Bassam Zawadi wants to refute the claim that since the Lord Jesus stated that he would send forth prophets this therefore suggests that he is God. He presents the Christian position and then seeks to rebut it:
34Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.
Who can send prophets except God? Jesus did. So Jesus is God!
It is, indeed, a Divine function to be able to send and inspire prophets. More on this shortly.
Note, however, that Christ isnt alone in claiming that he is able to inspire prophets. The Apostle Paul, under divine inspiration, also taught the same truth of Jesus sending forth prophets:
"But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said, When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men. (In saying, He ascended, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And his gifts were that some should be apostles, SOME PROPHETS, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love." Ephesians 4:7-16
It might seem so at first, but when reading the 4 gospels in context we can get a different understanding. Jesus also said...
18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
So basically Jesus is saying that he is sending people out just like how the Father has sent him.
How ironic that Zawadi can admit that Jesus sends out people just like the Father does, since this shows that Jesus is just as much God as the Father is as we shall see.
Now if Christians want to argue that Jesus is greater in essence than the ones that he sent then that means that the Father is greater in essence than Jesus because He sent him the exact same way. But if Christians argue back that the Father sending Jesus only means that He has greater authority than him then that also means that Jesus only has greater authority than the ones that he sent and does not necessarily mean that he is greater in essence and therefore is God.
Christians can't have their cake and eat it.
Note the straw man here ... "the sender is of a greater essence than the one sent" which IS NOT THE CHRISTIAN ARGUMENT. The Christian argument is that it is God who appoints individuals to be prophets and grants them the Spirit who inspires them:
"You gave your good Spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst Many years you did bear with them, and did warn them by your Spirit through your prophets; yet they would not give ear. Therefore you did give them into the hand of the peoples of the lands." Nehemiah 9:20, 30
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5
"You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my Spirit." Joel 2:27-29
"But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin." Micah 3:8
"They made their hearts like adamant lest they should hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 7:12
This appointing of prophets presupposes that God is sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. God is sovereign because he freely chooses whomever he desires to be his spokesperson. God is omnipotent because he has the power to enable the prophet to successfully carry out all that God has determined. God is omniscient and omnipresent since he must be present with all his prophets and grant them the wisdom to answer, confound and refute those who oppose the truth, as well as enable them to accurately foretell future events. These points are all summed up in the following texts:
"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: I am the LORD, who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone, who spread out the earth -- Who was with me? -- who frustrates the omens of liars, and makes fools of diviners; who turns wise men back, and makes their knowledge foolish; who confirms the word of his servant, and performs the counsel of his messengers; who says of Jerusalem, "She shall be inhabited," and of the cities of Judah, "They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins"; who says to the deep, "Be dry, I will dry up your rivers"; who says of Cyrus, "He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfil all my purpose"; saying of Jerusalem, "She shall be built," and of the temple, `Your foundation shall be laid." Isaiah 44:24-28
"Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose, calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it." Isaiah 46:8-11
Hence, in order for Christ to be able to raise and equip individuals to be his prophets and messengers he too must have all these attributes. With the foregoing in mind we can now turn our attention to some of the texts where Jesus affirms that he has all these qualities since he is God and can therefore inspire individuals to be his emissaries:
"And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
"But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my names sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict." Luke 21:12-15
"As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I IN THEM and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them AND THAT I MYSELF MAY BE IN THEM." John 17:18-26
Christ promises to be present with and indwell all his followers and to give them the wisdom necessary to testify and refute those who seek to undermine his Gospel. This requires all of Gods omni-attributes, i.e. all-powerful, all-knowing, present everywhere.
And here is the context of John 20 which Bassam failed to quote:
"Again Jesus said, Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." John 20:21-23
Not only does Christ send out the disciples to be his spokespersons, he also breathed on them the Holy Spirit which is a Divine function! In fact, this act of Christ breathing the Holy Spirit on his followers is reminiscent of God breathing the breath of life into the first man:
"the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:7
"The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4
Thus, Christ gives the Spirit and inspires individuals in the very same way that the OT says Yahweh does!
Now contrast the Lord Jesus ability to raise up and send out prophets with Moses lack of ability to do likewise:
"And the LORD said to Moses, Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the Spirit which is upon you and put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone. So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD; and he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and placed them round about the tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more. Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, My lord Moses, forbid them. But Moses said to him, Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them!" Numbers 11:16-17, 24-29
Moses knew and realized that only the Lord could place his Spirit upon individuals in order to make them his prophets. Yet what Moses could only hope for the Lord Jesus could actually do since he is very God of very God!
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