Thanks to Muslim apologist Paul Williams for providing the following quotation from liberal critical NT scholar Professor Dale Martin in one of Williams’ blog posts titled, “Did Jesus Think He was God?” (February 1, 2019 https://bloggingtheology2.com/2019/02/01/did-jesus-think-he-was-god/). All capital emphasis is mine:
“Contemporary Jewish texts do hint at how HIS DISCIPLES later elevated him to divine status BY CONNECTING HIM TO THAT KIND OF DIVINE MESSIANIC TRADITION. When his disciples came to believe he was raised from the dead they put that together and said that he has [sic] a divine Messiah and therefore the Son of God that can be thought of as God himself.
“We do have Jewish texts from before and around Jesus time that depict the Jewish king or a son of man or messiah figure as a son of God, as begotten of God, AND EVEN ADDRESSED AS GOD. Certain songs, later Greek translations of those Psalms, a text or two from the Dead Sea scrolls and other Second Temple Jewish literature, rarely, BUT DO INDEED DEPICT A DIVINE MESSIAH, though one certainly subordinate to God himself. ‘Son of God’ itself need not have meant divine status. Jewish readers of the songs would have seen the human king called ‘Son of God’ without necessarily taking that to mean those kings were actually divine in the way Zeus or Augustus were said to be Gods.
“As in Egyptian and Mesopotamian texts, the Hebrew Bible calls the Jewish king, ‘son of god.’ The Jewish king may or may not have been thought to be a god. Isaiah 9:6 CALLS THE FUTURE ESCHATOLOGICAL KING THE ‘Mighty God’—a title whose meaning is not explained in the text. The Greek translation of Psalm 110 (109 in the Greek Psalter) expresses the idea of the ‘rightful king’s’ PREEXISTENCE. The ‘Son of Man’ in the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch 37–71) is described in language which is heavily influenced by the ‘Son of Man’ in Daniel 7. HE IS PREEXISTENT AND, LIKE GOD, HE SITS ON A THRONE OF GLORY AND JUDGES—TRAITS THAT MAY SUGGEST HIS DIVINITY.
“In another apocalyptic book of the period, 4 Ezra, chapter 13 speaks of a future Davidic ruler who IS BOTH HEAVENLY AND PREEXISTENT. Thus, BOTH the Hebrew Scriptures and early Jewish literature contribute to the view that the future eschatological leader (the Messiah) IS BOTH PREEXISTENT AND DIVINE, although these texts speak of him in other ways as well. The Dead Sea Scroll fragment, 4Q246, refers to a figure with the words ‘Son of God he shall be called, and they will name him “Son of the Most High.”’”
Pay careful attention to Martin’s candid admission that, as a result of their belief in Christ’s physical resurrection, Jesus’ own disciples proclaimed that he was/is a divine Messiah, being the Son of God in such a unique way that he could be thought of as God himself!
We are now going to cite the OT passages that Martin referenced, and then see how the Gospels employ them, starting with Daniel 7:13-14 and the Greek version of Psalm 110:1-4 (109 in the Greek):
Chapter 32. Trypho objecting that Christ is described as glorious by Daniel, Justin distinguishes two advents… In order, therefore, that the matter inquired into may be plainer to you, I will mention to you other words also spoken by the blessed David, from which you will perceive that the Lord is called the Christ by the Holy Spirit of prophecy; and that the Lord, the Father of all, has brought Him again from the earth, setting Him at His own right hand, until He makes His enemies His footstool; which indeed happens from the time that our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, after He rose again from the dead, the times now running on to their consummation… The words, then, which were spoken by David, are these: ‘The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Sion: rule also in the midst of Your enemies. With You shall be, in the day, the chief of Your power, in the beauties of Your saints. From the womb, before the morning star, have I begotten You. The Lord has sworn, and will not repent: You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord is at Your right hand: He has crushed kings in the day of His wrath: He shall judge among the heathen, He shall fill [with] the dead bodies. He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall He lift up the head.’ (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/01283.htm; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Chapter 63. It is proved that this God was incarnate… And then, what is said by David, ‘In the splendours of Your holiness have I begotten You from the womb, before the morning star. The Lord has sworn, and will not repent, You are a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek,’ — does this not declare to you that [He was] from of old, and that the God and Father of all things intended Him to be begotten by a human womb? And speaking in other words, which also have been already quoted, [he says]: ‘Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of rectitude is the sceptre of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hast hated iniquity: therefore God, even your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows. [He has anointed You] with myrrh, and oil, and cassia from Your garments, from the ivory palaces, whereby they made You glad. Kings’ daughters are in Your honour. The queen stood at Your right hand, clad in garments embroidered with gold. Hearken, O daughter, and behold, and incline your ear, and forget your people and the house of your father; and the King shall desire your beauty: because he is your Lord, and you shall worship Him.’ Therefore these words testify explicitly that He is witnessed to by Him who established these things, as deserving to be worshipped, as God and as Christ. Moreover, that the word of God speaks to those who believe in Him as being one soul, and one synagogue, and one church, as to a daughter; that it thus addresses the church which has sprung from His name and partakes of His name (for we are all called Christians), is distinctly proclaimed in like manner in the following words, which teach us also to forget [our] old ancestral customs, when they speak thus: ‘Hearken, O daughter, and behold, and incline your ear; forget your people and the house of your father, and the King shall desire your beauty: because He is your Lord, and you shall worship Him.’” (Ibid. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/01285.htm; bold and underline emphasis ours)
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
According to these OT texts, the Messiah was begotten by God before creation, i.e. before the morning star, rides the clouds of heaven (which is a uniquely divine function), and is the eternal King with an indestructible kingdom whom all the nations are supposed to worship.
And now check out the way Jesus uses these verses:
“While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, ‘How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.’” David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?’ And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.” Mark 12:35-37
“Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’ But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,” and “coming with the clouds of heaven.”’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?’ All of them condemned him as deserving death.” Mark 14:60-64
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’” Matthew 19:28
“‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by MY Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.’” Matthew 25:31-46, 26:1-2
“For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.” Luke 17:24-25
“Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory… Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:27, 36
“The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him… and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” John 5:22-23, 27
Jesus Christ claims to be the very Son of Man that shall sit on a glorious throne to judge and rule all the nations, being the Lord of king David who is enthroned at the right hand of God.
The next text we will look at is the one where the Messiah is described as the Mighty God in the flesh:
“But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined… For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God (El Gibbor), Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7
Contrary to Martin, we do know what the title “Mighty God” means, since this exact name appears in the very next chapter:
“On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on the one who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God (El Gibbor).” Isaiah 10:20-21
It is Jehovah who is the Mighty God!
And since Isaiah plainly teaches that there are no other gods besides Jehovah,
“You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” Isaiah 43:10
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be. Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.” Isaiah 44:6-8
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me,” Isaiah 45:5 – cf. vv. 21-22; 46:9
This means that the Messiah is Jehovah God who comes to be born as a male child in order to reign over David’s throne forever!
And here’s how the Gospels interpret this prophecy:
“Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.’ From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” Matthew 4:12-17
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.’” Luke 1:26-35
Not only does Matthew directly cite a section of the passage, Luke also alludes to this specific promise in narrating the angel Gabriel’s annunciation of the Messiah’s birth to Mary.
The foregoing highlights that Jesus and his followers proclaimed that Christ is the fulfillment of all those OT texts that prophesied that the Messiah is a preexistent heavenly, divine Being who becomes flesh, and who is therefore identical to God in some sense.
And yet all of this contradicts the Quran, which teaches that all the disciples were Muslims,
And when I inspired the disciples, (saying): Believe in Me and in My messenger, they said: We believe. Bear witness that we have surrendered (unto Thee) “we are muslims”. S. 5:111 Pickthall – cf. Q. 3:52
And that God does not allow himself to be born,
He begetteth not nor was begotten. S. 112:3 Pickthall
Nor has a son who shares in his worship and sovereignty over all creation:
He unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, He hath chosen no son nor hath He any partner in the Sovereignty. He hath created everything and hath meted out for it a measure. S. 25:2 Pickthall
Say (O Muhammad): If the Beneficent One hath a son, then, I shall be first among the worshippers. (But there is no son). S. 43:81 Pickthall
Therefore, what all this boils down to is that, according to another hostile NT scholar and critic of Christianity, Muhammad was a false prophet for contradicting the beliefs and message of Jesus’ own disciples who not only proclaimed that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, but also preached that he is the preexistent divine Son of God who could be thought of as God himself!
Unless noted otherwise, all scriptural citations taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Holy Bible.