Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Muhammad: The Slave and Property of the Lord Jesus Christ

Sam Shamoun

Paul Bilal Williams is at it again with his stalking spree where he hunts down the twitter accounts of renowned Christian pastors, scholars, theologians, apologists etc., and posts comments which are meant to offend Christians by either mocking or calling into question their cherished beliefs.

In his most recent stalking venture, Williams decided to chime in on Christian scholar John Piper’s tweet of Psalm 119:91, which says that all things are the Lord’s servants. Williams responded by saying, “… including Jesus too it seems who is a 'servant of God' per Acts 3:26.”

In light of this, we have again chosen to reply to William’s shameless manhandling of the Word of God to show him what will continue to happen to him if he continues to stalk the comment sections and twitter accounts of our brothers and sisters in the risen Lord.

Let’s see what happens when we read the verse in context:

“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at that gate of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of those who entered the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, with John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention upon them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s, astounded. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people, ‘Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name, by faith in his name, has made this man strong whom you see and know; and the faith which is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.’” Acts 3:1-16

Here we have the blessed Apostles of the risen Lord performing a miraculous healing in the name of Jesus in order to provide divine confirmation that God himself has glorified Christ by raising him from the dead to reign from heaven itself. This miracle further served the purpose of proving that only Christ grants salvation, and that it is faith in his name alone which saves anyone and everyone:

“On the morrow their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Ca′iaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a cripple, by what means this man has been healed, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner. And there is salvation in NO ONE ELSE, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’ Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man that had been healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.” Acts 4:5-15

To say that this is an astonishing claim would be putting it mildly, since the Hebrew Bible emphatically attests that it is Yahweh alone, and faith in his name, which brings salvation and forgiveness to anyone who would turn to him:

Save me, O God, by thy name, and vindicate me by thy might.” Psalm 54:1

“Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for thy name’s sake!” Psalm 79:9

“Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:21-22

Jesus is also depicted as granting forgiveness and repentance, i.e., enabling a person to turn away from one’s sins,

“You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God gave to your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your posterity shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you in turning every one of you from your wickedness.” Acts 3:25-26

“God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

Which are divine functions that the Apostles ascribe to God Almighty!

“When they heard this they were silenced. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life.’” Acts 11:18

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:24-26

That’s not all. The Disciples of Christ went as far as to identify their risen Master as the Author of Life, which can also be translated as the CREATOR of life,

“and you killed the Creator of Life (Archegon tes zoes), whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:15 Modern English Version (MEV)

And further describe him as the suffering Servant of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the One whom God highly exalts to sit enthroned by his side.

The late renowned Bible scholar F. F. Bruce helps bring out the significance of all this:

In speaking of the exaltation of Jesus, following his humiliation and death, Peter uses language taken from the portrayal of the obedient and suffering Servant of the Lord in Isa. 52:13-53:12, a portrayal which begins with the words: "Behold, my servant … shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high."25 The voice from heaven which came to Jesus at his baptism addressed him in the language of Isa. 42:1, where the Servant makes his first appearance: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights."26 The figure of this Servant has exercised a profound influence on New testament thought and language.27… Yes, Peter continued, you asked that a murderer's life should be spared, but killed the very Author of life30–an amazing paradox! This is what you did, but God restored him to life again, and we are here to bear witness to the fact of his resurrection…

30. Gr. tonarchegon tes zoes. The word archegos is used four times of Christ in the NT. Here and in Heb. 2:10 it denotes him AS THE SOURCE OF LIFE OR SALVATION (since “life” and “salvation” are both represented by one Aramaic word , hayye, the phrase used here is practically synonymous with ton archegon tes soterias in Heb. 2:10; cf. A. F. J. Klijn, "The Term 'Life' in Syriac Theology," SJT 5 [1952], pp. 390-97). In 5:31 below archegos is used rather in the sense of "prince" or "leader"; in Heb. 12:2 it is applied to Christ as the "pioneer" or "exemplar" of faith (ton tes pisteos archegon). (Bruce, The Book of the Acts (New International Commentary on the New Testament) [Grand Rapids, MI 1988], pp. 81-82; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Hence, Peter and John portray the Lord Jesus as the Source of life and salvation, and as the Servant whom the prophet Isaiah said would be exalted by God to the highest position imaginable:

“Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.” Isaiah 52:13

What makes this prophecy so astonishing is that Isaiah applies the very same language here that he does elsewhere in his description of God being enthroned on high above all creation:

“In the year that King Uzzi′ah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’” Isaiah 6:1-5

“For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” Isaiah 57:15 – cf. 2:11-17; 33:5, 10

Therefore, in applying the same words to describe the Servant’s exaltation, the prophet is essentially proclaiming that the Servant shares in God’s exalted status as the Most High over all creation!

What makes this last passage from Isaiah all the more relevant is that Yahweh’s name is said to be Holy, which is one of the names ascribed to Christ in Acts 3:14!

Isaiah even refers to Yahweh as the Just or Righteous One, which is the other title given to Christ in that same verse!

“From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. But I say, ‘I pine away, I pine away. Woe is me! For the treacherous deal treacherously, the treacherous deal very treacherously.’” Isaiah 24:16

“The way of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.” Isaiah 26:7 MEV

Now compare this with the passage from Acts again:

“But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,” Acts 3:14

Nor is this the only time that these titles are applied to the Lord Jesus:

“Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered,” Acts 7:52

“And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth;’” Acts 22:14

Even more amazing (and troubling for Williams) is that the titles “Holy” and “Righteous”/”Just” happen to be two of the ninety-names of Allah!

As-Subbûh, Al-Quddûs: The All-Perfect, Utterly Pure

Subbuh is from Subhan, which is glorification and tanzih, disconnecting and elevating Him above any others. He is All-Perfect, All-Pure, All Glorious, far removed from everything evil and imperfect.

Quddus means pure (tahir, munazzah), pure and free of any imperfection. He is far removed from every imperfection or impurity or from anything that would detract from His glory, and disconnected from every description perceived by the senses and thought,All-Holy, All-Pure, All-Perfect.

Some say Subbuh denies imperfection and Quddus affirms perfection.

Al-Quddus is one of the Ninety-Nine Names…

Al'Adl, Al-'Âdil: The Just

The Just and Equitable. He whom desire does not cause to incline or decline so that He should deviate from the right course in judgement.

Al-'Adl is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. (Aisha Bewley, The Divine Names)

That’s not all. The Disciples of the risen Christ further preached that Jesus is the Lord of all creation who shall someday return as a man in order to judge the entire world in righteousness:

“You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)… And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:36, 42-43

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31

Since Williams’ false prophet is a part of the very world that Christ rules and judges, this means that Jesus is Muhammad’s Lord and Judge.

Hence, Muhammad was nothing more than the disobedient slave of the risen Lord who shall someday bow before the majestic feet of Jesus in order to face judgment for misleading people from knowing and discovering the true identity of Christ, who is the beloved and unique Son of God and the Heir of all creation.

With that said, here is a summation of all the major points that we gleaned from our discussion of the immediate and over all contexts of Acts 3:

Jesus was killed and rose physically, bodily from the dead.

Jesus ascended physically, bodily into heaven to sit enthroned alongside God in order to share in God’s rule as the sovereign Lord of all creation.

Jesus is the Source of salvation who grants forgiveness of and repentance from sins.

Jesus’ name alone saves and has the power to affect supernatural healings and miracles.

Jesus is the Author/Creator of life.

Jesus is the Holy and Righteous/Just One.

Jesus is the Judge of the living and the dead who determines the everlasting destiny of all mankind.

So much for Williams’ stalking spree and butchering of the inspired Word of God.

Unless noted otherwise, all biblical references taken from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Holy Bible.

Further Reading

Jesus as the Holy and Righteous One