Christian Scripture Indicates that Christ is a Messenger of God (and not his son)

Translated by : A.J. Kassem

   When one examines the different books in the Bible that Christians refer to when claiming that Christ is the son of God, we don’t find anything that contributes to this understanding.

Although we can find different derivatives of the term “father” in the New Testament, several languages use this term to describe the caretaker of one’s affairs as a metaphor for this relationship, as God has been quoted numerous times as saying that all of mankind are his sons.

For example, in Exodus 22:4, God is quoted as saying, “Then say to Pharaoh, “This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son”.  Israel was another name for Jacob, not for Jesus.

The disciples were encouraged to be “children of God” in Mathew 45:5, “That you may be children of your Father in heaven”.  Therefore, if some Christians believe that Jesus should be considered the offspring of the Exalted Creator because he is called the son of God in the Bible, then they should also consider everyone else who has been referred to in the same way as other offspring.

Jesus was quoted in John 20:17 as saying, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Jesus’ referring to his disciples as his brothers supports the fact that the terms son and sons of God are used in the different versions of the Bible in the metaphorical sense only and his reference to the Lord as “my God and your God” shows that he is also a creation and not the actual offspring of the Exalted Creator.

Secondly, regarding the quote of Jesus in John 14:9, “Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?”, it’s intended meaning can be understood to be that whoever accepts my message has believed in God, or whoever has witnessed the miracles that I have come with has witnessed the power of God.  This is another example of the usage of metaphorical language in scripture.

To further illustrate this point, consider the following quote of Jesus in John 17: 20-23:

"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--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

 

After considering the above examples, it should be clear that the oneness and unity referred to in the New Testament are not those of a physical nature nor an expression of personal identity.  They are, in fact, a oneness and unity of faith and purpose. For, if they were of a physical and personal nature, then devout Christians would be obligated to profess the divinity of many persons, not just Jesus.  This would be a clear violation of the essence of monotheism just as the worship of any prophet, messenger, man, or woman as a god is.

 

Furthermore, if Jesus really was a God to be worshipped as some followers of the Bible claim, then he would have made this abundantly clear during his life and that would have been reflected in what remains of the Bible, the teachings of his students, and prophecies in previous scriptures.  The reality is that he never made such claims and specified the exact opposite, that he is a human.  Consider what he is quoted as saying in John 8:28: “"When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”  Note that he is quoted as referring to himself as the son of man and God as the Father, not my father.  Also, the statement, “I do nothing on my own” is the exactly opposite description of the omnipotent Creator.  It is the description of a creation that is born and dies.  If we were to understand the translated term, father, in its metaphorical sense, then “I speak what the father has taught me” is the description of a prophet and messenger, not that of a deity.

 

In Mark 9:37, Jesus is quoted as saying, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." This is a clear reference to the fact that he is, indeed a prophet and messenger sent by God and not a God himself.
 
God is quoted as saying in Isaiah 42:1, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.”.  There could not be a clearer biblical statement expressing the relationship of the Creator to His messengers than this one.  Jesus is being described as a servant, which is not a description of an all-powerful being.  The spirit that is referred to is that of his archangel, Gabriel, the same one that communicated with and aided all messengers.

 

Similarly, in Acts 2:22, Peter is quoted as saying, “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man sent by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.”  This is another statement mentioning the mortality of Jesus and his human nature by one of his most famous disciples and a clear elucidation that is God who makes everything happen through his wisdom and power, while human beings are only vessels that operate with His permission, even the messengers.

 

In Psalms 2:7-8, Jesus is quoted as saying, “I will proclaim the LORD's decree: He said to me, "You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”  The fact that the word “today” is present in the translation indicates that the father/son relationship is metaphorical for preference and guidance, not for actual conception.  The command to “ask me” confirms the relationship of Jesus, the prophet, to his Creator and Sustainer, because a god would not have to ask anyone for anything.

 

In John 3:2, a Jewish man comes to Jesus and describes him as a man who has received revelation and miracles from God, saying, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”  Jesus is referred to as “rabbi”, which is a term for the learned religious men among the Jews.  He is referred to as a teacher whom God has sent with a mission, i.e., a prophet and messenger.

 

In Luke, 6:12, we find the narration that, “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”  Praying to God is an act that the prophets and pious people engage in out of love, devotion, and awe for their creator.  They beg him for his mercy and favors and ask for his forgiveness and guidance. 

 

The correct understanding of the descriptions of Jesus in the New Testament is that he is one of the greatest prophets and messengers.  His conception without a father was a sign of the power of God to create what he wills when and how he wills.  His mission to the Children of Israel was to bring them back to the worship of their creator in obedience and graciousness to other people and creations.  The greatest sin in God’s eyes is to attribute to him a partner from his creation, as that partner will inevitably be flawed, finite and in need of his Sustainer. The relationship of Jesus and all other prophets to God is that of creation to creator. They were entrusted with the message to mankind for them to relinquish all arrogance, evil, and aspirations that do not please the Almighty. We should consider their message and not turn away from them nor worship them directly, as they were only messengers and warners and could not know anything or perform miracles without God’s grace and permission.

 

In conclusion, I leave you with the meaning of the words of the Creator, “O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah (God) except the truth. Jesus, the Messiah, son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” (Quran 4:171).





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