Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Divine Messiah Revisited

Even More OT Proof for the Messiah’s Godhead Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun


Who Justifies and Saves?

Continuing from where we left off, we now turn our attention to what the inspired Scriptures proclaim concerning the issue of salvation.


God Alone Justifies and Saves

The Holy Bible teaches that Yahweh God redeems his people from their sins and forgives them:

“If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared… Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” Psalm 130:3-4, 7-8

It also states quite plainly that Yahweh is the only God who can actually save and justify, or declare and make a person righteous. He therefore desires the entire inhabited earth to turn to him in order to receive his salvation. 

“Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Isaiah 45:21-25

“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” 1 Timothy 4:10

And because Yahweh alone is able to save and make people righteous, he himself has personally provided salvation for mankind by his own power and strength:

“… and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was NO MAN, and wondered that there was NO INTERCESSOR: therefore HIS ARM brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.” Isaiah 59:15b-18

“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress ALONE; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was NONE to help; and I wondered that there was NONE to uphold: therefore MINE OWN ARM brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.” Isaiah 63:1-6


The Messiah Justifies and Saves

At the same time, however, the prophetic writings bear witness to the fact that it is the Messiah who shall bring God’s salvation to the ends of the earth,

“Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; and said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God. And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.” Isaiah 49:1-7

And that he is the One who will actually justify or declare and make many individuals righteous, as well make intercession for sinners,

“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:11-12

All of which Yahweh alone is supposed to do since there is no one capable of redeeming the life of a single individual, let alone a host of human beings:

“No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—so that they should live on forever and not see decay… But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself.” Psalm 49:7-9, 15 New International Version (NIV)

How, then, could the prophets claim that the Messiah is able to save and justify anyone if he is nothing more than a mere human?

The answer is that according to the prophetic witness the Deliverer that was to come isn’t simply a man; rather, he is also a fully divine Being who shares in the identity of the One God who sends him, just as the following OT texts confirm:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God (El Gibbor), The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 – cf. 10:20-21; 25:1; 28:29; 57:15-16; 63:16; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 24:8; Jeremiah 32:18

Here the Messiah is said to be the Mighty God who condescends to be born as a human child in order to sit over David’s throne forever. What makes this a rather remarkable prophecy is that the phrase “Mighty God” is applied to Yahweh himself in the very next chapter!

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God (El Gibbor).” Isaiah 10:20-21

Just as remarkable is this next passage:

“Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is HIS NAME by which HE SHALL BE CALLED: Yahweh our righteousness.” Jeremiah 23:5-6 World English Bible (WEB)

The Davidic King bears the very name of Israel’s God, obviously because he shares in the identity of God himself, which is why he is able to save and justify his people!

In light of the fact that the Messiah is called the Mighty God and Yahweh our righteousness as an indication of his nature and characteristics, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to read what the prophet Micah wrote concerning his activities:

“But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” Micah 5:2-4

God’s anointed Ruler has been active from the very beginning since he comes from everlasting or eternity itself, which makes absolute sense. After all, the Messiah must be eternal in nature if he is going to be the Mighty God and Yahweh our righteousness in the flesh.

Finally, not only did Isaiah prophecy that the Messiah would be the Mighty God he even identified him as Yahweh’s own Arm which Yahweh employs whenever he chooses to act all alone, without the assistance of any of his creatures: 

“The Lord hath made bare HIS HOLY ARM in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God… Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: so shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. Who hath believed our report? and to whom IS THE ARM OF THE LORD REVEALED? For HE shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: HE hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see HIM, there is no beauty that we should desire HIM. HE is despised and rejected of men; a MAN of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from HIM; HE was despised, and we esteemed HIM not. Surely HE hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But HE was wounded for our transgressions, HE was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon HIM; and with HIS stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on HIM the iniquity of us all. HE was oppressed, and HE was afflicted, yet HE opened not HIS mouth: HE is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so HE openeth not HIS mouth. HE was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare HIS generation? for HE was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was HE stricken. And HE made HIS grave with the wicked, and with the rich in HIS death; because HE had done no violence, neither was any deceit in HIS mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise HIM; he hath put HIM to grief: when thou shalt make HIS soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong HIS days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in HIS hand.” Isaiah 52:10, 13-15; 53:1-10

The context is crystal clear that Yahweh’s holy Arm is none other than the Servant of Yahweh whom Yahweh exalts and glorifies after first sending him to offer his life as a vicarious sacrifice for God’s people!

Therefore, since Arm here is intended to be a metaphor for God’s strength and power, which are eternal and infinite, this means that the Messiah is the incarnation of God’s eternal and infinite strength and power.

In other words, Isaiah is describing the coming Deliverer as the Almighty One that becomes/became flesh!   

With that said, we are now read to move on to the third part of our article.