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JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES’ REFUTED: WORSHIP JESUS AS GOD

The Gospels employ the Greek word proskyneo in reference to Jesus’ being worshiped on multiple occasions and for various purposes:

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him… And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out exactly concerning the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word, that I also may come and worship him… And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:1-2, 8, 11 American Standard Version (ASV)

“While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.” Matthew 9:18 ASV

“And in the fourth watch of the night he came unto them, walking upon the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a ghost; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto the upon the waters. And he said, Come. And Peter went down from the boat, and walked upon the waters to come to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and took hold of him, and saith unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were gone up into the boat, the wind ceased. And they that were in the boat worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” Matthew 14:25-33 ASV

“But she came and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.” Matthew 15:25

“Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, worshipping him, and asking a certain thing of him.” Matthew 20:20 ASV

“And behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and took hold of his feet, and worshipped him… But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the NAME (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:9, 16-20 ASV

“And when he was come out of the boat, straightway there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling in the tombs: and no man could any more bind him, no, not with a chain; because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been rent asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: and no man had strength to tame him. And always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped him; and crying out with a loud voice, he saith, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, torment me not.” Mark 5:2-7 ASV

“And he led them out until they were over against Bethany: and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, blessing God.” Luke 24:50-52 ASV

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and finding him, he said, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, And who is he, Lord, that I may believe on him? Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and he it is that speaketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” John 9:35-38 ASV

In explaining away the fact that proskyneo is offered to Jesus according to the Greek Christian Scriptures, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower Bible and Tract Society writes:

Be it noted, however, that there are other Greek words that the King James Version renders “worship,” but not a single one of these Greek verbs is directed to Jesus to show that such action was commanded to be performed or was performed toward him. Surely when Luke 14:10 (KJ) says, “Then shalt thou have worship [doʹxa] in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee,” Jesus did not mean that a human guest who was given a higher place at a Jewish meal would be worshiped, but it meant he would merely “have honor,” as the New World Translation renders the word (doʹxa). Thus we see that the Christian Greek Scriptures make a distinction between Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ, by reserving some words rendered “worship” for God, to the exclusion of Jesus.

When Satan the Devil tempted Jesus to try to have him worship the adversary, Jesus did not say to the Tempter, ‘Worship me,’ but said, “It is Jehovah your God you must worship [proskyneʹō], and it is to him alone you must render sacred service [latreuʹō].” (Matt. 4:10NW; Luke 4:8) Jesus, speaking and including himself, said to the Samaritan woman: “You worship [proskyneʹō] what you do not know; we worship [proskyneʹō] what we know, because salvation originates with the Jews. . . . the genuine worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth. . . . God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:22-24NW) Jesus, even after his glorification in heaven, did not change from directing worship to God his Father rather than to himself. In the Revelation, which God gave Jesus, the pure worship is shown as due to be given to the Most High God, Jehovah. (See Revelation 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16; 14:7; 15:4; 19:4, 10.) And when John fell down at the feet of the angel whom Jesus sent to deliver the revelation, the angel said to John: “Worship God.” (Rev. 19:10; 22:9) Thus the worship was to be rendered to Jehovah God, although blessing, glory and praise were to be ascribed to the glorified Jesus, the Lamb, as well as to God his Father.

At Hebrews 1:6 we read: “But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: ‘And let all God’s angels worship him.’” (NW) As the Greek verb here is proskyneʹō, it could also have been rendered “do obeisance to,” as in all the preceding cases having to do with Jesus when on earth as a man. This same word in Greek is used in addressing those who will become members of Christ’s glorified congregation or “bride,” in these words at Revelation 3:9 (NW): “Look! I will give those from the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews, and yet they are not but are lying—look! I will make them come and do obeisance [proskyneʹō] before your feet and make them know I have loved you.” They will not be worshiped.

Worship is not asked to be given to the anointed King whom Jehovah God sets upon his holy hill of Zion, namely, his Son Jesus Christ, but due submission and respect are asked of the kings and judges of the earth, in these words: “Serve Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, for his wrath will soon be kindled.” (Ps. 2:11, 12AS) This agrees with the recognition that the apostle Paul says must yet be given to the glorified Jesus BY ALL LIVING CREATION, at Philippians 2:9-11 (NW): “God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” The knee is bent in the name of Jesus as Lord and in worship to the Father as God, and the tongue confesses openly that Jesus Christ is Lord, but this is done to the glory of God the Father, all this showing the superiority of the Father. Thus, “all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.”—John 5:22, 23NW. (Questions From Readers: The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom—1954; capital emphasis mine)

It is ironic that the Society would admit that Paul in Philippians affirmed that Jesus shall be glorified by all living creation, since this affirms that Christ cannot be a mere creature. I will have more to say about this point later.

In this post I will show that Jesus receives the exact same worship which is given to Jehovah, and more specifically to God the Father.

CALLING ON HIS NAME

The Hebrew Bible portrays true believers as calling on the name of Jehovah in worship and for salvation from their sins, as well for the express purpose of entrusting their spirits to him. Jehovah is further shown to have priests that serve him:

“After that he planted a tamarisk tree at Beʹer-sheʹba, and there he called on the name of Jehovah, the everlasting God.” Genesis 21:33

“Moses and Aaron were among his priests, And Samuel was among those calling on his name. They would call to Jehovah, And he would answer them. He would speak to them from the pillar of cloud. They kept his reminders and the decree that he gave to them. O Jehovah our God, you answered them. You were a God who pardoned them, But you punished them for their sinful deeds.” Psalm 99:6-8

“I love Jehovah Because he hears my voice, my pleas for help. For he inclines his ear to me, And I will call on him as long as I live. The ropes of death encircled me; The Grave had me in its grip. I was overcome by distress and grief. But I called on the name of Jehovah: ‘O Jehovah, rescue me!’… I will take up the cup of salvation, And I will call on the name of Jehovah… I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving; I will call on the name of Jehovah.” Psalm 116:1-4, 13, 17

Into your hand I entrust my spirit. You have redeemed me, O Jehovah, the God of truth.” Psalm 31:5

“As for you, you will be called the priests of Jehovah; They will call you the ministers of our God. You will eat the resources of the nations, And about their glory you will boast.” Isaiah 61:6

And yet astonishingly, in the New Testament Jesus is seen as having priests and followers that call upon his name and who entrust their spirits to him!

“As they were stoning Stephen, he made this appeal: ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’” Acts 7:59

“However, I have written to you more outspokenly on some points, so as to give you another reminder, because of the undeserved kindness given to me from God for me to be a public servant of Christ Jesus to the nations. I am engaging in the holy work of the good news of God, so that these nations might be an acceptable offering, sanctified with holy spirit. So I have reason to exult in Christ Jesus over the things pertaining to God. For I will not presume to speak about anything except what Christ has done through me in order for the nations to be obedient, by my word and deed, with the power of signs and wonders, with the power of God’s spirit, so that from Jerusalem and in a circuit as far as Il·lyrʹi·cum I have thoroughly preached the good news about the Christ.” Romans 15:15-19

“Also greet the congregation that is in their house. Greet my beloved E·paeʹne·tus, who is a firstfruits of Asia for Christ.” Romans 16:5

“to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: May you have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:2-3

“Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and they will rule as kings with him for the 1,000 years.” Revelation 20:6

Christ also shown to be the One who forgives the sins of those who look to him for their salvation:

“On one of those days while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the Law who had come out of every village of Galʹi·lee and Ju·deʹa and from Jerusalem were sitting there; and Jehovah’s power was with him to do healing. And look! men were carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher, and they were trying to bring him in and place him before Jesus. So not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they climbed up to the roof, and they lowered him on the stretcher through the tiling, right among those in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said: ‘Man, your sins are forgiven.’ Then the scribes and the Pharisees started to reason, saying: “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins except God alone?’ But Jesus, discerning their reasoning, said in answer to them: ‘What are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But in order for you to know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins—’ he said to the paralyzed man: ‘I say to you, Get up, pick up your stretcher, and go to your home.’ At that he stood up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Then one and all were seized with amazement, and they began to glorify God, and they became filled with awe, saying: ‘We have seen wonderful things today!’” Luke 5:17-26

“Then he said to her: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Those reclining at the table with him started to say among themselves: ‘Who is this man who even forgives sins?’ But he said to the woman: ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’” Luke 7:48-50

DOXA GIVEN TO THE SON

Contrary to the Society’s express denial, Jesus does in fact receive doxa since doxologies are offered to him:

“I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his manifestation and his Kingdom… From this time on, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me as a reward in that day, yet not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his manifestation… In my first defense no one came to my side, but they all forsook me—may they not be held accountable. But the Lord stood near me and infused power into me, so that through me the preaching might be fully accomplished and all the nations might hear it; and I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every wicked work and will save me for his heavenly Kingdom. To him be the glory (doxa) forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 16-18

“No, but go on growing in the undeserved kindness and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory (doxa) both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

“and from Jesus Christ, ‘the Faithful Witness,’ ‘the firstborn from the dead,’ and ‘the Ruler of the kings of the earth.’ To him who loves us and who set us free from our sins by means of his own blood—and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—yes, to him be the glory (doxa) and the might forever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

ALL THE ANGELS WORSHIP THE SON AS JEHOVAH

What’s more, the angelic host give Jesus the exact same way worship that they give to Jehovah:

“And when he again bringeth in the firstborn into the world he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Hebrews 1:6 ASV

Astonishingly, the Hebrews has taken an OT text wherein Jehovah is worshiped by all of his angels and ascribed it to the risen Christ!

The inspired author has quoted the Greek version of either Deuteronomy 32:43,

Deuteronomy 32:43 is an unusual verse in view of its contents. As the list of variant readings shows, 4QDeut-supported by the Septuagint-differs markedly from the Masoretic Text and the Samaritan Pentateuch. For example, in the Qumran scroll it is “the heavens” which rejoice, not the nations; and God will avenge the blood of “his sons,” not “his servants.” Moreover, the mention of gods “bowing down to God” and “recompensing those who hate him” is absent from the Masoretic Text and the Samaritan Pentateuch. This very provides a striking example of the very different readings that sometimes appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Rejoice, O heavens, together with him, and bow down to him all you gods, for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and will render vengeance to his enemies, and will recompense those who hate him and will atone for the land of his people. (The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible – The Oldest Known Bible Translated For The First Time Into English, translated and with commentary by Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint & Eugene Ulrich [HarperOne; 1 edition, November 17, 1999], pp. 192, 193; bold emphasis mine)

“Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance, and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people.” LXX

Or of the following Psalm:

“Let all those serving any carved image be put to shame, Those who boast about their worthless gods. Bow down to him, all you gods.” Psalm 97:7

“Let all that worship graven images be ashamed, who boast of their idols; worship him, all ye his angels.” Psalm 96:7 LXX

In either case, Hebrews has taken the worship that the angels render to Jehovah and attributed to the Son, a fact that the Society itself admits even though it tries to explain it away (quite unsuccessfully I might way):

“… Here the apostle Paul quotes from Psalm 97:7, which, in the words of An American Translation, reads: ‘All who serve wrought images are put to shame, they who prided themselves on their nonentities. Worship him, all you gods!’ In the Greek Septuagint Version (LXX) these italicized words read: ‘Worship [pros·ky·neʹo] him, all ye his angels.’ (Bagster’s edition; also Thomson) The apostle may also have been quoting from the Septuagint Version of Deuteronomy 32:43, the opening part of which reads: “Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; . . .” (Bagster; similarly ThomsonBy examining the context of both Psalm 97:7 and Deuteronomy 32:43 we note that the reference IS TO JEHOVAH GOD AS THE ONE TO BE WORSHIPED. Does this mean that Jesus is the same as Jehovah because of how the writer of Hebrews 1:6 applies the quotation?” (Questions From Readers The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom—1954 https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1954369; bold and capital emphasis mine)

ALL LIVING CREATION WORSHIPS THE LAMB

Earlier I noted that the Society acknowledges that the following citation,

“For this very reason, God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend—of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground—and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

Depicts all living creation glorifying Jesus. What the Society failed to mention is that Paul has attributed to the risen Christ the very worship which the prophet Isaiah proclaimed Jehovah would receive from all the ends of earth:

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, For I am God, and there is no one else. By myself I have sworn; The word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, And it will not return: To me every knee will bend, Every tongue will swear loyalty.” Isaiah 45:22-23

Paul wasn’t the only inspired writer to claim that all of creation shall glorify Christ:

“When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, and each one had a harp and golden bowls that were full of incense. (The incense means the prayers of the holy ones.) And they sing a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.’ And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, and they were saying with a loud voice: ‘The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.’ And I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and ALL THINGS IN THEM, saying: ‘To the One sitting on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.’ The four living creatures were saying: “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshipped.” Revelation 5:8-14

The Apostle John literally exhausts the language to show that every created thing in all of creation worships Christ in the exact same way and for the exact same duration that God is worshiped!

This affirms that Jesus is separate and distinct from the entire creation, and must therefore be uncreated by nature. It further shows that Jesus is essentially equal with God the Father, which is why he is worthy to receive the exact same honor that the Father receives:

“For the Father judges no one at all, but he has entrusted all the judging to the Son, so that all may honor the Son JUST AS they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” John 5:22-23

Otherwise, it would be blatant idolatry to glorify Christ in the exact same that God is glorified.

Therefore, contrary to the Society’s denial the New Testament does depict Christ as receiving the exact same worship that God Almighty receives, obviously because Jesus is not a mere creature. Rather, the risen Lord is God Almighty that became flesh, being one with the Father and the Holy Spirit in essence, glory, power, honor and majesty!

Unless noted otherwise, all scriptural citations taken from New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition).

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