Muslim dawagandists are constantly asking Christians to show where Jesus explicitly said he is God, and no matter how many times Christian provide the clear, irrefutable NT witness that he did, these same individuals will do everything they can to deny the evidence. It is apparent that these polemicists are not interested in accepting the truth but are only seeking to do whatever they can to defend the lies and deception of their false prophet Muhammad whose teachings contradicted the inspired message of Christ and his blessed Apostles.
One such Muslim is amateur apologist Sami Zaatari who has written an article attempting to show that Hebrews 1:8 does not identify the Lord Jesus as God with a capital G, but merely as a god (*).
He then sources 2 Corinthians 4:4 to show that Satan is called G/god or theos, as if this were somehow relevant to the exegesis of Hebrews 1:8. Be that as it may we have already addressed 2 Corinthians 4:4 in this article.
So there will be no need for us to deal with it here. Moreover, it is vitally important to note that this neophyte doesnt deny that the inspired verse is calling Jesus God or theos which, as we shall see, will prove quite damaging to his case.
In this response we will seek to answer (by the grace of the Lord Jesus) Zaataris following question,
So therefore how do we now know whether Jesus in Hebrews 1:8 is called a God, or a god.
The simple and short answer is that we know that Jesus is God, and not god, because of the immediate context which presents Christ as the Lord God, the Agent and Sustainer of Creation, the Son and Heir, the eternal King and Savior.
Yet in this article we will provide a lengthy answer by breaking down Hebrews 1 point by point in order to demonstrate what this neophyte overlooked and/or ignored.
1. Jesus is Lord (or Yahweh) God, the very One who brought all creation into existence and is currently sustaining it.
"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] sustaining all things by his powerful word He [the Father] also says, In the beginning, O Lord [the Son], you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." Hebrews 1:1-2, 3b, 10-12
The book of Hebrews is not alone in stating that the Father used Christ to make and sustain all creation. There are several NT passages that affirm that the Lord Jesus is the One by whom the Father created everything:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-3, 10, 14
"yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." 1 Corinthians 8:6
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." Philippians 3:20-21
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For IN him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created THROUGH him and FOR him. He IS before all things, and IN him all things hold together." Colossians 1:15-17
To establish his case that Jesus is the Creator of the cosmos the writer quotes the following OT citation:
"So I said: Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." Psalm 102:24-27
In the context David was referring to Yahweh as the Creator of the universe, and yet Hebrews has taken this very Psalm and applied it to Jesus! The only way that the writer could do this is if he truly believed that Christ is Yahweh Almighty. As the translators of the NET Bible state in the comments to Hebrews 1:10:
28sn You founded the earth...your years will never run out. In its original setting Ps 102:25-27 refers to the work of God in creation, but here in Hebrews 1:10-12 the writer employs it in reference to Christ, the Lord, making a strong argument for the essential deity of the Son. (Source; underline emphasis ours)
The following scholars write that,
"The book of Hebrews accentuates and confirms the preexistence of the Son in another way. In backing up his opening statements about the Son from the OT Scriptures, the writer quotes Psalm 102:25-27, which in its original context is speaking about the Lord God, and applies it to the Son Here once again we see that the New Testament is not content with affirming that Jesus merely preexisted; it affirms his preexistence in a way that equates him with the Lord God himself." (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; source], Chapter 8. Jesus Has Always Been There, pp. 100-101)
2. Jesus is immutable in contrast to the creation which is changing (cf. 1:10-12).
In light of the writer having God himself identify Jesus as Yahweh God (and yet not the Father) it shouldnt come as a surprise that the inspired author could also claim that Christ is unchangeable, something which he repeats elsewhere:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8
Bowman and his coauthor note that,
"For first-century Judaism, the contrast between the mutable, changeable universe and the immutable, changeless God was basic to their worldview. It was a revolutionary thought, then, to apply the description of Gods immutability in Psalm 102 to Jesus Christ. This is exactly what the book of Hebrews does (Heb. 1:10-12). It quotes Psalm 102:25-27 verbatim as a statement about the Son (see vv. 8, 10). This is just one of a series of Old Testament quotations that the author, in the first chapter of Hebrews, applies to the Son to demonstrate his superiority to the angels. The book of Hebrews also climaxes with an affirmation of Christs immutability: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (13:8)." (Ibid., Chapter 9. Jesus: The Right Stuff, p. 110)
3. Jesus is the exact imprint of God's substance, which means that he is fully God in essence.
"The Son is THE RADIANCE of God's glory and THE EXACT REPRESENTATION (charakter) of his being " Hebrews 1:3a
The word charakter initially referred to the exact imprint left by a signet ring after having been placed in wax. Hebrews is making the emphatic assertion that Christ perfectly and exactly reflects Gods very own eternal essence, being the perfect imprint of the Fathers nature, which means that the Lord Jesus is the eternal and infinite God. After all, a finite creature cannot perfectly duplicate the essence of One who is infinite and incomprehensible. Only one who is fully God can be the imprint of an infinite and eternal Being since only God is infinite and incomprehensible. As noted NT Scholar Murray J. Harris states:
"When the Son is said to be the radiant light of Gods glory (on apaugasma te doxes) (v.3 JB) and to bear the imprint of God's nature (charakter tes hupostaseos autou) (v. 3), he is being described as the intrinsic possessor of the nature of God without actually being given the generic title of God." (Harris, Jesus as God - The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus [Grand Rapids; Baker Book House, 1992], p. 222; bold emphasis ours)
What makes this truly astonishing that the Hebrew Scriptures expressly proclaim the utter uniqueness of Yahweh, that there is nothing in creation which resembles him:
"Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God." Psalm 86:8-10
"For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you." Psalm 89:6-8 cf. 113:5-6; Isaiah 40:18, 25-26
And yet Christ perfectly resembles God in every way, and performs the very works that God alone can perform, clearly showing that Jesus is not merely a creature but the eternal Creator!
4. Jesus is the Radiance and Reflection of Gods Glory (cf. 1:3).
This is simply another way of saying that Christ, although distinct from God [the Father], is actually identical to him in essence and nature. The word for "radiance" (apaugasma) refers to the light or rays emitted by a shining object, more specifically by the sun. The point the inspired author is making is that just as the sun at no time existed without its radiance, its rays, the Father likewise never existed without his Son. Moreover, just as the radiance and rays of the sun are both distinct from and an extension of it, being made of the same substance, the Son also is distinct from the Father while also sharing in the same essence since he is an extension of (yet inseparable from) the Fathers own eternal Being.
As one online Bible commentary masterfully put it:
The Son is superior to the prophets because He is the radiance of Gods glory. "He is" is more literally "who being" this participle denoting what the Son is continually (present tense) in Himself essentially and independently of His manifestation in time. This transcendent (meaning being beyond our ability to comprehend) idea is conveyed by two metaphorical expressions
The Pulpit Commentary writes that apaugasma
is, so to speak, begotten of the source, and of one substance with it, and yet distinguishable from it; being that through which its glory is made manifest, and through which it enlightens all things. The Person of the Son is thus represented, not as of one apart from God, irradiated by His glory, but as Himself the sheen of his glory." (The Pulpit Commentary: New Testament; Old Testament; Ages Software or Logos)
Wuest adds that
The word apaugasma is not preceded by the definite article, which fact makes the term highly descriptive of character or nature." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos)
Expositor's comments on radiance that
"In the Arian controversy (Ed note: Arius taught that the Son was a created being, inferior to God the father in nature and dignity though the first and noblest of all created beings) this designation of the Son was appealed to as proving that He is eternally generated and exists not by an act of the Fathers will but essentially As the sun cannot exist or a lamp burn without radiating light, so God is essentially Father and Son." (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
Let's give an analogy realizing that it will be imperfect and can even distort the truth of the radiance of His glory if pressed too far. Jesus relates to God the way the rays of sunlight relate to the sun. There is no time that the sun exists without the beams of radiance. They cannot be separated. If you put a solar-activated calculator in the sunlight, numbers appear on the face of the calculator. These are energized by the sun's radiance, but they are not what the sun is. The rays of the sun however are an extension of the sun. We see the sun by means of seeing the rays of the sun. So too we see God the Father by seeing Jesus for they are one God. (Precept Austin; source; underline emphasis ours)
5. Jesus is the preexistent Son of God (cf. 1:2).
The writer says that God created the universe through the Son, which presupposes that Christ existed as Gods Son before the beginning of creation. Again, many NT citations affirm this point (cf. Mark 12:6-8; John 1:1-18; 3:16-17; 11:27; 17:1-5; Galatians 4:4).
6. Jesus is the Heir, the One for whom all things belong.
"but in these last days he has spoke to us by his Son, whom he appointed Heir of all things Again, when he beings his Firstborn into the world " Hebrews 1:2a, 6a
By Firstborn the writer meant that Christ is the One having supremacy over the others by virtue of being the Heir who owns everything that God created through him. This, too, is a point with which the rest of the NT agrees:
"He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, They will respect my son. But the tenants said to one another, This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours. So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard." Mark 12:6-8 cf. Matthew 21:38-39; Luke 20:14-15
"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Luke 10:22
"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;" John 13:3
"He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you." John 16:14-15
"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them." John 17:1-2, 10
7. Jesus is the Author of salvation by providing purification for sins:
" After he had provided purification for sins " Hebrews 1:3b
This presupposes Jesus humanity and death, that the Lord Jesus truly became human and died in order to make purification for sins (cf. Hebrews 2:9-17; 9:11-15; 13:20).
8. Jesus rules forever as God at the Fathers right hand, in contrast to angels who are creatures that change and serve Gods elect and accomplish his will:
" he [the Son] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, You are my Son; today I have become your Father? Or again, I will be his Father, and he will be my Son? In speaking of the angels he says, He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire. But about the Son he says, Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness To which of the angels did God ever say, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" Hebrews 1:3b-5, 7-8, 13-14
Other NT writers claim that, after his resurrection, the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven to sit enthroned at his Fathers right hand to rule forever over an eternal kingdom:
" Again the high priest asked him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One? I am, said Jesus. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Mark 14:61b-62
"But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:30-33
"But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not abandoned to hades, nor did his flesh see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:30-36
"But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Look, he said, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Acts 7:55-56
"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 2:9-10
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:1-2
" It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right handwith angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." 1 Peter 3:21b-22
"and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:11
"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." Revelation 11:15
It is amazing that the author of Hebrews didnt merely say that Christ rules forever but writes claim that he does so as God! He even applies the Greek noun theos to Christ in order to communicate this point to his readers.
And since Zaatari is found of quoting Unitarian authors to prove his case here is what the notes to the NET Bible write concerning Hebrews 1:8 applying theos to Christ:
24tn Or possibly, "Your throne is God forever and ever." This translation is quite doubtful, however, since (1) in the context the Son is being contrasted to the angels and is presented as far better than they. The imagery of God being the Son's throne would seem to be of God being his authority. If so, in what sense could this not be said of the angels? In what sense is the Son thus contrasted with the angels? (2) The µe?...de (men...de) construction that connects v. 7 with v. 8 clearly lays out this contrast: "On the one hand, he says of the angels on the other hand, he says of the Son." Thus, although it is grammatically possible that ?e?? (qeos) in v. 8 should be taken as a predicate nominative, the context and the correlative conjunctions are decidedly against it. Hebrews 1:8 is thus a strong affirmation of the deity of Christ. (Source; underline emphasis ours)
Again, Hebrews is not alone here since there are other Old and New Testament passages which directly call Jesus God, such as the following: Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1.
The writer to the Hebrews also quotes Psalm 110 to establish his case that Jesus sits enthroned at Gods right hand. Interestingly, this particular Psalm provides further support for the Deity of Christ:
"The LORD says to my Lord (Adoni): Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. The Lord (Adonai) is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head." Psalm 110:1-7
The One who is at Gods right is identified as both Adoni and Adonai, the latter being an exclusive title of God. Thus, Hebrews is identifying Jesus as that very Adonai who sits enthroned at Gods right hand!
Zaatari also tried refuting the fact that David identified the Messiah as God in Psalm 110:1, an assertion which we have already thoroughly refuted here.
When will this amateur learn to start reading and actually interact with the answers that have been offered by orthodox Christians time and time again to refute such poor and weak arguments?
9. Jesus is worshiped by all of the angels.
"And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, Let all God's angels worship him." Hebrews 1:6
What makes this statement rather astonishing is that God not only commands all of his angels to worship his Son, even though worship of this kind is to be given solely to the true God:
"I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" Revelation 22:8-9; cf. 19:10
The inspired writer actually quotes OT texts where angels are commanded to worship Yahweh and applies them to Christ!
"Rejoice, you heavens, with Him, and let all the angels of God worship Him; rejoice you Gentiles, with His people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in Him; for He shall avenge the blood of His sons, and He shall render vengeance, and recompense justice to His enemies, and He will repay them that hate Him; and the Lord shall purge the land of His people." Deuteronomy 32:43 Septuagint [LXX] (Source)
"Let all that worship graven images be ashamed, who boast of their idols; worship Him, all you His angels For You are Lord Most High over all the earth; You are greatly exalted above all gods." Psalm 97:7, 9 [LXX] (Source)
The only way for the author to do this, e.g. apply to the Person of Christ specific OT texts which refer to Yahweh being worshiped, is if he were convinced that Jesus is Yahweh God.
No wonder that Christ, in heaven, is worshiped by the entire creation just as John saw in his inspired vision:
"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
Zaatari is still not finished since he thinks that Hebrews 1:9 proves that Jesus is god with a small "g," but not God with a capital "G." He bases this on his erroneous assumption that since the text says that Jesus God has anointed him he therefore cannot be God in the same sense that the Father is (the One doing the anointing):
" therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."
Instead of repeating ourselves ad nauseum ad infinitum we will simply let the following Evangelical scholars answer this objection for us:
"One common objection to understanding verse 8 to mean that Jesus is God is that verse 9 (also a quotation from Psalm 45) calls someone else (presumably the Father) his God: Therefore God, your God. This objection is no more valid than the similar objection we considered earlier against understanding the Son of God in the Gospel of John to be God (John 1:1, 14, 18; 20:28, 31). In Hebrews, as in John, affirmations of Jesus as God and of the Father as Jesus God are placed side by side (John 20:17, 28; Heb. 1:8, 9) with no sense of contradiction. By virtue of the Incarnation, Jesus became a human being, part of the created order (John 1:14; Phil. 2:6-7), and as such he properly honors the Father as his God (see also Rev. 3:12). At the same time, by virtue of his original, uncreated divine nature, Jesus was and still is God." (Bowman & Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place, Chapter 12. Immanuel: God With Us, p. 150; underline emphasis ours)
And here is what they concerning Johns Gospel:
"Johns conclusion, at which he wants his readers also to arrive, that Jesus is the Son of God (20:30-31) is not at odds with understanding Thomass statement in John 20:28 as a model of confession of Jesus as Lord and God. In the prologue as well, John insists that Jesus is both God (1:1, 18) and the Son of God (1:14, 18). As D. A. Carson has observed, This tension between unqualified statements affirming the full deity of the Word or of the Son, and those which distinguish the Word or the Son from the Father, are typical of the Fourth Gospel from the very first verse. Those who find these descriptions of Jesus impossible to reconcile without denying or diminishing one in favor of the other are laboring under the assumption or presupposition of a unitarian view of God (i.e., the view that God can only be a solitary person)." (Ibid., p. 143; underline emphasis ours)
These writers must have had Zaatari in mind when they wrote these words!
With the foregoing in perspective it is clear from the context that the word "God" in reference to Christ denotes the fact that he is indeed the Supreme Being, even though he is not the Father. And since Jesus is God who became man in order to rule the throne as Davids Son, as his representative, it is little wonder that Hebrews 1:9 could say that he is superior to the other kings who are described as his fellows. After all, no other king is God in essence and therefore cannot compare to this one who is both God and Man at the same time!
It is also evident from the foregoing that Muslim neophytes like Zaatari are consistently failing to refute the explicit Biblical witness to the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. They simply cannot deal with the fact that the Father himself identifies his beloved Son as unchangeable or immutable God, Lord, Creator, Sustainer, Heir and eternal King who is superior to the entire angelic host that worship him.
This means that Muhammad lied when he put these words in the mouth of his Master and Lord, Jesus Christ:
And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. S. 5:116
Not only is this a fictitious dialogue that will never take place, this passage also exposes Muhammads gross misunderstanding and distortion of the historic doctrine of the Trinity. Christ never taught that he and his mother were two other gods besides the one true God. Rather, Jesus taught that he is the unique Divine Son of God, being personally distinct from the Father yet consubstantial (equal in substance) with him.
Therefore Unitarians and Muslim neophytes like Zaatari must come to the truth and accept that Muhammad was a false prophet and that Jesus Christ is the risen and eternal Lord at whose feet Muhammad will one day bow down and worship:
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
And the Triune God Knows Best!
Zaatari has come out with a "reply" (*) to my refutation of his gross distortion of the Christology of Hebrews 1. It is clear that Zaatari is fighting a losing battle and cannot see how his ship has already sunk, which explains why he is getting into areas that are way over his head. This also explains why he has to poison the well at the start of his "answer" by attacking me for writing lengthy articles that are supposedly brimming with logical fallacies and further accuses me of going off into tangents that are irrelevant to the issues.
Yet this merely shows that he realizes that he has to go into damage control in order to cover over his inability to refute the facts. Zaatari is desperately trying to salvage his reputation as an apologist but to no avail.
Jesus The Incarnate Son who has a God
Here is his "response" to the writer calling Jesus theos:
So from this they conclude that the Father did call Jesus God. Yet the word for God in Greek is Theos, and can also be applied to men as well, the word Theos is used of satan![sic] So therefore just because God called Jesus Theos doesn't make Jesus the all mighty and true God. Therefore we must let the context do the talking [sic], and when we do let the context speak we see that in verse 9, which comes right after this verse, we see the context refute the Trinitarian contention
Notice the verse says that Jesus God the son has a God, and that God anointed Jesus! Can God have a God who anoints him!? Off course not! Therefore a proper translation and reading of Hebrews 1:8 should say god, not God with a capital G, as verse 9 shows that Jesus has a GOD referring to the all mighty and all powerful God.
Secondly the problem with Hebrews 1:9 is much different, since it doesn't say Jesus has a God, it says God with a capital G has a God! Basically God has a God! So therefore we know this cannot be, and this allows us to know that Jesus is not the God with a capital G, but a god with a small g, which is why it can then say that god has a God, since god with a small g refers to a prophet.
How ironic that this neophyte talks about allowing the context to do the talking while conveniently ignoring and perverting the text in order to force it to agree with his unitarian assumptions.
What Hebrews 1:9 refutes is Zaataris gross ignorance of Biblical theology, or simply proves that he cannot refute the facts and is therefore forced to attack a straw man. According to Hebrews the preexistent Son became man in order to redeem the heirs of salvation, namely the children of Abraham (specifically the believers who by their faith become part of Abrahams family):
"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again he says, Here am I, and the children God has given me. Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared/partook in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of deaththat is, the deviland free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Hebrews 2:9-18
By saying that Jesus partook of flesh and blood the author clearly presupposes the prehuman existence of Christ. Now since Christ is truly human, and will continue to remain a human being forever by virtue of his resurrection:
"May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep," Hebrews 13:20
The Lord therefore became a part of the created order, whereby he enters into a new relationship with his Father, one where the Father also became (and will continue to be) his God (since the Lord Jesus will forever remain a man). After all, if the Father is the God of all creation, and especially of all flesh, then he also becomes the God of Christ at the very moment he, the Son, entered into creation and became man.
In fact, Hebrews 1:8-9 itself is all about the coronation or enthronement of the Messianic King, being a quotation of Psalm 45:6-7, a Psalm which in context speaks of the wedding banquet of the Davidic King.
This, again, confirms that the reason why the writer can quote this specific Psalm, one which speaks of God having a God, is because this particular text is referring to Jesus office as the Davidic Messiah, the Son of David who reigns on Gods throne forever.
Yet the only way for Jesus to reign as Davids Son is if he first became a man, taking on a human nature, in order to become a descendant of David. This he did when he was born from the virgin Mary, who was of the household of David:
"In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. How will this be, Mary asked the angel, since I am a virgin? The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." Luke 1:26-35
The writer to Hebrews refers to this when he speaks of Jesus descending from the tribe of Judah, the very tribe of David:
For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. Hebrews 7:14
Notice the reference to "our Lord" being a descendant of Judah, which presupposes both the Deity and humanity of Christ.
Moreover, did Zaatari even bother to read, let alone address, our discussion of 2 Corinthians 4:4 which he thinks refers to Satan as G/god (*)? Obviously not since he again refers to this text as if this is somehow relevant to the exegesis of Hebrews 1:8.
With the foregoing in mind it is apparent that Zaatari is attacking a straw man and simply doesnt understand the very Biblical doctrines that he criticizes. We advise this young lad to take the time to not only more thoroughly learn what his own false religion teaches, since he happens to be grossly ignorant of even basic Islamic theology, but to also start educating himself concerning what the Holy Bible says concerning the relationship between the Father and the Incarnate Son. He further needs to stop assuming unitarianism and refrain from reading these Biblical texts in light of his unitarian lenses.
Does Jesus Have to Say It?
As a further sign that Zaatari realizes that he is way in over his head here is what he says regarding the quotations I provided concerning Christ honoring the Father as his God by virtue of his Incarnation which resulted in his becoming part of creation:
As to the first scholar whom Shamoun quotes, their opinion is irrelevant for one main reason, where did Jesus ever teach what they just said?!
You see Christians have invented this doctrine up, that when Jesus says my God, it is the man nature of his talking, yet where did Jesus say or teach such a thing? The answer is very simple, he never did, Christians made this up to get rid of such major problems and inconsistencies.
Whenever Muslims start up with the "well Jesus never said it" canard this is nothing more than a tacit admission on their part that they have been stumped and cannot refute the clear Biblical evidence that is being presented.
To show the readers how desperate and weak this line of argumentation truly is, and that this is nothing more than a smokescreen, one can easily ask the question, where did Jesus ever DENY this? As the logically thinking person already knows this is nothing more than an argument from silence which can cut both ways. After all, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, i.e. just because the NT doesnt record Jesus teaching that he is the Incarnate Son who honors his Father as his God by virtue of his Incarnation in those exact words this doesnt mean that he never did say it.
In fact, two can play this game. Nowhere does the Quran ever quote Jesus claiming to be the Messiah, a Word from Allah, or a Spirit proceeding from him; nor does it ever have him deny that he is God, the Son of God, or that he came to lay his life as a ransom for others. If Zaatari were consistent he would have to discard the Quran whenever it affirms these qualities or denies the Divinity of Christ (despite the fact that it badly misrepresents it) since Jesus never said a word concerning these very issues. For more on these topics we suggest the following articles and challenges: 1, 2
Moreover, we would like Zaatari to provide a reference for his assertion that Christians claim that "it is the man nature of his talking." The Christian position is not that Jesus natures are talking but that the one undivided Person of Christ is talking; and since he is both God and man at the same time it shouldnt surprise us that Christ can refer to his human experiences and limitations as well as to his Divine abilities, i.e. Christ can speak of being thirsty and hungry while also claiming to be able to give living waters and food that endures to eternal life (cf. John 4:4-14; 6:27-29, 35-40, 50-52, 53-58; 7:38-39).
See the following article for more details: 1
More importantly, it is one thing for Christ to claim to be both God and man, it is another thing altogether to get monotheistic Jews to believe and die for it. In fact, the testimony of the Apostles and NT writers hold more weight than if Jesus simply came out and said he is God since what would account for all of these individuals believing and writing that Christ is the unique Son of God, the sovereign Lord, the Agent and Sustainer of Creation, and the Savior of the world in light of their Jewish background which condemns believing that any creature, no matter how exalted, could ever be God?
As one of my colleagues put it:
"... But, the testimony of these authors, particularly that of John, Thomas, and Peter, must be deemed significant. If there were ever anybody outside of Jesus himself that can be deemed as reliable interpreters of Christology, it would surely be the disciples themselves. Given that those three listed were apostles of Jesus for more than three years, and as a result would have known Jesus much better than we can today, and would have heard more (probably far more) teachings and sayings of Jesus than what we find preserved in the NT, and who were furthermore entrenched within the milieu of 1st-century Judaism (which means that they were believers in only the true God of Israel, and thus highly unlikely candidates to attribute divinity to somebody that didn't even claim it), it would be hazardous simply to brush aside their testimony. To put this in its proper perspective, we who debate these issues today are viewing the Gospels through the lens of a completely different culture, nearly 2,000 years removed from the events, and are dealing with comparatively very limited sources to what the earliest Christian believers had. It is, therefore, imperative to render substantial weight to the earliest followers' testimony about Jesus (and, as Larry Hurtado shows in his magisterial work on the Christology of the earliest Christians, the belief in Christ's divinity was a constant; see also here) ..." (Wildcat, A Review of the Shamoun/Zaatari Debate; source)
Something must have happened to convince writers such as the author of Hebrews that it was perfectly acceptable to quote OT texts concerning the uniqueness of Yahweh and apply them to Christ in order to prove that Jesus is God the Son, the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of the world, being the very One whom all the angels worship. And, according to the NT, that something was Jesus physical, bodily resurrection from the dead, since this serves as supernatural divine confirmation, Gods imprimatur so to speak, that Christ is in fact the eternal Son of God and the sovereign Lord of all creation.
Jesus the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe
As if he couldnt get anymore desperate Zaatari says:
Notice the verse says that God spoke to the people in various ways in the past, and that he has now spoken to us through his Son Jesus. Yet how can this be? If Jesus created the universe and the worlds as the Trinitarian claims then this means that God also spoke to us through Jesus in the past, yet the text says that God spoke to us through Jesus in the last days! Hence Jesus could not have made the universe, because God only talked to us through Jesus in the LAST DAYS, not in the past, which means that Jesus did not create the universe. If Jesus did create the universe then surely God spoke to us through Jesus as well, yet Hebrews two obviously says the opposite of that.
How does the writer saying that the Father spoke through his Son in these last days refute what he went on to say concerning God creating the universe through him? It is only in Zaataris world that such argumentation can be passed off as convincing and sound since this is nothing more than the fallacy of false dilemma, as well as non sequitur and supplies further evidence that this lad doesnt understand the Holy Bible.
Instead of repeating ourselves concerning what the writer meant by the Father speaking through the Son in these last days we suggest that the readers peruse the following article which thoroughly addresses this issue (*)
Zaatari proceeds to demonstrate more of his gross ignorance of the doctrine he claims to be refuting.
The text doesn't say that now God has spoken to us in the last days BY SENDING HIMSELF to us! It says he has talked to us THROUGH JESUS just like he did with other prophets! (Bold and underline emphasis ours)
Can Zaatari stop assuming unitarianism for a moment, which is what his statement here presupposes, in order to allow the inspired text of Hebrews to speak for itself? The writer of Hebrews is identifying the Father as God since Jesus is said to be his Son whom he has spoken through. Zaatari keeps thinking that the Father alone is God which accounts for why he erroneously thinks that God speaking through Jesus somehow implies that Jesus is not God. This is also why he can argue that Hebrews should have been written in the manner which he proposes if what we believe concerning the Deity of Christ is true, e.g. God sent himself in these last days in order to speak to us.
Yet in light of the fact that Hebrews 1 is speaking of the Father as the God who sent the Son can Zaatari provide a quote from any theological work or commentary which interprets Hebrews 1 to mean that God sent himself? Isnt the point of Hebrews that both the Father and the Son are God while being personally distinct from each other, which explains why One can send or speak through the Other?
More specifically can he produce a statement from any historic Christian creed where Trinitarians confuse the Persons of the Godhead with one another so that the Father is the Son? After all, to say that God sent himself in this particular context would essentially mean that the Father and the Son are the same Person, which is more akin with modalism (*) than Trinitarianism.
As if he couldnt make it any more obvious that he is in way over his head Zaatari appeals to Unitarians to show that Hebrews doesnt say that Jesus created the cosmos since the Greek word that is used in Hebrews 1:2 is aionas, the plural form of aion, not kosmos. Not surprisingly, Zaataris reference selectively quotes the lexicons in an obvious attempt to deny that Jesus created the entire cosmos. Here is the definition given by one of the leading Greek Lexical sources:
3. the world as a spatial concept Created by God through the Son Hb 1:2; through Gods word Hb 11:3 (A Greek- English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Literature, Second Edition Revised and Augmented F. Wilbur Gingrich & Frederick Danker from Walter Bauers Fifth Edition, 1958 [University of Chicago, 1979] p. 28; bold and underline emphasis ours)
In fact, even Zaataris source cites lexicons which admit that the word can refer to the world or cosmos:
Vine's Lexicon has, "an age, a period of time, marked in the N.T. usage by spiritual or moral characteristics, is sometimes translated WORLD; the R.V. margin always has ?age.'" Bullinger's Critical Lexicon has:
"Aion [age], from ao, aemi, to blow, to breathe. Aion denoted originally the life which hastes away in the breathing of our breath, life as transitory; then the course of life, time of life, life in its temporal form. Then, the space of a human life, an age, or generation in respect of duration. The time lived or to be lived by men, time as moving, historical time as well as eternity. Aion always includes a reference to the filling of time"
Seeing that the Greek word can mean world as well as the course of life and to time itself this would mean that Christ created everything that an age encompasses. In other words, to say that God created the ages through Christ is simply another way of saying that God used Christ to create everything that is part and parcel of these very ages, such as the laws which govern this current age, the elements which it contains, to all of its spiritual and physical aspects etc., which is precisely what another NT writer says concerning Christs role as Creator:
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in/by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:15-17
More importantly, did Zaatari even bother reading the context to see how the author understood the term aion? In fact, didnt I reference Hebrews 1:10-12 to document that the writer to Hebrews quotes Psalm 102:25-27 in order to show that the Lord Jesus created and sustains the heavens and earth? And if creating the heavens and earth does not imply that Jesus created the cosmos then what does it mean? After all, for the writer to say that Jesus created the heavens and earth is simply another way of saying that Christ created the entire cosmos.
With the foregoing in view it is apparent that Zaatari hasnt understood the very quotes that he sources since if he did he would have seen that he isnt really helping his case at all, but is simply helping to establish our point.
Jesus the Heir of Creation
Here is a further example of his gross misunderstanding of what the doctrine of the Holy Trinity entails:
Thirdly, notice the text says that God appointed Jesus the heir of all things, there are a lot of problems with this! If Jesus is co-equal and co-eternal with God as the Trinitarian claims, then shouldn't have Jesus already had the rights and ownership to everything with the Father?! The Father APPOINTED Jesus as the heir, meaning Jesus didn't own anything, but the Father gave him everything, which proves they aren't equal at all. For the son to be appointed as the heir means there was a time when he didn't own anything!
Remember a [sic] heir is someone who inherits something, you cannot be a heir if you already own that something, go open any dictionary and read it for yourself.
It doesnt surprise us that Zaatari reasons that if Christ is appointed the Heir he cannot be equal with God (the Father) since he is once again assuming that his unitarian view of God is correct, but never bothers to prove that it is. But if we do not assume unitarianism and allow the Holy Bible to speak for itself then there is no problem with one member of the Triune Godhead appointing another member as the Head of creation and the Heir of all things. After all, since there exists personal distinctions within the Being of God it is therefore conceivable for one Person of Deity to give certain things or assign specific tasks to the other Divine Persons without this implying that one is more Divine or powerful than the others.
To use a rather crude and inadequate analogy, a human father can assign specific tasks and roles to his son without this implying that the latter is less human or less powerful than his father. In fact, the son can actually be stronger, smarter, bigger, and healthier than his dad.
Therefore, it does not follow that just because the Father appointed the Son as the Heir that this somehow implies that the latter is less Divine or powerful than his Father, especially when we are specifically told by Hebrews that the Son is the One who created and sustains all things and is the exact representation of the very being or substance of God (the Father). More on this point later.
Moreover, the giving of one Divine Member to another doesnt violate God being self-sufficient and independent of all needs since God isnt receiving anything from anyone outside of himself, outside of his own infinite Being. Rather, it is the individual Persons within God that are giving to one another.
For more on this point please consult this article.
Finally, poor Zaatari doesnt realize how his argument demonstrates Allah isnt god (which he isnt) since this is what happens when we apply his (il)logical argumentation to the Quran:
But as for those who are niggardly with the bounty God has given them, let them not suppose it is better for them; nay, it is worse for them; that they were niggardly with they shall have hung about their necks on the Resurrection Day; and to God belongs the inheritance of the heavens and earth; and God is aware of the things you do. S. 3:180 Arberry
And certainly We! We it is Who give life, and cause death, and We are THE HEIRS. S. 15:23
Lo! We, only We, inherit the earth and all who are thereon, and unto Us they are returned. S. 19:40
Allah is even called the best of those who inherit!
And Zachariah, when he cried unto his Lord: My Lord! Leave me not childless, though Thou art the Best of inheritors. S. 21:89
And lest Zaatari squirm his way out of this recall what he just said:
Remember a heir is someone who inherits something, YOU CANNOT BE A HEIR IF YOU ALREADY OWN THAT SOMETHING, go open any dictionary and read it for yourself. (Emphasis ours)
Yes Zaatari, you are correct: Your false god Allah cannot be an heir if he is a unitarian being who already owns everything; go open up a dictionary and read what heir and inheritance means for yourself. Yet since your false book says your god is an heir and shall inherit everything then Allah CANNOT be god, and must have a God who is over him, who is appointing him, who is greater than him.
Now we can understand how one Divine Person can be appointed by another Divine Person to be the Heir if God is multi-Personal and experiences intimate fellowship and communion within his own eternal Being. But we cannot comprehend how a uni-personal deity, which Zaatari believes Allah to be, can inherit anything from anyone. Maybe Zaatari can explain it to us without denying what the foregoing Quranic texts say concerning Allah inheriting from others.
For more on Allah inheriting please consult the following articles and rebuttals: 1, 2
Jesus Gods Right Hand Man
Zaatari continues to document more of his gross ignorance and misunderstanding by arguing that Jesus sitting at Gods right hand proves that he isnt God and that he isnt at the center throne! He then says that this refers to Jesus closes relationship to God.
There are several problems with Zaataris understanding concerning Jesus being seated at Gods right hand. In the first place to be seated at Gods right hand implies that Christ is personally distinct from God, which in this particular context means that he is a different Person from God the Father. And since Trinitarians do not believe that Jesus is the Father this really poses no challenge or problem for our position. Zaatari needs to prove that the Father alone is God since it is only then that he can argue that Jesus cannot be God if he is seated next to God.
Secondly, being at Gods right hand is simply another way of saying that Christ has been exalted to the highest possible position of authority, where all creation is subject to him and under his control:
"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
"and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 2:10, 3:1-2
" It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right handwith angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." 1 Peter 3:21b-22
This leads us to our third point. As we just stated, the expression, "Gods right hand" isnt necessarily a place, or location, but refers to a position of authority. Since this refers to Christ ruling from the highest position of authority imaginable the phrase is intended to denote the fact that Jesus shares in the very rule and kingdom of his Father, that both the Father and his Son reign together forever over creation. This explains why other passages refer to the kingdom of God AND Christ, or that God and Christ share the same throne:
"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person - such a man is an idolater - has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ AND OF God." Ephesians 5:5
"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord AND OF his Christ, and HE will reign for ever and ever." Revelation 11:15
"A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down." Revelation 12:1-5, 10
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the THRONE of God AND OF the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The THRONE of God AND OF the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him." Revelation 22:1-3
In fact, Hebrews itself furnishes evidence that Jesus is seated on Gods very own throne, even though it constantly repeats the fact that he is seated at Gods right hand, since the book mentions that Christ has entered into the most holy place:
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19-20 “The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.” Hebrews 8:1-2 “When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption… For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in Gods presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.” Hebrews 9:11-12, 24-26 “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,” Hebrews 10:19-21
Now the only throne that is situated in this particular section of the Tabernacle is the Ark of the Covenant or the Mercy Seat of God himself:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
Since this is the only throne there Jesus must therefore be sitting on Gods very own Mercy Seat, on the Ark of the Covenant itself!
In light of the above is it any wonder that Hebrews 1:8-9 speaks of Christ ruling forever as God? After all, what other ruler can be spoken of in such majestic and lofty terms? Who else but God can be described as reigning over every creature from the highest position of authority forever?
For more on Jesus enthronement in heaven we recommend the following articles: 1, 2
Jesus The One Whom Creation Worships
Zaatari begs the question when he says that Hebrews 1:6 cannot be saying that angels are to worship Jesus since the context shows that Christ is not God! He writes that the Greek word for worship is proskyneo and doesnt necessarily refer to the worship due to God. It can refer to the honor and homage that Christ receives due to his superior rank to the angels.
Apart from the circularity of the argument Zaatari conveniently ignored our discussion of the fact that the specific OT text that the inspired writer quoted, e.g. Deuteronomy 32:43 or Psalm 97:7, refers in context to the worship which God himself receives from the angels!
Thus, the author is citing a passage that speaks of angels worshiping God to show that God is commanding the entire angelic host to worship his Firstborn, his Son. And this is exactly what we find occuring in heaven itself:
"Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits (or sevenfold Spirit) of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 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 5:6-14
Now the only way that the writer to the Hebrews could quote a text that speaks of angels worshiping God and apply that to the worship given to the Son is if he believed that Jesus is God. In other words, the inspired author believed that to worship Jesus is to worship God since he is God!
The following articles provide a more thorough discussion concerning the worship given to Jesus: 1, 2
To make matters worse Zaatari thinks he can prove that the Greek word proskyneo doesnt always refer to the worship given to God by quoting the Quran to show where Allah commanded the angels to worship Adam!
And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down (osjudoo li-adama fasajadoo). Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith. S. 2:34 Y. Ali
All Zaatari has done at this point is to show that there is a contradiction in the Quran since the Muslim scripture expressly forbids believers from worshiping or bowing down before any one else besides Allah:
Surely those who are with thy Lord wax not too proud to serve Him (ibadatihi); they chant His praise, and to Him they bow (yasjudoona). S. 7:206 Arberry
Notice that bowing down to Allah is directly connected with the service that must be rendered to him alone. Yet this is the very kind of bowing which Allah commanded the angels to give to Adam! Clearly, the Quran is promoting creature worship, i.e. angelic creatures were to worship a fellow creature, one created from dust!
For more on this issue we recommend the following articles: 1, 2, 3
Jesus as the Exact Representation of Gods Being
Zaatari denies that the Greek term charakter implies that Christ perfectly reflects Gods uncreated Divine essence since Jesus exhibited human weaknesses and limitations. This, again, exposes his confusion since it is apparent that the inspired author is speaking of Christ being the perfect imprint of the Fathers substance in reference to the Sons Divine nature, not to his human one. Zaatari has assumed that Hebrews 1 doesnt teach that Christ is God or that he has two natures, one human and the other Divine, which explains why he thinks that Jesus cannot possibly be the exact copy of the Fathers nature.
His comments further imply that Trinitarians deny that Christ became a true human being or that we somehow believe that Jesus is the exact imprint of Gods essence in relation to his human nature.
Yet it is clear that if we allow the Bible to speak for itself that Jesus reveals what God would be like as a man since he is God in the flesh. Christ shows us that God could take on human limitations, and experience genuine human weaknesses, without ceasing to be God or having to become a sinner in order to do so.
To simplify this further so Zaatari finally gets it Jesus is the EXACT presentation of Gods substance, since he is God in essence, who became man in order to perfectly reveal God to us. As the inspired Apostle Paul put it,
"in Christ all the fullness of Deity (theotetos, that which makes God what he is) dwells in bodily form." Colossians 2:9
Zaatari needs to start investing some serious time studying what the Bible teaches and what Trinitarians actually believe in order to avoid exposing his blatant ignorance since this is causing him serious embarrassment.
Jesus The Sovereign Lord of Creation
Zaatari accuses me of being insulting because I stated that his false prophet would someday bow before the feet of the Lord Jesus. If speaking the truth is an insult, and if proclaiming what Gods true Word says concerning everyone, Muhammad included, bowing at Jesus feet is considered objectionable then I guess I am being insulting.
As a last act of desperation Zaatari quotes Matthew 26:36-44, but only manages to further document that he has no idea what he is getting himself into. We will highlight the parts that he conveniently missed:
"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O MY FATHER, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O MY FATHER, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words."
Christ was praying to God the Father, which means that Muhammad was a false prophet and deceiver since he said that his god, who is supposed to be the One Jesus prayed to, is not the Father and that he has no children:
And they say, 'The All-merciful has taken unto Himself a son. You have indeed advanced something hideous! The heavens are wellnigh rent of it and the earth split asunder, and the mountains wellnigh fall down crashing for that they have attributed to the All-merciful a son; and it behoves not the All-merciful to take a son. None is there in the heavens and earth but he comes to the All-merciful as a servant; S. 19:88-93
And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He Glorified! Nay, but (those whom they call sons) are honoured slaves; S. 21:26
And since Zaatari believes that prayer is an act of worship perhaps he can explain to his audience whom does his god worship when he prays for people:
Upon them shall be prayers (salawatun) from their Lord and mercy, and they are the rightly directed. S. 2:157
He it is who sends PRAYERS on you (yusallii alaykum), as do His angels S. 33:43
Allah and His angels PRAY for the Prophet (yasalluuna alan-Nabiyy): O ye that believe PRAY for him (salluu `alayhi), and salute him with all respect. S. 33:56
Again, seeing that Zaatari has tried to deceive his readers by denying that Allah prays we will simply let the following Muslim scholar expose his lies:
Allah makes the merit of His Prophet clear by first praying blessing on Himself, and then by the prayer of the angels, and then by commanding His slaves to pray blessing and peace on him as well. Abu Bakr ibn Furak related that one of the 'ulama interpreted the words of the Prophet, "The coolness of my eye is in the prayer," as meaning Allah's prayer, that of the angels and that of his community in response to Allah's command until the Day of Rising. The prayer of angels and men is supplication for him and that of Allah is mercy.
It is said that "they pray" means they invoke blessing (baraka). However, when the Prophet taught people the prayer on himself, he made a distinction between the word salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing). We will return to the meaning of the prayer on him later. (Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad), Qadi 'Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], p. 25; bold emphasis ours)
The Prophet made a distinction between salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing) in the hadith in which he taught about making the prayer on him. This indicates that they have two separate meanings. (Ibid., p. 250; bold emphasis ours)
So therefore I will re-re-phrase Zaataris words which he "borrowed" from me:
Muslim lads and neophytes like Zaatari must come to the truth and accept that Jesus died for sinners and that he is God the Son, Muhammads true sovereign Lord and Master. And since the God whom the Lord Jesus prayed to is the Father this only shows that Muhammad was a false prophet who has come under the judgment of the Lord Jesus since Muhammads god isnt a father to anyone. He is a lying spirit who deceived Muhammad and others into following a false Gospel and a false messenger.
Finally, even though Zaatari is troubled by this fact and tries (unsuccessfully we might add) to deny this, it is nonetheless true that Christ has left the tomb empty in vindication of his Divine claims which only further proves that Muhammad was a false prophet who shall be judged by Christ his sovereign King, at whose feet he will someday bow in acknowledgment of the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Amen!
So much for Zaataris desperate attempt of avoiding the plain teaching of Hebrews, as well as the NT as a whole, concerning Christ ruling as God over all creation.
And the Triune God Knows Best!
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