Debate on the Trinity. James White vs. Adnan Rashid

 

Adnan asked where in the early church fathers did they mention the Deity of the Holy Spirit?  Here are a couple of good quotes on that from Tertullian, who wrote this book, Against Praxeas, against what is called Modalism/Sabellianism / Monarchianism (that the Father became the Son and then the Son became the Spirit, that they are one person with different masks on at different times, and that the Father suffered, “Patri-passionism”), written around 208 AD.

These are famous passages where Tertullian uses the Latin words, Trinitas and Unitas and three persona (for three persons, which in Greek, the equivalent  was hypostasis / ‘υποστασις ). * see correction below.

 * Addendum and Correction, thanks to David Waltz of Articuli Fidei blog:

“The Greek equivalent for persona in Tertulllian’s day was πρόσωπον. [prosopon = face of a person, countenance, presence; hence, “person, personality”]  It was not until after the Nicene Council of 325 that the Eastern/Greek Church Fathers consistently replaced πρόσωπον with ὑπόστασις (especially so, through the efforts of the three Cappadocians).” [my comments added in black]

I actually knew that before, but forgot; thanks again David for your accuracy and knowledge of church history and the early church fathers!

If the number of the Trinity also offends you, as if it were not connected in the simple Unity, I ask you how it is possible for a Being who is merely and absolutely One and Singular, to speak in plural phrase, saying, “Let us make man in our own image, and after our own likeness;” whereas He ought to have said, “Let me make man in my own image, and after my own likeness,” as being a unique and singular Being? In the following passage, however, “Behold the man is become as one of us,”  He is either deceiving or amusing us in speaking plurally, if He is One only and singular. Or was it to the angels that He spoke, as the Jews interpret the passage, because these also acknowledge not the Son? Or was it because He was at once the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, that He spoke to Himself in plural terms, making Himself plural on that very account? Nay, it was because He had already His Son close at His side, as a second Person, His own Word, and a third Person also, the Spirit in the Word,  that He purposely adopted the plural phrase, “Let us make;” and, “in our image;” and, “become as one of us.” For with whom did He make man? and to whom did He make him like? (The answer must be), the Son on the one hand, who was one day to put on human nature; and the Spirit on the other, who was to sanctify man. With these did He then speak, in the Unity of the Trinity, as with His ministers and witnesses. In the following text also He distinguishes among the Persons: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him.”

Tertullian, Against Praxeas, XII  (Bold my emphasis)

Chapter XXV.—The Paraclete, or Holy Ghost. He is Distinct from the Father and the Son as to Their Personal Existence. One and Inseparable from Them as to Their Divine Nature. Other Quotations Out of St. John’s Gospel.

“What follows Philip’s question [ John 14:5-9, see Against Praxeas XXIV, in previous paragraph ] , and the Lord’s whole treatment of it, to the end of John’s Gospel, continues to furnish us with statements of the same kind, distinguishing the Father and the Son, with the properties of each. Then there is the Paraclete or Comforter, also, which He promises to pray for to the Father, and to send from heaven after He had ascended to the Father. He is called “another Comforter,” indeed; but in what way He is another we have already shown, “He shall receive of mine,” says Christ, just as Christ Himself received of the Father’s. Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are one essence, not one Person,  as it is said, “I and my Father are One,” in respect of unity of substance not singularity of number. Run through the whole Gospel, and you will find that He whom you believe to be the Father (described as acting for the Father, although you, for your part, forsooth, suppose that “the Father, being the husbandman,” must surely have been on earth) is once more recognized by the Son as in heaven, when, “lifting up His eyes thereto,” He commended His disciples to the safe-keeping of the Father.  We have, moreover, in that other Gospel a clear revelation, i.e. of the Son’s distinction from the Father, “My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” and again, (in the third Gospel,) “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” But even if (we had not these passages, we meet with satisfactory evidence) after His resurrection and glorious victory over death. Now that all the restraint of His humiliation is taken away, He might, if possible, have shown Himself as the Father to so faithful a woman (as Mary Magdalene) when she approached to touch Him, out of love, not from curiosity, nor with Thomas’ incredulity. But not so; Jesus saith unto her, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren” (and even in this He proves Himself to be the Son; for if He had been the Father, He would have called them His children, (instead of His brethren), “and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.”  Now, does this mean, I ascend as the Father to the Father, and as God to God? Or as the Son to the Father, and as the Word to God? Wherefore also does this Gospel, at its very termination, intimate that these things were ever written, if it be not, to use its own words, “that ye might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?”  Whenever, therefore, you take any of the statements of this Gospel, and apply them to demonstrate the identity of the Father and the Son, supposing that they serve your views therein, you are contending against the definite purpose of the Gospel. For these things certainly are not written that you may believe that Jesus Christ is the Father, but the Son.

Tertullian, Against Praxeas, XXV   (Bold my emphasis)

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About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
This entry was posted in Apologetics, church history, Deity of Christ, early church history, Islam, Muslims, The doctrine of the Trinity. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Debate on the Trinity. James White vs. Adnan Rashid

  1. David Waltz says:

    Hi Ken,

    Good post. With that said, I would like to offer one small correction to the following you wrote:

    ==These are famous passages where Tertullian uses the Latin words, Trinitas and Unitas and three persona (for three persons, which in Greek, the equivalent was hypostasis / ‘υποστασις ).==

    The Greek equivalent for persona in Tertulllian’s day was πρόσωπον. It was not until after the Nicene Council of 325 that the Eastern/Greek Church Fathers consistently replaced πρόσωπον with ὑπόστασις (especially so, through the efforts of the three Cappadocians).

    Grace and peace,

    David

    • Ken Temple says:

      oh, you are right! I actually knew that before, and forgot; thanks for your accuracy and knowledge. I added your correction above in the post.

  2. θ says:

    Unanswerable questions:
    (i) Is hypostasis divine nor not? Where is the place that the Bible may say it?
    (ii) Is the Holy Spirit the same brightness coming from the same Father’s hypostasis as well?
    (iii) Why is the Tanach (Ho Logoi, God’s words) not so divine, even rather created, unlike the Word?
    (iv) Why do the Trinitarians of the Nicene council prefer hypostasis over Tertullian’s prosopon?
    (v) Is hypostasis more divine than prosopon? Where is the place that the Bible may say it?
    (vi) Who can guarantee a possibility, what if hypostasis and prosopon are not divine just like the Tanach (Ho logoi)?

  3. Ken Temple says:

    Maybe David Waltz can answer those questions(if he sees this); he is smart and knowledgeable in early church fathers and early church history.

    The Scriptures demonstrate that the Father has a personal relationship with the Son and the Holy Spirit and with each other – communication with each other, loving each other, willing, etc.

    The Spirit wills to give gifts to believers. I Cor. 12:11 – that was also a good point by Dr. White.

    It seems to me that either prosopon or hypostasis communicate “person” which is what the Scriptures are communicating when they say things like “the Father loves the Son”, ‘the Son loves the Father”, “the father sends the Son”, “the Spirit prays for us with groanings too deep for words”, “the Spirit says”, “the Spirit glorifies the Son and testifies to the Son”, “the Son prays to the Father”, “the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit”, etc.

  4. θ says:

    “Ken Temple says: It seems to me that either prosopon or hypostasis communicate “person” which is what the Scriptures are communicating when they say things like “the Father loves the Son”, ‘the Son loves the Father”, “the father sends the Son”, “the Spirit prays for us with groanings too deep for words”, “the Spirit says”, “the Spirit glorifies the Son and testifies to the Son”, “the Son prays to the Father”, “the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit”, etc.”

    The words (ho Logoi) of the Father to the Son in the Psalms and the book of Hebrews are not divine. If the words can be not divine, what you called “prosopon” and “hypostasis” can be not divine either. Why? Because there’s no verse that ever establishes it.

  5. Ken Temple says:

    different contexts, different content.

    John 1:1-5 and 1:14 is unique.

    the Word was with God and the Word was God

    And the Word became flesh (human)

  6. David Waltz says:

    Hello θ (theta),

    Yesterday, you posted 6 so-called, “unanswerable questions”. If I may be so bold, I would like to address all 6. However, before I do so, I think that it is very important to point out that all 6 are directly involved with the issue of etymology—i.e. the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed/developed throughout history. Now, the questions.

    ==(i) Is hypostasis divine nor not? Where is the place that the Bible may say it?==

    The term “hypostasis” has had a complex and rich history. On one end of the spectrum, it was an equivalent of “ousia”. On the other end, it took on the strict meaning proposed by Boethius who wrote:

    >>Wherefore if Person belongs to substances alone, and these rational, and if every nature is a substance, existing not in universals but in individuals, we have
    found the definition of Person, viz. : “The individual substance of a rational nature.” Now by this definition we Latins have described what the Greeks call ὑπόστασις. (Boethius, A Treatise Against Eutyches and Nestorius, III.1-6; Loeb edition, trans. Stewart, Rand and Tester, p. 85.)>>

    With the above in mind, “hypostasis” has been used with reference to the divine nature, divine persons, non-divine natures, and non-divine persons. As for the Bible, to my knowledge, it is only used once with reference to God—Hebrews 1:3—note the following:

    And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; (NASB)

    ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆςμεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς,

    ==(ii) Is the Holy Spirit the same brightness coming from the same Father’s hypostasis as well?=

    If “hypostasis” is understood as the divine nature, then yes.

    ==(iii) Why is the Tanach (Ho Logoi, God’s words) not so divine, even rather created, unlike the Word?==

    The “Tanach” is “created” in the sense that it is revelation from God to man in written form.

    ==(iv) Why do the Trinitarians of the Nicene council prefer hypostasis over Tertullian’s prosopon?==

    Because heretical modalists misused the term “prosopon”.

    ==(v) Is hypostasis more divine than prosopon? Where is the place that the Bible may say it?==

    No.

    ==(vi) Who can guarantee a possibility, what if hypostasis and prosopon are not divine just like the Tanach (Ho logoi)?==

    Both terms can have reference to who and/or what is divine; but, they can also have reference to who and/or what is not divine; context determines their use.

    Grace and peace,

    David

    • Ken Temple says:

      Thanks David! That was very helpful.

      Would you say that word “hypostasis” / ‘υποστασις developed into “that which exists under the One ousia / ουσια (essence)” ?

  7. David Waltz says:

    Hi Ken,

    I think Basil (one of the three Cappadocians) gives us one of the best treatments on the relationship betwwen substance/ousia and person/hypostasis. See the following thread:

    Basil ‘the Great’: Letter XXXVIII – a clarification of terms

    After you have had a chance to read the above post, let me know what you think.

    Grace and peace,

    David

  8. θ says:

    “David Waltz says: Wherefore if Person belongs to substances alone, and these rational, and if every nature is a substance, existing not in universals but in individuals, we have
    found the definition of Person, viz. : “The individual substance of a rational nature.” ”

    David Waltz, Thank you for your time. The use of hypostasis in Heb 1:3 doesn’t establish divinity whatsoever that you suppose. It just says “he” is individual identity of “his” hypostasis.
    There are at least two ambiguities of identification in the verse. First, who is *he* at the passage “He is the radiance of”? Is he the Word? or the Chalcedonian Jesus?
    Second, Who is *his* referring to at the passage “exact representation of His nature”? Is his the Chalcedonian Jesus’? or the Father’s? or maybe God’s?
    I anticipate your response by assuming you may argue it refers to something, e.g, the Word is the exact representation of God’s person. Hence, it implies that God has only *one person*, that is the Word.
    Yet the reading of Heb 1:3 puts the Word as the third derivation that distanced him from God: from person, then glory. then representation or radiance.

    “David Waltz says: If “hypostasis” is understood as the divine nature, then yes.”

    Then, you apparently err of implying the heresy of Monarchism here, that is, the Word is the Holy Spirit at one person. After all, Heb 1:3 indicates that there’s only one person. Logically there’s one available person for one nature. Is the Word rational, or irrational?

    “David Waltz says: Because heretical modalists misused the term “prosopon”.”

    But in fact the heretics are more consistent (or more rational) to the reading of Heb 1:3, that is there is only one person mentioned there.
    Nowhere does the Bible say there are *three persons*. I presume that the Modalists used the term “prosopon” instead of hypostasis because *rationally* hypostasis (person) is just one for one ousia (nature). They the early heretics had possibly perceived the word hypostasis can’t be expanded or applied to two or three persons instead of one, it gives a bad impression that indicates insanity.

    “David Waltz says: The “Tanach” is “created” in the sense that it is revelation from God to man in written form.”

    Hence, God’s word is not always divine?
    The words are expression of the speaker, even “exact representation of speaker’s nature” as the words are arrangement of sound proceeding from individual’s mouth to personify his rational mind directly. Now, if God’s words are not divine, how can the Non-divine things be attributed, or containable within God, or proceeding from God’s mouth?
    How could the Non-divine words represent the divine mind of divine being?

  9. θ says:

    “David Waltz says: I think Basil (one of the three Cappadocians) gives us one of the best treatments on the relationship betwwen substance/ousia and person/hypostasis. ”

    One’s opinion is not an official ecumenical creed, isn’t it? Contrary to Heb 1:3, the Trinitarians tend to dismiss (or precisely tamper with) the meanings of “proceed”, “radiance”, “representation”, “image”, “expression” that obviously make a Subordinate emphasis that the Word has origin.
    A person is identity of nature inherently, it is not something that eventually proceeds from nature. There’s no delaying moment for a person to proceed from nature.

  10. David Waltz says:

    Hello again θ (theta),

    Thanks much for your reply to my comments.

    My take on Heb. 1:3 is pretty much the same as Dr. Ellicott’s and Dr. Meyer’s. Their reflections on this verse can be read at:

    Bible Hub

    == “David Waltz says: If “hypostasis” is understood as the divine nature, then yes.”

    Then, you apparently err of implying the heresy of Monarchism here, that is, the Word is the Holy Spirit at one person.==

    I believe that Hebrews 1:1-3 is referring to two individual beings: God the Father and “His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”

    This “Son” is:

    “ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ “.

    ==Nowhere does the Bible say there are *three persons*.==

    I have some questions for you: first, is the God “that no one has ever seen” in John 1:18 a “person”—i.e. a personal being; or is this God impersonal?

    Second, is the above above God’s “only begotten Son” a “person”—i.e. a personal being; or is this Son impersonal?

    And third, is the other “παράκλητον” mentioned in John 14:16 a “person”—i.e. a personal being; or is He impersonal?

    == One’s opinion is not an official ecumenical creed, isn’t it? Contrary to Heb 1:3, the Trinitarians tend to dismiss (or precisely tamper with) the meanings of “proceed”, “radiance”, “representation”, “image”, “expression” that obviously make a Subordinate emphasis that the Word has origin.==

    Some Trinitarians do in fact:

    >>…tend to dismiss (or precisely tamper with) the meanings of “proceed”, “radiance”, “representation”, “image”, “expression” that obviously make a Subordinate emphasis that the Word has origin.>>

    However, many do not. There are a good number of Trinitarians who explicity affirm that God’s Word/Son has His origin from God the Father. My last thread at Articuli Fidei provides one such example. And THIS THREAD lists many more who share Gregory’s take.

    Sincerely hope that I have added some clarity to our discussion.

    Grace and peace,

    David

  11. David Waltz says:

    Hi Ken,

    Earlier today I attempted to publish a post, but it did not show up. I tried to re-publish the exact same content, but was told that it was a duplicate post. Just moments ago, I altered the post a bit and tried again–much to my surprise, both then showed up at the same time. Please feel free to delete my second attempt.

    Grace and peace,

    David

  12. Ken Temple says:

    David,
    sorry, my settings are set on if there are more than two links, it goes into moderation. I didn’t see them until a little bit before you noticed I approved them both.

    Thanks for your contribution to the discussion and I look forward to trying to digest and understand it all. This is very interesting because of the interaction with a Muslim.

    The Letters of Basil are at ccel.org
    Is there is a reason for linking to a book ? (and not to ccel.org ?)

  13. David Waltz says:

    Hello again Ken,

    It is good to know about the more than 2 links; will try to keep that in mind in the future.

    As for the link to the book rather than CCEL, the book has both the Greek and English side by side, and is downloadable.

    Grace and peace,

    David

    • Ken Temple says:

      Ah, now I see the Greek at the text. Very good. ok, that is good.
      That would be great if it was on line side by side.
      Thanks for all that.

  14. Ken Temple says:

    There are a good number of Trinitarians who explicity affirm that God’s Word/Son has His origin from God the Father. My last thread at Articuli Fidei provides one such example. And THIS THREAD lists many more who share Gregory’s take.

    the word “origin” is this context can be ambiguous or unclear.

    an eternally generated origin?

  15. θ says:

    “David Waltz says: I believe that Hebrews 1:1-3 is referring to two individual beings: God the Father and “His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” ”

    David, I appreciate your response. In your belief of Heb 1:3 the Son is the brightness and radiance of the Father’s hypostasis. That’s fine. The Trinitarians can’t make any assertion that the Son is also a hypostasis because nowhere does the Bible say so. The Bible is rational. Hypostasis of Jehovah can’t be seen, but His impersonal glory is visible numerous times in the Biblical times.

    “David Waltz says: I have some questions for you: first, is the God “that no one has ever seen” in John 1:18 a “person”—i.e. a personal being; or is this God impersonal?Second, is the above above God’s “only begotten Son” a “person”—i.e. a personal being; or is this Son impersonal?And third, is the other “παράκλητον” mentioned in John 14:16 a “person”—i.e. a personal being; or is He impersonal?”

    In my understanding, God has both person and impersonal attributes. The Word, the Wisdom, the Glory and the Spirit are several impersonal aspects of God’s potency that is suitable for the knowledge of mankind. Only the person (hypothesis) of Jehovah is always unseen, inimitable, unheard, mystery, even filling all space and time without being perceived or proven by the senses.
    But, the impersonal Glory is seen, as light seen by Isaiah, or the Ancient of Days seen by Daniel, or He whose appearance is like the color of amber seen by Ezekiel.
    The impersonal Word is heard, as the Tanach and Gospel.
    The impersonal Wisdom is understood.
    The impersonal Spirit is felt by the senses as love, life, miracles, works.

    “David Waltz says: However, many do not. There are a good number of Trinitarians who explicity affirm that God’s Word/Son has His origin from God the Father. My last thread at Articuli Fidei provides one such example. And THIS THREAD lists many more who share Gregory’s take.”

    A lot of curious hypothesis and postulates are made in your blog, David. Where do the Trinitarians postulate that the Son is also a hidden hypostasis? Nowhere.
    In fact, Jesus the Word is seen, heard, touched, isn’t he (1 John 1:1)? The impersonal Word that Jesus the Word conveyed doesn’t belong to Jesus but to Jehovah. The impersonal Jehovah’s Word that Jesus the Word conveyed is also heard, isn’t it?

    Yes, the Word, both the impersonal one (the Bible) and the personal one (Jesus) come from the hidden hypostasis of Jehovah.

  16. θ says:

    “Ken Temple says: (There are a good number of Trinitarians who explicity affirm that God’s Word/Son has His origin from God the Father. ) the word “origin” is this context can be ambiguous or unclear.an eternally generated origin?”

    There’s no such a thing as an eternal generated from the origin.
    One that is generated can’t be from eternity.
    As I said, Contrary to Heb 1:3, the Trinitarians tend to dismiss (or precisely tamper with) the meanings of “proceed”, “radiance”, “representation”, “image”, “expression” that obviously make a Subordinate emphasis that the Word has origin.

  17. θ says:

    God is unseen, invisible, unheard. Jehovah is invisible. Jesus the Word is heard, seen, touchable. Before having made a person and the flesh the Word was one of several impersonal aspects of God. Hence, neither Jesus’ person nor Jesus’ humanity are God’s hypostasis.

  18. David Waltz says:

    Good day θ (theta),

    Thanks much for taking the time to answer the questions I put forth in my previous post. I have enjoyed our discussion, but it seems that we have arrived at the point to agree to disagree. I am thoroughly convinced the Biblical data strongly supports the view that God’s pre-existent Word/Son is a person in the Boethius sense.

    With that said, I would like to address one last issue. You said:

    ==There’s no such a thing as an eternal generated from the origin.
    One that is generated can’t be from eternity.==

    I believe (along with a number of other Trinitarians) that God the Father begat His Son BEFORE TIME—the generation/origin of His Son is an eternal act—you cannot make this action time-bound because time did not exist.

    Grace and peace,

    David

  19. θ says:

    “David Waltz says: I believe (along with a number of other Trinitarians) that God the Father begat His Son BEFORE TIME—the generation/origin of His Son is an eternal act—you cannot make this action time-bound because time did not exist.”

    Hi David – thanks for your comments.
    Is this not another postulation, David? Do you know where the Bible tells precisely the time did not exist before the 1st day? Eternity doesn’t mean the absence of time, but it just refers to the inability to count the years before the 1st day.

    God is the Ancient of Days, hence the time is one of His powers.
    Ps 102:27
    But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
    Job 36:26
    Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

  20. Sam Shamoun says:

    Brother Ken,

    Let me help you out a little bit on Jesus’ mission. In your post you mentioned Matthew 10:18 and 28:18-20. However, you need to bring up the following as well. The following is taken from my article:

    “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20

    Jesus’ instruction to his followers to go forth and make disciples of all nations shows that Christ came to save the entire world, not just the nation of Israel, a fact that is confirmed in Mark’s Gospel:

    “He said to them, ‘Go into ALL THE WORLD and preach the gospel to ALL CREATION. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’” Mark 16:15-16

    Nor is this the only place in Matthew where Jesus expressly testifies that the Gospel which he brought must be proclaimed throughout the entire world to all nations:

    “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached IN THE WHOLE WORLD as a testimony to ALL NATIONS, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

    We again find Mark’s Gospel making this very same point:

    “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to ALL NATIONS. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” Mark 13:9-11

    “Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:9

    Matthew even cites a passage from Isaiah 42:1-4 which identifies Jesus as the Servant of Yahweh whom all the nations must put their trust and hope in:

    “Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name THE NATIONS will put their hope.’” Matthew 12:15-21

    This is the same Servant whom Isaiah says shall illuminate the nations and bring God’s salvation to all the ends of the earth:

    “Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.’ But I said, ‘I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.’ And now the Lord says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength—he says: ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, that my salvation may reach TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.” Isaiah 49:1-6

    In Luke’s Gospel a man called Simeon employs the very language of this specific text to describe Jesus’ role and mission:

    “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of ALL NATIONS: a light for revelation to THE GENTILES, and the glory of your people Israel.’” Luke 2:25-32

    Luke also records Jesus himself instructing his disciples to spread his message to the ends of the earth so that all the nations are given the opportunity to hear and believe in Christ’s name in order to receive forgiveness of sins:

    “He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name TO ALL NATIONS, beginning at Jerusalem.’” Luke 24:44-47

    “He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, AND TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.’” Acts 1: 7-8

    Thus, as far as the consistent witness of the NT is concerned Christ’s message wasn’t meant for the Israelites alone. Rather, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus is God’s means of salvation for all the nations throughout the entire world, just as the blessed Apostle Paul stated in one of his inspired Epistles:

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

    This is why Revelation can speak of a great multitude of people whom no one could number from every nation, tribe, and tongue that have been redeemed by Christ’s sacrificial death:

    “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’” Revelation 5:9-10

    “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, AND TO THE LAMB.’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’ Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.’” Revelation 7:9-17

    • Sam Shamoun says:

      This too is taken from my article and shows that even Islam teaches that Christ came for the whole world:

      What Muhammad Taught

      Ironically, even Muhammad is said to have confirmed the universal scope of Jesus’ mission since this is what he wrote in the Quran:

      He said: “So (it will be), your Lord said: ‘That is easy for Me (Allah): And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign TO MANKIND and a mercy from Us (Allah), and it is a matter (already) decreed, (by Allah).’” S. 19:21 Hilali-Khan

      And she who was chaste, therefore We breathed into her (something) of Our Spirit and made her and her son a token FOR (all) PEOPLES. S. 21:91 Pickthall

      These texts explicitly testify to Muhammad’s belief that Jesus and his blessed mother were meant to be miraculous signs for all the nations so that they may believe in God.

      Muhammad also taught that the Gospel (as well as the Torah) was sent down to guide all mankind, not just the Jews:

      It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) Before this, as a guide TO MANKIND, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). Then those who reject Faith in the Signs of God will suffer the severest penalty, and God is Exalted in Might, Lord of Retribution. S. 3:3-4 Y. Ali

      That’s not all. According to the oldest extant Muslim biography, Muhammad further taught that Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach the Gospel to the entire world:

      Yazid b. Abu Habib al-Misri told me that he found a document in which was a memorandum (T. the names) of those the apostle sent to the countries and kings of the Arabs and non-Arabs and what he said to his companions when he sent them. I sent it to Muhammad b. Shihab al-Zuhri (T. with a trusty countryman of his) and he recognized it. It contained the statement that the apostle went out with his companions and said: ‘God has sent me as a mercy to all men, so take a message from me, God have mercy on you. Do not hang back from me as the disciples hung back from Jesus son of Mary.’ They asked how they had hung back and he said, ‘He called them to a task similar to that which I have called you. Those who had to go on a short journey were pleased and accepted; those who had a long journey before them were displeased and refused to go, and Jesus complained of them to God. (T. From that very night) every one of them was able to speak the language of the people to whom he was sent.’ (T. Jesus said ‘This is a thing which God has determined that you should do, so go.’)

      Those whom Jesus son of Mary sent, both disciples and those who came after them, in the land were: Peter the disciple AND PAUL WITH HIM, (Paul belonged to the followers and was not a disciples) to Rome. Andrew and Matthew to the land of the cannibals; Thomas to the land of Babel, which is in the land of the east; Philip to Carthage which is Africa; John to Ephesus the city of the young men of the cave; James to Jerusalem which is Aelia the city of the sanctuary; Bartholomew TO ARABIA WHICH IS THE LAND OF THE HIJAZ; Simon to the land of the Berbers; Judah who was not one of the disciples was put in place of Judas. (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Seventeenth Impression 2004], p. 653; capital emphasis ours)

      And according to renowned Muslim scholar and commentator Ibn Kathir, Jesus’ disciples were commissioned to invite both Jews and Greeks to embrace Islam!

      Allah the Exalted orders His faithful servants to be Allah’s supporters at all times, in all their statements and actions, sacrificing their selves and wealth. Allah orders them to accept His and His Messenger’s call, just as the disciples said to Prophet `Isa when he said…

      (Who are my helpers (in the cause) of Allah) meaning, `who will support me in conveying the Message of Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored?’…

      (The Hawariyyun said:) in reference to the followers of `Isa…

      (We are Allah’s helpers) meaning, `we will support you with regards to the Message you have been sent with and will help you convey it.’ Whereby, `Isa sent the disciples to the various areas of Ash-Sham to call THE GREEKS and the Israelites to Islam. Similarly, during the days of Hajj, Allah’s Messenger used to ask…

      <> Allah the Exalted and Most Honored raised Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj to support the Prophet. They were the residents of Al-Madinah who gave the pledge to him and supported him, vowing to protect him from mankind and the Jinns if he migrated to them. When he migrated to them with his Companions, they fulfilled their vow to Allah. This is the reason why Allah and His Messenger called them, Al-Ansar, the Supporters. The name became synonymous with them… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 61:14; capital emphasis ours)

      This means that Muslims must either accept that Jesus’ mission is universal in nature, or admit that Muhammad was mistaken for contradicting their claim that Holy Bible teaches that Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.

      SOURCE: http://answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/qa/universal_mission.html

  21. θ says:

    “Sam Shamoun says: This means that Muslims must either accept that Jesus’ mission is universal in nature, or admit that Muhammad was mistaken for contradicting their claim that Holy Bible teaches that Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

    That’s the version of Islamic progressive revelation. Even Moses is now a required Prophet of all Moslems (Gentiles), he is sent to all mankind (Q.6, v.91; Q.3, v.4; Q.28, v.43), the belief in the Tanach of Moses is now a requirement of Faith, even though at the same time Qur’an confirms the Old Covenant is for Jews only (Q.32, v.23; Q.5, v.44; Q.17, v.2; Q.40, v.53; Q.61, v.6) before the coming of Islam.
    By so, Isaiah 42 can’t be used to argue the New Covenant for the Gentiles prior to Islam.

  22. θ says:

    Sam Shamoun says: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20″

    Baptism itself is a Moses’ rite, isn’t it. Paul agreed to undergo the rite of Purification along with Jews. Also Paul circumcised a Jewish Christian Timothy. James and disciples produce the 1st universal creed “Walk orderly keeping the Law” under the approval of the Holy Spirit.

    In a nutshell, the disciple’s creed ingrafts the Gentile into the New Covenant for the house of Judah and Israel, not otherwise.

    Moreover, it is said by James it seemed good for the Spirit to lay several burdens of prohibition on Gentiles, that is the consumption of the offerings, the bloods, and the carcasses, as well as the fornication. Certainly it is of the Rabbinical tradition (the Oral Torah) which is not written in the Tanach or Gospel.
    Acts 21:24
    Them take, and purify thyself with them, … but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
    Acts 15
    28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.

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