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

In Revelation 5:13, the whole creation praises both “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb.” The next verse continues: “And the elders fell down and worshiped” (Rev 5:14) but it does not say who they worshiped. Did they worship both the “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb,” as mentioned in the previous verse?

Summary

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

1) Other instances of Divine Worship

In Revelation, in addition to 5:13-14, there are five other instances of divine worship by heavenly beings and, in all five, the Father alone is worshiped. In four of those instances, “God” is worshiped (Rev 7:11; 11:16; 15:3-4; 19:4) and this article shows that Revelation NEVER refers to Jesus as God but consistently maintains a distinction between “God” and Jesus Christ. For example:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave Him” (Rev 1:1; cf. Rev 1:2, 9; 5:9; 7:10, 17; 12:5, 17; 14:4, 12; 20:4, 6; 21:22, 23; and 22:1, 3).

In the fifth instance, “Him who sits on the throne” is worshiped (Rev 4:10-11) and that title also always refers to the Father. 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; cf. Rev 5:13; 12:5; 6:16; 7:9-10).

In conclusion, in five instances of divine worship by heavenly beings, the Father alone is worshiped. The sixth instance, which is 5:14 and does not say who is worshiped, therefore, should also be understood as worship of the Father.

2) The Praise-Worship Pattern

In 5:13-14, both the Father and the Son are present and both are praised in 5:13. Then, in 5:14, the elders worship.

We find this pattern of praise followed by worship also in Revelation 7. In Revelation 7:9-11, both the Father and the Son are present (see Rev 6:16) and both are praised but only the Father is worshiped. This is significant. If we apply this pattern of praise followed by worship to Revelation 5:13, only the Father is worshiped there as well.

3) Worship the Creator

The message of the three angels, which will be proclaimed in the end-time, warns us to worship only the Creator (Rev 14:7) and Revelation identifies the Father as the Creator:

Firstly, that verse (14:7) commands us to both “fear God” and worship the Creator, implying that the Creator is “God.” And, as argued, in Revelation, “God” always refers to the Father.

Secondly, Revelation 4:10-11 identifies “Him who sits on the throne,” who is also called “God,” as the Creator. Both these descriptions always refer 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)

Further Conclusions

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, and never refers to the Son as God, this is an instruction to worship the Father alone.

– End of Summary –


Purpose

In Revelation 5:13, the whole creation praises both “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb.” The next verse continues: “And the elders fell down and worshiped” (Rev 5:14) but it does not say who they worshiped. Did they worship both the “Him who sits on the throne” and “the Lamb,” as mentioned in the previous verse? For the following reasons, the elders worshiped only “Him who sits on the throne,” namely, the Father:

1) Other instances of Worship

In Revelation, 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). In addition to 5:14, there are five other instances of true worship in heaven and, in all five, it is the Father alone that is worshiped (Rev 4:10-11; 7:11; 11:16; 15:3-4; 19:4).

The five instances are as follows:

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 the five instances, “God” is worshiped and, in Revelation, “God” is ALWAYS somebody other than Jesus Christ, namely, the Father. For example:

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

There are many other such verses that make an explicit distinction between God and Jesus. For example:

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).

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

For similar statements, see Revelation 1:2, 9; 7:17; 12:5, 17; 14:4, 12; 20:4, 6; 21:22, 23; and 22:1, 3. Revelation NEVER refers to Jesus as God.

In the fifth instance, “Him who sits on the throne” is worshiped. That title also always refers to the Father. For example, the following verses make a distinction between Jesus and Him who sits on the throne:

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).

In conclusion, there are 6 instances of divine worship by heavenly beings in Revelation. In five, the Father is worshiped. Therefore, the sixth, which is 5:14 and which does not say who is worshiped, should also be understood as worship of the Father.

Furthermore, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never explicitly worshiped in Revelation.

2) The Praise-Worship Pattern

In 5:13-14, both the Father and the Son are present and both are praised in 5:13. Then, in 5:14, the elders worship. We find this pattern of praise followed by worship also in Revelation 7 and 11. The only difference is that, in these two instances, it is explicitly the Father who is worshiped. To explain:

Revelation 7:9-11

These verses read:

9 I looked, and behold,
a great multitude which no one could count …
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. No mention of the Lamb being worshiped. If we apply this pattern of praise followed by worship to Revelation 5:13, only the Father is worshiped there as well.

In Revelation 4, the Father alone is worshiped. That can be explained as that the Son is not present in that chapter. 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, therefore, is significant that only the Father is worshiped.

Revelation 11:15-16

In these verses, we find a similar pattern. First, 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).

The phrase, “our Lord and of His Christ,” means that “Lord” in this verse refers to the Father. Therefore, both the Father and the Son are mentioned in 11:15. Then, in the next verse, “the twenty-four elders .. fell on their faces and worshiped God” (Rev 11:16). There is no mention of the worship of the Son.

3) Worship the Creator

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).

This commands us to worship the Creator. So, who is the Creator? 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 is the Creator:

Firstly, the first angel commands us to both “fear God” and worship the Creator. This implies that the Creator and God are one and the same Person and, as argued, in Revelation, “God” always refers to the Father, 

Secondly, in Revelation 4:

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‘.”

For the following reasons, this Person is the Father:

1) This person is identified as “Him who sits on the throne” and, in Revelation, this title 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) This person is also described as God and, as stated, in Revelation, only the Father is God.

3) The Son is not present in Revelation 4. 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 persecution of God’s people (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 that will be a conflict over worship. We should, therefore, regard the message of the three angels as very important.

4) Worship in the Temple.

The examples of divine worship above are instances where heavenly beings worship. There are also instances of divine worship in Revelation by humans:

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

In Revelation 15:3-4, they sang the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb, saying, “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, the title “God” identifies the Person who is worshiped as the Father. The second instance also identifies this Person as “the Almighty.Another article analyses all instances of this term and shows that this term is used for the Father in distinction from the Son. For example:

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

Further Conclusion

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 an instruction to worship the Father.


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