Hello my friend.
I asked a question to an expert here and thought I'd make sure I was clear on my understanding with the meaning of the word 'worship' before I followed up. To me it is any action
that one does to God. I believe Matthew 4:10 makes it clear that worship only belongs to God. Are there any other kinds of worship that aren't religious? Does that fact that the WT said in their publications that one should worship Jesus mean they thought that Jesus was God?
On another note I'd thought I would share another story I found amusing. My more llogical jw coworker and I were talking about the no blood whatsoever doctrine again and I asked him if he was familiar with alcoholics? That in the recovery program they are told to abstain from ALL alcohol. I then asked him if it would be okay for them to have cake that had rum in it or even candy infused with alcohol. He said he saw no problem with that because they were eating cake. The fact that it contained alcohol didn't seem to be important. To me, he was just defending his own doctrine of eating meat with blood in it and not thinking about my scenerio. I said if I were allergic to eggs, it would probably be okay if I had only a little one in my salad.
Thanks again and may God continue blessing you and your family.
Hello, Brother. How are you?
You are correct, that worship belongs only to God. That is the issue at the heart of the discussion about whether Jesus was worshipped. In its prior history, the WT once taught that Jesus could be worshipped, but did not regard Him as God. I guess they eventually realized the contradiction this caused, as it is now improper to worship Jesus, according to their teachings.
However, that still does not solve the problem, or answer the question...."Is it proper to worship Jesus?" If it is, then that implies that He is God by His very nature. If it is not, then this would mean that He is lesser than God, by nature.
Some definitions of "worship" that I found....
Merriam-Webster- "the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshipping God or a god"
"reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence"
Dictionary.com- "reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred."
Some of the other definitions given, imply a deep, reverential respect. But common sense tells me, that it is possible to have a deep respect for something/someone, without actually doing an act of worship to it.
I think that some try to get around Jesus being worshipped in the true sense of the word, by claiming that He was merely shown respect or honor. This contradicts what we see in the Scriptures, however. Jesus was clearly worshipped, in the sense of being bowed down to, and being viewed as worth of such reverence, on more than one occasion. And it is the same type of adoration that was typically refused by men of God, and even by angels.
One thing we can be sure of....Jesus was perfect, sinless, and holy. If He were not worthy of the worship given Him, then we would certainly see Him state such, and correct anyone who offered it to Him. He would not allow anyone to worship Him, unless He was worthy of it.
Kind of like when Thomas called Jesus "My Lord and my God"
, or in the Greek, "The Lord of me, and the God of me"
.....If Jesus were not both Lord and God, this declaration from Thomas, would have brought a swift rebuke. But it did not. Instead, it brought a commendation. And this is a powerful reason to recognize Jesus as both Lord, and God, because Thomas recognized Him as such, and Jesus approved of his doing so.
Matthew 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."
Matthew 14:33- "Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."
This act of worship was more than just respect, but an obvious acknowledgment of His deity as the Son of God.
Matthew 28:9- "And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."
This is an act of worship, based on His resurrection from the tomb.
It is interesting that Peter refused this same type of worship (Acts 10:25-26), and so did an angel from heaven (Revelation 19:9-10).
The question must be asked....Why did Peter and the angel refuse this "bowing down", if mere respect were intended? Yet, Jesus freely accepted this type of worship, when given to Him.
And can anyone deny that this is a scene of WORSHIP of Jesus, taking place in Heaven?
Revelation 5:8-9, 12-14- "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever."
Another interesting verse, is Revelation 22:3- "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:"
Notice it is one throne...the throne of God, and of the Lamb (Jesus), and HIS servants shall serve Him.
So yes, you are correct....Worship is to go ONLY to God. Yet, Jesus was worshipped, time and time again. In fact, God the Father Himself, commanded that the angels of Heaven worship Jesus....
Hebrews 1:6- "And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him"
So, to answer your question....I am unaware of any type of "worship", that is not religious in nature. The very act of worshipping something/someone, implies a belief that the object/being is worthy of such adoration.
And no, the WT never regarded Jesus as God. They simply viewed it to be proper to worship Him, based on His position as a god, or the Son of God. In fact, Charles Russell who founded the Watchtower, had this to say, in regards to the worship of Jesus....
""It seems clear that His Divinity was retained in humanity because He repeatedly spoke of Himself as having come down from heaven, and because He, though passing through trial and sorrow as a man, was yet possessed of the authority and exercised the prerogatives of a God. He was the object of unreproved worship even when a babe, by the wise men who came to see the new-born King. Matt. 2:2-11. Even the angels delighted to do Him honor. "When He bringeth the first-begotten into the world, He saith, "And let all the angels of God worship Him." Heb. 1:6. He never reproved any one for acts of worship offered to Himself, but when Cornelius offered such service to Peter--the leading apostle-- "he took him up, saying, stand up; I myself also am a man." .... Had Christ not been more than a man the same reason would have prevented from receiving worship...." Zion's Watch Tower 1880 Oct pp.2-3
Although He was not regarded as being God, it was then deemed proper to offer Him worship.
""Question. The fact that our Lord received worship is claimed by some to be an evidence that while on earth he was God the Father disguised in a body of flesh and not really a man. Was he really worshiped, or is the translation faulty? Answer. Yes, we believe our Lord Jesus while on earth was really worshiped, and properly so. It was proper for our Lord to receive worship in view of his having been the only begotten of the Father and his agent in the creation of all things, including man." Zion's Watch Tower 1898 Jul 15 p.216"
And on the subject of PRAYING to Jesus, Russell said this....
""It is undoubtedly proper enough for us to address petitions to our Redeemer and Advocate, who loved us and gave himself for us....Although we are nowhere instructed to make petitions to him, it evidently could not be improper so to do; for such a course is nowhere prohibited, and the disciples worshiped him." Zion's Watch Tower 1892 May 15 p.157"
The 2nd president of the WT Society, Joseph F. Rutherford, continued this teaching of it being proper to worship Jesus.....
""Jehovah God commands all to worship Christ Jesus because Christ Jesus is the express image of his Father, Jehovah, and because he is the Executive Officer of Jehovah always carrying out Jehovah's purpose (Heb.:3-6)." Watchtower 1939 Nov 15 p.339
"During the Millennium, "the princes will lead the people in their worship of Jehovah and of Christ." Vindication Volume 3 (J. F. Rutherford, 1932) p.295
"The people of all nations who obtain salvation must come to the house of the Lord to worship there; that is to say, they must believe on and worship Jehovah God and the Lord Jesus Christ, his chief instrument (Philippians 2:10, 11)." Salvation (J. F. Rutherford, 1939) p.151
And did you know that one of the STATED PURPOSES of the Watchtower Society, was to promote the worship of God AND Jesus Christ?
The 1945 Yearbook includes the Charter in full. Part of the current charter states as follows:
"The purposes of this Society are: To act as the servant of and the legal world-wide governing agency for that body of Christian persons known as Jehovah's Witnesses to preach the gospel of God's kingdom under Christ Jesus unto all nations as a witness to the name, word and supremacy of Almighty Good JEHOVAH; to print and distribute Bibles and to disseminate Bible truths in various languages....and for public Christian worship of Almighty God and Christ Jesus;
And seriously, your JW co-worker said it would be okay for an alcoholic to have caked containing alcohol? And this is the same guy who uses the argument that, if you inject alcohol into your veins, you are not abstaining from alcohol? Yet, he thinks you ARE abstaining, if you eat cake that contains alcohol? That is a bit inconsistent, if you ask me.
Well, its good to hear from you, and I hope this has answered your question. Sorry its so long, but I wanted to give some quotes, as well as some Scriptures, that show beyond all doubt that Jesus Christ did indeed receive worship.
Take care, Kevin, and God bless.