Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How can Jesus be God if He Himself Worshiped God? Pt. 4


By Sam Shamoun

We come to the final part of our rebuttal.

The Eternal Son Become Flesh

Since we have seen that the very inspired writings, which Muslim polemicists quote from to argue their position, explicitly affirm that the Lord Jesus was worshipped as God in the flesh, we need to explain why then would Christ worship and pray to God the Father.

The answer is rather simple. According to the Holy Bible, Christ is the eternal Word of the Father and the divine Creator that brought the entire creation into existence, who then became an actual flesh and blood human being:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that was created. In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. The light shines in darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it… The true Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not know Him… The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-5, 9-10, 14

As such, Christ is the glorious Son of God made flesh, being both truly God and truly human.

Since the God-breathed revelations teach that Yahweh is the God of all flesh,

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27

And since Christ is the Son who became flesh in order to accomplish the Father’s will,

For I came down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38

The Father, therefore, became Jesus’ God from the moment of his human conception, a fact which the following Psalm brings out clearly:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?But I am a worm, and not a man; a reproach of men and despised by the people. All who see me laugh me to scorn; they sneer with the lip, they shake the head, saying,Trust in the Lord, let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, seeing He delights in him.’ But You are He who took me out of the womb; You caused me to trust while I was on my mother’s breastsMy mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garmentI will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.” Psalm 22:1, 6-10, 15-18, 22 NIV

That this is a Messianic Psalm, one which prophesies the crucifixion, death and resurrection of the Messiah, can be readily seen from the following NT texts:

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole detachment of soldiers before Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and when they wove a crown of thorns, they put it on His head and put a staff in His right hand. They knelt before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spit on Him, and took the staff and hit Him on the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him When they crucified Him, they divided His garments by casting lots to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, ‘They divided My garments among themselves and for My clothing they cast lots.’ And sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. They put His accusation over His head, which read: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then two thieves were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. Those who passed by insulted Him, wagging their heads, saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him, saying, ‘He saved others. He cannot save Himself. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God. Let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him. For He said, “I am the Son of God.”’ Even the thieves who were crucified with Him insulted Him in the same way.” Matthew 27:27-31, 35-44

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took His garments and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier; and also His tunic. Now the tunic was seamless, woven from top to bottom. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it shall be.’ This happened to fulfill the Scripture which says: ‘They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.’ Therefore the soldiers did these things.” John 19:23-24

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which means, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mark 15:34 – cf. Matthew 27:46

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, saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing praise to You.’” Hebrews 2:10-12

Having established that the NT treats Psalm 22 as a prophecy concerning the passion and resurrection of the Messiah, note again the following verse:    

I was cast on You from birth; You are my God FROM MY MOTHER’S WOMB.” Psalm 22:10

Here we clearly see that Yahweh only became the Messiah’s God from the moment his blessed mother conceived him in her blessed and consecrated womb by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:34-35). This confirms that the reason why Jesus is said to have a God whom he worships is because he became a man, in order to become the example of how a man is supposed to live and behave.  

Moreover, these same God-breathed Scriptures proclaim that Christ continues to exist as a man with a physical, flesh body (albeit a glorified one that is now indestructible) after his resurrection:

Brothers, I may speak confidently to you concerning the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. But being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of his seed according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foresaw this and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not abandoned to Hades, NOR DID HIS FLESH SEE CORRUPTION. God raised up this Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear.” Acts 2:29-33

Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those of you who fear God, the word of this salvation has been sent to us. Because those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, did not know Him, in condemning Him they have fulfilled the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath. Though they found in Him no cause worthy of death, yet they asked Pilate to have Him killed. When they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree and placed Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead, and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now His witnesses to the people. We preach to you good news: The promise which was made to the fathers, God has fulfilled to us, their children, raising Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.’ That He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give You the holy and sure blessings of David.’ So He says in another Psalm: ‘You will not let Your Holy One see decay.’ For after David had served by the counsel of God in his own generation, he fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw decay. But He whom God raised up saw no decay.” Acts 13:26-37

This is why Jesus could appear to his disciples and invite them to handle his hands and feet, as well as touch the marks of his wounds, so that they could verify for themselves that he had been raised from the dead, and therefore still possessed a flesh and bone body:

As they were saying this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be unto you.’ They were terrified and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Feel Me and see. For a spirit does not have FLESH AND BONES AS YOU SEE THAT I HAVE.’ When He said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet disbelieved for joy and wondered, He said to them, ‘Do you have any food here?’ They gave Him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate it before them.” Luke 24:36-43

And:

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called The Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail prints in His hands, and put my finger in the nail prints, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe.’ After eight days His disciples were again inside with the doors shut, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand here and place it in My side. Do not be faithless, but believing.’” John 20:24-27

In fact, the Scriptures attest that the risen Lord shall return as a man in order to judge the world in righteousness:

God overlooked the times of ignorance, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent. For He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by A MAN whom He has appointed, having given assurance of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31

This explains why the Father still relates to Jesus as his God even now in heaven:

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

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments. I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels… He who overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My own new name.” Revelation 3:5, 12

Since the Son will forever remain human, the Father will forever remain his God. That is the great price that the Lord Jesus voluntarily paid out of his infinite love for the people he came to save in order to make them children of the living God:

Yet to all who received Him, He gave the power to become sons of God, to those who believed in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

What this basically means is that the Holy Bible paradoxically affirms that Jesus is to believers what the Father is to both Christ and his disciples, i.e., the risen Lord is the God of all believers:

Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said TO HIM, ‘My Lord AND MY GOD (kai ho Theos mou)!Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” John 20:27-29

In the same way that the Father is the God of the Son-made-flesh and his followers,

Jesus said to her, ‘Stop holding on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to MY GOD (Theon mou) and your God.”’” John 20:17

The following note explains why there is simply no way around the fact that Thomas worshiped Jesus as Yahweh his God:

52 sn Should Thomas’ exclamation be understood as two subjects with the rest of the sentence omitted (“My Lord and my God has truly risen from the dead”), as predicate nominatives (“You are my Lord and my God”), or as vocatives (“My Lord and my God!”)? Probably the most likely is something between the second and third alternatives. It seems that the second is slightly more likely here, because the context appears confessional. Thomas’ statement, while it may have been an exclamation, does in fact confess the faith which he had previously lacked, and Jesus responds to Thomas’ statement in the following verse as if it were a confession. With the proclamation by Thomas here, it is difficult to see how any more profound analysis of Jesus’ person could be given. It echoes 1:1 and 1:14 together: The Word was God, and the Word became flesh (Jesus of Nazareth). The Fourth Gospel opened with many other titles for Jesus: the Lamb of God (1:29, 36); the Son of God (1:34, 49); Rabbi (1:38); Messiah (1:41); the King of Israel (1:49); the Son of Man (1:51). Now the climax is reached with the proclamation by Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” and the reader has come full circle from 1:1, where the author had introduced him to who Jesus was, to 20:28, where the last of the disciples has come to the full realization of who Jesus was. What Jesus had predicted in John 8:28 had come to pass: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he” (Grk “I am”). By being lifted up in crucifixion (which led in turn to his death, resurrection, and exaltation with the Father) Jesus has revealed his true identity as both Lord (κύριος [kurios], used by the LXX to translate Yahweh) and God (θεός [qeos], used by the LXX to translate Elohim). (NETBible; bold emphasis ours)

Since Jesus is the perfect human being, man as God intended man to be, it only makes sense that he would worship and pray to his Father. After all, would the perfect human be a godless rebel that willfully sins against God, or an atheist who denies God’s very own existence? Or would he rather be someone who perfectly obeys and worships God? The answer is rather obvious.

And since Jesus is that absolutely perfect man, it shouldn’t therefore surprise us to discover that he always and only did (and continues to do) the very things that delight his Father’s heart, such as worshiping him as his God:

Meanwhile His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.’ But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know.’ Therefore the disciples said one to another, ‘Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?’ Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:31-34

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 does… I 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

Jesus answered them, ‘My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If any man desires to do His will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 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 7:16-18

So Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing of Myself. But I speak these things as My Father taught Me. He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I ALWAYS do those things that please Him.’” John 8:28-29

“For I have not spoken on My own authority, but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. I know that His command is eternal life. Therefore what I say, I say as the Father tells me.” John 12:49-50

But I do as the Father has commanded Me so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” John 14:31

As the Father loved Me, I also loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” John 15:9-10

So much for the Muslim objection.

Jesus Christ is Yahweh to the glory of God the Father! Amen! Come Lord Jesus, come! As long as your sovereign Spirit enables us, we will continue to always love and adore you! 

Unless stated otherwise, all scriptural quotations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.  

No comments:

Post a Comment