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When John fell down to worship the angel that had just showed him the prophetic visions of Revelation, the angel quickly stopped him in his tracks and corrected him for doing so, as he (the angel) was just a fellow servant and God is the only one to be worshipped:

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 22:8-9 ESV]

However, angels are reported to have worshipped Jesus as well. For example:

Hebrews 1:5-6 ESV:

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God's angels worship him.”

Revelation 5:11-14 ESV:

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

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

Why didn't the angel at Revelation 22:9 mention Jesus when he said to John that God is the one to be worshipped? Shouldn't the angel have concluded the verse with "Worship God and his Son"? Did the angel forget about Jesus?

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    The Son of God is worshipped as God. One does not need to specify Person when one exhorts the worship of the Divine. I cannot see the point of your question. – Nigel J Mar 20 at 22:07
  • @NigelJ - that's exactly the point, not everyone on here is trinitarian. I'm very interested in reading non-trinitarian responses. – Spirit Realm Investigator Mar 21 at 0:01
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There are numerous places in the NT where people worship Jesus as God such as: Matt 2:11, 14:33, 28:9, 17; Luke 4:8; 24:52; John 9:38; Rom 10:9, Heb 1:5, 6, Phil 2:10; Rev 5:6-12.

Further, we have numerous instances where people pray to Jesus as God such as: John 4:10, 14:13, 14, Acts 1:24, 24; Acts 7:59, 60, 9:5, 10-14, 1 Cor 1:1, 2, 16:22, 2 Cor 12:8, 9, 1 Tim 1:12, Rev 5:8-13, 22:20; 1 Thess 3:11-14, 2 Thess 2:16, 17, etc.

Thus, the simplest solution to Rev 22:9 is understand "God" in the generic sense of including the entire Godhead.

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  • "Matt 2:11" I've only checked this one so far, and off the bat it's problematic. What in the text shows the Magi were worshipping Jesus as God? It just says they fell down and worshipped him - just as they would a King. The context makes that pretty clear. "“Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”" (Matthew 2:2) – One God the Father Mar 21 at 5:58
  • @AnthonyBurg - Matt 4:10; Acts 10:25, 26, Rev 19:10, 22:8, 9 all say that only God should be worshiped - same verb. – Dottard Mar 21 at 7:54
  • Do you think the Magi thought Jesus was God? – One God the Father Mar 21 at 16:57
  • Again, starting with your new list of quotations, it is problematic off the bat with Matthew 4:10. It says serve only God. Not worship only God. – One God the Father Mar 21 at 17:02
  • Moving to the second one, Acts 10:25. Again, this doesn't say only God should be worshipped. It's just Peter telling Cornelius not to worship him. – One God the Father Mar 21 at 18:59
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New Testament Worship
Once the Temple is destroyed, there is a valid question on where and when one is to worship God. Before His death, Jesus gave the answer:

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them (Matthew 18:20) [ESV]

21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. (John 2)

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4)

The believers do not need a physical Temple because when they gather in His name, Jesus is in their midst, and, after His resurrection, His body is the Temple. From the perspective of the Old Testament, this new Temple implies (more likely, demands) the divinity of Jesus.

In their book, Unveiling Empire; Reading Revelation Then and Now, Wes Howard-Brook and Anthony Gwyther make this observation:

One of the greatest differences between Revelation and other New Testament texts is Revelation's portrayal of numerous scenes of liturgy and worship. The Gospels never show the followers of Jesus in prayer, although Jesus prays regularly...teaches his followers how to pray...and harshly criticizes hypocritical prayer of the Jerusalem elite...Similarly, Paul refers many times to his own prayer and offers advice to his communities on how to pray and conduct themselves during worship...as do the other epistle writers...Revelation, though, like the work of a good novelist, shows rather than tells its audience how to offer prayer and worship.1

Revelation's importance to worship is affirmed by the use of προσκυνέω, the word for worship:

Matthew       13
Mark           2
Luke           3
John          11
Acts           4
1 Corinthians  1
Hebrews        2
Revelation    24

Forty percent of the use occurs in Revelation. If the Fourth Gospel was written by the same John, those two works account for almost sixty percent of the use in the New Testament.

As Howard-Brook and Gwyther note, Revelation describes worship taking place and, not surprisingly, has seven scenes of worship (4:2-11; 5:8-14, 7:9-17, 11:15-18, 14:1-4, 15:2-4, and 19:1-8). As these occur in heaven, they provide a "worship handbook" given mostly by narrating both the who and the how of worship. These scenes can serve as models for how worship on earth should be conducted and from the scenes it is clear worship may include but is not limited to falling down or prostration before the one being worshipped. In other words, worship cannot be narrowly defined as a physical act of obeisance.

In addition to providing examples on worship, Revelation includes specific didactic instruction on the "dos" and "dont's" of worship. The "dos" are described with more than "God:"

Do Worship                                 Do Not Worship                            
Him that lives forever (4:10, 5:14)        Devils and idols (9:20)
Him that made heaven, and earth, and the   The dragon and the beast (13:4)
 sea and the fountains of water (14:7)     The image of the beast (13:15)
                                           The beast (14:10-11)
                                           Angels or fellow bondservants (19:10, 22:8-9)

Conclusion
If all which Revelation has to say about worship is considered, then these are the final words:

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)

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)

There is no need to speculate on the identity of "God" because the seven heavenly worship scenes described who is being worshipped. God is:

  • Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb (5:8-14; 7:10-11)
  • Our Lord and His Christ (7:15-18)
  • The Lamb (14:1-5)

As this is done in truth and Spirit, all three persons of the Godhead are present.

Moreover, worship is described as being given to one who is described by their actions: one who judges and whose ways are just and true and who is the one all nations will come before and so forth. The New Testament attributes these actions to the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, based on the New Testament, Jesus is being worshipped in heaven for His actions.

There is no way to understand the message of worship in Revelation other than the Lamb is to be worshipped as God. Effectively Revelation describes the Trinity not by theological discourse, rather by describing the heavenly worship of God.


1. Wes Howard-Brook and Anthony Gwyther, Unveiling Empire; Reading Revelation Then and Now, Orbis Books, 2001, p. 197.

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I'm confused as to why you even ask the question. Scripture is clear that God is three in one trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What is so hard to figure out?

You can not pick and choose Scripture. It's all or nothing.

Jesus is God. Jesus claimed to be God. Jesus is named as God in Scripture other than the Gospels.

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  • There is something called non-trinitarianism. – Spirit Realm Investigator Mar 21 at 0:46
  • So, do you reject any part of Scripture, and pick and choose what to believe, or do you think that all Scripture teaches you non-trinitarianism? – Jonathan Mar 21 at 2:14
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    I'm not defending a position, I'm just asking the question. Answerers are the ones who usually take a position. However, people have sometimes attempted to give objective answers. For an illustrative example, see this answer . – Spirit Realm Investigator Mar 21 at 2:18
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    Seriously, the topic is not all trivial and settled as you make it out to be. You should watch Unitarian vs Trinitarian debates to see why. There are plenty of those debates available on YouTube. Also, check out the biblical unitarian questions on Christianity.SE. Maybe you can come up with additional questions to challenge their views. – Spirit Realm Investigator Mar 21 at 2:27
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    Again, I'm not defending a position, I'm just asking a question. If you don't like how the question is written, fine. – Spirit Realm Investigator Mar 21 at 2:35
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The Biblical Unitarian view on this is fairly straightforward. Although Jesus can and ought to be worshipped as King, God is a larger ultimate object of worship. So the angel mentioned God and not Jesus.

See Should we "worship" Jesus Christ? which lays out the issue of worship and Jesus from a Biblical Unitarian perspective.

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  • The article you reference is wrong. The fact people worshipped other people does not make it right, anymore than people committing some other sin makes it right. The point of the verse is to not do what others say is right. One of the contemporary issues Revelation addresses is that of emperor worship. The fallacy of the article is it that it claims it is acceptable to worship the emperor because that is what people did. That is the opposite message of Revelation which says emperor worship is not ok under any circumstance. – Revelation Lad Mar 22 at 5:01
  • @RevelationLad Do you think the Magi thought Jesus was God? – One God the Father Mar 22 at 5:09
  • The question is about what the instruction the angel gives John in Revelation. Bringing the magi into the exegesis is a straw dog argument. First, the magi are likely polytheistic - so what would their action count for if they did worship Him? Second, you can test the validity of the article by applying the reasoning to some other area, like making sacrifice for sin. You could argue Jesus death on the cross was insufficient because sacrifices were offered and even required by the Law. – Revelation Lad Mar 22 at 5:20
  • @RevelationLad 'straw dog argument' LOL! I like that! The Magi worshiped Jesus as a King, not as a polytheistic deity. Worshiping Jesus as King is fine. – One God the Father Mar 22 at 17:28

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