Worshiping Jesus as God
Exposing More of Ali Ataie’s Blunders and Distortions Pt. 4
We come to the final part of our response.
Jesus as Ho Theos
Ataie claimed that the Lord Jesus is never called ho theos, “THE God,” in the God-breathed Christian Scriptures, an assertion which is easily proven false.
For example, the Gospel of Matthew begins by announcing that Jesus is Immanuel, i.e. THE God who has come to dwell with his people and to save them from their sins:
“‘She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS (Heb. Yeshua, “Yahweh Saves”), for He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this occurred to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet, saying, ‘A virgin shall be with child, and will bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is interpreted, ‘God with us (meth’ hemon HO theos – Lit. with us [is] THE God).’” Matthew 1:21-23
Not only does the name Immanuel identify Christ as THE God of heaven coming to dwell with his people, even the name “Jesus” points to his being God in the flesh.
As the angel’s instructions to Joseph point out, Christ is called “Jesus” (which means “Yahweh is salvation”) because he himself is Yahweh the God of Israel coming to do what the Hebrew Bible says only Yahweh is capable of doing, namely, redeem his covenant community from all their sins:
“If you, O Lord, should keep track of iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? For there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared… Let Israel wait for the Lord! For mercy is found with the Lord; with Him is great redemption. He shall redeem Israel from all their iniquities.” Psalm 130:3-4, 7-8
That the Evangelist intended to identify Christ as ho Theos or “THE God” can be readily seen from the way this Gospel ends:
“‘teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I AM with you (ego meth' hymon eimi) always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:20
Matthew concludes his inspired writing in the same way he began it, namely, by affirming that it is Jesus himself who is THE God that has come to dwell with all his followers till the very end of time!
This isn’t the only time in the Gospel where Jesus promises to be present with his people:
“For where two or three are assembled in My name, there I am in their midst.” Matthew 18:20
Now the only way that Christ can be personally present with all of the disciples at the same time is if he is omnipresent. And yet for the Lord to be omnipresent he must be God Incarnate (though not the Father or the Holy Spirit) since God alone is omnipresent.
Matthew isn’t the only inspired writer and/or disciple to describe Jesus as ho Theos. Luke has the Apostle Paul referring to Jesus as THE God who purchased the Church with his very blood, an explicit affirmation of the two natures of Christ, commonly referred to as the Hypostatic Union:
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to the entire flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God (tou Theou) which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28
Elsewhere in his epistles, the blessed Paul speaks of Christ as THE great God and Savior of all believers, he who has come to redeem a people for himself, and whose second coming they all hope for and eagerly anticipate:
“as we await the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (tou megalou theou kai soteros hemon ‘Iesou Christou – Lit. THE great God and Savior of us Jesus Christ), who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for Himself a special people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13-14
The Apostle Peter is another disciple who identifies Jesus as THE God and Savior that has granted saving faith to all those who trust in him:
“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (TOU theou hemon kai soteros ‘Iesou Christou – Lit. THE God of us and Savior Jesus Christ).” 2 Peter 1:1
In both of the above texts, the Apostles employ a Greek linguistic feature commonly referred to as a Granville Sharp construction. The following textual note explains the significance of this construction, especially as it relates to affirming the essential Deity of the Lord Jesus:
20 tn The terms “God and Savior” both refer to the same person, Jesus Christ. This is one of the clearest statements in the NT concerning the deity of Christ. The construction in Greek is known as the Granville Sharp rule, named after the English philanthropist-linguist who first clearly articulated the rule in 1798. Sharp pointed out that in the construction article-noun-καί-noun (where καί [kai] = “and”), when two nouns are singular, personal, and common (i.e., not proper names), they always had the same referent. Illustrations such as “the friend and brother,” “the God and Father,” etc. abound in the NT to prove Sharp’s point. The only issue is whether terms such as “God” and “Savior” could be considered common nouns as opposed to proper names. Sharp and others who followed (such as T. F. Middleton in his masterful The Doctrine of the Greek Article) demonstrated that a proper name in Greek was one that could not be pluralized. Since both “God” (θεός, qeos) and “savior” (σωτήρ, swthr) were occasionally found in the plural, they did not constitute proper names, and hence, do fit Sharp’s rule. Although there have been 200 years of attempts to dislodge Sharp’s rule, all attempts have been futile. Sharp’s rule stands vindicated after all the dust has settled. For more information on Sharp’s rule see ExSyn 270-78, esp. 276. See also 2 Pet 1:1 and Jude 4. (NETbible.org; bold emphasis ours)
For an in-depth discussion of these texts, and for the proof that they all identify Jesus as ho Theos, we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:
James R. White, Granville Sharp's Rule: Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1
Daniel B. Wallace, Sharp Redivivus? - A Reexamination of the Granville Sharp Rule
Robert Hommel, Romans 9:5
Hommel, 2 Peter 1:1
This should sufficiently put to rest Ataie’s claim that the NT never identifies the Lord Jesus as ho Theos.