A common argument used by those who believe in the deity of Messiah is that he is God because he was “worshiped”. They appeal to Exodus 34:14 in conjunction with several New Testament verses to establish their belief. Let’s examine the issue more closely.

Here is Exodus 34:14 followed by several verses showing Yeshua was “worshiped”.

  • Exodus 34:14 – “For thou shalt worship no other God: for YHWH, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”  

  • Matthew again, 2:11 ” And when they (the wise men) were come into the house, they saw the young child with Miriam His mother, and fell down and worshiped him; …”

  • Matthew 8:2 – ” And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, … ” 

  • Matthew 28:9 – “And they came and held him (Yeshua) by the feet and worshiped him.”

  • John 9:38 – “And he (the blind man) said, Lord, I believe. And he worshiped him (Yeshua).”

  • Hebrews 1:6 – And again, when He brings in the first begotten into the world, he said, ‘And let all the angels of God worship him. (Yeshua).’”

Exodus 34:14 totally refutes the belief that “Yeshua is God”. This verse says “YHWH” (Yahweh) is God, not “Yeshua”. That being the case, “Yeshua is God” proponents have no choice but to try and make Yeshua the “YHWH” of this verse. They are adding their own thoughts into this verse. They do so because they are making a major assumption, that is, that because Yeshua received worship and we are not to worship any other God, then he must be the God we are to worship. That sounds logical, however, it is erroneous.

Hebrews 1:6 reads, “And again, when he brings in the firstbegotten into the world, He says, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Who is commanding the angels to worship the Son? The Father, Yahweh, God. The Father is commanding the Son to be worshiped. Yeshua is not commanding himself to be worshiped. A totally separate being who brought the Son into existence is telling us to worship him now that he has come into the world through birth. Now here is something we really need to consider.

Revelation 3:9 – Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

This is being said by Yeshua to the believers comprising the Philadelphia church. The word “worship” in Greek is the same word for “worship” in all the verses above referring to Yeshua. (Matthew 2:11; 8:2; 28:9; etc.). In other words, when the time came for Yahweh’s Son to be born, Yahweh commanded him to be worshiped. A time will come in the future when Yeshua will command his followers to be worshiped as well. Now, should we consider these men to be “Gods” simply because they are worshiped? No. Neither should we consider the Son to be “God” simply because he was worshiped.

Yeshua and the believers in the Philadelphia church are not being worshiped as YHWH (God), but as YHWH’s representatives. They are being bowed down to and given honor as such. 

Much confusion concerning “worship” arises from the fact that the Hebrew and Greek words for translated “worship” were translated differently when the “worship” was directed toward men. 

The Hebrew word translated “worship” is Strong’s#7812 – “shachah” meaning; to depress, that is, prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God). Here are the various ways it was translated in the KJV; bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.

An example of “shachah” from one man to another is found in Genesis 23:7; 

And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.

In Gen 33:3, Jacob bowed down to Esau;

But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

What if “shachah” was translated “worship” here instead of “bowed down”? Would that make Esau “God”? Of course not. Neither does Yeshua receiving “worship” make him “God”.

The Greek word translated “worship” is “proskuneo” meaning; to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore). It is the same word used in Exodus 34:14 in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament).

In Revelation 22:8, John worshiped at the feet of an angel. 

And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.

Didn’t John know that he was not supposed to worship anyone except Yahweh (God)? Yes. Did he purposely disobey Yahweh by worshiping someone else? No. Did he mistakenly think that this angel was God? No. The fact is, he was not worshiping the angel as God, but as His representative.

We already saw the example of Revelation 3:9, but I will quote it here again.

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

Yeshua himself will command men to worship his followers. That does not make his followers “God”. They will be worshiped” or “bowed down to” as representatives of Yahweh and Yeshua.

Yeshua is deserving of our “worship” as we bow down to him, honor him, and adore him. However, it is Almighty Yahweh alone that we are to worship as the one true God.