Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Messiah is God Indeed!

A Response to a Muslim Dawagandist Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue with our rebuttal to Zaatari’s blatant distortion of the truth.

Zaatari asserts that I am arguing for polytheism since according to my view God raises another God to sit on David’s throne which essentially means that there are two Gods. Zaatari is operating under the assumption of unitarianism, interpreting my statements in light of his unitarian beliefs.

The problem, however, is that Zaatari erroneously assumes that unitarianism and monotheism are interchangeable terms so that only a unitarian view of God can be considered truly monotheistic.

Zaatari’s criticism would only be valid if the true God is a singular Person which he is not since the inspired Scriptures testify that God is actually tri-Personal.

To illustrate this fact, here is an OT text which speaks of a day in which Yahweh would send Yahweh to dwell in the midst of his people:

“And behold, the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him, and said to him, ‘Run, say to that young man, “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of men and cattle in it.” For I will be to her a wall of fire round about,’ says Yahweh, ‘and I will be the glory within her. Ho! ho! Flee from the land of the north, says Yahweh; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens,’ says Yahweh. Come, O Zion! Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon!’ For this is what Yahweh of hosts says: ‘After HE has honored ME and has sent ME against the nations that have plundered you — for whoever touches you touches the apple of HIS eye- I will surely raise MY hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent ME. Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares Yahweh. Many nations will be joined with Yahweh in that day and will become MY people. I will live among you and you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent ME to you.’ Yahweh will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. Be still before Yahweh, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” Zechariah 2:3-13

Yahweh says that when he comes to dwell in Jerusalem his people will then realize that Yahweh sent him to live with them!

This seems to suggest that the prophets believed that there were two Gods… that is, until we read the rest of what Zechariah says:

“Yahweh shall become king over the whole earth; on that day Yahweh shall be the only one, and his name the only one.” Zechariah 14:9 NAB

Zechariah clearly was a monotheist even though he wasn’t a unitarian since this inspired prophet knew that the one true God was multi-personal!(1)

Thus, God’s true prophets didn’t see any conflict with Yahweh sending Yahweh and their belief that there is only one God.

This means that the only way that Zaatari can demonstrate that my position is actually ditheistic is if he can first prove that unitarianism is true; yet since unitarianism is false my view is in no way incompatible with Biblical monotheism. 

Next, Zaatari tries to tackle the passages I quoted to prove that the Messiah is God according to the OT Scriptures.

Zawadi links to a unitarian website and to one of his “replies” which he feels adequately address the issue of the Messiah being called the Mighty God in Isaiah 9:6-7. To read the thorough refutation of these feeble attempts of undermining the rather explicit and emphatic witness to the absolute Deity of the Messiah that this text from Isaiah furnishes (along with other key passages from this same inspired author) we recommend the following articles:

In reply to Jeremiah 23:5-6 which calls the Messiah “Yahweh our Righteousness” Zaatari quotes Jeremiah 33:15-16 to prove that Jerusalem itself is called by this very same name:

“In those days and at that time I shall make sprout for David a righteous Branch, and he will certainly execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem itself will reside in security. And this is what she will be called, Yahweh Our Righteousness.”

Zaatari then reasons that the city of Jerusalem must be God as well according to my logic.

However, this only exposes Zaatari’s gross ignorance of the Holy Bible and shows that he hasn’t read the inspired Scriptures carefully.

In the first place, the reason why Jerusalem is called by the name of the Lord is precisely because God dwells there:

“And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” Jeremiah 3:16-17

God’s throne and name is in Jerusalem!

“Hark, the cry of the daughter of my people from the length and breadth of the land: ‘Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King not in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with their foreign idols?’” Jeremiah 8:19

“Why shouldst thou be like a man confused, like a mighty man who cannot save? Yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.” Jeremiah 14:9

“The circumference of the city shall be eighteen thousand cubits. And the name of the city henceforth shall be, The LORD is there.” Ezekiel 48:35

“But Judah shall be inhabited for ever, and Jerusalem to all generations. I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty, for the LORD dwells in Zion.” Joel 3:20-21

Jerusalem is named after its eternal King, being the place where Israel’s God chose to dwell, a not uncommon practice. For example, Jerusalem is also called “the City of David” since David made it the capital of his kingdom.

In fact, the prophets envisioned a time when God would come and visibly dwell with his people:

“A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’ … You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’ See, the Lord GOD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:3-5, 9-11

And as we saw earlier the prophet Zechariah spoke of the time when Yahweh would be sent by Yahweh to live in Jerusalem. According to this same inspired prophet Yahweh will reign as King in all the earth on that day:

And the LORD will become king over all the earth; on that day the LORD will be one and his name one… Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, they will have no rain.” Zechariah 14:9, 16-17

With the foregoing in perspective we can now see that the reason why Jerusalem is called Yahweh our Righteousness is because this is where Yahweh God will visibly come to dwell for all its inhabitants to see.

This is where the Messiah comes in. Since the Messiah is said to be Yahweh our Righteousness who comes to rule righteously in Jerusalem this means that he is the very visible manifestation of Yahweh God that all the peoples will look upon!

In other words, it is not a coincidence that the Messiah sits on the throne forever and embodies the name of Yahweh since he is the incarnation of Yahweh God and his coming therefore marks the visible appearance of the God of Israel to mankind.

For instance, here is what Zechariah wrote concerning Israel’s King coming to save:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. I will cut off the chariot from E'phraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10

The NT records that the Lord Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a foal in partial fulfillment of Zechariah:

“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’ And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass's colt!’” John 12:13-15

Now notice the connection between Yahweh and the Messianic King. The prophetic Scriptures testify that Yahweh will reign over all the earth as King while also affirming that the Messiah rules over all the nations forever. When these two facts are put together then the conclusion is that the Messiah is Yahweh God who will come to rule over all creation.

Therefore, the Messiah is the human appearance, the visible extension so to speak, of Yahweh’s personal presence which will be manifested to all his people and the world.

Finally, in his haste to attack the explicit witness of Jeremiah 23:5-6 to the Divine nature of the Messiah Zaatari overlooked one crucial difference between this passage and 33:15-16. The text of Jeremiah 23:5-6 explicitly says that the Messiah’s name shall be Yahweh our Righteousness whereas 33:15-16 doesn’t mention the word name at all:

“‘Look! There are days coming,’ is the utterance of Yahweh, ‘and I will raise up to David a righteous Branch. And a king will certainly reign and act with discretion and execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel itself will reside in security. And this is HIS NAME with which he will be called, Yahweh Our Righteousness.’” 23:5-6

“In those days and at that time I shall make sprout for David a righteous Branch, and he will certainly execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem itself will reside in security. And this is what she will be called, Yahweh Our Righteousness.” 33:15-16

The Hebrew word for “name,” shem, is used in the Holy Scriptures in respect to a person’s characteristics, nature, essence, authority etc. The fact that Jeremiah 23:6 says that the Branch’s name will be called Yahweh our Righteousness is significant since this affirms that the Messiah personally embodies the very characteristics and essence which underlie the name. This is in stark contrast to 33:16 where the word shem is not used. This omission seems to be intentional since Jerusalem does not embody the nature or character of Yahweh, but is the dwelling place of the Messianic Branch who does in fact bear the essential attributes and authority of God.

To summarize the point of Jeremiah 23:5-6. God promises his people that he shall remove all their wicked rulers who are oppressing them and shall raise up for them the Messianic Son of David who will save them and who will insure that they dwell in perpetual safety. The reason why this particular Ruler will be able to maintain perfect justice unlike the kings who came before him is because he is more than an ordinary man. The Davidic King who shall come is none other than Yahweh God Almighty!

For more on the topic of Jeremiah 23:5-6 we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:

Zaatari goes on to further demonstrate why he has no business defending Islam or critiquing the Holy Bible. He tries to undermine the plain and explicit testimony of Micah 5:1-4 to the Messiah’s preexistence by appealing to NT texts which speak of God’s foreknowledge! He appeals to Romans 8:29-30 and Acts 2:23 to prove that Micah 5:1-4 is simply indicating that God had planned beforehand to send the Messiah!

However, these verses actually backfire against Zaatari since they prove that Micah 5 IS NOT about God predestining or foreordaining the coming of the Messiah. In fact, whereas Romans 8:29-30 and Acts 2:23 use the words predestine, foreknowledge and foreknew Micah 5:4 does not.

Micah 5 doesn’t say that God foreknew or predestined in eternity past that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem. The prophet clearly speaks of the actual preexistence of Messiah since he uses the same exact language which the OT uses in relation to God’s eternal existence: 

“Now you are walled about with a wall; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike upon the cheek the Ruler of Israel. But you, O Bethlehem Eph'rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from ancient times/long ago (miqqedem), from days of eternity (olam). Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in travail has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return to the people 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 dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.” Micah 5:1-4

Now compare this with the following texts where Yahweh is said to be both qedem and olam:

“Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God (el olam).” Genesis 21:33

The eternal God (elohey qedem) is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting (olam) arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you, and said, Destroy.” Deuteronomy 33:27

And like the Messiah, Yahweh is also said to be from qedem and olam:

Yet God my King is from of old (miqqedem), Who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth.” Psalm 74:12

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (ume‘olam ad-olam ata el).” Psalm 90:2

“The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting (me‘olam ata).” Psalm 93:1-2

Moreover, Yahweh’s goings forth and purposes have been from qedem, from the days of olam:

“Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago (miqqedem)? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.” Isaiah 45:21

“Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times (umiqqedem) things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” Isaiah 46:8-11

“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days of old (qedem), the generations of long ago (olamim). Was it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the dragon?” Isaiah 51:9

Are You not from everlasting (miqqedem), O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O LORD, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct.” Habakkuk 1:12

It is clear that Micah truly believed and taught that the Messiah is eternal, and therefore God (even though he also affirmed the Messiah’s humanity), since this blessed prophet of God used the same exact terms to describe the Messiah’s origins and actions that the Holy Bible uses in reference to Yahweh’s timeless existence and deeds of old!

Zaatari again links to one of his articles which he erroneously thinks refutes the Trinitarian exegesis and understanding of Psalm 110:1. However, we have already addressed and thoroughly refuted Zaatari’s claims in the following articles and rebuttals:

Zaatari proceeds to attack a straw man argument by claiming that I used Psalm 72 to prove that the Messiah is God since it says that he will rule from sea to sea and shall be worshiped by the nations. That’s not what I exactly said. Rather, my point was that since the Messiah shares in the very exclusive rule of God over all creation and receives the same exact worship that God does this means that he must be God. After all, God will not allow a creature to receive the same kind of worship that he receives nor will he allow a mere creature to sit on the same heavenly throne that God occupies as King over all creation.

This leads me to Zaatari’s next point. Zawadi argues that Daniel 7:13-14 testifies that God gave the Messiah the kingdom and power to rule. He then references John 13:3, 17:6-8, and 1 Corinthians 15:26-28 to prove that Jesus, John, and Paul affirm that God gave Christ all things. He further asserts that Paul says God himself is not subject to the Messiah but the other way round!

For some strange reason Zaatari actually thinks that these points somehow undermine the Deity of Christ when in reality they only expose his utter desperation and his smoke and mirror tactics.

In the first place, Zawadi’s argument does absolutely nothing to undermine the fact that according to Daniel the Son of Man receives the very same exact worship which only God is supposed to receive. Compare the following:

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped (yipelachun) him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

“Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship (yipelachun) and obey him.” Daniel 7:27

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve (pelachin) is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve (pelachin) your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” … Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve (yipelachun) or worship any god except their own God.’” Daniel 3:16-18, 28 – cf. 3:12, 14; 6:16, 20

The Aramaic verb pelach, translated as serve in the above texts, refers to the cultic worship which is to be rendered to God alone. The Greek translation of Daniel (e.g., the Septuagint [LXX]) uses the word latreuo for pelach. The following quotation of the Greek version of Daniel 7:9-28 that is taken from the writing of the 2nd Christian apologist Justin Martyr illustrates this:

But if so great a power is shown to have followed and to be still following the dispensation of His suffering, how great shall that be which shall follow His glorious advent! For He shall come on the clouds as the Son of man, so Daniel foretold, and His angels shall come with Him. These are the words: 'I beheld till the thrones were set; and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool. His throne was like a fiery flame, His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The books were opened, and the judgment was set. I beheld then the voice of the great words which the horn speaks: and the beast was beat down, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. And the rest of the beasts were taken away from their dominion, and a period of life was given to the beasts until a season and time. I saw in the vision of the night, and, behold, one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven; and He came to the Ancient of days, and stood before Him. And they who stood by brought Him near; and there were given Him power and kingly honour, and all nations of the earth by their families, and all glory, serve Him (latreuousa). And His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not be taken away; and His kingdom shall not be destroyed. And my spirit was chilled within my frame, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and inquired the precise meaning of all these things. In answer he speaks to me, and showed me the judgment of the matters: These great beasts are four kingdoms, which shall perish from the earth, and shall not receive dominion for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I wished to know exactly about the fourth beast, which destroyed all [the others] and was very terrible, its teeth of iron, and its nails of brass; which devoured, made waste, and stamped the residue with its feet: also about the ten horns upon its head, and of the one which came up, by means of which three of the former fell. And that horn had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things; and its countenance excelled the rest. And I beheld that horn waging war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of days came; and He gave judgment for the saints of the Most High. And the time came, and the saints of the Most High possessed the kingdom. And it was told me concerning the fourth beast: There shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall prevail over all these kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall destroy and make it thoroughly waste. And the ten horns are ten kings that shall arise; and one shall arise after them; and he shall surpass the first in evil deeds, and he shall subdue three kings, and he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall overthrow the rest of the saints of the Most High, and shall expect to change the seasons and the times. And it shall be delivered into his hands for a time, and times, and half a time. And the judgment sat, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom, and the power, and the great places of the kingdoms under the heavens, were given to the holy people of the Most High, to reign in an everlasting kingdom: and all powers shall be subject to Him, and shall obey Him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was possessed with a very great astonishment, and my speech was changed in me; yet I kept the matter in my heart.' (Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 31. If Christ's power be now so great, how much greater at the second advent!; bold and italic emphasis ours)

According to the Lord Jesus Christ God is the only Being who is to receive latreuo:

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only (kai auto mono latreuseis).”’” Matthew 4:8-10 – cf. Luke 4:5-8

This means that the Son of Man must be a fully Divine Person otherwise he could not receive pelach/latreuo since that would be idolatry, e.g., rendering to a creature the worship and service due only to the Creator! As the following Evangelical scholars explain:

“… The book of Daniel contains a vision in which people of all nations, tribes, and languages ‘serve’ someone who is ‘like a Son of Man’ (Dan. 7:13 NASB) … In the Septuagint version of Daniel the word translated ‘serve’ is latreuo, which is also used in the Rahlfs edition of the Septuagint and in other critical editions of the Greek Old Testament. In the Greek version of Daniel produced in the late second century A.D. by Theodotion, the word translated ‘serve’ is douloo, a far more common Greek word that has a broader range of meanings.

“Whichever Greek translation one chooses to follow, the underlying Aramaic word (Daniel 2:4-7:28 was originally written in Aramaic, not Hebrew) is pelach, a word that is always used to refer to rendering religious service or performing religious rituals in honor of a deity. In other words, latreuo is an excellent Greek translation of pelach. That is why all extant ancient Greek versions of Daniel usually use latreuo elsewhere in Daniel to translate pelach (Dan. 3:12, 14, 18; 6:16, 20 [6:17, 21 in Greek]). In the early chapters of the book, Daniel and his Jewish friends had refused to ‘serve’ the image of Nebuchadnezzar or to ‘serve’ Darius, identifying themselves as those who ‘serve’ only their God, the living  God (3:12, 14, 17, 18, 28; 6:16, 20). In this setting, the vision of people from all nations ‘serving’ the Son of Man presents a startling contrast. The ‘service’ that Daniel and his friends refused to give to Nebuchadnezzar’s image or to Darius, Daniel envisions all nations giving to the heavenly Son of Man.

“Daniel’s reference to the Son of Man being ‘served’ implies a divine status for the Son of Man, not merely because of the use of that one word, but because of the context in which it is used. The universal sovereignty attributed to the Son of Man is earlier attributed to Daniel’s God by the Babylonian and Persian kings… This language of a kingdom that will not be destroyed and that will endure forever is then applied to the kingdom of the Son of Man… Within this larger context, the reference to all peoples ‘serving’ the Son of Man is confirmed as an expression of religious devotion. The One whom you regard as Ruler of your entire universe for all time is by definition your God, and it would be the height of folly not to render devotion or service to him.” (Robert M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Part 1: The Devotion Revolution – Jesus Shares the Honors Due to God, Chapter 5. The Ultimate Reverence Package, pp. 67-69; bold emphasis ours)

And since Jesus claimed to be this very same Son of Man this means that he claimed to be God!

In fact, according to the NT every creature worships Jesus in the same way that they worship God!  

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’ Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’Then I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’ The four living creatures said, ‘Amen, and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:8-14

The second problem with Zawadi’s assertion is that it conveniently overlooks the reason the NT writings give for the Son being exalted by the Father and receiving authority from him.

According to the inspired Scriptures Jesus assumed the status and position of a servant in order to perfectly fulfill the Father’s will, part of which included dying on the cross on behalf of the sins of God’s people:

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17-18

“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus answered, ‘A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’ For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. You call me “Teacher” and “Lord,” and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’” John 13:1-17

“For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Luke 22:27-30

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

The reference to the coming of the Son of Man is an allusion to Christ’s preexistence, i.e., Jesus came from some prior place in order to serve, a point brought out more clearly in the following passage.

“‘For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’ At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I came down from heaven”?’ … ‘But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’ … Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.’” John 6:38-42, 51, 53-58

In light of Jesus’ voluntary act of humbling himself to become a servant, the Father responded by exalting him to the highest place, to the status he had before he became flesh. In the words of the blessed and inspired Apostle Paul:

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though existing in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be exploited, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,” Philippians 2:5-9

This is further brought out by Jesus’ own words:

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed … Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.’” John 17:1-5, 24

Jesus asks that the Father glorify him – in fact to give him the very Divine glory he once shared with the Father before the world began – in return for having glorified the Father on earth by accomplishing his will.

Hence, instead of exalting himself the Son waited for the Father to glorify him for having humbled himself in perfect obedience to his beloved Father.

The Lord was simply practicing what he had preached to others:

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12 – cf. Luke 14:11; 18:14

And what his disciples had taught the Churches:

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:6-7

This explains why the Son of Man received his kingdom from the Ancient of Days since Daniel was seeing Christ in his post-resurrection exaltation where he went from being a Servant on earth to a King who now reigns from heaven.   

As far as Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians 15:26-28 are concerned the following author does an excellent job of bringing out the actual point of this blessed Apostle:

“Yet Paul could not allow himself to end with the idea of Christ handing over the kingdom to God. This would leave unanswered the question of what happens to Christ at that point, and could even imply that Christ hands over the kingdom and has no further involvement with God. But for Paul, Christ and God cannot be separated,214 and so he adds the statement that Christ will subject himself to God. By subjecting himself, Christ is returning to the source from which he came. Christ confirms in his subjection that his sphere of reality belongs within God’s sphere of reality—there is no separation between the two.215  He is, in a sense, returning home. And thus, God is found to be ‘all in all.’ This is true not only because Christ finds his fullness in communion with God, but also because God cannot be all in all without Christ

“In none of these passages is Paul’s primary focus to define the relationship between God and Christ, although even within these apparently hierarchical texts Paul describes Christ as functioning in divine roles alongside God (15:25). Rather, Paul uses the relationship between God and Christ to illustrate further principles within the larger argument. The unity of God and Christ promotes unity among the church. God is the source of all things, including Christ; Christ without God is not Christ, but equally, God without Christ is not ‘all in all.’” (Suzanne Nicholson, Dynamic Oneness – The Significance and Flexibility of Paul’s One-God Language [Pickwick Publications An imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, OR: January 2010], 2. The Function and Coherence of Paul’s Monotheistic Concepts—1 Corinthians 8:4–6, pp. 101-102; bold emphasis ours)

214. By this I do not mean to imply they are one person, for they clearly are distinct. Rather, I’m arguing that Christ and God are unified in their will and purposes. They share in the divinity of the one God.

215. See also Bruce, who argues that this passage emphasizes the oneness of God: the kingdom of Christ merges into the kingdom of God, and in this way the promise that the Messiah’s kingdom will know no end is fulfilled. Christ then subjects himself to God, “but since the Son is the image and revelation of the Father, ‘Father and Son are really one in this activity’” (Corinthians, 148). In the final statement, Bruce quotes from Cullmann, Christology of the New Testament, 293.

That Nicholson's explanation is correct is easily proven by reading what the blessed and holy Apostle wrote in another inspired epistle:

"and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age BUT ALSO IN THE ONE TO COME. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." Ephesians 1:19-23

The Lord Jesus, according to Paul, will continue to reign supreme over all creation in the age to come, meaning throughout eternity.

The third difficulty with Zaatari’s argument is that it once again presupposes unitarianism since it assumes that Jesus cannot be God if he receives authority from someone else. If unitarianism was true then this would be a valid criticism since a uni-personal God does not receive something from another since he is the one who gives all things to everyone.(2)

However, why should we assume that this would also be true in the case that God is multi-Personal? Who is to say that a multi-Personal God is incapable giving and receiving within himself?

In fact, neither Jesus nor the inspired authors of the Holy Bible saw any problems with Christ being fully God and with his receiving authority from the Father to rule, judge, save etc. Unlike Zaatari, God’s prophets and apostles could see that a difference in role or function doesn’t necessarily imply a difference in nature, i.e., just because the Father orders and sends the Son, or gives him authority, this doesn’t mean that the Son is lesser than the Father in nature, essence or glory. According to the testimony of the inspired Scriptures, the Father and the Son (along with the eternal Spirit) are fully God and therefore coequal in essence, even though the Father appoints the Son to carry out specific tasks or roles.        

The final problem that Zaatari faces is that all of these Biblical statements about the Messiah conflict with the teachings of Muhammad. Muhammad denied that Jesus rules forever and didn’t believe that every creature would worship Jesus in the same way that they worship God. Since Muhammad contradicted these rather plain and explicit Biblical truths he is therefore a false prophet whom every honest seeker of truth must shun.    

This concludes the second part of our discussion. It is now time to move on to the third part of our rebuttal.


(1) Interestingly, Zechariah prophesied that Yahweh will actually descend upon the Mount of Olives with all his holy ones and that the Mount will literally split in half as a result of Yahweh’s feet resting on it!

“Lo, a day shall come for Yahweh when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city. Then Yahweh shall go forth and fight against those nations, fighting as on a day of battle. That day HIS FEET shall rest upon the Mount of Olives, which is opposite Jerusalem to the east. The Mount of Olives shall be cleft in two from east to west by a very deep valley, and half of the mountain shall move to the north and half of it to the south. And the valley of Yahweh mountain shall be filled up when the valley of those two mountains reaches its edge; it shall be filled up as it was filled up by the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then Yahweh, my God, shall come, and all his holy ones with him. On that day there shall no longer be cold or frost.” Zechariah 14:1-6 NAB

What makes this all the more amazing is that the New Testament teaches that it is Jesus who will descend upon the Mount of Olives with all his saints!

“When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem FROM THE MOUNT CALLED OLIVET, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away.” Acts 1:9-12 NAB

According to the men dressed in white (who were obviously angels) Jesus will return the same way he went into heaven, i.e., Christ will descend upon the Mount of Olives since this is the place from which he ascended into heaven. And:

“Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. (Amen.)” 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 NAB

This means that when Zechariah saw Yahweh’s feet touch the Mount of Olives he was actually seeing Christ in his resurrected, glorified physical body returning to the earth from heaven!

(2) This is why statements such as the following,

Lo! We, only We, inherit the earth and all who are thereon, and unto Us they are returned. S. 19:40

Nay, but We shall record that which he saith and prolong for him a span of torment. And We shall inherit from him that whereof he spake, and he will come unto Us, alone (without his wealth and children). S. 19:79-80

Pose a problem for Zaatari’s unitarian views since Allah is supposedly uni-personal (we say supposedly since the Islamic data shows otherwise). As such, how can a uni-personal God receive anything from anyone if he is supposed to be the Creator and Possessor of all things?

In fact, Zaatari employed the same reasoning in a youtube video he produced to refute the Deity of Christ:

“Folks, God is the owner of everything; he doesn’t inherit it he already owns it… Logically if Jesus was God he would have already owned since the beginning of the days. But as Hebrews says Jesus was the heir. A heir is not an owner, a heir is someone who inherits something. Therefore, Jesus is not God because God doesn’t inherit his own creation. He already owns it from the start since he created it! How can I inherit something that I created? I own it, I don’t inherit it, I made it so its mine; not for someone else to give to me. So this conclusively proves that Jesus is not God because he is heir; he’s not the owner because only God is the owner! So quite frankly I don’t know why Christians bring this verse up to prove that Jesus is God, because it proves that he is not God because he inherits everything; he doesn’t own it! Thank you… And I repeat – a heir is someone who inherits something, he doesn’t own it. God owns everything since he made it.”

However, since it is his own god that inherits from others this means that Allah cannot be god according to Zaatari’s own logic!

For more on this issue and to read our response to Zaatari’s desperate polemics against the Deity of Christ we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:

Interestingly, not long after publishing our response to Zaatari’s attack against the Deity of Christ he conveniently removed his youtube video!