Jesus Christ – Son of God or God the Son

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    Jesus Christ Son of God or God the Son?

    Sam Shamoun

    Introduction

    Many Muslim dawagandists believe that Jesus claim of being the Son of God isnt sufficientproof that he believed he was God. They highlight the fact that there is a clear distinction

    between the expressions "God the Son" and "Son of God," since the former implies Deitywhereas the latter does not. They further contend that Jesus never called himself "God the

    Son," but used a title which is often applied to others without this implying that these otherpersons are divine beings. Why, then, do Christians assume that Jesus necessarily claimed to

    be God just because he said he was Gods Son?

    The purpose of this article is to examine the manner in which Jesus called himself Gods Son

    in order to show that there is no substance whatsoever to this oft-repeated Muslim assertion.

    We will demonstrate that the way in which Jesus identified himself as the Son of God

    strongly and unambiguously supports his absolute Deity. Our goal here will be to prove thatChrist was basically calling himself God the Son when he said he was the Son of God, since

    the latter expression functions as a synonym of the former phrase, e.g. the Son of God inreference to Jesus has the same meaning as God the Son.

    With the foregoing in view we now proceed to the Biblical evidence.

    The Biblical Data

    Jesus is Gods beloved Son and Heir

    The following parable helps us to better appreciate Jesus self-understanding:

    "He then began to speak to them in parables: A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall

    around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to

    some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servantto the tenants to

    collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent

    him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servantto them; they struck this man on the

    head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many

    others; some of them they beat, others they killed. He had one left to send, a son, whom he

    loved. He sent him last of all, saying, "They will respect my son." But the tenants said to one

    another, "This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." So they took

    him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard." Mark 12:1-8

    In the parable the owner represents God and the servants refer to Gods prophets which he

    sent to Israel:

    "From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent

    you my servants the prophets." Jeremiah 7:25

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    "Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, Do not do this detestable thingthat I hate!" Jeremiah 44:4

    The beloved Son and Heir in this particular parable is supposed to be Jesus whom the Jewish

    leadership rejected and killed.

    Jesus teaching here emphatically shows that he didnt believe that he was on the same levelof a servant like the rest of the prophets, but actually thought of himself as being greater in

    position and as having a more intimate relationship with God. Christ is basically claimingto

    be unlike the prophets/servants in that he is greater than all of them since he is Gods unique

    Son and the One who owns everything that belongs to his Father.

    This isnt the only time that Christ claimed to own or possess all that God possesses:

    "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the

    Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses toreveal him." Matthew 11:27

    "He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that

    belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and

    make it known to you." John 16:14-15

    "After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come.Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all

    people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given himAll I have is yours,and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them." John 17:1-2, 10

    And since he is the Heir this means that Jesus holds greater honor than and has authority over

    Gods servants, the prophets:

    "But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell youthe truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and

    to hear what you hear but did not hear it." Matthew 13:16-17

    "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.

    You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, and you have seen Abraham! I tellyou the truth, Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" John 8:56-58

    "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various

    ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of allthings, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and

    the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After hehad provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in

    heavenAnd again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, Let all God's

    angels worship him." Hebrews 1:1-3, 6

    "Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses , just as the builder of a househas greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the

    builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servantin all God's house, testifying to what

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    would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are hishouse, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast." Hebrews 3:3-6

    "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you,

    searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstancesto which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of

    Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not servingthemselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who

    have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to

    look into these things." 1 Peter 1:10-12

    In fact, Jesus claims to have been the one who sent those prophets:

    "Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you willkill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And

    so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood ofrighteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the

    temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. "O Jerusalem,

    Jerusalem,you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to

    gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you werenot willing. Matthew 23:34-37

    Jesus the Son is the Exalted Lord of creation and the Divine Son of Man

    Jesus further identifies himself as the Son of Man who sits enthroned at Gods right hand as

    King of creation and who determines the eternal destiny of every individual:

    "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory .And he will send

    HISangels and gather

    HISelect from the four winds, from the ends of the

    earth to the ends of the heavens." Mark 13:26-27

    "Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, Are you not going to answer?

    What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you? But Jesus remained silent

    and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the

    Blessed One? I am, said Jesus. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand

    of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven . The high priest tore his clothes.

    Why do we need any more witnesses? he asked. You have heard the blasphemy. What do

    you think?" Mark 14:60-64

    "When the Son of Man comes in his glory , and all the angels with him, he will sit on his

    throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separatethe people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the

    sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the Kingwill say to those on his right,

    Come, you who are blessed byMY FATHER; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared

    for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I

    was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I

    needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and

    you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you

    hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a

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    stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or inprison and go to visit you? The Kingwill reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for

    one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Then he will say to those on hisleft, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his

    angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me

    nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did

    not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. They also will answer,Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in

    prison, and did not help you? He will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for

    one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Then they will go away to eternal

    punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46

    Jesus is obviously referring to himself as that Divine Son of Man whom the prophet Daniel

    saw, the One who rules forever and is worshiped by every creature:

    "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with

    the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He

    was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every

    language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away,and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14

    Moreover, Jesus statement that he sits on Gods right hand is a direct allusion to the

    following Psalm:

    "The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for

    your feet." Psalm 110:1

    By referencing this particular text Jesus was telling his accusers that he is Davids Lord who

    reigns with God as King, a point that he made earlier that week:

    "While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, How is it that the teachers of the

    law say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit,

    declared: "The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under

    your feet."David himself calls him "Lord." How then can he be his son? The large crowd

    listened to him with delight." Mark 12:35-37

    The answer to Jesus question is that the Christ is both Davids Son and his Lord since the

    Messiah is a human descendant of David who is also Gods Son at the same time:

    "And a voice came from heaven: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well

    pleased." Mark 1:11

    "Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were

    leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the

    roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, Jesus,

    Son of David, have mercy on me! Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he

    shouted all the more, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Mark 10:46-48

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    one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to revealhim." Luke 10:21-22

    The Lord Jesus claims an intimate, reciprocal knowledge of God the Father which

    presupposes both his incomprehensibility and his omniscience. After all, a finite creature is

    not able to know God in the same way that s/he is known by God; nor can a temporal being

    make the assertion s/he can only be known by God since this implies that the person makingthis claim is incomprehensible, and thereby requires an infinite mind or omniscient entity to

    fully know and understand such an individual. Yet this is precisely what Jesus says about his

    own Person and knowledge of the incomprehensible God.

    It should therefore not surprise us that it is precisely in this context that Jesus claims to be the

    One who chooses to reveal the Father to whomever he is pleased. Seeing that the Lord Jesus

    has perfect and intimate knowledge of God he alone can adequately and completely reveal

    Gods essence/character/nature to mankind. As Christ says in the Gospel of John:

    "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at

    the last day. It is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught by God. Everyone who

    listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Fatherexcept theone who is from God; only he has seen the Father." John 6:44-46

    The reason why the Father brings everyone to learn from the Son is because he alone has

    beheld or comprehended God and therefore fully qualified to make the Father known.

    To put this in simpler terms, God has clearly and fully made himself known in and through

    the Person of his beloved Son since the Son has complete knowledge and comprehension of

    the nature and Person of the Father.

    Jesus the Son is coequal with the Father in essence and nature

    Finally, Jesus as the Son asserts that he is equal to the Father in power and dignity, being able

    to do everything that God can do:

    "So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus

    said to them, My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working. For

    this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but

    he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus gave them

    this answer: I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he

    sees his Father doing, because WHATEVER the Father does the Son ALSO DOES. For the

    Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him

    even greater things tha...

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