ACTS 13:1-2 WERE THE DISCIPLES WORSHIPPING CHRIST ?:
In the Name of Allah Most Merciful and Most Beneficent
I had a discussion with an elder evangelical missionary , who is very active and well-known among UK evangelical Christians.My argument was: Disciples did not worship Jesus as God!. All the seven worship given to Jesus in the New Testament , is only an act of reverence, as it was given to Prophet Daniel (A.S) and other Prophets . Such worship was given to Jesus Christ (A.S) only a couple of times by the entire disciples and other visitors who came to seek his prayers and help!. And the Disciples had 30-50 years ministry after Christ, and there was not even a single time they worshipped Jesus, because they did not see him as God. Worship given to him was an act of reverence while some people visiting Christ. Such greeting with reverence is practised even today, among traditional religious communities , to the reigning monarchs and so on!. So what is this telling us?. Three years that is more than 150 weeks ministry of Christ and 1000s of weeks ministry of the disciples, there were no consistent and ritual worship of Jesus Christ!. If he was God then every day and every week and every birthday of Jesus (December 25 or other day) there should be ritual worship of Christ!. But there was none in the time of Jesus and after his ascension!
So I asked the pastor , to understand the worship and show me one verse from the Bible, which prove disciples worshipped Jesus Christ in their assemblies (congregations)! So the Pastor quoted Acts 13 for me. I said it is worshipping God the Father, not Jesus!. But pastor refuse to accept my words. But later I made a thorough investigation of Acts and found out that the pastor was either lying or being misunderstood or misinformed by his teachers!
Below is the investigation into the Book ACTS, I remind all Pastors and missionaries to look into the Whole Context and not to Cherry pick and made doctrines!. Christianity is very inconsistent , it do not have a strong and irrefutable theological foundation!
Below are the various Translations of the verse in Question:
New Living Translation
One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.”
English Standard Version
While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
New American Standard Bible
While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
King James Bible
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
ANSWERS From Outreachislam.org:
I am surprised to see that, Christians use this verse to say, they were worshipping Jesus . On the contrary we can clearly see that they were worshipping God the Father, God of Abraham.
As the doctrine of Trinity suggest, Father is not son, nor Son is the Father.
Also see: Matthew 23:9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
One Father (Only God) who never Die (See 1 Timothy 1:17)
1 Timothy 1:17All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen. [New Living Translation]
If Jesus was equal to God and if God was Tri-Union, then God does not need to promise , the Kingdom of David to His servant Jesus.
The God Who is the Creator of All , and if Jesus was that God as in Trinity, and he is fully God after his resurrection and second coming, then why should God the Father promise him to have a small Kingdom (Kingdom of David) that ruled only on earth, not in the entire universe?
It is easy to get confused when one does not study spiritual sciences
Acts 13:34 God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’
I think many people can’t even understand this simple truth. let me give you an example.
If I am the owner of the entire earth, how does it look like someone else come and say, “I will give you eastern portion of China?”
Or if me three people share a dining table equally and everyday, then why should one of them say to another, (in future) I will let you to use this table?, when all of them are equal residents of that house and have equal right to their dining table everyday?
If Jesus is God and share equal inheritance of God’s Kingdom with God the Father, then it is irrelevant to give or take something at certain period of time. This is against the principle: “God is unchangeable in his Holiness wisdom and Sovereignty”
Jesus commanded to Worship the Father and said true worshippers worship the Father, such are the worshippers the Father Seeks (See John 4:23-24), so we can understand that, disciples never worshipped Jesus as deity, but revered him as a Holy Prophet and Messiah , as Daniel was worshipped (see Daniel 2:46)
As a matter of fact 30 years of ministry of the disciples and 3 years of the ministry of Christ, they did not worship him as God, but showed act of reverence to Christ (by bowing down and kissing feet), when he was among them. This type of reverences are found in all religions and traditional denominations.
Such reverence (Bible call it worship) is only performed as a greeting during the arrival and departure of Christ or other Prophet, or when the visitor arrive and depart from the house of Christ or other Prophets. Such greetings or act of honouring is still in practice in Major Churches, traditional religious communities and in some head of the states protocol .
If the verses in Acts 13:1-2 was meant to worship Christ, and if God was Tri-Union. Naturally and Psychologically, people will tend to worship the deity of tri-union who is more close to them, that is Jesus according to Christian belief. Then how come in three years 150 weeks ministry only 4 times disciples worship Jesus? if worship meant to worship Jesus as god?, 146 weeks what they were doing? Ceased worshipping God?
or in their 30-40 years ministry, they were preaching and converting many people, and not even a single evidence they worshipping Christ.
So as I mentioned, the human nature to worship a God/Deity that is close to them, and If Acts 13:1-2 was really about worshipping Christ, then when the new followers in Cyprus worshipped idols of Barnabas and Paul (As Zeus and Hermes see Acts 14:10-15) then they would have shouted saying to them to Worship Jesus, to make easily to comprehend to those who easily mislead to worship Paul and Barnabas. They did not say simply and clearly to worship Jesus, but they made it clear by definition who is the real God and , so they said:
See Acts 14:15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.
So who is this God, Paul and Barnabas referring to?
To God the Father, God the Father-Elohim Created Heavens and Earth. As the doctrine of Trinity suggest, Jesus is not the Father. See Genesis!
As Paul, writes in 1 Timothy 1:17 and 6:16, Only God is God the Father.
THEY WORSHIPPED GOD (THE FATHER) OF THEIR ANCESTORS: (ELOHI)
Acts 24:14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,
There is no evidence that, Jesus,disciples Jews or Israelite worshipped Jesus, they were commanded to worship God of Israel-God the Father, not holy spirit or Christ!
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
So we can see that there was no thoughts in disciples that suggest they saw Jesus as God, Because if three persons share equal glory and power and have same title (as God here) , then people will turn to the person (of deity) who is more close to them)
1 John 4:20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
Even John, who had all that vision, understood that God cannot be seen, men like Thomas,who saw God’s Spirit dwells in His Servant Jesus (as you read in Isaiah 42:1)
Also Acts 4:27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.
John 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
So it is clear that disciples did not see Jesus as God.
Acts 4:29-30 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
So it is clear that the word “Lord” here when mentioned in worship and prayer is not Christ, but God the Father the Only God.
If Having “Spirit of God” in Christ make Christ deity, then most of the disciples and their followers must be considered as deity.
Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Godlives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
James 4:5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
Joel 2:28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
Joel 2:29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
Acts 3:26 When God raised up his servant, Jesus, he sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.”
Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.
Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) is always known as servant of God, whom God Glorified, in Whom God’s Spirit dwells. When God Created Man, He made man in His Image, and Quran says: God commanded Angels to prostrated before Adam (Peace be upon him). This is not considered as deity worship, in Christianity Jesus is known as second Adam. And says Jesus is like Adam in the Presence of Allah.
As Adam and Jesus both were created God by His Word in His Image.
And God sent Prophets, so that rest of us can return to our Originality as the “Image of God” as Adam and Jesus is, to become Rabbani.
And becoming like Adam and Jesus (Image of God/Rabbani) is the Only Assurance for Salvation. Not anything else.
As we read: 1 John 4:17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
This is the same principles of Islam, and Islamic Spirituality. To return to original creed and purity.
Unfortunately, people are deprived to understand this truth and simple message, which is the teachings of all Prophets, who brought different covenants and ways to achieve this goal, purpose of human life in this world.
And I hope we must try to interpret scriptures in the whole context and to see all aspects, not just the literature and interpret it as we like, and not to take and pull out single verses and straight to say, Jesus is god or disciples worshipped him as God. But to see the big picture, and live events of the past of Christ and of the disciples.
May Light and Truth Shine upon us all.
With prayers and best wishes
(c) Outreachislam.org 12/06/2017