10 minute read:
In a recent conversation with a Muslim friend, he mentioned that Muhammad was the successor to Christ and that the Christian Scriptures clearly anticipated his arrival in the future (John 14:16 & 26). This led me to write this article just to explain very briefly to the Muslim that this is not what the Christian Scriptures teach. In fact, Jesus even mentions that anyone coming after Him that claims succession or pre-eminence is simply a false messenger (Matt.7:15-20, 24:24). That would then obviously include notable voices like Muhammad, Bahaiullah, Charles T. Russell, Joseph Smith, and any other individual that makes the finality of the Person and Work of Christ to no effect. Therefore, what do the Christian Scriptures say about the finality of Jesus Christ?
The Bible clearly shows:
Jesus was the final messenger/revelation (Hebrews 1:1-2, Matthew 11:13).
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
In his Commentary on Hebrews noted Scholar F. F. Bruce says,
“His word was not completely uttered until Christ came; but when Christ came, the word spoken in Him was indeed God’s final word…. The story of divine revelation is a story of progression up to Christ, but there is no progression beyond Him.”
This is essentially what my Muslim friends seem to forget, the very purpose of the New Testament Scriptures was to reveal the final consummation of the Work of the Triune God. With the arrival of the Son through the initiative of the Father, the Holy Spirit reveals the pre-eminence of the Son to the glory of the Father (John14; 16). Please also note that the author of Hebrews stated that God has spoken [Greek: ἐλάλησεν- elalēsen] which note that God now directs all authority and anything else to be said through His own Son (Matt.28:18, 1 Cor.8:6, Heb.2:8). Jesus also makes it even more apparent that the last Prophet before Him will be John the Baptist and that:
“For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.”
Jesus as the final sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10-14).
“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
Through the perfect sacrifice of Christ, the Father irradiates the complete sacrificial system “once and for all.” Any legal impediment that is brought against the elect of God cannot be sustained because, by one sacrifice, the Son perfected those who are found in Him (Heb.10:14).
Jesus as the final judge (Matt.25:31-46).
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
Here we see Christ identified as the righteous judge of all men, including Muhammad, Bahaiullah, Charles T. Russell, and Joseph Smith. Interestingly, we see Christ entrusted with the pivotal role of determining who God’s people (sheep) are, and who is not (goats). Judgment is also a signet of Divine ascendency executed by Jesus Christ finally determining the state and eternity of all men.
Jesus as the only foundation (1 Cor.3:11).
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Albert Barnes makes it clear that;
“There is no other true foundation. Which is Jesus Christ – Christ is often called the foundation; the stone; the cornerstone upon which the church is reared; Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 Peter 2:6. The meaning is, that no true church can be reared which does not embrace and hold the true doctrines respecting him – those which pertain to his incarnation, his divine nature, his instructions, his example, his atonement, his resurrection, and ascension. The reason why no true church can be established without embracing the truth as it is in Christ is, that it is by him only that people can be saved; and where This doctrine is missing, all is missing that enters into the essential idea of a church.”
Jesus as the Only Son (Matt.21:37 Mark 12:1-12).
“Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”
“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.”
Please note the language of finality when Jesus describes the reality of His own coming. Some translations will translate the words ‘last of all’ as ‘finally’ and this was clearly Christ’s intention to show that another will not supersede His coming.
Jesus as the only Savior (John 10:7-9, Acts 4:12).
“Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Jesus is the sole testator that validates those who are genuinely saved, through Him, by Him, for His glory. The Champion reformer John Calvin notes;
“Salvation (saith he) is in Christ alone, because God hath decreed that it should be so. For by name he meaneth the cause or mean, as if he should have said, forasmuch as salvation is in God’s power only, he will not have the same to be common to us by any other means than if we ask it of Christ alone.”
Jesus as the final High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16).
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
The author makes it clear that there is no need for another, but Jesus ascended into the throne room of the Father executing justice on our behalves. ‘We have one’ High Priest, and Jesus will be the eternal righteous intermediary that will exact the significant demand a Holy God requires.
Jesus as the Only Lord and King (Luke 1:31-33, Rev.17:14 & 19:15-16).
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Jesus has no successor after He received His Royal ascendency and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. John the Beloved Disciple mentions the finality of His royal Kingdom where he will hold a position of King and Lord supreme over all:
“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”
“He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Jesus as the last Adam (1 Cor.15:20-23).
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.”
Jesus was the firstfruits and the ‘last fruits’ of God’s new creation. Through Him, and only Him, we muster the courage to claim that we are in Him as our final hope (1 Cor.5:17-21, Eph.1:20-23, Col.3:1).
Jesus as the only Master/ Messiah (Matt.23:8-10).
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.”
Jesus makes it clear to His disciples that he is their sole grounding for truth and their foundational teacher and instructor. Jesus uses Semitic, hyperbolic rhetoric to make the point that we shouldn’t confer privilege and status to those in authority. Obviously, He is not apposing mentorship and stable student apprentice relationship, but Jesus is always the only foundation.
Jesus as the only example/teacher/saviour (1 Pet.2:21-25).
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
God the Father entrusts us to no one else except His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is the Saviour of our souls. The will of the Father is for His Children to conform to His Son (Rom.8:28-29). This is not something we do through our own brut efforts, but merely walking in the Spirit (Gal.5:16), having the same mind as our Lord (Phil.2:5).
Jesus as the only Mediator (1 Tim.2:5-6).
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”
The repetition of Paul just as John the Beloved Disciple (Joh.17:3) points to the exclusive rendition of the taxes of salvation in the economy of God’s redemptive purpose. Jesus is the lone custodian enabling mediation before a Holy God for mankind by offering Himself once and for all as the ransom for God’s elect people. The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary mentions that:
“The one God is common to all (Isa 45:22; Ac 17:26). The one Mediator is mediator between God and all men potentially (Ro 3:29; Eph 4:5, 6; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). They who have not this one God by one Mediator, have none: literally, a “go-between.”
My Muslim friends should note that Scripture makes it clear that Jesus was the only mediator before God and Man.
Jesus as the final revelation of the Father (Matt.11:27).
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Jesus does not just claim the divine right to reveal the truth about the Father, but He emphatically qualifies His role as the only determinative revelator, choosing those that will be His. This act of determination is proportioned to the Son who is the exclusive revelation of the face of the Father. We are truly saved by Christ, for Himself, through His decree, for His Glory alone.
Jesus as the Only Good (Matt.19:16-27).
We have just seen that Jesus is the only proprietor in the revelation of the Father. In his conversation, He makes it equally clear that He is the only good shepherd (Joh.10:14)
‘Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
JP Holding writes:
“Jesus is essentially saying to the ruler: “do you know what you are implying? you say that I am good; but only God is good, therefore you are identifying me as God.”
The Brooks Commentary on Mark’s Gospel adds that in;
“Jewish thought, God was pre-eminently good, so that the ruler was indeed offering Jesus a compliment usually reserved for God.”
Was Jesus denouncing His goodness? Absolutely not, He is just revealing to the rich young ruler who God is because the Son reveals the Father completely!
Jesus as the only unique Son (Joh.1:18, 3:16-18, Galatians 4:4-6).
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”
John describes Jesus as the ‘Only Unique Son’, who was in the closest relationship with the Father, making the Father known. Again the particular facts about Son’s self-revelation indicate an entity with God, eternally in relation with the Father in the communicative role of unique Son of God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
The means by which God the Father have chosen His work of Salvation is through the Son of God alone. More than that is just not possible, and because it is impossible the only logical outcome is that it was made complete. Jesus Christ was, therefore, the unique Son, but we are sons and daughters by adoption. Jesus is unique in quality and economy eternally with the Father, where we are born in time by being adopted by God.
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
There is absolutely nothing in the Christian Scriptures that indicates an expectation of a future messenger or new revelation. Jesus was the perfect and final sacrifice and also the only foundation upon which we are called to base our beliefs. He is the Only judge, High Priest, and mediator before God. He is the Only King of kings, and the Lord of lords, the primary good and the only one worthy to follow. He assures us that it is only by His own volition and revelation that we can experience the full extent of the person of the Father. Let me end with the words of Jesus:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13).
Pastor Rudolph Boshoff.
 Barnes, Albert. “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 3:11”. “Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament”.
 Calvin, John. “Commentary on Acts 4:12”. “Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible”
 “There are indications that Muhammad is an intermediary for Muslims: Cf: (Sura 4:64-64): “We sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah’s leave. If they, when they were unjust to themselves, had come to you and begged Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had begged forgiveness for them, indeed, they would have found Allah All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission”.
 Brooks, commentary on Mark, 162