The Holy Scriptures emphatically teach that God alone is to be worshiped, and he alone is to be the Object of our prayers and sacrifices:
"And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me," Exodus 20:1-5
The words bow down and serve in Hebrew are shachah and abad. The Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, known as the Septuagint (LXX), renders shachah as proskuneeseis (from proskuneo, meaning worship) and abad as latreuseis (from latreuo, meaning sacred service, especially the service rendered by priests in connection with the Temple). The Lord Jesus used both words when referring to the worship due to God:
"Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me (proskuneesees moi). Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! for it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve (kurion ton theon sou proskuneeseis kai auto mono latreuseis)."" Matthew 4:8-10
Here is another example where proskuneo is used in connection with worship given to God:
"But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so, falling on his face, he will worship God (kai houtos peson epi prosopon proskuneesai to theo) and declare that God is really among you." 1 Corinthians 14:24-25
Notice that in this example, part of worship includes falling down on ones face or knees in humility before God.
The Scriptures strictly prohibit the worship of any creature, whether angelic, human, animal etc.
"When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him (prosekuneesen). But Peter lifted him up, saying, Stand up; I too am a man." Acts 10:25-26
"Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, Stand upright on your feet. And he sprang up and walked. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycao'nian, The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men! Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, because he was the chief speaker, they called Hermes. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the people. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the multitude, crying, Men, why are you doing this? We also are men, of like nature with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways; yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. With these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them." Acts 14:8-18
"Then I fell down at his feet to worship him (proskuneesai auto), but he said to me, You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God (to theo proskuneeson). For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Revelation 19:10
"I John am he who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship (proskuneesai) at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God (to theo proskuneeson). Revelation 22:8-9
There are places, however, where certain individuals are said to have received proskuneo (Hebrew shachah), without implying that these persons were being worshiped as God:
"Then David said to all the assembly, Bless the LORD your God. And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads, and worshiped the LORD, and did obeisance to the king." 1 Chronicles 29:20
"Then David said to all the assembly, Bless the LORD your God. And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the LORD and to the king." ESV
The Lord Jesus, addressing the Church at Philadelphia, says:
"Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie -- behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet (proskuneesousin), and learn that I have loved you." Revelation 3:9
It is rather evident that in neither passage are the persons in question being worshiped as God, but were receiving reverence and homage due either to their royal status or union with Christ. These examples provide evidence that the word(s), which translators often render as worship, does not always refer to the worship given to God.
On this basis, many critics and cultists deny that the NT ascribes to Jesus the very worship due to God alone. They reason that Christ is receiving honor, reverence, homage, obeisance etc., much like David, but in no way does he receive the worship due only to God.
In this paper we will set out to prove that the Lord Jesus, according to the teaching of the NT documents, received and must receive the very same worship that is given to God. We will present the evidence to show that Jesus didnt simply receive the homage given to a king like David, but is given the very worship and reverence which God alone deserves.
Jesus as the Creator of All Things
According to the New Testament, one of the many reasons why God alone is worthy of worship is because he is the Creator of all things:
"Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created." Revelation 4:11
"Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of water. Revelation 14:6-7
Yet according to these same NT documents, the Lord Jesus is the very One who created everything for himself:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made... He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not." John 1:1-3, 10
"He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent." Colossians 1:15-18
"but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high ... And, Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end." Hebrews 1:2-3, 10-12
Jesus is, therefore, worthy of the very worship that every creature must give to God since he is the Creator of all things that exist. Note the following syllogism carefully:
This leads us to our next section.
Jesus Receives The Very Same Worship Given To God
In light of the foregoing NT teaching that Jesus is the Creator of all things, it is little wonder that we find the Lord Jesus saying the following:
"The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, EVEN AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." John 5:22-23
Notice that Jesus doesnt say to honor him as one honors a prophet or ones parents. Jesus very bluntly says that he must be honored in exactly the same way God is honored, i.e. Jesus is demanding the very worship due to God since the way one honors God is to worship him:
"Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:20-24
The inspired book of Revelation shows Jesus being honored in exactly the same way that God is. Notice, for instance, the way in which the inhabitants of heaven worship God:
"After this I looked, and lo, in heaven an open door! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, Come up hither, and I will show you what must take place after this. At once I was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads. From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God; and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And round the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created." Revelation 4:1-11
The Old Testament says something similar:
"Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all." 1 Chronicles 29:11
In the very next chapter of Revelation, John sees all creation giving the Lord Jesus the very same worship:
"And I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals? And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals. And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; and they sang a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth. 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 therein, saying, To him who sits upon the throne AND TO THE LAMB be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever! And the four living creatures said, Amen! and the elders fell down and worshiped." Revelation 5:1-14
John, here, sees that every creature worships not only God who sits on the throne, but also the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ! What makes this all the more amazing is that if every creature worships both God and the Lamb, then the Lamb cannot be a creature; otherwise he would be part of that very group of creation which worships God. Instead, John sees Jesus as being separate from all creation, existing in the very same category of being as God, indicating that John believed Christ is eternal.
According to the OT, all the so-called gods and angels must worship God:
"Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy array." Psalm 29:1-2
"All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; all gods bow down before him." Psalm 97:7
"Let all that worship graven images be ashamed, who boast of their idols; worship him, all ye his angels." LXX
The inspired writer of Hebrews applies the above passage to the Lord Jesus:
"And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, Let ALL God's angels worship him." Hebrews 1:6
Thus, Jesus receives the same worship of the angels which the Old Testament says must be given to God!
The Hebrew Scriptures teach that God has ordained praise and strength from the mouth of infants.
"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth! Thou whose glory above the heavens is chanted by the mouth of babes and infants, thou hast founded a bulwark because of thy foes, to still the enemy and the avenger." Psalm 8:1-2
"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou perfected praise, because of thine enemies; that thou mightest put down the enemy and avenger." LXX
Amazingly, the Lord Jesus justifies the praise he received from children by quoting this very Psalm:
"But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, Hosanna to the Son of David! they were indignant; and they said to him, Do you hear what these are saying? And Jesus said to them, Yes; have you never read, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast brought perfect praise"?" Matthew 21:15-16
The only way for this quotation from the Psalms to count as valid justification for Jesus not to forbid, but to confirm the praise of his own person, from those children is if he was equating himself with Yahweh God. Jesus is basically saying that to praise him is to praise Yahweh God!
Other references showing Christ as the Object of worship include:
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, 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. ... Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him. ... When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:1-2, 7-8, 10-11
"And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, Truly you are the Son of God." Matthew 14:33
"Then the mother of the sons of Zeb'edee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something." Matthew 20:20
"And behold, Jesus met them and said, Hail! And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him... And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted." Matthew 28:9, 17
"And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, You are the Son of God." Mark 3:11
"And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him; and crying out with a loud voice, he said, What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me. For he had said to him, Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" Mark 5:6-8
"Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Ja'irus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, ... But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth." Mark 5:22, 33
"But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet." Mark 7:25
"But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. ... While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and besought him, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." Luke 5:8, 12
"Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, Do you believe in the Son of man? He answered, And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him? Jesus said to him, You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you. He said, Lord, I believe; and he worshiped him." John 9:35-38
"Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw him, fell at his feet, saying to him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." John 11:32
"Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe. Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, Peace be with you. Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing. Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. John 20:24-31
Another indication that Jesus is worshiped as God is that Christ is to be revered and loved unconditionally:
"Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ." Ephesians 5:21
"and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." NASB
"He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:37-39
Compare this with what is said about loving and reverencing God:
"that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged ... and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might ... You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name ... And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day." Deuteronomy 6:2, 5, 13, 24
We even find the OT predicting that the Messiah will be taken as an Object of worship and reverence:
"Give the king thy justice, O God, and thy righteousness to the royal son! May he judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with justice! Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor! May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! In his days may righteousness flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! May his foes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight. Long may he live, may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day! May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may men blossom forth from the cities like the grass of the field! May his name endure for ever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May men bless themselves by him, all nations call him blessed! Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth! Amen and Amen! The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended." Psalm 72:1-20
"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14
Now compare this language with what is said of Gods dominion and worship:
"Nebuchadnez'zar said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed'nego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set at nought the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Daniel 3:28
"At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnez'zar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives for ever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing; and he does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What doest thou?" Daniel 4:34-35
"Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds." Psalm 145:13
It is quite obvious that even the OT scriptures ascribe worship and sovereignty to the Messianic King!
Jesus as the Object of Prayers
Another indication that Jesus receives the very worship due to God is the fact that the first Christians addressed their prayers directly to Christ. The first believers took Jesus as the Object of their prayers, calling on his name in worship and in times of distress.
This practice of the early Church can be seen from the following passages:
"In the first book, O The-oph'ilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen ... So when they had come together, they asked him, Lord (Kurie), will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? ... So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus (ho Kurios Iesous) went in and out among us... And they prayed and said, Lord (Kurie), who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen." Acts 1:1-2, 6, 21, 24
"And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. And when he had said this, he fell asleep." Acts 7:59-60
"Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Anani'as. The Lord said to him in a vision, Anani'as. And he said, Here I am, Lord. And the Lord said to him, Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Anani'as come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight. But Anani'as answered, Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to THY SAINTS at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all WHO CALL UPON THY NAME. But the Lord said to him, Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name. So Anani'as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, Brother Saul, THE LORD JESUS who appeared to you on the road by which you came, HAS SENT ME that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, He is the Son of God. And all who heard him were amazed, and said, Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those WHO CALLED ON THIS NAME? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests." Acts 9:10-21
"And he said, The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name. When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance and saw him saying to me, Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem, because they will not accept your testimony about me. And I said, Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in thee. And when the blood of Stephen THY WITNESS was shed, I also was standing by and approving, and keeping the garments of those who killed him. And he said to me, Depart; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles." Acts 22:14-21
"because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. The scripture says, No one who believes in him will be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For, every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:9-13
"To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:" 1 Corinthians 1:2
"And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for MY POWER (he gar dunamis) is made perfect in weakness. I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that THE POWER OF CHRIST (he dunamis tou Christou) may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
"I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him." 1 John 5:13-15
These first and early believers were only carrying out the very instructions of the Lord Jesus who said:
"Whatever you ask in my name, I WILL DO IT, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I WILL DO IT." John 14:13-14
Now the only way for Christ to be able to answer prayers is if he 1) is aware of all who are praying to him, and 2) has the power and ability to perform whatever is asked of him. Essentially, this means that Jesus must be omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (almighty), which basically means that, according to the NT documents, Christ is God in the fullest sense of the term!
Jesus as the Object of Doxologies or Praises
A doxology is a praise given to God which usually ends with an Amen. Doxologies are intended to give praise or glory to God for who he is and/or for what he has done. Here are some examples of doxologies:
"because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen." Romans 1:25
"For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen." Romans 11:36
"Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen." Galatians 1:3-5
"To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Philippians 4:20
"To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Timothy 1:17
"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you. To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 5:10-11
"And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen." Revelation 7:11-12
If the New Testament does teach that Jesus is fully and eternally God, having all the essential attributes of Deity, then we wouldnt be surprised to find doxologies directed to him. And, low and behold, this is precisely what we do find the NT writers doing:
"whose [are] the fathers, and of whom [is] the Christ, ACCORDING TO THE FLESH, WHO IS OVER ALL, GOD blessed to the ages. Amen." Romans 9:5 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
"I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen." 1 Timothy 6:13-16
"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom... Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing... The Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen." 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 18
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." 2 Peter 3:18
"and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Revelation 1:5-6
In other places, glory is given to God the Father through or in the Lord Jesus:
"to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen." Romans 16:27
"to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:21
"to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen." Jude 1:25
In a few instances, the text is written in such a way that one is not certain whether the doxology is addressed to God or to Christ:
"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21
"whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11
Jesus as the joint Possessor and Bestower of Grace and Blessings
The NT writers often begin and end their letters with benedictions for grace, peace, blessings etc. for all believers. A benediction is a request, normally through prayer, for a divine blessing. What makes this most interesting is that, often times, the name of the Lord Jesus is invoked in these benedictions. Here are several examples:
"To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 1:7 (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3)
"then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." Romans 16:20
"The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen." 1 Corinthians 16:23-24
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Corinthians 13:14
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen." Galatians 6:18 (cf. Philippians 4:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; Philemon 1:25)
"Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 6:23
"To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfil every good resolve and work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
"Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love." 2 John 1:3
The prayer that the Father and the Son grant grace, peace, blessings etc. assumes the coequality of the two Persons, and further assumes that the Lord Jesus is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. The only way for Christ to be able to give grace to and bless all believers everywhere is if he had all the omni-attributes of God. As renowned NT and Evangelical scholar, Murray J. Harris, noted:
"At the beginning of each of Paul's letters is a salutation that ends with a standardized formula: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ' (1 Cor. 1:3 and elsewhere). The apostle is not saying that there are two distinct sources of grace and peace, one divine and one human; significantly the preposition from (in Greek) is not repeated before the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, Father and Son jointly form a single source of divine grace and peace. Of no mere human being could it be said that, together with God, he was a font of spiritual blessing. Only if Paul had regarded Jesus as fully divine could he have spoken this way." (Murray J. Harris, 3 Crucial Questions, p. 77; bold emphasis ours)
Reformed Apologist and writer Dr. Robert A. Morey states:
"Grammatically, the authors are looking equally to the Father and the Son for grace, mercy, and peace. They could do this only if they assumed that the Father and Son were equal in nature.
... they are indications of what the author is praying for and to Whom he addresses those prayers.
The apostles prayed to the Father and to the Son that They might grant the saints grace, mercy, and peace. The apostles looked up to heaven to both of them equally. The ontological relationship between the Father and the Son is clearly the assumption which underlies their prayers to them. The deity of the Son is seen from the fact that He has to be omniscient to hear their prayers and eternal, omnipresent, and omnipotent to answer them.
The objection that the Father and the Son are only functioning as equals in all these passages misses the point. They can function as equals only because they are equal. The apostles assumed that the Father and the Son were ontologically one nature and equality. Thus, they could function as one." (Morey, Trinity - Evidence and Issues [World Bible Publishers, Inc.; Iowa, Falls, IA 1996], p. 444; bold emphasis ours)
The NT data is unambiguous and explicit regarding the fact that the Lord Jesus receives exactly the same worship given to the only true God. Contrary to the opinions of the skeptics and cultists, the Lord Jesus doesnt simply receive homage or obeisance in the same way that David or Saul did, but is given the very honor, glory, praise and worship which God alone deserves. That doxologies, worship, and prayers are given to Christ, along with the fact that Christ is considered a joint possessor and bestower of grace and blessings along with God, shows beyond any reasonable doubt that the NT writers clearly believed, and taught, that Jesus is God in the absolute and fullest sense.
Amen. We profess and confess that you are the eternal Son of God who is eternally worthy of the same love, honor, praise and worship that God alone deserves. We love you forever risen Lord and immortal King. Come Lord Jesus, come. Amen.
To conclude in the words of the Apostolic father Polycarp, himself an eyewitness of the blessed Apostles, who wrote:
"Therefore prepare for action and serve (douleusate) God in fear" and truth, leaving behind the empty and meaningless talk and the error of the crowd, and "believing in him who raised" our Lord Jesus Christ "from the dead and gave him glory" and a throne at his right hand; to whom all things in heaven and on earth were subjected, WHOM EVERY BREATHING CREATURE SERVES (latreuei), who is coming as "Judge of the living and the dead," for whose blood God will hold responsible those who disobey him. (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Chapter 2, The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts And English Translations, edited and revised by Michael W. Holmes [Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 1999], pp. 207, 209; bold, capital, and italic emphasis ours; to read another version of the text go here.)
For more on the NT data regarding the worship given to Christ, as well as the lexical meaning of the word proskuneo, we highly recommend the following articles:
 This particular text is such a powerful testimony to the eternal nature of the Lord Jesus that many anti-Trinitarians have come up with rather desperate answers in order to explain it away. One typical argument is that in Revelation 5:3 John says that there was no one worthy in heaven to open its scrolls, but we know that Jesus was worthy and he was in heaven. This, they claim, indicates that Johns language shouldnt be taken in such an exclusive manner, that he literally intended to include every one when he claimed that there is no one who was worthy. It should rather be viewed as hyperbole.
The problem with this response is that it ignores the fact that John himself explains later on in the chapter what he meant by "no one":
"And I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!" Revelation 5:13
The above citation clearly demonstrates that John meant that no CREATURE was worthy to take the scrolls from Gods right hand and open them, and yet the Lord Jesus was worthy because he obviously isnt a creature! To put it another way, if the Lord Jesus is a creature then he wouldnt have been found worthy to approach God and take the scrolls from his right hand.
Another reason the text gives for his worthiness is because he was slain and by his blood purchased men for God:
"And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; and they sang a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth. 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!" Revelation 5:9-12
In other words, Christ is worthy because he is the Savior and Redeemer of all men. What makes this interesting is that if the anti-Trinitarian position is valid then this means that a creature has done what the Creator himself did not do, namely redeem his creation, and that a creature is being given the glory and praise because of it! Thus, a creature has done for men what God himself personally didnt do and the entire creation is giving a creature the praise that God alone should receive for accomplishing something that God himself didnt accomplish!
Another attempt of explaining away the significance this text has on demonstrating Christs eternal Personhood is the assertion that Revelation 5:13 also distinguishes Jesus from the God who sits on the throne. Thus, if Christ being distinguished from every creature implies that he cannot be created then the very fact that he is also distinguished from God proves that he cannot be God as well (so the argument goes).
This claim overlooks the fact that the text doesnt mention the word God and that even if God were mentioned this would be a reference to the Father. The word God is most often (but not always) used of the Person of the Father as in the following texts:
"and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Revelation 1:6
"Then I looked, and lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are chaste; it is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes; these have been redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, " Revelation 14:1, 4
Moreover, the Father is not the only One sitting on the throne since Christ is said to be sitting with him:
"He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne." Revelation 3:21
In fact, John saw one throne which belonged to both God and the Lamb:
"Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the THRONE of God AND OF THE LAMB through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There shall no more be anything accursed, but the THRONE of God AND OF THE LAMB shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him;" Revelation 22:1-3
Thus, God being differentiated from Christ isnt a distinction between the Creator and a creature, but a distinction in their Persons, that the Father is personally distinguished from the Son which is what Trinitarianism actually teaches.
One final point given to undermine the testimony of Revelation 5:13 to Jesus eternal nature is to argue that Christ is distinguished from every creature because the context is highlighting the honor he receives as a result of his exalted status and function as Savior. Since Jesus obviously couldnt be pictured as worshiping himself this explains why he is being distinguished from every creature. The problem with this argument is that it fails to explain why Christ isnt portrayed as one of those worshiping God, which is what all creatures must do, but instead is seen to be worshiped and glorified in the same sense and to the same degree that the Father is worshiped and glorified. Moreover, how can God command that every created thing give a creature, no matter how exalted, the very same degree and intensity of worship and glorification when this would be a contradiction to his own Law which forbids idolatry, i.e. worshiping some one or some thing other than God as one worships God?
In light of the foregoing, we feel that none of the arguments presented thus far have been able to undermine Johns rather explicit witness to Jesuss eternal character. By distinguishing Christ from every creature and picturing him as receiving the very worship of all creation John has managed to clearly present the risen Lord Jesus as the very Creator and not as a mere creature!
 It isn't certain whether in all of these passages Jesus is being worshiped as God or whether people are giving him the honor and prestige that goes with being the Messianic King or a miracle-working Prophet. This is specifically so in the following texts: Matthew 2:1-2, 7-8, 10-11; 20:20; Mark 5:22, 33; 7:35
In Matthew 2 the magi come looking for the One born the King of Israel. Since it isn't at all certain that these men were aware of Jesus' Deity, that he was God's unique Son, it seems more probable that they didn't come to worship him but to give him the honor due to One who was the King.
In the Markan passages, two individuals have come bowing to Jesus asking him to heal their children, one of whom was suffering from demon possession. Again, it seems unlikely that these persons believed or were aware that the Person standing before them was Incarnate Deity. It is more likely that the bowing signified their respect and belief that Jesus was the Messianic King, the One whom God anointed with his authority to carry out his will, and who could therefore perform miraculous acts of healing. It may have also signified just how desperate they were for Jesus to come and heal their offspring.
In Matthew 20:20, the sons of Zebedee and their mother come bowing to Jesus in order to ask him to grant these specific male disciples the right to sit on his right and left. Whether this prostration was due to Jesus being God depends on whether the disciples had come to this realization at this time, and if so then this was obviously an act of worship on their part. On the other hand, if they weren't completely aware of this fact then their bowing would have been an act of reverence and respect due to Jesus being God's appointed ruler.
Yet this doesn't imply that Jesus was never worshiped as God since he clearly was, just as the evidence we have presented conclusively shows. It simply means that not every instance of bowing or falling down to the ground implies that people were worshiping Christ as God. This is specifically the case during his earthly ministry when his Deity may have not been clearly understood or fully embraced by those individuals who saw him firsthand.
All scripture quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Holy Bible, unless otherwise noted.
Articles by Sam Shamoun
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