The dictionary defines worship as: “reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred. Or it could mean an adoring reverence or regard; for example an excessive worship of money.”
With this in mind, who asks for worship, who is worshiped, and who is worthy of worship?
Satan, the devil asked for worship from God Himself during the temptation of Christ in the wilderness.
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”’” Matthew 4:8-10.
The beast, the last world dictator, also known by the number 666, will be worshiped as God.
“…[the beast] who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped [sebasma, basically to revere, worship], so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
“So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’” Revelation 13:4.
The dragon is Satan; see Revelation 12:9 below, he finally receives what he craves, worship by men.
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him [middle of the tribulation].” Revelation 12:9.
In this passage we also see that man worships man, something that has always been in his heart.
The false prophet:
“…exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” Revelation 13:12.
“And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:11.
What does Scripture say about these things? In the following passage Peter is sent to a man named Cornelius a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment.
Cornelius was told in a vision to send for Peter; upon his arrival this is Cornelius’ response.
“As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I myself am also a man.’” Acts 10:25-26.
While in Lystra, Paul and Barnabas performed a significant miracle by healing a cripple. In response to this the people imagined that they were the gods Zeus and Hermes come down among men; so they came together with oxen and garlands to sacrifice to them. This is the apostle’s response.
“…they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’ And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.” Acts 14:14b-18.
Even an angel confirms that it is God alone who is to be worshiped.
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’” Revelation 19:10.
“Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.’” Revelation 22:8-9.
During a dialogue with the Samaritan woman at the well Jesus told her the following.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-23.
“For we are the circumcision, who worship [latreuo] God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh…” Philippians 3:3.
The word for worship here is latreuo (to render religious service or homage, to worship) one of the two exceptions to proskyneo as discussed in the opening paragraphs of Worship, Part 1, posted on 9-27-19.
“Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.’” Revelation 4:9-11.
An angel flying in mid-heaven in the middle of the tribulation declares this to all the earth.
“…Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14:7.
Unlike the apostles and angels who quickly stopped anyone who wanted to worship them, Jesus readily accepted worship as though it was His due, which it is.
Concerning the wise men from the East, it says this.
“…behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:1b-2 and 11.
“And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew 8:2-3.
“While He spoke these things to them, behold a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.’” Matthew 9:18.
Hear what this ruler said, “My daughter has just died”! No wonder this man worshiped Him, he knew that Jesus could raise his dead daughter to life again.
The account after Jesus saved Peter while walking on water goes like this.
“And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’” Matthew 14:32-33.
The disciples not only worshiped Jesus but they added the confession that “Truly You are the Son of God”. The Lord neither disputes their confession nor does He reject their worship.
When Jesus and His disciples were in the area of Tyre and Sidon a Syrophenician woman came to Him on behalf of her daughter who was severely demon-possessed.
Only after a great deal of anguish did this Gentile woman learn how to come before God and finally gain her petition.
“Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!” Matthew 15:25.
Upon finding the empty tomb after the resurrection of Jesus, the women come upon the risen Lord Himself.
“And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’ and they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.” Matthew 28:9.
After healing a man born blind, the young man found himself before the Pharisees and eventually he was cast out of the synagogue because of his witness for Jesus.
“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.’ Then he said, ‘Lord I believe!’ And he worshiped Him.” John 9:35-38.
“But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’” Hebrews 1:6.
While many Roman emperors demanded worship as a god and received it, their punishment is not obvious for all, yet surely they have passed through the gates of hell, and remain there to this day.
It says of the beast/Antichrist that he will be cast live into the lake of fire, and Satan will follow him shortly. There is also one who was openly punished for accepting the worship due God.
“So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 12:21-23.
Jesus always accepted worship as His due, He always healed, fed and cared for others. He was not eaten up of worms because He is not, a god; rather, He is the God of creation.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8.
Unlike the beast who will come to murder, conquer, plunder, and demand worship under penalty of death; Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11.
The beast will be cast live into the lake of fire; but of Jesus it says.
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11.
Worship, Part 2, Worship Jesus taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 10-26-15, updated on 9-29-19.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.