Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Worshiping Jesus as God

Exposing More of Ali Ataie’s Blunders and Distortions Pt. 3

Sam Shamoun

We continue from the previous part.


Ascribing Latreuo to the Divine Son of Man

Contrary to Ataie’s assertion, the Holy Bible does in fact claim that the Lord Jesus receives latreuo. For example, the LXX ascribes latreuo to the Apocalyptic Son of Man figure, the One whom the prophet Daniel saw in a vision coming to rule over all the nations forever and ever:

"I beheld in the night vision, and, lo, [one] coming with the clouds of heaven as the Son of man, and he came on to the Ancient of days, and was brought near to him. And to him was given the dominion, and the honour, and the kingdom; and ALL nations, tribes, and languages, shall serve him (auto latreuousa): his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14

Here, the Son not only receives the exact same worship that the Most High does,

“And the kingdom and the power and the greatness of the kings that are under the whole heaven were given to the saints of the Most High; and his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all powers shall serve (latreuousa) and obey him.” Daniel 7:27 LXX – cf. 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28; 6:16, 20

He also rides the clouds in the same way that God does,

“who lays the upper beams of His chambers on the waters above, who makes the clouds His chariot, who rides upon the wings of the wind,” Psalm 104:3 – cf. 68:4, 33-34

“the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will in no way acquit the guilty. In gale winds and a storm is His way, and clouds are the dust of His feet.” Nahum 1:3 – cf. Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19-20, 24; 33:7-11; 40:34-38; Numbers 10:34; 12:5, 10; Deuteronomy 33:26

Obviously because he happens to be God Almighty appearing as a man!

Interestingly, even the Quran agrees that riding clouds is a divine function:

Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels? Then the case would be already judged. All cases go back to Allah (for judgment). S. 2:210 Pickthall

The NT identifies this Son of Man as the Lord Jesus:

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, he will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of MY Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world." Matthew 25:31-34

"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

“Then He said to the disciples, ‘The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. They will say to you, “Look here,” or “Look there!” Do not follow after them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the heavens from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in His day. But first HE MUST SUFFER MANY THINGS and BE REJECTED by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” Luke 17:22-26

“While he was yet speaking, a crowd came. And he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’” Luke 22:47-48

"But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’" Acts 7:55-56

"Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen… I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands and among the lampstands was Someone 'like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around His chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.'" Revelation 1:7, 12-18

"I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one 'like a son of man' with a crown of gold on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to Him who was sitting on the cloud, 'Take Your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.' So He who was seated on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested." Revelation 14:14-16

These preceding passages demonstrate that latreuo is indeed given to the risen Lord of glory since he is the very Son of Man that Daniel spoke of. It is only the presuppositions of biased individuals who deny that Christ receives the same exact worship that all creatures are expected to give to the Father, which prohibits them from accepting this revealed truth.

Yet despite this denial, the NT evidence is overwhelmingly clear that the Apostles did believe in the essential unity and co-equality of the Father and his beloved Son, which is why they ascribed the highest form of worship and devotion imaginable to their risen Lord, the very worship that even Ataie admits is to be given to God alone. Note, for instance, what is stated in the following texts:

“The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honor the Son, JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:22-23

“When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of saints. And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests unto our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voices of many angels, numbering ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ And EVERY CREATED THING which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, AND TO THE LAMB, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures kept saying, ‘Amen.’ And the elders fell down and worshiped." Revelation 5:8-14

Not only does John claim that God expects everyone to honor the Son in the same way that they honor the Father, he was even shown a vision in which he heard and saw the entire creation worshiping both God and the Lamb together and forever!

This proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Jesus is not a part of creation, since if he were only a creature he too would be worshiping God, as all creatures are supposed to. Yet instead of worshiping God, the risen Lord is depicted as receiving the exact same worship that God receives from every created being in existence!

The Apostle then shows us what happens when a person worships a mere creature:

"Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!"’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’ At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am A FELLOW SERVANT with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’" Revelation 19:9-10

"I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am A FELLOW SERVANT with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’" Revelation 22:8-9

This simply further confirms that the only way that the entire creation could worship Christ is if he is God in an absolute and eternal sense (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit), since John is specifically told not to worship anyone but God.

It is little wonder that the Apostolic Father Polycarp (an eyewitness and disciple of the Apostles such as John) could write that all creation gives latreuo to Christ:

"Therefore prepare for action and serve (douleusate) God in fear" and truth, leaving behind the empty and meaningless talk and the error of the crowd, and "believing in him who raised" our Lord Jesus Christ "from the dead and gave him glory" and a throne at his right hand; to whom all things in heaven and on earth were subjected, WHOM EVERY BREATHING CREATURE SERVES (latreuei), who is coming as "Judge of the living and the dead," for whose blood God will hold responsible those who disobey him… (The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts And English Translations, edited and revised by Michael W. Holmes [Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 1999], pp. 207, 209; bold and capital emphasis ours)

He was merely proclaiming what had been taught to all the churches by the very eye and ear witnesses of the risen Lord of glory.

Thus, to sum up the logical implications of our analysis:

  1. God alone is to receive latreuo (sacred service and worship).
  2. Jesus is the Son of Man that receives latreuo from all creation as he reigns over them forever.
  3. Therefore, Jesus must be God Incarnate (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit) in order for him to be given the sacred service and worship which belongs to God alone.

Now to see how Ali Ataie and the other Muhammadan, that made a short youtube clip of this particular section from Ataie’s talk, actually end up contradicting each other on this point, please read the following rebuttal:

Does Jesus' Claim to be the Son of Man Affirm His Deity? Catching Yahya Snow in a Contradiction 

Check this one out as well:

Did Jesus Allow His Disciples to Worship Him? A Reply to Zakir Hussein, Ali Ataie, and Yahya Snow 

In the next part of the rebuttal we will be addressing Ataie’s objections to the worship of the Lord Jesus by the blind man, as reported in John’s Gospel.