be God.


How can he be called clean that is born of a woman? Behold even the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm? (Job 25:4-6)


The Holy Bible answers the question posed in the book of Job:

"In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, 'Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.' Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 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.' 'How will this be,' Mary asked the angel, 'since I am a virgin?' The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. SO THE HOLY ONE TO BE BORN WILL BE CALLED THE SON OF GOD.'" Luke 1:26-35

The only way for one born of a woman to be holy before God is if he were born supernaturally of a virgin by the Holy Spirit of God. Since Jesus alone was conceived supernaturally by the Holy Spirit to the virgin Mary, he alone amongst the sons of men can be called Holy.

This ends part one. Part two to follow shortly, Lord Jesus willing.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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