What did Jesus really say?

by Misha'al Abdullah Al-Kadhi

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ISNET Homepage | MEDIA Homepage | Program Kerja | Koleksi | Anggota But people "worshipped" Jesus and he did not object


With regard to John 9:38 "Lord. I believe, and he worshipped him." and Matthew 28:17 "they saw him, they worshipped him." Please note that the word translated as "worshipped" in both verses is the GREEK word "prosekunesan" which is derived from the root word proskuneo {pros-ku-neh'-o}. The literal meaning of this word is (and I quote): "to kiss, like a dog licking his masters hand." This word also has the general meaning of "bow, crouch, crawl, kneel or prostrate." Please check the Strong's concordance for the true meaning of this word. Is the act of kissing someone's hand the same as worshipping him? Once again, selective translation.

However, the above two verses of John and Matthew are not the only two verses of the Bible were such selective translation techniques are employed in order to impress upon the reader a chosen doctrine. For example, in the "Gospel of Matthew" the English "translation" records that Jesus was "worshipped" by Magi that came from the East (2:11); by a ruler (9:18) , by boat people (14:33), by a Canaanite woman (15:24), by the mother of the Zebedees (20:20); and by Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (28:9) to name but a very few.

Since worshipping any one other than God is a fundamental sin, therefore, the reader understands that Jesus was God since he condoned them "worshipping" him. Since Jesus (pbuh) never once in the whole Bible ever told anyone "worship me!" (as God Himself does in many places), therefore, once again, we are told that Jesus was "hinting" that he wants us to worship him. However, as we can plainly see, what the author was in fact saying in these verses is that these people "fell at Jesus' feet," or that these people "knelt before Jesus."

How then shall we interpret their "kneeling down before Jesus."? Should we understand that they were "praying" to him? Far from it! Let us ask the Bible to explain:

"And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, [upon] me [let this] iniquity [be]: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid."

1 Samuel 25:23-24

When Abigail "fell before" king David was she "worshipping" him? Was she "praying" to him? When she addressed him as "my lord," did she mean that he was her God?. Similarly,

"Then she went in, and fell at his (Elisha's) feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out."

2 Kings 4:37

"And his (Joseph's) brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we [be] thy servants."

Genesis 50:18

"And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan;"

2 Samuel 19:18

"Worship" is one of those English words which carry a double meaning. The one most popular among most people is "to pray to." This is the meaning that immediately springs into everyone's mind when they read this word. However, "worship" has another meaning. It also means "to respect," "to reverence," or "to adore" (see for example Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, tenth edition). The second meaning is used more frequently in England than, for example, in the United States. However, the first remains the most popular and well known meaning in any English speaking country. Even at that, in Britain it is not at all uncommon even in this age to find the British addressing their nobles as "your worship."

What the translators have done when translating these verse is that they have "technically" translated the word correctly, however, the true meaning of this word is now completely lost.

Finally, in order to seal the proof of this matter and to dispel any lingering doubt that may remain in the reader's mind, the reader is encouraged to obtain a copy of the "New English Bible." In it they will find the translations of the quoted verses to read:

  1. "bowed to the ground" (2:11);
  2. "fell at his feet" (14:33);
  3. "falling prostrate before him" (28:9), and
  4. "fell prostrate before him" (28:17)...etc.

Please also read the translation of these verses in "The Complete Bible, an American Translation" By Edward Goodspeed and J. M. Powis Smith where they are once again honestly translated as:

  1. "they threw themselves down and did homage to him" (2:11),
  2. "fell down before him"(14:33),
  3. "and they went up to him and clasped his feed and bowed to the ground before him" (28:9), and
  4. "bowed down before him"(28:17), etc.

Once again, we remember that such sublime manipulation of the translation in order to establish with the reader a chosen doctrine was exposed by God in the noble Qur'an. The Qur'an says:

"There is among them a party who distort the Scripture with their tongues that you might think that it is from the Scripture, when it is not from the Scripture; and they say, 'It is from God,' but it is not from God; and they speak a lie against God, and [well] they know it!"

The Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):78

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