Date: Tue Jun 08 1999 - 12:57:46 EDT
Since Mitchell Gray asked the question about "obeisance" and Heb 1:6, I found
a specific article on the subject and am posting it for consideration.
CERTAIN translations of Hebrews 1:6 say: "Let all the angels of God worship
him [Jesus]." (King James Version; The Jerusalem Bible) The apostle Paul
evidently quoted the Septuagint, which says at Psalm 97:7: "Worship Him [God]
all ye His angels."-C. Thomson. (or, Deut. 32:43 in some Hebrew MSS)
The Greek word proskyneo, rendered "worship" at Hebrews 1:6, is used at
Psalm 97:7 in the Septuagint for a Hebrew term, shachah, meaning "to bow
down." This can be an acceptable act of respect for humans. (Genesis 23:7; 1
Samuel 24:8; 2 Kings 2:15) Or it can relate to worship of the true God or
that wrongly directed to false gods.-Exodus 23:24; 24:1; 34:14; Deuteronomy
Usually proskyneo given to Jesus corresponds with obeisance to kings and
others. (Compare Matthew 2:2, 8; 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 20:20 with 1 Samuel 25:23,
24; 2 Samuel 14:4-7; 1 Kings 1:16; 2 Kings 4:36, 37.) Often it is clear that
obeisance is rendered to Jesus not as God but as "God's Son" or the Messianic
"Son of man."-Matthew 14:32, 33; Luke 24:50-52; John 9:35, 38.
Hebrews 1:6 relates to Jesus' position under God. (Philippians 2:9-11) Here
some versions render proskyneo "pay . . . homage" (The New English Bible),
"do obeisance to" (New World Translation), or "bow before" (An American
Translation). If one prefers the rendering "worship," such worship is
relative, for Jesus told Satan: "It is Jehovah your God you must worship
[form of proskyneo], and it is to him alone you must render sacred
Though Psalm 97:7, which speaks about worshiping God, was applied to Christ
at Hebrews 1:6, Paul had shown in context that the resurrected Jesus is "the
reflection of [God's] glory and the exact representation of his very being."
(Hebrews 1:1-3) So any "worship" the angels give God's Son is relative and is
directed through him to Jehovah.
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