Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Divine Messiah Has Come!

How Jesus’ Claims to Messiahship prove he is God

Sam Shamoun

Muslims often challenge Christians to produce verses from the NT writings (specifically from the four Gospels) to show where Jesus claimed to be God. Although we have already responded to this challenge elsewhere what we would like to do here is to address this issue from another angle, one that will help to establish that Jesus did claim to be God without having to say it in those exact words.

We contend that by testifying that he was the long-awaited Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible Jesus was basically claiming to be God, and here’s why. According to the inspired OT writings the Messiah is a fully Divine Person who will be born from a young virgin maiden in order to become a human descendant of king David so as to consummate all of God’s promises which he made to both the king and the covenant people. In other words, the Hebrew Bible testifies that the Messiah is both God and man, i.e. the God-man (theanthropos)!

The logic behind our argument goes something like this:

  1. According to the Hebrew Bible the Messiah is a fully Divine Person and the human appearance of God.
  2. In the Gospels Jesus testifies that he is the Messiah.
  3. Therefore, by claiming to be the Messiah Jesus was essentially claiming to be God.

In this article we will set out to prove that both premises in the syllogism are true as far as the testimony of the Holy Bible is concerned, which will therefore establish that the conclusion is Biblically and logically valid.

Premise 1. According to the Hebrew Bible the Messiah is a fully Divine Person and the human appearance of God.

The inspired OT writings prophecy that God would raise up a King to sit on David’s throne and reign forever. This Ruler will not only be a human descendant of David he will also be a fully Divine Person, an eternally preexistent Divine figure who embodies the very covenant name of God.

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice. From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (YHWH Tsidkenu).” Jeremiah 23:5-6

“Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; He has laid siege against us; They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting. Therefore He shall give them up, Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth;” Micah 5:1-4

These same inspired Scriptures further attest that David’s royal Son will be exalted to sit enthroned next to Yahweh’s right hand, thereby sharing God’s rule forever, and that he will receive the very worship and honor that God himself receives from all the nations:

“Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness… He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations… He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.” Psalm 72:1, 5, 8-11

“The LORD said to my Lord (Adoni), ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” Psalm 110:1

“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider.” Isaiah 52:13-15

The language that Isaiah employs in relation to the Servant’s exaltation is the same language used elsewhere in reference to Yahweh’s exalted status and heavenly throne!

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.’” Isaiah 6:1-5

The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.” Isaiah 33:5 – cf. 2:11-17; 57:15

The fact that the inspired prophet applies the same language to both Yahweh and his Servant indicates that the latter is exalted to sit alongside God as Ruler over all creation!


“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

In this particular text the human-like figure whom Daniel sees in a vision rides the clouds like Yahweh does, reigns forever like Yahweh does, and is worshiped/served in the same way that Yahweh is! (Cf. 3:16-18, 28; 6:16, 20, 26; 7:27; Exod. 13:21-22; 14:24; 33:7-11; 40:34-38; Num. 10:34; Psalm 68:4, 33-34; 86:9; 104:3; Isa. 19:1; 66:23; Nah. 1:3; Zech. 14:16-17.)

Both orthodox Jewish and Christian traditions have interpreted the preceding OT passages as Messianic prophecies, or predictions of the Messiah who would come to fulfill all the promises that God made to David and to his covenant people.

The following is just a small sampling of quotations taken from official orthodox Jewish sources.

Isaiah 9:6-7

The prophet saith to the house of David, A child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and he has taken the law upon himself to keep it, and his name has been called from of old, Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, He who lives forever, the Anointed One (or Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us. (The Targum of Isaiah, J.F. Stenning, Editor and Translator [Oxford: Clarendon], p. 32; bold emphasis ours)

Another explanation: He said to him: ‘I have yet to raise up the Messiah’ of whom it is written, For a child is born to us (Isa. IX, 5). (Midrash Rabbah Deuteronomy, Rabbi H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, Editors; Rev. Dr. J. Rabbinowitz, Translator [London: Soncino Press], I.20, p. 20; bold emphasis ours)

Jeremiah 23:5-6

… Behold the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Messiah, and he shall reign as king, and prosper, and shall enact a righteous and Meritorious law in the land. In his days they of the house of Judah shall be delivered, and Israel shall live in security. And this is the name which they call him: "May vindication be accomplished for us by the Lord in his day."’ (Targum Jonathan, The Messiah: An Aramaic Interpretation, Samson H. Levy (New York: Hebrew Union College, 1974), pp. 68-69; bold emphasis ours)

Say unto him: Thus says the Lord of Hosts saying: ‘Be hold the man whose name is "The Messiah." He is destined to be revealed and to be anointed, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord. He shall build the Temple of the Lord, and he will bear the radiance, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and there shall be a high priest on his throne, and there be a counsel of peace between the two of them.’ (Ibid., p. 99; bold emphasis ours)

R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Johanan: Three WERE CALLED BY THE NAME OF THE HOLY ONE, blessed be He, and they are the following: The righteous, the Messiah and Jerusalem. [This may be inferred as regards] the righteous [from] what ha just been said. [As regards] the Messiah - it is written: And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness (Jer. XXIII, 6) (The Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, Editor (London: Soncino Press), Seder Nezekin, Volume II, Baba Bathra 75b, p. 303; bold emphasis ours)

God will call the king Messiah after His own name, for it is said of the king Messiah This is his name whereby he shall be called: The Lord our righteousness (Jer. 23:6). (The Midrash on Psalms, William G. Braude, Translator (New Haven: Yale, 959), Yale Judaica Series, Volume XIII, Leon Nemoy, Editor, Book One, Psalm 2.2; bold emphasis ours)

BECAUSE THE COMFORTER IS FAR FROM ME, EVEN HE THAT SHOULD REFRESH MY SOUL. What is the name of King Messiah? R. Abba b. Kahana said: His name is ‘the Lord’; as it is stated, And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness (Jer. XXIII, 6). For R. Levi said: It is good for a province when its name is identical with that of its king, and the name of its king identical with that of its God. ‘It is good for a province when its name is identical with that of its king,’ as it is written, And the name of the city from that day shall be the Lord is there (Ezek. XLVIII, 35). ‘And the name of its king is identical with that of its God’ as it is stated, And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness: R. Joshua b. Levi said: His name is ‘Shoot’, as it is stated, Behold, a man whose name is Shoot, and who shall shoot up out of his place, and build the temple of the Lord (Zech. VI, 12). R. Judan said in the name of R. Aibu: His name is ‘Comforter’, as it is said, THE COMFORTER IS FAR FROM ME. R. Hanina said: They do not really differ, because the numerical value of the names is the same, so that ‘Comforter’ is identical with ‘Shoot’ (Midrash Rabbah, Lamentations (London: Soncino Press), I.16, 51, pp. 135-136; bold emphasis ours)

Micah 5:2

And you, O Bethlehem Ephrath, you were too small to be numbered among the thousands of the house of Judah, from you shall come forth THE MESSIAH, to exercise dominion over Israel, he whose name was mentioned from before, from the days of creation. Then they shall be handed over for the length of time it takes a woman in labor to give birth, and the children of Israel shall rely upon the rest of their brethren. And he shall arise and rule with the might of the Lord, in the exalted name of the Lord his God; and they shall be gathered in from the midst of their Dispersions, for now his name shall be great into the ends of the earth. (Targum Jonathan, op. cit., p. 93; bold emphasis ours)

And you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you who were too small to be numbered among the thousands of the house of Judah, from you shall come forth before me the anointed One, to exercise dominion over Israel, he whose name was mentioned from of old, from ancient times. (Targum Micah, The Targum of the Minor Prophets, translation with a Critical Introduction, Apparatus, and Notes by Kevin J. Cathcart and Robert P. Gordon [Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1987], The Aramaic Bible, Volume 14, Micah 5:2; bold emphasis ours)

Psalm 110 and Daniel 7:13-14

In the decree of the Prophets it is written Behold My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high (Isa. 52:13), and it is also written Behold My servant, whom I uphold, Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteh (Isa. 42:1). In the decree of the Writings it is written, The Lord said unto my lord: "Sit at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (Ps. 110:1), and it is also written I saw in the night visions, and, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the Ancient of days, and he was brought near before Him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him (Dan. 7:13, 14).

In another comment, the verse is read I will tell of the decree: the Lord said unto me: Thou art My son… Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession (Ps. 2:7, 8). R. Yudan said: All these goodly promises are in the decree of the King, the King of kings, who will fulfill them for the lord MESSIAH. (The Midrash on Psalms, William G. Braude, Translator [New Haven: Yale, 1959], Yale Judaica Series, Volume XIII, Leon Nemoy, Editor, Book One, Psalm 2:9; bold emphasis ours)

R. Yudan said in the name of R. Hama: In the time-to-come, when the Holy One, blessed be He, seats the lord Messiah at His right hand, as is said The Lord saith unto my lord: "Sit at my right hand" (Ps. 110:1), and seats Abraham at His left. Abraham’s face will pale, and he will say to the Lord: "My son’s son sits at the right, and I at the left!" Thereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, will comfort Abraham, saying: "Thy son’s son is at My right, but I, in a manner of speaking, am at thy right": The Lord [is] at thy right hand (Ps. 110:5). Hence Thy gentleness hath made great. (Ibid., p. 261; bold emphasis ours)

5. For thou shalt make him most blessed for ever (Ps. 21:7) means that all the nations shall bless themselves in the king Messiah (Psalm 21). Thou shalt make him exceeding glad with Thy countenance (Ps. 21:7). R. Berechiah said in the name of R. Samuel: One verse reads of the king Messiah that One, like the son of man…came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before Him (Dan. 7:13), but in another verse God says, I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto Me (Jer. 30:21). How reconcile the two? Angels will bring the king Messiah to the outer edge of their encampment, and then the Holy One, blessed be He, will reach out His hand and bring the king Messiah near to Him. Hence, it is said I will draw him near. (Ibid., Book One, Psalm 21:5; bold emphasis ours)

R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua b. Levi pointed out a contradiction. It is written, in its time [will the Messiah come], whilst it is also written I [the Lord] will hasten it!- If they are worthy, I will hasten it: if not, [he will come] at the due time. R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua opposed two verses: it is written, And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven (Dan. VII, 13); whilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold thy king cometh unto thee…] lowly and riding upon an ass! (Zech. IX, 9)- If they are meritorious, [he will come] with the clouds of heaven (Dan. VII, 13); if not, lowly and riding upon an ass (Zech. IX, 9). King Shapur said to Samuel. ‘Ye maintain that the Messiah will come upon an ass" I will rather send him a white horse of mine.’ He replied, ‘Have you a hundred-hued steed?’ (The Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, Editor [London: Soncino Press], Seder, Nezikin, Volume III, Sanhedrin 98a, pp. 663-664; bold emphasis ours)

These non-Christian Jewish references substantiate the fact that the plain and explicit testimony of the Hebrew Bible is that the Messiah is a preexistent Divine figure who bears the very name of God himself!

Noted Messianic Jewish scholar Dr. Michael L. Brown puts all of this in perspective,

“… In Psalm 2:7, the king (David? Solomon? a later descendant of David?) says, ‘I will tell of the decree. The LORD said to me, “You are My son; this day I have begotten you.”’

“When did the Lord utter these words? They were probably spoken by a prophet at the time of the king’s coronation, when the descendant of David became recognized as a ‘son’ of God, and they may have become a regular feature of that momentous ceremony, whenever a new king would begin his reign.

“But there's something more. Note carefully those final words: ‘today I have begotten you’ (ani hayyom yelidtika; yalad is the standard Hebrew verb used for a woman giving birth to a baby or a man fathering a child). Either this is a direct prophecy of Jesus (and there are many Christians who would say it is!), or else it indicates that when David (or one of his sons) became king, his adoption by God was recognized as some kind of divine begetting. The choice of words is quite bold! ‘Today I have begotten you’ …

“For now, however, we will return to Psalm 2 in the Tanakh in light of a homiletical Rabbinic commentary called Midrash Tehilim. The midrash is addressing the words, ‘I will declare the decree. The Lord said to me, “You are my son; today I have begotten you.”’ Which decree, the rabbis ask, is being referred to here? First, it is answered, the text refers to ‘the decree of the Torah,’ Exodus 4:22, where God calls Israel his firstborn son. In other words, just as Israel was God's son, so also the king was God's son. Next, it refers to ‘the decrees of the Prophets,’ citing Isaiah 52:13 (‘Behold, my servant will act wisely’) and Isaiah 42:1 (‘Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight’). Now, what is interesting here is that neither of these verses makes reference to the term son, yet they are among the most famous Messianic prophecies in the entire Bible, often pointed to by Christians with ultimate reference to Jesus. And the midrash ties them in with the king being called God's son in Psalm 2:7!

“Next, the rabbis point to ‘the decrees of the Writings’ (i.e. the remainder of the Tanakh), citing Psalm 110:1, ‘The LORD said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand,”’ a verse quoted by Jesus himself to demonstrate that as Messiah, he was more than just David's son, since David in Psalm 110 called him ‘my lord’ (see Matt. 22:42-45). And all this is given in explanation of ‘the decree’ proclaiming the Davidic king as God's son. But it gets even better.

The final verse cited is Daniel 7:13: ‘In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.’ Thus, in light of the Rabbinic compilation of Scripture, the exalted figure coming in the clouds of heaven is none other than the Davidic king, the Son of God! (Remember, this is the midrash not the New Testament commentary.) From a Messianic standpoint, this verse in Daniel is of critical importance…

“What an exalted figure!

“Now, let's put this all together: According to this Midrash, the justification for calling the king the son of God is based on: (1) God calling Israel his firstborn son; (2) prophecies from Isaiah referring to the faithful servant of the Lord, clearly Messianic references; and (3) a royal psalm in which God says to the king, ‘Sit at my right hand,’ and the glorious ‘son of man’ prophecy from Daniel. If I didn't read this myself in the Hebrew Midrash Tehilim, I would have thought that a Messianic Jew put these verses together. They are some of the most common texts that we quote, all with reference to Jesus the Messiah. And here the rabbis tie them in with the Davidic king as son of God. In fact, Rabbi Yudan states explicitly that the words ‘you are my son’ REFER TO THE MESSIAH.

“There were a number of Davidic kings in our history, some of whom were great, like David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah, and each of whom would have been called ‘God’s son.’ But none of them sat at God’s right hand (Psalm 110), none of them were (or are) worshiped and adored by people of every nation and every tongue (Daniel 7), and only Yeshua, who called himself both ‘Son of Man’ and ‘Son of God,’ will return in the clouds of heaven (again, Daniel 7). He fulfills that which was prophetically spoken of the Davidic king, the anointed (mashiach) of the Lord, in the Prophets and Psalms.” (Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections [Baker Book House, November 2000; ISBN: 0801063345], Volume 2, 3.3. God doesn’t have a son, pp. 38, 41-42; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Now that the first premise has been established we move on to the second one.

Premise 2. In the Gospels Jesus testifies that he is the Messiah.

On several occasions Jesus confirmed that he is the Messiah whom God promised to send to Israel:

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’ And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.” Matthew 16:13-20

“The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am, the One who is speaking to you.’”John 4:25-26

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:1-3

“Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Mark 14:61b-62

In this passage Jesus not only testifies that he is the Christ he even identifies himself as the Divine Son of Man of Daniel 7 and David’s Lord who sits at God’s right hand according to Psalm 110:1! This isn’t the only time that Jesus claimed to be the Danielic Son of Man or the Lord who sits enthroned at God’s right hand:

“Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: “The LORD said to my Lord,Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” Therefore David himself calls Him “Lord”; how is He then his Son?’ And the common people heard Him gladly.” Mark 12:35-37

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.” Mark 13:26-27

Jesus also warned his followers to be careful of deceivers that come in his name, claiming to be the Christ:

“And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many.’” Matthew 24:4-5

In stating that individuals who make themselves out to be the Messiah are coming in his name Jesus is basically saying that “Christ” is a title that belongs exclusively to him. In other words, since Jesus is the Messiah anyone who comes after him and says that he is the Christ is automatically a liar and deceiver.

After his resurrection Jesus showed his followers all the Messianic prophecies that he came to fulfill:

“Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them… Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:13-15, 25-27

“Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.’” Luke 24:44-49

By claiming that his crucifixion and physical, bodily resurrection fulfilled OT prophecies that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead Jesus was once again proclaiming himself to be the Messiah who was to come.

Even Jesus’ contemporaries called him the Messiah, obviously because this is who he personally claimed to be:

“Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’ For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.’ But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release to you?’ They said, ‘Barabbas!’ Pilate said to them, ‘What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?They all said to him, ‘Let Him be crucified!’ Then the governor said, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’ But they cried out all the more, saying, ‘Let Him be crucified!’” Matthew 27:15-23

With the foregoing in perspective it is abundantly clear that according to the Gospels Jesus believed and taught that he indeed was the Messiah whose coming was foretold in the inspired writings of the blessed prophets.

Conclusion. By claiming to be the Messiah Jesus was essentially claiming to be God.

Jesus, therefore, claimed to be God when he affirmed to his followers and to those who opposed him that he was the Messiah since the Messiah is supposed to be God according to the OT Scriptures!

In fact, the inspired New Testament writers proclaim that Jesus is God who is equal with God the Father (as well as the Holy Spirit) in essence:

“For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” John 5:16-18

“‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.’ Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.’” John 10:27-33

“And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:28-31

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

“of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” Romans 9:5

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and FOR Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:13-18

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.” Colossians 2:9 NIV

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV

“But to the Son He says: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions. And:You, LORD (the Son), in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.’” Hebrews 1:8-12

“looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:13-14

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ… for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:1, 11

Since we have established that both premises are Biblically valid this means that the conclusion is logically sound. Therefore, Muslims must accept the fact that by identifying himself as the Messiah Jesus was claiming to be God.

The only way around this is to prove that the historical Jesus never claimed to be and/or outright denied that he was the Messiah. However, if it can be demonstrated that Jesus denied that he was the Messiah then this means that not only is the NT mistaken the Quran would also be proven wrong since it testifies that Jesus is the Christ!

This leads us to our next point.

The Islamic Dilemma

The Quran in several places states that Jesus is the Messiah.

(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah). S. 3:45

The Islamic scripture also affirms that Jesus is the preexistent Word and Spirit of Allah that was sent to Mary (cf. Q. 4:171).

By claiming that Jesus is the Messiah, Allah’s Word and a Spirit proceeding from him the Quran is clearly agreeing with the previous Scriptures that Jesus is God.

However, the Muslims’ “holy” book contradicts itself in that it also argues that Jesus is nothing more than a human servant of Allah, going so far as to label those who say that the Messiah is Allah’s Son or that Allah is the Messiah as disbelievers whom Allah will destroy (cf. Q. 5:17, 72, 75; 9:30; 43:59).

These conflicting assertions pose major problems and present a insurmountable dilemma for Muslims since the Quran not only presents a contradictory view of Jesus, it is also at odds with the prophetic Scriptures which precede it even though it claims to confirm them!

He sent down to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming all previous scriptures, and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel. S. 3:3 Khalifa

With that said, the fact remains that the inspired Scriptures attest that the Messiah is God who will become a human descendant of king David in order to fulfill God’s promises to him as well as to the nation of Israel. This means that Jesus claimed to be God when he said that he was the Messiah. As noted Christian philosopher and apologist Norman L. Geisler explains:

Jesus claimed to be Messiah-God. Even the Quran recognizes that Jesus was the Messiah (suras 5:17, 75). But the Old Testament teaches that the coming Messiah would be God himself. So when Jesus claimed to be that Messiah, he was also claiming to be God. For example, the prophet Isaiah (in 9:6) calls the Messiah, “Mighty God.” The psalmist wrote of Messiah, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever” (Ps. 45:6; cf. Heb. 1:8). Psalm 110:1 records a conversation between the Father and the Son: “The LORD (Yahweh) said to my Lord (Adonai [sic]): ‘Sit at my right hand.’” Jesus applied this passage to himself in Matthew 22:43-44. In the great Messianic prophecy of Daniel 7, the Son of Man is called the “Ancient of Days” (vs. 22), a phrase used twice in the same passage of God the Father (vss. 9, 13). Jesus also said that he was the Messiah at his trial before the high priest. When asked, “Are you the Christ [Greek for “Messiah”], the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus responded, “I am…. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” At this, the high priest tore his robes and said, “Why do we need any more witnesses? … You have heard the blasphemy!” (Mark 14:61-64). There was no doubt that in claiming to be Messiah, Jesus was also claiming to be God (see also Matt. 26:54; Luke 24:27). (Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics [Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 1999], CHRIST, DEITY OF, pp. 129-130)

And by agreeing with the Holy Bible that Jesus is the Messiah the Muslim scripture indirectly and implicitly affirms the absolute Deity of Christ. However, by then making statements which deny Christ’s Divinity the Quran is contradicting not only itself but also the inspired testimony of the Scriptures which came before it.

Therefore, Muslims must not only contend with the fact that the Lord Jesus claimed that he was God when he claimed to be the Messiah they must also accept the reality that the Quran cannot be a divinely revealed book since it contradicts God’s true Word, the Holy Bible, as well as itself concerning the Divine nature of Christ!

It is clear that the Muslims have major problems to deal with.

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