Should We worship Yahoshua the Messiah? - Yes, but why?
In this article we'll take a look at everything the Scriptures tell us about who is to be worshipped and why.
The word "worship" or "worshipped" in the Tanak ('Old' Testament) is the Hebrew word "shachah," that's #7812 in the Strong's concordance. And it's defined as "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, worship." It's used 'almost' exclusively with reference to Yahuweh, God Almighty.
(The Almighty's name, Yahuweh, has been substituted in many translations today with the words "the LORD.")
Notice in the definition above that this Hebrew word 'shachah' is used with reference to "royalty" and/or God. What we'll do in this article is show that "royalty", that is the Kings and Prophet mentioned throughout the Tanak were worshipped (shachah). Not because anyone believed them to be God Almighty of course, but because they were the Almighty's representatives.
Many people today believe that since the Messiah, Yahoshua, our soon coming King, was 'worshipped' when he walked the earth that this in some way meant that the people doing the worshipping thought him to be God Almighty. And of course that was not the case.
I believe it will become obvious in this article that:
1) the Messiah, Yahoshua, was not worshipped because someone, or anyone for that matter, thought him to be the Almighty.
(see the article on "What we must believe about Yahoshua the Messiah)
2) the Kings of Israel, such as David and Solomon, were worshipped, along with the prophets that were sent by Almighty, Yahuweh.
3) and in the near future the "saints" of Yahuweh will be "worshiped".
3) and the reason for these individuals being worshipped, in just about every case, was due to the fact they were "representatives" of the Almighty Yahuweh.
So before we take a look at examples of the Messiah being worshipped, allow me to first show how this Hebrew word "shachah" is brought into the Greek of the 'New' Testament with the word "proskuneo", # 4352 in the Strong's concordance.
In Hebrews 11:21 we're told how Jacob "worshipped" while leaning on the top of his staff.
Heb 11:21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped (proskuneo # 4352) , leaning on the top of his staff.
The word "worshipped" in Heb 11:21 is the Greek word, "proskuneo" its' # 4352 in the Strong's' concordance, translated as " to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): - worship.
Hebrew 11:21 is taken from Genesis 47:31.
Gen 47:31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he swore unto him. And Israel (Jacob) bowed (shachah #7812) himself upon the bed's head.
Notice in the 'New' Testament the Greek word 'proskuneo' is translated "worship" and it's taken from the Hebrew word 'shachah,' where it's translated "bowed".
It's important to realize that both the Hebrew word "shachah" and the Greek word "proskuneo" can be brought into the English language in a variety of ways such as 'to bow, bow down, prostrate, do obeisance to, and/or worship. It was at the discretion of the translators as to how this word was translated. But in each case "shachah" and "proskuneo" imply "worship". That's a fact that will become quite clear by the end of this article.
Turn in your bibles if would and let's take a look at a few of the times the Messiah was worshipped, (proskuneo, #4352)
Mat 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Mat 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Mat 9:18 While he spoke these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
Mat 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
Mat 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
All the above examples of the Messiah being worshipped are found in Gospel of Matthew, chapters 2 thru 15. and as chapter 16 will show, no one that was doing the worship thought they were worshipping God Almighty, or part of a a Trinity. .
In Matt 16:13 ... He was asking his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
Now if the Messiah was worshipped because he was thought to be Almighty God, then the apostles who seen the Messiah being worshipped on numerous occasions should have answered the question by saying, "well Master since they all worshiped you (in chapters 2,8,9, 14 and 15) they must think your the Almighty God." But they didn't say that, why? Because no one ever expected the God Himself to come to earth. And never did the Messiah claim to be the Almighty. Listen to what the people did think about Yahoshua, the one they worshipped.
Matt 16:14-16 And they said, "Some of the people say you are John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets, He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God"
Notice that "no one" thought him to be God. The reason they were worshipping him was because they thought him to be one of the prophets, a representative of God Almighty.
He was worshipped because he was and is Yahuweh's 'representative'. The Messiah who was sent into the world to make atonement for the sins of all those that would surrender their lives to him. In all the universe no one is higher in authority than the Messiah, Yahoshua, except the One who gave him that authority, that of course being Yahuweh, the One the Messiah tells us is the "Only True God". (John 17:3)
Mat 28:18 And Yahoshua…spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Of course it was "given" to Messiah by "his" God, Yahuweh. (John 20:17; Matt 11:27)
We'll take a look at a number of examples of Yahuweh's 'representatives' being worshipped, but before we do I'd like to give a few examples of how the Hebrew word "shachah" #7812, or the Greek word "proskuneo" #4352 are translated, such as bow, bow down, reverence, prostrate, or do obeisance, each of these words could have just as easily, and correctly, been translated "worshipped". There are some that fail to see "how" the word was translated was totally up to the discretion of the translators, the simple fact is that in every instance it could have been just as correctly been translated "worship". As I believe the following examples will show.
Yahuweh commanded Israel not to "bow down" (worship) the pagan mighty ones of the nations. Notice how the word 'shachah' can be used either as "bow down" or "worship".
Exo 23:24 Thou shalt not bow down (shachah #7812) to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. (KJV)
Exo 23:24 "You shall not worship (shachah #7812) their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces. (NASV)
Deu 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down (shachah #7812) thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I Yahuweh thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me, (KJV)
Deu 5:9 'You shall not worship (shachah #7812) them or serve them; for I, Yahuweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, (NASV)
The hosts of heaven "bow down" (worship) before the Almighty Yahuweh.
Neh 9:6 Thou, [even] thou, art Yahuweh alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preserves them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth (shachah #7812) thee. (KJV)
Neh 9:6 "You alone are Yahuweh. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down (shachah #7812) before You. (NASV)
The same Hebrew word "shachah" #7812 is translated, obeisance, humbly beseech, and prostrate in the following 3 different translations. And they are all synonymous with "worship"
Ziba did obeisance or worshipped before King David in 2 Sam 16:4, in the following 3 translations.
2Sa 16:4 Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine is all that pertaineth unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I do obeisance (shachah #7812) ; let me find favor in thy sight, my lord, O king. (*ASV)
2Sa 16:4 Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, "I humbly beseech (shachah #7812) thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king. (KJV)
2Sa 16:4 So the king said to Ziba, "Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours." And Ziba said, "I prostrate myself (shachah #7812); let me find favor in your sight, O my lord, the king!" (NASV)
In the following examples of 2 Sam 18:28 some editions of the Strong's concordance erroneously labeled "fell down" as #7821 rather than #7812 as it should be.
Ahimaaz "fell down" or worshipped before King David in the following 2 translations:
2Sa 18:28 And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, All is well. And he fell down (shachah #7812) to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be Yahuweh thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king. (KJV)
2Sa 18:28 Ahimaaz called and said to the king, "All is well." And he prostrated (shachah #7812) himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, "Blessed is Yahuweh your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king." (NASV)
In Ps 45:11, worship, reverence, and bow down are all the same Hebrew word 'shachah' and of course are all used interchangeably
Ps 45:11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship (shachah #7812) thou him. (KJV)
Ps 45:11 So will the king desire thy beauty; For he is thy lord; and reverence (shachah #7812) thou him. (ASV)
Ps 45:11 Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down (shachah #7812) to Him. (NASV)
Other example could have be given of course, to show that regardless of how the translator translated the word shachah (Heb) or proskuneo (Gr) the words could have just as 'correctly' been translated "worship."
If more are needed let me know and I'll happy to add others.
In all the following passages notice the "representatives" of Yahuweh, men and angels that were worshipped.
Almighty Yahuweh and His representative, David the King are both "worshipped" in the same passage.
1Ch 29:20 And David said to all the congregation, Now bless Yahuweh your God. And all the congregation blessed Yahuweh God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped Yahuweh, and the king.
(some translations have tried to distort this passage by separating Yahuweh and David, in an attempt to make it look as if Yahuweh was worshipped and David was not, but the fact is in the Hebrew text both Yahuweh and David appear side by side with each other, and both are being 'worshipped'. Here is a portion of the Hebrew text to show that both Yahuweh and the king are being worshipped.
אֱלֹהֵי430 אֲבֹתֵיהֶם1 וַיִּקְּדוְּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ (#7812) ְ לַיהוָה3068 וְלַמֶּלֶךְ4428
Elohim (God) of their fathers bowed worshipping YHWH and the King.
Joseph had a dream in which his father, mother and brothers would 'bow' or 'worship' before him.
Gen 37:10 He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow (shachah #7812) ourselves down before you to the ground?"
And his brothers did come and worship before him:
Gen 42:6 Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed down (shachah #7812) to him with their faces to the ground.
David, being the king over Israel, was worshipped by all of his subjects. Here are but a few of the many examples:
1Sa 25:23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed (shachah #7812) herself to the ground.
2Sa 9:6 Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and prostrated (shachah #7812) himself. And David said, "Mephibosheth." And he said, "Here is your servant!"
2Sa 9:7 David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly."
2Sa 9:8 Again he prostrated (shachah #7812) himself and said, "What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?"
2Sa 14:22 Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated (shachah #7812) himself and blessed the king; then Joab said, "Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, O my lord, the king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant."
1Ki 1:23 They told the king, saying, "Here is Nathan the prophet." And when he came in before the king, he prostrated (shachah #7812) himself before the king with his face to the ground.
When Ahimaaz brought the news to David of Absalom death he bowed in worship at David's feet.
2Sa 18:28 Ahimaaz called and said to the king, "All is well." And he prostrated (shachah #7812) himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, "Blessed is Yahuweh your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king."
King Solomon was worshipped.
1Ki 1:53 So King Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and prostrated (shachah #7812) himself before King Solomon, and Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."
When Isaac blessed Jacob he said:
Gen 27:29 May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother's sons bow down (shachah #7812) to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you."
When EliYah died and the Almighty named Elisha in his place the prophets came and bowed to the ground in worship before Elisha
2Ki 2:15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." And they came to meet him and bowed (shachah #7812) themselves to the ground before him.
When the two angels came to Lot in Sodom, Lot bowed his face to the ground in worship.
Gen 19:1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down (shachah #7812) with his face to the ground.
If there's still any doubt in anyone's mind to the fact that those that represented Almighty Yahuweh were worshipped, consider the fact that the 'saints' will be worshipped.
Remember as you read the follow passage that as we've seen above, the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word "shachah" or "worship" is "proskuneo." It's the same word use to describe the 'worship' the Messiah received in the passages from the Gospel of Matthew, that were quoted at the beginning of this article.
Rev 3:9 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 (proskuneo # 4352) before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (KJV)
Rev 3:9 'Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie--I will make them come and bow down (proskuneo # 4352) at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. (NASV)
Rev 3:9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship (proskuneo # 4352) before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (ASV)
Revelation 3:9 is addressed to the angel of the assembly at Philadelphia, because they kept the word of Yahoshua and did not denied his name. This assembly is representative of the 'remnant' of Israel that will inherit the Kingdom some day, I believe, very soon. And Rev 3:9 is a quote from Isaiah 60:14
Isa 60:14 The children of those who crush you will come and bow down (shachah #7812) to you. All those who hate you will kneel down at your feet. Jerusalem, they will call you The City of Yahuweh. They will name you Zion, the City of the Holy One of Israel.
So to summarize all that's been said thus far, "worship" was something common throughout the Tanak. Those that were acting on behalf of Almighty Yahuweh, such as kings, prophets and angels, were "worshipped".
So today, since the "New" Covenant was initiated by the death of the Messiah Yahoshua's, and all authority was given to him in heaven and earth, by the Almighty, no one is more worthy of our worship. Except of course the One who gave such authority to the Messiah, that being Yahuweh, the Only True God. (John 17:3)
If anyone has any further questions please feel free to write and ask, Yahuweh willing I'll do my best to answer them.
Let me say again, that in all of creation Yahoshua is 2nd to nothing and nobody, except 'his' God, the heavenly Father Yahuweh. (John 20:17). I would gladly lay my life down for the Messiah, he's my Savior and soon coming King, but he is not God Almighty.
As a footnote:
The following in no way support the words 'shachah' or 'proskuneo' which I've been discussing, but it does show two things. First that the same word can be translated different ways and yet mean the same thing. Secondly it shows how 'representatives' of Almighty Yahuweh were "worshipped".
In Dan 2:46 when Daniel interrupted the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar's, concerning the Great Statue, the King himself "worshipped" Daniel. This portion of the text in the book of Daniel was written in the Chaldee language, sometimes referred to as Aramaic. And in the Chaldee language the word for "worship" is #5457 in the Strong's. It's the same word in Dan 2:46, translated as "worship" in the KJV and ASV, but in the NASV as "did homage". Again what I hope to show here are two things, first that the word for 'worship' can be translated differently, such as "did homage" and yet it still means "worship". And secondly that "representatives" of Almighty Yahuweh were "worshipped", in this case namely Daniel.
Dan 2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped (segid #5457) Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. (KJV)
Dan 2:46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage (segid #5457) to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. (NASV)
Dan 2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped (segid #5457) Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors unto him. (ASV)
(KJV) - King James Version
(NASV) - New American Standard Version
(ASV) - American Standard Version