Correcting one Muslims's Mistaken Logic
Similar to another of his articles (see here), Bassam Zawadi has produced a short piece whereby he seeks to once again deny the biblical basis for the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus. He writes:
There are Christians who tend to use the following verse to try and prove Jesus' divinity.
24"What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you arethe Holy One of God!"
Christians tend to argue that since Satan called Jesus "The Holy One of God" that means Satan knew Jesus was divine. That is why he called him that. They argue that God in the Old Testament is called Holy One (e.g.. 2Kings 19:22) so that means Jesus is God.
This is a very lame argument on the Christian's part. First of all, Mark 1:24 says that the devil called Jesus "The Holy One of GOD". So how can Jesus be God of God? Translators tend to trick the readers by putting "Holy One" in capital letters.
Holy one means a "saint" (http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/4/1137178380-320.html). It could also be referring to a messenger. For example, look at
23 "You, O king, saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, 'Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven; let him live like the wild animals, until seven times pass by for him.'
So when Satan called Jesus "The Holy One of God", it most likely means that he just called Jesus a messenger of God. As a Muslim I completely agree with this statement.
Mark 1:23 does not prove Jesus' divinity, it actually goes against it and proves that Jesus is, was and never will be God!
In the first place, giving Zawadi the benefit of the doubt by assuming that this is indeed one of the arguments he has heard, it is still rather disappointing that he focuses his time on what "Christians tend to argue" as opposed to dealing with the best of Christian scholarship. Not all Christians are informed or knowledgeable about their faith, much like not all Muslims know their religion very well. How would Zawadi feel if we focused our time and energies on what uninformed Muslims say or critique their evidence for Islam or the prophethood of Muhammad? We are certain that he wouldn't be too fond of it.
Furthermore, it isn't that Jesus is God because he is called the Holy One. Rather, Jesus is the Holy One because he is God. Putting it another way, Jesus isn't God because he is Holy, but rather he is Holy because he is God. In fact, the NT emphatically teaches that Jesus is the Source of holiness, the One who makes others holy:
"On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'" Acts 26:12-18
"To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christtheir Lord and ours... It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from Godthat is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word," Ephesians 5:25-26
"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." Hebrews 2:11
"And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all... because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." Hebrews 10:10, 14
"And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood." Hebrews 13:12
At the same time the Holy Bible says God alone is the Source of holiness:
"Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you ALONE are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." Revelation 15:4
This means that Jesus is God:
Moreover, because both the Father and the Holy Spirit are also God they too are the Source of all holiness and the One who makes believers holy:
"And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:11
"For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness."1 Thessalonians 4:7 RSV
"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23
"But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth." 2 Thessalonians 2:13
"who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance." 1 Peter 1:2
In other words, the act of sanctification is the work of the one true Triune God, Yahweh Almighty:
"Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.'" Exodus 31:13
"Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy." Ezekiel 20:12
"Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever." Ezekiel 37:28
Creatures who are called holy ones are such because the Triune God made them that way. They are not holy in and of themselves.
Fourth, Zawadi has read enough to know what conservative, orthodox Christians believe about the nature of God. He knows that the historic Christian position is that God exists as a Triune Being, that God is only one eternal Being who simultaneously exists in three distinct, yet inseparable Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He should also know (if he doesn't know already) that in the NT the word God most often, but not always, refers to the Person of the Father. Hence, to say that Jesus is the Holy One of God is to basically say that he is the Holy One of the Father, that he is the Holy One belonging to and coming from the Father:
"And this was his message: 'After me will come one MORE POWERFUL THAN I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.' At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.'" Mark 1:7-11
'They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you arethe Holy One of God!' 'Be quiet!' said Jesus sternly. 'Come out of him!' The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, 'What is this? A new teachingand with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.' News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee." Mark 1:21-28
"For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, 'You are the Son of God.' But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was." Mark 3:10-12
"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.'" Mark 12:6-7
The foregoing shows that the expression "Holy One of God" refers to Jesus being the all-powerful Son, the Father's own Heir, sent from him to do God's work.
Fifth, quoting Daniel will backfire against Zawadi since this prophet announced the full Deity and humanity of the Messiah, as well as heralding him as the eternal King and Sovereign Lord of all:
"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14
The Son of Man, according to the inspired prophet, is to receive the worship which God alone is given:
"Then Nebuchadnezzar said, 'Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.'" Daniel 3:28
What makes this interesting is that all throughout the NT Jesus announced himself to be this very Son of Man:
"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens." Mark 13:26-27
"But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. 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 14:61-62
Thus, by claiming to be the Danielic Son of Man Jesus was basically proclaiming himself to be the eternal King and universal Sovereign whom all nations must worship forever!
The foregoing data conclusively demonstrates that Jesus is Holy in the same sense that God is Holy because he is God:
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Proverbs 9:10
"From the ends of the earth we hear singing: 'Glory to the Righteous One.' But I said, 'I waste away, I waste away! Woe to me! The treacherous betray! With treachery the treacherous betray!'" Isaiah 24:16
"'To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?' says the Holy One." Isaiah 40:25
"You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you." Acts 3:14
"Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him" Acts 7:52
"Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.'" Acts 22:14
To repeat: Jesus is not God because he is Holy, but rather he is Holy because he is God!
All scriptural quotations taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless noted otherwise.
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