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My understanding is that God is a jealous God and does not tolerate that anyone else be worshiped (Exodus 20:4-5; Luke 4:8). Yet, Hebrews 1:6 (NIV) says:

6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Why does God command all his angels to worship his Son? What is it about his Son that makes him worthy of worship by all God's angels without provoking God to jealousy? What does this tell us about his Son's nature?

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  • @curiousdannii - what about the last edit? Feb 7 at 3:20
  • This is better. Though it might be better still to move it to Christianity.SE and ask how those who reject the divinity of Jesus understand Hebrews 1:6.
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 7 at 3:22
  • I don't have the time to give a detailed answer, but the word "worship" in English means a very different thing from the original word. The original just means "make obeisance" (usually by kneeling and prostrating). This action implies deference (and subservience). There is nothing wrong with showing deference to any authority delegated by God, so why would you think there is a problem with doing so to Jesus according to the NT? As per the parallel to Pharaoh and Joseph, would Pharaoh feel jealous to see the people kneeling to Joseph?
    – David
    Feb 21 at 17:39
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During his revelation John twice attempts to worship an angel; each time they correct him:

9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10) [ESV]

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22)

First, many attempt to refute the numerous passages where Jesus is worshipped by claiming the action (προσκυνέω) was obeisance. But as John shows, the two actions are separate: ἔπεσον ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ προσκυνῆσαι I fell at his feet to worship.

Second, the angels explain to John only God is to be worshipped. Therefore the reason angels are commanded to worship the Son is He is God and must be worshipped as such. The Son is in every way equal to God except He took on human form in order to die and bring salvation to mankind and to free creation from bondage.

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The verb προσκυνέω is to worship by falling face down in front of a recognizably superior being. See Thayer and BDAG. There are three significant things about the use of this verb in the NT:

  • Such acts of devotion are reserved for God alone, eg, Matt 4:10, Luke 4:8, see also John 4:20-24. These NT commands to worship God alone are direct references to Ex 20:3, 34:14; Deut 8:19 as taken from the first commandment.
  • Several times in the NT people bowed prostrate before someone other than God and on each occasion, the person was reprimanded and told to stop or get up. Acts 10:25 (Peter & Cornelius), Rev 19:10 (John and the angel), Rev 22:8, 9 (John and the angel). See also Matt 4:9, Luke 4:7, Rev 9:20, 13:4, etc.
  • There are numerous occasions where Jesus is worshiped, eg, Matt 2:2, 8, 11, 8:2, 9:18, 14:33, 15:25, 18:26, 20:20, 28:9, Mark 5:6, 15:19, Luke 24:52, John 9:38, Heb 1:6, Rev 5:8-13, etc.

The implication is obvious - by accepting worship Jesus was clearly claiming to be God consistent with the numerous explicit such claims in the NT such as Matt 1::22, 23; John 1:1, 18, 20:28; Col 2:9, Rom 9:5, Heb 1:8, 9; Tit 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1, 1 Tim 3:16; Phil 2:5-8; 2 Peter 1:1, etc.

Further, by the Father instructing angels to worship Jesus in Heb 1:6, the father is also acknowledging Jesus as God as per Heb 1:8, 9.

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1. Why does God command all his angels to worship his Son?

and having been found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself, having become obedient to death—even death of a cross Phil 2:8-11

Therefore God also highly exalted him, and granted to him the name above every name

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in the heavens and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Some say Jesus is God. If that were true,

  • the Son would not be exalted beyond what he already was - how can one be higher than being God ?!
  • how could he die as God is immortal?
  • how can he be become obedient - does God have subordination issues within Himself?

God isn't commanding anyone here. He is inviting celebration and recognising the joyous accomplishment of defeating evil on just terms as He parades His firstborn and heir amongst the heavenly beings - with the devil no doubt looking on!

God...in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the ages. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the representation of His nature Heb 1:2

(It seems odd that if Jesus is God, he is representing God's nature. He is representing God precisely because he cannot be God!)

No one before or after has accomplished what Jesus did. Adam #1 began without sin but crumbled under pressure of temptation.

Jesus, Adam #2, also a man, also began without sin, but through suffering, became obedient to death. How was this done - because he was God?

No, he succeeded in victory over evil not by fraud or trickery! As if God could be tempted or tricked by the devil. As if God could sin and die as Jesus could. As if God needed to learn obedience.

During the days of Jesus’ earthly life, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Heb 5:7

This is Jesus seeking the assistance from his Father and God to help him stay the course and not succumb to temptation, not let his will (which sometimes differed from the Father) take precedence.

This has nothing to do with his death on the cross - a death Jesus did die and that victoriously. Did God save him from that death? No. It was for that death that he came!

Now My soul has been troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But on account of this I came to this hour. John 12:27

2. What is it about his Son that makes him worthy of worship by all God's angels without provoking God to jealousy?

This is a silly question. Why would God call to worship His son and then get jealous about it?

3. What does this tell us about his Son's nature?

This doesn't tell us anything about the son's nature - except that he isn't God! What else would God's angels be doing except worshipping God? When the son takes up his new spot at God's right hand, they can worship him too - I'm sure God is loving having His amazing son by His side at last - forevermore!

There are plenty of other verses that do inform about Jesus' nature precisely and consistently. There is no need to make up stuff about Jesus that the bible has forgotten to include - or has become outdated and needing the wisdom of men to sort out.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Just a note about the 'firstborn' inclusion. Heb 1:6

Jesus is not firstborn before Adam. Jesus was born ~4BC to Mary. Get the whole story here as explained in Colossians.

https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/28350/in-colossians-115-what-does-firstborn-of-every-creature-mean/50685?r=SearchResults&s=4|42.2839#50685

https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/48843/what-does-it-mean-for-christ-to-be-firstborn-from-the-dead/48901?r=SearchResults&s=2|101.1137#48901

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    "how can one be higher than being God?" 1: By voluntarily giving up everything that made Him equal to God (Philippians 2:6-7) 2: By voluntarily submitting to death on a cross (Philippians 2:8) despite being innocent and without sin (Hebrews 4:15). 3: By having your initial glory restored (John 17:5) 4: By the glory that results from 1 & 2 [something the Father cannot claim except vicariously through the Son]. Thus God commands the angels to worship him (and they do (Revelation 5:8-14) Feb 7 at 15:49

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