Jesus is worshiped. Does that mean that He is God?


The Bible teaches that only God may be worshiped (Exo 34:14; Deut 8:19; Matt 4:10; Luke 4:8; Rev 14:7). Similarly, in Revelation, John twice fell down to worship an angel, and both times the angel prevented him, saying:

Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren … worship God” (Rev 19:10; cf. 22:9).

However, in Revelation 5, describing His enthronement after His ascension, the creatures in God’s throne room worship “the Lamb” (Jesus) together with “Him who sits on the throne” (the Father):

The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders
fell down before the Lamb
” (Rev 5:8).

Every created thing” worships “Him who sits on the throne, AND … the Lamb” (Rev 5:13-14).

Does this mean that the Son is God or equal to the Father? To respond to this question, this article discusses two aspects:

Does Revelation present Jesus as the Almighty God? Is Jesus the One who exists without a cause; the Ultimate Reality?

What is the difference between the English word “worship” and the word that is sometimes translated as “worship” (proskuneó).

The article also notes that Philippians 2 describes the same event as Revelation 5, namely, what happens in heaven when Jesus arrives after His ascension. It then interprets the worship in Revelation 5 accordingly.

The last section of this article is important. It explains why we must worship Jesus to the full extent of the meaning of that word, even knowing that He is subordinate to the Ultimate Reality.

A Very Important Question

The question above is very important. The emphasis in Revelation 13 and 14 is on worship. The word “worship” appears several times. People worship the dragon (Rev 13:4) and the beast (Rev 13:4, 8, 12) as well as the image of the beast (Rev 13:15). In the context of that end-time persecution, the only direct command God gives to His people is to “worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (Rev 14:7). The point is that the end-time crisis will be about who we worship.

Jesus and God

Revelation does not teach that Jesus is God. For example, the book begins with the following words:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave Him” (Rev 1:1).

Firstly, this phrase MAKES A DISTINCTION between Jesus and God, implying that Jesus is not God. If we read on, we will see that Revelation NEVER refers to Jesus as God but ALWAYS maintains a clear distinction between Jesus and God (e.g., Rev 1:2, 9; 5:9-10; 7:10, 17; 12:5; 12:10, 17; 14:4, 12; 20:4-5; 21:22; 22:1, 3). It reserves the title “God” for the Father ONLY.


Secondly, according to that phrase, Jesus received this revelation from God. This implies that He is SUBORDINATE to God. Revelation does refer to Christ as “the first and the last,” “the beginning and the end” and as “the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev 1:17; 22:12-13), implying that He has always existed. It also describes Him as “He who searches the minds and hearts” (Rev 2:23). Nevertheless, Revelation presents Christ as subordinate to His Father. This is also indicated by the following:

Revelation refers to the Father as Jesus’ God (Rev 1:6; 3:2, 12).

One of the frequent titles for the Father in Revelation is “Him who sits on the throne” (Rev 3:21; 4:2; 5:7; 5:13-14; 7:10; 12:5; 19:4). The Father, therefore, is the ultimate Ruler.

In defense against such indications that the Son is subordinate to the Father, some people make a distinction between different types of subordination. They say that Jesus is functionally (in terms of His role) subordinate to the Father but ontologically (in terms of His substance or being) equal to God. In other words, they say that Jesus is also the Almighty; the One who exists without a cause; the Ultimate Reality. In contrast, Revelation describes the Son also as ontologically subordinate to the Father:

The Almighty

Firstly, Revelation (and the entire New Testament) NEVER refers to Jesus as the Almighty but makes an explicit distinction between Jesus and the Almighty:

The Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev 21:22; cf. Rev 19:15).

Revelation identifies “God” as the “Almighty” (Rev 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6) and “God” refers to the Father ONLY. For further discussion, see – Is Jesus the Almighty?

Essential Immortality

Secondly, Jesus is “alive forevermore” (Rev 1:18) and “will reign forever” (Rev 11:15), but Revelation identifies the Father as “Him who lives forever and ever” (Rev 4:9-10; 15:7). As Paul stated, the Father “alone possesses immortality” (1 Tim 6:16). As the only begotten Son of God, Jesus derived His eternal existence and nature from the Father. The Father is the Unbegotten Source of all things. He, alone, has inherent (essential) immortality.


If the Father ALONE is the Almighty and has essentially immortal, then the Son is also ontologically subordinate to the Father. The Son, therefore, is not God (understood as the Ultimate Reality – the One who exits without cause), nor equal with God. For a more detailed discussion, see – Does the book of Revelation present Jesus as God Almighty?

Worship and Proskuneó

Then the question remains, if Jesus is not God, but subordinate to God, why is He worshiped? To explain this, consider the word “worship.”

No word in ancient Greek is fully equivalent to the modern English word “worship.” The word translated as “worship” in Revelation 5:13 is proskuneó and this word means “to do reverence to.” While the word “worship” generally implies that the one worshiped is a god, proskuneó is also used when people “do reverence to” an exalted person such as a king (Matt 18:26; Rev 3:7-9; Acts 10:25). Proskuneó merely means to show extreme respect to another being by bowing down.

When somebody proskuneó God or a god, “worship” is an appropriate translation. But when somebody proskuneó other beings, “bow down” or “do reverence” would be more appropriate translations. For example, in Revelation 3:9, Jesus said, “I will make them come and bow down at your feet.” “Bow down,” here, translates proskuneó.

In the New Testament, people proskuneó Jesus 13 times. In all instances, the KJV translates this as “worship” but in six instances, where it is clear from the context that Jesus was not worshiped, the NASB translates this as “bow down.” For example:

A leper came to Him and bowed down before Him” (Matt 8:2).

A synagogue official came and bowed down before Him” (Matt 9:18; cf. (Matt 15:25; 20:20; Mark 5:6; 5:9; 15:19).

For further discussion, see – If Jesus is not God, why must we worship Him?

The point is that when our Bibles translate proskuneó as “worship” when Jesus receives proskuneó, it is not because of anything in the word proskuneó itself; it is based on the view most translators have that Jesus is God. The same applies to the translation of proskuneó in Revelation 5:14. If the translators did not assume that Jesus is the Ultimate Reality, perhaps they would have translated proskuneó in that verse differently.

In conclusion, the translation of proskuneó in 5:14 as “worship” is an interpretation. It does not require Jesus to be God or equal with His Father.

Philippians 2

Revelation 5 describes what happens in heaven when Jesus arrives after His ascension. In particular, it describes His enthronement at His Father’s right hand. Philippians 2:6-11 describes that very same event and EXPLAINS WHY the Son is worshiped in Revelation 5. In that passage:

1) Jesus is worshiped by the entire creation (“every knee will bow”) because “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9-11). This makes a distinction between God and Jesus. It also means that we worship Jesus because God wants us to (cf. Heb 1:6).

2) He is worshiped “to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11); not independent from or co-equal with God. This relationship between the worship of the Father and the Son is also indicated by the statement: “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23). In other words, by honoring the Son, we honor the Father.

3) “Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord;” i.e., they do NOT confess Him as God.

This explains what we see in Revelation 5:13-14 where the entire universe praises “the Lamb” together with “Him who sits on the throne.” For a discussion, see the article on Philippians 2.

We must worship Jesus.

Therefore, we must “worship” Jesus:

    • God is the Creator, but He created and still maintains all things THROUGH His Son (John 1:3; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:2-3; 1 Cor 8:6).
    • God is the ultimate Ruler, but He GAVE all authority to His Son (Matt 28:18).
    • The Father is the Judge but He “has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). He gave the Son “authority to execute judgment” (John 5:27).
    • Just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:26).
    • In Christ “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col 2:9), because “it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him” (Col 1:19).
    • He is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15).
    • After His victory on earth, “God highly exalted Him … so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow” (Phil 2:9-10).
    • All will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (John 5:23).

The point is that God is the uncaused Cause of all things, but His Son is the Intermediary between God and the universe. The Son represents God. For that reason, to worship the Son, is to worship God. It does NOT mean that the Son is the Almighty Creator; equal with the Father.

Created beings simply cannot see God (1 Tim 1:17) because He exists outside the physical universe. However, inside this universe, His unique Son has “all authority” (Matt 28:18). In Christ, we can see the fullness of God. For these reasons, I maintain that we must worship Jesus to the full extent of the meaning of that word, even knowing that He is subordinate to the Ultimate Reality. He is worthy of all our adoration.

For further discussion, also see the articles on:

Other Articles

Why is Jesus called the “Word of God?”

Summary of the article

God exists beyond the time, space, and matter of the creation. For that reason, He cannot be seen and always interacts with the creation through Jesus Christ. Through Christ, God created all things, redeems sinners, resurrect believers, judge the world, and fulfills His promises. Through Christ, God reveals Himself, speaks to His creation, and rules the universe.

The WordThrough Christ, God provides everything that the creation needs and, through Christ, we draw near to God, and the adoration and thanksgiving of the creation flow back to God. Jesus Christ is “the Word of God” because He alone is the communication between God and His creation.




Jesus Christ is not just “the Word:” He is “the Word of God.”

God exists beyond the time, space, and matter of creation. For that reason, He cannot be seen. Most certainly, He is able to cause an appearance of Him to be visible to His creatures, but it remains only an appearance. God is omnipresent and can never be limited to one place in His universe. For example:

Jesus Christ “is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15).

“The King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God” (1 Tim 1:17);

No one has seen God at any time” (1 John 4:12)

“The King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim 6:15-16);

Therefore, in all respects, God interacts with His creation ONLY through His only begotten Son:

God created all things through Jesus Christ:

“All things came into being through Him
(John 1:2-3; cf. 1:10)

“There is but one God, the Father,
from whom are all things
and we exist for Him;
and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
by whom are all things,
and we exist through Him” (1 Cor 8:6).

“By (Gr. en = in) Him all things were created,
both in (Gr. en = in) the heavens and on earth …
all things have been created through Him” (Col 1:16).

“God … in these last days has spoken to us in His Son …
through whom also He made the world
(Heb 1:1-2; cf. 2:10).

God saves through Jesus Christ:

“God did … send the Son into the world … that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16)

He (Jesus) is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).

“God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus” (Acts 13:23).

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
being justified as a gift by
His grace through … Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:23-24).

“What the Law could not do … God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin” (Rom 8:3).

“God … gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).

“God … reconciled us to Himself through Christ” (2 Cor 5:18).

“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ …
has blessed us with every spiritual blessing … in Christ,
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world … He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:3-5).

“It was the Father’s good pleasure
through Him to reconcile all things to Himself”
(Col 1:19-20).

“God has … destined us … for obtaining salvation
through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:9).

“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ …
has caused us to be born again …
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3).

God has sent His only begotten Son into the world
so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9).

God did miracles through Jesus Christ:

Jesus walks on water“Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst” (Acts 2:22).

God resurrect believers through Jesus Christ:

“An hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:25-26).

God will judge through Jesus Christ:

“God … will judge the world … through a Man whom He has appointed” (Acts 17:30-31).

He gave Him authority to execute judgment,
because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:27).

“God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Rom 2:16).

We glorify God through Jesus Christ:

“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all” (Rom 1:8).

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25).

“To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ,
be the glory forever” (Rom 16:27).

“Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col 3:17).

“In all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11).

“To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory” (Jude 1:25).

Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11).

God fulfills His promises through Jesus Christ:

“For as many as are the promises of God,
in Him (the Son of God, Christ Jesus) they are yes”
(2 Cor 1:19-20).

Through Christ, we trust God:

“Such confidence we have through Christ toward God” (2 Cor 3:4).

God sends the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ:

“The Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly
through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4-6).

Having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear” (Acts 2:33).

We draw near to God through Christ:

“Jesus … is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him” (Heb 7:24-25).

“You also … are being built up … to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

God is revealed through Jesus Christ:

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

“He is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15).

“He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb 1:3).

God speaks through Jesus Christ:

“I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak” (John 12:49).

“God … in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb 1:2).

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place” (Rev 1:1).

God rules the universe through Jesus Christ:

“The God of our Lord Jesus Christ … raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” (Eph 1:17-21).

God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW” (Phil 2:9-10).


God always interacts with the creation through Jesus Christ. Through Christ, God provides everything that the creation needs and, through Christ, the adoration and thanksgiving of the creation flow back to God. This is the true circle of life. Jesus Christ is “the Word of God” because He alone is the communication between God and His creation:

There is one God,
and one mediator also between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus
” (1 Tim 2:5).

Is Jesus God?

There are many texts that identify “God” as our Savior (e.g., 1 Tim 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3). But there are also many texts that identify Jesus Christ as Savior (e.g., Eph 5:23; Phil 3:20; 2 Tim 1:20). This is one argument that Trinitarians use to say that Jesus is God. But when you look at verses that differentiate between the roles of God and of Jesus Christ in salvation, it is clear that Jesus Christ is the Means through which God saves as shown by many texts quoted above.

This same principle applies to creation. The Bible identifies both the Father and the Son as Creators but if one considers texts that differentiate between the roles of God and of Jesus Christ in creation, it is clear that Jesus Christ is the Means through whom God creates.

In other words, the Son is always presented as subordinate to the Father. In fact, while the Trinity doctrine teaches that Jesus is God and that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one single Being, the verses quoted above maintain a clear distinction between God and Jesus Christ. This the New Testament always does. See, Head of Christ.

I wonder why people are able to read the New Testament and come to a different conclusion. One reason is that the church has been brainwashed. Another is the extreme hostility that Christians experience when they reject the Trinity doctrine. They are often regarded as condemned. But I think another reason is simply that people are unable to conceptualize a being that is not God but is as exalted and as divine Jesus Christ is described. In this respect, I think that it is important that people better understand the Logos-Christology which the church adopted during the first 300 years of its existence, while it still was persecuted by the Roman Empire. I think that explains the evidence in the Bible of the relationship between God and His Son better than what the Trinity doctrine does. For a discussion of the Logos-Christology, see Hanson or The Real Issue

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