The Hebrew word for worshipping is shâchâh / shaw-khaw‘ and means
to depress, that is, prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God): – bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.
The word is not unique to YHWH, in that while the Hebrews shâchâh’d their God they also shâchâh’d other people higher in rank than themselves.
Worshiping ((Hebrew shâchâh)) YHWH
Then I bowed my head and worshiped (shâchâh) the LORD and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. (Genesis 24:48 ESV)
(for you shall worship (shâchâh) no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), (Exodus 34:14 ESV)
Lev 26:1 “You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down (shâchâh) to it, for I am the LORD your God.
and has gone and served other gods and worshiped (shâchâh) them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, (Deuteronomy 17:3 ESV)
The above two verses demonstrate that (shâchâh) is due to YHWH. In the context of these verses (shâchâh) is due to YHWH as GOD (as opposed to other Gods of the surrounding nations).
Can one give (shâchâh) to a man?
(shâchâh) as such can also be given to men on account of who they are or on account of being exalted by YHWH. Let us look at few examples:
Then Abraham bowed down (shâchâh) before the people of the land. And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” (Genesis 23:12-13 ESV)
Promise / Blessing to Jacob
Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down (shâchâh) to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!” (Genesis 27:29 ESV)
Interestingly Jacob bowed to Esau signifying the eventual promise to Jacob will be fulfilled in Jesus
He himself went on before them, bowing (shâchâh) himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. (Genesis 33:3 ESV) Then the servants drew near, they and their children, and bowed down (shâchâh). (Genesis 33:6 ESV)
So there is a (shâchâh) due to YHWH and a (shâchâh) due to those above us. Shâchâh or worship is unique to YHWH as GOD in that we ought not to give (shâchâh) to another as YHWH.
Joseph’s dream (Joseph like Jesus) – His brothers WORSHIP him
Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down(shâchâh) to my sheaf.” (Genesis 37:7 ESV)
Gen 37:9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing(shâchâh) down to me.”
But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” (Genesis 37:10 ESV)
When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed (shâchâh) down to him to the ground… They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated (shâchâh) themselves. (Genesis 43:26, 28 ESV)
Joseph worships his father Israel:
Then Joseph removed them from his knees, and he bowed (shâchâh) himself with his face to the earth. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. (Genesis 48:12-13 ESV)
Worship of Joseph to Judah? How So
Israel blesses Judah, though Judah as such remained subject to Joseph in his time in Egypt. Let us trace how men were blessed to receive shâchâh from men:
|Blessing to Jacob||Blessing to Judah||Blessing to Joseph|
|Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!” (Genesis 27:29 ESV)||“Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down (shâchâh) before you. (Genesis 49:8 ESV)||Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down (shâchâh) to my sheaf.” (Genesis 37:7 ESV)|
Jesus was the promised seed who would receive (shâchâh) from the whole world in the age to come. Like God exalted Abel in the eyes of Cain or as God favoured Joseph in the eyes of his brothers so also God has exalted Jesus, his son, in the eyes of the whole world. As Joseph was given the dream of receiving worship so also Jesus receives worship from us.
Why has God exalted Jesus above us and instructed us to worship him?
On account of his love for righteousness compared to his peers and as one who had victory over sin.
you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; (Psalms 45:7 ESV)
In the coming kingdom, Jesus will be exalted over the nations:
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him (shâchâh). (Psalms 45:10-11 ESV)
May all kings fall down (shâchâh) before him, all nations serve him! (Psalms 72:11 ESV)
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship (shâchâh) the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. (Zechariah 14:16-17 ESV)
Worship in the New testament
Like shâchâh / shaw-khaw’ in the Hebrew, the Greek equivalent is proskuneō / pros-koo-neh’-o meaning to
kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand; to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): – worship.
Again proskuneō is not unique to YHWH or Jesus as illustrated below
|Worshipping the Father||Worshipping Jesus||People will worship the CHURCH|
|Rev 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped (proskuneō) God,||Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped (proskuneō). (Revelation 5:11-14 ESV)||Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship (proskuneō) before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (Revelation 3:9 KJV)|
Rev 4 – God is worshipped who sits on the throne.
The worship he receives is as God.
Reason for worshiping God:
- a. Sits on the throne
- b. liveth for ever and ever
- c. for thou didst create all things (including Jesus)
Rev 4:10-11 the four and twenty elders shall fall down before him that sitteth on the throne, and shall worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honour and the power: for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created.
Rev 5 – The Reason they worshipped Jesus:
The worship Jesus receives is as one who purchased unto his God with his own blood men & women from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. (and NOT because he was part of a trinity or that he was God)
A new being is found in heaven (for the first time in history Jesus reached heaven – though this is but a ‘vision’ of heaven)
God is still on his throne! (but shares it with his son i.e. power and authority).
Rev 5:9,10 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth.
- a. New song! Jesus was also new in heaven!
- b. didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation,
- c. didst purchase unto God – i.e. to their God and Jesus’ God
- d. madest them to be unto OUR God a kingdom and priests — ‘Our God’ i.e. their God and Jesus’ God
Both God and the new being in heaven receive worship: (God as God and Jesus as Jesus) (1 Ch 29:20)
Unto him that sitteth on the throne, AND unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honour, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. (Rev 5:13)
There is absolutely NO trinity!
a. God is was and will be. He is God even of Jesus
b. Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God post his resurrection! God exalted him!
c. God so pleased with Jesus gave him a seat next to him!
d. God and Jesus are two different beings, but Jesus is made divine in that he inherits the attributes of his God.
Bow down and worship (shâchâh) the LORD (YHWH) our Creator! The LORD is our God, and we are his people, the sheep he takes care of in his own pasture. Listen to God’s voice today! (Psalms 95:6-7 CEV)
Interestingly the people of Israel worshipped YHWH and DAVID at one great gathering
And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped (shâchâh) the LORD, and the king. (1 Chronicles 29:20 KJV)
Here is an example of bowing down (klinō not proskuneō) to angels:
‘And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down (klinō)their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?’ (Luke 24:4-5 KJV)
In most Christian circles the idea of prostrating is foreign. In fact it is a good idea to prostrate (worship/shâchâh/ proskuneō) ourselves before our MAKER and JESUS. [Worship is not to be confused with PRAYER]
Worshipping Jesus is not a new concept and worshipping him does not imply he is YHWH. The common misconception is thus:
- Only YHWH should be shâchâh’d
- Jesus was shâchâh-ed
- So Jesus is a PERSON of God
Since, assumption 1 is wrong as shown in this post, so it follows that point 3 is wrong! If you can like the brothers of Joseph worship righteous Joseph (young and despised), so also you can worship Jesus. It is God who exalts and brings low.
In most Christian circles the idea of prostrating is foreign. It is a sign of humility.
1Pe 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
Rom 13:5-7 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
1Ti 6:1 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.
Eph 6:5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,
Php 2:3 doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself;
That is, when we worship Yahweh as God we know that we are worshipping the One true God! (This is to be contrasted with worshiping other Gods/idols!)
When we worship or honour men then we are showing respect to them as men higher than us but that does not mean we think of them as God! Therefore we give honour and glory and worship to Jesus as it is due to him for he is exalted above his peers like Joseph once was!
Here is a story to balance worship/honour of men v/s God
Mar 12:14-17 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest not for any one: for thou regardest not the person of men, but of a truth teachest the way of God: Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.
And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s.
And Jesus said unto them, Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. And they marveled greatly at him.