Bart D. Ehrman Proves Muhammad is a false prophet Pt. 3a

In this installment of our series, we are going to quote from Ehrman’s book “How Jesus Became God,” to see what he says about worship. From where we will take a look at what the New Testament teaches concerning the worship given to Christ, and show this again ends up proving that Muhammad was an antichrist.

Ehrman claims that the very essence of the Law that God gave to his people Israel was to worship Yahweh God alone, and that the Hebrew Bible foretold the time when the whole earth would worship no other god besides the one true God of Israel:

“… At the heart of the Jewish law was the commandment to worship the God of Israel ALONE…” (Ehrman, 2. Divine Humans in Ancient Judaism, p. 51; bold and capital emphasis ours)

“…The book of Isaiah, for example, is emphatic in its monotheistic assertions… Isaiah is here expressing a view that became important later in the history of Judaism. Not only is God the only God there is, but eventually everyone will realize it. All the peoples of earth will, in the future, bow down in worship before him ALONE and confess his name.” (Ibid., p. 52; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Ehrman carefully distinguishes this from monotheism, stating that one could worship Yahweh alone while still acknowledging the existence of other lesser divine beings:

“… I need to make two general points about Jewish monotheism. The first is that not every ancient Israelite held a monotheistic view–the idea that there is only one God. Evidence for this can be seen already in the verse I quoted from the Torah above, the beginning of the Ten Commandments. Note how the commandment is worded. It does not say, ‘You shall believe that there is only one God.’ It says, ‘You shall have no other gods before me.’ This commandment, as stated, presupposes that there are other gods. But none of them is to be worshiped ahead of, instead of, the God of Israel. As it came to be interpreted, the commandment also meant that none of these other gods was to be worshiped alongside of or even after the God of Israel. But that does not mean other gods don’t exist. They simply are not to be worshiped.

“This is a view that scholars called henotheism, in distinction from the view I have thus far been calling monotheism. Monotheism is the view that there is, in fact, only one God. Henotheism is the view that there are other gods, but there is only one God who is to be worshiped. The Ten Commandments express a henotheistic view, as does the majority of the Hebrew Bible. The book of Isaiah, with its insistence that ‘I am alone am God, there is no other,’ is monotheistic. It represents the minority view in the Hebrew Bible.

“By the time of Jesus, many, possibly most, Jews had moved into monotheistic camp. But doesn’t that view preclude the possibility of other divine beings in the divine realm? As it turns out–this is my second point– that is not the case either…” (Ibid., p. 53; bold emphasis ours)

Ehrman mentions certain Jews that saw no problem with worshiping or venerating some of these other divine beings such as the angels, as long as one maintained that Yahweh alone is supreme over all the rest and unrivaled in his majesty, glory and essence:

“… And some, possibly most, Jews insisted that this one God ALONE was to be worshiped. But there were other Jews whom we know about who thought it was altogether acceptable and right to worship other divine beings such as the great angels. Just as it is right to bow down before a great king in obeisance to him, they believed it is right to bow down before an even greater being, an angel, to do obeisance.” (Ibid., p. 54; bold, capital and italicized emphasis ours)

“… Ancient authors insisted that angels not be worshiped precisely because angels were being worshiped. Even those who were worshiping angels may have thought that doing so was not a violation of the Ten Commandments: God was the ultimate source of all that was divine. But there were lower divinities as well. Even within monotheistic Judaism.” (Ibid., p. 55; bold emphasis ours)

The only problem with Erhman’s position is that it doesn’t matter whether some Jews were in the habit of venerating angelic creatures along with Yahweh, since what matters is the teaching of the Hebrew Scriptures in regards to such worship. And as Ehrman admits, the OT writings are emphatically clear that Israel was to worship and venerate Yahweh alone:

“(for you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God).” Exodus 34:14

“The Lord had made a covenant with them and commanded them, ‘You shall not worship other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, but you shall worship the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm; you shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to observe. You shall not worship other gods; you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not worship other gods, but you shall worship the Lord your God; he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” 2 Kings 17:35-39

The inspired Christian Scriptures concur, teaching that angels are servants sent to minister to God’s people and therefore should never be worshiped:

“Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking,” Colossians 2:18

“Of the angels he says, ‘He makes his ANGELS winds, and his SERVANTS flames of fire.’…  Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent TO SERVE for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:7, 14

“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’ Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am A FELLOW SERVANT with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’” Revelation 19:9-10

“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am I am A FELLOW SERVANT with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’” Revelation 22:8-9

It is therefore clear that Yahweh God alone is to be worshiped, a fact that even Ehrman admits.

With the foregoing in view we are now ready to proceed to the second part of our installment to see what the NT has to say concerning the worship, which Jesus receives.


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