The Lord Jesus – The Lord God who sends forth the prophets!
Sami Zaatari produced an article titled, What the Bible says about Jesus (*), where he seeks to educate Christians on what the Holy Bible truly teaches concerning the Person of the Lord Jesus! Some of the passages which Zaatari focuses on are those which refer to Jesus being sent, just like prophets were sent, and concludes from this that Jesus is a human prophet. Zaatari quotes Matthew 23:37 and says:
Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!
Now this verse does not mention Jesus being sent, however so it mentions other prophets who were sent to Jerusalem for the Jews. What is interesting about this passage is that Jesus mentions the prophets. He mentions prophets who were sent, and mentions prophets who were sent for a specific group of people. What is interesting is that Jesus himself is in the exact similar position, he was sent, and he was sent to a specific group of people hence we see the exact similarity between Jesus and the other prophets. Not only that, but the Jews stoned the other prophets, the Jews also tried to stone Jesus. Hence from this we already have enough proof that Jesus is a prophet, and just like all other prophets Jesus is sent, and sent to a specific group of people. However let us quote more verses of Jesus being sent to make a strong foundation for the rest:
After quoting some verses that speak of Jesus being sent Sami concludes:
So it is crystal clear that Jesus was sent, he did not send himself. So just like all other prophets Jesus is sent, and he is sent to a specific group of people.
So this in itself is enough to show that Jesus is indeed a prophet, for prophets are sent by God to do a job just like Jesus said. If Jesus indeed was God he would have sent himself, not let someone send him.
A Christian does not have one single valid argument against that, the fact is before Jesus came into this world he was fully divine as Christians say. So it would be simple for the divine Jesus to send himself into this world since he had the power and so on, Christians cannot jump to the out-dated argument of Jesus was a man, he gave up his powers and so on. The fact is Jesus was fully divine before he came down to earth, so why did the divine Jesus not send himself? Why did he need the Father to send him? The fact is because Jesus is just a man, and cannot send himself because he is not God. Jesus was sent because he is a prophet, and just like all prophets he was sent by God.
There are several major problems with Zaatari’s erroneous reasoning, not the least of which is that no educated and informed Christian denies that Jesus is a Prophet of God. What we deny is that Jesus was nothing more than a Prophet since the God-breathed Scriptures show that he was more than that, being the unique Divine Son of God sent from heaven.
The second problem with Zaatari’s statements is that he assumes that since God sent prophets and also sent Jesus this automatically proves that Jesus is a Prophet like the rest. The problem here is that, according to the Holy Bible, God also sent angels and the Holy Spirit from heaven:
"And the angel answered him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.’" Luke 1:19
"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary." Luke 1:26-27
"The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things which have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look." 1 Peter 1:10-12
In light of this how does Zaatari know that Jesus is not a preexistent Angel, perhaps Gabriel, or even the Holy Spirit himself whom God sent from heaven? Why does he assume that since God sent Jesus he must therefore be a prophet when God also sent angels and the Holy Spirit? (Note, we do not believe that Jesus is a created angel or the Holy Spirit. We are simply raising this point for argument’s sake in order to expose Zaatari’s fallacious reasoning.)
The third error in Zaatari’s logic is that he keeps assuming unitarianism, that there is only one Person of God and that Jesus cannot be that God if he was sent by him. Zaatari has to stop assuming that his view of God is correct and needs to start proving it, which he has yet to do. The testimony of the Holy Bible is that God is Triune in nature, that there are three distinct Persons of God, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures teach that the Father sent forth his Son from heaven, much like he sent forth his Spirit:
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’" Galatians 4:4-6
In fact, there is actually one instance in the OT where Yahweh God sends Yahweh God to live among his people!
"Up! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. For thus said the LORD of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: ‘Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent ME. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be MY people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent ME to you.’" Zechariah 2:7-11
This example clearly shows that the Bible writers were not unitarians even though they were monotheists. It also refutes Zaatari’s assertion concerning Jesus being sent since God sending Jesus does absolutely nothing to disprove that Christ is also fully God in nature. It is simply the case of one Divine Person of the Godhead sending forth another Divine Person to accomplish a specific task.
The fourth issue we have with Zaatari’s assertion is that there is not a single Biblical example where any prophet claimed to be a sent S/son of God. As one liberal Catholic theologian put it:
“Without insisting on the authenticity of every ‘sending’ and ‘coming’ logion, we can say that they are numerous and various enough to encourage the conclusion that the earthly Jesus conceived of his mission both as one who came and as one who had been sent by the Father. Here it is well to recall that the OT prophets shared a radical sense of being sent by God, but never purported to come in their own name. Furthermore, they never presented themselves as ‘sons of God,’ nor were they ever called that." (Gerald O’ Collins, The Tripersonal God – Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity [Paulist Press, New York/Mahwah N.J. 1999], The Scriptural Roots, 2. The History of Jesus and Its Trinitarian Face, p. 48; underline emphasis ours)
"Third, it should be observed that the language of ‘sending’ (or even, for that matter, ‘coming’ with the suggestion of personal purpose and initiative) simply by itself does not necessarily imply personal preexistence. Otherwise we would have to ascribe such preexistence to John the Baptist, ‘a man sent from God,’ the great prophet who ‘came to bear witness to the light’ (Jn 1:6-8; see Mt 11:10,18; par. in Lk 7:27,33). In the OT, angelic and human messengers, especially prophets, were ‘sent’ by God, but one should recall at once what we observed in the last chapter: No prophets sent by God (and we can add here, not even John the Baptist) were ever called God’s sons. Here, being ‘sent’ by God means more than merely receiving a divine commission and seems to include coming from a heavenly preexistence and enjoying a divine origin.” (Ibid., 3. The Trinity According to St. Paul, pp. 61-62; underline emphasis ours)
We come to the fifth problem with Zaatari’s arguments. Zaatari is constantly quoting verses out of their respective contexts in order to give the misleading impression that they agree with his position, when in fact they actually refute his entire case against the Deity of the Lord Jesus.
Take for instance his citation of John 5:24. Zaatari doesn’t bother quoting the verses which come before and after where Jesus goes out of his way to prove that he is God, the Son of God, coequal with the Father in nature and honor:
"And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did this on the sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working still, and I am working.’ This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his [the Son’s] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.’" John 5:16-30
In this passage Jesus makes the following astonishing claims, all of which Zaatari conveniently ignored:
- Christ has the same Divine right to work on the Sabbath as God does since he is his Son.
- Christ can do nothing apart from God but can do whatever the Father does, a rather emphatic claim to Deity and to being coequal with the Father in essence.
- Christ, like the Father, has life within himself and can choose to give life to whomever he wants.
- Christ will raise the dead, both spiritually and physically, by the power and sound of his voice, which is a prerogative belonging to God.
- Christ receives the same exact honor that the Father receives, an honor which no creature can ever be given since that would be idolatry.
- Christ will judge everyone because he is the Son of Man, a direct allusion to the Divine figure of Daniel 7:13-14 who reigns forever and is worshiped by all creation.
Furthermore, this very same Gospel tells us that Christ was sent down from heaven, from the very heavenly presence of the Father:
"No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man." John 3:13
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me… This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh… Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending where he was before?" John 6:38, 50-51, 62
"For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father.’" John 16:27-28
Zaatari also referenced Luke 10:16 but once again completely overlooked the context which says:
"After this the Lord APPOINTED seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I SEND YOU OUT as lambs in the midst of wolves… He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.’ The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us IN YOUR NAME!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’" Luke 10:1-3, 16-20
Here we see that, much like the Father sent his Son, Christ sends forth his disciples to perform miracles and exorcisms in his name! John’s Gospel says pretty much the same thing:
"As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world." John 17:18
"Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’" John 20:21
Why does Zaatari deliberately choose to withhold these pertinent details from his Muslim readers? Is this what his religion teaches him to do, to distort and withhold facts and information in order to mislead people away from God’s revealed truth?
This leads us to our next contention with Zaatari's "rebuttal." Particularly troubling is Zaatari’s citation of Matthew 23:37 since he again didn’t bother providing the very immediate context to his readers where Jesus says that he actually sends out prophets to the nation!
"Therefore I SEND YOU PROPHETS and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechari'ah the son of Barachi'ah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I HAVE GATHERED your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’" Matthew 23:34-39
The Apostle Paul proclaimed the same truth concerning Jesus appointing prophets for the Church:
"But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.’ (In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love." Ephesians 4:7-16
And not only does Jesus state that he commissions prophets for the people he even claims to be the One who often sought to gather the Israelites to himself and yet they were not willing.
In order to fully appreciate how this text proves Jesus’ prehuman Divine existence it must be kept in mind that within Matthew’s narrative this is Jesus’ first visit to Jerusalem. Thus, for Jesus to say that he has often desired and tried to gather the inhabitants of Jerusalem together is quite astonishing, to say the least, seeing that this is the first time he has even been to Jerusalem after the start of his public ministry!
This comes out more clearly in the Lukan parallel:
"At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ And he said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox, "Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem." O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I HAVE GATHERED your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"’" Luke 13:31-35
Jesus’ comments at this point are even more astonishing when we consider that, according to Luke’s narrative, he has yet to visit Jerusalem since his public ministry started!
These preceding factors indicate that Jesus is deliberately making himself out to be God since, according to the Hebrew Bible, it is Yahweh who consistently sent his prophets to his people in order to gather them to himself!
"The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place; but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, till the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, till there was no remedy." 2 Chronicles 36:15-16
"From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day;" Jeremiah 7:25; cf. 25:4; 26:5; 29:19; 35:15; 44:4
Even the very metaphor that Jesus uses where he compares himself to a hen that tries to gather her chicks under her wings is one that the OT applies to Yahweh’s protection of his people!
"For the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage. He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no foreign god with him." Deuteronomy 32:9-12
"The LORD recompense you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!" Ruth 2:12
"How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36:7
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler." Psalm 91:1-4; cf. 17:8; 57:1; 61:4; 63:7
What this shows is that Jesus was not simply claiming to be around during the OT period but was actually identifying himself as the very God who was protecting the Israelites and sending them prophets and messengers to communicate his words to them!
Moreover, this appointing of prophets and apostles presupposes that Jesus is sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Christ is sovereign because he freely chooses whomever he desires to be his spokesperson:
"And he went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons:" Mark 3:13-15
"Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him." John 6:70-71
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." John 15:16
"Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ … Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Anani'as. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Anani'as.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Anani'as come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight [omniscience/omnipresence].’ But Anani'as answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine [sovereignty] to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him [omniscience] how much he MUST suffer for the sake of my name [sovereignty].’ So Anani'as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized," Acts 9:3-6, 10-18
"Thus I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you [sovereignty] to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you [omnipresence], delivering you [omnipotence] from the people and from the Gentiles -- to whom I send you [sovereignty] to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’" Acts 26:12-18
He is omnipotent because he has the power to enable the prophet or apostle to successfully carry out all that he determines. He is omniscient and omnipresent since he must be present with all his prophets and apostles to grant them the wisdom to answer, confound and refute those who oppose the truth, as well as to enable them to accurately foretell future events:
"Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom [omniscience/omnipresence], which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict." Luke 21:14-15
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age [omnipresence]." Matthew 28:19-20
These points are all summed up in the following OT texts:
"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the LORD, who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone, who spread out the earth – Who was with me? – who frustrates the omens of liars, and makes fools of diviners; who turns wise men back, and makes their knowledge foolish; who confirms the word of his servant, and performs the counsel of his messengers; who says of Jerusalem, "She shall be inhabited," and of the cities of Judah, "They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins"; who says to the deep, "Be dry, I will dry up your rivers"; who says of Cyrus, "He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfil all my purpose"; saying of Jerusalem, "She shall be built," and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’" Isaiah 44:24-28
"Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it." Isaiah 46:8-11
In other words, in order for Christ to be able to raise and equip individuals to be his prophets and apostles he must have God’s sovereignty and all of his essential omni-attributes, and must therefore be God!
As if Jesus couldn’t make it any more obvious that he was making himself out to be God he not only stated that he would personally send true prophets but also claimed that there would even be false prophets who would prophesy in his very own name!
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Not everyone who says TO ME, ‘Lord, Lord (Kyrie kyrie),’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord (Kyrie kyrie), did we not prophesy IN YOUR NAME, and IN YOUR NAME drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" Matthew 7:15-23
Jesus is once again equating himself with Yahweh since the OT plainly says that both the true and false prophets prophesied in the name of Yahweh!
"Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. I have not sent them, declares the LORD, but they are prophesying falsely IN MY NAME, with the result that I will drive you out and you will perish, you and the prophets who are prophesying to you." Jeremiah 27:14-15
"For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you IN MY NAME; I did not send them, declares the LORD." Jeremiah 29:8-9
"And if anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you speak lies IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.’ And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies." Zechariah 13:3
We are even given a criterion to distinguish the true prophet from the false one:
"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.’ The LORD said to me: ‘What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks IN MY NAME, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak IN MY NAME anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.’ You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him." Deuteronomy 18:15-22
Last but not least, another point to be noted is Jesus’ use of "Lord, Lord (Kyrie kyrie)" in Matthew 7:21-22 as a reference to himself. This doubling of kyrios or Lord is further proof that Jesus believed that he is God since it is found in the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, as a translation of the words "Lord YHWH"!
"Lord God (kyrie kyrie), thou hast begun to shew to thy servant thy strength, and thy power, and thy mighty hand, and thy high arm: for what God is there in heaven or on the earth, who will do as thou hast done, and according to thy might?" Deuteronomy 3:24
"And I prayed to God, and said, O Lord (kyrie kyrie), King of gods, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, whom thou didst redeem, whom thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt with thy great power, and with thy strong hand, and with thy high arm." Deuteronomy 9:26; cf. 1 Kings 8:53; Psalm 69:6; Ezekiel 20:49; Amos 7:2, 5
It is also used to translate "YHWH Lord":
"But thou, O Lord, Lord (kyrie kyrie), deal mercifully with me, for thy name’s sake: for thy mercy is good." Psalm 108:21 [English 109:21]
"O Lord God (kyrie kyrie), the strength of my salvation; thou hast screened my head in the day of battle." Psalm 139:8 [Eng. 140:7]
"For mine eyes are to thee, O Lord God (kyrie kyrie): I have hoped in thee; take not away my life." Psalm 140:8 [Eng. 141:8]
More importantly, this coupling of kyrios is never used for anyone besides Yahweh and yet Jesus uses it for himself, for his very own Person! Can it get any clearer than this that Jesus was claiming to be Yahweh God Almighty (yet not the Father or the Holy Spirit)? To those who have been given eyes to see and ears to hear by the grace of the risen Lord Jesus the answer is obvious.
So much for Zaatari’s failed attack on the perfect Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus willing, there will be more rebuttals in the near future to Zaatari’s desperate tirade against the true God and eternal Life, our risen Lord and immortal Savior Jesus Christ.
Who is actually doing the sending?
Dealing with more of Zaatari’s bluster
Zaatari claims in an addendum to his recently published “reply” (*) to my rebuttal that the context refutes my assertion that Jesus actually sends prophets. Now does he quote anything from the context itself to refute my exegesis? Not at all! He instead runs to Luke 11:49 to address my point! Jesus says there that it is the Wisdom of God which sends prophets:
"Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,'"
The problem with Zaatari’s utterly desperate and weak response is that running to a different author does not refute the plain words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 23:34. Jesus says he will send prophets, end of story. All that Luke 11:49 shows is that Jesus performs the very same Divine work which God and his Wisdom carry out, and therefore provides further evidence that Jesus thought he was God!
After all, God’s Wisdom is not something that is separate from him but is an intrinsic attribute which he eternally possesses. For Jesus to say that he does what God and his Wisdom do indicates that Christ wasn’t placing himself in the category of a creature like the prophets but thought that he actually belonged to the same category of the Creator!
In order to bring this implication out more clearly contrast Jesus’ words with what Moses said in response to his servant Joshua:
“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the Spirit which is upon you and put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.’ … So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD; and he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and placed them round about the tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more. Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, ‘My lord Moses, forbid them.’ But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!’” Number 11:16-17 24-29
What Moses could only hope for Jesus could actually do since, unlike Moses, Christ could actually give the Spirit to his followers and commission them to be his prophets and apostles:
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11-12
Zaatari further exposes his ignorance by saying that Jesus cannot be speaking of himself as God’s Wisdom since he refers to it as being something separate and distinct from himself. What Zaatari means is that since Jesus spoke of Wisdom in the third person this therefore proves that Christ wasn’t referring to himself as Wisdom.
This overlooks the fact that Jesus often spoke of himself in the third person, just as we see in the following examples:
“‘But behold the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!’ … While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’” Luke 22:21-22, 47-48
“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” Luke 24:44-47
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’” John 17:1-3
It also ignores the fact that Jesus is actually called the Wisdom of God:
“but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24
Hence, Matthew 23:34 simply makes explicit what is already implicit in Luke 11:49, e.g. Jesus is God’s eternal Wisdom that became man.
So much for Zaatari’s weak argumentation and bad logic.