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Section 11... Cults/
Index To Jehovah’s Witnesses

  003white Index To Section 11 ... Cults     >      Index To Jehovah’s Witnesses   >   The Deity of Christ 3 - Should Jesus Be Worshipped?

Kingdom Hall 2

Jehovah’s Witnesses - The Deity of Christ 3 - Should Jesus Be Worshipped?

Also See The Deity of Jesus Christ. Was He Lord, Liar Or Lunatic?
The New Testament abounds with so much proof of the deity of Jesus Christ, that it is bewildering to hear it repudiated by so many who claim to believe in the Bible. If our entire future hinges on our knowing God and the Messiah whom He sent, then we have to know who this Messiah is.

Carol Brooks JWDeity3

Index to All Nine Chapters

The Deity of Christ Part I
The Jehovah’s Witnesses say they have learned from the Bible that there is absolutely no evidence that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity and Jesus is not Almighty God.

The Deity of Christ Part II
The Strikingly Significant Parallels Between Yahweh In The Old Testament and Jesus In The New.  What The Jehovah's Witnesses Maintain.

THIS PAGE - The Deity of Christ Part III
 Should Jesus Be Worshipped?

Only God Is To Be Worshipped...
The Watchtower's correctly states that God alone is worthy of worship. So how does one explain why...

Jesus Accepted Worship
Although He well knew that worship is to be reserved for God alone, even once reminding Satan  of that fact

Worship Vs. Obeisance
The Jehovah's Witnesses' New World Translation have attempted to circumvent the problem of Jesus being worshipped by translating the Greek word proskuneo into 'obeisance' every time it is used in regard to Jesus, but...

Hebrews 1:6
The Watchtower says one should not read too much into the  the word "worship" in the majority of cases where it applies to Jesus. People were actually rendering obeisance to him, not as to God but as the Messiah with divine authority.

Flip Flopping on a Major Issue
The definition of the word 'vacillate' is to waver between different courses of action or opinions which is exactly what the Jehovah's Witnesses have done on several issues including the worship of Christ. Even their founder once said "Michael is not the Son of God".

Only God Is To Be Worshipped...
The Watchtower's (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania) online library correctly states that God alone is worthy of worship.

    It is Jehovah alone who is worthy of our fear, our profound awe and respect. [01]

    Jehovah, and no one else, is "the true God and life everlasting.” He alone is worthy to receive exclusive worship from those whom he created - Revelation 4:11. [02]

No argument there.

Beginning with His instructions to Moses on Mt. Sinai, the Bible is replete with warning about worshipping anyone or anything other than God. For instance,

    I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before Me. "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, (Exodus 20:2-5 NASB)

    It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. (Deuteronomy 8:19 NASB)  For other examples see 2 Chronicles 7:19-20 and Jeremiah 25:5-6

See Worshipping God

The act of kneeling in prayer or in church can be part of worship but we should all be warned that God much looks much deeper than what might be surface expressions. Our outward expressions of 'worship' may make us glow with self contentment but may not even be considered worship by the Lord. His approval is based not on music or verbal praise, but on obedience to His commands that take precedence over everything else. Just ask Amos.

The stalwarts of the New Testament well knew that only God was worthy of worship.

Paul and Barnabas
Paul and Barnabas were horrified when in after healing a lame man in the city of Lystra, the crowd took them to be the Greek Gods  Zeus and Hermes and wanted to sacrifice to them. The apostles

    ...tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you 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. (Acts 14:14-15 NASB)

When Peter was sent to Cornelius's home, Cornelius, his relatives and close friends were waiting for him. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am just a man." (Acts 10:24-26 NASB)

Angels also refused to accept worship. When the apostle John fell down to worship the angel who revealed much about Revelation to him, the angel responded, saying,

"Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God."  (Revelation 22:9 NASB)

However, because the Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus is not God He should not be worshiped however, we must pay Jesus the respect He should have as God's chosen one.

The problem is that unlike angels and the apostles...

... Jesus Accepted Worship
Jesus well knew that worship is to be reserved for God alone, even once reminding Satan that it was written, 'you shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only." (Matthew 4:10 NASB)  Yet, time and again He accepted the kind of praise from men that He Himself said is due only to God. He never sought to correct His followers, Nor did He redirect the worship away from Himself as did the angel in Revelation and Paul in Acts 14. Had He not been God, by all rights the Father should have struck Jesus down as He did Herod in Acts 12:23.

Here are a few examples of Jesus being worshipped,

    1. And those who were in the boat (the disciples who saw Jesus then Peter walk on water) worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"  (Matthew 14:33 NASB)

    2. Thomas (after first witnessing the resurrected Christ) answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus *said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (John 20:28-29 NASB)

    3. But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. (Matthew 28:16-17 NASB)

    4. And they (Mary Magdalene and the other women) left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. (Matthew 28:8-9 NASB)

    5. A few days after that, His disciples "worshiped Him" in Bethany (Luke 24:52).

Revelation 5
In Revelation 5 Father and Son are given equal praise and equally worshipped. The first quote below (Verses 5 to 10) establishes context. The underlined text in particular show that the Lamb spoken about is none other than Jesus (all emphasis added)

    (5) and one of the elders *said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."  (6) And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. (7) And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.  (8) When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (9) And they *sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.  (10) "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." 

Verses 11 to 14 clearly show that Jesus and the Father are equally worshipped by the elders.

    (11) Then I looked, and I heard the 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, (12) saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." (13) And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."  (14) And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped (Gr. proskuneo). (Revelation 5:5-14 NASB)

Worship Vs. Obeisance
The Jehovah's Witnesses' New World Translation have attempted to circumvent the problem of Jesus being worshipped by translating the Greek word proskuneo into 'obeisance' every time it is used in regard to Jesus (fourteen occurrences). However, when the same exact word is used in reference to the Father it is translated 'worship'.

There is a difference between the two words especially as they are used today.

In the New Testament, the word "worship" is overwhelmingly translated from the Greek proskuneo, derived from pros ("towards"), and kuneo ("to kiss"). In other words, proskuneo means to to do homage, make obeisance, kneel or prostrate oneself, in order to in order to express respect or to make supplication. The physical posture reflects an attitude of respect and even humility... A high view of the person being bowed to and a lower view of oneself. As said by the web site biblestudytools.com, proskuneo was

    "Used to designate the custom of prostrating oneself before a person and kissing his feet, the hem of his garment, the ground, etc.; the Persians did this in the presence of their deified king, and the Greeks before a divinity".  [03]

This is made evident by several instances in the New Testament in which people worshipped by falling to the ground... For example,

    After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  (Matthew 2:11 NASB)

    and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."  (Matthew 4:9 NASB)

    And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.  (Matthew 28:9 NASB)

    Also See Revelation 5:14, 7:11, and 11:16

However, in modern usage 'worship' is far more closely associated with religious veneration.

'Obeisance' comes from the Latin oboedire "to obey". The word is seen nine times in the KJV and only in the Old Testament. In every instance it refers to the physical act of bowing down or prostrating oneself which is how the NASB translates it. However, except for a few places where old customs still prevail we no longer curtsy or bow to people in the modern world therefore 'obeisance' is now largely used for an attitude of deference or respect.

Hebrews 1:6
reads "And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "and let all the angels of God worship Him."

 In answer to a question from a reader regarding this verse the Watchtower says the following...

    While some translators use the word "worship" in the majority of cases where pro·sky·neo describes person's actions toward Jesus, the evidence does not warrant one's reading too much into this rendering. Rather, the circumstances that evoked the obeisance correspond very closely with those producing obeisance to the earlier prophets and kings. (Compare Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 20:20 with 1 Samuel 25:23, 24; 2 Samuel 14:4-7; 1 Kings 1:16; 2 Kings 4:36, 37.)

    The very expressions of those involved often reveal that, while they clearly recognized Jesus as God's representative, they rendered obeisance to him, not as to God or a deity, but as "God's Son,” the foretold "Son of man," the Messiah with divine authority. - Matt. 14:32, 33; 28:5-10, 16-18; Luke 24:50-52; John 9:35, 38. [04]

It is true that there are similarities between the examples given from each of the Testaments. The OT example all involved an individual making a request of a king or someone in authority. The New Testament examples all involved individuals making a request of Jesus.

    And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."  (Matthew 8:2 NASB)

    While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, "My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live." (Matthew 9:18 NASB)

    But she (the Canaanite woman whose daughter was demon-possessed) came and began to bow down before Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" (Matthew 15:25 NASB)

There was no 'worship' or religious veneration involved at the request stage - they were simply showing Jesus respect as a rabbi. Thus it makes sense that the NASB renders proskuneo as 'bow down'. However, nothing has been said about how the recipients reacted after their requests were miraculously granted. We are not even told what the disciples thought or said. However, we do know that Jesus walking on water convinced the disciples that He was "God's Son" thus it very likely that cleansing a leper, casting out a demon and raising a young girl from the dead had exactly the same reaction.

    One day after Jesus fed a crowd of five thousand men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish the disciples saw Jesus walk on water then cause Peter to do the same. Then "those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

After Jesus rose from the dead they went one step further. They did not 'bow down' before Jesus in a gesture of respect nor did they acknowledge that He was "God's Son", but God Himself. As Paul said "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form"  (Colossians 2:9 NASB). There is no evidence that the disciples or Mary Magdalene worshipped Jesus before the resurrection, but they certainly did afterwards

    Mary Magdalene and another women met Christ on the road and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. (Matthew 28:8-9)

    Post resurrection, the eleven disciples met Jesus at a designated spot and worshiped Him (Matthew 28:16-17)

    While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, (Luke 24:51-52 NASB)

Jesus was not the only one ever to be resurrected from the dead. As Eric Lyons from apologeticspress.org points out

    The widow's son of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:22), the son of a Shunammite (2 Kings 4:32-35), the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:21-24,35-43), the widow of Nain's son (Luke 7:11-16), Lazarus (John 11:1-45), Tabitha (Acts 9:36-43), and Eutychus (Acts 20:7-12) all were raised from the dead, but none received worship. Jesus' followers recognized that His resurrection was different. It was a proof of His deity. [05]

After Jesus was "carried up into heaven," Luke wrote: "They worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God" (Luke 24:52-53). Notice that the word "worshiped" (proskuneo) is used in this passage along with such words as "praising" and "blessing" - words that carry a religious connotation in connection with God.

But perhaps, most telling of all is the fact that after the resurrection Thomas called Jesus "My Lord and my God (Gr, Theos) (John 20:28-29). In the New Testament theos was used exclusively for God Himself.

Flip Flopping on a Major Issue
The definition of the word 'vacillate' is to waver between different courses of action or opinions which is exactly what the Jehovah's Witnesses have done with several issues including the worship of Christ.

For more than half a century the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society taught that it was acceptable to worship Jesus. In fact, when they first printed the NWT in 1950, the verse actually rendered proskuneo as "worship" instead of "do obeisance." Even the revised 1961 edition of the NWT translated proskuneo as "worship." [06]

Charles Taze Russell who founded The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society once stated,

    Hence it is said, 'let all the angels of God worship him': (that must include Michael, the chief angel, hence Michael is not the Son of God)..." [07]

In fact, I understand that it wasn't until 1971 that the Jehovah's Witnesses changed Hebrews 1:6 to read: "Let all God's angels do obeisance to him." Here are a few other examples of the position originally taken by the Society all the way up to 1941. (All Emphasis Added)

    1) There is and ever has been but one Christ. A change of nature does not change identity. Whether as the pre-existent as the Word made flesh, or as the High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,  He still is Lord, and as such we worship Him.  "Ye call me Lord and ye do well, for so I am... One,The wise men came at His birth to worship Him. The leper worshiped him. They in the ship worshiped Him, as did also the ruler and woman of Canaan. Yet none was ever rebuked for it. ..

    To worship a false Christ would indeed be sin, but to worship Christ in any form cannot be wrong, for when He bringeth the first Begotten into the world, He sayeth, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." ...

    The true church has always recognized and worshiped a living spiritual Christ-there is no other. ..

    A mere human being, having our fallen nature, as some tell us Christ was and had, should not have received worship, and could not have forgiven sin both of which Christ did. ..

    Jesus, who worked out His Father's will, had no occasion to be in haste. During the gospel age He is gathering out the jewels of His crown-the church of the first-born. Hereafter he will take to Himself His great power and reign. Then all the nations whom He has made will come and worship before Him [08]

    2) He who honors the Son honors the Father, and according to this passage whoever denies Christ's Lordship over angels and both living and dead men dishonours the Father. "Being made so much better than the angels as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they...and again...he saith, "Let all the angels of God worship him." Heb. 1:4,6. They are his servants, therefore he is their Lord. There is a clear contrast between Moses and Christ as mediators of the two covenants.

    Under the old covenant, Moses received the law from God through angels, therefore the angels were superior to Moses; (Acts 7:53 and Gal. 3:19) but in this dispensation Christ controls the angels, and under his loving administration they are ministering spirits to the "heirs of salvation." Heb. 1:14. [09]

    3) For this reason God has highly exalted him and given him a name above every name, and commands that all creatures in heaven and earth shall worship the Son as he worships the Father.— Phil. 2: 5-11 " [10]

Continue on to Manipulating Scripture HERE


End Notes
[01] The Resurrection? - Is It Real to You? https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2007367?q=He+alone+is+worthy&p=par

[02] Who Is "the True God and Life Everlasting"? https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2004768?q=He+alone+is+worthy&p=par

[03] https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/revelation-7/revelation-7-11.html#39145E

[04] Questions From Readers https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1970847?q=render+worship+to+the+son+of+god+jesus+christ&p=par#h=11

[05] Eric Lyons, M.Min. Jehovah's Witnesses and the Worship of Jesus http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2679

[06] Eric Lyons. Is Jesus Really Michael the Archangel? http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=1473

[07] Zions Watch Tower. 1879, https://archive.org/details/1879ZionsWatchTower/page/n121/mode/1up?q=Michael+is+not

[08] A Living Christ. The Watchtower March 3. 1880. https://avoidjw.org/magazines/

[09] Zion's Watchtower. The Lordship of Christ https://ia600908.us.archive.org/12/items/WatchTowerAndHeraldOfChristsPresence1879-1916/1879-1916_Watch_Tower.pdf

[10] The Watchtower. August 15 1941. file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/w_E_1941.pdf



Deity of Christ - Part 2