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The worship of Jesus: proskyneō προσκυνέω (cf. Revelation 3:9)

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    The worship of Jesus: proskyneō προσκυνέω (cf. Revelation 3:9)

    The Lord Jesus is the recipient of worship (proskyneō) in many passages of the New Testament [*1]. To clear up the confusion if this Greek word refers to the worship of Christ or merely obeisance to Him I believe that in every instance it is rendered unto Him it always refers to worship.

    Some may point out that this Greek word was also used in reference to people such as when Abraham bowed (prosekunēsen) before the sons of Heth (Genesis 23:7) and when Abigail bowed (prosekunēsen) before David (1 Samuel 25:23). This doesn't prove that worship was taking place in either scenario so neither then does it prove that worship is taking place when people rendered the same unto the Lord Jesus. Indeed, people will render proskyneō to the members of the church at Philadelphia.
    Revelation 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 (proskunēsousin) at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. (NASB)

    In response to the above both OT examples apply to a different time period. This Greek word was used in such a manner but by the NT era it did not.
    In terms of Revelation 3:9 I note the following:
    "I will make them to come and worship before thy feet" (προσκυνήσουσιν ἐνώπιον τῶν ποδῶνσου) does not mean that the church itself received the worship, but that the ungodly will be compelled to come and worship God in the presence of these Christians in the eschatological judgment (Philippians 2:9-11) if they do not repent of their persecuting actions, fall down before them, and worship God in this life (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; cf. also the historical interaction of the church at Philadelphia with Judaism as recorded in Ignatius' epistle to the Philadelphians 6:1; also note the different preposition in Revelation 22:8, where what is forbidden is John's action when he ἔπεσα προσκυνῆσαι ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ποδῶν τοῦ ἀγγέλου.). Compare also Revelation 3:9 to 2 Kings 18:22 (LXX), καὶ ὅτι εἶπας πρός με ἐπὶ κύριον θεὸν πεποίθαμεν οὐχὶ αὐτὸς οὗτος οὗ ἀπέστησεν Εζεκιας τὰ ὑψηλὰ αὐτοῦ καὶ τὰ θυσιαστήρια αὐτοῦ καὶ εἶπεν τῷ Ιουδα καὶ τῇ Ιερουσαλημ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τούτου προσκυνήσετε ἐν Ιερουσαλημ, “And whereas thou hast said to me, We trust on the Lord God: is not this he, whose high places and altars Ezekias has removed, and has said to Juda and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?” Here the altar is not worshipped, but God is “before” the altar. Just as “before” does not of itself necessitate that the church itself receives the worship, so the connection of “worship” and the “feet” in Revelation 3:9 does not require this position. In Psalm 98:5, LXX, “worship the footstool of His feet” does not mean that the footstool itself is worshipped, but God is worshipped at the place where His “feet” are (cf. Psalm 131:7, LXX); God, not the footstool for the feet, receives the worship. (Page 2, footnote #3)
    Link

    Also notice how Revelation 14:3 points out that singing this new song (in worship) was done "before" others besides God but this doesn't mean the song was being rendered unto them.
    Revelation 14:3 (the underlined is mine)
    And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. (NASB)
    The singing that took place is worship. The song was directed to God alone even though it was also "before the four living creatures and the elders." They were in God's presence when the singing took place but they were not recipients of this worship despite the fact that the song was done before them. The same holds true concerning the worship described in Revelation 3:9. Worship was directed to God alone but in the presence of ("before") these believers (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:25).

    In conclusion, the fact that the Lord Jesus is the proper recipient of proskyneō demonstrates that He was worshiped and since only God is to be worshiped this proves Christ's Deity.


    [*1] The New World Translation and "Proskuneo" (worship) | Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
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