The Apostles’ inspired proclamation concerning The risen Christ in the book of Acts Pt. 2

We proceed from where we left off previously https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/the-apostles-inspired-proclamation-concerning-the-risen-christ-in-the-book-of-acts-pt-1/.

WILLIAMS

Acts 2:36:

‘Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah’

RESPONSE

To begin with, the same inspired author identifies Jesus as having already been both Christ and Lord long before his physical ascension into heaven:

“When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She spoke out with a loud voice, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Indeed, as soon as the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.’” Luke 1:41-44

Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, confesses that Jesus, who had just been conceived in the blessed womb of his mother by the Holy Spirit, was already her Lord!

“And in the same area there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And then an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid. But the angel said to them, ‘Listen! Do not fear. For I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:8-11

The angels announce the birth of Christ the Lord in Bethlehem.

“And demons came out of many, crying out, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of God!’ But He rebuked them and did not permit them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ.” Luke 4:41

The demons recognize that Jesus is the Christ and Son of God during his public ministry.

“As He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him. And He asked them, ‘Who do the people say that I am?’ They answered, ‘John the Baptist. But some say Elijah. And others say that one of the old prophets has risen.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, ‘The Christ of God.’” Luke 9:18-20

God the Father inspires Peter to confess that Jesus is the Christ of God (cf. Matthew 16:16-17).

The foregoing expressly affirms that Jesus was already Lord and Christ before God “made” him such after his resurrection and physical ascension into heaven. In light of this, Peter’s point isn’t that Jesus’ ascension into God’s presence was the moment that he became Lord and Christ, but that this was the time when he began carrying out the specific functions associated with these particular offices, i.e., Jesus began actively ruling over all creation as its Sovereign King once he entered into heaven since this is what the Lord Christ does.

More importantly, the very context from which Williams wrenched this verse from records Peter making claims about Jesus that go beyond anything that could be said of a mere mortal:

“Brothers, I may speak confidently to you concerning the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. But being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of his seed according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foresaw this and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. God raised up this Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear. For David has not ascended to the heavens, yet he says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’… Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.” Acts 2:29-35, 37-41

The blessed Apostle proclaims that God not only preserved the flesh of the Lord Jesus by raising him back to life after having been put to death on the cross, but that God also exalted Christ into heaven so he could begin ruling alongside of the Father. Peter then tells the Jewish crowd that had gathered at the temple that it was Christ who had poured out the Holy Spirit from the Father upon all his disciples. Peter used this miraculous event of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon them, which the Jews were seeing and hearing for themselves, as a sign from God himself that they all needed to embrace the name of Jesus Christ if they desired to be saved and forgiven for their sins.

This isn’t the only miracle that he appealed to, since Acts goes on to show how Peter and John healed a paralytic in the name of Christ in order to convince the Jews that Jesus is God’s Son whom God glorified by exalting him to heaven, being the Holy and Righteous One, as well as the Creator of life whom they killed and whom God raised from the dead, and whose name and power alone is able to save any and everyone who would believe and trust in him for salvation:

“When Peter saw it, he answered the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Or why do you stare at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14 You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed THE CREATOR OF LIFE, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And HIS NAME, by faith IN HIS NAME, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. And faith which comes through Him has given him perfect health in your presence.’” Acts 3:12-16

And:

“On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes 6 were assembled at Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John and Alexander, and all who were of the family of the high priest. When they had stood them in the midst, they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we today are being examined concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, how 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 stands before you whole. He is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” There is NO SALVATION IN ANY OTHER, for there is NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN given among men by which we must be saved.’ When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were illiterate and uneducated men, they marveled. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing with them, they had nothing to say against it.” Acts 4:5-14

Christ’s disciples further testified that it is the risen Jesus who grants repentance and forgiveness of sins, beginning with Israel:

“God exalted this Man to His right hand to be a Ruler and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

To say that this is astonishing would be to put it quite mildly, since the Apostles attributed to Christ the very roles and characteristics which the Hebrew Bible ascribe to Yahweh alone!

For instance, it is Yahweh alone who pours out his Spirit upon his male and female servants, and it is his name alone that has the power to save anyone:

“Declare and set forth your case; let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient times? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no God besides Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is no other 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

“No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls ON THE NAME OF THE LORD shall be saved.’” Acts 2:16-21 – cf. Joel 2:28-32

And God also is the One who grants repentance to sinners:

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

“The servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but must be gentle toward all people, able to teach, patient, in gentleness instructing those in opposition. Perhaps God will grant them repentance 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

Therefore, the only way that the Holy Spirit would inspire Peter to preach that Jesus is the One who pours out God’s Spirit from heaven, and that it is his name alone that saves, is if Jesus is Yahweh God who became flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

This brings me to William’s final and concluding comment.

WILLIAMS

Acts 17:31:

‘…because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’

So God and Jesus are clearly different and separate beings. There are numerous verses like this in Acts.

RESPONSE

When we read Paul’s claim here in light of the backdrop of the OT, which emphatically testifies that it is Yahweh God himself who comes to judge the whole world in righteousness,

“But the Lord remains forever; He has established His throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; He will give judgment to the peoples in uprightness.” Psalm 9:7-8

“before the Lord, for He comes, for He comes to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His faithfulness.” Psalm 96:13 – cf. 98:9

“In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. I will enter into judgment with them there regarding My people and My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land… Hurry and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather there. Bring down Your warriors, O Lord. Let the nations be roused, and go up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come and tread, for the winepress is full. The wine vats overflow, because their evil is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of the decision. The sun and moon darken, and the stars withdraw their radiance. The Lord roars from Zion, and sounds His voice from Jerusalem, and heaven and earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge for His people, and a stronghold for the children of Israel.” Joel 3:1-2, 11-16

Then the Apostle’s proclamation takes on a whole new meaning, since we again have them portraying Christ doing what Yahweh alone is supposed to do, namely, judge and determine the destiny of all the inhabitants of the earth. This again indicates that Jesus’ followers didn’t think for a moment that Christ was nothing more than a flesh and blood human being. Rather, their witness in Acts shows that they all wholeheartedly believed that Jesus was(is) truly, fully divine and was(is) therefore one with God in glory, honor and power.

So much for Williams’ objections.

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural references taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

Related Articles

Jesus as the Holy and Righteous One http://answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/jesus_holy_righteous.html

My Response to a Muslim’s Misuse of Acts 2:22 http://answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/acts2_22.html

How Can Jesus Be Made Lord and Christ if he is God? http://answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/acts2_36.html

What does it mean that Jesus was made Lord? http://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/q_jesus_made_lord.htm

How can Jesus be God if he is given the name Lord only at his exaltation? http://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/q_given_name_lord.htm

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