Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

If Jesus has it all then where does this leave the Father?

Sam Shamoun


Since Christians believe that Matthew 28:18 teaches that Jesus literally has all authority in heaven and on earth then they must contend with the fact that this means that the Father has no authority whatsoever. After all, if Jesus has it all then this leaves the Father with absolutely nothing.(1)


The simple answer is that the Father did not cease having authority when he handed it over to the Son, but rather exercises all authority through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. By granting the Son complete authority over all things the Father did not subject himself to his Son nor did he relinquish his own sovereignty. Jesus’ language simply means that he shares fully and completely in his Father’s perfect rule over the entire creation. As the blessed and inspired Apostle Paul put it:  

“Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ‘For God has put ALL THINGS in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says, ‘All things are put in subjection under him,’ it is plain that he [God] is excepted who put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son will subject himself who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one.” 1 Corinthians 15:24-28

Here, Paul notes that the time will come when Christ will hand the kingdom over to his Father by destroying every hostile rule, power and authority in existence. What Paul means by this is that the time will come where all the kingdoms and authorities that oppose God will be completely abolished and God’s reign will be fully established over the entire creation. For now, even though God rules over the kingdoms of men he has permitted the existence of powers and authorities that oppose his will to flourish for a season. 

Paul also refers to God placing everything under Jesus’s feet, with the exception of himself, language which clearly echoes the following OT texts:  

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have established; what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you do care for him? Yet you have made him little less than God, and did crown him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the sea.” Psalm 8:3-7

“The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.’” Psalm 110:1

These next passages make it more obvious that Paul had references such as Psalm 110:1 in view: 

“and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:19-23

“Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:34

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority… If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 2:9-10, 3:1

Nor is this an exclusively Pauline teaching since both Christ and the other disciples often appealed to Psalm 110:1 when speaking of the Lord Jesus’ enthronement over creation:  

“Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, ‘What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet”? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?’ And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions.” Matthew 22:41-45

“And the high priest said to him, ‘I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” Matthew 26:63b-64

“Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies a stool for your feet.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Acts 2:29-36

“But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’” Acts 5:29-32

“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

“In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and is the exact imprint/representation of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… But to what angel has he ever said, ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies a stool for your feet’?” Hebrews 1:1-3

“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord.” Hebrews 8:1-2

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.” Hebrews 10:12-13

“looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22

It is obvious from the foregoing that being seated at the right hand of God the Father doesn’t mean that Christ has usurped the Father’s authority but that he fully participates in God’s exclusive rule over all things. In essence, to say that Jesus reigns at God’s right hand pretty much means that the risen and exalted Lord shares in his Father’s sovereign rule over all creation and reigns from the very throne of God himself. The language is intended to depict God and Christ seated alongside each other as they rule over the entire creation forever.

The risen Lord Jesus himself told his beloved disciple John that he sits on his Father’s very own throne:

“He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:21

Therefore, what Jesus' words in Matthew 28:18 imply is that both the Father and the Son share the same eternal kingdom and reign over all things together, precisely what the following passages proclaim:

“Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Ephesians 5:5

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.’” Revelation 11:15

“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” Revelation 12:10

And since both Father and the Son share the same kingdom this explains why the Lord Jesus in Matthew could speak of God the Father’s kingdom and his own kingdom:

“… Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.’” Matthew 21:31b

“He answered, ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” Matthew 13:37-43

“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:27-28

“Then the mother of the sons of Zeb'edee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’” Matthew 20:20-23

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.’” Matthew 26:26-29

As well as refer to God’s throne and his own throne:

“Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply `Yes' or `No'; anything more than this comes from evil.” Matthew 5:33-37

“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 23:20-22

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’” Matthew 19:28

“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;’” Matthew 25:31-34

In conclusion, the formulation of Matthew 28:18 concerning Jesus receiving all authority over all creation poses no problem for Trinitarians since it doesn’t cancel out the Father’s authority or his sovereignty over all things. According to the inspired teachings of the NT the Son shares completely in his Father’s rule over the entire creation and therefore indicates that the kingdom/throne of the One is the kingdom/throne of the Other. So much for this objection.


(1) This particular objection was adapted from an article written by Muslim polemicist Sami Zaatari (*). As we have stated countless number of times, Zaatari has no shame in deliberately distorting and misrepresenting what the Holy Bible teaches and what orthodox Christians have always believed. His arguments go from bad to worse.