In this segment (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/07/worshiping-god-alone-responding-to-a-muslim-objection/), I am going to address the other passages that are cited to undermine the Trinity.
Muslim polemicists quote the book of Revelation to show that Jesus shouldn’t be worshiped as God:
“Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’” Revelation 19:10
“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.’” Revelation 22:8-9
The angel secretly reprimands John on two separate occasions when the latter made the mistake of worshiping this heavenly envoy. God’s spiritual messenger emphatically states that he is nothing more than a servant like John and the rest of the prophets, and that worship is to be given to God alone.
This reluctance of receiving worship is seen in the lives of the apostles of the risen Christ:
“When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am just a man.’” Acts 10:25-26
“At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have become like men and have come down to us.’ And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.’” Acts 14:8-15
And here is what God did to a human ruler who allowed people to glorify him for being a god of sorts:
“Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with one accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king’s chamberlain, they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king’s country. On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. The people kept crying out, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 12:20-23
It is therefore absolutely correct that the inspired Scriptures emphatically affirm that God alone is to be worshiped.
And yet since Jesus is God in the flesh, who is essentially one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, it comes as no surprise that he receives the very worship that God alone is supposed to receive.
For instance, not only does Revelation ascribe a doxology to the risen Christ,
“and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6
It even depicts the entire creation offering to Jesus the exact same worship the Father receives:
“When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’ And EVERY CREATED THING which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, AND ALL THINGS IN THEM, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, AND TO THE LAMB, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures kept saying, ‘Amen.’ And the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:8-14
John literally exhausts the language in his portrayal of every created being in the entire creation worshiping the risen Lamb to the same extent and duration that God is worshiped. This shows that Christ is separate and distinct from the entire creation, and is therefore timeless and uncreated by nature. And since Jehovah alone is timeless and uncreated, Jesus must, therefore, be Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh.
This further helps us appreciate what John wrote in his Gospel with respect to Thomas’ confession upon seeing the risen Christ:
“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God (ho Kyrios mou kai ho Theos mou)!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’” John 20:27-29
To say that Thomas’ act of worship, and Jesus’ acceptance of it, are rather astonishing would be putting it rather mildly, since both the Holy Bible and Jewish sources attest that Jehovah is the only sovereign Lord God that a monotheistic Jew can ever confess and believe in!
Note, for instance, the following examples:
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God (ho Kyrios kai ho Theos hemon), to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” Revelation 4:11
“Wake up, and rise to my defense. Plead my case, O my Elohim and my Adonay. Judge me by your righteousness, O Yahweh my Elohim. Do not let them gloat over me.” Psalm 35:23-24 Names of God Bible (NOG)
“Awake, O Lord, and attend to my judgment, [even] to my cause, my God and my Lord (ho Theos mou kai ho Kyrios mou). Judge me, O Lord, according to your righteousness, O Lord my God (Kyrie ho Theos mou); and let them not rejoice against me.” Psalm 34:23-24 LXX
“Make his greatness known there, and exalt him in the presence of all the living; because he is our Lord and God (Kyrios hemon kai Theos), he is our Father for ever.” Tobit 13:4 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
“Pay attention to my cry for help, my Melek and my Elohim, because I pray only to you.” Psalm 5:2 NOG
“… my King, and my God (ho Basileus mou kai ho Theos mou)…” Psalm 5:3 LXX
“Yes, the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young, near your altars, Yahweh of Armies, my King, and my God (malki welohay).” Psalm 84:3 World English Bible (WEB)
“… O Lord of hosts my King, and my God (ho Basileus mou kai ho Theos mou).” Psalm 83:4 LXX
Hence, the only reason why Thomas’ worship of Jesus as his Lord and God could be appropriate is if Christ is Jehovah God in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit). There’s simply no way around this fact.
John also depicts Jesus being worshiped in the context of his healing a man born blind, something that had never been done by any person before:
“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.’ When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing… So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, ‘Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.’ He then answered, ‘Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ So they said to him, ‘What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?’ They reviled him and said, ‘You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.’ The man answered and said to them, ‘Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.’ They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?’ So they put him out. Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.’ And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him.” John 9:1-7, 24-38
According to the OT, it is Jehovah heals diseases such as blindness:
“The LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?’” Exodus 4:11
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;” Psalm 103:2-3
“Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah.” Isaiah 35:3-6
Once again, Jesus performs the deeds typically attributed to Jehovah and receives the worship due to Jehovah. The reason why is because Christ is the human enfleshment of Jehovah God Almighty.
To sum up my discussion:
- God alone is to be worshiped.
- Jesus receives the worship which is to be given to God alone.
- Jesus is, therefore, God Almighty in the flesh.
- At the same time, Jesus is not the Father or the Holy Spirit.
- Yet both the Father and the Holy Spirit are identified as God as well (Cf. Genesis 1:1-2; 2 Samuel 23:2-3; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30; 139:7-12; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Ephesians 4:6; Hebrews 9:14).
- Therefore, the God who alone is to be worshiped is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Unless stated otherwise, scriptural citations taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
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