Yoḥanan/John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father also does seek such to worship Him. 24 “Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him need to worship in spirit and truth.”
In a message tonight called, ‘TRUE WORSHIP IDENTIFIED!’, I want us to be reminded of how we ought to be truly worshipping and serving our Elohim in every way… whether in word or deed, we are to be doing all in the Mighty Name of our Saviour, our Messiah – יהושע our Master! How is our ‘worship’ identified? How is our life of praise and worship identifiable against the many false acts and systems of worship in the world today? Well the answer is very simple – it is through our obedience to His Word, and our complete surrender to His instructions that we lovingly obey, while forsaking all falsehood and compromise, and throwing off all that entangles and hinders! While saying that we are certainly able to recognise that the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life, which is not of Elohim, are constantly battling for our attention and even our worship.
The Greek word used here in Yoḥanan/John 4 is προσκυνέω ‘proskuneō’ – G4352 means ‘to kneel down before as an act of reverence’ and is from two words – πρός ‘pros’ – H4314 ‘to, at, toward, unto’ and κυνέω ‘kuneō’ which means ‘to kiss’ and so ‘proskuneō’ means literally, to kiss toward someone, to throw a kiss in token of respect or homage. The idea or picture one gets is to kiss the hand as the word ‘kuneō’ is a probable derivative of κύων ‘kuōn’ which means ‘dog’, meaning ‘to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand’. This really struck me as we see the attempt that the enemy has done at gaining the worship of the masses – think about how so many are enslaved into having to bow before the ‘pope’s’ or any catholic priest’s extended hand and kiss (lick) the hand of their assumed ‘master’! Or how about the millions that ‘kiss’ the toe of the statue of ‘St. Peter’ which is in fact the pagan image of a pagan mighty one called Jupiter! We are to worship only One – and that is יהוה – not any man, woman, image or any other false mighty one! We are not to ‘kiss the hand’, so to speak, of another in subjection to enslavement – but we are to humble ourselves and show respect and reverence toward יהושע our Master – we are to worship Him Alone!
While this is very clear to us, we must also know that the enemy will certainly try to get all to worship him, and he does this by twisting the truth and mixing wormwood into the daily lives of so many that fall prey to a system of confusion, under the disguise of an assumed unity. Tonight I would like us to be reminded to stand steadfast in our obedience, and be reminded of 3 faithful men who refused to bow to the enemies system of mixing worship as a means to attain homage from man, so please turn with me to a very popular passage in Dani’ěl/Daniel 3 (Read).
Here we have recorded the events of 3 mighty brave men of Elohim in which true worship was certainly identified. 3 men who would not waver from the Truth, and who refused to compromise their worship of the One True Living Elohim, regardless of the physical consequences that they would have to face as a result of their bold confession of their faith.
These 3 men, commonly known to most as Shaḏraḵ, Mĕyshaḵ, and Aḇĕḏ-Neḡo, were 3 Yehuḏim that dared to defy the ruler of the world and dared to be different from the thousands living in Baḇel at the time.
They were among the men who were brought from Yehuḏah to be taught in the writings and speech of the Kasdim (Chaldeans). They were given new names by the chief of the eunuchs: שַׁדְרַךְ Shaḏraḵ – Strong’s H7715 means, ‘royal or great scribe’, and his original Hebrew name was חֲנַנְיָה Ḥananyah – Strong’s H2608 which means, ‘Yah has been gracious, Yah has favoured’; מֵישַׁךְ Mĕyshaḵ – Strong’s H4336 means, ‘guest of the king’, and his original Hebrew name was מִישָׁאֵל Misha’ĕl – Strong’s H4332 which means, ‘who is what El is’; עֲבֵד נְגוֹ Aḇĕḏ-Neḡo – Strong’s H5664 means, ‘servant of Nebo’, and his original Hebrew name was עֲזַרְיָה Azaryah – Strong’s H5838 which means, ‘Yah has helped’.
While the world changed the names of these three young men, they never strayed from their true identity and their identity was identified through their uncompromised worship of יהוה. There is much we can learn from this account, and be encouraged to stand firm in our bold confession of our faith, amidst a wicked and crooked generation.
This account, in many ways, is a great prophetic shadow picture of some events that will take place in the last days; and what we take clear note of in this whole account contained in this chapter, is that Dani’ěl is nowhere to be found. It could have been that he was away on official business for the king, and while he was gone the king took advantage of his absence to erect a wicked idol.
What many do not realise here, is that there is at least a 20 year interval between chapter 2 and chapter 3; and while at the end of chapter 2 we see how these 3 mighty men were set over the work of the province, while Dani’ěl was ‘in the gate’ of the sovereign. Dani’ĕl – דָּנִיֵּאל Strong’s H1840 means, ‘my El is judge, El is my judge’, and with him not being seen here in this chapter, is a clear shadow picture of a time when our El, our True Judge, is not physically in our midst, yet that does not mean that we are to do what is right in our own eyes, or get led astray by falsehood and vain traditions and dogmas of man, but rather we ought to hold fast to the clear instructions of our Mighty Elohim and Saviour – יהוה of Hosts!
In Chapter 2 Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar acknowledged that the Ělah of Dani’ěl was truly the Ělah of all and Master of kings, yet it did not take long for him to set up a system of worship unto himself, and here in chapter 3 Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar set up an image of gold. We are not told what the image was, and while some may say that it was an image of himself, it is more likely to have been a very big obelisk that was used as a sun-worship symbol. The height of the image was 60 cubits and its width 6 cubits, which is approximately 30m in height and 3m in width – and it was all gold!!! Perhaps he tried to make a huge monument of all gold in response to the dream that Dani’ěl had interpreted and so wanted to ensure that his reign (as pictured by gold) would stand forever. He set up this image in דּוּרָא Dura – Strong’s H1757 which is an Aramaic word that means, ‘dwelling’, which comes from the Aramaic word דּוּר dur – Strong’s H1753 which means, ‘to dwell’ and corresponds to the Hebrew word דּוּר dur – Strong’s H1754 meaning, ‘a circle, ball’, and understanding this helps us to gain further insight as to what this wicked king was setting up – it was something that could be seen from many angles, and the dimensions given in multiples of 6 strongly suggest a very large clock or sundial, that would cover a full 360 degree circle, seen by all. בָּבֶל Baḇel – Strong’s H894, which was the name of the site of where this image was set up, comes from the verb בָּלַל balal – Strong’s H1101 meaning, ‘to mingle, mix, confuse, confound’ and so בָּבֶל Baḇel can best be understood as meaning, ‘confusion (by mixing)’. Confusion certainly does arise when the True and pure Word is mixed with man-made doctrines, dogmas, theologies and traditions that aspire to build for themselves a ‘tower’ of self-identification!
The numbering here of 60 and 6, was based on the Baḇelonian numerical system which was based on 6 and not 10, and also points toward the ability of calculating the number of the beast, for it is the number of man, which is 666 (Ḥazon/Revelation 13:18).
This enormous image of an institutionalised sun-worship system that was set up here, teaches us how easy false sun-worship is set up and established as a form of worship among those who ‘dwell in the confusing by mixing’; and by that I mean that those who refuse to come out of the man-made doctrines of twisted lies and falsehood find themselves worshipping the image of worship that they have constructed through vain traditions, and are unable to clearly recognise the confusion that has been masked as a false unity. Those who are unable to distinguish between the clean and the unclean and between the set-apart and the profane are sadly being blinded and deafened to the clear call to come out of her – that is the harlot mother whore of false worship! Sadly this is even more evidenced by how so many are gripped by a false prosperity ‘gospel’ that has people fixing their eyes on the ‘image of gold’ so to speak, and are blinded to the Truth!
This huge image of gold, which must have certainly been something to look at, was possibly an attempt at trying to ‘rebuild’ the tower of Baḇel, or rather the system that is represents. Baḇel in Scripture represents that form of worship that contends for position against the Most High, just as when Nimrod was ‘in the face’ of Elohim and sought to build his own empire and world religion. Baḇelon stands for our rebellion against יהוה and our substitutes for what יהוה gives us. In Berěshith/Genesis 11 we see Baḇel in its rebellion against יהוה; a human attempt at worldwide unity, both politically and religiously. This is what Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar wanted to accomplish with his image; he wanted to unify his kingdom under one government and one religion – the worship of his image. But the whole scheme was man-centred and had no room for יהוה at all, and it centred around gold. This whole Baḇelonian system is Satan’s counterfeit, opposing יהוה’s truth and capturing the hearts, minds and bodies of people, through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar called for a dedication to his image, and this is the word חֲנֻכָּה ḥanukkah – Strong’s 2597 which is Aramaic that corresponds to the word חֲנֻכָּה ḥanukkah – Strong’s H2598 both meaning, ‘dedication, consecration’; and these two words are collectively used 12 times in Scripture. Twice it is used here in this wicked kings call for dedicating his wicked image, and 8 times it is used in Scripture – 5 times in direct reference to the offerings of dedication, consecration brought for the slaughter place, twice for the dedication of the walls of Yerushalayim done with great joy and once as a title of a Psalm at the dedication of the House of Dawiḏ. Why I am sharing this is to simply show exactly what the enemy is continually calling for – he wants your dedication to him, where we are clearly called to live our lives set-apart unto יהוה alone.
This image that was being set up was a clear message of change, or rather an attempt at change! Here we once again have a clear prophetic picture of how the enemy attempts to change the times of יהוה. With this huge gold image in place, a decree was given that whenever the sound of instruments be heard, that the people should fall down and do obeisance to the gold image. Think about this for a moment – when you hear the ‘sound’ you were to bow down – here Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar was setting up a clear scheduled timing for worship to his image, which would have been done at specific times based on the shadow of the sun given off this huge gold image! Today we still hear the sound of church bells calling Christians to bow down; and we also hear the chanting of the imams calling for Muslims to fall down and worship according to their Islamic laws. As a clear result of this root of false worship, we understand how the modern calendar times were constructed as a means to get people to bow to the counterfeits times and seasons.
As we consider this, we clearly recognise why the call יהוה has given to ‘Come out her My people’ is vital to hear, for so many are following attempted changes in times and laws, while יהוה’s times and laws do not change! These 3 brave men refused to buckle under the counterfeits call to bow in false worship. And clearly these men knew the Torah and held fast to the Truth!
In this chapter we see the word ‘obeisance’ used 11 times, which is translated from the Aramaic word סְגִד segiḏ – Strong’s H5457 which means, ‘worship, do homage’ and corresponds to the Hebrew root word סָגַד sagaḏ – Strong’s H5456 meaning, ‘to prostrate oneself in worship, bow down, fall down’. The Aramaic word is used here in Dani’ěl 12 times, 11 in this chapter 3 and once in chapter 2 when Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar bowed down to Dani’ěl, and the Hebrew word is only used 4 times in Yeshayahu/Isaiah 44:15,17,19 and 46:6 – all with the clear reference to the falling down and worship of idols and the work of man’s hands. This worship that was being called for here by this wicked king was not true worship, that true worshippers are called to do, or are identified by.
The Hebrew word used 172 times for worship and obeisance as we would understand it in its proper sense, is the word שָׁחָה ‘shaḥah’ – H7812 and it means, ‘to bow down, to prostrate oneself before another, to humbly beseech, to do or show reverence, and to do or show obeisance’. Obeisance means ‘a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission as well as to acknowledge the superiority of another’.
This word is also translated as ‘worship’ on many occasions and reflects the true nature of our life of worship, which is in total submission to our Master and King, as we humbly bow our lives before Him in reverence and respect, acknowledging His authority in every way, as we walk in total obedience to His Torah/Word.
What this chapter in Dani’ěl 3 is clearly teaching us is that there is a call, a very tempting call, to a corrupt worship and false obeisance, that may satisfy the flesh, yet kills the spirit! We are called to walk according to the Spirit and we worship the Father in spirit and truth, not in traditions and lies of corrupted systems of man-made worship!
שָׁחָה ‘shaḥah’ expresses the external evidence of an inner acknowledgment of the authority and person under whom we lovingly submit and obey. As I mentioned at the beginning, the Greek word for obeisance, προσκυνέω ‘proskuneō’ is the only Greek word that is used in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of Tanak), and therefore we need to understand and look at the Hebrew origins of our faith and its language to fully understand and know how to discern between true and false worship. For far too long, the westernised Christian culture has tried to look at the Scriptures from a Greek mind-set and in the process have lost the fuller meaning of the Living Word and as a result are unable to hear the call to COME OUT OF HER – to come out of the ‘confusion by mixing’, and worship as the Word so directs us to!
Baḇel represents for us a false system of worship that falsely promotes an assumed entrance to life and an everlasting covenant with Elohim, yet its twisted lies and traditions lead only to destruction and death.
If we do not meditate day and night on the Torah and guard to do all יהוה commands us to do, we will not be a faithful priesthood that we are called to be, but rather a corrupt priesthood poisoned by wormwood and lies, and like these 3 mighty men, we too need to stand firm in our belief and not compromise for anything, lest we share in the sins of the lawless that surround us:
Ḥazon/Revelation 18:4-5 “And I heard another voice from the heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 “Because her sins have piled up to reach the heaven, and Elohim has remembered her unrighteousnesses.”
Ḥananyah, Misha’ĕl, and Azaryah would not bow to falsehood and lies, they would not change the times and laws of Elohim, and we too need to recognise how we are called to stand firm and walk in the true Times (Appointed Times) and laws of Elohim, no matter how many are following the world’s inherited ways of confused delusion!
Here was the clear choice – bow down to falsehood and lies, or remain bowed in pure worship to the True Living Elohim – to not go with the enemy would cost their life, and they were prepared to die for the sake of the Truth! The wicked king got angry and he heated the fire up 7 times hotter than usual and throw these faithful servants of יהוה into the fire! The fire was so hot that it killed the men who took up Ḥananyah, Misha’ĕl, and Azaryah, and these three then fell down, having been bound into this flaming fire. And then Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar is shocked when he sees that these men who were bound, were walking around in the fire, and they were not alone – a 4th was with them – יהושע Messiah set these men free from death and destruction and preserved their lives from out of the midst of fire!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I am with you; and through rivers, they do not overflow you. When you walk through fire, you are not scorched, and a flame does not burn you.”
These men may have certainly been reminded of these words in Yeshayahu and by faith they witnessed the practical truth of the sure promises of יהוה; and they came out of the fire without harm! The hair on their head was not singed – which is a great prophetic sign of their covering under Messiah still being firm and established and their garments were not changed, for they continued to stand in righteousness; and the smell of fire was not on them – for they were the fragrance of life, a true living sacrifice!
When we stand up for the truth we must recognise that it will not come without some fiery trials and persecutions – expect them:
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved ones, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that is coming upon you, to try you, as though some unusual matter has befallen you, 13 but as you share Messiah’s sufferings, rejoice, in order that you might rejoice exultingly at the revelation of His esteem.”
Pilipiyim/Philippians 1:29 “Because to you it has been given as a favour, on behalf of Messiah, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake”
Yoḥanan/John 15:18-20 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, for that reason the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they shall persecute you too. If they have guarded My Word, they would guard yours too.”
Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar had no choice but to acknowledge the authority of the Elohim of Ḥananyah, Misha’ĕl, and Azaryah (Shaḏraḵ, Mĕyshaḵ, and Aḇĕḏ-Neḡo), and they received a promotion:
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 5:10 “And the Elohim of all favour, who called you to His everlasting esteem by Messiah יהושע, after you have suffered a while, Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
One thing is sure about these 3 men – they did not waver in their belief and they were willing to burn rather than turn from worshipping the Father in Spirit and Truth, and so too must we be reminded to stand steadfast in not giving in to even the smallest compromise – and especially not giving in to any possibility of neglecting to worship יהוה on His Appointed Times – guarding His Sabbaths and His Feasts completely. Do not let confusion set in, by the temptation to mix worship for what seems to be ‘peace’, when neglecting His commands brings no peace at all!!!
These three men were identified in their worship – how about you?
True worship identified – is it or is it not identified in you? Who do you show obeisance to, and to whom has your life been dedicated? May it be to our One True Elohim – Elohim and Messiah – יהוה of Hosts!!!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!