Jesus as a Biblical Prophet


Christians have always searched for the answer to their enigma (Jesus’ nature). However, the answer is right in front of them! While there are no verses in the entire Bible where Jesus explicitly states his deity, there are verses that state his prophethood. Some Christians agree that Jesus is a prophet amongst other characteristics; yet this article examines some of the verses proving that Jesus could have only been a prophet and not God. Let’s start by examining this verse:

John 12:49 – 

“For I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.”

We see the clear distinction between God and Jesus by the acknowledgment that Jesus has no authority to speak on his own. Interesting to see that Jesus (supposedly God) has no authority, wonder who has it then? On the contrary, Jesus is commanded by God which dictates to him what to say. Now why would “God” need God to tell him what to do?! Christians would hold on to the claim that it is the “human” nature of Jesus that is commanded and commissioned. But to say that Jesus was imperfect (needing the Father to tell him what to say) in his human nature while he was perfect in his God nature implies two different persons,two minds, two wills, and two characters occupying one body. This is not acceptable because according to the Nicene Creed Jesus was only one person and not two. Furthermore, what’s a prophet according to the bible? We find the following verse contains the definition:

Deuteronomy 18:18 – 

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

A prophet is someone with no words of his own but with words of a higher authority, and is someone who is commanded. These criteria fit Jesus in light of the John 12:49. The latter only makes sense if Jesus is a prophet that’s conveying God’s message not his own. Again, why would God need himself to convey his own message? This brings us to the following verses. Jesus, in fact, wasn’t sent with words of his own:

John 14:24 

Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

 


John 7:16

“Jesus answered them and said, ‘My doctrine is not mine, but His who sent me.’”

Again, it is obvious that Jesus wasn’t sent to inform his believers of “his law and message” (if he was God). He was sent as a messenger from God to guide us to the right path. In these two verses prior mentioned, it is clear that neither the “words” nor the “doctrine” is Jesus’; it is God’s. This means that Jesus is not the source of Christianity per se because it is God that states the pillars of “true” Christian faith. If Jesus was God, his words and doctrines would be his as well since “he and the father are one”. There wouldn’t be any need to differentiate between what is for Jesus and what is for God… If you apply prophethood to Jesus, the verses make sense. After all, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, a prophet is: “one who utters divinely inspired revelations”. This can be applied to Jesus because he is uttering God’s words and His doctrines.

Not only did Jesus not have any words of his own (John 14:24John 7:16), in fact he couldn’t do anything on his own. He needed God…

John 5:30 – 

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. 

Jesus even acknowledged the fact that God gave him power:

John 13:3 – 

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God.

The key word in this verse is “given”. Jesus is not the source of power or authority, God is. So, again there’s a disparity between “giver” (source) and the receiver (dependent). Jesus is not a dependent being on his own, he needs God. This further disproves his deity and gets us closer to establishing the fact that Jesus is simply a prophet.

Matthew 21:10-11 – 

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”11The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Luke 24:19 – 

“What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people”

 

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible (Luke 24:19

A prophet – A teacher sent from God. They did not now call him the “Messiah,” for his “death” had led them to doubt that, but they had no doubt that he was a distinguished “prophet.” The evidence of that was so clear that they “could” not call it in question.

Mighty in deed – Powerful in working miracles, in raising the dead, healing the sick, etc.

In word – In teaching.

Before God and all the people – Manifestly; publicly. So that “God” owned him, and the people regarded him as a distinguished teacher.

So, did people whom Jesus performed miracles to consider him as God? No!A prophet is also provided with miracles; it is consistent with being a prophet and is nothing new… Speaking about miracles, some Christians tend to use Jesus’ miracles as a proof for his deity. However, who gave Jesus his power and his miracles? It is God.

Acts 2:22 – 

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazaretha man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”

Most importantly, what did Jesus say about himself?

Matthew 13:57 – And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”

Luke 13:33 – 

In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day–for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

Now, did Jesus say I am God and I came down to this earth to spread my word?! No! He said I am a prophet! How clearer can it get? So, until someone can show me where Jesus explicitly says I am God, I’m still going to believe what Islam said about him; Jesus is a prophet.  I’d like to end with this monotheistic verse

Mark 12:29 – Jesus answered, “The most important is “Here, O Israel:  The Lord our God is one Lord.”

Notice how Jesus includes himself with the people by saying our God. Jesus does have a God after all… I guess the question is: could God have a God? Furthermore, if you combine Mark 12:29 (and many other verses like it which can be found in the bible …) with all the verses proving Jesus’ prophethood and all the verses challenging Jesus’ deity ( John 14:28, 8:28, 5:19; Mark 13:32, 10:18; Matthew 27:46, 26:39, Luke 2:52, 22:43, 6:12… )  you do get a coherent concept. A concept of Jesus the prophet which is far more logical than that of the trinity…

Finally, who is Jesus (PBUH) in Islam? Jesus (PBUH) is a revered prophet of Allah (SWT):

In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every – one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things. – (The Noble Qur’an – Al Mâ’idah 5:17)

 

Certainly they disbelieve who say: “Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Maryam”. And the Messiah said: “O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord, surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust. – (The Noble Qur’an – Al Mâ’idah 5:72)

 
“The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger before whom many Messengers have passed away; and his mother adhered wholly to truthfulness, and they both ate food (as other mortals do). See how We make Our signs clear to them; and see where they are turning away!” – (The Noble Qur’an – Al Mâ’idah  5:75).

 
Say: “Praise be to Allah, who begets no son, and has no partner in (His) dominion: Nor (needs) He any to protect Him from humiliation: yea, magnify Him for His greatness and glory! – (Al Isrâ’ 17:111)

 

Conclusion :

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. – (The Noble Qur’an – An Nisâ’ 4:171)

And Allah Knows Best.

8 comments

  • If you are going to refer to the bible to support your case, you must also accept what it says against your case. This is something that you signally fail to do.

    You quote the gospel of John. That gospel begins by an explicit statement that Jesus is the divine Son of God, the creator of the world:

    +++
    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

    9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
    +++

    The eternal Word was with God from eternity and also is God; he was both God himself and also with God, separate yet the same. The Word is the creator. Nothing that was made was made without him. Therefore he cannot have been made himself, otherwise he would have made himself, which is impossible. Therefore he is uncreated and eternal — he is God. He is the life and the light of men, and he came into the world. No man can become God, but nothing is impossible for God and God can become man. Thus “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” and that Word is “the only Son from the Father”. He is the one through whom God is revealed to us: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known”.

    John was sent beforehand to announce his coming. John said of himself, “…he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (Luke 3:16). Jesus said of John that he was “A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.” (Matthew 11:9).

    Now if John, whom Jesus calls “more than a prophet”, is not worthy even to undo Jesus’ sandals, how much greater than a mere prophet must Jesus be? A prophet is indeed sent from God to speak the words of God, and Jesus came to speak the words of the Father, but that does no t make him only a man.

    John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

    Jesus always does only what he sees the Father doing; who but God could do the things that God does? If Jesus did anything other than what the Father does, there would be disunity in the godhead, which is unthinkable. Jesus, as we have seen, is the divine, eternal Son of God, yet eternally defers to the Father; similarly the Holy Spirit does not glorify himself but seeks only to glorify the Son. There is no necessity for one who does another’s bidding to be of a different kind than he. Rather, the Son eternally demonstrates his humility and submission to the Father, with whom he is eternally equal in power and glory.

  • //If you are going to refer to the bible to support your case, you must also accept what it says against your case. This is something that you signally fail to do.
    You quote the gospel of John//

    Although, I will show you how John 1:1 can be refuted, it is interesting to note how the same Gospel has two contradictory messages: one conveying that Jesus is a prophet in need of the Father and the other attempting to convey his “deity”.

    Before addressing the famous John 1:1, I would like to point out that the verses you quoted from that gospel are the words of John and not those of Jesus. We don’t even know if these are in fact the words of John because the author of the Gospel of John is anonymous.

    Furthermore, what we have as English bibles are mere translations of Greek- the original language of the bible (Although, Jesus did speak not Greek during his entire earthly ministry).

    The Greek version of John1:1 is:

    En arche een ho logoskai ho logos een pros ton theon kai theos een ho logos

    The Word” is only described as being “ton theos”(divine/a god) and not as being “ho theos” (The Divine/The God).

    Thus, a more accurate translation would be:
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.

    It was A God not THE God. A god and THE God are distinct or else we would have several Gods since others were called God in the Bible:

    John 10:34 – Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’?

    Psalms 82:6 I have said, Ye (the Jews) are gods; and all of you are children of the most High”

    Exodus 7:1 “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh”

    Even the devil has been called God:

    2 Corinthians 4:4 “the god of this world (the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.”

    So, John 1:1 doesn’t really prove anything unless you want to believe that all the others who were given that title are “THE GOD” too. Then, Christianity would become a polytheistic religion and not a monotheistic one.

    // nothing is impossible for God and God can become man. Thus “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”//

    This is a serious allegation and not befitting of God Almighty. If nothing is impossible for God then can God lie? Can he steal? Can he become the devil? Can he die? God doesn’t do anything against his divine nature; becoming a man clearly contradicts his deity. The God-man argument is a paradox on its own. Jesus can’t be perfect and imperfect at the same time. Moreover, the Bible clearly shows you how God is not a man:

    Number 23:19
    God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

    1 Samuel 15:29
    He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.”

    Hosea 11:9
    I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man–the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath

    Also, by saying that the word/God became flesh and dwelt amongst us, you are claiming that God changed natures. However, according to the same bible, God doesn’t change:

    Malachi 3:6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

    Psalms 102:27 But you remain the same, and your years will never end.

    // Now if John, whom Jesus calls “more than a prophet”, is not worthy even to undo Jesus’ sandals, how much greater than a mere prophet must Jesus be? A prophet is indeed sent from God to speak the words of God, and Jesus came to speak the words of the Father, but that does not make him only a man.//

    The comparison between Jesus and John is irrelevant because you are ignoring the verses where Jesus explicitly said he was a prophet (Matthew 13:57, Luke 13:33)

    // who but God could do the things that God does? If Jesus did anything other than what the Father does, there would be disunity in the godhead, which is unthinkable.//

    So, according to your criteria, Jesus and God are supposed to do the same things. If Jesus got tempted , God has to as well? If we follow your standards, God has to get tempted also since Jesus was. Nonetheless, God cannot be tempted:

    James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

    So, I just proved to you how Jesus and God can’t do the same things. Using your own logic, I showed you that there is a “disunity in the godhead, which is unthinkable”

    // Son eternally demonstrates his humility and submission to the Father, with whom he is eternally equal in power and glory.//

    How can one submit to his own self? If Jesus and the Father are equal why would Jesus demonstrate humility? When Jesus acknowledged that the Father is greater than him (John 14:28), was he admitting that he is greater than himself? When Jesus prayed did he pray for himself (Luke 6:12, Luke 22)? When Jesus uttered Mark 12:29, was he saying that he (God) has a God?

  • Alice DN …the same Gospel has two contradictory messages: one conveying that Jesus is a prophet in need of the Father and the other attempting to convey his “deity”.

    Say “complementary, rather than contradictory.

    Alice DN I would like to point out that the verses you quoted from that gospel are the words of John and not those of Jesus

    All of the bible is the words of Jesus. He is the living Word of God. Through the Holy Spirit he gave his words to his prophets and apostles, so that what they wrote, although their own words, was exactly what he wanted written.

    Alice DN Furthermore, what we have as English bibles are mere translations of Greek- the original language of the bible

    It doesn’t matter, so long as the translation is good.

    Alice DN The Greek version of John1:1 is:
    En arche een ho logoskai ho logos een pros ton theon kai theos een ho logos
    The Word” is only described as being “ton theos”(divine/a god) and not as being “ho theos” (The Divine/The God).
    Thus, a more accurate translation would be:
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.
    It was A God not THE God. A god and THE God are distinct or else we would have several Gods since others were called God in the Bible

    A proper understanding of Greek grammar shows that this is incorrect. The standard translation is the correct translation. Indeed the reversed order of the words in Greek (literally: “God was the Word”) emphasises the word “God”. (See http://www.ntgreek.org/answers/answer-frame-john1_1.htm and links from it.)

    Alice DN // nothing is impossible for God and God can become man. Thus “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”//
    This is a serious allegation and not befitting of God Almighty. If nothing is impossible for God then can God lie? Can he steal? Can he become the devil? Can he die? God doesn’t do anything against his divine nature; becoming a man clearly contradicts his deity.

    Obviously, God has the power to do anything at all. It is quite true that the bible says he cannot lie, not because he does not have the power but because it is contrary to his character. Similarly, he cannot do anything that would violate his holiness. But the idea that it is “not befitting of God Almighty” to be made flesh is merely human pride speaking. Man’s pride will not accept humiliation, but God hates pride. Indeed his glory is shown in the depths of his humility, in that the eternal Son of God was willing to humble himself to become a man.

    Alice DN The comparison between Jesus and John is irrelevant because you are ignoring the verses where Jesus explicitly said he was a prophet

    I do not say that Jesus was not a prophet; he was. But he was much more than just a prophet. He brought the good news of the Kingdom, but he was himself the means of bringing that good news into being, by becoming the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

    Alice DN So, according to your criteria, Jesus and God are supposed to do the same things. If Jesus got tempted , God has to as well?How can one submit to his own self? If Jesus and the Father are equal why would Jesus demonstrate humility? When Jesus acknowledged that the Father is greater than him (John 14:28), was he admitting that he is greater than himself? When Jesus prayed did he pray for himself (Luke 6:12, Luke 22)? When Jesus uttered Mark 12:29, was he saying that he (God) has a God?

    This is typical Muslim confusion and obfuscation about the Trinity. God is one, in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The three are equal in power and glory; they are one God, yet distinct persons, and he/they relate together as individual persons while also acting as one God. They have an eternal relationship of perfect, willing submission.

    The closest human parallel is of husband and wife. Though they are of equal value as persons and are spiritually joined into one flesh, the husband is the head of the wife, and she should willingly submit to him as such, and he should care for her. Apart from that, Jesus came to this earth in order to be the perfect man, the second Adam, who would succeed where Adam failed. As such, he had to be a man altogether and worship God as a man.

  • Oliver Elphick,

    First of all I’d like to apologize for the late reply…

    //Say “complementary, rather than contradictory.//

    The idea of Jesus being fully God and fully Human is “contradictory ” by itself no matter what gospel you are reading (although Jesus never claimed divinity in any of the books of the Bible). When you say that Jesus is divine while still maintaining his humanity, it is like you are saying that he is a talking mute. Where is the complementarity in that? According to the Law of non-contradiction, the presence of one attribute automatically indicates the absence of its opposite. When Jesus was mortal, he couldn’t have had the “divine spirit”…

    //All of the bible is the words of Jesus. He is the living Word of God. Through the Holy Spirit he gave his words to his prophets and apostles, so that what they wrote, although their own words, was exactly what he wanted written.//

    Did Jesus want the following to be written portraying him as if he doesn’t know what is going on?
    Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” (John 13:36)

    Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” (John 14:5)

    “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and NONE OF YOU ASKS ME, ‘Where are You going?’ (John 16:5)

    Did Jesus want such profanity in the bible?
    Ezekiel 23: 11-21
    You can find a detailed article examining such verses: https://callingchristians.com/2011/12/23/29-sexually-explicit-profane-and-dirty-stories-and-verses-in-the-bible/

    Did he inspire such irreconcilable contradictions:
    When Jesus met Jairus was Jairus daughter already dead?

    Yes. Matthew 9:18 quotes him as saying, My daughter has just died.
    No. Mark 5:23 quotes him as saying, My little daughter is at the point of death.

    I thought that God/Jesus is not the author of confusion …

  • //It doesn’t matter, so long as the translation is good.//

    I showed you that the translation is inaccurate.

    In “The New Testament, An American Translation” this verse is honestly presented as
    “In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was divine.”
    The New Testament, An American Translation, Edgar Goodspeed and J. M. Powis Smith, The University of Chicago Press, p. 173

  • //Obviously, God has the power to do anything at all. It is quite true that the bible says he cannot lie, not because he does not have the power but because it is contrary to his character. Similarly, he cannot do anything that would violate his holiness. But the idea that it is “not befitting of God Almighty” to be made flesh is merely human pride speaking. Man’s pride will not accept humiliation, but God hates pride. Indeed his glory is shown in the depths of his humility, in that the eternal Son of God was willing to humble himself to become a man.//

    Your statement demonstrates two points:

    1- You concentrated on the “he shall not lie” part of Numbers 23:19 and ignored the part where is there’s an explicit statement that “God is NOT a Man”

    2- By saying that “it is contrary to his character to lie” and that God cannot do anything that would violate his holiness” you are exactly proving my point! Using your standards, God becoming a man is a definite contradiction to God’s nature and character. If God became a human that grew, got circumcised, went to the toilet, ate, and eventually got mocked and spat on doesn’t violate God’s holiness then what will??

  • //I do not say that Jesus was not a prophet; he was. But he was much more than just a prophet. He brought the good news of the Kingdom, but he was himself the means of bringing that good news into being, by becoming the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.//

    Please read my article again. I discussed how Jesus could have only been a prophet and nothing more…

  • //This is typical Muslim confusion and obfuscation about the Trinity. God is one, in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The three are equal in power and glory; they are one God, yet distinct persons, and he/they relate together as individual persons while also acting as one God. They have an eternal relationship of perfect, willing submission.//

    I don’t need you to explain the trinity for me… You need to be honest to yourself because this concept is simply illogical and manmade. The three are not equal: Mark 13:32 (the father knew something Jesus didn’t), John 14:28 (Jesus admits the father is greater than him), John 5:30 (Jesus can’t do anything without the Father), Luke 22:43 (Jesus needs an angel to strengthen him…he wasn’t all powerful)

    //The closest human parallel is of husband and wife. Though they are of equal value as persons and are spiritually joined into one flesh, the husband is the head of the wife, and she should willingly submit to him as such, and he should care for her. Apart from that, Jesus came to this earth in order to be the perfect man, the second Adam, who would succeed where Adam failed. As such, he had to be a man altogether and worship God as a man.//

    Using the words “head” and “submit” clearly indicate disparity in status. Jesus submitting to the will of God makes sense when Jesus is a mere human. This is what we believe in as Muslims… You can’t say that Jesus with his divinity is submitting to another divine God. What is this Greek methodology where Jesus is Apollo and the Father is Zeus?

    Moreover, you can’t even say that Jesus “willingly” submitted to the Father because of
    Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
    Notice how Jesus questioned God’s will and actually used the words; “MY GOD”.
    If we assume God is all powerful, then no one can be more powerful than God. If someone is equally as powerful as God, then God is not All powerful, He is ‘equally as powerful as the next powerful God’.
    Since Jesus who is the Son, was forsaken and depended on the mercy of the father on the cross (which he asked for), this either means:
    1. God is not all powerful.
    2. There is more than one God.

    Finally, if the “human” part of Jesus worshipped God, what was the divine aspect doing? How do we even know it is the human nature or the divine nature acting?