Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Arrival of Israel’s Good Shepherd


More Proofs for the Deity of Christ
By Sam Shamoun 

According to the Holy Bible, Yahweh or Jehovah is Israel’s Shepherd who nourishes and protects them, and who shall also repay everyone according to what s/he has earned:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1-3

“See, the Lord god will come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; see, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:10-11

The inspired Scriptures also testify that God alone is intrinsically holy and righteous, being free of all moral imperfections whatsoever:

“He is the Rock; His work is perfect; for all His ways are just. He is a God of faithfulness and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4

There is none holy as the Lord, for there is none besides You, and there is no rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2

“to show that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Psalm 92:15

Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You ALONE are holy. All nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been revealed.” Revelation 15:4

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid!” Romans 9:14

The God-breathed revelations further proclaim that He is the only One who is essentially good:

“He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good, except God ALONE.’” Mark 10:18

The Holy Bible attests that, as far as all other beings are concerned, they are fallen sinners whose natures have been corrupted by evil:

Enter not into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous.” Psalm 143:2

And this is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that the same event happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are filled with evil, and folly is in their hearts while they have life, and after that they go to the dead.” Ecclesiastes 7:29 

The heart is more deceitful than all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:13

What then? Are we better than they? No, not at all. For we have already charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks after God.  They have all turned aside; together they have become worthless; there is no one who does good, no, not one.’ ‘Their throats are an open grave; with their tongues they have used deceit’;the poison of vipers is under their lips’; ‘their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their paths; and they do not know the way of peace.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and all the world may become accountable to God. Therefore by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:9-20

In fact, the sacred writings teach that not even angels are pure or good enough in the sight of God:

Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? He does not trust in His servants, and He charges His angels with error; Even more, those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before the moth.” Job 4:17-19

What is man that he should be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, He puts no trust in His holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in His sight. How much more abhorred and corrupt is man, who drinks iniquity like water!” Job 15:14-16 – cf. 25:4-6

As such, any goodness and righteousness that these beings may possess will be due to the grace of God making them such.(1)

Therefore, if Jesus were a mere creature then he would not be intrinsically pure and righteous. Rather, like all other creatures Christ would need to be made good and holy by God.

Yet this is not what the Holy Bible says concerning Jesus. On the contrary, it teaches that Christ is good and holy by nature, and has been such even from his human conception:

“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore THE HOLY ONE who will be born will be called the Son of God.’” Luke 1:34-35(2)

The inspired Scriptures go out of their way to affirm that Christ is absolutely spiritually pure in every way imaginable, being free of all unrighteousness and moral imperfections:

He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory. But He who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:18

who becomes a priest not by a law pertaining to ancestry, but by the power of an endless lifeBut He, because He lives forever, has an everlasting priesthood. Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He at all times lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, for He is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and is higher than the heavens. Unlike those high priests, He does not need to offer daily sacrifices—first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for He did this once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints men who are weak as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son who is made perfect forever.” Hebrews 7:16, 24-28

The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses…  God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to you first, to bless you in turning every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:13-15, 26

In fact, we are even told that Christ is so pure and righteous that he always and only does the very things that please God the Father:

Then Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son doesI can do nothing of Myself. As I hear, I judge. My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me.’” John 5:19, 30

He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” John 8:29

The sacred writings not only highlight the absolute, essential goodness of Jesus, they further bear witness to his ability to transform sinners into righteous servants of God, making them morally and physically incorruptible through his sacrificial death, in order to grant them the right to dwell in God’s presence forever:

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 – cf. Matthew 20:28

“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take and eat. This is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and after He gave thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’” Matthew 26:26-28 – cf. Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20

God exalted this Man to His right hand to be a Ruler and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

For it was fitting for Him, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of One. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers,” Hebrews 2:10-11

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering He has forever perfected those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10, 14

“and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests unto our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’” Revelation 5:9-10

Then I looked. And there was a great multitude which no one could count, from all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out with a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, AND TO THE LAMB!’ All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures and fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.’ Then one of the elders asked me, ‘Who are these clothed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ He said to me, ‘These are those who came out of great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. “They shall neither hunger any more, nor shall they thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them,” nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and “He will lead them to springs of living water.” “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”’” Revelation 7:9-17

This is something that Jesus could not do if he was anything less than absolutely good and holy, since the Scriptures expressly teach that this is a work that only God can do:

“none of them can by any means redeem the other, nor give to God a ransom for anyone, for the redemption of their souls is costly; even so people cease to exist forever, making efforts to live eternally, and not see the pit… But God shall redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, for He shall receive me. Selah” Psalm 49:7-9, 15

To top it all off, Christ is not only said to be the One who comes to repay every person according to what s/he has done,

“For the Son of Man shall come with HIS angels in the glory of HIS Father, and then HE will repay every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27

“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like fine brass, says these things: I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience, and that your last works are more than the first… and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the hearts and the minds. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.’” Revelation 2:18-19, 23b – cf. 22:12-13, 16, 20

He is even identified as the Good Shepherd who leads his flock to green pastures and living waters!

Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, along with his sons and his livestock?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life.’” John 4:10-14

“‘Truly, truly I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out. When he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them. And the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him. For they do not know the voice of strangers.’… Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the GOOD shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep… I am the GOOD shepherd. I know My sheep and am known by My own. Even as the Father knows Me, so I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep who are not of this fold. I must also bring them, and they will hear My voice. There will be one flock and ONE SHEPHERD.’” John 10:1-5, 7-11, 14-16

And this gift of living waters, which Jesus gives, is the Holy Spirit whom he sends to dwell with his followers forever:

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ By this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believe in Him would receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

“I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever: the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, for it does not see Him, neither does it know Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you… But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” John 14:16-17, 26

“But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me.” John 15:26

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away. For I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7

What the foregoing shows is that the reason why Jesus is intrinsically pure and absolutely good is because he is none other than Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit). This explains why Jesus could refer to himself as the good Shepherd who provides for his flock, in the same sense in which Jehovah is said to be the Shepherd of Israel.

All Scriptural citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

Endnotes

(1) Even the Muslim scripture concurs with God’s Word regarding this issue, since it not only affirms that there is not a single creature that is sinless,

If God were to immediately call the people to account for their transgression, then He would not leave a single creature standing. But He delays them to a determined time; so when that time comes to any of them, they cannot delay it by one moment or advance it. S. 16:61 (Quran: A Reformist Translation (QRT))

If God were to punish the people for what they have earned, He would not leave a single creature standing. But Hen delays them to a predetermined time. Then, when their time comes, then God is Seer of His servants. S. 35:45 QRT

It further testifies that the only way for anyone to be pure is by the grace and mercy of God:

All this is from God's favor upon you and His mercy. God is Kind, Compassionate. O you who acknowledge, do not follow the footsteps of the devil. Whosoever follows the footsteps of the devil should know that he advocates immorality and evil. Had it not been for God's favor upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have ever been purified, but God purifies whom He wishes, and God is Hearer, Knower. S. 24:20-21 QRT

This includes Muhammad himself, whom the Quran says was a lost sinner that needed to be purified and forgiven for all of his crimes and transgressions,

So know that there is no god besides God, and ask forgiveness of your sins and also for the acknowledging men and acknowledging women. God knows your movements and your place of rest. S. 47:19 QRT

We have given you a clear conquest. So that God may forgive your present sins, as well as those past, and so that He may complete His blessings upon you, and guide you on a straight path. S. 48:1-2 QRT

O you hidden one. Stand and warn. Your Lord glorify. Your garments purify. Abandon all that is vile. Do not be greedy. To your Lord be patient. S. 74:1-7 QRT

Did he not find you an orphan and He sheltered you? He found you lost, and He guided you? He found you in need, so He gave you riches? S. 93:6-8 QRT

And who also needed his load of sins, which weighed heavily upon him, to be removed:

Did We not relieve your chest, Take from you your load, Which had put strain on your back? S. 94:1-3 QRT – cf. 4:106-107; 9:43; 10:15, 94; 17:73-75, 93; 18:110; 33:1; 39:65; 40:55; 41:6; 69:44-47; 72:20-25; 80:1-10; 110:3

(2) Amazingly, the Quran also accepts the fact that Jesus was absolutely pure from his conception:

Relate in the book Mary, when she withdrew herself from her family to a place which was to the east. She took to a barrier which separated her from them, so We sent Our Spirit to her, and he took on the shape of a human in all similarity. She said, "I seek refuge with the Gracious from you if you are a person of acknowledgment." He said, "I am the messenger of your Lord, that He may grant you the gift of a pure son." She said, "How can I have a son when no human has touched me, nor do I desire such?" He said, "It is such that your Lord has said, it is easy for Me. We shall make him a sign for the people and a mercy from Us. It is a matter already ordained." S. 19:16-21 QRT

However, this raises a problem for Muslims since texts such as Q. 16:61 and 35:45 make it explicitly clear that no living creature is pure and righteous in God’s sight. Therefore, by testifying to Jesus’ essential purity, the Muslim scripture is implicitly affirming the absolute Deity of Christ.
 

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