Christians scholars deceitful over the word ‘worship’?


So because of the breach of their covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard. They change the words from their (right) places and have abandoned a good part of the message that was sent to them. And you will not cease to discover deceit in them, except a few of them.” [Qur’an 5:13]

What I want to do is take a look at this passage which charges that the children of Israel had ‘changed the words from their right places’.


I wish to lay the charge that Christians are not consistent in their translation of certain passages in their sacred writ.


Let me also define the word deceit.


1. The action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.

2. A dishonest act or statement.


The first group I would like to discuss are non-Trinitarian Christians who have been inconsistent in their translation of the Greek word “proskuneo.”


I would like to direct your attention to a Trinitarian Christian web site that lays very effective claims that the Jehovah’s witness have not been consistent in their translation of the word “proskuneo“.


http://www.carm.org/religious-movements/jehovahs-witnesses/new-world-translation-and-proskuneo-worship


You will notice at the link above it says,
The NWT never translates the word into “worship” when it references Jesus. It does, however, render the word as “worship” in regards to the devil, the dragon, the beast, the image, demons, idols, and an angel. Of course, they correctly translate it as “worship” when it deals with God.”

My thoughts:
I cannot help but agree with this assertion. Of course, you do not have to, believe me, you can simply read the Jehovah’s Witness translation of the Bible at the relevant passages here:http://www.watchtower.org/bible/toc.htm


The other interesting point that the Trinitarian Christians make against the Jehovah’s witness is that the Jehovah’s witness may have theological motivation for their inconsistent use of the word Greek word “proskuneo“.

They say,
Is the New World Translation biased against worshiping Jesus? It would surely seem so, especially since the NASB, NIV, KJV, NKJV, etc., all translate the word as “worship” in reference to Jesus.”

My thoughts:
I couldn’t but help agree with this point as well. In fact, what makes the claim even stronger as the Trinitarian Christian points out is that their particular translation is not at all consistent with the other major and popular translations on the market today.

Of course, I suppose one could give a counter-argument that each of the translations themselves probably has something irregular about them that is not shared by other translations as that is what makes a particular translation unique.


However, in this case, I think the charge that the Jehovah’s Witness who do not believe that Jesus is God are being inconsistent in their use of the word “proskuneo” is correct.

I do believe that Jehovah’s witness are allowing their theological views to dictate translation.
However, in all fairness could Trinitarian Christians be doing the same thing?

Many Trinitarian Christians maintain that Muslims should believe that Christ Jesus is God because he received worship in the New Testament. They further reveal that only God is due worship =therefore since Jesus was worshiped = he must have been God.


If we leave aside issues of textual transmission and corruption and just deal with the text as they are this would be a very compelling claim.


So let us look at some of the claims.

Matthew 8:2 – A leper came and worshipped Jesus. [9:18; 15:25; Mark 5:6]

Matthew 14:33 – After Jesus had calmed the storm, the disciples worshipped Him saying He was the Son of God.

John 9:38 – The man said he believed, and he worshipped Jesus.

Matthew 28:9,17 – His disciples worshipped Him.

Luke 24:52 – And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:

Hebrews 1:6 – And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

So far it looks like we have a pretty good case. If there are other cases of people “worshiping” Jesus that I have not included I would appreciate someone to let me know so I can include it in the above ‘master list‘.


Now to build upon this the Christian will stress that Jesus ‘didn’t correct his followers‘. He never ‘redirected the worship away from himself‘.


What is a Muslim to do?


Yet, here come the inconsistencies.

We start to notice the following:
The servant, therefore, fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” Matthew 18:26. (King James Version).


This is very interesting considering that this story is reported to have come from the lips of Jesus and he used the word ‘worship‘ in this context and did not find it inappropriate to do so.


However, just like the Jehovah’s Witness who play around with the word ‘proskuneo‘ the Trinitarian Christians want a piece of the action too!


So now look at the various ways they have decided to translate this word in Matthew 18:26 here: http://bible.cc/matthew/18-26.htm


Let’s look at another example:
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.” Daniel 2:46 (King James Version)


Notice that Daniel did not correct the king? Notice that he did not direct worship away from himself?


You can take a look at the various ways it is translated here:http://bible.cc/daniel/2-46.htm
Even if you read the commentary at the bottom of the link I gave you above you can still see the Trinitarians begrudging that the word worship be used of anyone accept Jesus.

My thoughts on the commentary:


Notice it says,” it seems likely that Daniel rejected the proffered divine honors. The word “answered” (Da 2:47) implies that Daniel had objected to these honors; and in compliance with his objection, “the king answered,”


Notice the text doesn’t say that Daniel rejected the divine honors why? Because the Christian scholar here using a very devious ploy and tactic to lure you. Notice how they very cleverly worded it? “It seems likely that Daniel rejected the proffered divine honors“.


The problem with this is to assume that ‘divine honors’ were given in the first place! The reason Daniel didn’t “reject divine honors” is that there was none in the first place!


So I guess a good thing to do at this juncture is to let Christian Greek Lexicons define the word “proskuneo“.
The following Christian Greek Lexicon here: http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=4352

Original WordWord Origin
προσκυνέωfrom (4314) and a probable derivative of (2965) (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand)
  1. to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence
  2. among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence
  3. in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
    1. used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank
      1. to the Jewish high priests
      2. to God
      3. to Christ
      4. to heavenly beings
      5. to demons

So now that we have a better definition of the word we should be looking for consistency in it’s translation and understanding. Our goal at this point is to not have the Bible contradict itself in translation.


Our objective should be three fold.

1) To seek to not interpolate new meanings to a word that is quite innocuous

2) To seek consistency in translation of the text.

3) To seek a translation that would be theologically consistent.


So we have already seen that the Jehovah’s Witness and the Trinitarian Christians do not meet the three objectives above.


Let us take a look at the word worship in the ‘Old Testament‘ and see if we can find consistency. The Jews call their sacred scriptures the ‘Tnch


Douay-Rheims Bible
And they told the king, saying: Nathan the prophet is here. And when he was come in before the king, and had worshipped [shachah], bowing down to the ground, (1 Kings 1:23)


You can see how other translations deal with the passage above here: http://bible.cc/1_kings/1-23.htm


So let us take a look at some inconsistencies in the Old and New Testament translations:


Exodus 24:1 shachah in reference to God
Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship [shachah] at a distance.


Genesis 42:6 shachah in reference to man
Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down [shachah] to him with their faces to the ground.”


John 4:24 proskueno in reference to God
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship [proskuneo] in spirit and in truth.”


Matthew 18:26 proskueno in reference to Man
The servant fell on his knees [proskuneo] before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’


So we can see from the above references that every time shachah or proskueno is a reference to God it translated as worship, however, when it becomes a reference to man it is translated as ‘bowed down‘ or ‘fell on his knees’. This is not consistent.


So let us help our Trinitarian Christian friends to be consistent.

Matthew 8:2 – A leper came and knelt paying homage Jesus. [9:18; 15:25; Mark 5:6]

Matthew 14:33 – After Jesus had calmed the storm, the disciples knelt down paying homage to Him saying He was the Son of God.

John 9:38 – The man said he believed, and he knelt down and paid homage to Jesus.

Matthew 28:9,17 – His disciples knelt down paying homage Him.

Luke 24:52 – And they knelt down paying homage to him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:

Hebrews 1:6 – And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God kneel down and pay homage him.

Matthew 18:26
“The servant knelt down paying homage before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’

So at this juncture, our Trinitarian friends must be fuming mad! “Look at the context!”

I am simply looking for a translation that meets the aforementioned criteria. I have done that by keeping to the following:


1) To seek to not interpolate new meanings to a word that is quite innocuous.

2) To seek consistency in translation of the text.

3) To seek a translation that would be theologically consistent.


The above translations allow for Christ Jesus to be a Jewish high priest, or a Prophet. or even an Israeli King and allow homage to be shown to him in this light.

However, I can no longer allow Christian scholars to make theological points based upon inconsistent standards in translation; that speak to their own theological presuppositions. I think any honest person does not allow for this.


Now let me speak to two common objections.


Objection no.1 Cornelius and Peter.


And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.” (Acts 10:25-26)


It is interesting to note that the New International Version (©1984)translates it as ” As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.”


Also interesting to note is that theNew Living Translation (©2007)
But Peter pulled him up and said, “Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!”


You can see how both of these texts have been translated variously here:http://bible.cc/acts/10-26.htm

My comments:
Now the Trinitarians will say, “Look you see Peter corrected Cornelius whereas Jesus didn’t. Jesus deserved worship! Our case is proven!
Not so fast! You see if you notice that same word proskuneo is used. The NIV 1984 was consistent in its translation when it said, fell at his feet in reverence.


Because the second part of the translation makes this very clear when Peter says ‘Stand up‘! When he says I’m only a human being or I’m a man just like you. Here Peter is simply being humble. So what is so objectionable about that? If we understand that Cornelius came in and knelt down to pay homage to Peter and Peter in humility simply told him to stand up.


However, if the Trinitarians still want to object they will find that it is they who are inconsistent in Matthew 18:26, and Daniel 2:46. They will not have met the three criteria below.


1) To seek to not interpolate new meanings to a word that is quite innocuous.

2) To seek consistency in translation of the text.

3) To seek a translation that would be theologically consistent.

Objection no.2 The Angel in the Book of Revelation.

And I John saw these things and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it notfor I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” (Revelation 22:8-9 King James Version)


Now the Trinitarians will say, “look you see the angel corrected him. The angel said to worship God. Jesus didn’t correct anyone therefore he is God. Case proved!” Not so fast!

You see if you notice that same word proskuneo is used. If one takes note there are three other translations that offer how this passage should be translated.http://bible.cc/revelation/22-8.htm

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I, John, who have heard and seen these things. And after I had heard and seen, I fell down to adore before the feet of the angel, who shewed me these things. And he said to me: See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them that keep the words of the prophecy of this book. Adore God.

Darby Bible Translation
And I, John, was he who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to do homage before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. And he says to me, See thou do it not. I am thy fellow-bondman, and the fellow-bondman of thy brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Do homage to God.

Young’s Literal Translation
And I, John, am he who is seeing these things and hearing, and when I heard and beheld, I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger who is shewing me these things; and he saith to me, ‘See — not; for fellow-servant of thee am I, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of those keeping the words of this scroll; before God bow.’

My comments:

You see if you allow for consistent translation lots of unnecessary theological confusion can be avoided. John was paying homage to the Angel/Messenger and in humility, the response was ‘I’m a fellow servant‘. In Peter’s case, I’m a man just like you. Basically, they were displaying humility.


However, if the Trinitarians still want to object they will find that it is they who are inconsistent in Matthew 18:26, and Daniel 2:46. They will not have met the three criteria below.


1) To seek to not interpolate new meanings to a word that is quite innocuous.

2) To seek consistency in translation of the text.

3) To seek a translation that would be theologically consistent.


When a Muslim does something kind to another Muslim one will usually say to the other ‘JazakAllahu Khayran‘ (thanks be to God who gave the provision).
If you were ignorant of this you might say to a Muslim, ‘Thank you, brother’. The Muslim may respond, “Al hamdulilllah wa ShukrAllah” (All the praise be to God and Thanks to God). Notice that the praise and the thanks are deflected away from the person and directed to God.


However, if someone said ‘you’re welcome‘ it is not haram (forbidden) nor are they committing blasphemy. No one would assume that if a person said ‘you’re welcome‘ that they are making a claim to divinity.

Examples in the Qur’an of people making sujud -prostration to other than Allah.

And he raised his parents upon the throne, and they bowed to him in prostration. And he said, “O my father, this is the explanation of my vision of before. My Lord has made it a reality. And he was certainly good to me when he took me out of prison and brought you here from bedouin life after Satan had induced estrangement between me and my brothers. Indeed, my Lord is Subtle in what He wills. Indeed, it is He who is the Knowing, the Wise.” (Qur’an 12:100)

When Joseph said unto his father: O my father. Lo. I saw in a dream eleven planets and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves unto me.(Qur’an 12:4)

Allah swt himself orders prostration of all the angels and jinn to Adam.

And when We said to the angels, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He said, “Should I prostrate to one You created from clay?(Qur’an 17:61)


Conclusion:

I believe that it is obvious that the Christian scholars both Jehovah’s Witness and Trinitarian have been inconsistent in the use of the word proskuneo. I believe it is due to their theological views concerning Christ Jesus. The Jehovah’s Witness are inconsistent because they do not consistently translate the word proskuneo as worship because they want to deflect worship from the personage of Christ Jesus.


The Trinitarian Christians are deceitful regarding the translation because they also are inconsistent when and where and how they employ the use of the word proskuneo. In addition to this, they try and make huge theological points out of Revelation 22 and Acts 10 that word usage and context do not allow them to make.


I believe neither the Jehovah’s Witness nor the Trinitarian Christians have met my three points.


1) To seek to not interpolate new meanings to a word that is quite innocuous.

2) To seek consistency in translation of the text.

3) To seek a translation that would be theologically consistent.

I believe that the Christians need to reflect upon this following verse concerning the Qur’an and I hope they are not people with hearts that have become hardened because of the truth.


This is the Book! There is no doubt therein; a guide to the pious…These are guided by their Lord and these are successful. Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them if you warn them or if you warn them not, they will not believe. Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and on their hearing; and on their eyes is dimness, and for them is grievous woe.” (Qur’an 2:2-7)


“So because of the breach of their covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard. They changed the words from their (right) places and have abandoned a good part of the message that was sent to them. And you will not cease to discover deceit in them, except a few of them.” (Qur’an 5:13)

And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth. They say, “Our Lord, we have believed, so register us among the witnesses.” (Qur’an 5:83)

I hope and pray that Allah opens your hearts to accept the truth. Ameen!

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