"Thomas said to him, `My Lord and My God!'" John 20:28 (NIV)
Meherally claims Thomas is not saying that Jesus is his Lord and God, but rather he was saying "Oh my God!"
There a four main points to be made in answer to Meherally's conjectures.
1. Firstly Meherally claims that the exclamation Thomas made was an indication of surprise, this is correct, it does not however necessarily mean that he was crying, "Oh my God!" if I were to come face to face with God, I would surely shout out in exclamation as well.
2. Meherally claims that "Thomas answered", is inaccurate because no question was asked to him, this point is in fact quite irrelevant and proves nothing, but is still incorrect. We need to read what Thomas said in context of the whole passage. Thomas doubted that Jesus had come back to life even though the other disciples had already seen him (John 20:24-25) and so a week later Jesus appeared to him, not only did he appear to him but as further proof showed him the wounds in his hand and side as Thomas had requested to see in verse 25. Jesus' last words to Thomas before his exclamation were, "stop doubting and believe!" (John 20:27), this is not strictly a question but Jesus was trying to evoke a response from Thomas in light of all the evidence that he has requested in verse 25. So in fact Thomas was responding to what Jesus has said and done in verses 26-27, so the response itself we can logically assume, was directed at Jesus.
3. The verse is an *exclamation* in *response* to the evidence that Jesus had put before Thomas, Meherally has made quite clear that he reasons Thomas as saying "oh my God!" maybe Meherally would say such a thing in such a situation, but the people in the Gospel of John were strictly monotheistic Jews, who would not have taken the name of God so lightly, simply because they were shocked or surprise. There were many shocks and surprises during Jesus Christs' ministry on earth but no one reacted in the New Testament stating "oh my God!". We also need to realise that in the first part of his response, Thomas said "my Lord", which would have referred of course to Jesus, who was referred to as `The Lord', we only need to look back at verse 25, to see that the disciples referred to Jesus as `the Lord' when they told Thomas that they had seen Jesus Christ risen from the dead. The second part of the response "AND my God" (note the stress on the `and') is an inclusive statement therefore must refer to the one who is being referred to as "My Lord" which is in fact Jesus. So in fact Thomas is clearly saying to Jesus, that he [Jesus] is his Lord and God.
4. The two text translations do nothing more than to show that Meherally's explanation is, in his own words, `concocted theory'.
Apostle Matthew records that Jesus was worshipped by Magi that came from the East (2:11); by the boat people (14:33); by Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (28:9); and also by his disciples on a mountain in Galilee (28:17).
Meherally claims that Jesus was not worshipped in the Gospel (injil).
Meherally's main point here, is that the Greek word used to indicate worship was `proskyneo' which he states, means to `bow, crouch crawl, kneel or prostrate' but does not in his opinion mean worship. What he fails to mention from this observation is what this word actually indicated, if it did not mean worship, what did it mean in his opinion? So in fact the answer is a half argument which does not demonstrate a point contrary to the translation.
Any Muslim will tell you that when they pray to/worship God, they `bow, crouch, kneel, or prostrate before their `god'. So even from an Islamic perspective if people were to be bowing, kneeling or prostrating themselves before Jesus then it is logical to assume that they were attributing the same behavior to him, which would indicate that they are in fact worshipping him.
This should be enough to prove to Meherally that the monotheistic Jews considered Jesus to be God, but let us keep to the point and consider what the Bible actually says.
"As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in proskyneo(reverence)" Acts 10:25
Peter, one of the apostles received the same act of proskyneo, which is translated as reverence, as he himself had attributed to Jesus in the gospels (Matthew 28:18), so what happens as a consequence of this?
"But Peter made him get up. `Stand up.' he said, `I am only a man myself' " Acts 10:26
Peter knew when he rebuked Cornelius that such an act was indicative of divinity and such an act should not be applied to human beings, Peter was also a strictly monotheistic who would have not attributed any form of worship to anyone outside of the one true God. Attributing such worship to Jesus Christ is proof enough of Jesus' divinity, indicating that he is indeed God.
Meherally has been unable in his FAQ, to define what exactly `porkusean' actually means, in our study of the word and it's context within the Bible, the only logical interpretation for this word is worship.
To put a final nail into the argument, let us consider the following fact. When Peter was confronted by the act of being bowed down before his person, he rebuked the person (Cornelius) stating that he himself was only a man and was not due such adoration. We find a similar account of an act of worship being rebuked by the Angel in Revelation 22:8-9, again the word used for worship here is proskyneo. It is also interesting to note that there is no situation in the Bible where people bow down to worship Jesus at which point he rebukes them saying, "Get up, I am only a man myself."
"Before Abraham was, I am" John 8:58 (NIV)
Meherally claims that this verse means that Jesus was merely an anointed prophet.
Here we can agree with Meherally that Jesus was indeed anointed, God had set the time upon which he himself would appear to his people through the person of Jesus Christ. Issiah 9:6 Jeremiah 23 etc.
What Meherally fails to do in his exegesis, is to put the verse into any form of context, with the proceeding and preceding verses, he does not really attempt to reason why Jesus said `I am' and what consequences that was to have. He seems to completely ignore the reaction of the Jews' response to what Jesus had said and why they were prepared to stone for what he had just said, it seems clear that Jesus to them, was blaspheming. The words `I am' have a lot more meaning than Meherally is prepared to concede.
In order to understand this, we need to go back to Exodus chapter three, so we can explain why the Jews' feathers were so ruffled at what had just been said. God had appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush, Moses recognised that he was speaking to God. In order for the people to realise that the Moses was to speak to them from the one true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, he enquired as to the name of God, the divine name, we read
"Tell them that `I am' the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob has sent me [Moses] to you." Exodus 3:15 (Good News)
The name `I am' is the divine name of God, and has been used by every prophet of God in the bible, in fact it is a requirement that any prophet who speaks for the one true God speaks in his name, Deuteronomy 18. The divine name (the Hebrew characters YHWH) appears over 6000 times in the bible and is usually transliterated as Jehovah, Yahweh or most commonly LORD. We notice that all prophets who spoke, spoke in the name of God, but there was only one who claimed to be `I am' this was Jesus who said "Before Abraham was born, I am" (ego emi in the original Greek text). We not only need to realise the fact that Jesus claimed the name for himself but he also claimed that the great Patriarch Abraham had rejoiced of his coming. Not only did Jesus identify the name with himself but he also claimed to have existed before Abraham, can we really say this of a normal man, that he, living in first century Palestine who being `not even 50 years of age' John 8:57 claimed to exist before Abraham had been born?
It is clear from this verse that Jesus is more than just a mere man, and that he claims a name that belongs only to God. This is evident by the response of the Jews, who wished to stone him as a consequence of what he had done. This reaction was prompted by Leviticus 24:16 which states that anyone speaking against Yahweh/Jehovah, should be stoned by the whole community, here they saw what they perceived to be a man of not more than 50 years of age, claiming to be God.
Not only do we need to take notice of the reaction of the Jews but to consider the prophecy of the one who was to have the divine name
"The time is coming when I (God) will choose a righteous descendant of David… …he will be called the LORD (`I am'/Yahweh/Jehovah) our salvation." Jeremiah 23: 5,6 (Good News)
Ask any Hebrew scholar or historian the name by which Jesus would have gone by in first century Palestine and they will tell you it was not Jesus, rather Yeshua , the name Jesus comes from the Greek transliteration of Yeshua, Iseous. The Hebrew name Yeshua means in fact `The LORD our salvation' (where LORD represents the divine name Yahweh/Jehovah). So even the name of the one to come is actually given in Jeremiah and fulfilled by the coming of Yeshua (Jesus).
"..He [Jesus] was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God." Mark 16:19
Meherally claims that the concept of Jesus sitting at the right hand of God is an extra biblical idea.
Interestingly enough Meherally declines to answer the question posed to him in his FAQ, if he were to honestly answer the question then he would agree, that from a biblical perspective, no other prophet was to sit down at the right hand side of God. No mere human prophet could be elevated to such a position as to sit at the right hand side of God, on his heavenly throne as Jesus was able to. Consider the following from the book of Revelation
"That is why they stand before God's throne… …for the Lamb who is in the centre of the throne will be their shepherd" Revelation 7:15,17(NIV)
Here in a beautiful vision of Heaven we see the Lamb (Jesus Christ) sitting at the Throne of God, this begs the question who else can sit at the throne of God but God? Consider what God says of Jesus,
"But about the Son he says, 'Your throne O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the sceptre of your Kingdom.' " Hebrews 1:8 (NIV)
Instead of answering the question Meherally uses one point to counter the authenticity of Mark 16:19 as being an original verse from the scripture and then goes onto quote some proof of this. Even if we were to accept his claim that the `verse was injected later on', that the concept of Jesus Christ being elevated to such a high position is also a new fangled idea extra to the Bible, his reasoning is still untrue. Meherally's theory contradicts what is in fact a Biblical concept, we only need to look to verses such as the following to see how hollow his claim is,
"Jesus said, `and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty" Mark 14:62 (NIV)
Please also refer to Luke 14:69, Matthew 26:64, Acts 7:56 which are texts found in the original gospel manuscripts.
So, contrary to Meherally's `hot tip' this fact is not `based upon an injected verse' so there is no argument that can suggest anything other than the Biblical fact, that Jesus Christ does sit at the right hand of God the Father on the throne at which only God sits.
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God" John 1:1(NIV)
Meherally claims that
In answering we shall first of all address the two points made by Meherally's argument and also consider the literal Greek meaning of the verse.
The first issue here is actually the identity of the Word, the Gospel of John begins by speaking of the Word (logos) but does the Gospel actually attach an identity to who the Word (logos) actually is? Meherally claims that throughout the years that, scholars and Christians alike have unfairly substituted the Word (logos) for Jesus Christ. Well first we need to consider whether in fact this substitution is in fact in harmony with what has been written in the Gospel of John in order to see whether the substitution can be fairly made or not.
The first verse of the Gospel of John does not reveal the identity of the Word to us but if we look further into the first chapter it is soon revealed
The Word made all things (John 1:3), The Word became flesh (i.e. took on human form) and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14). More importantly, John the Baptist testified of the Word's coming (John 1:15)
"John testified concerning him [the Word] , and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that cometh after me, is preferred before me; for he was before me." John 1:15 (Webster)
so of whom was John the Baptist testifying? The answer lies in verses 29-30
Jo 1:29"The next day John seeth Jesus coming to him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world."
Jo 1:30 "This is he of whom I said, after me cometh a man who is preferred before me; for he was before me." (Webster)
So this is clear proof that the Word is in fact Jesus Christ. So in fact the substitution of Jesus with the Word makes perfect sense and is completely valid, as they are in fact interchangeable terms because they mean one and the same person.
In point 7 of his argument, Meherally uses two words of Greek in a Biblically illiterate way to claim that the Word is not God. Let us consider the entire verse using the Griesbach Text coupled with a literal translation into English.
EN ARCHE EN HO LOGOS
in the beginning was the word
KAI HO LOGOS EN PROS TON THEON
and the word was with god
KAI THEOS EN HO LOGOS
and a god was the word
Meherally is correct in stating that there are two different Greek words used, the first is God without the definite article - THEON the other used to describe the Word (logos) is THEOS which is God with definite article. However both words mean God and in fact are simply different grammatical forms of the same word. There are numerous references within the New Testament where THEOS is used to represent God the infinite and almighty. To take just one example, let use consider the verse covered in Question 10 in which the apostle Thomas said to Jesus
"My Lord and My God" John 20:28 (NIV)
the Greek from which this has been translated is
HO KURIOS MOU KAI THEOS MOU
So the original Greek from the verse and the proceeding verses form the first chapter of the Gospel of John demonstrate quite clearly that
1. Jesus is the Word
2.The Word is God almighty
As an additional point (3) Meherally asks how can Jesus (the Word) be with God and God as well? This is answered by the doctrine of the Trinity a further explanation of which can be found in Question 3.
"Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made" John 1:3
Meherally claims that Jesus is not the Word and hence did not create all things.
Meherally's builds his argument like a tower of cards, using his conjectures from Question 15 as a basis for his answer to Question 16. So by simply refuting the two conjectures made in question 15, his argument in question 16 no longer stands. These conjectures were
That the Word is not Jesus
That the Word is not God
If the reader refers to question 15 they will find that by putting the chapter in to context and using the correct literal Greek translation we find the following to be true
1. That Jesus is indeed the Word
2. That the Word is God the infinite and Almighty
Verse three is in fact speaking of the Word (logos) who is Jesus so the he being spoken of means Jesus, who created all things which makes a lot of sense if the John 1:1 states that Jesus (the Word) is God. One of the divine attributes of God is that of being the creator.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:4(NIV)
Meherally claims that the word is not Jesus Christ
Similar to Question 16, Meherally uses his house of cards argument and relies heavily upon the following conjecture made in Question 15 as a basis for the argument in this question, which is
Jesus Christ is not the Word (logos)
So disregarding any extensions made to this argument, the foundation of his argument is made baseless by the fact that the Word (logos) clearly is Jesus Christ, which is clearly taught in the Bible see Answer 15 for further information.
Another example of how Meherally's reasoning clearly contradicts what is written in the Bible, states
"Logos - the God's command and NOT of God"
which flatly contradicts what is written in John 1:1, "and the Word was God" ( KAI THEOS EN HO LOGOS ).
We read the following verses from the Letter to the Hebrews that are attributed to the Son of God,
"You are my Son, today I have become your Father" 1:5 (Good News)
"All of God's angels must worship him" 1:7 (Good News)
"Sit here at my right side..." 1:13 (Good News)
Meherally's claims that these verses are not the Word of God and are additions to the Bible written after the 6th Century.
Meherally's initial point as to the author of the Letter to the Hebrews is not only irrelevant but pure speculation, let's consider his arguments
"Martin Luther suggested ...Hernack and Harris speculated ...William Ramsey suggested ...Eusebius believed ...Critics who have studied the text of Hebrews suggest ..." [Meherally]
Speculation does not prove that the Apostle Paul did not write Hebrews, but this type of speculation does not affect the content of the Letter. The fact that it is part of the Bible canon tells the Christian that this is God's word and should not be written of so easily as Meherally has tried to.
Meherally then makes a statement which is more relevant in stating that the Book of Hebrews is not included in the Codex Clarmon (6th century) and suggests that it has been written afterwards.
The Book of Hebrews is to be found in the earliest canons of the Bible, namely Codex Sianiticus and Codex Vaticanus, which both come from the 4th century. The early church fathers writing letters in the late 1st and throughout the 2nd century quoted extensively from the Letter to the Hebrews - Clement (AD 96), Polycarp (AD 110) and Ignatius (AD 108). This is proof enough that the Letter was originally written in the first century.
Meherally quotes regarding the first verse listed
"You are my Son, today I have become your Father" 1:5 (Good News)
That 'Yesterday the Son did not exist' , what Meherally overlooks here is two major points
1. God existed before time had actually begun, the Son was also present before the creation (John 1:1) he must have been in order to partake in creation (John 1:3), so to speak of 'yesterday' is very misleading.
2. Notice that the text actually states, "today I have become your Father", if Meherally wishes to maintain his comment then what he applies to the Son must also be applied to Father, namely that 'yesterday the Father did not exist'. This is of course nonsense and invalidates his argument anyway unless he wishes to maintain that God the Father was also created.
The fact that the Father became the Father and the Son became the Son does not mean that they were created, obviously both the Father and the Son existed as persons within the Godhead from eternity and there is biblical evidence to back this up. But till the point of 'today', these persons existed without the designations of Father and Son, the literal translation of the Greek also confirms this, with the Greek word used for become eis, using Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (word 1519, pg. 26) we have:
"I shall be to him for-the-purpose-of Father and he will be to me for-the-purpose-of Son"
"All of God's angels must worship him" 1:7 (Good News)
Meherally completely ignores the fact that God the Father commands the angels to worship the Son, this is a plain and clear statement which advocates worship to Jesus Christ.
"Sit here at my right side..." 1:13 (Good News)
The Son is told to sit at the right side of the Father, the question is, sit where? The Bible tells us in the Book of Revelation that the Son is to be seated at the throne of God,
"That is why they stand before God's throne... ...for the Lamb [Jesus Christ] who is in the centre of the throne will be their shepherd" Revelation 7:15,17 (NIV)
Meherally's argument seems to have ignored a very important verse that points to the divinity of the Son of God, within the first chapter of Hebrews.
"But of the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God will last for ever and ever and righteousness will be the sceptre of your kingdom'" Hebrews 1:8 (NIV)
Meherally claims that this verse of prophecy does not apply to Jesus.
In formulating an answer it is interesting to note that Meherally is unable to tell us to whom this verse of scripture actaully does apply.
The following verse gives us more information as to the identity of the one prophecied
"Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with judgment and with righteousness, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this." Issiah 9:7 (Darby)
We can establish the following attributes of the one prophecied in this verse will be
·He will be a King of whose rule there shall be no end of days
Jesus speaks of his Kingdom in John 18:36 "My Kingdom is not of this world..", scripture states the Jesus Christ's Kingdom is not earthly, which leaves us with only one other possibilty that it is heavenly. Natrually the heavenly kingdom of the Son of God, also has no end of days,"but as to the Son, Thy throne, O God, [is] to the age of the age, and a sceptre of uprightness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom." Hebrews 1:8
Jesus Christ was not only the Son of God, but the Son of Man whom Daniel prophecied,"And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:14
·The throne shall be that of David, this tells us that the one to come will be from the bloodline of David (Deuteronomy 18:18)
The person of Jesus Christ is descended from David, Matthew 1:1-16 Luke 3:23-38 and is also given the title Son of David Matthew 21:9,15, as well as in many other numerous passages..
·He will exact judgement, which will be eternal.
God is natrually the Judge,
"Let the LORD judge the peoples" Psalm 7:1
"You have come to God, the Judge of all men." Hebrews 12:23
Jesus Christ is also the Judge, and in fact God the Father has given all Judgement to the Son,
"Moreover the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son" John 5:22
"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead"
Here we see that indeed it is Christ Jesus who fits the criteria of the Mighty God who is described by the Prophet Issaih in 9:6-7. The scriptures tell us clearly that Jesus Christ declared his Kingdom a Kingdom that is eternal, Jesus Christ said that it was not even the Father who exacted Judgement (an attribute of God) but himself. It is also Jesus Christ who was born from the bloodline of David.
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, 'God with us.' " Matthew 1:23
Meherally claims that this verse does not apply to Jesus Christ.
Meherally has half substantiated his claim, he is content to try and prove that this prophecy does not fit Jesus Christ but fails to mention to who it actually does apply. His main argument is a name game which goes along the following lines
`The prophecy speaks of one called Emmanuel yet the name Mary gave to her child is Jesus, therefore this prophecy does not apply to Jesus'
We need to realise three points
God speaking through the apostle Matthew, clearly confirms that Immanuel is Jesus Christ in the preceding verse
"She [Mary] will have a son and you [Joseph] will name him Jesus. Now all this happened in order to make what the Lord had said to the prophet Issiah come true" Matthew 1:22