REFUTING ANOTHER MUHAMMADAN OBJECTION
Muslim polemicists such as Hamza Abdul Malik appeal to the following passage to refute the Christian belief that Jesus is the Lord God Almighty who became man:
“And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord (to Kyrio); (as it is written in the law of the Lord (Kyriou), Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord (Kyriou), A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons… And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord (Kyriou), they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.” Luke 2:22-24, 39
The Muslims reason that, since Jesus was taken to the Temple for the purpose of being presented to the Lord, he cannot then be that self-same Lord. Otherwise, Christians would need to believe that Jesus was being presented to himself!
Rather, this proves that Jesus is the Lord’s Christ, the One whom the Lord anointed to be his messenger to the people:
“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (ton Christon Kyriou).And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, 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, according to thy word: 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.” Luke 2:25-32
There are a few problems with this argument.
First, the Bible itself shows that a name can be shared by more than one individual or person:
“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called THEIR NAME Adam, in the day when they were created.” Genesis 5:1-2
Here we have both the male and female being named Adam, even though elsewhere in Genesis the female is named Eve and is said to be the wife of Adam:
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.” Genesis 4:1
Note how the woman Eve was Adam and also married to Adam the man. In other words, Adam was with Adam, and Adam was married to Adam!
We thus have a clearcut example of two distinct human persons, of different genders, sharing the same name, in order to highlight their possessing a common essence and nature.
In a similar manner, Jesus can be the Lord who was presented to the Lord without this implying he was being presented to himself.
This leads me to my next point. The Lord before him Christ was presented would be his Father, namely, God the Father. This is readily seen from the following Lukan passages:
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord (ho Kyrios) is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord (Kyriou); be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 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 business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.” Luke 2:41-50
Therefore, there is no problem with Jesus being both the Lord and presented to the Lord, since the Holy Bible reveals that the one true Lord of all creation is not a singular Person, but a singular infinite Being who is multi-personal by nature.
Finally and most importantly, the very same book of Luke identifies Jesus as Lord, in fact THE Lord, being the Lord of the prophets such as David and John the Baptist:
“And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of MY Lord (tou Kyriou mou) should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord (Kyriou).” Luke 1:39-45
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord (Kyriou) came upon them, and the glory of the Lord (Kyriou) shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Kyrios). And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord (ho Kyrios) hath made known unto us.” Luke 2:8-15
“And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David’s son?And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord (Kyrios) said unto my Lord (to Kyrio mou), Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.David therefore calleth him Lord (Kyrion), how is he then his son?” Luke 20:41-44
Both the Lord Jesus and his inspired emissaries interpreted David’s confession to mean that he was enabled by the Holy Spirit to see in advance Jesus’ physical resurrection and ascension into heaven to reign alongside of the Father as the Lord of all creation!
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:29-36
“The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)” Acts 10:36
“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Romans 14:9
The Holy Bible testifies that ever since his physical ascension and heavenly enthronement, Jesus possesses an everlasting kingdom that will never be destroyed or replaced:
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ (tou Kyriou Iesou Christou), who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom… henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love HIS appearing… At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord (ho Kyrios) stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto HIS heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 16-18
“for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord (tou Kyriou) and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord (tou Kyriou) and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
What makes this so remarkable, in fact astonishing, is that the inspired Scriptures explicitly proclaim that there is no other Lord who reigns on high from heaven, and whom believers are to look to and depend on, besides Jehovah God:
“A Song of degrees. Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters (Gr. ton kyrion auton), and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress (tes kyrias autes); so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God (Gr. Kyrion ton Theon hemon), until that he have mercy upon us.” Psalm 123:1-2
“Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high,” Psalm 113:5
This is because the kingdom of the heavens belongs to Jehovah alone, who is the only heavenly Ruler that reigns forever and ever:
“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” Psalm 115:16
“Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” Psalm 145:13
“Thou, O Lord, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.” Lamentations 5:19
Christ himself taught that a person cannot have and serve more than one lord, since a person is not able to love multiple lords equally:
“No man can serve two masters (kyriois): for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24
And yet both God and Christ reign from heaven as the one true Lord of all creation!
Even more astonishing, the NT further describes Jesus as the only sovereign Ruler who alone possesses immortality and reigns as King over all other kings, being the one supreme Lord over all other lords:
“that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in HIS times HE shall shew, WHO is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; WHO only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to WHOM be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:14-16
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:14– Cf. Rev. 19:11-16
The reason why this is remarkable is that the Hebrew Bible teaches that it is Jehovah that rules as the Lord of lords and King of kings!
“For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:” Deuteronomy 10:17
“O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:3
“The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.” Daniel 2:47
Hence, for Jesus to be the King of all kings and Lord of all lords who reigns from heaven itself, he must be Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).
This helps us appreciate why Luke and the other inspired writers describe John the Baptist as the envoy whom the prophet Isaiah predicted would be sent into the wilderness to prepare the people for the coming of Jehovah God Almighty,
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord (YHVH), make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord (YHVH) shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord (YHVH) hath spoken it.” Isaiah 40:3-5
“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judæa, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituræa and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:1-6 – Mark 1:1-4; Matthew 3:1-3
“And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” John 1:19-23
Even though we are told that the One whom the Baptist came to herald was actually Jesus Christ:
“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable… Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 – Mark 1:7-11; Matthew 3:11-17
“Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” Acts 19:4
“John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; he it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” John 1:26-36
I.e., Jesus is Jehovah Almighty who became flesh, the very God of Israel whom Isaiah foresaw would come to reveal his glory to mankind. And yet at the same time, Christ is distinguished from the God whose beloved Son he happens to be!
This further explains why the Son is described as that very same Jehovah God,
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” Joel 2:32
“I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isaiah 45:23
Whom every individual must confess and call upon to be saved, and before Whom every creature shall bow and worship as Lord:
“that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
Jesus is further said to be the one Lord who existed along with the one God, namely his Father, prior to the creation of all things:
“but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ (heis Kyrios Iesou Christou), by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1 Corinthians 8:6
“one Lord (heis Kyrios), one faith, one baptism,” Ephesians 4:5
This once again confirms that Christ is Jehovah God Incarnate since the Scriptures emphatically teach that Jehovah is the only Lord who brought all creation into being:
“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord (Kyrios heis estin):” Mark 12:29
“Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.” Nehemiah 9:6
“Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE; that spreadeth abroad the earth BY MYSELF;” Isaiah 44:24
Hence, the only way that Paul and the early Christian community could ever confess that Jesus is the one Lord who existed with the Father from before creation, and whom the Father appointed to create all things, is if the first Christians believed that both the Father and his beloved Son eternally exist as the only true God Jehovah!
In this regard, Christ’s true followers were simply being faithful to the OT scriptures which affirm that Jehovah is not a singular Person, but a multi-Personal Being, as can be seen from the following text:
“Then the Lord (YHVH) rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord (YHVH) out of heaven;” Genesis 19:24
“And the Lord (Kyrios) rained on Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord (Kyriou) out of heaven.” LXX
Jehovah on earth rained down brimstone and fire from the Jehovah who was in the heavens!
And here is another interesting example taken from the Deuterocanonical writings:
“My soul shall praise the Lord even to death. And my life was drawing near to hell beneath. They compassed me on every side, and there was no one that would help me. I looked for the succour of men, and there was none. I remembered thy mercy, O Lord, and thy works, which are from the beginning of the world. How thou deliverest them that wait for thee, O Lord, and savest them out of the hands of the nations. Thou hast exalted my dwelling place upon the earth and I have prayed for death to pass away. I called upon the Lord, the father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud without help. I will praise thy name continually, and will praise it with thanksgiving, and my prayer was heard. And thou hast saved me from destruction, and hast delivered me from the evil time. Therefore I will give thanks, and praise thee, and bless the name of the Lord.” Sirach 51:8-17 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
Note the particular verse in question as I cite it from both the Latin (Vulgate) and Greek (Septuagint [LXX]) versions:
I called upon the Lord, the father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud without help.
Invocavi Dominum patrem Domini mei, ut non derelinquat me in die tribulationis meae, et in tempore superborum, sine adjutorio. Douay-Rheims + Latin Vulgate (DR + LV)
“I appealed to the Lord, the Father of my lord (epekalesamen Kyrion patera Kyriou mou), not to forsake me in the days of affliction, at the time when there is no help against the proud.” Sirach 51:10 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
“I called to help the Lord, (the) father of my Lord (or the Father of my Lord), that he forsake not me in the day of my tribulation, and forsake not me without help, in the time of them that be proud. [I inwardly called the Lord, father of my Lord, that he forsake not me in the day of my tribulation, and in time of proud men, without help.]” Wycliffe Bible (WYC)
Ben Sirach prays to the Lord, who is the Father of his Lord.
Since the act of calling upon someone in heaven is clearly an act of worship directed to Jehovah alone, the Lord here must be Jehovah. And since Jehovah is the only Lord that an Israelite or Jew can confess, this means that the Son of the Lord must be Jehovah as well.
We, thus, have pre-Christian texts showing how even the Jews were aware that Jehovah is a multi-Personal Being who exists as both Father and Son.
No wonder the book of Proverbs could ask:
“I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy (qadoshim – lit. “holies/holy ones”). Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” Proverbs 30:3-4
The inspired writer knew that God has a Son who is an incomprehensible Being that does what only God can do.
According to the NT that incomprehensible Son became Man, and his name is Jesus Christ:
“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” Luke 10:21-22
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41
“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” John 3:13
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” Ephesians 4:7-10
Hence, God’s only inspired Scriptures emphatically proclaim that Jesus is the Lord Jehovah and the Son of the Lord Jehovah.
In other words, it’s not an either/or situation but rather a both/and reality. I.e., Christ is the Lord who was presented before the Lord his Father.
Unless indicated otherwise, scriptural references taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV).
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Thank you Sam for all your work.