What does it mean to worship, and can someone worship more than one person?

What does it mean to worship, and can someone worship more than one person?

Abraham was given a promise from the Almighty God, that if Abraham walked in his ways, he would bless Abraham greatly. Abraham did just so. Abraham showed what true worship to God means, to obey. Worship without obedience is false worship. This wasn’t a slave/master relationship. Abraham could do whatever he wanted, but he chose to follow the Almighty God.

There are other aspects to the Hebrew and Greek words, involving worship, that will be covered later.

Genesis 22:15-18 (WEB);

15 Yahweh’s angel called to Abraham a second time out of the sky, 16 and said, “I have sworn by myself, says Yahweh, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 that I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your offspring greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the gate of his enemies. 18 All the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Wise king Solomon, of ancient Israel, had riches and glory beyond compare. He knew that, these things are vanity, they don’t last, and they do not amass God’s favor (Ecclesiastes). Yet, Solomon summed things up, concerning what does last and is important to God, to obey the king and God.

Ecclesiastes 8:2 (WEB);

I say, “Keep the king’s command!” because of the oath to God.

Ecclesiastes 12:8, 13-14 (WEB);

    “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher.
    “All is vanity!”

13 This is the end of the matter. All has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.

When king Solomon was officially made king, officials swore oaths of loyalty to the king and because the king was on God’s throne, to God. They bowed down their heads and prostrated themselves before God and the king. This is an act of worship, meaning loyalty, which means obedience.

1 Chronicles 29:20-23 (WEB);

20 Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless Yahweh your God!”

All the assembly blessed Yahweh, the God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads and prostrated themselves before Yahweh and the king21 They sacrificed sacrifices to Yahweh, and offered burnt offerings to Yahweh, on the next day after that day, even one thousand bulls, one thousand rams, and one thousand lambs, with their drink offerings and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel, 22 and ate and drank before Yahweh on that day with great gladness. They made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him before Yahweh to be prince, and Zadok to be priest.

23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. 

1 Chronicles 29:20-23 (ASV);

20 And David said to all the assembly, Now bless Jehovah your God. And all the assembly blessed Jehovah, the God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshiped Jehovah, and the king. 21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto Jehovah, and offered burnt-offerings unto Jehovah, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink-offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel, 22 and did eat and drink before Jehovah on that day with great gladness.

And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto Jehovah to be prince [or leader], and Zadok to be priest. 23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of Jehovah as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. (Footnote added to verse 22)

Compare Revelation 5:11-14 (WEB);

11 I saw, and I heard something like a voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing!”

13 I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion, forever and ever! Amen!”

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen!” The elders fell down and worshiped.

In this case, it is the Almighty on the throne and the Lamb picturing Jesus. But they are both worshiped. This is an oath to loyally serve them.

It is very noteworthy to see that in Revelation 7:11-12 that there are groups, in heaven, that fall on their faces and proclaim blessings to God, in an act of worship to God. The Lamb is not included here and is never called God.

Revelation 7:11-12 (WEB);

11 All the angels were standing around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before his throne, and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might, be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Compare 1 Chronicles 29:10-12 (WEB);

10 Therefore David blessed Yahweh before all the assembly; and David said, “You are blessed, Yahweh, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, Yahweh, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty! For all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, Yahweh, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all! In your hand is power and might! It is in your hand to make great, and to give strength to all!

This helps to come to a clearer understanding of when the Devil tempted Jesus. The Devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, for just one act of worship (Luke 4:1-8)! This would have meant that Jesus would have had to swear loyalty to the Devil!

When Jesus responds, he corrects the Devil by saying that he should be serving his God, which he is not doing. Jesus does not discredit the scriptures that tell of ones worshiping God and the king, such as in 1 Chronicles 29:21-23, as shown above. That is because it is worship based upon obedience. Yahweh installed the king to act as leader for Yahweh’s people. They are supposed to obey the king. This is what Yahweh wants. Jesus response to the Devil could have very well included worship that only belonged to the Father, Yahweh. But for sure, Jesus said it had to deal with servitude, which would have meant loyalty.

Luke 4:1-2;5-8 (WEB);

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. He ate nothing in those days. Afterward, when they were completed, he was hungry.

The devil, leading him up on a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. The devil said to him, “I will give you all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want. If you therefore will worship before me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered him, “Get behind me Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’”

In our future, The Almighty will want the nations to submit to his Son, by symbolically “kissing” the Son of God. This is an action of showing loyalty and obedience. Yahweh, at that time, gives the nations to his Son, as an inheritance.

Psalms 2:1-12 (WEB);

Why do the nations rage,
    and the peoples plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take a stand,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against Yahweh, and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let’s break their bonds apart,
    and cast their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens will laugh.
    The Lord will have them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his anger,
    and terrify them in his wrath:
“Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.”
    I will tell of the decree.
Yahweh said to me, “You are my son.
    Today I have become your father.
Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance,
    the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron.
    You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore be wise, you kings.
    Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve Yahweh with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Give sincere homage to the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish on the way,
    for his wrath will soon be kindled.
    Blessed are all those who take refuge in him.

Psalms 2:12 (ASV);

 (12) Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way,
For his wrath will soon be kindled.
Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.

So just as it was in king David and Solomon’s time. It is correct to show worship (of loyalty) to the Anointed king, Jesus, and to the one who placed him there, the Almighty God, Yahweh. However, only sacred worship (for example: praise) toward the Most High God, goes to the Almighty, Yahweh.

There are other accounts that deal with forms of “worship.” For instance, Daniel was shown worship from the king of Babylon, for showing him the power of God. It was not showing Daniel to be God but that the king was showing homage to Daniel. This would be a showing of special respect shown publicly.

Daniel 2:46 (RSV);

46 Then King Nebuchadnez′zar fell upon his face, and did homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him.

Daniel 2:46 (WEB);

46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, and worshiped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an offering and sweet odors to him.

Daniel 2:46 (YLT);

46 Then hath king Nebuchadnezzar fallen on his face, and to Daniel he hath done obeisance, and present, and sweet things, he hath said to pour out to him.

The wise men who located Jesus did the same:

Matthew 2:11 (DARBY);

11 And having come into the house they saw the little child with Mary his mother, and falling down did him homage. And having opened their treasures, they offered to him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:11 (WEB);

11 They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:11 (YLT);

11 and having come to the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and having fallen down they bowed to him, and having opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh,

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words (1985) mentions:

p.295 TO WORSHIP (Hebrew 7812);

“to worship, prostrate oneself, bow down”

p. 686 WORSHIP (Verb and Noun), WORSHIPING (Greek 4352 (most frequent));

“to make obeisance, do reverence to”; Matt.2:2 (to Christ), Matt. 4:10 (to God), Matt. 18:26 (to a man), Acts 7:43 (to idols)

Notes: The worship of God is nowhere defined in Scripture.