Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Revisiting the Deity of Christ and Islam

A further examination of NT Christology in relation to Islamic monotheism

Sam Shamoun

Muslims believe that the very essence and foundation of Islam is the doctrine of Tauhid, or the absolute unity of Allah. Over the centuries Islamic theologians have affirmed that Allah is not only absolutely one in being but also in person (even though they may not like or use the term person). They have further warned against ascribing partners with Allah, e.g. believing that there are multiple gods or coequal Persons within the one eternal Being of God, since the Quran testifies that God is one and emphatically warns that to ascribe partners with him is to commit the unpardonable sin:

Allah forgives not that aught should be with him associated; less than that he forgives to whomsoever he will. Whoso associates with Allah anything, has indeed forged a mighty sin. S. 4:48; cf. 4:116

They are unbelievers who say, “Allah 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. S. 5:73

Say: “Allah is witness between me and you, and this Quran has been revealed to me that I may warn you thereby, and whomsoever it may reach. Do you indeed testify that there are other gods with Allah?” Say: “I do not testify.” Say: “He is only one God, and I am quit of that you associate.” S. 6:19

Moreover, certain Muslim scholars (specifically those belonging to the wahhabi/salafi sect of Sunni Islam) have taken the concept of Tauhid and broken it down into three major categories. They are:

Tauhid ar-Rububiyyah (Unity of Lordship).

The belief that Allah alone caused all things to exist, and that he sustains and maintains creation without any need from it or for it. This also entails believing that Allah is the sole sovereign Lord of the universe who does not share his rule with anyone.

The following Quranic verses express this view quite clearly:

To Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth; And Allah hath power over all things. S. 3:189

Verily, your Lord is Allah who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then he seated himself on the Throne; he governs everything. There is no intercessors with him save after his permission. This is Allah, your Lord, so worship him. Will you not, then, mind? S. 10:3

Say: “Allah knows best how long they stayed. With Him is (the knowledge of) the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How clearly He sees, and hears (everything)! They have no Wali (Helper, Disposer of affairs, Protector, etc.) other than Him, and He makes NONE to share in His Decision and His Rule.” S. 18:26 Hilali-Khan

Allah it is Who created the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, in six Days. THEN he mounted the Throne. Ye have not, beside him, a protecting friend or mediator. Will ye not then remember? S. 32:4

According to the supposed sound narrations Allah hates the title “King of kings” since he alone is king:

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: The vilest name in Allah's sight is Malik al-Amlak (King of Kings). The narration transmitted on the authority of Shaiba (contains these words): There is no king but Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. Sufyan said: Similarly, the word Shahinshah (is also the vilest appellation). Ahmad b. Hanbal said: I asked Abu ‘Amr about the meaning of Akhna. He said: The vilest. (Sahih Muslim, Book 025, Number 5338

Abu Huraira reported from Allah’s Messenger so many ahadith and one of them was this that Allah's Messenger said: The most wretched person in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection and the worst person and target of His wrath would of the person who is called Malik al-Amlak (the King of Kings) for there is no king but Allah. (Sahih Muslim, Book 025, Number 5339)

The Muslim scripture further testifies that Allah will come on his throne, with eight angels carrying it, to judge the nations: 

So, when the Trumpet is blown with a single blast and the earth and the mountains are lifted up and crushed with a single blow, then, on that day, the Terror shall come to pass, and heaven shall be split, for upon that day it shall be very frail, and the angels shall stand upon its borders, and upon that day eight shall carry above them the Throne of thy Lord. S. 69:13-17

2. Tauhid al-Asma was-Sifaat (Unity of Allah's Names and Attributes).

In this particular subset a true Muslim can never ascribe the exclusive names and attributes of Allah to any man or creature, no matter how exalted. This necessitates that Allah’s names in their definite form should never be attributed to any creature, i.e. no person can be called AR-Rahman (THE Merciful) unless preceded by the prefix 'abd, e.g. abdur-Rahman (“slave/servant of THE Merciful”).

3. Tauhid al-'Ibaadah/Uluhiyyah (Unity of Allah's Worship).

According to this specific category, all forms of worship must be directed only to Allah because he alone deserves to be worshiped since he alone grants benefit to man as a result of his worship. Furthermore, this specific category rules out the need for any form of intercessor or intermediary between Allah and man. Here are some supporting verses from the Quran:

Say (O Muhammad): “Verily, my prayer (salatee), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” S. 6:162 

And We sent never a Messenger before thee except that We revealed to him, saying, “There is no god but I; so serve (fa‘budun) Me.” S. 21:25

Behold, the apostles came to them, from before them and behind them, (preaching): “Serve (ta‘buduu) none but Allah.” They said, “If our Lord had so pleased, He would certainly have sent down angels (to preach). Now we reject your mission (altogether).” S. 41:14 

And who is more astray than one who calls (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them? S. 46:5 Hilali-Khan

And that the mosques (al-masajida) are Allah's, therefore call not upon any one with Allah: S. 72:18

Jesus and his followers were Muslims

The Islamic scripture asserts that Christ’s followers were Muslims:

When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims. S. 3:52 

“And behold! I inspired the disciples to have faith in Me and Mine Apostle: they said, ‘We have faith, and do thou bear witness that we bow to Allah as Muslims’”. S. 5:111

It also claims that Jesus taught the Israelites to worship or serve Allah:

They do blaspheme who say: ‘Allah is Christ the son of Mary.’ But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! Worship/serve Allah (oabudoo Allaha), my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah, - Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. S. 5:72

If this is correct then Christ and his Apostles must have held to a similar view of monotheism, namely, belief in and affirmation of unitarianism. Therefore, we would expect to find within all the earliest Christian writings which we possess the teaching that God is both one in Being and Person and that he alone is the sovereign Lord of creation who is to be worshiped. We would not find any of them teaching that Christ also shares in God’s unique sovereign rule and worship since Islam teaches that Jesus as the Messiah is no more than a mighty human messenger and prophet of Allah.

With this in the background we will examine the NT documents in order to see what the first Christian communities taught concerning God and Christ. 

The Message of Jesus and his Apostles

Since we have already analyzed the claims of Christ in light of the second category of Tauhid in the following articles and rebuttals:

We will focus our attention on the first and third subsets of the Islamic concept of monotheism. We will be examining the statements of both Jesus and his followers in light of these two classifications of Tauhid to see whether Christ and his disciples were Muslims who held to the same view of God that Muslims eventually came to embrace and believe in.

Tauhid ar-Rububiyyah

The Lord Jesus taught that he had been given all authority over the entire creation:

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” Matthew 28:18 

Christ further claimed to be the Son of Man who rides the clouds and David’s Lord who sits enthroned at God’s right hand:

“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 your enemies under your feet.” David himself calls him Lord; so how is he his son?" And the great throng heard him gladly.’” Mark 12:35-37 

“… 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.’ And the high priest tore his garments, and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?’ And they all condemned him as deserving death.” Mark 14:61b-64

Christ is identifying himself as the Lord referred to in Psalm 110:1:

“The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.’”

And the Son of Man whom the prophet Daniel saw in a vision from God: 

“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 worship/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

By claiming to be both David’s Lord and the Son of Man of Daniel’s prophetic vision Jesus was basically proclaiming himself to be a fully Divine Being who appears as a man and who shall be worshiped and served by every creature as he rules over the creation forever from God’s very own heavenly throne room.

In fact, Jesus often identified himself as this specific Son of Man, especially in contexts where he spoke of coming to judge the nations, sitting on a glorious throne, commanding angels, and gathering his elect followers:

“Another parable he put before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in HIS field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.’ … He answered, ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send HIS angels, and they will gather out of HIS kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.’” Matthew 13:24-25, 37-43 

In this parable Jesus is the Owner of the field, with the field being the world. Thus, Christ believed that the entire world belonged to him, even though the Hebrew Bible says it actually belongs to Yahweh!

The earth is the LORD's and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.” Psalm 24:1-2

Other Son of Man texts include:

“For the Son of Man is to come with HIS angels in the glory of HIS Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.” Matthew 16:27

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on HIS glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of MY Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ … Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” Matthew 25:31-34

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out HIS angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather HIS elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31 – cf. Mark 13:26-27 

“While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’” Luke 22:47-48 

Even his own followers referred to him as this Divine Son of Man:  

“But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” Acts 7:55-56


“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast; his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’” Revelation 1:12-18


“Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat upon the cloud, ‘Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.’ So he who sat upon the cloud swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.” Revelation 14:14-16

We will have more to say concerning Jesus being worshiped as this Divine Son of Man in the next section.

The disciples also proclaimed that the risen Christ is the Lord of Psalm 110:1 and would often quote or allude to this particular reference to describe his heavenly enthronement:

“Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies a stool for your feet.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Acts 2:29-36

“But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’” Acts 5:29-32

“Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ‘For God has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says, ‘All things are put in subjection under him,’ it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one.” 1 Corinthians 15:24-28

“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 every 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

“When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… But to what angel has he ever said, ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies a stool for your feet’?” Hebrews 1:3b, 13

“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord.” Hebrews 8:1-2

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.” Hebrews 10:12-13

“looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Jesus’ followers further taught that Christ’s kingdom is eternal and that he is the sovereign Lord and Judge of all who will repay everyone for what they have done:

“And Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses to all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest; not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 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. To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’” Acts 10:34-43 

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31

“If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” Romans 14:8-9 

“I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men; but what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.” 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

“But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’” Hebrews 1:8-9

“so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11 

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.’” Revelation 11:15 

Jesus himself stated that he would return to personally repay everyone according to his/her works: 

“And to the angel of the church in Thyati'ra write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first… And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.’” Revelation 2:18-19, 23b 

“‘Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done.’ … He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:12, 20

The disciples of the risen Lord even believed that both God and Christ share the same eternal kingdom and that both of them rule from the same Divine throne: 

“Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Ephesians 5:5

“Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the THRONE of God AND OF the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There shall no more be anything accursed, but the THRONE of God AND OF the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him;” Revelation 22:1-3

Once again, Christ himself personally taught and believed the same:

“He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on MY throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with MY Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:21

As if it couldn't get any more astonishing Christ is even called the King of kings, the very title that Allah hates!

"They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings — and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers." Revelation 17:14
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Revelation 19:11-16

Muslims may argue that some of these texts specifically say that Jesus received authority to reign as the risen Lord of all creation and that he was given the kingdom by God (the Father), which therefore refutes the assertion that he is God. This is simply a non sequitur and irrelevant since the fact remains that Jesus still shares in God’s unique sovereign rule over all things, something that Islam says Allah will never grant to anyone. Thus, if Jesus were nothing more than a Muslim prophet and messenger then he would never have made such an astonishing claim in the first place.

Tauhid al-'Ibaadah/Uluhiyyah

As far as worship is concerned the Lord Jesus expected his followers to honor him just as they honor the Father:

“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him… and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” John 5:22-23, 27

Here, Jesus explains that all judgement has been given to him so that everyone will show him exactly the same honor that they render to the Father and because he is the Son of Man. Christ is again alluding to the Divine Son of Man of Daniel 7:13-14 since, as we saw earlier, the inspired prophet mentioned that this Divine figure who rides the clouds shall be worshiped by all the nations and will reign forever. In the ancient near east, as well as in Israelite culture, one of the responsibilities of a ruler was to pass judgment and preside over legal matters:  

“Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished his entire house. He built the House of the Forest of Lebanon; its length was a hundred cubits, and its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits, and it was built upon three rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars. And it was covered with cedar above the chambers that were upon the forty-five pillars, fifteen in each row. There were window frames in three rows, and window opposite window in three tiers. All the doorways and windows had square frames, and window was opposite window in three tiers. And he made the Hall of Pillars; its length was fifty cubits, and its breadth thirty cubits; there was a porch in front with pillars, and a canopy before them. And he made the Hall of the Throne where he was to pronounce judgment, even the Hall of Judgment; it was finished with cedar from floor to rafters.” 1 Kings 7:1-7

By claiming to be the Son of Man who judges Jesus was referring to himself as the Divine King of Daniel’s vision whom all the peoples must worship/serve in the same way that God Most High is worshiped/served: 

“And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall worship/serve and obey him.” Daniel 7:27

In fact, in this same Gospel Christ stated to Pilate that he is the King whose kingdom is otherworldly, that is, a heavenly one:

“Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingdom is not from the world.’ Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.’” John 18:36-37

“The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.’ … Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.’” John 19:7, 12 

Jesus further exhorted his disciples to direct their prayers to him in heaven and promised that he would answer them:  

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14

The first generation of Christians, most of whom were Jews, were known for worshiping Jesus by praying to him and calling on his name:

“And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.’” Acts 7:59-60

“And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting… Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Anani'as. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Anani'as.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Anani'as come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ But Anani'as answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ So Anani'as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’ And all who heard him were amazed, and said, ‘Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem on those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests.’” Acts 9:4-5, 10-21

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:” 1 Corinthians 1:2

The Father himself commands his angels to worship his Son:

“And again, when he brings the Firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’” Hebrews 1:6

Christ even has priests that serve him and God!

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God AND OF Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4-6

Finally, both the Apostles and Prophets of the risen Lord Jesus foresaw and proclaimed that a time will come when every creature throughout the entire creation will worship both the Father and the Son:

“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 are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and by your blood you did ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have 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 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

Concluding Remarks

Our analysis, both here and in the articles which we mentioned earlier, has shown that Christ and his followers taught that Jesus shares in God’s unique sovereign rule, being the risen and exalted Lord of all creation who will come to judge and reward everyone for what they have done. They also believed that Christ receives the very worship that God receives, since Jesus expected that true believers would honor him in the same exact way that they honor the Father. This explains why the first generation of Christians prayed to Christ, sang to him in worship, and called on his name.  Both Jesus and his disciples further proclaimed that Christ shares all of God’s exclusive Divine attributes and titles.

All of this demonstrates that neither Jesus nor his disciples were Muslims; nor did they hold to the same view of God or monotheism that subsequent generations of Muhammad’s followers came to embrace. The earliest data we possess conclusively shows that Christ and his true disciples were not Unitarians since they held to a more complex view of God’s nature and eternal Being.

For instance, since Christ and the Apostles emphatically taught and proclaimed that Jesus shares in the unique Divine identity of the one true God of Israel this means that they did not view God’s unity as precluding the existence of a multiplicity of Divine Persons. They obviously believed that God’s eternal Being was so complex that it could and actually does include more than a single Divine Person. 

Our examination further proves that the historical Jesus believed and taught that he was more than a human messenger or mortal agent of God. Christ’s claims demonstrate that he was completely aware of his Divinity since he spoke and acted as One who was convinced that he was fully God in nature (and yet not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

The only way for Muslims to discard this early and diverse testimony is to simply dismiss it. They can argue, as they normally do, that the NT writings are corrupt or the statements of the historians of that period are suspect and therefore unreliable. They can only do this by ignoring the massive amount of textual data which demonstrates that the NT documents are the best attested and preserved writings of antiquity, having greater and earlier manuscript support than any other writing from that period. In fact, the NT is vastly superior to the Quran in terms of manuscript support and preservation since the Muslim scripture has suffered major textual corruption and even underwent a thorough purging by the third caliph Uthman who decided to destroy all the conflicting codices which were written by companions of Muhammad.

To make matters worse, there are variant and conflicting Arabic versions of the Quran in circulation till this day, with Muslim apologists claiming that all of these textual differences are valid and equally authoritative versions of the Quran that was sent down from heaven! 

Thus, if the NT is unreliable due to its variant readings this means that virtually all ancient documents, especially the Quran, are less reliable since they have fewer manuscripts and do not have nearly as many early copies supporting their veracity as the NT does.   

For more on the textual corruption and chaotic nature of the Muslim scripture we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:

Therefore, if the Muslims are going to be honest and consistent they are either going to have to reject the Quran, with its vast corruptions, omissions, and deletions, or accept the fact that the NT writings we possess today accurately reflect and preserve what was originally written down by the authors of these books. But opting for the latter view entails accepting the fact that Christ and the first generation of his true followers were not Muslims and certainly did not embrace the monotheism espoused and developed by subsequent Muslim scholars after the death of Muhammad. Rather, both Jesus and his blessed and holy Apostles believed that God is an infinitely complex Being and that Christ is included within this one eternal Being of God.

Our prayer is that the risen Lord Jesus will use these articles to grant Muslims eyes to see and ears to hear so as to accept his truth by leaving Islam and embracing him as their risen Lord and immortal Savior, since this is the only hope of salvation that anyone has.

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she told him, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’” John 11:25-27

“‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:1-6

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

“We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.1 John 5:9-13

Amen, Come Lord Jesus come! We worship and adore you, O eternal King of glory! Amen.

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