Jesus Christ – The God of the Prophets and Messengers

In this post we are going to provide further proofs from the Holy Bible that the Lord Jesus claimed to be the God of Israel who became a flesh and blood human being.

According to the Hebrew Bible, Yahweh is the God who sent the Holy Spirit to inspire prophets and messengers to proclaim his will to mankind:

“For many years You endured them and warned them by Your Spirit in Your prophets, yet they would not listen. Therefore, You gave them into the hand of the people of the lands.” Nehemiah 9:30

“They made their hearts hard like a diamond so as not to hear the instruction and words that the Lord of Hosts sent by His Spirit through the former prophets, and there was great anger from the Lord of Hosts.” Zechariah 7:12

Yahweh also sent warning to the Jews that he would destroy Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple because of their persistent rejection and persecution of his inspired emissaries:

“The LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them over and over again by His messengers because He had compassion on His people and His dwelling place. But they continued to jest regarding the messengers of God, despising His word and making fun of His prophets until the wrath of the LORD came up against His people, until there was no remedy. So He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans from Babylon, who killed their young men with the sword at the house of their sanctuary. He did not spare a young man or virgin, old or aged. God gave all of them into his hand. Even all the vessels of the house of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, the king, and his officials, all of this was taken to Babylon. So they burned down the house of God, tore down the wall of Jerusalem, burned down all the palaces with fire, and destroyed all the precious items. Then he carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who survived the sword, and they were slaves to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia ruled, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate, she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.” 2 Chronicles 36:15-21

“And now, because you have done all these works, says the LORD, and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, therefore I will do to this house, which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. I will cast you out of My sight as I have cast out all your brothers, even the whole seed of Ephraim… Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. Yet they did not listen to Me, nor incline their ear, but hardened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.” Jeremiah 7:13-15, 25-26

Astonishingly, Jesus claims to be the One who has the power to send out prophets and messengers to proclaim his words and perform miracles:

“He called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother; James, the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew, the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus; and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. These twelve JESUS SENT OUT, and commanded them, saying, ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.’” Matthew 10:1-8

“He went up into the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him. He ordained twelve to be with Him, and to be SENT OUT to preach, and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:” Mark 3:13-15

“… Then He went to the surrounding villages, teaching. He called to Him the twelve, and began to SEND them out two by two, and gave them authority over unclean spirits…  So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.” Mark 6:6b-7, 12-13

“Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. And HE SENT them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick… So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere… John answered, ‘Master, we saw a man casting out demons in Your name and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us.’ Jesus said, ‘Do not forbid him, for he who is not against you is for you.’” Luke 9:1-2, 6, 49-50

“After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and SENT them two by two ahead of Him into every city and place where He Himself was about to come… The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us through Your name.’ He said to them, ‘I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’” Luke 10:1, 17-20

“As You sent Me into the world, so I SENT them into the world.” John 17:18

And remarkably, Jesus not only said he has the authority to breathe forth and send the Holy Spirit to inspire and empower his emissaries to proclaim his words,

“Look, I AM SENDING you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought of how or what you will speak. For it will be given you at that time what you will speak. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks through you.” Matthew 10:16-20

“But when the Counselor comes, whom I SHALL SEND to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15:26-27

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I WILL SEND HIM to you… I have yet many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive from Me and will declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine. Therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and will declare it to you.” John 16:7, 12-15

“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.’ When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” John 20:21-22

He even claimed that he would personally send prophets and others to the Jews whom they would end up rejecting and persecuting, which would then result in the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple:

“‘Therefore I SEND you prophets, and wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come on this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you, how often I would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not! Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you shall not see Me again until you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”’ Jesus departed from the temple and was leaving when His disciples came to show Him the temple buildings. Jesus answered them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.’” Matthew 23:37-39, 24:1-2

As we saw above, this is precisely what Yahweh did to the Jews in the Hebrew Bible, when he destroyed the first Temple and Jerusalem for their rejection of God’s true prophets and envoys!

What makes this all the more remarkable is that, not only does our Lord state that he will commission prophets for the people, he further 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 the import of these words, and how they highlight Jesus’ prehuman Divine existence, it must be kept in mind that in Matthew’s narrative this happened to be Christ’s first visit to Jerusalem. For the Lord to therefore say that he had often desired and tried to gather the inhabitants of Jerusalem together is quite astonishing seeing that this is the first time he had ever been to Jerusalem after the start of his public ministry!

In other words, this would have been his first attempt of gathering the Jews to himself, unless, of course, he was hinting to the fact that this really wasn’t his first time of doing so. Rather, Jesus was hinting at the fact that he was the One who personally did all he could to draw his covenant people to himself all throughout the OT period.

This point becomes clearer in the Lukan parallel:

“On the same day certain Pharisees came, saying to Him, ‘Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.’ He said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox, “Look, I cast out demons. And I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I shall be perfected.” Nevertheless I must travel today and tomorrow and the day following. For it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing!  Look, your house is forsaken. Truly I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”’” Luke 13:31-35

Once again, the Lord’s comments are rather astonishing when we consider that, according to Luke’s narrative, Christ has yet to visit Jerusalem since his public ministry started!

All of this shows that Christ deliberately made himself out to be God since, according to the Hebrew Bible, it is Yahweh that sent his prophets to his people in order to gather them to himself. In fact, even the very metaphor that the Lord used where he compared 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 is the allotment of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land and in the howling waste of a wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He protected him like the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle stirs up her nest, that flutters over her young, He spread out his wings and took him; He lifted him on His pinions; the LORD alone guided him, and there was no foreign god with him.” Deuteronomy 32:9-12

“How excellent is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore mankind seeks refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 36:7

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter and from the deadly pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall find protection; His faithfulness shall be your shield and wall.” Psalm 91:1-4 – cf. 17:8; 57:1; 61:4; 63:7

We, thus, have another line of evidence showing that the historical Jesus did in fact claim to be the Lord God of the OT who became flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

All Scriptural citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

Related Articles

Jesus Christ: The God of the Prophets https://answeringislam.net/Responses/Osama/zawadi_sending_prophets.htm

The Lord Jesus – The Lord God who sends forth the prophets! https://answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/zaatari/sending_prophets.html

 

 

 

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On Second Thought! Revisiting Jesus as God’s Son or Servant in Acts Pt. 2

We continue from where we previously left off https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/on-second-thought-revisiting-jesus-as-gods-son-or-servant-in-acts-pt-1/. 

Places where pais/paidion are used to refer to a person’s offspring

There are verses where the words pais/paidion refer to a child, either to a son or daughter. Some of these passages include the Lord Jesus, i.e., Christ is said to be a pais/paidion in contexts where the meaning clearly means child or son:

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him… And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child (tou paidiou); and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child (to paidion) was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child (to paidion) with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child (to paidion) and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child (to paidion) to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child (to paidion) and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son (ton hyion mou).  Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children (tous paidas) that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men… But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child (to paidion) and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s (tou paidiou) life. And he arose, and took the young child (to paidion) and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.” Matthew 2:1-2, 8-16, 19-21

Note the connection with Jesus being God’s Hyios (Son) whom God brought out of Egypt with his being a paidion (young child).

“And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus (to paidion ‘Iesoun), to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.’… And the child (paidion) grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him… And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast… And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s (tou Patros mou) business?’” Luke 2:27-32, 40, 42, 46-49

“But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children (tous paidas) crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were extremely displeased.” Matthew 21:15

“On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child (to paidion). And they were calling him Zechariah, after the name of his father… All those who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, ‘What kind of child (to paidion) will he be?’ For the hand of the Lord was with him.” Luke 1:59, 66

“And you, child (paidion), will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,” Luke 1:76

“And the child (paidion) grew and became strong in spirit, and he remained in the wilderness until the day of his appearance to Israel.” Luke 1:80

“While he was coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child (ton paida), and returned him to his father.” Luke 9:42

“When a woman is giving birth, she has pain, because her hour has come. But as soon as she delivers the child (to paidion), she no longer remembers the anguish for joy that a child is born into the world.” John 16:21

“When the morning came, Jesus stood on the shore. But the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children (Paidia), do you have any fish?’” John 21:4-5 

Places where pais/paidion are used interchangeably with hyios/thygater

Here are places where the Greek words for son/daughter are used interchangeably with pais/paidion:

“When they came to the crowd, a man came to Him and knelt before Him, saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son (mou ton hyon), for he is an epileptic and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not heal him.’ Then Jesus answered, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’ Jesus rebuked the demon, and he came out of him. And the child (ho pais) was healed instantly.” Matthew 17:14-18

“When Jesus had crossed again by boat to the other side, many people gathered to Him. And He was beside the sea. One of the rulers of the synagogue, named Jairus, saw Jesus and came and fell at His feet and earnestly asked Him, ‘My little daughter (To thygatrion mou) is lying at the point of death. I ask You, come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be healed. And she will live.’ So Jesus went with him. And many people followed Him and pressed in on Him… While He was still speaking, some came from the house of the synagogue ruler and said, ‘Your daughter (He thygater sou) is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’ As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be afraid, only believe.’ He let no one follow Him, except Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw the tumult, and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them, ‘Why make this uproar and weep? The girl (to paidion) is not dead, but sleeping.’ They laughed at Him in ridicule. But when He had put them all out, He took the father and the mother of the girl (tou paidiou) and those who were with Him and entered where the girl (to paidion) was lying. He took the girl (tou paidiou) by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cumi,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’ Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were greatly astonished. He strictly ordered them to let no one know of it and directed them to give her something to eat.” Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

“So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son (ho hyios) was sick in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him, pleading that He would come down and heal his son (autou ton hyion), for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.’ The nobleman said to Him, ‘Sir, come down before my child (to paidion mou) dies.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way. Your son lives (ho hyios sou ze).’ And the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. While he was going down, his servants met him and told him, ‘Your son lives (ho pais autou ze)! When he inquired of them the hour when he began to heal, they answered, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ Then the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives (Ho hyios sou ze).’ So he and his whole household believed. This was the second sign that Jesus did when He had come from Judea to Galilee.” John 4:46-54

The foregoing examples clearly affirm that the words pais/paidion can and often do refer to a child, an offspring, whether a son or daughter. This, therefore, makes it all the more likely that Acts identifies Jesus as the pais/paidion of God in the sense of his being God’s holy, spiritual Offspring/Son who humbled himself to become his beloved Father’s Servant in order to accomplish the redemption of God’s people by dying on the cross:

“For who is greater: he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? But I am among you as He who serves.. You are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I appoint to you a kingdom as My Father has appointed one to Me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Luke 22:27-30

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to the entire flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

In other words, these terms were specifically chosen because they more precisely and succinctly convey the fact of Jesus’ being both the Son and Servant of God, more so than any other Greek word employed in the Christian Scriptures. This brings me to my next point.

Doulos Theou – The Servant/Slave of God

If Luke wanted to emphasize Jesus’ position and status as God’s holy Servant then he could have used the one term that he and the other inspired NT writers most often employ to convey this point, namely doulos:

“Now, Lord, look on their threats and grant that Your servants (doulois sou) may speak Your word with great boldness,” Acts 4:29

“She followed Paul and us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God (douloi tou Theou tou Hypsistou), who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’” Acts 16:17

“Paul, a servant of God (doulos Theou) and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth which leads to godliness,” Titus 1:1

“As free people, do not use your liberty as a covering for evil, but live as servants of God (Theou douloi).” 1 Peter 2:16

“They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God (tou doulou tou Theou), and the song of the Lamb, saying: ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of saints!’” Revelation 15:3

Had this been the term used in Acts then there would have been no doubt that the primary focus in these passages is to highlight Jesus’ role as the Servant of God. Since Luke did not employ this term, but chose a word which can refer to both a child and a servant, it therefore becomes all the more likely that the point that these verses seek to affirm is that Jesus is God’s beloved, spiritual Offspring who humbled himself to become a Servant.

Concluding Remarks

A careful reexamination of the passages in Acts where our Lord is called God’s pais/paidion leads us to conclude that the inspired author deliberately employed these phrases to signify the fact of Jesus’ being both God’s Son and Servant. To, therefore, argue whether these Greek words mean that Jesus is the Son or Servant of God misses the point completely, since it is not either/or but both/and, i.e., Jesus is the unique Son of God who humbled himself to become the Servant of God. As such, Christ is God’s holy Child who assumed the status and position of a Slave for the express purpose of accomplishing the redemption of all those who would put their faith and trust in him:

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

“Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs,” Romans 15:8

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural references taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

Addendum A: What About David?

A person may raise the objection that pais/paidion is used in respect to David where the meaning clearly is servant:

“and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant (paidos autou) David,” Luke 1:69

“and who by the mouth of Your servant (paidos sou) David said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people devise vain things?’” Acts 4:25

The problem with this objection is that the God-breathed Scriptures testify that David was more than God’s servant. He was also chosen to become God’s son whom God appointed to rule over God’s people on his behalf:

“But I have been made king by him on Sion his holy mountain, declaring the ordinance of the Lord: the Lord said to me, Thou art my Son (hyios mou), to-day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen [for] thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth [for] thy possession. Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces as a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:6-9 LXX

“made a covenant with my chosen ones, I sware unto David my servant (to doulo mou)… I have found David my servant (ton doulon mou); I have anointed him by [my] holy mercy… He shall call upon me, [saying], Thou art my Father (pater mou ei su), my God, and the helper of my salvation. And I will make him [my] first-born, higher than the kings of the earth.” Psalm 88[Heb. 89]:3, 20, 26-27 LXX

This blessing was further extended to all of David’s sons who would sit on God’s earthly throne in the place of their ancestor:

“Go, and say to my servant David (ton doulon mou), Thus says the Lord, Thou shalt not build me a house for me to dwell in… And now thus shalt thou say to my servant David (ho doulo mou), Thus says the Lord Almighty, I took thee from the sheep-cote, that thou shouldest be a prince over my people, over Israel… I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son (hyion). And when he happens to transgress, then will I chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the sons of men… for a long time to [to come]. And [is] this the law of man, O Lord, my Lord? And what shall David yet say to thee? and now thou knowest thy servant (ton doulon sou), O Lord, my Lord… Almighty Lord God of Israel, thou hast uncovered the ear of thy servant (tou doulou sou), saying, I will build thee a house: therefore thy servant (ho doulos sou) has found [in] his heart to pray this prayer to thee. And now, O Lord my Lord, thou art God; and thy words will be true, and thou hast spoken these good things concerning thy servant (tou doulou sou). And now begin and bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee; for thou, O Lord, my Lord, hast spoken, and the house of thy servant (tou doulou sou) shall be blessed with thy blessing so as to continue for ever.” 2 Samuel 7:5, 8, 14, 20, 27-29 LXX

Note how these passages employ both the terms doulos and hyios, thereby highlighting the fact that David and his heirs were more than mere servants, since they were also God’s royal sons anointed to rule on earth as his representatives:

“Yet the Lord God of Israel chose me out of the whole house of my father to be king over Israel for ever; and he chose Juda as the kingly [house], and out of the house of Juda [he chose] the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he preferred me, that I should be king over all Israel. And of all my sons, (for the Lord has given me many sons,) he has chosen Solomon my son, to set him on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. And God said to me, Solomon thy son shall build my house and my court: for I have chosen him to be my son (mou hyion), and I will be to him a father. And I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he continue to keep my commandments, and my judgments, as [at] this day.” 1 Chronicles 28:4-7 LXX

Therefore, it seems reasonably clear that the reason why David is called God’s paidion is because he was God’s spiritual offspring chosen to serve as God’s earthly vice-regent. This in turn reinforces our claim that pais/paidion were deliberately employed to highlight the point that the person thus described was/is both a son and a servant.

Addendum B: The Witness of the Latin Version

It is interesting to see how the Latin Vulgate renders the verses from Acts where the Lord is identified as the paidion of God, seeing that this is a fifth century translation produced by one of the greatest Bible scholars who ever lived, namely Jerome. We provide the Douay-Rheims’ translation of the Latin for the convenience of the readers:

The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released.

Deus Abraham, et Deus Isaac, et Deus Jacob, Deus patrum nostrorum glorificavit filium suum Jesum, quem vos quidem tradidistis, et negastis ante faciem Pilati, judicante illo dimitti. Acts 3:13 http://www.drbo.org/x/d?b=drl&bk=51&ch=3&l=13#x 

To you first God, raising up his Son, hath sent him to bless you; that every one may convert himself from his wickedness.

Vobis primum Deus suscitans filium suum, misit eum benedicentem vobis: ut convertat se unusquisque a nequitia sua. Acts 3:26 http://www.drbo.org/x/d?b=drl&bk=51&ch=3&l=26#x 

For of a truth there assembled together in this city against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel,

Convenerunt enim vere in civitate ista adversus sanctum puerum tuum Jesum, quem unxisti, Herodes, et Pontius Pilatus, cum gentibus, et populis Israel, Acts 4:27 http://www.drbo.org/x/d?b=drl&bk=51&ch=4&l=27#x

By stretching forth thy hand to cures, and signs, and wonders to be done by the name of thy holy Son Jesus.

In eo quod manum tuam extendas ad sanitates, et signa, et prodigia fieri per nomen sancti filii tui Jesu. Acts 4:30 

We thus have the witness of one of the greatest scholars of the early church who understood the Greek term employed by Luke to mean that Jesus Christ is God’s uniquely beloved Son.

Related Articles

Is Jesus “God’s Son” or “God’s Servant?” http://www.chick.com/information/bibleversions/articles/saviororservant.asp

 

 

 

On Second Thought! Revisiting Jesus as God’s Son or Servant in Acts Pt. 1

This is a follow up to the rebuttal I wrote titled, Is Jesus God’s Servant or Son? Pt. 1 http://www.answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/pais_1.html

Pt. 2 http://www.answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/pais_2.html

Pt. 3 http://www.answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/pais_3.html

Pt. 4 http://www.answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/pais_4.html

Pt. 5 http://www.answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/pais_5.html

Pt. 6 http://www.answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/pais_6.html

In those series of articles I basically argued that the Greek words pais/paidion, which are used to describe Jesus’ relationship to God in Acts 3:13, 16 and 4:27, 30, essentially mean servant, i.e. that Jesus is God’s Servant whom God glorified by raising him from the dead and seating him on his throne in heaven. Here I am going to revisit this issue by digging a little deeper to see whether these terms also refer to Jesus’ being God’s unique Son. After all, these Greek terms can and do refer to children as the following Bible expositor noted:

Thy holy child Jesus – The word “child” is commonly applied to infants, or to sons and daughters in very early life. The word which is used here παῖς pais is different from what is commonly applied to the Lord Jesus υἱός huios. The latter expresses sonship without respect to age. The word which is here used also sometimes expresses sonship with out any regard to age, and the word “son” would have been a more happy translation. Thus, the same word is translated in Acts 3:13, Acts 3:26. In Acts 20:12, it is translated “youngman.” (Albert Barne’s Notes on the Whole Bible http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-4.html)

Here, again, are the verses in question:

“The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus (ton paida autou ‘Iesoun), whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, by faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. And faith which comes through Him has given him perfect health in your presence… God, having raised up His Son Jesus (ton paida autou ‘Iesoun), sent Him to you first, to bless you in turning every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:13-16, 26

“Indeed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were assembled together against Your holy Son Jesus (ton hagion paida sou ‘Iesoun) whom You have anointed… by stretching out Your hand to heal and that signs and wonders may be performed in the name of Your holy Son Jesus (tou hagiou paidos sou ‘Iesou).” Acts 4:27, 30

Upon further reflection and examination I have come to the conclusion that the word pais/paidion not only refers to Jesus as God’s Servant, but also speaks to his being God’s unique Son. I feel that the reason why the inspired Christian Scriptures chose to describe Jesus as the pais/paidion of God is because, unlike the words hyios (“son”) and doulos (“Servant/Slave”), this term communicates the point of Jesus’ being both God’s Son/Child and Servant. I believe that pais/paidion are used to signify that Jesus is a Son who voluntarily chose to honor his Father by becoming his Servant in order to demonstrate his deep and great love for his Father:

“But I do as the Father has commanded Me so that the world may know that I love the Father.” John 14:31

“As the Father loved Me, I also loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” John 15:9-10

There are good reasons for assuming this to be the case. In the first place, Christ is identified as God’s pais/paidion in a context where the disciples cite Psalm 2 in their worship and prayer to God:

“On being released, they went to their own people and reported what the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they lifted their voices in unity to God and prayed, ‘Lord, You are God, who has made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, and who by the mouth of Your servant David said: “Why did the nations rage, and the people devise vain things? The kings of the earth came, and the rulers were assembled together against the Lord and against His Christ.” Indeed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were assembled together against Your holy Son Jesus whom You have anointed, to do what Your hand and Your counsel had foreordained to be done.” Acts 4:23-28

In this particular Psalm God’s anointed king or Christ is expressly said to be God’s Son whom God spiritually begot to reign on his heavenly throne:

“Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear off their bonds and cast away their ropes from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord ridicules them. Then He will speak to them in His wrath and terrify them in His burning anger: ‘I have installed My king on Zion, My holy hill.’ I will declare the decree of the Lord: He said to me, ‘You are My son (bani); this day have I begotten you (‘attah ‘ani… yalidtika). Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. You will break them with a scepter of iron; you will dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” Psalm 2:1-9

The Son was spiritually begotten by the Father on the day when God raised Christ physically from the dead into heaven in order to have him sit alongside him in glory:

“And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son (Hyios mou ei su), this day have I begotten thee.” Acts 13:32-33 AV

There is no denying that both the Hebrew word ben and the Greek word hyios mean S/son. To, therefore, identify Christ as the pais/paidion of God in the same context where Psalm 2 is cited strongly supports the view that the specific Greek term was used to convey the notion of Jesus’ being God’s Son who became a servant so as to fulfill the will of his beloved Father.

There is another place where Christ is called God’s pais/paidion within an OT Prophecy that clearly points to his being the unique Son of God:

“But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great crowds followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them that they should not make Him known, to fulfill what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘Here is My Servant (ho pais mou), whom I have chosen, My Beloved (ho agapetos mou), in whom My soul is well pleased (eis hon eudokesen); I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will render judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not struggle nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench, until He renders judgment unto victory; and in His name will the Gentiles trust.’” Matthew 12:15-21

Here the inspired author cites the witness of the prophet Isaiah:

“Hearken to me, ye islands; and attend, ye Gentiles; after a long time it shall come to pass, saith the Lord: from my mother’s womb he has called my name: and he has made my mouth as a sharp sword, and he has hid me under the shadow of his hand; he has made me as a choice shaft, and he has hid me in his quiver; and said to me, Thou art my servant (doulos mou ei su), O Israel, and in thee I will be glorified. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have given my strength for vanity and for nothing: therefore is my judgement with the Lord, and my labour before my God. And now, thus saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his own servant (doulon heauto), to gather Jacob to him and Israel. I shall be gathered and glorified before the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said to me, [It is] a great thing for thee to be called my servant (paida mou), to establish the tribes of Jacob, and to recover the dispersion of Israel: behold, I have given thee for the covenant of a race, for a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:1-6 LXX

Elsewhere, this same Servant is said be a child (paidion) who grows up before God:

“Behold, my servant (ho pais mou) shall understand, and be exalted, and glorified exceedingly.… O Lord, who has believed our report? and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? We brought a report as [of] a child (paidion) before him; [he is] as a root in a thirsty land: he has no form nor comeliness; and we saw him, but he had no form nor beauty.” Isaiah 52:13, 53:1-2 LXX

This is the same One whom the prophet says is a child that is born and a son who is given to reign over David’s throne forever:

“Drink this first. Act quickly, O land of Zabulon, land of Nephthalim, and the rest [inhabiting] the sea-coast, and [the land] beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. O people walking in darkness, behold a great light: ye that dwell in the region [and] shadow of death, a light shall shine upon you… For a child (paidion) is born to us, and a son (hyios) is given to us, whose government is upon his shoulder, and his name is called the messenger of great counsel: for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to him. His government shall be great, and of his peace there is no end: [it shall be] upon the throne of David, and [upon] his kingdom, to establish it, and to support [it] with judgement and with righteousness, from henceforth and forever. The seal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this. Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7 LXX – cf. Matthew 4:12-17

This may explain why at the baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ in fulfillment of Isaiah 42:1, God testified to Jesus’ being his beloved Son (hyios), not Servant (doulos):

“And when Jesus was baptized, He came up immediately out of the water. And suddenly the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son (ho hyios mou ho agapetos), in whom I am well pleased (en ho eudokesa).’” Matthew 3:16-17 

The foregoing strongly supports that pais/paidion are meant to communicate the fact of Jesus’ being more than God’s Servant. Christ is the unique Son who humbled himself to serve the Father by coming to the earth to die a shameful and accursed death.

We will have more to say about the word doulos a little later. With that said we are ready to proceed to the second part of our discussion https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/on-second-thought-revisiting-jesus-as-gods-son-or-servant-in-acts-pt-2/.

Daniel’s Vision of the Son of Man Proves that Muhammad was a false prophet

In the following series of  rebuttals https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/the-son-of-man-rides-the-clouds-pt-1/ we thoroughly refuted the desperate attempts by certain Muslim apologists to disprove that the Son of Man figure whom the prophet Daniel saw is an eternal divine Being who became incarnate in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In this article we are going to show how the claims made about the Son of Man stand in direct contradiction to the message of Muhammad, and how this in turn proves that Muhammad was a false prophet.

The Human Manifestation of God

Here is Daniel’s depiction of the Son of Man:

“I saw in the night visions, and there was one like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. There was given to 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 7:13-14

What makes this particular figure rather remarkable is that he rides the clouds of heaven, which is something only God does,

to Him who rides on the heavens, the ancient heavens; He who sends out His voice, a mighty voice. Ascribe strength to God; His majesty is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds.” Psalm 68:33-34 – cf. 104:3

“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

And receives the exact same worship which God alone is supposed to receive:

“Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” Daniel 7:27 – cf. 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28; 6:16, 20, 26

“All the ends of the world will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules among the nations. All the prosperous ones of the earth will eat and worship; all who go down to the dust will bow before Him, even he who cannot keep his own soul alive. Posterity will serve Him…” Psalm 22:27-30a

“All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name. For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You are God alone.” Psalm 86:9-10

“From one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord.” Isaiah 66:23

Even the Quran agrees that riding on the clouds is a divine function:

Do they then wait for anything other than that Allah should come to them in the shadows of the clouds and the angels? (Then) the case would be already judged. And to Allah return all matters (for decision). S. 2:210 Hilali-Khan

What this means is that Daniel’s Son of Man is not an angelic creature, but is rather a divine Being appearing as a man. And since the prophet personally distinguishes this glorious figure from another divine Being whom he calls the Ancient of Days, this shows that Daniel was no Unitarian. Rather, this inspired Jewish emissary knew by way of revelation that Israel’s one true God is actually multi-Personal in nature.

Jesus Christ – The Divine Son of Man Has Come

According to the NT, Jesus is that divine Son of Man who rides the heavenly clouds and sits enthroned at the right of God in heaven. The inspired Christian Scriptures also proclaim that, as the Son of Man, Jesus purposely came to the earth to die a violent and shameful death in order to offer his life as a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of all those who would believe in him:

“Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ Jesus replied, ‘The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.’” Matthew 8:19-20

“even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

“For the Son of Man shall come with His angels in the glory of HIS Father, and then He will repay every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27

“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered Him, ‘You are the Christ.’ He warned them that they should tell no one about Him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said this openly. And Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him… Whoever therefore is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of HIS Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:29-32, 38

“But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” Mark 14:61-62

“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.” Luke 17:24-25

“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

“No one has ascended to heaven except He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man who is in heaven.” John 3:13

“Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before?” John 6:62

“So Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing of Myself. But I speak these things as My Father taught Me.’” John 8:28

 When he had gone out, Jesus then said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in Him God is glorified. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself and will immediately glorify Him.’” John 13:31-32

“I looked. And there was a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like a Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. Then another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap. The time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ So He who sat on the cloud thrust His sickle on the earth, and the earth was harvested.” Revelation 14:14-16

And in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, the NT depicts Jesus as receiving worship from every created thing in existence:

“Therefore God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

“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!’ Then I heard EVERY CREATURE which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea, AND ALL THAT ARE IN THEM, saying: ‘To Him who sits on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be blessing and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!’ The four living creatures said, ‘Amen.’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped Him who lives forever and ever.” Revelation 5:8-14

Muhammad’s Dilemma

Even though Muhammad affirmed that Jesus is the Messiah,

When the angels said, ‘Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. S. 3:45 Arberry

He basically denied the major implications of what that title means in relation to Christ.

For example, Muhammad taught that Jesus was a human messenger who was neither God nor the Son of God:

They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Messiah, Mary’s son.’ For the Messiah said, ‘Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Verily whoso associates with God anything, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire; and wrongdoers shall have no helpers.’ They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Third of Three. No god is there but One God. If they refrain not from what they say, there shall afflict those of them that disbelieve a painful chastisement. Will they not turn to God and pray His forgiveness? God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; Messengers before him passed away; his mother was a just woman; they both ate food. Behold, how We make clear the signs to them; then behold, how they perverted are! S. 5:72-75 Arberry

The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the Son of God’; the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! S. 9:30 Arberry

Since Muhammad didn’t believe that Christ was divine this meant that he would not allow any of his followers to serve or worship the Messiah, seeing how he preached that only Allah is to be worshiped and served:

Thee only we serve; to Thee alone we pray for succour. S. 1:5 Arberry

I have only been commanded to serve the Lord of this territory which He has made sacred; to Him belongs everything. And I have been commanded to be of those that surrender, S. 27:91 Arberry

O my bondmen who believe! Lo! My earth is spacious. Therefor serve Me only. S. 29:56 Pickthall

In fact, Muhammad plainly stated that his god would never allow for anyone to worship a prophet or angel as his/her Lord,

It is not meet for a mortal that Allah should give him the Book and the wisdom and prophethood, then he should say to men: Be my servants rather than Allah’s; but rather (he would say): Be worshipers of the Lord because of your teaching the Book and your reading (it yourselves). And neither would he enjoin you that you should take the angels and the prophets for lords; what! would he enjoin you with unbelief after you are Muslims? S. 3:79-80 Shakir

Since he believed that Allah is the only sovereign Lord of creation who does not share his universal authority with any individual:

And say: (All) praise is due to Allah, Who has not taken a son and Who has not a partner in the kingdom, and Who has not a helper to save Him from disgrace; and proclaim His greatness magnifying (Him). S. 17:111 Shakir

He, Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and Who did not take to Himself a son, and Who has no associate in the kingdom, and Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure. S. 25:2 Shakir

This means that Muhammad’s message directly contradicts the inspired teachings of the New Testament that the Lord Jesus Christ is the divine Son of Man and eternal King of Daniel’s vision whom all creation is expected to serve and worship forever and ever.

Muhammad was therefore a false prophet, and one of the antichrists that the Holy Bible warned would be coming into the world to deceive many from the truth of the Gospel:

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve through his trickery, so your minds might be led astray from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might submit to it readily enough… For such are false apostles and deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, 13-15

“Little children, it is the last hour. As you have heard that the antichrist will come, even now there are many antichrists… Who is a liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? Whoever denies the Father and the Son is the antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father.” 1 John 2:18, 22-23

For many deceivers, who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Each one is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that we do not lose those things for which we have worked, but that we receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever remains in the teaching of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, nor greet him. For whoever greets him takes part in his evil deeds.” 2 John 1:7-11

There is simply no way for Muslims to get around this massive problem, provided they care about being consistent and honest.

All Scriptural citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

The Son of Man Rides the Clouds Pt. 2a

Putting to Rest Some Typical Muhammadan Objections

We proceed from where we previously https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/the-son-of-man-rides-the-clouds-pt-1b/.

Worshiping the Most High – Not the Saints!

Contrary to how some versions render v. 27, the passage is not identifying the saints as those who rule forever and whom all dominions shall serve. Rather, a carefully reading of the text itself shows that it is the Most High who is thus being described. Here is the verse again:

“Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom (malkuteh) is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve (yipelachun) and obey Him.” Daniel 7:27

To begin with, it should be noted that there is no pronoun at the end of the sentence in the Aramaic text, and must therefore be supplied in order to make the English run more smoothly. The last part of the verse literally reads, “and all dominions shall serve and obey.” It is the context which determines whether the translator(s) need(s) to supply a singular or plural pronoun, i.e., “him” or “them.”

This brings me to my next point. There are two indications why the pronoun should be singular, and the passage should therefore be taken as a reference to the Most High as opposed to his saints. First, the Aramaic for “whose kingdom” (malkuteh) is in the singular, and is therefore speaking of the kingdom of the Most High, not of his saints who do receive dominion from him.

And now contrast this with what is said about the Son of Man:

“I saw in the night visions, and there was one like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. There was given to Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve (yipelachun) Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom (umalkuteh) that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:14

Here we find the singular form of the word umalkuteh (“His kingdom”) and the exact form of the verb for “serve” (yipelachun) that was employed in v. 27 being used in reference to the Son of Man. This again establishes the fact that in v. 27 it is the Most High who is being thus described, and not the saints and/or their people.

In fact, the Greek version of Daniel (commonly referred to as the Septuagint [LXX]), which is a translation done by Jews centuries before the birth of Christ, provides additional proof that v. 27 is not speaking about the saints of God, but rather about the Most High:

“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 (kai he basileia AUTOU) is an everlasting kingdom, and all powers shall serve and obey HIM (kai pasai hai archai AUTO douleusousi kai hypachousontai).”

Note the use of the singular pronouns, e.g. AUTOU/AUTO. This signifies the fact that even the Jews who translated the book of Daniel into Greek could see that the context is expressly referring to the Most High reigning forever and receiving worship from all dominions.

Now compare this to the Greek translation of v. 14:

“And to him was given the dominion, and the honour, and the kingdom; and all nations, tribes, and languages, shall serve HIM (AUTO douleusousin): HIS dominion (he exousia AUTOU) is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and HIS kingdom (kai he basileia AUTOU) shall not be destroyed.”

It is clear from the foregoing that this ancient Greek version of the OT Scriptures supports the traditional Christian position, not the modern critical and anti-Trinitarian view, which says that v. 27 refers to the saints being worshiped by all creation, as opposed to a single individual.

That v. 27 cannot be a reference to the saints of God receiving worship can be further seen from the Aramaic verb pelach, which is translated in the above texts as serve. This verb always refers to the cultic worship which is to be rendered to God alone.

Moreover, the older Greek witnesses to Daniel employ the word latreuo in place of pelach, a reading that is attested by second century Christian apologist Justin Martyr who cited Daniel 7:9-28 in his dialogue with a Jew named Trypho:

But if so great a power is shown to have followed and to be still following the dispensation of His suffering, how great shall that be which shall follow His glorious advent! For He shall come on the clouds as the Son of man, so Daniel foretold, and His angels shall come with Him. These are the words: ‘I beheld till the thrones were set; and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool. His throne was like a fiery flame, His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The books were opened, and the judgment was set. I beheld then the voice of the great words which the horn speaks: and the beast was beat down, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. And the rest of the beasts were taken away from their dominion, and a period of life was given to the beasts until a season and time. I saw in the vision of the night, and, behold, one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven; and He came to the Ancient of days, and stood before Him. And they who stood by brought Him near; and there were given Him power and kingly honour, and all nations of the earth by their families, and all glory, serve Him (latreuousa). And His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not be taken away; and His kingdom shall not be destroyed. And my spirit was chilled within my frame, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and inquired the precise meaning of all these things. In answer he speaks to me, and showed me the judgment of the matters: These great beasts are four kingdoms, which shall perish from the earth, and shall not receive dominion for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I wished to know exactly about the fourth beast, which destroyed all [the others] and was very terrible, its teeth of iron, and its nails of brass; which devoured, made waste, and stamped the residue with its feet: also about the ten horns upon its head, and of the one which came up, by means of which three of the former fell. And that horn had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things; and its countenance excelled the rest. And I beheld that horn waging war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of days came; and He gave judgment for the saints of the Most High. And the time came, and the saints of the Most High possessed the kingdom. And it was told me concerning the fourth beast: There shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall prevail over all these kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall destroy and make it thoroughly waste. And the ten horns are ten kings that shall arise; and one shall arise after them; and he shall surpass the first in evil deeds, and he shall subdue three kings, and he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall overthrow the rest of the saints of the Most High, and shall expect to change the seasons and the times. And it shall be delivered into his hands for a time, and times, and half a time. And the judgment sat, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom, and the power, and the great places of the kingdoms under the heavens, were given to the holy people of the Most High, to reign in an everlasting kingdom: and all powers shall be subject to HIM, and shall obey HIM. Hitherto is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was possessed with a very great astonishment, and my speech was changed in me; yet I kept the matter in my heart.’ (Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 31. If Christ’s power be now so great, how much greater at the second advent!; bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)

This is rather remarkable since according to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, only God is to receive latreuo:

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only (kai auto mono latreuseis).”’” Matthew 4:8-10 – cf. Luke 4:5-8

The foregoing simply provides further evidence that the Son of Man must be a fully Divine Person, otherwise he could not receive pelach/latreuo since that would be idolatry, i.e., rendering to a creature the worship and service due only to the Creator. As the following Evangelical scholars explain:

“… The book of Daniel contains a vision in which people of all nations, tribes, and languages ‘serve’ someone who is ‘like a Son of Man’ (Dan. 7:13 NASB)… In the Septuagint version of Daniel the word translated ‘serve’ is latreuo, which is also used in the Rahlfs edition of the Septuagint and in other critical editions of the Greek Old Testament. In the Greek version of Daniel produced in the late second century A.D. by Theodotion, the word translated ‘serve’ is douloo, a far more common Greek word that has a broader range of meanings.

“Whichever Greek translation one chooses to follow, the underlying Aramaic word (Daniel 2:4-7:28 was originally written in Aramaic, not Hebrew) is pelach, a word that is always used to refer to rendering religious service or performing religious rituals in honor of a deity. In other words, latreuo is an excellent Greek translation of pelach. That is why all extant ancient Greek versions of Daniel usually use latreuo elsewhere in Daniel to translate pelach (Dan. 3:12, 14, 18; 6:16, 20 [6:17, 21 in Greek]). In the early chapters of the book, Daniel and his Jewish friends had refused to ‘serve’ the image of Nebuchadnezzar or to ‘serve’ Darius, identifying themselves as those who ‘serve’ only their God, the living God (3:12, 14, 17, 18, 28; 6:16, 20). In this setting, the vision of people from all nations ‘serving’ the Son of Man presents a startling contrast. The ‘service’ that Daniel and his friends refused to give to Nebuchadnezzar’s image or to Darius, Daniel envisions all nations giving to the heavenly Son of Man.

“Daniel’s reference to the Son of Man being ‘served’ implies a divine status for the Son of Man, not merely because of the use of that one word, but because of the context in which it is used. The universal sovereignty attributed to the Son of Man is earlier attributed to Daniel’s God by the Babylonian and Persian kings… This language of a kingdom that will not be destroyed and that will endure forever is then applied to the kingdom of the Son of Man… Within this larger context, the reference to all peoples ‘serving’ the Son of Man is confirmed as an expression of religious devotion. The One whom you regard as Ruler of your entire universe for all time is by definition your God, and it would be the height of folly not to render devotion or service to him.” (Robert M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Part 1: The Devotion Revolution – Jesus Shares the Honors Due to God, Chapter 5. The Ultimate Reverence Package, pp. 67-69; bold and underline emphasis ours)

As such, the Son of Man cannot be a mere symbol which the prophet used for the saints of God and/or the people that they represent.

This brings us to our final section https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/the-son-of-man-rides-the-clouds-pt-2b/.

The Son of Man Rides the Clouds Pt. 2b

Putting to Rest Some Typical Muhammadan Objections

We now come to the last part of our rebuttal https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/the-son-of-man-rides-the-clouds-pt-2a/.

Plurality in Unity

Even if we go by the plural pronoun “them” in v. 27 this still doesn’t help the Muslims since this would still be a reference to the Most High as opposed to the saints. The reason being is that the Aramaic word for Most High is actually in the PLURAL!

The Aramaic reads Elyonin, which literally reads HIGHEST ONES/MOST HIGHS. Therefore, the plural pronoun “them” need not refer to the saints, but to the Most Highs who, according to the immediate context, clearly refer to both the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man collectively.

In fact, note what happens when we read Daniel 7:13-14 in light of vv. 18, 21-22 and 25-27:

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man CAME with the clouds of heaven, and CAME to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, 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.” vv. 13-14 AV

“But the saints OF THE MOST HIGHS (Elyonin) shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” v. 18 AV

“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; UNTIL THE ANCIENT OF DAYS CAME, and judgment was given to the saints OF THE MOST HIGHS (Elyonin); and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” vv. 21-22 AV

“And he shall speak great words against THE MOST HIGH (‘illayah), and shall wear out the saints OF THE MOST HIGHS (Elyonin), and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints OF THE MOST HIGHS (Elyonin), whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” vv. 25-27 AV

Pay attention to the fact that in v. 22 it is the coming of the Ancient of Days that results in the triumph of the saints. This shows that the coming of the Son of Man corresponds to the coming of the Ancient of Days, thereby equating the two, and therefore explains why Elyonin is plural, i.e., the plural is intended to depict both the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days as reigning together over the entire creation.

Thus, the Son of Man doesn’t symbolize the saints, even though he represents them, but is a figure who is virtually equated with the Ancient of Days himself who is said to be coming to save the saints and give judgment in their favor. This perhaps explains why in Revelation, John depicts Jesus as the Son of Man who has the same appearance as the Ancient of Days in Daniel:

“I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And when I turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the seven candlesticks was one like a Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and with a golden sash wrapped around the chest. The hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars, and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. His appearance was like the sun shining brightly. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though I were dead. Then He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, though I was dead. Look! I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.’” Revelation 1:12-18

Now contrast this with Daniel’s portrayal:

“I watched until the thrones were cast down and the Ancient of Days was seated, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool. His throne was like the fiery flame, and its wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came out from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9-10

It is crystal clear from the above that John portrays Jesus the Son of Man as being both distinct from and identical to the Ancient of Days. This is similar to John 1:1, where the Word is said to be with God and God at the same time.

Now what makes this even more interesting is that in v. 25 Daniel uses two words for Most High, namely illaya, which is a singular adjective, and Elyonin which, as I have already noted, is plural. This shows that Daniel knew of and could have used the singular illaya in all of these occurrences, but chose instead to use the plural for the most part. Is this mere coincidence on the prophet’s part? Not according to the following Biblical scholar:

“These considerations lead to a final observation about the way Daniel deploys language to communicate what he saw in this Daniel 7 vision. Caragounis (1986: 74) observes that once Daniel has seen the vision (Dan. 7:1-14), curious lacunae stand in the interpretation (7:15-28):

Of the vision elements which are not interpreted by name, the most conspicuous are the Ancient One and the [one like a son of man] … Why is [the one like a son of man] not interpreted? Or, is he perhaps interpreted, though without being named expressly, but implicitly, by way of associations made in the text?

“Caragounis (1986: 75) next observes that the normal Aramaic term used in Daniel to refer to God as ‘Most High’ is… ‘illaya’ (Dan. 3:26, 32; 4:14, 21, 22, 29, 31; 5:18, 21; 7:25). In contrast with this, in the phrase ‘saints of the Most High’ (7:18, 22, 25, 27), Daniel always uses the form… ‘elyonin. Gentry (2003: 73) builds on these observations from Caragounis, noting that… (‘illaya‘)

is an Aramaic adjective, definite and singular, and may be rendered the Highest One or Most High. It refers to Yahweh, the one God of Israel and is standard in the Aramaic part of the book either as a modifier of God or as a title for God … By contrast [… ‘elyonin] is an honorific plural or plural of majesty of [… ‘elyon], the Hebrew adjective for highest plus the Aramaic plural ending.

“Daniel uses the two terms side by side in 7:25, ‘He shall speak words against the Most High [… ‘illaya’],/and shall wear out the saints of the Most High [… ‘elyonin]’, prompting Gentry (2003: 73) to ask:

Why does the author use a Hebrew expression (with Aramaic ending) for the Most High in the Aramaic section and side by side with the expression standard in Aramaic? It seems a deliberate attempt to draw some distinction between a divine figure associated with the saints and yet perhaps distinguished from Yahweh in some way.

“Because of the similarity of the statements in Daniel 7:14 and 7:27, we can be certain that the Most referred to with (… ‘elyonin) and associated with the saints in the phrase ‘saints of the Most High’ is the ‘one like a son of man. Considering these two texts side by side will bring out their similarity (see table 6.2).

“The referent of the two third-person masculine singular prnoun at the end of Daniel 7:27, ‘his kingdom … obey him‘, is the Most High [… ‘elyonin]. The word ‘people’ [… ‘am] is also singular and thus could be the referent of these third-person pronouns, but for the following reasons Most High is more probably the referent. First, ‘Most High’ stands between the third singular pronouns and ‘people’, and the nearer substantive is more probably the referent. Secondly, the ‘people’ are referred to throughout the passage with the plural ‘saints’ (Dan. 7:18, 22, 25, 27), and ‘saints’ is closer to the pronoun than ‘people’. If the pronouns referred to the ‘people of the saints’, they might be plural rather than singular. Finally, the reuse of a phrase from Daniel 7:13 in 27 identifies the ‘one like a son of man’ with the ‘Most High’. Daniel 7:14 states that peoples, nations and languages will ‘serve’ the son of man, and the same Hebrew phrase is used in 7:27 (… leh yiplechun) to state that all dominions will serve the Most High. This is language used elsewhere in Daniel to refer to the kind of service one renders to what one worships (cf. the use of the verb in 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28; 6:17, 21 [MT]), and it is more probable that such service would be rendered to the Most High than to the people. Here again, Daniel used the Hebrew adjective with the Aramaic plural ending (… ‘elyonin) to refer to the ‘one like a son of man’ as Most High, distinguishing him from the Ancient of Days, for whom he used the normal Aramaic expression (… ‘illaya’) when designating him as Most High.

“By using these distinct forms for ‘Most High’ consistently, Daniel identified BOTH the Ancient of Days AND THE ONE LIKE A SON OF MAN AS THE MOST HIGH, even as he distinguished them from one another. In this passage, Daniel communicates that the one like a son of man will be enthroned alongside the Ancient of Days, that he comes with the clouds AS YAHWEH DOES ELSEWHERE (e.g. Pss 18:10; 97:2; 104:3, etc.), that he receives service and worship – described with terms ONLY elsewhere used for describing obeisance done for deity (Gentry 3003: 72-73), and that he will receive the everlasting kingdom which shall not pass away, which is exactly how God’s kingdom is described. The Ancient of Days is described as the Most High with one term, while the one like a son of man is described with another. And the term used to describe the one like a son of man as Most High is always used in the phrase ‘saints of the Most High’, apparently because the Psalm 8:5 son of man who receives dominion over the beasts, the Psalm 110:1 Lord of David who sits enthroned at Yahweh’s right hand, will be king over the saints, their representative who is somehow both identified with and distinguished from the Ancient of Days, even as he is both a descendant of David and a divine figure.” (James M. Hamilton Jr., With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology (New Studies in Biblical Studies) [IVP Academic, Downers Grove, IL 2014], pp. 151-153; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Hamilton’s concluding remarks are most pertinent to our discussion, and we therefore cite them in full:

“In this chapter I have argued that none of the other heavenly beings in Daniel can be confidently identified with the ‘one like a son of man’ in 7:13. Apart from such an identification, it is difficult to imagine Daniel intending his audience to understand that the figure he saw in that heavenly throne room scene in chapter 7 was the same figure who delivered his friends in the fiery furnace in chapter 3 or who appeared to him in chapter 10. Having examined the way that Daniel describes these other heavenly beings, the remarkable features of Daniel 7 present a figure both human and divine, identified with and distinguished from the Ancient of Days, who represents the saints as their king.

“In Daniel 7, Daniel recounts his vision of the way that the Ancient of Days will be enthroned once the four kingdoms have enjoyed their appointed time and season, a vision of the way that the Davidic king will defeat the little horn from the fourth kingdom and receive the everlasting kingdom with his saints (7:21-27). The one like a son of man is called Most High by using a different expression from the one used to designate the Ancient of Days as Most High. He is clearly the Davidic king, and he is clearly a participant in the heavenly scene, traveling as Yahweh does, on the clouds of heaven.

“This does not demand that Daniel understood the Trinity as that doctrine progressively came to be revealed. Everyone was surprised when Jesus began to exercise divine prerogatives. What Daniel saw and described, however, fits perfectly with what would later be revealed with greater clarity. The New Testament even speaks of Jesus as begotten of the Father (1 John 5:18; cf. John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9; cf. John 5:26), another concept that fits well with there being an Ancient of Days and ‘one like a son of man’ (cf. Caragounis 1986).” (Ibid., pp. 153-154; bold and underline emphasis ours)

So much for the objections of the Muhammadans.

In an upcoming article we are going to examine Daniel’s prophetic vision of the Son of Man in light of the claims of Islam in order to show how the prophet’s depiction of this truly astonishing figure ends up proving that Muhammad was a false prophet.

Related Articles

Daniel 7:13-14 and Christ’s Deity: Answering Ibn Anwar’s Eisegesis

Examining More of Abdullah Kunde’s Inconsistencies Pt. 2

The Deity of Christ in light of His Enthronement [Part 3]

Daniel’s Son of Man as the Messiah

The Old Testament on God becoming a Man

Jesus as the Divine Son – A Markan Perspective Pt. 2

The Son of Man Rides the Clouds Pt. 1b

Putting to Rest Some Typical Muhammadan Objections

Now begins https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/the-son-of-man-rides-the-clouds-pt-1/ our refutation to the Muslim objections to the Son of Man being an eternal divine Being who became incarnate in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ our.

Not A Symbol for the People But A Single Individual

A careful reading of the immediate context will show that the figure like a son of man is not a symbol or metaphor for the saints of God whom the prophet depicts as eventually possessing God’s indestructible kingdom. Rather, he is the King of the kingdom which the saints shall inherit. As such, the one like a son of man doesn’t symbolize the saints, but represents them as their head and ruler.

This brings us to our next point. The oldest Jewish interpretations of this passage saw the Son of Man not as a symbol, but as a preexistent, heavenly being and Israel’s Messiah. This is clearly demonstrated from the Jewish pseudepigraphal writings known as 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra, both of which identify the Son of Man as a heavenly messianic figure dwelling in God’s presence whom God shall reveal at the last day. As the liberal Biblical scholar John J. Collins explains:

“IV. Traditional Interpretations. The EARLIEST INTERPRETATIONS and adaptations of the ‘one like a human being,’ Jewish and Christian alike, assume that the phrase refers to an individual and IS NOT a symbol for a collective entity.263 In the Similitudes of Enoch (1En 46:1), the white-headed ‘head of days’ is accompanied by one ‘whose face had the appearance of a man, and his face [was] full of grace, like one of the holy angels.’ He is explicitly called ‘messiah,’ or anointed one, in 48:10; 52:4, and ‘his name was named’ before creation (48:3). In 4 Ezra 13 the man who rises from the sea and flies with the clouds of heaven is also a messianic figure, but like ‘that Son of Man’ in the Similitudes, he is a preexistent, supernatural figure (13:26; ‘This is he whom the Most High has been keeping for many ages’). The messianic interpretation prevails in rabbinic literature264 and remains the majority of opinion among the medieval Jewish commentators. The tradition is not entirely uniform. In some circles the two figures in Dan 7:9-14 were taken as two manifestations of God, apparently to the heretical view that they represented two powers in heaven. The collective interpretation is not clearly attested in Jewish circles until the Middle Ages… In summary, the traditional interpretations of the ‘one like a human being’ in the first millennium overwhelmingly favor the understanding of this figure as an individual, not as a collective symbol. The most usual identification was the messiah, but in the earliest adaptations of the vision (the Similitudes, 4 Ezra, the Gospels) the figure in question had a distinctly supernatural character.” (Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, by John J. Collins with an essay, “The Influence of Daniel on the New Testament,” by Adela Yarbro Collins, edited by Frank Moore Cross [Fortress Press, Minneapolis 1993], pp. 306-308; bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)

263… Montgomery (320), who argues for the collective interpretation, nonetheless writes, “It must be admitted that the earliest interpretation of ‘the Son of Man’ is Messianic.” See also Vermes, Jesus the Jew, 170-172; and the list of passages in H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch (Munich: Beck, 1922) 1.486.

  1. Undisputed examples include b. Sanh. 98a; Num. Rab. 13:14; ‘Aggadat Ber’esit 14:3; 23:1 (Casey, Son of Man, 80). It is probably implied in Akiba’s explanation of the plural “thrones” as one for God and one for David, which we noted at v. 9, above (so, e.g., Montgomery, 321). Casey (Son of Man, 87) points out that it is not a necessary inference in the case of Akiba, but his arguments do not lessen its probability… (Pp. 306-307; underline emphasis ours)

As Collins shows, there simply isn’t any early extant textual evidence which interprets the Son of Man as a mere symbol for the saints of the Most High. All the data that we have confirm that the Son of Man is an individual personality, one who has been dwelling in God’s very own presence even before the creation of the universe.

Here are a few other authorities which confirm that the Son was understood to be an individual, specifically the Messiah himself:

I saw in the night visions

Very probably the same night in which he had the dream and vision of the four beasts; but this that follows, being a new object presented, is introduced and prefaced after this manner; as well as, being something wonderful and worthy of attention, has a “behold” prefixed to it: and, behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven; not Judas Maccabaeus, as Porphyry; nor the Roman people, as Grotius; nor the people of Israel, as Aben Ezra; nor the people of the saints of the most High, as Cocceius; but the Messiah, as most Christian interpreters, AND EVEN THE JEWS THEMSELVES, both ANCIENT and modern, allow. In the ancient book of Zohar F21 it is said,

in the times of the Messiah, Israel shall be one people, to the Lord, and he shall make them one nation in the earth, and they shall rule above and below; as it is written, ‘behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven’; this is the King Messiah of whom it is written, ‘and in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven, set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed’ (Daniel 2:44)”

So in the Talmud F23 this prophecy is thus reconciled with another, concerning the Messiah, in (Zechariah 9:9), to what R. Alexander said, R. Joshua ben Levi objects what is written, and, behold, one like to the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven; and it is written, “poor, and riding upon an ass”: which is thus adjusted, “if they (the Israelites) are worthy, he (the Messiah) comes with the clouds of heaven; but if they are not worthy, he comes poor, and riding on an ass;” and so it is interpreted in their ancient Midrashes F24, or expositions, as well us in more modern ones: Jarchi on the text says, “he is the Messiah;” and so R. Saadiah Gaon and Jacchiades, this is Messiah our righteousness; and Aben Ezra observes, that this is the sense R. Jeshua gives, “that one like to the Son of man” is the Messiah; and he adds, it is right, only along with him must be joined the holy people, who are the Israelites: and, with the Jews, Anani, which signifies “clouds”, is the name of the Messiah, founded upon this text, in the Targum of (1 Chronicles 3:24) , where mention is made of the name of a person, Anani, it is added,

who is the Messiah that is to be revealed;”

so in an ancient book called Tanchuma F25, speaking of Zerubbabel, it is asked, from whence did he spring? it is answered from David, as it is said, (1 Chronicles 3:10) “and Solomon’s son was Rehoboam”; and so all in the line are mentioned unto Anani, (Daniel 7:24) and then it is asked, who is this Anani? this is the Messiah, as it is said, (Daniel 7:13):

FOOTNOTES:

F21 In Gen. fol. 85. 4. Ed. Sultzbac.
F23 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 1.
F24 Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 13. fol. 209. 4. Midrash Tillium apud Galatin. de Arcan. Cathol. ver. l. 10. c. 1.
F25 Apud Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 85. 2. (John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible; underlined italicized emphasis ours)

Whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him; the people of the saints of the most High, all shall be subject to them, all dominions, and the governors of them; or Christ the head of them, under and with whom they reign. So Saadiah F19 paraphrases it,

“the kingdom of the King Messiah is an everlasting kingdom, and his government is to generation and generation, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

This spiritual reign of Christ, which will take place in a more glorious manner at the destruction of antichrist, will continue until the Millennium, or the personal reign of Christ, begins; and after that will be the ultimate glory, in which Christ and his people will reign to all eternity.

FOOTNOTES:

F19 And R. Isaac in Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. p. 44. applies it to the Messiah. (Ibid.; underlined italicized emphasis ours)

And:

one like a man was coming: THAT IS THE KING MESSIAH.

and… up to the Ancient of Days: Who was sitting in judgment and judging the nations.

came: arrived, reached. (The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary; capital and underline emphasis ours)

and obey: They will obey HIS command to execute it. (Ibid.)

“I will now proceed to my exposition. 13 Behold my servant shall have understanding. From the prophet’s saying ‘understanding,’ it may be seen that all the lofty predicates which he assigns to him have their source in this attribute; in virtue of his comprehensive intelligence he will attain an elevation above that even of the most perfect men in the world. He shall be high and exalted, and lofty exceedingly. According to the Midrash of our Rabbis; he will be higher than Abraham, who was first of all a ‘high father,’ and afterwards a father of a multitude. He will be more exalted than Moses, who was ‘exalted’ above the exalted ones of Levi (cf. Num. iii. 32), who was a prophet such that ‘none arose like him in Israel,’ (Deut. xxxiv. 10), who ‘saved’ Israel ‘with a great salvation’ (cf. I Chron. xi. 14) when they came out of Egypt, and the report of whom spread into all places until ‘the dukes of Edom were confounded’ before him, and ‘trembling seized the mighty men of Moab, and all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away’ (Ex. xv. 15). But this one will be exalted far above Moses: for when he gathers together our scattered ones from the four corners of the earth, he will be exalted in the eyes of all the kings in the whole world, and all of them will serve him, and will exalt him above them, as Daniel prophesies concerning him, ‘All nations, peoples, and tongues shall serve him’ (Dan. vii. 14, 27). He will be loftier than Solomon, whose dignity was so lofty that he is said to have ‘sat on the throne of the Lord’ (I Chron. xxix. 23), and our Rabbis say that he was king over both the upper and the nether world. But the King Messiah, in his ALL-COMPREHENDING INTELLIGENCE, will be loftier than Solomon. Exceedingly above the ministering angels, because that same comprehensive intelligence will approach [God] more nearly than theirs. For it is an exceedingly high privilege, that one whose nature is compound and material should attain to a grade of intelligence more nearly Divine than that which belongs to the incorporeal; and so it is said of him that ‘his strength is greater than that of the ministering angels,’ because these have no impediment in the exercise of their intellect, whereas that which is compound is continually impeded in consequence of material element in its nature. Accordingly, the grade of his intelligence being such as this, he is said to be ‘lofty exceedingly,’ and his strength to be ‘greater than the angels.’… And when this ‘servant of the Lord’ is born, he will continue to be marked by the possession of intelligence enabling him to acquire from God what it is impossible for any to acquire until he reaches that height wither none of the sons of men, EXCEPT HIM, have ever ascended: from that day he will be counted with his people Israel, and will share their subjugation and distress; ‘in all their affliction’ (Is. lxiii. 9) he will be exceedingly afflicted; and because of their being outcasts and scattered to the ends of the world, his grief will be such that the colour of his countenance will be changed from that of a man, and pangs and sicknesses will seize him (for great grief, as physicians know, by producing melancholy, subjects a man to many diseases); and all the chastisements which come upon him in consequence of his grief will be for our sakes, and not from any deficiency or sin on his part which might bring punishment in his train, BECAUSE HE IS PERFECT, IN THE COMPLETENESS OF PERFECTION, as Isaiah says (xi. 2f.). Truly all his pains and sicknesses will be for us…” (R. Mosheh Kohen Ibn Crispin (14th century AD), as cited by Driver and Neubauer, The “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah, pp. 101-103; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Here is another quote that combines the prophecy of Daniel with Isaiah 42:1 and 52:13, along with a host of other OT references which are all interpreted in relation to the Messiah:

  1. I will declare of the decree of the Lord. He said unto me: ‘Thou art My son’ (Ps. 2:7): The children of Israel are declared to be sons in the decree of the Law, in the decree of the Prophets, and in the decree of the Writings: In the decree of the Law it is written Thus saith the Lord: Israel is My son, My first-born (Ex. 4:22). In the decree of the Prophets it is written Behold My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high (Isa. 52:13), and it is also written Behold My servant, whom I uphold: Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth (Isa. 42:1). In the decree of the Writings it is written, “Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Ps. 110:1), and it is also written I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the Ancient of days, and he was brought near before Him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him (Dan. 7:13, 14).

In another comment, the verse is read I will tell of the decree: The Lord said unto me: Thou art My son… Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession (Ps. 2:7, 8). R. Yudan said: All these goodly promises are in the decree of the King, the King of kings, who will fulfill them for the lord Messiah. (The Midrash on Psalms, William G. Braude (translator) [Yale University Press, New Haven 1959], Yale Judaica Series, Volume XIII, Leon Nemoy (editor), Book One, Psalm 2:9; bold emphasis ours)

Here we see the rabbis applying Psalms 2:7-8 and 110:1, along with Daniel 7:13-14, to the Messiah, much like the inspired authors of the NT do!

Note the following NT examples where Psalms 2 and 110 are specifically applied to Christ:

“While Jesus taught in the temple, He said, ‘How can the scribes say that Christ is the Son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.’” David himself calls Him “Lord.” How then is He his Son?’ And the large crowd heard him gladly.” Mark 12:35-37

“We preach to you good news: The promise which was made to the fathers, God has fulfilled to us, their children, raising Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.’” Acts 13:32-33

“He is the brightness of His glory, the express image of Himself, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. He was made so much better than the angels as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He at any time say: ‘You are My Son; today I have become Your Father’? Or again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’?… But to which of the angels did He at any time say: ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool’?” Hebrews 1:3-5, 13

With the foregoing in perspective we are now ready to proceed to the second part of our rebuttal https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/the-son-of-man-rides-the-clouds-pt-2a/.