A “team” member, and frequent poster at the Beggars All blog, who goes by the name “Rhology”, started a new thread two days ago with the title: How Roman Dogma Affects a Defense of the Deity of Christ.
The thread begins with:
One major thrust of any biblical defense of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is to point out the places in the New Testament in which He explicitly receives worship.
Rhology then invokes four NT passages, which he believes lends support to his apologia. Three of the four (John 4:35-38; Rev. 19:10, 22:8), in reality, serve to weaken his defense, while the fourth (Rev. 5:11) is open to more than one interpretation.
Though I have previously dealt with the core issues raised by Rhology in his new post (see THIS THREAD), I would now like to expand a bit further on this.
The fundamental ‘problem’ with Rhology’s assertions is the fact that the term proskuneō is used in different senses in the Bible—especially so when one references the LXX (Septuagint). Perhaps the most pertinent verse in the NT is Rev. 3:9 where we read:
Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship (proskuneō) before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (ASV)
Similar instances of the act of “worship” (proskuneō) before the saints of God are found in the OT:
Thus saith Jehovah, The labor of Egypt, and the merchandise of Ethiopia, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall go after thee, in chains they shall come over; and they shall fall down (LXX - proskuneō) unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God. (Is. 45:14 - ASV)
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down (LXX - proskuneō) to thee with their faces to the earth, and lick the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah; and they that wait for me shall not be put to shame. (Is. 49:23 - ASV)
And the sons of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down (LXX - proskuneō) at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee The city of Jehovah, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Is. 60:14 - ASV)
There is also the instance where Moses states that all the servants of Pharaoh will render proskuneō to him:
And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down (LXX – proskuneō) themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger. (Ex. 11:8 - ASV)
As well as the passage Rhology attempts to deflect:
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 (LXX - proskuneō) their heads, and worshipped Jehovah, and the king. (1 Chronicles 29:20 - ASV) [Rhology’s assertion that the above is “not in a religious context”, is just plain silly.]
So, in ending, that Jesus, the long awaited Messianic king, the eschatological “Son of Man”, the great Prince, et al. receives proskuneō should come as no surprise. However, to then deduce that this act denotes an act of worship directed to the one true God, is to jump to a conclusion that has little (any?) Biblical support. Without the regula fidei of the early Church, one is left with little ammunition to support Rhology’s claim that Jesus was worshipped in a full, liturgical sense.
Grace and peace,