The last chapter in scripture, an angel commanded John to “Worship God” (Revelation 22:9). It was also commanded in 19:10, because John fell at the feet of an angel, and the angel directed him back to God, Theos.
“Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
In this text ‘worship’, proskyneō, means this has a subservience element: to kiss the hand in reverence; or, stronger, to fall on your knees, touching the ground with your forehead in absolute reverence. Or, to kneel before one who is to be revered. That is, it is a way of paying homage to the Lord, acknowledging Him to be our supreme and only Master. Sadly, though, some pervert this proper subservience by revering Satan instead. The final instance of this quote in Revelation tells us to worship God only, and intimates that as believers we will keep every part of Revelation (and, by association, every word of scripture).
Philippians 3:3 uses a different word for ‘worship’:
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
Here, latreuō is used, a verb meaning to serve God or to worship, including practising any rites. We have only two ‘rites’ – baptism and communion. Note that we “worship God in the spirit”, so any worship must be genuine and prompted by the Lord.
In 1 Corinthians 14:25, we find proskyneō shows God seeing into our hearts, which cannot be kept secret from Him. The worshipper falls down on his face (not backwards!) in utter obeisance. The angels in Heaven ALL obey like this. God will confirm that what is in the heart truly contains truth. How many hearts today can allow this confirmation? And worship means to believe without question everything contained in the “law and the prophets”. (Acts 24:14). Do YOU believe everything, without question? If you do not, then you are guilty of hairesis – heresy, which is “contrary to the law” (as in Acts 18:13); a different word is used for this – sebō... to feel awe. Though this can apply to worship of God, it can also include worship of man... common in today’s churches.
Others worship God “ignorantly” (as in Acts 17:23). In this text people worship a god that is no god, because they have no idea it is sin and useless. Huge numbers in our churches ‘worship’ in this manner, because they know not God. As we read in John 4:24, those who claim to worship God must “worship him in spirit and in truth.” It is impossible to worship God unless we do this. Those who think they worship with their personalised interpretations or outright lies are liars who sin.
Jesus command us just as the mighty angel commanded John... to worship God only (Matthew 4:10):
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
This command is not only for Satan; it is for everyone. No man, and certainly not Satan, or his many deceptions (e.g. Allah), may be worshipped. This is implied also in Psalm 99:9, where we are told to
“Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.”
To worship in this text is shachah, which has the same basic meaning as its New Testament words... to bow down, or to prostrate ones’ self before God. Interestingly it can also mean to prostrate ones’ self before an angel, but the general rule is that we worship God, not man or an angel. To bow before an angel is merely to acknowledge his role as messenger of God. It does not include worship in the sense of glorify, etc.
The command, then, is simple – we may only worship God. To understand the wider meaning of what it is to ‘worship’ please read the short Outline, O-028.
© October 2013
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
Please 'Make a Donation' to support the work of Bible Theology Ministries