Are both the Father and the Son worshipped in Revelation 5:14?

PURPOSE

In Revelation 5:13, the whole creation praises both “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb.” In Revelation, “Him who sits on the throne” always refers to the Father (Rev 5:6-7; 5:13; 12:5; 6:16; 7:9-10). And the Lamb is Jesus Christ (e.g., Rev 5:8-9)

The next verse continues:

“And the elders fell down and worshiped” (Rev 5:14).

However, it does not say WHO they worshiped. The purpose of this article is to determine whether they worship both the “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb.”

SUMMARY

This article argues as follows that the elders worship only “Him who sits on the throne,” namely, the Father:

1) In all other instances of heavenly worship, the Father alone is worshiped.

In Revelation, in addition to 5:14, there are five other instances of true worship in heaven and, in all five, the Father alone is worshiped:

In four, “God” is worshiped and, in Revelation “God” always refers to the Father; never to Jesus.

In the fifth, “Him who sits on the throne” is worshiped (Rev 4:10-11) and Revelation uses that title for the Father alone.

We should assume, therefore, that 5:14, which does not say who is worshiped, describes worship of the Father alone.

2) In other instances of praise followed by worship, both are praised but the Father alone is worshiped.

In 5:13-14, both the Father and the Son are present and both are praised. Then the elders worship but it does not say who.

We find the same praise-worship pattern in Revelation 7:9-11 and in 11:15-16. In these instances:

(a) both the Father and the Son are present and
(b) both are praised but
(c) the Father alone is worshiped.

If we apply this praise-worship pattern to Revelation 5:13-14, only the Father is worshiped there as well.

3) We must worship the Creator, who is the Father.

In the end-time, the three angels will warn the world to worship the Creator alone (Rev 14:7) and they identify the Creator as “God,” who is the Father alone.

Revelation 4:10-11 identifies the Creator as “Him who sits on the throne” and as “God.” Both these titles always refer to the Father alone.

 – End of Summary –


WORSHIP IN REVELATION

In heaven, the Father alone is worshiped.

In Revelation, in addition to 5:14, there are five other instances of true worship in heaven. in all five, the Father alone is worshiped (Rev 4:10-11; 7:11; 11:16; 15:3-4; 19:4). 1There are many instances where people on earth worship false gods, for example, “worship demons” (Rev 9:20) or “worshiped the dragon” (Rev 13:4). The five instances are:

“The twenty-four elders will fall down
before Him who sits on the throne,
and will worship Him …
for You created all things” (Rev 4:10-11).

“All the angels …
fell on their faces before the throne
and worshiped God” (Rev 7:11).

“The twenty-four elders …
fell on their faces and worshiped God” (Rev 11:16).

“O Lord God, the Almighty …
all the nations will come and worship before you” (Rev 15:3-4).

“The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne” (Rev 19:4).

In four of these, “God” is worshiped and Revelation NEVER refers to Jesus as God. Revelation always maintains a distinction between “God” and Jesus Christ and refers to the Father alone as “God.” For example:

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

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb” (Rev 7:10).

“You (the Lamb – Jesus) were slain,
and purchased for God with Your blood
men from every tribe …” (Rev 5:9; cf. Rev 21:22; 1:2, 9; 7:17; 12:5, 17; 14:4, 12; 20:4, 6; 21:22, 23; and 22:1, 3). See – Does the book of Revelation present Jesus as God Almighty?

In the fifth instance, “Him who sits on the throne” is worshiped (Rev 4:10-11) and Revelation uses that title for the Father alone. For example:

The Lamb” (Jesus) “came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne” (Rev 5:6-7).

“Every created thing … I heard saying,
To Him who sits on the throne,
AND to the Lamb” (Rev 5:13; cf. Rev 12:5; 6:16; 7:9-10).

Since, in the other five instances, the Father alone is worshiped, we should assume that 5:14, which does not say who is worshiped, describes the worship of the Father. Revelation never directly says that the Son and the Holy Spirit are worshiped.

Both are praised but One is worshiped.

In 5:13-14, both the Father and the Son are present and both are praised. Then the elders worship but we do not know who.

We find this praise-worship pattern also in Revelation 7 and 11. The difference is that, in these two instances, it is explicitly the Father who is worshiped:

Revelation 7:9-11

These verses read:

9 … a great multitude …
10 … cry out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

11 and all the angels … fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God.”

The great multitude praises both “God who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb.” Here, the One sitting on the throne (the Father) is explicitly identified as “God.” In the next verse, “God” is worshiped. The absence of Jesus from this worship is striking. If we apply this praise-worship pattern to Revelation 5:13, only the Father is also worshiped there.

In Revelation 4, the Father alone is worshiped. One may argue that the Son is not present in that chapter because He only enters the throne room in Revelation 5:6. In contrast, in Revelation 7, both the Father and the Son are present (see Rev 6:16). It is, therefore, important that the Father alone is worshiped.

Revelation 11:15-16

In these verses, we find a similar pattern. In verse 15, “loud voices in heaven” say:

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom
of our Lord and of His Christ;
and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev 11:15).

Here, “Lord” refers to the Father. This verse, therefore, mention both the Father and the Son. In the next verse, “the twenty-four elders .. fell on their faces and worshiped God” (Rev 11:16). The absence of Jesus in this worship is again significant.

We must worship the Creator, who is the Father.

Another place where we are told WHO to worship is in the message of the three angels (Rev 14:6-12). The first angel commands:

Fear God, and give Him glory …
worship Him who made the heaven and
the earth and sea and springs of waters” (Rev 14:7).

So, we must worship the Creator, but who is He? In the New Testament, we read that God created all things “through” His Son (e.g., Heb 1:1-2). Is Jesus the Creator? For the following reasons, in Revelation, the Father alone is the Creator:

Firstly, the first angel commands us to worship “God” and, as argued, in Revelation, “God” always refers to the Father, 

Secondly, in Revelation 4:10-11:

“The twenty-four elders will fall down
before Him who sits on the throne … saying,
‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God … 
for You created all things,
and because of Your will they existed, and were created’.”

The Creator here is the Father because:

1) The Creator is “Him who sits on the throne” and, in Revelation, that always refers to the Father in distinction from the Son. For example:

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Rev 7:10; 5:13; 6:17; 4:9-10; 19:4).

2) The Creator is identified as God and, as stated, in Revelation, only the Father is God.

3) The Son is not present in Revelation 4. As said, He only enters the throne room in Revelation 5:6.

The three angels, therefore, command us to worship the Father. Their message will be proclaimed to the world with a mighty voice during the end-time crisis (Rev 13:16-17). The many times that the word “worship” appears in that context (Rev 13:4, 8, 12, 15, 14:7, 9, 11) means that the end-time conflict will be over who to worship. The message of the three angels, therefore, is very important.

God’s people worship the Father alone.

In Revelation, there are also instances where humans worship, but they always worship the Father; never the Son:

Revelation 11:1 refers to people who worship in “the temple of God.”

In Revelation 15:3-4, they say: “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty … You alone are holy; For all the nations will come and worship before you.”

In both instances, “God” is worshiped, and “God” always refer to the Father.

The second instance also identifies the Person worshiped as “the Almighty.” Another article analyses all instances of this term and shows that this term is used for the Father alone. For example:

“The Lord God the Almighty
and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev 21:22)

John was told to worship “God.”

Twice John attempts to worship the angel and in both instances, he is instructed to “worship God” (Rev 19:10; 22:9). Since Revelation always refers to the Father alone as “God” – never to the Son, this is also an instruction to worship the Father.


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FOOTNOTES

  • 1
    There are many instances where people on earth worship false gods, for example, “worship demons” (Rev 9:20) or “worshiped the dragon” (Rev 13:4).

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