Refutation: Ijaz Ahmad vs. the Prophet Zechariah!


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Anthony Rogers released a series of articles after our debate in which he had decided to forward some unfortunate, if not rather disparaging comments in the process. I’ll be carefully and honestly examining his claims and comments in my responses to him. It should be noted that he has also made a video and appeared on live television to further promote his comments. I would like to explicitly state that I discourage and remove myself from any relation to this man’s incredulous behaviour.

The Introduction.

He begins with stating:

In my recent debate with Ijaz Ahmad he made much of the fact that the Angel of the Lord in Zechariah 1:12 intercedes with the Lord for Jerusalem, something that presupposes that the two are distinct.

I did propose that YHWH and Mal’ak YHWH were two distinct individuals, something which Anthony during the debate also supposed that he was in agreement with, as stated in his thesis:

Notice that my thesis entails both the deity of the angel as well as his distinct personhood from another and or other persons in the Godhead. This means it will not be sufficient or at all relevant for my opponent to argue that the angel is distinct from Yahweh as if this somehow negates my position. In fact any good argument my opponent puts forward to prove that the angel is distinct from another person called Yahweh will receive a quick and robust ‘Amen’ from me. This also means that my opponent will necessarily either have to show that the angel is also not identified as God as I will argue or provide some way for accounting how the angel may be identified that is consistent with Unitarianism, the belief that God is only one person and the Old Testament.

From the get go, Anthony’s contradiction is clear. During the debate, he asserts that he’d be in complete agreement with me, if it is that I proved that YHWH and Mal’ak YHWH were distinct, he’d give a resounding ‘Amen‘. Now a few days later, he’s found himself arguing against his own thesis. Apparently, it’s now in his best interest to argue against his own argument, I could not have asked for a better example of inconsistency.

The Arguments.

Anthony then, proceeds onwards to argue against the fact that they are distinct:

According to Ijaz, this shows not only that a distinction obtains between the two, but that the distinction is ontological in nature, i.e. it demonstrates that the former alone is Lord and the latter is not.”

Anthony in this case, concedes that indeed they are demonstrated as being distinct from one another. Something which he refused to do during the debate. Is this perhaps an attempt at back peddling to correct his mistakes? What’s worse is that Anthony’s problem is such, that he asserts that Mal’ak YHWH is YHWH but that they are both distinct at the same time. The problem can be manifested as such-:

Argument 1:
Anthony: Mal’ak YHWH is YHWH.
Ijaz: If Mal’ak YHWH is YHWH, how are they distinct? (see: Zechariah 1).

Argument 2:
Anthony: Mal’ak YHWH is another person from YHWH.
Ijaz: If they are not the same person, how then can Mal’ak YHWH be YHWH? (see: Anthony’s first argument above).

This is a problem that Anthony can’t resolve because he’s created it  himself. So what you’re seeing in his articles, is a clearly confused individual, trying to cite as many sources as he can towards his biased position (fallacy of appeal to authority), but at the same time, contradicting his own criteria for a valid argument (following from his thesis in the debate). Let’s continue to see what other problems he has put himself in:

Although I did point out that the Angel of the Lord is also identified as Lord in His own right in Zechariah 3, and thus that “the Angel of the Lord” is the distinctive title by which this second person who is Yahweh is distinguished from the first, the title being most appropriate since He is evidently the heavenly Mediator and Messenger between God and His people, a fact that follows naturally from Zechariah1, I think much more could be and needs to be said than I communicated during the debate.

Let’s put Anthony’s statements into perspective:

  1. Mal’ak YHWH is YHWH.
  2. Mal’ak YHWH is a different person than YHWH.

The problem we see here now, is that Anthony has realised there exists an issue, that he’s arguing against himself, so he decides to reconcile this issue by stating the ‘Angel of the Lord’ is now a title, to distinguish YHWH from himself. With this in mind let’s examine Anthony’s new argument:

  1. Mal’ak YHWH is YHWH.
  2. Mal’ak YHWH is another name for the person who is the same as YHWH, but they’re different because it’s a different title.

Following his line of reasoning, every time that his God is called by a different title in the Bible, that would have to mean that it isn’t just another name for God, it’s an entirely new person into the Godhead. That would mean that Adonai is a different person to Elohim, who is a different person to Hashem Adonai who is different to Mal’ak YHWH who is different to YHWH, who is different to the ‘Messenger of the Covenant‘. If that is the case, then Anthony’s God, is beyond tri-personal, unless it is then, that he presents the case that a title isn’t always a new person in the Godhead, it’s only a new person when it suits his dogmatic agenda, in which case his argument would then be guilty of taking the form of ‘the fallacy of confirmation bias‘.

“Since this was the passage on which Ijaz drew most of his thunder, and since most people I have talked to were unimpressed with his other arguments against the deity of the Angel, particularly his failure to grapple with the lexical and scholarly evidence I provided for the fact that the word angel (mal’ak) is not restricted in meaning or use to created spirits…”

By ‘most people’ he means the two Christian Paltalk rooms which came out to support him.

The Reception of his Arguments.

On that same note to demonstrate how his supporters did not listen to his thesis, during his opening statement, we have Radical Moderate, commenting on the debate.

Topic of Debate: 
“The Old Testament Teaches that the Angel of the Lord is a Distinct, Divine Person in the Godhead.”

Anthony’s Thesis (Taken from the debate):  
“In fact any good argument my opponent puts forward to prove that the angel is distinct from another person called Yahweh will receive a quick and robust ‘Amen’ from me.”

Supporter of Anthony (Radical Moderate):
His theisis is not that the Angel of Yhahwee is distinct person from Yahweh.

So confused are the people he confesses were unimpressed by my argument, that they don’t even understand what he was arguing. No wonder they agreed with Anthony (as he claims), they’re just blindly cheerleading him onwards, while not even grasping what exactly his argument was. According to this supporter, whose comments are under all of Anthony’s posts (congratulating him, praising him, flirting with him), Anthony’s argument was against the very topic and the very thesis that Anthony used. Brilliant ‘support’, would Anthony dare criticise his fan base or choose to correct their own misunderstanding of his presentation? Anthony continues by stating:

” his failure to grapple with the lexical and scholarly evidence I provided for the fact that the word angel (mal’ak) is not restricted in meaning or use to created spirits – something that brought on the bizarre charge from Ijaz that I was the one guilty of playing word games and being unscholarly, a lapse on his part that was aggravated by the fact that he didn’t bring a single scholarly source forward to justify his repeated misuse of the term, or even for anything else that he mentioned”

To begin with, there was no need on my end to redefine the word Mal’ak and appeal to the eisegesis of the reductive fallacy. Essentially, Anthony’s argument boiled down to this:

  • Mal’ak YHWH = YHWH.
  • Mal’ak YHWH = YHWH.
  • YHWH = YHWH.

That’s essentially what Anthony’s entire ‘lexical’ argument was. It was a simple play on semantics to eliminate the purpose and the rationale behind the word mal’ak, this type of lexical manipulation is most commonly referred to by academia as “the reductive fallacy”. Following from this, Anthony ‘claims’, that I used no scholarly source to justify my use of the term “mal’ak”, with that being said, it is either Anthony recognizes that he used no scholarly source himself or he fails to realise from where I quoted my definition of “mal’ak”  during the debate. I took the definition of mal’ak, directly from Anthony’s article, “The Malak Yahweh Jesus, the Divine Messenger of the Old Testament: Part I”. Which reads:

“The word that is used in the Hebrew text is malak (מַלְאָך). The lexical sources are unanimous that the Hebrew word malak, in its original signification and as it is used in the Bible, means “one sent; a messenger” (e.g. Gesenius; Brown, Driver and Briggs)”.

With explicit evidence of the source for my definition, would Anthony Rogers be honest enough to apologize or recant his erratic statements? Most likely not and I wouldn’t expect any better from him, if anything, he’d try to find a way to claim I used his definition incorrectly, the problem therefore being, that I quoted it verbatim from his article. I’m not quite sure if he expected me not to point that out, or if he was simply looking for material to attack me with. He follows this by saying:

That is to say, the following passages that speak of two persons as Yahweh prove that the Old Testament teaches that God is not a solitary person and in this sense He is not like any other conscious agent in existence – including schizophrenics, a straw-man trumped up by my opponent that applies to Modalists who believe the persons of the Trinity are actually only one person who banters back and forth between different alter egos, rather than to Trinitarianism, which teaches that God subsists in three actual persons – He being uniquely multi-personal, and thus unlike anything or anyone.

For a moment here, we see Anthony attempting to respond to the claim that a singular being with multiple personalities is not considered to be suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder or even Schizophrenia, something which I indicated during the debate, which Anthony did not have a chance to respond to. Multiple Personality Disorder refers to one being, having more than one personality and seeing as Anthony’s God is one being, unified by the Godhead, yet eternally possessing three distinct personalities, this clearly indicates that the Christian concept of God is schizophrenic and possibly an allusion to MPD. Anthony attempted to further solve this by saying his God was ‘uniquely multipersonal’, or in other words, when you go to the psychiatric ward of any hospital, all the in patients that suffer from MPD or Schizophrenia, or some mental disease are all told that they are special and unique so that they can be normalized and their feelings controlled. Taking a play from that appeal to emotion, Anthony himself is applying that same tactic to his followers, a revealing metaphor to say the least.

Biblical Bitrinitarianism.

In an attempt to defend his eisegesis, Anthony invents a new term:

The first of many examples for Zechariah’s overall “binitarianism” presents itself

So what is bitrinitarianism? Unfortunately that’s the term that Anthony presents as the basis for Mal’ak YHWH becoming YHWH. He doesn’t really explain more than that, so I can’t respond to something he’s just made up. I can understand why he’s making up terms now though, he’s made an Angel into God and well, just as the early Church fathers had to do when trying to defend their religion against the Jews, they just had to make up words and terms as you go along. Some common examples are, “The Trinity”, “Godhead”, “Immaculate Conception”, “Original Sin”, “Incarnate Word”, and today,we have Anthony holding true to that erratic tradition, thus giving us, “Bitrinitarianism”. If I were to break down this word to attempt to derive some meaning, it would make little to no sense:

  • Bi – Two
  • Tri – Three
  • Unity – United
  • ism – belief

Which would give us, “the belief of three persons united (as one), but also as two”. Just gibberish really. This is an appeal to Christians, if you can give me a definition for this term that actually makes sense, please do so, thanks.

Anthony versus Zechariah, Judaism and Common Sense.

To demonstrate his, “bitrinitarianism”, Anthony appeal to Zechariah 2:6-12 which reads:

“Ho there! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the Lord, “for I have dispersed you as the four winds of the heavens,” declares the Lord. “Ho, Zion! Escape, you who are living with the daughter of Babylon.” For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After  glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me10  Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. 11 “ Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 12 The Lord will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”

Obviously we understand and agree that these are the Lord’s words. However, Anthony is attempting to state, that the person who delivers this message to Zechariah is YHWH himself, yet Zechariah does not claim that YHWH is delivering the message, no less than three verses before we have Zechariah explicitly stating that an angel is delivering the words of the Lord:

“While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet him” – Zechariah 2:3

Which is the purpose of the Angel of the Lord, in Hebrew this is properly translated (by Anthony) to mean the “Messenger of YHWH”.  So an Angel who is the Messenger of YHWH delivers a message to Zechariah from the Lord. It is obvious that if the Angel who is a Messenger is going to deliver God’s word, that the Angel will declare the words to be from God and not from himself, which the Angel does do in the passage that Anthony references:

  • “…declares the Lord”
  • “…declares the Lord”
  • “For thus says the Lord of hosts…”
  • “… declares the Lord”

It’s as clear as day, that the Angel who is the Messenger of the Lord, as demonstrated by the verse itself, is conveying/ declaring to Zechariah what God has said. Yet Anthony does not seem to understand that. To give an example of Anthony’s absurd rationale, let us demonstrate with an example:

I saw the neighbour, he approached me and said, the wife says, “I like your roses”.

According to Anthony, this would mean that the husband likes the roses and that the husband is the wife. Anthony furthers his inanity by then validating and accepting my argument:

“…let the following be noted here: while Zechariah’s actions here in speaking for the Lord are in a measure consistent with what the Angel of the Lord does in Zechariah one, which is to be expected since the Angel is a distinct person who can speak to and for Yahweh…”

Recall, as I said Mal’ak YHWH is the Angel who is a Messenger of the YHWH, so this messenger is expected to speak on behalf of YHWH and to YHWH. So Anthony concedes that this is the case, but then he contradicts himself by saying that the Messenger of YHWH is YHWH. If they are distinct as he himself says, why then, doe he interpret them to be joined/ united as the same person? A clear contradiction yet again.

Understanding Zechariah 2.

Since we are examining the Jewish book, we should be honest and use the Jewish version, not the Christian perversion of the Septuagint from a mystery text translated into Greek and then Hebrew and then finally to English, whereas the Jewish text is simply Hebrew to English. I’ll be using the JPS Translation and the Hebrew Masoretic Texts as provided here and here.

“And he said to him, “Run, speak to this young man, saying: ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited like unwalled towns, because of the multitude of men and cattle therein.’ ”   But I will be for it-says the Lord-a wall of fire around, and for glory I will be in its midst. Ho, ho! Flee from the land of the north, says the Lord; for I have spread you as the four corners of the heavens, says the Lord. Ho, Zion! Flee, she who sits among the nation of Babylon. For so said the Lord of Hosts: After glory, He sent me to the nations that plunder you, for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye.” – Zechariah 2:6-12.

The difference is vast, if we use Anthony’s version we have a distinct and completely different rendition of Zechairah 2, as opposed to the Hebrew of the Jews. Yet, there is one verse which stands out as being in common with them both:

For so said the Lord of Hosts: After glory, He sent me to the nations that plunder you, for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye.

What we have here is Anthony’s verse 8 and the Jewish version’s verse 12. Yet the Jewish version makes it is not YHWH who is sending himself but that YHWH is sending someone and in verse 13 of the Jewish text, this person being sent is referred to as the “hand of God” or the person though whose hand, God’s work is done:

“For, behold! I raise My hand over them, and they shall be prey for those who serve them. And you shall know that the Lord of Hosts sent me.”

The “hand of the Lord” is a term which refers to the person who is the Angel/ Messenger of the Lord who not only conveys God’s message, he is the angel which executes God’s punishments upon the earth and supports the faithful:

“So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.” – Exodus (Shemot) 3:20.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”” – Exodus (Shemot) 6:1.

“he will not listen to you. Then I will lay myhand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.” – Exodus (Shemot) 7:4.

“And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out myhand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”” – Exodus (Shemot) 7:5.

Anthony’s problem is that he appeals to the Christian rendition of the text, the problem is, Zechariah according to his own beliefs was not a Christian but a Judaic Prophet, therefore using his own faith’s belief about Zechariah, if we read the Judaic rendition of the texts, we see that Anthony is in opposition to myself and the Hebrew Judaic Version of Zechariah’s writings. It is absurd to think that we should appeal to the Christian rendition when Zechariah was not a Christian but a Jew, therefore any indepth study of the Christian rendition is therefore inconsequential to the discussion at hand, and merely a ploy at appealing to confirmation bias and wishful thinking.

Anthony versus Basic Christian Doctrine!

In one section of his article, Anthony Rogers who is lauded by Sam Shamoun as being the best “Christian Apologist”, makes a fundamental error in his doctrine. In a book recommended by Sam Shamoun, “Understanding the Trinity”, by B.P. Harris, he states (page 121):

None other can show forth the Father, for He alone is in the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). He alone exists in the form of God (Phil. 2:6). He alone is the radiance of his glory (Heb. 1:3). And He alone is the exact representation of His Person (Heb. 1:3).

From this we know for certain that the Father is the invisible, incomprehensible, majestic, unseen God. Yet Anthony in his diatribe of an article, states the following:

First, there is the example of something Moses says in Genesis 19. After Genesis 18 tells us that the Lord appeared on earth with two angels to Abraham just prior to Sodom’s destruction

Not only is Anthony confused as to the form of the Father, he actually ascribes a known form to an invisible God. It would then seem that Anthony is not only arguing with Sam Shamoun, BP Harris, but that he is also arguing with his own scripture. I must commend him on his behaviour, one debate and Anthony is already arguing against the Christian religion.

In his article he tries to state that the invisible God, who then changes His mind and becomes an Angel, sorry, three Angels, then changes back into being invisible, but leaves two Angels back, which are really two Angels of Himself and then goes to heaven from wherein He rains down fire and brimstone in Genesis 19. Makes perfect sense, I suppose!? Somehow that’s supposed to indicate that YHWH is Mal’ak YHWH.

Zechariah 12:9-14 Proves Nothing.

Again, we find ourselves, returning to the Jewish rendition of a particular set of verses. What we find once more, is that what Anthony’s version claims and what the Jews claim, from whom Zechariah was a member of (according to Anthony), contradicts his rendition in numerous ways:

 And it shall come to pass on that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come upon Jerusalem. And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplications. And they shall look to me because of those who have been thrust through [with swords], and they shall mourn over it as one mourns over an only son and shall be in bitterness, therefore, as one is embittered over a firstborn son. On that day there shall be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart: The family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart. The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart. All the remaining families-every family apart, and their wives apart. – Zechariah 12:9-14.

Which doesn’t fit Anthony’s explanation, from his article:

“In the above passage the Lord says that the people will “look on Me whom they have pierced,” and tells us that the house of David and Jerusalem’s inhabitants will mourn for Him, i.e. Yahweh, the pierced one”

That presents a problem, as the invisible God can now actually be pierced. How can you pierce the invisible, all powerful, eternal God who is YHWH? Unless of course, he’s not referring to YHWH the Father, but the other person who is also God, the son, who is Mal’ak YHWH, the Word, the Incarnate Word. We just went meta, you have a God who has two other personalities and one of those two personalties has other personalities that are also eternal but co-equal with each other, but also fully God. His interpretation of these verses is really “special” to say the least. From the Judaic rendition, Anthony’s eisegesis amounts to nothing but mere attempts again at correcting the beliefs of the Jews from whom according to Anthony, Zechariah was from.

YHWH Kills Himself with His own Sword.

To those of you who have managed to reach this far without asserting that Anthony has lost the plot, it gets worse:

“A third passage in Zechariah of some significance is found in Zechariah 13 and is closely related to the passage in Zechariah 12. For just as Yahweh said in 12:10 that He would be pierced, so in Zechariah 13 we are told not only that false prophets, by the Lord’s decree, will come to such a fate, i.e. they would be pierced through, but even the Shepherd of Yahweh would experience a terrible fate, no doubt the piercing mentioned in 12:10, and back of it would be the Lord’s own sword. Most significantly for present purposes is the fact that “the Shepherd,” –indeed, “My Shepherd,” – is identified by Yahweh not only as one distinct from Himself, but as “My Associate.”

So according to Anthony:

  • YHWH says false prophets would be pierced.
  • YHWH will pierce Himself.
  • YHWH will become a Shepherd.
  • YHWH who is a shepherd will pierce/ stab Himself with His own sword, a punishment meant for false Prophets.

At this point, I’m not sure if Anthony is arguing for Christianity or against it. I’ll leave that judgement up to you.

Conclusion.

I have aptly demonstrated that Anthony’s premises are self contradictory, dynamic, erratic and that he has gone above and beyond to refute his own argumentation. He has demonstrated that he does not grasp the true nature of YHWH, at one point he tries to demonstrate that God will kill himself, with a punishment meant for cursed persons with false teachings by his own sword. At another time he tries to demonstrate that God, even though He is invisible and without a known form, became an angel, thus contradicting his Bible and his doctrine. None of those points demonstrate the case for YHWH being Mal’al YHWH. At no time did he present a viable case for his self contradicting premises:

Argument 1:
Anthony: Mal’ak YHWH is YHWH.
Ijaz: If Mal’ak YHWH is YHWH, how are they distinct? (see: Zechariah 1).

Argument 2:
Anthony: Mal’ak YHWH is another person from YHWH.
Ijaz: If they are not the same person, how then can Mal’ak YHWH be YHWH? (see: Anthony’s first argument above).

I look forward to seeing how Anthony will actually attempt to address these issues and when he shall admit his faulty logic. It is my view, that his reinterpretation of Judaic scripture is not only embarrassing for himself , but for the Christian religion as a whole. I do apologize to my Christian brethren if his erratic statements were insulting in anyway.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

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