Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Even the Demons Know that Jesus is God Incarnate And Tremble!

Part 2

Sam Shamoun

We proceed with our discussion.

Christ’s absolute dominance over the kingdom of darkness is further seen in his ability to grant his disciples and all those that believe in him the authority to perform mighty miracles and exorcisms in his name:

“And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:” Mark 3:13-15

“And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; and commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” Mark 6:7-13

“And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out IN THY NAME, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle IN MY NAME, that can lightly speak evil of me.” Mark 9:38-39 – cf. Luke 9:49-50

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through THY NAME. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I GIVE UNTO YOU POWER to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20

“ And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” Acts 4:29-30

“And there he found a certain man named Æneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, Æneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.” Acts 9:33-35

“And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: the same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” Acts 16:16-18

To say that this is absolutely remarkable is to put it mildly, especially when we consider the fact that there is not a single example in the entire Holy Bible where a person performed a miracle or cast out an evil spirit by invoking the name of a mighty angel or prophet like Moses. Miracles are carried out in the power and authority of Yahweh alone, and yet Jesus gave his followers the power to do signs and wonders in his name!

And the disciples did just that, namely, perform supernatural signs and wonders, as well as exorcisms, in the glorious and majestic name of their risen Lord and Savior.

Hence, the NT depicts Jesus as being able to perform the exact same kind of works which God alone performs, and of receiving the exact same reaction from demons which God receives. This leaves absolutely no doubt that the inspired Scriptures plainly testify that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, being the divine Son of God who is personally and eternally distinct from both the Father and the Holy Spirit.


What about Jesus being tempted by the devil?

One major argument that anti-Trinitarians raise to cast doubts on Christ’s essential Deity is the temptation in the wilderness where the evil one tempted the Lord Jesus for a period of forty days (cf. Mark 1:13; Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1). They argue that the last thing Satan would try and do is tempt Jesus if he thought Christ was/is God. Instead he would have been trembling before the presence of Jesus, or so they contend.

This objection, however, no more disproves Jesus’ Godhood than Satan enticing Yahweh in heaven to permit him to come up against Job disproves Yahweh’s essential Deity. Note, for instance, what the following passage says:

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me (wattasiteni) against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Job 2:1-10 – cf. 1:6-22

Satan appears before God in heaven itself in order to get him to attack Job. The word, which God employed to describe what Satan did in causing him to allow him to come up against Job, is used of the devil in one other reference:

“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked (wayyaset) David to number Israel.” 1 Chronicles 21:1

The above verse uses a word to describe Satan provoking David to perform an action, which God deemed to be sinful, that comes from the same root as the term found in Job 2:3, i.e., suth (*, *).

Hence, just as Satan moved David to do something contrary to God’s will, the enemy also moved God to allow the evil one to test Job.

Therefore, if Satan could dare approach God in his heavenly glory without any trembling or fear, then why would it come as a shock to see him coming up against Christ when he was in the world seeing that the Lord was experiencing genuine human weakness and frailty during this time?

If anything, it actually makes much more sense for the evil one to want to confront Christ while he was on earth as a flesh and blood human being, than to go before God in his heavenly glory in order to try and entice him to do something in Satan’s favor.

Besides, all three Gospel accounts testify that it was the Spirit who deliberately drove Christ into the wilderness to face the tempter:

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Matthew 4:1

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered… And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.” Luke 4:1-2, 13-14

This plainly shows that it was God’s express purpose for his beloved Son to confront the evil one while being at his physically weakest in order to demonstrate just how vastly superior and more powerful Christ happens to truly be. I.e. even during his weakest physical state the Lord Jesus is still too much for the devil to try and handle!

Now it seems that the reason why Satan didn’t/doesn’t tremble before the presence of God and Christ is because he must have been told that he wouldn’t be destroyed right away, but has a certain amount of time before God condemns him to hell (cf. Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:3-17; 20:1-3, 7-10). The devil, therefore, boldly goes before Yahweh, having the assurance that God will not harm him until the appointed time.

Finally, both Matthew and Mark mention the fact of angels immediately coming to minister to Christ after having successfully overcome the evil one and driving him away:

“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Matthew 4:10-11

“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.” Mark 1:12-13

Not only was Jesus served by angels, he even lived among the wild beasts in the desert and yet experienced absolutely no harm! Noted Evangelical scholar Robert H. Gundry explains:

“… Mark’s repeating the theme of wilderness calls attention to Jesus’ being alone there with Satan, wild beasts, and angels. That Satan ‘the ruler of the demons’ according to 3:22, tempts Jesus as long as forty days constitutes a backhanded acknowledgment of Jesus as God’s beloved Son. Satan can’t afford to ignore Jesus. The content of Satan’s prolonged temptation gets no mention. Neither does Jesus’ resisting temptation. So Satan’s backhanded acknowledgement of Jesus makes up Mark’s one and only point. Mark doesn’t say that the wild beasts were with Jesus; rather Jesus was with them–in their territory. Yet even there he suffered no harm from them, not even an attack. Their passivity gives eloquent witness to his being the stronger one who John predicted was coming. And for forty days angels serve Jesus. The verb for serving usually means to serve food. By such service the angels acknowledge Jesus’ status as the beloved Son of God. Furthermore, by serving him food the angels show him to be superior to the Baptist, who had to forage for himself in the wilderness. All in all, then, Jesus receives a backhanded such acknowledgment from the demonic real, a pacifistic such acknowledgment from the wild kingdom, and a ministerial such acknowledgement from the angelic world.” (Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation [Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI 2010], p. 139; bold emphasis ours)

The Gospels indicate that the reason why the angels came to serve Christ is because he is the unique Son of God and divine Son of Man who has complete charge over them:

“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of HIS Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38 – cf. Matthew 16:27; Luke 9:26

“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send HIS angels, and shall gather together HIS elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” Mark 13:26-27 – cf. Matthew 24:30-31

The Son of man shall send forth HIS angels, and they shall gather out of HIS kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:41-42

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and ALL the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of MY Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” Matthew 25:31-34

This also explains why the angels are seen ministering to the Son similar to the way in which they serve Yahweh God:

“Bless the Lord, ye HIS angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.” Psalm 103:20-21

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9-10

“who maketh HIS angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:” Psalm 104:4 – cf. Hebrews 1:7

Since he is the divine Son who is coequal with the Father in essence and glory, he is therefore worthy of the same worship and service which the Father receives from his creatures.

No wonder the demons responded to Jesus in the same exact way that James 2:19 says they respond to God, e.g., with great fear and trembling. These unclean spirits realized that the One standing before them was/is none other than the unique Son of God and the divine Son of Man who shall destroy them on the day when he comes to judge the world in order to repay everyone according to what they have earned:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass… and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:18, 23b

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the lastI Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star… He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:12-13, 16, 20-21

All Scriptural quotations taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.