Jesus Christ – The Son of the Living God

Exposing More of the Lies and Deceit of a Muslim Dawagandist

Sam Shamoun

In the spirit of keeping him honest we resume (1, 2) our analysis and critique of Sami Zaatari’s debate tactics and schemes. This time we will discuss the arguments that Zaatari raised against Christian apologist Louis Ruggiero in their debate, Does the Bible Teach that Jesus is God? (*).

In his opening statements Zaatari mentioned that Jesus failed the OT criteria for being God, all of which has been refuted here.

Zaatari also made the following assertion:

"In fact, when we read who Jesus declared himself to be we see that he says in Matthew chapter 16 verses 15 to 20, his apostles called him the Christ, the Messiah. ‘Then Jesus told him, "Tell no man that I am the Christ, the Messiah."’ So did Jesus did declare himself to be the Messiah. So ironically Jesus never said ‘I am God,’ yet he said ‘I am the Messiah,’ which is indeed what he is."

He repeats this point at the conclusion of his opening speech:

"And another point which I also brought up, Jesus declared himself to be the Messiah. He didn’t declare himself to be God, yet declared himself to be the Messiah. Why is that? Why did he say, ‘I am the Messiah,’ not God?"(1)

The problem with Zaatari’s interpretation is that he automatically assumes that Jesus was affirming what the apostles said concerning his being the Messiah, as opposed to taking it as an express denial that he was. Notice, for instance, how the verse actually reads:

"Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ." NASB

One can argue, much like Muslims do when passages are cited where the Lord endorses the confession of others who attribute Divinity to him,

"Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.’ ‘You believe at last!’ Jesus answered." John 16:30-31

"Thomas said TO HIM, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:28-31

That Jesus wasn’t saying that he is the Christ but rebuked the disciples for making such a claim. One can make the case that he was censuring them for erroneously believing that he is the long-awaited Messiah and thereby strictly forbade them from spreading this falsehood.

So why does Zaatari assume that Jesus’ statement was a tacit acceptance of the disciples’ profession? Simply because it supports his Islamic agenda of showing that Jesus did claim to be the Messiah, a prophet etc. while never once saying that he is God.

However, we do agree with Zaatari that Jesus was agreeing with the disciples’ confession concerning his OWN Person and relationship with God, a confession which conclusively proves that Muhammad was a false prophet. Here is the context to see the problem Zaatari now faces and the hole that he has dug for himself:

"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’  ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by MY FATHER in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ." Matthew 16:13-20

Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, a confession that Jesus says was revealed directly by his Father. Nor is this the only time where someone testified that Jesus is God’s Son:

"When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’" Matthew 8:28-29

"Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she told him, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’" John 11:23-27

Interestingly, Zaatari himself admits in his first rebuttal period that,

"So either way Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Son of man – never to be God, or being man and God in dual natures. There is none of that. There is none of that, and this is found throughout the Bible."

Zaatari has placed himself in a bit of a jam. According to his false prophet Allah has no sons and is not a father to anyone, especially to Christ. In fact, the highest relationship a person can have with Allah is that of a slave:

The Jews call 'Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. God's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! S. 9:30 Y. Ali

They say: "(God) Most Gracious has begotten a son!" Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, That they should invoke a son for (God) Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (God) Most Gracious that He should beget a son. Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to (God) Most Gracious as a servant. S. 19:88-93 Y. Ali

And they say: "(God) Most Gracious has begotten offspring." Glory to Him! they are (but) servants raised to honour. S. 21:26 Y. Ali

Since Zaatari admits that Jesus did claim to be God’s Son he must therefore accept that Muhammad is a false prophet for denying that he was. Moreover, by agreeing that Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man Zaatari has only compounded matters since Christ was identifying himself with the figure that the prophet Daniel saw:

"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

Now compare this with Jesus’ own words:

"Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ 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.’ The high priest tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?’ he asked. ‘You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’" Mark 14:60-64

It is evident that, by identifying himself as the Son of Man who rides the clouds and sits on God’s right hand, Jesus was claiming to be the One who rules forever and receives worship from every nation, all of which Muhammad denied.

Thus, Zaatari cannot have his cake and eat it too since if Jesus is right that he is God’s Son and the Son of Man who rules forever as king whom everyone worships then Muhammad was wrong. But if Muhammad was right then Jesus is wrong which again proves that Muhammad was mistaken since he claimed that Christ is a prophet, and true prophets must always speak the truth concerning their relationship and status before God.

Zaatari did try to deny that Jesus’ use of the phrase, "Son of God," meant he was God by appealing to the way the Jews of his day understood the term:

"We have to understand who was Jesus preaching to. What did Jesus say? ‘I am sent unto the lost sheep of Israel.’ So he was preaching to a Jewish audience. There is not a single Jew who believes the term Son of God makes you God. So Jesus, when he said ‘I am the Son of God,’ he meant it according to Jewish understanding, which is what? A servant, a righteous judge."

He repeats this claim in his second rebuttal:

"Where is a single Jew who believes that being called the Son of God or the Son of the Living God makes you God? And I want to know where a single Jew believes (recording unclear at this point) is God? Because all the Jews I spoke to, and the quotes and sources I have of Jews, none of them believe that the Son of God is Divine; none of them believe that the Messiah is Divine. And note – Jewish opinion IS VERY IMPORTANT, because as I said Jesus was preaching to a Jewish audience; so, therefore, we have to understand what these terms meant according to Jewish understanding. They believed that the Son of God was not Divine, they believed that the Messiah was not Divine. So when Jesus says that, ‘I am the Christ, the Son of the Living God,’ that doesn’t make him Divine. That just proves our stance [sic], that Son of God is a righteous judge and servant, and that he is indeed the Messiah who came to save his people, the Jewish nation, the Israelites." (Capital emphasis ours)

The first problem that Zaatari faces is that the Jews of Jesus’ day understood from Christ’s claim to being God’s Son that he was in fact making himself out to be God:

"So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’ For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." John 5:16-18

"‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, "I have said you are gods"? If he called them "gods," to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, "I am God's Son"?’" John 10:27-36

"The Jews insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.’" John 19:7

And even though the Jews were often wrong in their understanding, the NT shows that they were not mistaken at this point but were actually correct for assuming that Jesus was making himself out to be God (*).

Secondly, Jesus’ own words refute Zaatari’s lie that Son of God merely refers to a righteous servant or judge:

"Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’" John 8:34-36

Christ also set himself apart as God’s beloved Son from the prophets who were servants:

"He then began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. 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 12:1-8

Contrast this with the following citations:

"From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets." Jeremiah 7:25; cf. 26:5; 44:4

"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 the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." Hebrews 1:1-3

"Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant IN all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son OVER God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast." Hebrews 3:3-6

Third, it seems that the Jews whom Zaatari consulted knew considerably more than Muhammad since the latter assumed that if God did have a Son then he would be the first to worship and serve him:

Say: "If (God) Most Gracious had a son, I would be the first to worship." S. 43:81 Y. Ali

Say: ‘If the All-merciful has a son, then I am the first to serve him.’ Arberry

One commentary explains,

Say: ‘If the Compassionate One had a son, hypothetically [speaking], I would have been first among the worshippers, of that son; but it is established that He, exalted be He, does not have a child and thus there can be no worshipping of such [a child]. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source)

Muhammad seemed to be aware that if God had a Son he would be worthy of worship since Zaatari’s false messenger evidently realized that to be a Son meant that the person in question would be more than just a mere servant/slave of God.

Muhammad was in good company in his understanding since the disciples of Christ reacted in the very manner that Zaatari’s false prophet said he would if God had a Son:

"During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It's a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! I AM (ego eimi). Don't be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat WORSHIPED him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’" Matthew 14:25-33

Fourth, Zaatari deliberately distorts the point of Jesus that he was sent to Israel since the Lord clearly says that these Israelites were lost:

"He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’" Matthew 15:24

According to the Holy Bible being lost means that one does not know the path of salvation and is on a road leading to destruction. Biblically speaking, the term refers to one who is lost in sin and despair and is in desperate need of the grace of God to be saved:

"Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.’" Luke 19:9-10

That is why Matthew begins his Gospel by identifying Jesus as the One who comes to save his people from their sins:

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

Fifth, Christ himself chided the Jewish authorities of his day for perverting the Word of God by their traditions and for failing to understand it properly:

"Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!’ Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, "Honor your father and mother" and "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death." But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God," he is not to "honor his father" with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."’" Matthew 15:1-9; cf. 23

"That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?’ Jesus replied, ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.’ When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching." Matthew 22:23-33

"Jesus replied, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’" John 8:54-56

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’" John 15:18-25

"All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you." John 16:1-4

This clearly refutes Zaatari’s assertion that Jesus’ words in Matthew 15:24 somehow imply that we are to consult the Jews in order to learn of the nature of the Messiah.

Interestingly, we once again find Muhammad agreeing with NT teaching at this point since this is what Zaatari’s false prophet said concerning the Jews and their Torah:

The likeness of those who were entrusted with the (obligation of the) Taurat (Torah) (i.e. to obey its commandments and to practise its legal laws), but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is as the likeness of a donkey who carries huge burdens of books (but understands nothing from them). How bad is the example (or the likeness) of people who deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah. And Allah guides not the people who are Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers, disbelievers, etc.). S. 62:5 Hilali-Khan

Renowned Sunni expositor Ibn Kathir explains,

Admonishing the Jews and challenging Them to wish for Death

Allah the Exalted admonishes the Jews who were entrusted with the Tawrah and were ordered to abide by it. However, they did not abide by it, and this is why Allah resembled them to the donkey that carries volumes of books. Surely, when the donkey carries books, it will not understand what these books contain because it is only carrying these books using its strength. This is the example of those who were entrusted with the Tawrah; they read its letter BUT DID NOT UNDERSTAND ITS MEANINGS nor abided by them. Rather, they even corrupted and changed the Tawrah. Therefore, they are worse than the donkey, because the donkey cannot understand. They, on the other hand, could have understood using their minds, but their minds were of no benefit. This is why Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah…

(They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless.) (7:179), (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Since Muhammad likened the Jews to assess who do not understand the Torah why is Zaatari appealing to them to refute the Christian position concerning the nature and Person of Christ? Is he indirectly admitting that Muhammad was wrong about the Jews since they do know their Scriptures and can be consulted for a proper understanding of the Hebrew Bible? If so then why is Zaatari still a Muslim?

And here is how this amateur apologist responded to Ruggiero chiding him for turning to disbelieving Jews who reject Jesus as a false Christ for information concerning the nature of the Messiah:

"Indeed it doesn’t make any sense. Never once did I say I went to Jews asking them their opinion about Jesus [nor did Ruggiero say that he did, so this is nothing more than a red herring and straw man]. I asked them a opinion about what they believe the Messiah, who… if he is Divine or not. That’s it. I didn’t … so it doesn’t matter if they believe he is the Messiah or not. What does matter is that he was preaching to a Jewish audience, and according to a Jewish audience the term Messiah doesn’t mean Divine… So again, when I went to Jewish opinion it was not what they think about Jesus, but what they thought, or if they think who the Messiah is coming, if he is going to be Divine. And yes their Messiah has come. They reject their Messiah, but that doesn’t matter [sic] because they believe the Messiah isn’t Divine in the first place. That’s what matters. And as Jesus said… Jesus, what did he say? ‘I come preaching to the lost sheep of Israel.’ And I ask the sheep of Israel, the Jews, the Israelites, did they believe the Messiah was going to be God? Yes or no? No! And this is according to who? Jesus said I came to them. So I am using Jesus’ teaching."

Zaatari keeps digging himself further into the hole. If it matters what these Jews believe concerning the Messiah then surely their belief that the Messiah is an eternal King who rules forever and that at his advent all prophecy shall cease must also matter. The Jews further deny that the Messiah will be born to a virgin supernaturally, without a human father. And yet Muhammad denied that the Messiah Jesus is an eternal king and that his coming heralded the consummation of all prophecies and visions, while claiming that he was born to the virgin Mary. Thus, if the Jews are correct regarding the Messiah then Muhammad is a false prophet whom Zaatari must condemn.

For more on the Biblical understanding and certain modern Jewish views concerning Messiah and how such beliefs prove that Muhammad was a false messenger we recommend the following articles: 1, 2, 3, 4

The second problem with this assertion is that Zaatari erroneously assumes that the Jews during Jesus’ time were united concerning their understanding of the Messiah. The facts, however, indicate otherwise since differing Jewish sects held to various views regarding the nature of the Messiah. For instance, doesn’t Zaatari know that certain Jews not only believed that the Messiah was God’s Son but that he was also a heavenly preexistent figure, just as the following citations demonstrate?

"And in that place I saw the fountain of righteousness Which was inexhaustible: And around it were many fountains of wisdom: And all the thirsty drank of them, And were filled with wisdom, And their dwellings were with the righteous and holy and elect. And at that hour that Son of Man was named In the presence of the Lord of Spirits, And his name before the Head of Days. Yea, before the sun and the signs were created, Before the stars of the heaven were made, His name was named before the Lord of Spirits. He shall be a staff to the righteous whereon to stay themselves and not fall, And he shall be the light of the Gentiles, And the hope of those who are troubled of heart. All who dwell on earth shall fall down and WORSHIP before him, And will praise and bless and celebrate with song the Lord of Spirits. And for this reason hath he been chosen and hidden before Him, Before the creation of the world and for evermore. And the wisdom of the Lord of Spirits hath revealed him to the holy and righteous; For he hath preserved the lot of the righteous, Because they have hated and despised this world of unrighteousness, And have hated all its works and ways in the name of the Lord of Spirits: For in his name they are saved, And according to his good pleasure hath it been in regard to their life. In these days downcast in countenance shall the kings of the earth have become, And the strong who possess the land because of the works of their hands, For on the day of their anguish and affliction they shall not (be able to) save themselves. And I will give them over into the hands of Mine elect: As straw in the fire so shall they burn before the face of the holy: As lead in the water shall they sink before the face of the righteous, And no trace of them shall any more be found. And on the day of their affliction there shall be rest on the earth, And before them they shall fall and not rise again: And there shall be no one to take them with his hands and raise them: For they have denied the Lord of Spirits and His Messiah. The name of the Lord of Spirits be blessed." 1 Enoch 48:1-10

"And thus the Lord commanded the kings and the mighty and the exalted, and those who dwell on the earth, and said: 'Open your eyes and lift up your horns if ye are able to recognize the Elect One.' And the Lord of Spirits seated him on the throne of His glory, And the spirit of righteousness was poured out upon him, And the word of his mouth slays all the sinners, And all the unrighteous are destroyed from before his face. And there shall stand up in that day all the kings and the mighty, And the exalted and those who hold the earth, And they shall see and recognize How he sits on the throne of his glory, And righteousness is judged before him, And no lying word is spoken before him… For from the beginning the Son of Man was hidden, And the Most High preserved him in the presence of His might, And revealed him to the elect. And the congregation of the elect and holy shall be sown, And all the elect shall stand before him on that day. And all the kings and the mighty and the exalted and those who rule the earth Shall fall down before him on their faces, And WORSHIP and set their hope upon that Son of Man, And petition him and supplicate for mercy at his hands… And the righteous and elect shall be saved on that day, And they shall never thenceforward see the face of the sinners and unrighteous. And the Lord of Spirits will abide over them, And with that Son of Man shall they eat And lie down and rise up for ever and ever." 1 Enoch 62:1-3, 7-9, 13-14 (Source)

And here are a few quotes from another Jewish source:

"I, Ezra, saw on Mount Zion a great multitude, which I could not number, and they all were praising the Lord with songs. In their midst was a young man of great stature, taller than any of the others, and on the head of each of them he placed a crown, but he was more exalted than they. And I was held spellbound. Then I asked an angel, ‘Who are these, my lord?’ He answered and said to me, ‘These are they who have put off mortal clothing and have put on the immortal, and they have confessed the name of God; now they are being crowned, and receive palms.’ Then I said to the angel, ‘Who is that young man who places crowns on them and puts palms in their hands?’ He answered and said to me, ‘ He is THE SON OF GOD, whom they confessed in the world.’ So I began to praise those who had stood valiantly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said to me, ‘Go, tell my people how great and many are the wonders of the Lord God which you have seen.’" 4 Ezra 2:42-48

"For MY SON the Messiah shall be revealed with those who are with him, and those who remain shall rejoice four hundred years. And after these years MY SON the Messiah shall die, and all who draw human breath." 4 Ezra 7:28-29

"He said to me, "This is the interpretation of this vision which you have seen: The eagle which you saw coming up from the sea is the fourth kingdom which appeared in a vision to your brother Daniel. But it was not explained to him as I now explain or have explained it to you… And as for the lion whom you saw rousing up out of the forest and roaring and speaking to the eagle and reproving him for his unrighteousness, and as for all his words that you have heard, this is the Messiah whom the Most High has kept until the end of days, who will arise from the posterity of David, and will come and speak to them; he will denounce them for their ungodliness and for their wickedness, and will cast up before them their contemptuous dealings. For first he will set them living before his judgment seat, and when he has reproved them, then he will destroy them. But he will deliver in mercy the remnant of my people, those who have been saved throughout my borders, and he will make them joyful until the end comes, the day of judgment, of which I spoke to you at the beginning. This is the dream that you saw, and this is its interpretation." 4 Ezra 12:10-12, 31-35

"And when these things come to pass and the signs occur which I showed you before, then MY SON will be revealed, whom you saw as a man coming up from the sea. And when all the nations hear his voice, every man shall leave his own land and the warfare that they have against one another; and an innumerable multitude shall be gathered together, as you saw, desiring to come and conquer him. But he shall stand on the top of Mount Zion. And Zion will come and be made manifest to all people, prepared and built, as you saw the mountain carved out without hands. And he, MY SON, will reprove the assembled nations for their ungodliness (this was symbolized by the storm), and will reproach them to their face with their evil thoughts and the torments with which they are to be tortured (which were symbolized by the flames), and will destroy them without effort by the law (which was symbolized by the fire)… I said, ‘O sovereign Lord, explain this to me: Why did I see the man coming up from the heart of the sea?’ He said to me, ‘Just as no one can explore or know what is in the depths of the sea, so no one on earth can see MY SON or those who are with him, except in the time of his day.’" 4 Ezra 13:32-38, 51-52

"Lay up in your heart the signs that I have shown you, the dreams that you have seen, and the interpretations that you have heard; for you shall be taken up from among men, and henceforth you shall live with MY SON and with those who are like you, until the times are ended." 4 Ezra 14:8-9 (Source)

One noted Biblical scholar, John J. Collins, explains the importance of 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra in understanding specific Jewish views that were held during the time of Christ regarding passages such as Daniel 7:13-14:

"… The two earliest Jewish interpretations of Daniel 7 are found in the Similitudes of Enoch and 4 Ezra 13. Both these passages assume that Daniel's 'one like a son of man' is an individual, and both use the term 'messiah' with reference to him. In both these documents, the Son of Man figure is pre-existent, and therefore transcendent in some sense…" (Collins, "The Danielic Son of Man," The Scepter and the Star--The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature [Doubleday: 1995], Chapter 8, p. 167)

The figure of the Son of Man in the Similitudes shows considerable development over against Daniel's 'one like a son of man.' In later, rabbinic, tradition the name of the messiah is listed among the things that preceded the creation of the world. The Son of Man is equated with the messiah in 1 Enoch 48:10 and 52:4. While the title messiah plays a minor role in the Similitudes, it is all the more significant that the identification of messiah and Son of Man can be assumed. Daniel's ‘one like a son of man’ appears after the judgment of the beasts/kingdoms. In the Similitudes he is said to cast down kings from their thrones and from their kingdoms, and he takes his seat on his throne of glory as judge (62:5; 69:29). He also has the role of revealer. In many respects he seems to be assimilated to the Deity (who also sits on the throne of his glory). In 48:5, people fall down and worship him. (Ibid., p. 181; bold and underline emphasis ours)

"While they are not primarily a work of interpretation, however, the Similitudes remain an important witness to the early understanding of Daniel. They take for granted that Daniel's 'one like a son of man' is a heavenly individual of very exalted status. While they offer no reason to think that this figure was known independently of Daniel, they show how the Danielic text inspired visions of a heavenly savior figure in first century Judaism." (Ibid., p. 182; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Collins further notes that the image presented by Enoch and Ezra regarding the Messiah is of,

"… a preexistent, transcendent figure, whom the Most High has been keeping for many ages." (Ibid., p. 186)

And according to Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner, in his chapter "Mishnah and Messiah", some earlier versions of Judaism held to the belief that the Messiah was actually a God-man!

"We focus upon how the system laid out in the Mishnah takes up and disposes of those critical issues of teleology worked out through messianic eschatology in other, earlier versions of Judaism. These earlier systems resorted to the myth of the Messiah as savior and redeemer of Israel, a supernatural figure engaged in political-historical tasks as king of the Jews, even a God-man facing the crucial historical questions of Israel's life and resolving them: the Christ as king of the world, of the ages, of death itself." (Judaisms and Their Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era, edited by Jacob Neusner, William Scott Green & Ernest S. Frerichs [Cambridge University Press, 1987], p. 275; bold and underline emphasis ours)

For more on this topic please read the following: 1, 2

This concludes Part 1. Please proceed to Part 2.


(1) Zaatari lies to the audience (and actually thinks he can get away with it) by making the following claims in his last five minute rebuttal:

"You said Jesus spoke in parables. Wrong! When Jesus spoke in secret to his disciples he explicitly said, ‘I am the Messiah.’ Why didn’t he say, ‘I am God,’ in secret? You said Jesus never goes openly and says, ‘I am God.’ Okay. He never went openly and said he’s the Messiah. Okay. But in secret, explicitly he said ‘I am the Messiah’ to his disciples. Strange he never said ‘I am God.’ Don’t you think so? I do! He declares himself to be the Messiah, but he doesn’t say, ‘I am God.’"

We challenge Zaatari to provide the Biblical quotation where Jesus says, "I am the Messiah" in those exact words. We further challenge him to show where the Quran quotes Jesus saying that he is.

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