The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, a post by Sam Shamoun

Scholarly Confirmation that the OT testifies to the Spirit’s Divine Personhood

 

The following is taken from Holman Old Testament Commentary: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Max Anders & Stephen Miller (general editors), Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN 2004, pp. 188-191. This comes specifically from the section dealing with Zechariah. It provides extensive Old Testament data proving that even the Hebrew Bible depicts the Holy Spirit as a fully divine Person, and therefore God in essence.

 

D. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament (4:6)

 

Few subjects are as misunderstood by the average Christian and as hotly debated by scholars as the person and work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament era. In Zechariah 4:6 we are introduced to the Holy Spirit for the first time in the book. The Hebrew word rendered “Spirit” is ruach, and it occurs over 380 times in the Old Testament. According to Leon Wood, the range of meaning for ruach is as follows: (1) wind, 101 times; (2) breath, 18 times; (3) odor, 13 times; (4) space, 6 times; (5) human spirit, 84 times; (6) God’s Spirit, 97 times; (7) life principle, 11 times; (8) emotional response, 28 times; (9) angels, 4 times; (10) evil spirits, 18 times; and (11) life force in an animal, 1 time (Wood, The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998, pp. 16-17).

 

In Zechariah ruach clearly speaks of the Holy Spirit in 4:6; 6:8; and 7:12. “A spirit of grace and supplication” (12:10) may refer to an attitude of repentance but most likely speaks of God’s Spirit conveying grace, leading to the people’s crying out to God for mercy. Elsewhere in Zechariah, ruach refers to angels (6:5), the spirit of man (12:1), and a disposition (13:2).

 

The Holy Spirit is mentioned from earliest times in the Bible (cp. Gen. 1:2; 6:3). He is directly referred to in twenty-three of the thirty-nine Old Testament books, and his work is implied in others.

 

The Person of the Holy Spirit. From the Spirit’s name we know that he is a spirit and that he is holy. David was the first to call him the “Holy Spirit” (Ps. 51:11). In the Old Testament the deity of the Holy Spirit is evident. He is specifically called the “Spirit of God” (Gen. 1:2; Exod. 31:3; Num. 24:2; 1 Sam. 10:10; Ps. 106:33), and characteristics of deity are attributed to him–ability to create (Job 33:4; Ps. 104:30), omniscience (Isa. 40:13), power (Judg. 14:6, 19; Isa. 11:2; Zech. 4:6), and omnipresence (Ps. 139:7).

 

Some scholars have denied that Old Testament saints understood the Holy Spirit to be a person, yet there is abundant evidence to the contrary. A study of the Old Testament reveals that the Spirit exhibits traits of personality. He has emotions. In Isaiah 63:10 we read that Israel “grieved his [God’s] Holy Spirit.” Impersonal forces or powers are not grieved– only persons. He has a mind. Isaiah speaks of the Spirit’s “wisdom,” “understanding,” and “knowledge” (Isa. 11:2). Nehemiah says that God gave his “good Spirit to instruct them” (Ne. 9:20), and the Spirit told Ezekiel what to say (Ezek. 11:5). The distinctive personality of the Spirit is readily apparent in Isaiah 48:16: “And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with [or “and”] his Spirit.”

 

The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit was extremely active. The Spirit was involved in the creation of the universe (Gen. 1:2) and continues his role in the creation of life (Job 33:4; Ps. 104:30). In Genesis 6:3 we discover that the Spirit convicts unbelievers of sin.

 

The Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures. In 2 Samuel 23:2 David said, “The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue.” Zechariah prophesied, “They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry” (Zech. 7:12). In Nehemiah 9:30 we read, “By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets.”

 

Modern believers may be surprised to learn that the Spirit was quite active in the lives of individual Old Testament saints. We find that the Holy Spirit imparts wisdom (Neh. 9:20; Isa. 11:2); guides (1 Kgs. 18:12; Isa. 30:1); inspires prayer (Zech. 12:10); and empowers (Zech. 4:6).

 

In the Old Testament the empowering work of the Spirit is especially prominent and deserves further comment.

 

The Spirit came upon or filled the following persons with power for service: (1) a craftsman: Bezalel (Exod. 31:3; 35:30-31); (2) leaders: Moses (Num. 11:17); seventy elders (Num. 11:25); Othniel, judge (Judg. 3:10); Gideon, judge (Judg. 6:34); Jephthah, judge (Judg. 11:29); Samson, judge (Judg. 14:6, 19; 15:14); Saul, king (1 Sam. 10:10; 11:6; 19:23); David, king (1 Sam. 16:13); and (3) prophets: Balaam (Num. 24:2); Azariah (2 Chr. 15:1); Zechariah (2 Chr. 24:20); and Ezekiel (Ezek. 3:24; 11:5). Both priests and kings were anointed with oil, symbolic of the Spirit’s power coming upon them to serve in these capacities (Exod. 29:7; 1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13; 1 Kgs. 1:39). The Spirit’s anointing power on an individual could be removed (Saul, 1 Sam. 16:14) or remain for life (David, 1 Sam. 16:13).

 

The permanent indwelling of the Spirit is not unequivocally taught in the Old Testament except in the context of the new covenant passage of Ezekiel 36:27: “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Thus, it is generally held that the Holy Spirit came upon the Old Testament saints for specific purposes but did not permanently indwell them. Passages that speak of the Spirit coming upon and departing from individuals are usually cited to support this view (e.g., Judg. 3:10; 6:34; 1 Sam. 10:10; 16:13-14). However, such examples are best taken to refer to God’s anointing power for a task and do not shed light on the question of permanent indwelling. Even David’s plea that God not take his “Holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:11) seems best understood as reflecting David’s fear that the Spirit’s anointing power for kingly service would be taken from him as it had been from Saul (1 Sam. 16:13-14).

 

A number of evangelical scholars contend that the Holy Spirit did, in fact, regenerate and permanently indwell Old Testament believers. W. C. Kaiser Jr. presents a compelling case for this position and deals with difficulties associated with it in his excellent book, Toward Rediscovering the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991). No doubt exists that Christians today are blessed with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9).

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John Piper denigrates the cross-work of Christ and the forgiveness of sins which results from it

I will insert my own comments in to the text between \\\\ marks.

The passage under discussion as given in the KJV version:

King James Bible

Abraham’s Justification by Faith

(Genesis 15:1-7Galatians 3:1-9Hebrews 11:8-19James 2:14-26)

 

1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

 

The following text is taken from Counted Righteous in Christ from John Piper:

§5.3. Justification and Forgiveness in Relation to
the Use of Psalm 32 in Romans 4
A crucial question in this regard is why Paul follows his reference
to reckoning righteousness apart from works in Romans 4:6 with
a reference to Psalm 32, which speaks of forgiveness. Does this
mean that justification is just another way of speaking about forgiveness, and the imputation of divine righteousness is therefore superfluous?

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ I reply

Piper is begging the question here. According to him forgiveness does not involve the imputation of “divine” righteousness ( we have to be careful about using such terms as “divine righteousness” as strictly speaking this is an attribute of Jehovah God ). He is assuming at the outset what he is trying to demonstrate. In the process he calls in to question Paul’s use of Psalm 32 to illustrate the doctrine of imputation as if Paul was mistaken to use Psalm 32 to make Abraham’s justification and David’s forgiveness equivalent to each other. This is really terrible arrogance in my view. Obviously Paul is using Psalm 32 to express the doctrine of the imputation of righteousness which is just how God justifies both David and Abraham. Piper doesn’t like the fact that Paul equates justification with forgiveness by using Psalm 32, David’s experience of justification, in the same context as Abraham. Obviously God through Paul is declaring the equivalance of justification and forgiveness in this text, so Piper has to set about applying his spin to drive a wedge between the two terms as we shall see. It seems to be Piper’s strategy to make forgiveness less than justification so that man himself has to make up the difference with his own good works. The cross only effects a forgiveness which brings us back to Adam’s standing before God. This seems to be Piper’s tactic here.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ my reply finished

After saying in Romans 4:5 that God “justifies the ungodly,” Paul then says, “Just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: (7) ‘Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; (8) blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin.’” Some interpreters argue that this
juxtaposition of justification language (4:5, 6) and forgiveness
language (4:7) means that justification is virtually synonymous
with forgiveness.

63 For example, Daniel Fuller seems to treat the crediting image of Genesis 15:6 (used in
Romans 4:3-8) as interchangeable with forgiveness. In reference to Genesis 15:6 he says,
“Then comes the declaration of forgiveness in verse 6.” Then he says that Romans 4:6-8
“leaves no doubt about the meaning Paul gave to the word ‘credited’ as he quoted Genesis
15:6: . . . Paul emphasized that Abraham was forgiven.” The Unity of the Bible: Unfolding
God’s Plan for Humanity (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), pp. 255-256.
But there are contextual clues that this is not the case. After quoting these two verses from Psalm 32, what Paul picks up on is not the words “forgiven” or “covered” or “not reckon,” but rather on the word “blessed.” This is very significant because of where he goes with it. He asks in Romans 4:9, “Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised?” Then he does something amazing. He answers his question not by referring to David’s situation, but by referring to Abraham; and not in terms of forgiveness, but in terms of faith being reckoned for righteousness.

////////////////////////// I reply

Piper knows he has no case from the clear meaning of the text so he has to resort to gnostic arguments about mysterious “contextual clues” as if Paul is not expressing himself clearly here. Again I am amazed at Piper’s arrogance to suggest that God has not expressed himself clearly through Paul by quoting Psalm 32. Why does Piper make so much about the word blessed? Once Paul has defined justification he talks about it from the point of view of it’s being a blessing bestowed by God and those who have received it as blessed. Piper claims that Paul is doing something amazing by using Abraham to demonstrate that God is bestowing the blessing of justification on Jews and Gentiles? If Paul wants to prove that this blessing is for Gentiles and Jews alike then surely he is going to talk about Abraham who was uncircumcised as he was justified. I am amazed at Piper’s seeming inability to recognise the obvious. Obviously he is blinded by following his agenda which is to create a dichotomy between justification and forgiveness.

///////////////////////////// my reply finished

He says, “We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.” Then he finishes his point with this reasoning: How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;

(11) and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousnessof the faith that he had while uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them.(Romans 4:10-11).

Don’t miss how unusual this is. Paul asks whether David’s
blessing of forgiveness was pronounced on the circumcised or on
the uncircumcised, but he answers by saying that “righteousness
was credited to [Abraham]” (v. 11) before he was circumcised.
Does this not suggest strongly that the “blessing” referred to in
David’s words from Psalm 32 is “the crediting of righteousness”
to believers, not simply the forgiveness of sins?

///////////////////////////// I reply

Again we see Piper’s circular reasoning. He is stating something for which he has not given any proof from the passage in question. Namely that the forgiveness of sin is something less than justification.

Piper continues below to state more arguments which fly in the face of the clear statements and meaning of the passage.

//////////////////////////// my reply finished
Now why might this be? The answer I would suggest is that
Paul assumed two things: First, Paul assumes there is no justification—no positive declaration and imputation of righteousness—where there is no forgiveness. Forgiveness is a
constitutive element of justification. The sins that stand in the way of declaring a person righteous must be blotted out, covered, forgiven. Second, Paul assumes that if a saving “blessing”
is pronounced over a person, he must be counted as righteous.
That is why he had no problem explaining David’s blessing
with Abraham’s justification.

/////////////////////////// my reply starts

No that is not the reason why. The obvious reason why is that Paul wanted to state that man is justified outside the law. Abraham was not under the law when he was justified by faith. He was not circumcised. Piper denigrates forgiveness as merely being a preparatory legal state prior to justification. It is nothing more than being put back in to the state of Adam as innocent but not justified.

Obviously this is wrong because if God does not impute sin it means we have fully complied with the demands of the law. The phrase in Romans 4 v 8 “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” is just a negative way of saying that a man is fully righteous before God in terms of the law. This is equivalent to saying that a man is justified.

////////////////////////// my reply finished
When Paul put Psalm 32:1-2 and Genesis 15:6 together, he
saw two essential aspects of justification: forgiveness and imputation—“blotting out” and “crediting to.” So when he heard
David say that a forgiven person is “blessed,” he heard in the
“blessing” the complete work of justification without which there
is no blessing—namely, the work of forgiveness and imputation.
This gives much help in thinking about the relationship
between forgiveness and imputation in determining the ground
of justification. It suggests that we should not assume justification
means only forgiveness of sins. Here again 2 Corinthians
5:21 is crucial: “[God] made him who knew no sin to be sin on
our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God
in him.” The first half of this verse refers to Christ’s sin-bearing
sacrifice for us. As Isaiah 53:5 says, “He was pierced through
for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the
chastening for our well-being fell upon him.” And as the apostle
Peter says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the
cross” (1 Peter 2:24). “Christ also died for sins once for all, the
just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18). This is what Paul means in
the first half of 2 Corinthians 5:21: On the cross Christ “was
made sin” for us.
But notice that Paul does not say that this leads to forgiveness
(although it does), or that Christ’s becoming sin for us is the same
as justification. He says that this happened “so that (i{na, hina)
we might become the righteousness of God in him.” This result
is more than forgiveness. This is our becoming righteous in
Christ in a way similar to Christ’s becoming sin for us. This is the
other aspect of justification beyond the sin-bearing of Christ and beyond the forgiveness implicit in that sin-bearing.
Therefore, when Paul speaks of being “justified by [Christ’s]
blood” (Romans 5:9) we have no warrant for equating the totality of justification with the sin-bearing, sin-removing work of
Christ or with forgiveness. But we have good warrant for saying that the death of Christ is what justifies in that 1) it provides the essential ingredient of sin removal by sacrifice so that a positive declaration will not shatter on the shoals of unforgiven sin,

////////////////////////////// my reply

We have reached the crowning summary and heretical conclusion of all that Piper has said about forgiveness and how it relates to justification.

According to Piper the death of Christ only partially justifies us. It just makes it possible for us to be forgiven but it does not fully justify us. The forgiveness which is achieved by the cross-work of Christ is not equivalent to being fully justified before God according to Piper. Forgiveness is not justification according to Piper. Paul does not mean what he says and Piper has to tell us the real meaning of what Paul was saying in Romans 4. Accordingly, according to Piper, through his death and resurrection Jesus only laid the foundation of justification, which is forgiveness, according to Piper. This is equivalent to Adam’s state of innocence. It is not full justification before the judgement seat of God. We have to do the rest.

/////////////////////////////// my reply finished

and
2) it is the climactic completion of a life of obedience (Philippians
2:8) that was essential for the imputation of righteousness to us
as we are “in him” by faith (2 Corinthians 5:21). The good warrant
for saying this is threefold. We are warranted 1) by the analogy
of Romans 4:6-11 and 2 Corinthians 5:21, and 2) by the
meaning of the word “justify” (dikaiovw, dikaioø), and 3) by the
language of imputed righteousness in Romans 4:6, 11, 24; 10:4;
Philippians 3:9.

///////////////

Essential but NOT sufficient in and of itself to justify us completely and irrevocably before God. So Piper advocates, in my view, a Roman Catholic or pelagian doctrine of justification.

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Sam Shamoun responds to Paul Williams slur against the character of the God of the Bible

Hey Bro,

I just seen this post from Williams where he again twists and perverts the Holy Bible to his shame and humiliation: http://bloggingtheology.org/2014/04/16/3368/

Once again, all that his post proves is that Williams is nothing more than a Christophobe who will assault the Holy Bible with arguments which he knows full well can be turned against Islam and Muhammad with greater force and damage. And yet this hypocrite refuses to condemn Muhammad for teaching the same things. Note, for instance, the following descriptions of hell found in the hadiths, which are supposed to be Muhammad’s commentary on the Quran’s verses on this subject:

Narrated AbuSa’id

The Prophet said about Allah’s words, “Like molten copper,” that it is like the sediment of olive-oil, and that when it approaches one’s face the skin of one’s face will fall into it.” (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1504 – ALIM Online Version:http://alim.org/library/hadith/TIR/1504)

Tirmidhi transmitted it.

Narrated AbuHurayrah
The Prophet said, “The hot water will be poured over their heads and the hot water will penetrate till it comes inside a man. It will scour what is inside him till it comes out at his feet; and that is the melting. He will then be restored as he was.”

Tirmidhi transmitted. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1505 – ALIM Online Version:http://alim.org/library/hadith/TIR/1505)

Narrated AbuUmamah
The Prophet said about Allah’s words, “He will be given to drink some liquid pus which he will gulp: It will come near his mouth and he will dislike it, then when it is brought near him it will scald his face and the skin of his head will fall away. Then when he drinks it, it will cut his entrails to pieces till it comes out at his posterior. Allah Most High says, ‘They will be given to drink a boiling liquid and it will cut their entrails to pieces.’ He also says, ‘And if they ask for help they will be helped with a liquid like molten copper which will scald their faces. How evil a drink it is!’”

Tirmidhi transmitted. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1506 – ALIM Online Version:http://alim.org/library/hadith/TIR/1506)

Narrated AbudDarda’

Allah’s Messenger said, “Hunger will be cast upon the inhabitants of Hell and will be equal to the punishment they are experiencing. They will cry for help and will be helped with food of dari’ which neither fattens nor satisfies hunger. They will then call for food and will be fed with food which chokes. So remembering that they helped down choking food with drink when they were in the world they will ask for drink and the scalding drink will be presented to them on iron flesh-hooks. When these approach their faces they will scorch their faces, and then they enter their bellies they will cut in pieces the contents of their bellies. They will then ask the guards of Jahannam to be called who will say, ‘Did your messengers not bring you the clear signs?’ and when they reply, ‘Yes,’ they will say, ‘Then make supplication, but the supplication of the infidels is only in error.’ They will then ask Malik to be called and will say, ‘O Malik, would that your Lord might put an end to us!’ He will reply to them, ‘You are remaining’ (al-A’mash saying he had been informed that the period between their appeal and Malik’s reply to them would be a thousand years). They will then say, “Call your Lord, for no one is better than your Lord,’ and they will say, ‘O our Lord, our adversity was too much for us and we were a people who went astray. O our Lord, bring us out of it; then if we return to evil we shall indeed be wrongdoers.’ He will then answer them, ‘Retreat into it in shame and do not speak to me.’ They will then despair of all good and will begin to sigh, grieve and bemoan themselves.” Abdullah ibn AbdurRahman said that people do not trace this tradition back to the Prophet.

Tirmidhi transmitted it. Tirmidhi transmitted. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1508 – ALIM Online Version: http://alim.org/library/hadith/TIR/1508)

I challenge Williams to produce anything this sadistic in the Holy Bible.

Lord willing, I will have an entire article focusing on the sick, demented and sadistic tortures which the Quran says await the disbelievers in hell. Hopefully, this will make that inconsistent hypocrite Williams think twice about ever opening his slanderous mouth to assault God’s Word, the Holy Bible.

Hey bro,

I posted a reply to a post (http://bloggingtheology.org/2014/04/16/3368/#comment-8803) by tactful83, a.k.a. Eric Sloan on Williams’ blog which he did not allow to be published. So I am posting it here for Sloan to see if you don’t mind:

Eric Sloan, to correct your distortion of the facts I didn’t delete your post because I wasn’t interested in dialoguing with you. Rather, I deleted it because I don’t tolerate logical fallacies which is what your post is, specifically a tu quoque fallacy.

For the record, I have already thoroughly refuted the feeble and desperate attempts of your fellow Muhammadans who cite the same passages you do to justify the Quran’s teaching that Allah is the best deceiver there is, even better than Satan. So here goes my reply to your tu quoque fallacy:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/does_god_deceive.htm

Now how about actually refuting my articles proving that Allah is a liar and deceiver, unlike Yahweh?

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/allah_best_deceiver.htm

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/allah_deceiver.htm

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/allah_best_deceiver.htm

Enjoy!

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Sam Shamoun responds to Bart Ehrman’s claim that Jesus can not be God because he never says “I forgive you”

Hey Bro,

I saw your comments on Williams’ blog concerning his latest entree on Ehrman and the issue of Jesus forgiving sins. As far as this statement goes,

“With respect to the forgiveness of sins: when Jesus forgives sins, he never says “I forgive you,” as God might say,”

This isn’t just pathetic but it is also a rather laughable statement from a so-called world class scholar. That Jesus was claiming the prerogative to forgive sins can easily be proven by the response of the people and Jesus’ own words to them:

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, WHY DOTH THIS MAN THUS SPEAK BLASPHEMIES? who can forgive sins BUT GOD ONLY? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know THAT THE SON OF MAN HATH POWER ON EARTH TO FORGIVE SINS, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” Mark 2:5-10

“And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, WHO IS THIS THAT FORGIVETH SINS ALSO? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” Luke 7:48-50

Note how the crowds or the people which were gathered clearly understood that Jesus was actually claiming to be the one who was forgiving the sins of these individuals. And notice, also, how Jesus in Mark 2:10 goes on to confirm that he was the One who was actually doing the forgiving. Therefore, you can’t get any more obvious than that!

Now Williams thinks he has a comeback to refute the clear evidence from the context which establishes that Jesus was personally claiming the power to forgive sins:

“the Son of Man has authority on earth”

Who gave Jesus this authority? (http://bloggingtheology.org/2014/04/14/3329/#comment-8441)

There are a few glaring problems with Williams’ “rebuttal.”

First, Williams is grossly misreading these passages since they say absolutely nothing about Jesus receiving authority to forgive sins, e.g., Jesus’ statements that the Son HAS authority to forgive sins no more implies that this was something given to him than the statement “God has authority to forgive sins” would imply that someone had to give God this authority. Jesus’ statements can easily be taken to mean that this is an authority which he possesses intrinsically by virtue of being the divine Son of God.

Second, even if we assume that Christ was given such an authority this still wouldn’t undermine his Deity. Rather, it would prove that Muhammad was a false prophet. After all, both the Holy Bible (cf. Mark 2:7; 1 Kings 8:39, 46-50; Psalm 103:2-4, 11-12; Isaiah 43:25; Daniel 9:9; Micah 7:18-19) and the Quran agree that only God/Allah has the authority to forgive sins:

“And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse etc.) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; – AND NONE CAN FORGIVE SINS BUT ALLAH – And do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know. ” S. 3:135 Hilali-Khan – cf. Q. 39:53

Here is another version for comparison’s sake:

“”And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring God to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins, – AND WHO CAN FORGIVE SINS EXCEPT GOD? – and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done. Y. Ali

Islamic theology takes this a step further and claims that forgiving sins is a divine function which Allah will never share with anyone else.

This means that Williams has to either wrestle with the fact God/Allah has committed the unforgivable sin of shirk, which is the crime of associating or ascribing to a creature the exclusive attributes and functions of God (cf. Q. 2:22; 4:48, 116), or admit that his “prophet” Muhammad was mistaken since God/Allah does share his unique functions with his creatures. Or he must come to terms with the fact that the reason why Jesus could be given such an authority is because he is God in the flesh. Otherwise the Father would have never allowed his Son to go around forgiving people the sins they had committed against God while he was on earth if himself wasn’t God in essence.

So much for Williams’ “reply.”

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A Series of Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses Pt. 6, by Sam Shamoun

A Series of Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses Pt. 6

 

According to the Hebrew Scriptures God’s people are to be witnesses of Jehovah, meaning that they are to make known Jehovah their God to the nations:

 

“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares Jehovah, ‘Yes, my servant whom I have chosen,So that you may know and have faith in me And understand that I am the same One.Before me no God was formed, And after me there has been none.’” Isaiah 43:10

 

This so happens to be the passage from which Jehovah’s Witnesses derive their name.

 

The Christian Greek Scriptures, however, assert that true believers are witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ who are called to proclaim his name to all the nations:

 

“When the helper comes that I will send you from the Father, the spirit of the truth, which comes from the Father, that one will bear witness about me; and you, in turn, are to bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” John 15:26-27

 

“But you will receive power when the holy spirit comes upon you, and you will be witnesses of me in Jerusalem, in all Ju·de′a and Sa·mar′i·a, and to the most distant part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

 

It is of interest to note that the name Jehovah never appears in the Greek New Testament. In fact, for all intents and purposes the name of Jesus has virtually supplanted Jehovah’s name just as the following examples show.

 

- Whose name do the believers gather and assemble in?

 

“For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.” Matthew 18:20

 

“When you are gathered together in the name of our Lord Jesus, and knowing that I am with you in spirit along with the power of our Lord Jesus, you must hand such a man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 5:4-5

 

- Whose name do believers invoke and call upon in prayers and worship?

 

“Also, whatever you ask in my name, I will do this, so that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

 

“You did not choose me, but I chose you, and I appointed you to go and keep bearing fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that no matter what you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16

 

“In that day you will ask me no question at all. Most truly I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything, he will give it to you in my name. Until now you have not asked for a single thing in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” John 16:23-24

 

“to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: May you have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:2-3

 

- Whose name is forgiveness and repentance preached in? And what is the name that individuals must believe in and receive in order to obtain salvation and forgiveness of sins?

 

“He then said to them: ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all the things written about me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened up their minds fully to grasp the meaning of the Scriptures, and he said to them, ‘This is what is written: that the Christ would suffer and rise from among the dead on the third day, and on the basis of his name, repentance for forgiveness of sins would be preached in all the nations—starting out from Jerusalem.’” Luke 24:44-47

 

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13 Authorized King James Version (AV)

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18 AV

 

“To be sure, Jesus also performed many other signs before the disciples, which are not written down in this scroll. But these have been written down so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and because of believing, you may have life by means of his name.” John 20:30-31

 

“The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, along with An′nas the chief priest, Ca′ia·phas, John, Alexander, and all who were relatives of the chief priest. They stood Peter and John in their midst and began to question them: ‘By what power or in whose name did you do this?’  Then Peter, filled with holy spirit, said to them:‘Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today about a good deed to a crippled man, and you want to know who made this man well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that in the name of Jesus Christ the Naz·a·rene, whom you executed on a stake but whom God raised up from the dead, by means of him this man stands here healthy in front of you. This is “the stone that was treated by you builders as of no account that has become the chief cornerstone.” Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.’” Acts 4:5-12

 

“To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone putting faith in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43

 

“ Indeed, this is his commandment: that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us a commandment.” 1 John 3:23

 

“I write you these things so that you may know that you have life everlasting, you who put your faith in the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13

 

- In whose name is the Holy Spirit sent?

 

“But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you” John 14:26

 

- Whose name empowers believers to perform miracles, healings and exorcisms?

 

“John said to him: ‘Teacher, we saw someone expelling demons by using your name, and we tried to prevent him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said: ‘Do not try to prevent him, for there is no one who will do a powerful work on the basis of my name who will quickly be able to say anything bad about me.’” Mark 9:49-50

 

“Then the 70 returned with joy, saying: ‘Lord, even the demons are made subject to us by the use of your name.’ At that he said to them: ‘I see Satan already fallen like lightning from heaven. Look! I have given you the authority to trample underfoot serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing at all will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are made subject to you, but rejoice because your names have been written in the heavens.’” Luke 10:17-20

 

“Now Peter and John were going up into the temple for the hour of prayer, the ninth hour, and a man who was lame from birth was being carried. Every day they would put him near the temple door that was called Beautiful, so he could ask for gifts of mercy from those entering the temple. When he caught sight of Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking for gifts of mercy. But Peter, together with John, looked straight at him and said: ‘Look at us.’ So he fixed his attention on them, expecting to get something from them.  However, Peter said: “Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have is what I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Naz·a·rene, walk!’ With that he took hold of him by the right hand and raised him up. Instantly his feet and his ankles were made firm; and leaping to his feet, he began walking and went with them into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God.  And they began to recognize him, that this was the man who used to sit waiting for gifts of mercy at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were completely astonished and ecstatic about what had happened to him. While the man was still holding on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at what was called Sol′o·mon’s Colonnade, completely surprised. When Peter saw this, he said to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why are you so amazed at this, and why are you staring at us as though by personal power or godly devotion we have made him walk? The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his Servant, Jesus, whom you handed over and disowned before Pilate, even though he had decided to release him. Yes, you disowned that holy and righteous one, and you asked for a man who was a murderer to be given to you, whereas you killed the Chief Agent of life. But God raised him up from the dead, of which fact we are witnesses. And through his name, and by our faith in his name, this man whom you see and know has been made strong. The faith that is through him has made this man completely healthy in front of all of you.’” Acts 3:1-16

 

“while you stretch out your hand for healing and while signs and wonders occur through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30

 

“Now as Peter was traveling through all the region, he came down also to the holy ones who lived in Lyd′da. There he found a man named Ae·ne′as, who had been lying flat on his bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him: ‘Ae·ne′as, Jesus Christ heals you. Rise and make up your bed.’ And he got up immediately. When all those living in Lyd′da and the Plain of Shar′on saw him, they turned to the Lord.” Acts 9:32-35

 

“Now it happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a servant girl with a spirit, a demon of divination, met us. She supplied her masters with much profit by fortune-telling. This girl kept following Paul and us and crying out with the words: ‘These men are slaves of the Most High God and are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.’ She kept doing this for many days. Finally Paul got tired of it and turned and said to the spirit: ‘I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour.” Acts 16:16-18

 

- Whose name is above every name there is?

 

“and how surpassing the greatness of his power is toward us believers. It is according to the operation of the mightiness of his strength, which he exercised toward Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named, not only in this system of things but also in that to come. He also subjected all things under his feet and made him head over all things with regard to the congregation, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills up all things in all.” Ephesians 1:19-23

 

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is ABOVE EVERY NAME: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 AV

 

The necessity and centrality of Jesus’ name raises a problem for Jehovah’s Witnesses. If Jesus is not Jehovah then how could the NT writings stress Jesus’ name to the exclusion of all others, including Jehovah’s own name? Why wouldn’t the Apostles and the inspired authors carry on the OT tradition of proclaiming the name of Jehovah as opposed to the name of Christ? Doesn’t this emphasis on Christ’s name prove that Jesus is Jehovah God the Son since to proclaim his name is to bear witness to the name of Jehovah?

 

To ask this in a different way, doesn’t this show that the name of Jesus is the name by which Jehovah wants to be known, which is why the Apostles went around proclaiming and testifying to Christ’s name to all nations? And wouldn’t this therefore explain why the name Jehovah never appears in the Christian Greek Scriptures seeing that the name of Jesus functions as the NT equivalent or synonym for the divine name itself?

 

If our assessment is correct then this means that bearing witness to Christ and proclaiming his name is what makes one a true Jehovah witness since Jesus is Jehovah in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

 

Unless stated otherwise all Scriptural quotations taken from the 2013 revised edition of the New World Translation (http://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/).

 

Acknowledgments

 

The preceding list of questions was adapted from a similar list from Christian author Dr. Ron Rhodes as found on p. 39 of his book, The 10 Most Important Things You Can Say to a Jehovah’s Witness (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 2001). Here is the link to his website where you can read some of his articles and purchase his materials: http://www.ronrhodes.addr.com/

 

We highly recommend all of Rhodes’ materials since he is a top-notch scholar and apologist.

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Jesus overrules the law of God therefore he must be God

If Jesus is not God he can not overrule the law of God can he? He can not annul it or set it aside can he? He can not annul or set aside the penalties and punishments that are contained with God’s law. Only God himself can do this.

Under the law of Moses if someone breaks the law of God and commits (physical) adultery he,she or they must be punished with death. Am I not right? God has declared this in his law and it can not be changed. Only God himself could set aside the punishment if he willed to do so but no one but God himself could act with God’s authority and set aside the punishment.

Jesus however does exactly this in the case of the woman who was taken in the act of adultery. In my view this is an insurmountable proof that he is Jehovah because he declares himself to be Lord over the law of Jehovah by setting it aside in the case of this woman.

John 8 v 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

We see here, in my view, that Jesus does what only God can do. He sets aside the penalty of God’s law. He made the law of God null and void in the case of this woman.

He proves he is Jehovah because he sets aside the law of Jehovah purely on his own authority and will: “Neither do I condemn thee”.

If Jesus says “neither do I condemn thee”, then that person represented by the personal pronoun “I” can only be Jehovah God himself. Only God himself can overrule his own law and make it null and void by setting aside the penalty it demands.

If the law condemns someone for a trespass it means that God himself condemns that person for that trespass and demands whatever punishment he has laid down. So Jesus can not say “neither do I condemn thee” and let that person free if he is not Jehovah himself.

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In memory of Jolin Smith and her unborn child; both killed for the honour of an Islamic family

22 year old Jolin Smith was stabbed to death in Wiesbaden on the fifth of February 2014 in Germany by the father of her unborn child because she refused to agree to an abortion. The family of her former boyfriend pressured her to abort the child but she refused. She was looking forward with joyful expectancy to the birth of her first child.

What kind of a sick human being would do this? Her killer is an Afghan refugee in an Islamic family. He has since been convicted to “life” imprisonment, which means 15 years in Germany. The judge allowed extenuous circumstances because of the pressure of the family on the killer. The judged saw this as exerting a compelling pressure on him to kill his former girlfriend. This reduced his guilt in the eyes of this judge. Otherwise he could have served a longer sentence.

As a non-Muslim she was good enough to be his sex-slave and whore. As long as she stayed within this role she was ok. As the mother of his child she was a stain on his and his family’s honour and he did not accept this. She would never have been acceptable to his family as the wife of their son and she did not love him anyway so it seems. Added to this was her resolve not to become a Muslim or bring her child up as a Muslim. All taken together this was her death sentence. He threatened her but she resolved to be a single mother and do the best she could. This freedom was incompatible with the honour of his family and so a mother and child were put death in a bloody and gruesome fashion to restore the honour of an Islamic family.

This is my tribute and memorial to Jolin Smith. It’s sad that Islam creates and solves it problems in this way.

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