Muslim polemicist Paul Bilal Williams never learns. In his jihad against the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ, Williams constantly posts articles, memes, lectures etc., by anti-Trinitarian heretics or Christ-denying rabbis, without thinking or caring about whether the objections raised by the enemies of the Gospel end up refuting his own beliefs as a Muslim.
Take, for instance, a recent meme he posted from leading unitarian heretic Anthony F. Buzzard who appeals to Mark 12:28-34, where the Lord quotes Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (known as the Shema), to show that Jesus wasn’t a Trinitarian https://bloggingtheology.net/2016/09/10/the-definition-of-god-given-by-jesus-in-mark-1229/.
Now doesn’t Williams know by now that both the context f Mark 12:28-34 and Buzzard’s beliefs prove that Muhammad was a false prophet (which he certainly was)? And wouldn’t this therefore behoove him to show some level of honesty and consistency by either rejecting Muhammad (which he should do so but for other reasons), or by refusing to post the views of individuals that contradict his own beliefs (as erroneous and false as they are)?
With that said, we are going to break down the immediate context of Mark 12:28-34 to show once again how the words of the Lord Jesus, and the views of Buzzard, end up exposing Muhammad as an antichrist.
The Sovereign Lord and Eternal King of all creation
Pay close attention to what our Lord actually does with the Shema:
“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’ And the scribe said to him, ‘You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to ask him any question. And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, ‘How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared, “The Lord said to MY Lord SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, till I put thy enemies under thy feet.” David himself CALLS HIM LORD; so how is he his son?’ And the great throng heard him gladly.” Mark 12:28-37
It is not a coincidence that Christ quotes the words of David in Psalm 110:1 immediately after reciting the confession that Israel’s God is the one Lord. It is obvious that Jesus was drawing attention to the fact that the Holy Spirit had already revealed to Israel through prophets such as David that the Messiah is part and parcel of this one Lord’s divine identity. The Holy Spirit had already made it known to the people of God that there are at least two distinct divine Persons who reign from heaven as the one Lord of all creation, namely, Yahweh and his Messiah.
However, for the Messiah to sit enthroned as Lord at Yahweh’s right hand, he must be God since this means he is ruling from God’s heavenly throne over all creation:
“You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)… And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:36, 42
“For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” Romans 14:9
In other words, to be seated alongside of God puts the Messiah on the divine throne in heaven,
“The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:19
A position which places the Lord Jesus far above every created being in existence:
“and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, FAR ABOVE ALL rule and authority and power and dominion, AND ABOVE EVER NAME that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:19-23
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22
As such, the Messiah Jesus has been exalted to the very status and authority of God himself:
110:1. This psalm begins with a conversation between the first and second members of the Godhead. THE LORD, God the Father, says to my Lord, God the Son, something remarkable. Jesus Christ, David’s Lord, is appointed to sit at God’s right hand, the place of HIGHEST AUTHORITY, PRIVILEGE, AND HONOR. WITH STATURE EQUAL TO GOD’S, the Son will share in the universal reign of the Father. Christ is presently seated until the future time when he returns to the earth as a conquering king. Ancient kings often depicted themselves as placing their feet on defeated enemies, signifying their dominance over them (Josh. 10:24). Christ’s enemies, will become his footstool, subjugated and subdued under him. (Steven J. Lawson, The Holman Old Testament Commentary: Psalms 76-150, Max Anders (general editor) [B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN 2006], p. 191; capital and underline emphasis ours)
And from that exalted status the Messiah receives/shall receive the exact same worship that God Almighty receives from every created being in existence:
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is ABOVE EVERY NAME, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; and they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ And I heard EVERY CREATURE creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, AND ALL THEREIN, saying, ‘To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:8-14
This leads me to my next point. As the Messiah who sits at God’s right hand,
“But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you will see the Son of man SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” Mark 14:61-62
Jesus is the Son of Man who comes with the clouds of heaven, the very Figure that the prophet Daniel saw being worshiped by all the nations as he reigns over them forever and ever:
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and GLORY and kingdom, that ALL peoples, nations, and languages should SERVE HIM; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14
Yet, as we already noted, this is a worship that Yahweh alone is supposed to receive,
“There is none like thee among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like thine. All the nations thou hast made shall come and bow down before thee, O Lord, and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great and doest wondrous things, thou alone art God.” Psalm 86:8-10
“By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.’” Isaiah 45:23
“From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the Lord.” Isaiah 66:23
Since his name alone is exalted, and he alone reigns over all creation as the Most High,
“Let them know that thou ALONE, whose name is the Lord, art the Most High over all the earth.” Psalm 83:18
“For thou, O LORD, art most high over all the earth; thou art exalted FAR ABOVE all gods.” Psalm 97:9
“Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name ALONE is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.” Psalm 148:13
“The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the pride of men shall be humbled; and the Lord ALONE will be exalted in that day… And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the pride of men shall be brought low; and the Lord ALONE will be exalted in that day.” Isaiah 2:11, 17
Which happens to be one of the characteristics that makes Yahweh utterly unique and incomparable:
“Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high,” Psalm 113:5
This is where both Buzzard’s and Williams’ problems begin. As we indicated, the only way that Christ could reign on God’s throne over all creation, possess the very name that is above every name, and receive the exact same worship that God alone is supposed to receive, is if he is God Almighty in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).
God’s One-Of-A-Kind Son and Beloved Heir
Williams’ groans are far from over. In the very same context where Christ mentions the Shema, the Lord spoke a parable against the Jewish ruling authorities, which further confirms that Jesus was perfectly aware of his own divine identity and the unique status he possessed:
“And he began to speak to them in parables. ‘A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed. He had still one other, A BELOVED SON; finally he sent him to them, saying, “They will respect MY SON.” But those tenants said to one another, “THIS IS THE HEIR; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture: “The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’ And they tried to arrest him, but feared the multitude, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them; so they left him and went away.” Mark 12:1-11
In the parable, the tenants represent Israel’s rulers, with the servants representing God’s inspired prophets:
“From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day;” Jeremiah 7:25; 26:5; 29:19; 44:4
“The nations raged, but thy wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, for rewarding thy servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear thy name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”” Revelation 11:18
The Owner’s beloved Son and Heir whom the tenants end up killing is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus instead of placing himself among the prophets as a mere servant, the Lord claims to be much more than a prophet and greater than all of God’s servants, since he is God’s beloved Son and the Heir to whom belongs the entire creation of God:
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” Matthew 28:18
“All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Luke 10:22
“the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.” John 3:35
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,” John 13:3
“All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:15
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him… all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.’” John 17:1-2, 10
“In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Hebrews 1:1-3
And as the Heir, God’s servants are his servants since he rules over all of them as God’s one-of-a-kind Son:
“Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. (For every house is built by some one, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful IN all God’s house AS A SERVANT, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful OVER God’s house AS A SON. And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.” Hebrews 3:3-6
This explains why we find all throughout the inspired NT writings Jesus’ followers identifying themselves as the bond-servants of both God and the risen Lord. Note, for instance, the following examples:
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (theou kai kyriou ‘Iesou Christou), To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.” James 1:1
“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:” Jude 1:1
What makes the example of James rather astonishing is that, besides being the half-brother of Christ, he identifies himself as the servant of BOTH God AND the Lord Jesus! In fact, he even employs Greek construction which may even suggest that he was actually addressing his brother as both God and Lord!
Lord and God. In this first verse James describes himself as a “servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is an odd construction, found only here in the New Testament. Nor is it as clear as it might first appear. Some commentators have offered the following reading: “Servant of Jesus Christ, who is Lord and God.” This is an interesting hypothesis, one supported by a variety of admittedly tenuous points. Divine titles are linked elsewhere in James (1:27; 3:9). Moreover, this construction in Latin (dominus et deus) was accepted by Emperor Domitian (AD 81-96), a development even the Romans found both extraordinary and unsettling. They were used to granting divine status only upon the death of the emperor.21 Domitian was no friend to the Christians, as he allowed fierce persecution of the early church. In Christian tradition he stands with Nero as a type of the anti-Christ, and seems to be so held in the view of the writer of Revelation. Certainly his apparent claim to divine status reminded readers of the “man of lawlessness” in 2 Thessalonians 2.
The apotheosis (elevation to divine status) of the state in the person of the emperor disturbed both Jews and Christians, who together believed that only God deserved such unwavering loyalty. Both were labeled “atheists” by the Romans because they believed in only one God, not the many of the Mediterranean paganism. Perhaps James used this formula to designate the one who truly is Lord and God.
Against this position, many hold that the theology of James is too simple to have written as late as the reign of Domitian.22 In any event it is still possible that James used this construction as a way of countering the claims of the Roman state. In sum, while “Jesus Christ, who is Lord and God” is a grammatical possibility, it is less likely than the traditional reading.
James’ intent here is most likely the same as in Titus 1:1–to demonstrate that loyalty to Jesus does not undermine loyalty to God; that, in fact, they are one and the same. Balancing the divinity of Jesus Christ with monotheism was no small problem for early Christianity, and the formula James uses constitutes a portion of his answer to this dilemma. (David P. Nystrom, James: The NIV Application Commentary, Terry Muck (general editor) [Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 1997], pp. 37-38)
- This idea, that greater theological complexity necessarily goes hand in hand with chronological development, has attained the status of a nearly unquestioned axiom in New Testament studies. It is also a fallacy, as G. B. Caird pointed out (“The Development of the Doctrine of Christ in the New Testament,” Christ For Us Today, ed. N. Pittenger [London: SCM, 1968], 66-80.). The Christology of Mark, for example, is “higher” (or more “divine” and less “human”) than that of Luke, even though nearly all agree that Luke wrote later than Mark. (Ibid., p. 37)
Either way, what James says about his half-brother is simply astounding since he places the risen Lord on equal stature with God the Father:
By calling himself a bondservant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, James correctly puts God and the Lord Jesus on the same level as equals. He honors the Son just as he honors the Father (John 5:23). James knew that “no man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). Yet he spoke of himself as a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus. There is no contradiction here because God the Father and God the Son are equal. (William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, edited by Art Farstad [Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN 1995], p. 2217)
That’s not all. James even went as far as to describe Christ as the visible manifestation and presence of God Almighty himself:
“My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” James 2:1
The following NT scholars explain the significance of this passage:
First, Jesus is the object of our faith. We have made a trust or commitment to him. We are believers in Jesus.
Second, Jesus is the Lord of Glory. The Greek literally reads, “our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Glory.” James gives the title of “Glory” to Jesus, using a term that represents the full presentation of God’s presence and majesty. Jesus is the glorious God. This is a remarkable confession to come from Jesus’ half brother. (Holman New Testament Commentary: Hebrews and James, Thomas Lea (author), Max Anders (general editor) [B & H Publishers, Nashville TN 1999], p. 280; underline emphasis ours)
The genitive phrase tes doxes (“our glory/glorious”) poses an interesting problem. The structure is marked by an unwieldy series of genitives. The phrase may be translated “faith in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ,” “faith in our Lord of glory, Jesus Christ” (so the KJV and ASV), “faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Glory”6; the interesting suggestion of Adamson, “faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Glory”7; or the simplest solution, “faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” The NIV prudently has chosen this last option. In any event it seems clear that in this rare case of Christology in the book of James, Jesus Christ is identified with the Shekinah, the visible manifestation of the divine. James believed that in Jesus God is revealed.
Furthermore, Jesus is the object of faith. There is clearly more than a message gospel here, for Jesus Christ, the very manifestation of God’s glory, chose to identify with the poor and the outcasts…
- This position is championed by Sophia Laws, The Epistle of James, 95-97, who argues, QUITE RIGHTLY, that the intent of James is to show that Jesus is A THEOPHANY, “a manifestation of the presence of God.”
- Adamson, The Epistle of James, 102-4. Adamson’s argument is impressive, and his solution ought to be considered. (The NIV Application Commentary, pp. 114-115; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
With the foregoing in view, could the Lord Jesus and his blessed followers have been any clearer regarding Christ’s essential coequality with God the Father?
Muhammadans and Unitarian Heretics Have a Dilemma!
Both Buzzard and Williams are confronted with an insurmountable problem. Buzzard’s position essentially means that God conferred upon a mere finite creature the very status, worship and sovereignty that the Holy Bible emphatically goes out if its way to attribute to God alone. As such, Buzzard would have us believe that God himself is commanding his creation to basically commit idolatry by having them reverence a finite human being as God.
Not only do Buzzard’s views of Jesus conflict with God’s Word, the Holy Bible, they also contradict the message of the Quran, since Williams’ scripture explicitly states that Allah does not have a son nor does he allow his followers to serve and worship anyone, even if s/he happens to be an angel or prophet, as Lord alongside him.
It belongs not to any mortal that God should give him the Book, the Judgment, the Prophethood, then he should say to men, ‘Be you servants to me apart from God.’ Rather, ‘Be you masters in that you know the Book, and in that you study.’ He would never order you to take the angels and the Prophets as Lords; what, would He order you to disbelieve, after you have surrendered? S. 3:79-80 Arberry
And say: Praise be to Allah, Who hath not taken unto Himself a son, and Who hath no partner in the Sovereignty, nor hath He any protecting friend through dependence. And magnify Him with all magnificence. S. 17:111 Pickthall
He unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, He hath chosen no son nor hath He any partner in the Sovereignty. He hath created everything and hath meted out for it a measure. S. 25:2 Pickthall
Therefore, if Buzzard is correct then this means that Muhammad was wrong, in fact a false prophet (which he surely was), since William’s apostle rejected the notion of Jesus being God’s unique Son that shares in God’s rule as the sovereign Lord over all creation, and who is supposed to receive the worship that God receives from his subjects:
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
Buzzard’s beliefs pretty much condemn Muhammad as an antichrist:
“Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23
In light of this, perhaps Williams will now learn his lesson and think twice before posting the claims and objections of anti-Trinitarians like Buzzard, seeing how the beliefs of such heretics end up backfiring against him by exposing Muhammad as a false prophet. But then again, perhaps not since Williams has never been known for being consistent.
All Scriptural citations taken from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Holy Bible.