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Response to Sam Shamoun on his article “ Lukan Christology Preexistence, More evidence for the Deity of Christ from the third Gospel”
By Ahmed Eldin
You can find his article here: http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/luke_preexistence.htm
In this article, you will find out that Shamoun make his own “theological” conclusion without the supporting of the words of Jesus Christ. Hardly he quotes the so-called “words of Jesus” and when he does that he twist the words and gives a total different meaning. Let us see and expose once again his deceit method.
The purpose of this article is to supplement my discussion on Luke’s Christology (*), whether Luke believed that Jesus already was or only became God’s Son during his virginal conception. Here, I intend to provide further evidence that Luke believed that Jesus is a preexistent Divine Being who came down from heaven.
Shamoun intend to show us that Luke believed Jesus was preexistent Divine Being who came down from heaven and that he will provide EVIDENCE for that . Let us see if he really provided any evidence that Jesus is divine being.
Luke records Zechariah’s prayer where he speaks of God visiting his people to redeem and further mentions the sunrise or anatole who visits from on high:
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people (hoti epeskepsato kai epoieesen lutrosin to lao autou) and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, … And you, child [John the Baptist], will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high (epeskepsato hemas anatole ek hypsos) to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’" Luke 1:68-69, 76-79
Where is the evidence that Jesus is a divine being? Shamoun must realize the metaphoric way of speech that Jews spoke in those days. God visited people and redeem them by his Prophets and messengers. Beside that, the quotation that Shamoun posted was not about Jesus only but concerns John the babtist and the prophets. Let us read in context:
57. Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
58. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
59. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
60. And his mother answered and said, Not so ; but he shall be called John.
61. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
62. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
63. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
64. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed , and he spake, and praised God.
65. And fear came on
all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad
throughout all the hill country of
66. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.
67. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
68. Blessed be the
Lord God of
69. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
70. As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
71. That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
73. The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
74. That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
76. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
77. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
78. Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
79. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
80. And the child
grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his
You see now why Shamoun did not want to post the context. The verses referred not only to John the Baptist but concern also that he will give knowledge of salvation which was not a sole habit of Jesus but in general a habit of the prophets. (As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began)
The word translated as sunrise, anatole, literally means rising such as in the rising of the sun. By extension it can also refer to the rising of a plant since the Greek version of the OT, otherwise known as the Septuagint (LXX), used this precise word to translate the Hebrew tsemach or Branch, an OT title for the coming Davidic Messiah:
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up to
David a righteous branch (anatoleen dikaian), and a king shall
reign and understand, and shall execute judgment and righteousness on the
earth. In his days both
Hear now, Joshua the high priest, you and your neighbors that are sitting before you—for they are diviners; for behold, I bring forth My servant The Branch (anatoleen). For as for the stone which I have set before the face of Joshua, on the one stone are seven eyes: behold, I am digging a trench, says the Lord Almighty, and I will search out all the iniquity of that land in one day. Zechariah 3:8-9 (Source)
and you shall say to him, Thus says the Lord Almighty; Behold the man whose name is The Branch (anatole); and He shall spring up from His stem, and build the house of the Lord. And He shall receive power, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and there shall be a priest on His right hand, and a peaceable counsel shall be between them both. Zechariah 6:12-13 (Source)
Where is the evidence that Jesus is a divine being? Because he called a branch? Is this an evidence of his Deity? Of course not! Sam Claims that God said “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up to David a righteous branch” God WILL RAISE the Jesus NOT vice versa. So who is the real God ? God raised Jesus as righteous branch. This is evidence that Jesus is inferior to God Almighty. Sam quotes “I bring forth My servant The Branch”. So Jesus is also a SERVANT of God Almighty. Is that also an evidence of his Deity? Of course not, it is an evidence that Jesus is inferior to God therefore he cannot be God. Sam quotes “Behold the man whose name is The Branc” Jesus clearly is A MAN and NOT God Almighty. Shamouns arguments backfire to him in a unique manner.
Here is how the Jews explained the foregoing texts (all bold and capital emphasis ours):
… ‘Behold the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for
David a righteous Messiah, and he shall reign as king, and prosper, and
shall enact a righteous and Meritorious law in the land. In his days they of
the house of
Say unto him: Thus says the Lord of Hosts saying: ‘Be hold the man whose
name is "The Messiah." He is destined to be revealed and to be
anointed, and he shall build the
R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Johanan: Three WERE CALLED BY
THE NAME OF THE holy One, blessed be He, and they are the following: The
righteous, the Messiah and
God will call the king Messiah after His own name , for it is said of
the king Messiah This is his name whereby he shall be called: The Lord our
righteousness (Jer. 23:6). (The Midrash on Psalms, William G.
Braude, Translator (
The Rabbis say, "This King Messiah, if he is from the living, his name
Where is the evidence that Jesus is a divine being? Analyze word by word the words of the Jews above and tell me where they say that Jesus is God or where it says that the Messiah is God? Simply nowhere!
The above shows that Luke’s readers, who were familiar with the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, would have seen a connection with Luke’s anatole and the Messianic Branch referred to in the OT. Luke’s audience would have concluded that the visiting anatole refers to the coming Davidic Messiah, whom Luke has already identified as Jesus:
"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of
Again, where is the evidence that Jesus is God? Luke 1:26-35 describe the story that angel Gabriel visit the Virgin Mary to announce her glad tiding of a holy son. Jesus described as the son of God like other biblical prophets called sons of God (Luke 3:38, Genesis 6:2, 4, Exodus 4:22, Jeremiah 31:9, Psalms 2:7, Romans 8:14).
What makes this all the more interesting is the fact that the anatole is said to be visiting from on high, meaning from heaven, which suggests that this entity is coming down from heaven. That this is a heavenly visitant can be seen from how the phrase "from on high" is used in the following passage:
"And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high (ek hypsos)." Luke 24:49
The power that Jesus says would come from on high refers to the promise of the Father to send the Holy Spirit:
"In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus
began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given
commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he
presented himself alive after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them
during forty days and speaking about the
"Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing." Acts 2:30-33
Thus, the power that the apostles were to receive from on high refers to the Holy Spirit’s descent upon them from the very presence of the Father out of heaven:
"But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me." John 15:26
The Septuagint uses the phrase in a similar manner:
And the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of His anger. He sent from above (ek hypsous) and took me; He drew me out of many waters 2 Samuel 22:16-17 (Source)
For He has looked out from the height of His sanctuary (ek hypsous hagiou autou); the Lord looked upon the earth from heaven (ek ouranou); Psalm 101:20 [Hebrew: 102:19] (Source)
MEM. He has sent fire from His lofty habitation (ek hypsous autou), He has brought it into my bones: He has spread a net for my feet, He has turned me back: He has made me desolate and mourning all the day. Lamentations 1:13 (Source)
The foregoing helps us see that, by saying that the anatole visits from on high, Luke intended to communicate to his readers that the Messiah is a heavenly figure, a being that comes down out of heaven to visit the people. To put it another away, the Messiah according to Luke isn’t merely a human figure but a preexistent heavenly Being that came down to be conceived from the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit in order to receive a human nature
Irrelevant points. Again, where is the evidence that Shamoun promised us to show the Divinity of Jesus? Simply NOWHERE! All the quotations that Shamoun brings up speak about God NOT Jesus. Shamoun then gives his own explanation that according to Luke Messiah isn’t merely a human figure. Well, Shamoun failed badly to show proofs and evidence about the Messiah being a Divine. Even if Jesus is a preexistent heavenly being that does not make him God. Either, Shamoun did not provide evidence, only self-explanations and conclusions.
Moreover, elsewhere in Luke’s Gospel Jesus is identified as the one who
comes to redeem God’s people, specifically
"Now there was a man in
"That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about
seven miles from
"And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good
news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this
day in the city of
"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10
"God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior,
to give repentance to
"Of this man's offspring God has brought to
In light of the above it is very hard not to see that Luke was portraying Jesus as the God who came to visit his people from on high in order to redeem them from their sins.
Shamoun claims that Jesus is identified as the one who comes to redeem God’s
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.( Matthew 28:18)
Is give by whom? By God. Jesus is not the owner of that power so therefore canot be God.
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.( John 4:34)
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)
So the father send Jesus right? So Jesus according to his own words is INFERIOR to GOD the Father
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. (John 13:16)
So the Father is greater than Jesus! I posted these verses to show you that whatever Jesus did and described by the NT is just a COMMAND by HIS God and never he can be in the same status as God. Jesus said that in John 13:16. Therefore, the salvation that he brought is from God. Even the title that he carries is from God.( always according to what Christians say). Also Samoun by saying “In light of the above it is very hard not to see that Luke was portraying Jesus as the God”. Indeed very funny statement. I wonder where Shamoun saw that Luke portrait Jesus as God? Or even better, Where Luke said that Jesus is God? NT also records that John the Baptist gave knowledge of salvation and how to forgive the sins of the people, so it was not only by Jesus
76. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
77. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins( Luke 1 76-77)
Luke wasn’t the only author who believed this about Christ since other NT writers taught essentially the same thing, and even used similar language to communicate the same point:
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom (lutron) for many." Mark 10:45
"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom (antilutron) for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."
"waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem (lutroseetai) us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Titus 2:13-14
In this last text, Paul identifies Jesus as the Savior God who came to redeem a people of his own. Matthew echoes Paul’s statements:
"‘She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save HIS people from their sins (autos gar sosei ton laon autou apo ton harmation auton).’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)." Matthew 1:21-23
Jesus, according to Matthew, is the God who came to be with his people in order to save them from their sins.
The verse Mark 10:45 is not an evidence for the divinity of Jesus simply because we have not such a mention. The verse Titus 2:13-14 is irrelevant because these are not the words of Jesus but Paul’s which was a false apostle, read more about Paul here:
The verse of Matthew 1:21-23 is not evidence to the divinity of Christ simply because is saying that Jesus will save the people from their sins. Jesus had this GOD-GIVEN power according to NT Matthew 28:18. Shamoun claims that according to Matthew Jesus is God, another failure by Shamoun, maybe according to him but not according to the gospel of Matthew.
There is another Lukan text which supports preexistence. In confronting the religious establishment Jesus posed a question regarding the Messiah’s ancestry:
"But he said to them, ‘How can they say that the Christ is David's son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool." David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?’" Luke 20:41-44
Here is how the Septuagint renders this particular Psalm:
The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit on My right hand, until I make your
enemies your footstool." The Lord shall send out a rod of Your strength
The Hebrew of Psalm 110:3 does not help clarify the meaning at this point since the Hebrew text is actually unclear. It is the Septuagint translation which clarifies the meaning or, at the very least, helps us understand what some Jews thought the Hebrew meant.
This may explain why the official Catholic version of the Holy Bible, the New American Bible (NAB), adopted the Septuagint reading for Psalm 110:3:
"Yours is princely power from the day of your birth. In holy splendor before the daystar, like the dew I begot you."
3  Like the dew I begot you: an adoption formula as in Psalm 2:7; 89:27-28. Before the daystar: possibly an expression for before the world began (Proverbs 8:22). (Source)
Evidently, the translators of the Septuagint believed that this text supported the view that not only was David’s Lord already existing at the time this particular Psalm was composed, but that he was also there with God before the creation of the world!
The Psalm basically concurs with the theology of the Fourth Gospel which quotes Jesus as saying:
"And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed… Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world." John 17:5, 24
With the foregoing in perspective we can more fully appreciate Jesus’ point: By appealing to this particular Psalm the Lord wanted to call attention to the fact that the Messiah is more than a human descendant of David, he is also his sovereign Lord. Moreover, the context of the Psalm provides the reason why the Messiah is David’s Lord, and therefore greater than his human ancestor; the former is a preexistent Divine figure that was there with God even before David came into being!
This is quite similar to Jesus’s claim of being greater than Abraham:
"‘Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.’ The Jews said to him, ‘Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, "If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death." Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, "He is our God." But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham came into being/existence (prin Abraam genesthai), I AM (ego eimi).’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple." John 8:51-59
Christ explains why he is greater than Abraham and how he was able to see the patriarch, despite the fact that the latter had been dead for approximately two thousand years: Jesus has always existed because, unlike Abraham who was created, he is timeless!
In a similar manner, Jesus is David’s Lord, and therefore greater than the latter, because he has existed even before the world began, implying that he is a Divine Being.
And, seeing how Psalm 109:3 speaks of the preexistence of the Messiah, it shouldn’t surprise us to find certain Church fathers quoting this particular text to support Jesus’ prehuman existence and eternal generation from the Father.
Shamoun ignore this verse from his Bible that totally destroy his argument of preexistent divine.
God Said to Jeremiah:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
So? Is now also Prophet Jeremiah God because he preexisted as a prophet? I would love an answer from Shamoun. In John 8:51-59 Shamoun claims that Jesus claims that he is greater than Abraham is. This is a lie, where Jesus said that? Search for your own to see how Shamoun lied by putting to the mouth of Jesus false words and statements. Jesus by saying before Abraham I Am means NOTHING. In addition, Prophet Jeremiah preexisted before his birth, what does that mean? Is he God also?
The remain piece of Shamoun article is irrelevant because he quotes from sources that has nothing to do with the words and teaching of Jesus. The important points of his boring article are addressed. Shamoun failed to provide us evidence about the divinity of Christ. Try harder Sam.
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