Worship God.

In light of worshipping God and the Messiah, I believe Psalm 2 gives a good illustration of the Biblical model:

Psalm 2:1-12 – Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'” Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Jesus is the Messiah.  He will be worshipped as such.  Compare this to the record of David in I Chron. 29:20:

Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the LORD your God.” And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the LORD and to the king.

Jesus in the NT is showed homage, bowed before thus being “worshiped” as the word proskenu is translated.  This same word is used towards God and in the LXX is used of others.  There are many people whom this word is applied and its Hebrew equivilent.  What does this tell us?  A common arguement for Jesus being God is that he received worship – and only God can receive worship.  From a full survey of the Scriptures only Yahweh is worshipped as God.  Jesus would have been given worship and as Psalm 2 tells us he should be shown homage, but never as God.  He knew that the Father was the “only true God (John 17:3).  Jesus also told us that the “true worshippers (will and do) worship the Father (John 4:23).” 

So, what are your thoughts on this subject of worship?  The discussion has been great lately (its been a really busy week for me, sorry I haven’t been more involved).  Hopefully this post can deal with this subject and we can begin others for other things that come up, thus keeping it simple and clear for all involved.

For more on this, check out this article from HGO – The True Worshippers Worship the Father

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35 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeff Downs on June 6, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    I disagree with your conclusion (I don’t believe the text has to say “worship Jesus as God” to see that he is worship Just as the Father is. But, that asside, in another post, JohnO stated that Jesus is worshipped, you say the same thing, with qualifications.

    What I’d like to know is what do you do to worship the Father and what do you do to worship the son, if both can and should be?

    Reply

  2. Posted by John Paul on June 6, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Jeff, I’m not sure what king of answer you are looking for. I, and JohnO both answered your question in the other thread you posted on.

    Lets maybe start with some definition of Worship:

    Dictionary.com
    –verb (used with object)
    6. to render religious reverence and homage to.
    7. to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing).

    M-W.com
    verb
    1 : to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power
    2 : to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
    intransitive verb : to perform or take part in worship or an act of worship

    Oxford
    Verb
    show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites : the Maya built jungle pyramids to worship their gods.
    • treat (someone or something) with the reverence and adoration appropriate to a deity : she adores her sons and they worship her. See note at revere .
    • [ intrans. ] take part in a religious ceremony : he went to the cathedral because he chose to worship in a spiritually inspiring building.

    I reffer you to my previous post on this matter here:
    https://highergroundonline.wordpress.com/2007/05/23/did-jesus-think-he-was-god-john-173/#comment-972

    What I’d like to know is what do you do to worship the Father and what do you do to worship the son, if both can and should be?

    Ill answer the second part of this first and say yes it can and should be, (I think its obvious from the 2 sited verses from victors article.) Do you feel the same way, do you have a reason to think otherwise?

    I went over what I do to worship the father vs. the son in the other post but I’ll post it again.

    I (and John O) wouldn’t Give David or Jesus the respect due the Creator of heavens and earth, for sending and inspiring the prophets through the ages, for parting the Red sea, and delivering Israel out of the hands of they’re oppressors. For executing Judgment in the past, or for many of the other attributes that God alone deserves.

    I would worship Jesus as one would worship the king. Give all of the worthiness, respect, and reverence. You don’t use the kings name as a curse. You praise Jesus for his mighty works, and words, and love. You bow before the king. etc.

    God Bless
    ~JP

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jeff on June 7, 2007 at 8:32 am

    I’m asking what kind of actions you take, when you worship the Son. Do you sing hymns to him, do you praise him in your prayers, are you a witeness for him, etc..

    Reply

  4. Posted by John Paul on June 7, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Jeff,
    Oh ok, worship as a noun?
    That a good question i guess. I personally have no problem singing songs to/for Jesus. (If I can sing a love song to/for anyone else I love, why not Jesus?) Unfortunately most songs that I hear for Jesus makes the mistake of giving him credit that God deserves. I do praise him in my prayers, though I do not pray to him. I don’t know if I understand your question about a witness for him, but I would think so. I am his servant, his slave. I manifest the spirit he baptized me with. He is worthy of praise for his perfect obedience to his Father.
    But I would not call these things worshiping God though I do believe I am honoring the Father by honoring his son.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Jeff on June 7, 2007 at 10:45 am

    No, worship as verb.

    How do you worship the Father, what actions do you take.

    Regarding witnessing for Jesus, seems that the apostles were witness for Jesus, the preached Jesus and him crucified, etc.

    You said I am his servant, his slave. I manifest the spirit he baptized me with. He is worthy of praise for his perfect obedience to his Father.

    Do you only worship Jesus for his perfect obedience to the father or do you worship Jesus, for the person he is?

    Reply

  6. Posted by John Paul on June 7, 2007 at 11:51 am

    I’ve never had my methodoligy of worship questioned or scrutenized before. Thats ok though, I will answer your questions.

    How do you worship the Father, what actions do you take.

    I feel an adoring reverence or regard for to God. I obey him, I sing praise to him. I focus on his holyness and meditate on that. I pray to him. He is what I think about the most throughout my day.

    Regarding witnessing for Jesus, seems that the apostles were witness for Jesus, the preached Jesus and him crucified, etc.

    agreed

    Do you only worship Jesus for his perfect obedience to the father or do you worship Jesus, for the person he is?

    The person that he is of course. (I thought I answered that in my previous post) I dont think these things are mutually exclusive. I thought you where looking for some of my actions that I do in worship of Jesus.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Jeff on June 7, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    The person that he is of course. (I thought I answered that in my previous post) I dont think these things are mutually exclusive. I thought you where looking for some of my actions that I do in worship of Jesus.

    I don’t think they are mutually exclusive either, although you seemed to qualify your worship of Jesus, based on what he has done (i.e. his perfect obedience to his Father.). I worship him because of who He is, God, Creator, Sustainer, Prophet, Priest, King, Lord etc. etc.

    You said “I’ve never had my methodoligy of worship questioned or scrutenized before. Thats ok though, I will answer your questions.”

    Thanks! I’m just trying to understand how your worship of the Father (which you do) is different (if different at all) is from your worship of the Son (which you do).

    Reply

  8. Posted by John Paul on June 7, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    I had said: I would worship Jesus as one would worship the king. Give all of the worthiness, respect, and reverence. Thats exlained why i thought I needed to quailify it with his works.

    And his works (the things he has done) made him what he is. He surrenedered his will to do the will of the father. (2 seperate wills?)

    That is what qualifies him as worthy of worship as King.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Jeff on June 7, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Ok, thanks John Paul. We disagree, in some respects, since I believe that Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity and I worship him not only because of what he has done (create, redeem, etc.), but because of who he is – God the son. Thanks for your time.

    Reply

  10. Posted by John Paul on June 7, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    No problem Jeff, I hope I was able to show you somewhat the unitarian perspective on this subject. God bless and I hope you (an I both) continue to endeavor to seek the truth on this important Subject.
    God Bless
    ~JP

    Reply

  11. Posted by Dustin on June 7, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    Jeff,

    What text in the bible says that Jesus is “God the Son, the 2nd member of the trinity”?

    Dustin

    Reply

  12. Posted by Jeff on June 8, 2007 at 2:27 am

    There is no text that states that Jesus is “God the Son, the 2nd member of the trinity”?

    Never said there was a text that claimed it. Thanks Dustin.

    Reply

  13. No one has mentioned yet the fact that there are two Greek words for worship. One is proskuneo, which is used of reverence to superiors, whether people, angels, etc., or God. The other is latreuo which is that special form of worship that is only for God. This word is never used with reference to Jesus, while proskuneo is.

    Reply

  14. Posted by Dustin on June 10, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Jeff,

    You see why we have a hard time with your statement that:

    “since I believe that Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity and I worship him not only because of what he has done (create, redeem, etc.), but because of who he is – God the son.”

    So you feel that Jesus is “God the Son” when the Bible never says that. Just curious as to how you believe something that is not stated in the Bible?

    Dustin

    Reply

  15. the word worship meant up until modern times “to prostrate oneself.” I’d be curious what Jeff thinks about the paper I wrote on this. click here to download it

    Reply

  16. John Paul,

    You said:

    I do praise him in my prayers, though I do not pray to him.

    I’m curious as to why you do not pray to Jesus in light of passages such as John 14:14; Acts 7:59; and 1Corinthians 1:2?
    ___________________________________

    Dustin,

    There are many words and phrases that the Bible never says which describe things we believe. The Bible never uses the term unitarianism or makes the statement that God is one person yet that accurately describes the beliefs of JohnO, John Paul, Sean, and presumably you.

    So while the Bible doesn’t use the phrase Jesus is God, second person of the Trinity it certainly supplies us with all the data necessary to make that statement.
    ___________________________________

    Sean,

    While prostration is certainly included in the term proskuneō I can’t see that the word itself merely meant to protrate oneself. Could you point me to any credible sources that say proskuneō only meant to protrate oneself until modern times?
    ___________________________________

    And I’d like to re-ask a question that I asked on the John 17:3 post. I said:

    If God demands worship in Spirit and in Truth, and you do not worship Jesus as God, then in what way do you worship him? What alternative is there to worshipping in spirit and truth besides a mere lip service?

    JohnO offered an answer (actually a straw man) saying:

    Again your comments regarding lipservice say that “if Jesus isn’t God, than he is nothing at all”, which is patently false.

    But this was not an answer to my actual question. I’m hoping that one of you can offer something a little more pertinent. Thank =)

    Reply

  17. Posted by John Paul on June 11, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Nick to answer your question:
    I’m curious as to why you do not pray to Jesus…

    Quite simply because I have never seen instructed to offer prayer to anybody but God (the father Matt 6:9)

    A quick answer for the verses you provide is that they are not instructions for prayer nor does the language imply it.
    The word epikaloumenoiv in 1 cor 1:2 means call upon or to appeal. I see nothing wrong here with appealing to Christ, after all authority has been given to him in many matters, especially when it comes to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is he who sends to the spirit. I think the authoritative principal can also be implied with John 14:14.
    The case of the Acts verse I do not see as prayer, mainly because he could see Jesus at that time and can Steven also knows that Jesus has been given the authority to Judge (John 10:29-30.) This appeal in this instance to Jesus is also an appeal to got because they have the same purpose in this matter.

    Reply

  18. Nick I think Jason David BeDuhn’s “Truth in Translation” handles the proskuneo issue well. Furthermore, the word “proskuneo” is applied to the saints in Rev 3.9 [NASB translates it as “bow down”]. Not to mention many LXX examples of people doing proskuneo to the king (notably David). The Hebrew equivalent “shacha” works the same way.

    Reply

  19. John Paul,

    You will notice that the word epikaloumenois when used in the LXX is always directed to Yahweh (Ps. 86:5; 99:6; 145:18; 147:9) Compare this with epikaleisthai which the TDNT says means “to call on in prayer”. The article goes on to state that “[t]he directing of prayer to Jesus is a mark of faith in the Messiah…” (“επικαλεω” inTDNT, 3:500).

    In other words, this is no mere appeal… it is a cultic act of worship. Larry Hurtado said:

    Though “to call upon” Jesus was probably initially the specific ritual (collective) of confession/acknowledgment of his exhaltation as “Lord,” the phrase quickly came to connote the broader devitional praxis of treating Jesus as recipient of liturgical worship through invocation, prayer, and praise. In 1 Corinthians 1:2 Paul refers to Christians everywhere (en panti topō) as “all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” which both explicitly indicates the christological appropriation of the biblical phrase and also makes this cultic reverence of Jesus the universal description of Christian believers (Lord Jesus Christ, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003), 143.).

    In light of your interpretation of John 14:14 how do you then understand John 16:23 where Jesus says, “…whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”? Is this a mere appeal to the Father because he has authority? If so, then what is the difference between such an appeal and actual prayer?

    And I don’t understand your point regarding Acts 7:59. How does Stephen seeing Jesus negate his words from being a prayer? And where do you see judgment in the passage? Stephen prays for Jesus to receive his spirit–this statement echoes Jesus’ final statement from the cross in Luke 23:46.
    ___________________________________

    Sean,

    To my understanding, not even BeDuhn suggests that proskuneō merely meant to bow down. He offers a range of meanings that include prostration as well as worship. Now he might have concluded that English translations are biased in their translation of proskuneō as worship in reference to Jesus, but what difference does that make for those who read the New Testament in Greek and have drawn the same conclusion?

    Reply

  20. Nick, the word proskuneo means to “bow down.” This may include religious worship or not. The same word is used of Jesus in reference to Satan when he said “You shall proskuneo the Lord your God…” However, the same exact word is used in reference to human superiors like in Rev 3.9. I’m not proposing anything radical here.

    Reply

  21. Posted by Dustin Smith on June 12, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Nick,

    I never used the word unitarianism, but “God is one” is used many times in the Bible. Over 15,000 singular hebrew pronouns are used of God. A singular pronoun makes someone a singular person.

    I dont need to infer anything, that statement is quite clear.

    Out of the over 10,000 references to God, which one refers to God as “God in 3 persons?”

    Dustin

    Reply

  22. Posted by Jeff on June 12, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Out of the over 10,000 references to God, which one refers to God as “God in 3 persons?”

    You know the answer to this has been given many times (see here). You asking this question quite suprising.

    Where you err is your assumption that we do not beleive in one God. Also, your assumption that in order for a doctrine of the Trinity to be biblical, we need to find a verse that says that God is “God in 3 persons.” We do not do our biblical theology with one verse, Dustin.

    Reply

  23. Jeff,
    Not to jump into someone elses discussion, but I a bit confused by your response to Dustin’s question. He simply asked for a Scripture reference where the word “God” is a Trinity as opposed to one of the persons of the Trinity (i.e. the Father). Your reference to a list of books supporting the Trinity does not supply the answer to his question. If there is an answer to his question, please answer it, if not, then please indicate that as well. Thanks.

    Reply

  24. Posted by Jeff on June 12, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    I answered his question outside the link I posted. We do not do our theology with one verse!

    Do I really have to produce a list of verses. If you guys have not done your homework, I’d be glad to do so, but I suspect that you have at least read some basic trinitarian works. I’m reminded of the atheist who continues to ask Christian after Christian about bible contridictions, to which he is responded to time and again with the same solid answers. The atheist hopes he is going to trip up at least one person along the way.

    Reply

  25. Jeff,

    Your response is very surprising. Are you saying that there is a verse somewhere but you don’t know where so I should read an entire book from your perspective to find it? This surely is not what you mean. Are you admitting that God is never spoken of as a Trinity in the Bible? Please clarify. We do see the word God used with singular personal pronouns thousands of times.

    Reply

  26. Posted by Dustin Smith on June 13, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Jeff,

    I want to know how someone who just picks up the Bible will read it cover to cover and come to the conclusion that God is really 3 and not 1. Show me how you came to this conclustion.

    I dont need other works to explain something as simple as this. The Bible should speak for itself, taken within it’s context.

    God is said to be one many many times, and God is referred to as an “I”, “Me”, “He”, or “Him” over 10,000 times. That is a lot of proof texts to show that He is a single person. This is how we talk today. God who created language and who reveals himself by that language does not have to have trinitarian works explain their way out of this simple fact.

    Please answer the inquiry of Sean and I before we move any further.

    Dustin

    Reply

  27. Posted by Jeff on June 13, 2007 at 10:27 am

    My point, Dustin and Sean, is that your request has been addressed many times over and over. If you really need the answers, do your homework and read those who have addressed your question.

    You said I dont need other works to explain something as simple as this. The Bible should speak for itself, taken within it’s context

    So, why are you asking me – another “work.”

    This will be my last post, as I will be moving Thurs. – Saturday and will probably not have internet access for sometime.

    Reply

  28. Posted by Dustin Smith on June 13, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Jeff,

    Thanks for your response.

    I rest my case.

    Dustin

    Reply

  29. Posted by JohnO on June 13, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Jeff,

    I think the point is that Trinitarianism is not a simple biblical step. There isn’t any verse that states God is any multiplicity of Persons. There are ten thousand verses that state God is one Person. It required 350 years after Christ to come to a complete statement regarding the Trinity. And it requires you a list of books to make your beliefs known.

    Reply

  30. If I remember from the development of the doctrine, didn’t it start with not understanding what the Bible meant in the few verses where it calls Jesus God? Then they figured the only way to reconcile the verses that declare the Father is God with those that call the Son God, and those that (seem to) call the holy spirit God, is to conclude that they are all God. And then in order to reconcile three persons being called God with worshipping one God, they had to conclude that it was somehow “three persons in one God.” Is this an accurate summary of where the idea came from?

    Reply

  31. Posted by Dustin Smith on June 14, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Actually, theres a lot to it. Ive read quite extencively on this. Here is my best take on this:

    By the end of the first century, the church was prodominately Gentile. Those gentiles were not familiar with the Jewishness of the Messiah, him being in the plan of God, and what Son of David actually meant. THe church because of it’s tensions with Jews began to be very anti-Jewish and therefore turned off from their Jewish roots (this is one of the reasons they left the kingdom and adopted heaven).

    Becuase of these things, and not having the OT background, they read passages like John 1, Phil 2, and Col 1 and being literal preexistance. This put Jesus back into history, which corrupted his humanity. By Justin Martyr there were Christians believeing in both the human Jesus and the preexisxtant Jesus.

    It was not long into the 2nd century that Jesus was identified with God, but they saw a problem with that because the Father was clearly God. Some went so far as saying that Jesus was a 2nd God (echoing Philo). THis didnt work so Jesus was a secondary God, THis evolved into Jesus being “God of GOd, Light of Light” etc.

    This was semi-settled at Nicea, where the above was carved into stone. Jesus was not the firstborn of the Genesis creation but was eternally-begotten (whatever that means). THe Holy Spirit was not involved in the agenda at that time, as the creed says “we believe in the Holy Spirit.” Many at that time did not think it was a person seperate from the Father.

    Then they started to read into the tri-forumlas of the NT, Matt 28:19 and 2 in the Corinthian letters. They made that into 3 and it all went downhill from there.

    But thats just my take on it, from the reading I have done.

    Dustin

    Reply

  32. Dustin,

    Could you give me a list of the works you have read on the subject? I’d be very interested to know exactly what authors gave you that impression.

    Thanks,

    Nick

    Reply

  33. Both of the following were taken from Hans Kung’s Christianity: Essence, History, and Future

    “Had people kept to the New Testament, they would have spared themselves the notorious difficulties which now arose over the relationship of the three persons ‘in’ God, all the speculations over the numbers one and three. “

    “If we take the New Testament as a criterion, we cannot deny that the Council of Nicaea certainly maintained the New Testament message and did not Hellenize it totally. But it is equally beyond dispute that the council remained utterly imprisoned in Hellenistic concepts, notions and thought-models which would have been completely alien to the Jew Jesus of Nazareth and the earliest community. Here in particular the shift from the Jewish Christians apocalyptic paradigm to the early church Hellenistic paradigm had a massive effect.”

    Reply

  34. Posted by Dustin Smith on June 18, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Nick, here are a few:

    The History of Dogma, by Adolf Harnack, vol 1-2

    When Jesus Became God by Richard Rubenstein

    The Orthodoz Corruption of Scripture by Bart Ehrman

    Jesus: Symbol of God by Roger Haight

    Born Before All Time? The Dispute over Christ’s Origin by Karl-Josef Kuschel

    The Myth of God Incarnate by John Hick

    One or Three? From the father of Jesus to the trinity by Karl-Heinz Ohlig

    Christology in the Making by James Dunn

    THe Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianies Self Inflicted Wound by Anthony Buzzard

    Should I quote page numbers too?

    Dustin

    Reply

  35. Dustin,

    Thanks. No page numbers necessary… with that list I’m not surprised with your conclusions.

    Nick

    Reply

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