Jesus is Lord Indeed! Pt. 2
We resume our discussion by examining the NT teaching concerning Christ against the backdrop of the teachings of the OT and the beliefs which the Jews held during the second temple period.
We saw in our previous discussion that Jesus and his followers taught that David was inspired by the Holy Spirit to acknowledge and confess that Christ is his Lord who sits enthroned in heaven at God’s right hand. We also saw how the first Christians such as Peter went around proclaiming that Jesus is Lord of all.
However, according to the Hebrew Bible it is Yahweh who is David’s Lord:
“[A writing of David.] Keep me, O Lord; for I have hoped in you. I said to the Lord, You are my Lord; for you have no need of my goodness.” Psalm 15[Eng. 16]:1-2 LXX
And Yahweh is the One who sits enthroned on high in heaven over all creation:
“The Lord has prepared his throne in the heaven; and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, all you his angels, mighty in strength, who perform his bidding, [ready] to hearken to the voice of his words. Bless the Lord, all you his hosts; [you] ministers of his that do his will.” Psalm 102[Eng. 103]:19-21
“Who is as the Lord our God? who dwells in the high places (en hypselois),” Psalm 112[Eng. 113]:5 LXX
[For David, when his land is established.] The Lord reigns, let the earth exult, let many islands rejoice… The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth… Let all that worship graven images be ashamed, who boast of their idols; worship him, all you his angels… For you are Lord most high over all the earth; you are greatly exalted above all gods.” Psalm 96:1, 5, 7 LXX
Moreover, according to the various strands of Judaism of the second temple period, the phrase “Lord of all” was a title used for God. This is confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls:
4.For who can announce and who can speak and who can recount my deeds? The Lord of all saw, the God of all–he heard and listened. Psalm 151A
23. blessing the Lord of All...(The Dead Sea Scrolls Genesis Apocryphon, Column 5)
1. great. vacat Then [I] blessed the Lord of all, who from me… and kept safe… The Dead Sea Genesis Apocryphon, Column 9
5[and bless His name. Praise and bless] on the day of remembrance with a blast 6[on the ram's horn. Bless the Lor]d of all. Praise 7[and bless… and bles]s His holy name. 8[… and bles]s the Lord of all. (4Q409, Column 1)
9[…] 10[…] God Most High not […] 11[…] which there is above them, and… 12[…] the lord of all, he who establishes judges […] 4Q552, Frag. 2
And by the first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus:
6. But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy, Judas the Galilean was the author. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. And since this immovable resolution of theirs is well known to a great many, I shall speak no further about that matter; nor am I afraid that any thing I have said of them should be disbelieved, but rather fear, that what I have said is beneath the resolution they show when they undergo pain. And it was in Gessius Florus's time that the nation began to grow mad with this distemper, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans. And these are the sects of Jewish philosophy. (Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII, CHAPTER 1. HOW CYRENIUS WAS SENT BY CAESAR TO MAKE A TAXATION OF SYRIA AND JUDEA; AND HOW COPONIUS WAS SENT TO BE PROCURATOR OF JUDEA; CONCERNING JUDAS OF GALILEE AND CONCERNING THE SECTS THAT WERE AMONG THE JEWS)
2… When the messenger had delivered this his message, Izates replied that he knew the king of Parthia's power was much greater than his own; but that he knew also that God was much more powerful than all men. And when he had returned him this answer, he betook himself to make supplication to God, and threw himself upon the ground, and put ashes upon his head, in testimony of his confusion, and fasted, together with his wives and children. Then he called upon God, and said, "O Lord and Governor, if I have not in vain committed myself to thy goodness, but have justly determined that thou only art the Lord and principal of all beings (ton panton… monon kai proton hegemai Kyrion, "I have considered you the first and only Lord of all"), come now to my assistance, and defend me from my enemies, not only on my own account, but on account of their insolent behavior with regard to thy power, while they have not feared to lift up their proud and arrogant tongue against thee." Thus did he lament and bemoan himself, with tears in his eyes; whereupon God heard his prayer. (Antiquities of the Jews, Book XX, CHAPTER 4. HOW IZATES WAS BETRAYED BY HIS OWN SUBJECTS, AND FOUGHT AGAINST BY THE ARABIANS AND HOW IZATES, BY THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD, WAS DELIVERED OUT OF THEIR HANDS)
Hence, the earliest followers of Christ were taking the very titles and functions of Yahweh and ascribing them to their risen Lord!
In fact, noted NT scholar Richard Bauckham explains that placing someone on God’s heavenly throne not only meant that the individual shared in God’s exclusive rule over all things, but also implied that he was being included within God’s unique identity.
Bauckham proceeds to show that this is exactly what the earliest Christians proclaimed about Jesus when they took passages such as Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13-14 and used them to explain what had happened to Christ after his death and resurrection.
5.1 Psalm 110:1: the key text
EARLY Christian theology developed mainly through the exegesis of the Scriptures, which was both traditional in method, pursued with the exegetical expertise of Jewish learned exegesis, and frequently novel in its results, since it was deployed to interpret events, understood as decisive eschatological acts of the God of Israel, which did not neatly conform to any existing Jewish expectation. One remarkable datum in the exegetical development of EARLY Christology is that verse 1 of Psalm 110 is the verse of the Hebrew Scriptures to which christological allusion is most often made in Early Christian literature. Clear allusions to it occur across a very wide range of the literature from the first hundred years of the Christian movement (SYNOPTIC GOSPELS, Acts, major Pauline letters, Ephesians, Colossians, Hebrews, 1 Peter, Revelation, Longer Ending of Mark, 1 Clement, Polycarp, Barnabas, epistle of the Apostles, Apocalypse of Peter, Ascension of Isaiah, Apocryphon of James). Within the New Testament itself, there are twenty such quotations or allusions. Impressive is not only the widespread use of this verse, but also the fact that motifs associated with its interpretation and links made between this verse and other scriptural texts recur in various, otherwise unrelated, Christian writings, which must therefore reflect underlying traditions of interpretation of this verse. There are probably kerygmatic or confessional formulations, of a relatively though not completely fixed character, reflected in some of the texts, which can make even a late text such as Polycarp Phil. 2:1 useful evidence for understanding earlier developments. It is very clear that Psalm 110:1 was not only cited, but also interpreted with care, BOTH VERY EARLY AND VERY WIDELY IN THE EARLY CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT. Texts with which it was often linked in interpretation are Psalm 8:6 AND DANIEL 7:13-14. It is notable that it is in conjunction with Psalm 110:1 that these other texts play their principal roles in the New Testament. They facilitated the Christian reading of the key text AS REFERRING TO JESUS’ PARTICIPATION IN PRECISELY GOD’S COSMIC RULE OVER ALL THINGS. (Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel – God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity [William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI/ Cambridge, U.K. 2008], p. 173; bold emphasis ours)
2.3 Psalm 110:1 in early Christology
EARLY Christian theology, like other Jewish theology of the period, proceeded primarily by exegesis of the Hebrew Scriptures. Creative exegesis of the Scriptures was the principal medium in which EARLY Christians developed even the most novel aspects of their thought, a point of which we shall have to take much notice especially in later parts of this chapter. But the point is important now, because the participation of Jesus in the unique divine sovereignty was understood primarily by reference to one key Old Testament text (Ps. 110:1) and other texts brought into exegetical relationship with it. Psalm 110:1 (LXX 109:1) is the Old Testament text to which the New Testament most often alludes (twenty-one quotations or allusions scattered) across most of the New Testament writings, with the Johannine literature the one notable exception)…
The verse certainly does not have to be read as meaning that the person referred to as ‘my Lord’ (the Messiah) is seated on the divine throne itself and exercises the divine sovereignty over the cosmos. It could, for example, be read to mean simply that the Messiah is given a position of honour as a favoured subject beside the divine throne, where he sits inactively awaiting the inauguration of his rule on earth. This is how some of the rabbis later read it. It is quite clear, however, that EARLY Christians read it differently: AS PLACING JESUS ON THE DIVINE THRONE ITSELF, EXERCISING GOD'S OWN RULE OVER ALL THINGS. The point is sometimes made by combining the verse with Psalm 8:6… Nowhere in early Judaism is it applied to one of the exalted heavenly figures – angels or patriarchs – who occupy important places in heaven now or in the future. Nowhere is it applied to the Messiah, who is never, of course, supposed in early Jewish expectation to rule the cosmos from heaven, but only to be a ruler on earth. The messianic interpretation of the royal psalms in general would lead us to expect that, when Jews of the Second Temple period did interpret Psalm 110, they would apply it to the Messiah. But its absence from the literature shows that had no importance for them, whereas for EARLY Christians it was of key importance. The difference simply reflects the fact that EARLY Christians used this text to say something about Jesus which Second Temple Jewish literature is not interested in saying about anyone: THAT HE PARTICIPATES IN THE UNIQUE DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY OVER ALL THINGS. (Ibid, pp. 21-22; capital emphasis ours)
5. Jesus on the heavenly throne of God
When New Testament Christology is read within the context of the understanding of the Second Temple Jewish monotheism we have sketched, it can be readily seen that EARLY Christians applied to Jesus all the well-established and well-recognized characteristics of the unique divine identity in order, quite clearly and precisely, TO INCLUDE JESUS IN THE UNIQUE IDENTITY OF THE ONE GOD OF ISRAEL. Primary among these characteristics was the unique sovereignty over all things. From the EARLIEST post-Easter Christology that we can trace, Jesus’ exaltation was understood AS HIS SHARING THE DIVINE RULE OVER THE COSMOS. Other uniquely divine characteristics followed logically and SWIFTLY, notably Jesus’ participation in the work of creation. Worship of Jesus, as his inclusion in the monotheistic worship DUE EXCLUSIVELY TO THE ONE GOD, followed as the NECESSARY recognition of his inclusion in the divine identity, again primarily in recognition of HIS EXERCISE OF THE UNIQUE DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY FROM THE HEAVENLY THRONE OF GOD. In the present context, we must restrict our interest to the main features of the New Testament’s understanding of Jesus’ exaltation to the divine throne. (Ibid, p. 172; capital and underline emphasis ours)
“… Psalm 110:1, perhaps the most foundational text for the whole configuration, was a novel choice, evidence of the exegetical and theological (the two are inextricable) novelty of THE EARLIEST CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT. The explanation of its role in EARLY Christology, contrasted with its absence from Second Temple Jewish literature, is that, FOR EARLY CHRISTIANS, it said about Jesus what no other Jews had wished to say about the Messiah or any other figure: that he had been exalted by God TO PARTICIPATE NOW IN THE COSMIC SOVEREIGNTY UNIQUE TO THE DIVINE IDENTITY.” (Ibid, p. 175; capital emphasis ours)
Bauckham further asserts that by including Jesus in the unique divine identity meant that the earliest Christians were placing the risen Christ on the divine side of the Creator/creature divide:
5.3. Divine sovereignty over all things
That it is on God’s own heavenly throne itself, the throne of glory, that Jesus sits beside God is explicit in some of the texts (Heb. 8:1; 12:2; Rev. 3:21; 5:6; 7:17; 22:3) and should probably be assumed for all. Partly with the exegetical help of Psalm 8:6, this participation in God’s cosmic rule is frequently expressed by the formulae ‘all things’ or ‘heaven and earth’ (or fuller cosmic formulae) or, for emphasis, both. This language, constantly used of God’s relationship with his creation in Second Temple Jewish texts, is significant because IT IS THE WAY THAT JEWISH MONOTHEISM DISTINGUISHES GOD FROM ALL OTHER REALITY (‘all things’), AS CREATOR AND RULER OF ALL. By including Jesus in the full cosmic scope of God’s sovereignty, New Testament terminology places Jesus CLEARLY ON THE DIVINE SIDE OF THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN GOD AND ‘ALL THINGS.’ While Daniel 7:14 and Psalm 2:8 provided the basis for thinking of a universal rule on earth of the Messiah (Sib. Or. 5:416; 1 En. 62:6), it is the cosmic scope of Christ’s sovereignty which places it in that unique category which his enthronement on the divine throne in the highest heaven symbolizes. OF NO PRINCIPAL ANGEL OR EXALTED HUMAN IN SECOND TEMPLE JEWISH TEXTS IS IT SAID THAT HE HAS AUTHORITY OVER ALL THINGS OR OVER HEAVEN AND EARTH.
Another way in which the fully cosmic rule of the exalted Christ is stressed is by reference to the subjection of all the heavenly powers to him. The texts portray the submission both of the rebellious angelic powers (1 Cor. 15:24-28; Ascen. Isa. 11:23) and of the obedient ones (Eph. 1:20-21; 1 Pet. 3:22; Ascen. Isa. 11:24-32; cf. Rev. 5:11-14; Ep. Apos. 3). It is noteworthy that specific ranks of angels are those in high authority in the heavens: ‘principalities’ (archai: 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21), ‘authorities’ (exousiai: 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; 1 Pet. 3:22), ‘powers’ (dunameis: Eph. 1:21; 1 Peter 3:22) and ‘dominions’ (kuriotetes: Eph. 1:21). (Ibid., pp. 176-177; capital and underline emphasis ours)
“The EARLY Christian movement, very consciously using this Jewish theological framework, created a kind of christological monotheism by understanding Jesus TO BE INCLUDED IN THE UNIQUE IDENTITY OF THE ONE GOD OF ISRAEL. Probably the earliest expression of this to which we have access – AND IT WAS CERTAINLY IN USE VERY EARLY IN THE FIRST CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY’S HISTORY – was the understanding of Jesus’ exaltation in terms of Psalm 110:1. Jesus, seated on the cosmic throne of God in heaven as the one who will achieve the eschatological lordship of God and in whom the unique sovereignty of the one God will be acknowledged by all, IS INCLUDED IN THE UNIQUE RULE OF GOD OVER ALL THINGS, AND IS THUS PLACED UNAMBIGUOUSLY ON THE DIVINE SIDE OF THE ABSOLUTE DISTINCTION THAT SEPARATES THE ONLY SOVEREIGN ONE FROM ALL CREATION. God’s rule over all things defines who God is: IT CANNOT BE DELEGATED AS A MERE FUNCTION TO A CREATURE. Thus THE EARLIEST CHRISTOLOGY WAS ALREADY in nuce THE HIGHEST CHRISTOLOGY. All that remained was to work consistently through what it could mean for Jesus to belong INTEGRALLY to the unique identity of the one God. EARLY Christian interest was primarily in soteriology and eschatology, the concerns of the gospel, and so, in the New Testament, it is primarily as sharing or implementing God’s eschatological lordship that Jesus is understood TO BELONG TO THE IDENTITY OF GOD…” (Ibid, 6. Paul's Christology of divine identity, p. 184)
Islamic theology itself agrees that God alone reigns over all creation and that no creature is allowed to share in God’s unique rule over all things:
Indeed, the truth deny they who say, "Behold, God is the Christ, son of Mary." Say: "And who could have prevailed with God in any way had it been His will to destroy the Christ, son of Mary, and his mother, and everyone who is on earth - all of them? For, God's is the dominion over the heavens and the earth and all that is between them; He creates what He wills: and God has the power to will anything!" And [both] the Jews and the Christians say, "We are God's children, and His beloved ones." Say: "Why, then, does He cause you to suffer for your sins? Nay, you are but human beings of His creating. He forgives whom He wills, and He causes to suffer whom He wills: for God's is the dominion over the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and with Him is all journeys' end." S. 5:17-18 Muhammad Asad
And say, 'Praise belongs to God, who has not taken to Himself a son, and has not had a partner in His kingdom, nor had a patron against (such) abasement.' And magnify Him greatly! S. 17:111 Y. Ali
This is known as tauhid al-rububiyyah.
Moreover, to say that Allah has taken a creature to be his partner in ruling over all things, or in running the affairs of creation, is to commit the unpardonable sin of association, otherwise known as shirk:
VERILY, God does not forgive the ascribing of divinity to aught beside Him, although He forgives any lesser sin unto whomever He wills: for he who ascribes divinity to aught beside God has indeed contrived an awesome sin. S. 4:48 Asad – cf. 4:16; 2:22
Williams is now faced with a major problem since the Quran asserts that Jesus’ disciples were all Muslims:
Then when 'Iesa (Jesus) came to know of their disbelief, he said: "Who will be my helpers in Allah's Cause?" Al-Hawariun (the disciples) said: "We are the helpers of Allah; we believe in Allah, and bear witness that we are Muslims (i.e. we submit to Allah)." S. 3:52 Hilali-Khan
And when I (Allah) put in the hearts of Al-Hawarieen (the disciples) [of 'Iesa (Jesus)] to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: "We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims." S. 5:111 Hilali-Khan
If this were true then that means that none of the disciples would have ever gone around proclaiming that Christ ascended into heaven after his resurrection to rule the entire creation from God’s very own throne since this would be a clear violation of tauhid al-rububiyyah (assuming, of course, that Jesus is nothing more than a mere creature).
However, according to the very scholars which Williams is constantly parroting around such as Dunn, all the evidence conclusively proves that this is exactly what Jesus’ disciples preached!
According to scholars like Dunn, the first Christians believed that Jesus died on the cross to make atonement for sins, that he had been raised from the dead, that he ascended to heaven to sit on God’s own throne in order to reign over all creation as Lord, and that they would all call on his name in their prayers and worship. None of these beliefs agree with the teachings of the Quran or the traditions of Muhammad.
How the Apostle Paul managed to trump Allah by overcoming his will!
But it gets worse for Williams. Williams seems to not realize that by saying that Paul really invented Christianity he is pretty much condemning the Quran which says that Allah promised Jesus that his followers would be victorious and become dominant from the moment of Christ’s ascension into heaven until the day of resurrection:
Lo! God said: "O Jesus! Verily, I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto Me, and cleanse thee of [the presence of] those who are bent on denying the truth; and I shall place those who follow thee [far] ABOVE those who are bent on denying the truth, UNTO THE DAY OF RESURRECTION. In the end, unto Me you all must return, and I shall judge between you with regard to all on which you were wont to differ.” S. 3:55 Asad
Here is how another version renders this text:
Behold! God said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee SUPERIOR to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.” Yusuf Ali
The Islamic scripture claims that Allah kept his promise since he made sure that the followers of Christ prevailed over the disbelievers:
O YOU who have attained to faith! Be helpers [in the cause of God - even as Jesus, the son of Mary, said unto the white-garbed ones, "Who will be my helpers in God's cause?" - whereupon the white-garbed [disciples] replied, "We shall be [thy] helpers [in the cause] of God!" And so [it happened that] some of the children of Israel came to believe [in the apostleship of Jesus], whereas others denied the truth. But [now] We have given strength against their foes unto those who have [truly] attained to faith: AND THEY HAVE BECOME THE ONES THAT SHALL PREVAIL. S. 61:14 Asad
This either means that Allah lied since he had no intention in keeping his promise to Jesus, which is why he allowed Paul to come in and sabotage Christ’s message by having “Pauline Christianity” prevail over the teachings of the disciples. Or Allah is impotent since a finite creature was able to thwart Allah’s will for Jesus and his followers!
Or Williams must accept the fact that Paul was a true Apostle whom God used to spread Jesus’ message all over the then known world. In fact, this was the position of some of Islam’s earliest and greatest scholars and historians:
“Yazid b. Abu Habib al-Misri told me that he found a document in which was a memorandum (T. the names) of those the apostle sent to the countries and kings of the Arabs and non-Arabs and what he said to his companions when he sent them. I sent it to Muhammad b. Shihab al-Zuhri (T. with a trusty countryman of his) and he recognized it. It contained the statement that the apostle went out to his companions and said: ‘God has sent me (Muhammad) to all men, so take a message from me, God have mercy on you. Do not hang back from me as the disciples hung back from Jesus son of Mary. They asked how they hung back and he said, ‘He called them to a task similar to that which I have called you. Those who had to go a short journey were pleased and accepted. Those who had a long journey before them were displeased and refused to go, and Jesus complained of them to God. (T. From that very night) every one of them was able to speak the language of the people to whom he was sent.' (T. Jesus said, ‘This is a thing that God has determined that you should do, so go.’
“Those whom Jesus son of Mary sent, both disciples and those who came after them, in the land were: Peter the disciple AND PAUL WITH HIM, (PAUL BELONGED TO THE FOLLOWERS AND WAS NOT A DISCIPLE) to Rome. Andrew and Matthew to the land of the cannibals; Thomas to the land of Babel, which is in the land of the east; Philip to Carthage and Africa; John to Ephesus the city of the young men of the cave; James to Jerusalem which is Aelia the city of the sanctuary; Bartholomew to Arabia which is the land of Hijaz; Simon to the land of Berbers; Judah who was not one of the disciples was put in place of Judas" (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 653)
This same tradition is cited by al-Qurtubi in his commentary on Q. 61:14:
It was said that THIS VERSE was revealed about the apostles of Jesus, may peace and blessing be upon him. Ibn Ishaq stated that of the apostles and disciples that Jesus sent (to preach) there were Peter AND PAUL who went to Rome; Andrew and Matthew who went to the land of the cannibals; Thomas who went to Babel in the eastern lands; Philip who went to Africa… Allah supported them (the apostles) with evidence so that they prevailed (thahirin) meaning they became the party with the upper hand. Just as it is said, “An object appeared on the wall” meaning it is clearly visible (alu-wat) on the wall. Allah, who is glorified and exalted, knows the truth better and to Him is the return and retreat. (Translated by Dimitrius; bold and capital emphasis ours)
It is also quoted by al-Tabari with approval:
“Among the apostles, and the followers who came after them were the Apostle Peter and Paul who was a follower and not an apostle; they went to Rome. Andrew and Matthew were sent to the country whose people are man-eaters, a land of blacks, we think; Thomas was sent to Babylonia in the east, Philip to Qayrawan (and) Carthage, that is, North Africa. John went to Ephesus, the city of the youths of the cave, and James to Jerusalem, that is, Aelia. Bartholomew was sent to Arabia, namely, the Hijaz; Simeon to the land of the Berbers in Africa. Judas was not then an apostle, so his place was taken by Ariobus. He filled in for Judas Iscariot after the latter had perpetrated his deed.” (The History of Al-Tabari: The Ancient Kingdoms, translated by Moshe Perlmann [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1987], Volume IV, p. 123; bold emphasis ours)
The translator explains what al-Tabari meant that Paul was not an apostle:
317. In Islamic terms the messengers or apostles pave the new path. Their work is continued by the tabi'un, the followers, members of the next generations, who lead the Faithful. (Ibid)
Al-Tabari even lists Paul as one of those martyred for the faith!
“Abu Ja'far says: They assert that after Tiberius, Palestine and other parts of Syria were ruled by Gaius, son of Tiberius, for four years. He was succeeded by another son, Claudius, for fourteen years, following which Nero ruled for fourteen years. He slew Peter and crucified Paul head down. For four months Botlaius [Vittelius] ruled thereafter. Then Vespasian, father of Titus whom he sent to Jerusalem, ruled for ten years. Three years after his rise to power, forty years after the ascension of Jesus, Vespasian sent Titus to Jerusalem. Titus destroyed it and slew numerous Israelites in his wrath over the fate of Christ…” (Ibid, p. 126)
Yet even this position creates problems for Williams. Paul (as well as the first disciples of Christ) taught that Jesus is the risen Lord who died for our sins and rose from the dead to reign over all creation from God’s own throne, which means that Muhammad is a false prophet since he denied all these truths.
Hence, all of the evidence points in one direction: Islam is a false religion, the Islamic deity is a false god, and Muhammad was one of the antichrists which the first Christians warned would come into the world to mislead people away from the truth of Christ:
“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23
In light of the foregoing, the only options left for Williams is to either accept the conclusions of his own scholars, and therefore accept Jesus as his risen Lord and Savior, or become an agnostic. Remaining a Muslim is NOT an option since this would only expose Williams’ inconsistencies and dishonesty.
After all, to continue believing Islam would not only show that Williams doesn’t even believe what his own scholars have to say concerning early Christian beliefs and practices, it would also demonstrate that he doesn’t bother to apply the same criticisms and objections to the Quran or the traditions attributed to Muhammad.
It is time for Williams to accept the truth and so we invite him to bow the knee to Jesus and confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the Father, since this is the inevitable destiny that God has decreed for all creation:
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, AND THAT EVERY TONGUE WILL CONFESS that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
For more information on the early Islamic view of Paul being a true Christian whom God used to spread the true message of Jesus we recommend the following articles: