Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

Did Jesus Claim Divinity IV : Titles of Jesus


In this segment, Dr. Badawi continues to use [mostly] Jehovah's Witness arguments to undermine the claim that Jesus is divine and that He is the Son of God. He cites many Bible passages in his attempt to "prove" that terms such as the son of God, Lord, Messiah, son of man, and perfection have referred to other people in the Bible as well as to Jesus and, therefore, do not prove divinity.

Host: Some suggest that we are all children of God in the allegorical sense. Some claim that there is a special or different relationship in the sonship of Jesus to God. The Bible refers to Him as the only begotten Son of God.

Jamal Badawi: John 3:16 is a very famous statement. For nearly 2000 years it has been one of the most frequently quoted verses, and in the past, many theologians insisted that Jesus was begotten not made, that He was divine. Check the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, you will notice in the footnote that other ancient authorities do not include the term begotten. In fact, in the RSV it simply says the only Son of God and the term begotten is dropped. The term begotten was dropped. The term begotten would not have been dropped had it not been for the discovery made by the Biblical scholars that occurred when this word was not authentic. But only if you take the word only son, it makes a big difference. One must understand the context of the Bible cannot be taken literally, saying that others who are called the son of God are different. Because in the Bible, Abraham was called the first born son of God, Moses was also the don God, or my first born, Israel and David, were called the first born sons of God. If we take it literally, we are in an impossible situation, they all cannot be first born.

Dr. Badawi is very excited that the RSV edition drops the word "begotten" and says:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The key term here, which is often made into an issue by the Jehovah's Witnesses, and Muslims who borrow their arguments, is the Greek word "monogenes". The Greek manuscripts of John 3:16 are consistent. The word "begotten" is one of English translations of the Greek word "monogenes" which means "only", or "one of a kind" and the scholars are debating whether it also can mean "only begotten". For a detailed discussion see this dictionary entry. Jesus is called God's "only Son" in any case.

Host: What does the title Lord mean?

Jamal Badawi: If we take the term and equate it to divinity, the British Parliament is full of Gods because they are Lords. The term Lord means human master. In the Hebrew tradition, it refers to a teacher. When we talk about Lord as equal to divinity, we are talking about the one and only Lord of the Universe and that is God. The fact that Jesus was called Lord has nothing to do with divinity.

Once again, we need to look at the context. The logic used by Badawi and the Jehovah's Witnesses are (premise a) the title "Lord" is used to refer to men; (premise b) the Lord Jesus used this title - therefore, the Lord Jesus is a man. This logic is highly flawed. As Dr. Badawi mentioned, the term "Lord" can be used to refer to Jesus and as a title of peerage in the United Kingdom. Lord also refers to God, as Jesus used the term in Luke 4:18-21:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

The fact that the term"Lord" is used to refer to Jesus does not negate His divinity, the term actually proves His divinity when read in context. How does the Bible use the term "Lord" (or kurios in Greek) to refer to Jesus?

According to Matthew 12:8, Jesus claimed to be the Lord of the Sabbath:

For the Son of Man is Lord (kurios) of the Sabbath."

The Sabbath is the day God Himself created and set aside. In this verse, Jesus clearly claimed to be the Lord of the Sabbath. Therefore, the Lord Jesus claimed that the Sabbath is a holy day to Himself, thereby making Himself equal to God and divine.

According to Acts 10:36, Jesus is the Lord of all:

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord (kurios) of all.

Who, other than God, can be the Lord of all things?

According to John 13:14, Jesus is the Lord of the believers:

If I then, Lord (kurios) and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.

Not only is Jesus claiming to be the Lord, He also claims to be the Master! Have any other Prophets made this claim?

According to Revelation 17:14, Jesus is the Lord of Lords:

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord (kurios) of lords (kurios) and King of kings -- and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

According to 1 Corinthians 2:8, Jesus is the Lord of Glory:

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

According to John 5:22, Jesus is the Lord of Judgement:

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,

According to John 5:21, Jesus is the Lord of Life:

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.

And last, but most certainly not least, Jesus is both Lord and God according to John 20:27-29:

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 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."

Now Dr. Badawi, has the term "Lord" been used in the Bible to refer to anyone other than Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, is these ways? It is amazing how Dr. Badawi, and the Jehovah's Witnesses who originated many of these arguments, conveniently ignore these passages while they are attempting to "argue from the Bible"!

Host: How about the term Messiah, is that related to divinity?

Jamal Badawi: It can never be equated with divinity or with God. Go back to the origin in the Bible. The Hebrew word Moschiach which is equivalent to Masih in Arabic and Christos in Greek. If you refer to the original Hebrew, it means someone who is appointed, chosen or anointed. It was a custom to anoint kings with oil. It has nothing to do with divinity. Psalm 2:2, David was referred to as anointed. In Isaiah 45:1, Cyrus is the anointed. There are many Messiahs in the Bible. The thing that causes confusion is that when the Bible speaks of Jesus it use capital M in Messiah. It talks about other people and it is translated as anointed. There seems to be an attempt to put Jesus in a different category even though the terms are identical.

Once again, Badawi uses the same flawed logic: Men (and even objects) are called Messiah in the Bible, Jesus is call Messiah in the Bible - therefore, Jesus is a man. Wrong again! The term Messiah, or Mashiach (meaning "Anointed One") in Hebrew, is both a title as well as an action performed.

The Qur'an uses the term without any clue of its meaning. The Jews believed that the Messiah would be greater than any other prophet who came before Him and He would be the long-awaited Ruler and Deliverer, God's supremely Anointed One, whose origin was from of old and whose rule over the whole universe would last forever. They expected him to arrive from heaven.

When Jesus was born, the Jews were awaiting the coming of this Messiah. After all, the Jews had been ruled by foreign powers for centuries beginning with the Persians, then the Greeks, and finally the Romans. The Jews hated foreign (gentile rule) and hoped for their coming Messiah. They believed he would come as a conquering king and would establish a Jewish nation on earth. What was the Jewish concept of the Messiah during the time of Jesus? In Matthew 26:63, the High Priest of the Jews used the titles Messiah and Son of God simultaneously when asking Jesus if he was the Messiah:

"I adjure you, by the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God".

Sadly, many Jews did not read their own scriptures to get an accurate picture of the Messiah and His mission. Like the Muslims, they used a term that they simply did not understand. Honestly Dr. Badawi, do any of the other people (or objects) that were called Messiah in the Bible equal the Glory of Jesus Christ?

Host: The title of savior refers uniquely to Jesus, is that true and how does it affect the question of divinity?

Jamal Badawi: The first thing to discuss is if it is true and from my knowledge of the Bible it is not true. In 2 Kings 14:5 we find that Joaz was called the savior. Not only this savior has nothing to do with divinity, it is use in the plural. In the Book of Obadiah 1:21, it says saviors shall go up to Mount Zion. In Nehemiah 9:27 its says thou gave them saviors. But even if we take the term to save from sin, the Old Testament, Isaiah 43:2 and 11 God says I am the Lord and besides me there is no savior. In verse 13, no one can deliver from my hand. Verse 14, God is the redeemer.

Actually, 2 Kings 14:15 says:

After the kingdom was firmly in his grasp, he executed the officials who had murdered his father the king.

Obadiah 1:21 says:

Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the LORD's

Where is the forgiveness of sins mentioned here?

Nehemiah 9:27 says:

So you handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.

This passage refers to the delivery from the enemies, not sin!

When Jesus said that He could forgive sins, He showed His divinity since, as the Old Testament clearly says, only God can forgive sins.

And no one among the Israelites considered God in Trinitarian form.

Not true, there is a great deal of evidence of the triune nature of God in the Old Testament

Savior was used for others than Jesus, and it applies to only God. Some Christian scholars believe that there has been some variation of titles given to Jesus depending on which writings preceded which. In the matter of titles in the same incidents. Many modern Biblical scholars say that the Gospel of Mark (60-75) preceded Matthew (75-90). Many have studies how Jesus was referred to, and there seems to be a gradual elevation to divinity. This is the results of the study of Christian scholars John C. Fenton in his analysis of Matthew.

Now Dr. Badawi brings out the old Muslim argument that the Bible has been changed or "corrupted". Do the different wordings of Mark and Matthew make any difference in the meaning of the Bible and the understanding of the nature of Jesus?

Mark 10:40:

but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared."

The places are for those for whom this has been prepared. Compare this to the same story in Matthew 20:23:

Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."

One addition appears, for whom it has been prepared by my Father. My father is added, showing the elevation.

The passages both say that it is not for God the Son to grant. The passage from Mark does not mention the Father, however, one could logically deduce that He is the One who prepared the places.

Second example, in Mark 8:29:

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."

Matthew 16:16

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

One important addition : the Son of the living God. It does not exist in Mark.

Once again, a distinction with a difference. The term Christ implies that He is the Son of God.

In Mark 9:4-5:

And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."

compare Matthew 17:4:

Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."

A stronger term Lord is used.

You mentioned in another segment that Lord can also mean teacher, so what is the difference here?

In Mark 9:1:

And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power."

compare Matthew 16:28:

I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

The Son of Man is different. This is also not true because those in His lifetime did not see the second coming of the Son of Man.

First, the "kingdom of God come with power" and the second coming of the Son of Man describe they same prophecy according to Daniel 7:13-14 :

"Behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was give dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed".

Second, when Jesus said that some would not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom, He was promising that those alive at that time would see the firm establishment and victorious progress of His Church, the establishment of the new kingdom of Christ, which was destined to work the greatest of all changes on this earth. This was also a pledge and promise of His final coming in glory.

Mark 9:17:

A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.

Jesus is addressed as teacher

compare Matthew 17:15:

"Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.

He is addressed as Lord

As in the earlier example, this is a distinction without a difference. The first time that I heard these arguments was from my Jehovah's Witness classmates in Junior Highschool.

In Mark 10:47-48:

When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Jesus is used

compare Matthew

Son of David is used. In the RSV, there is a mention that some editing took place.

Mark 1:1 The RSV says that other ancient authorities omit the Son of God.


The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Yet, the RSV retains this term!

Mark 3:32:

And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you."

In the RSV, it says that some early authorities add your sisters. When you say that your brothers are waiting, it could be as Jesus said that anyone who does the will of God is my brother, but when you add sisters, it could mean that Mary had children after Jesus. Somebody wanted to tone it down because if Jesus had brothers and sisters that would be a problem for the Son of God.

Jesus did have brothers according to the Bible! These brothers and sisters were conceived in the normal way and their existence does not detract from, or negate, the divinity of Jesus.

Host: If God alone is perfect, does that imply that Jesus is divine?

Jamal Badawi: The reference to perfection is what has been said about Jesus by Peter and to what extent can we accept statements made by others? In 2 Peter 1:19, Jesus is described as a lamb without blemish. However, if you look at Matthew 5:48 it says you therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. It is obvious that Jesus was not speaking about perfection in the absolute sense, that applies to God alone. When we say that Jesus is perfect, he is not the only human, nor does perfection mean divinity at all. When we speak about prophets, we are talking about human perfection.

Once again, Dr. Badawi cannot see the forest for the trees! The theme of blood sacrifice is very important in the Old Testament, and was the method by which God instructed the Hebrews to atone for their sins. The animals that were brought for the blood sacrifice had to be spotless. Following this theme, Jesus is the pure sacrifice upon which our sins were placed, and through whom we are forgiven by God. It amazes me that the Qur'an says very little about this important theme of the Bible. If God is the author of the Qur'an, why did He forget this important idea which He previously stressed for thousands of years?

Host: It is argued that the Old Testament prophesied that Jesus would be filled with the Holy Spirit how do you understand that?

Jamal Badawi: If we say that the Bible prophesied the coming of Jesus and this means divinity, how do we explain Malachi 4:5 we find a prophecy of John the Baptist, if we say that this means divinity? To say that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, we find that the Bible says that there were others who were filled. Acts 11:24, St. Barnabas was filled of the Holy Spirit, there are other references. In Mark 1:15 it says that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother's womb.

Dr. Badawi conlcudes with another example of his faulty logic. Other men were filled with the Holy Spirit (who is at work today), Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit - therefore Jesus is a man. Once again, this is wrong.

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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