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What Is True Worship?

In the book of John, Yahusha makes an interesting statement about worshiping Yahuah. He says, But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in ruach and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. Alahiym is that Ruach: and they that worship him must worship him in Ruach and in truth.  YOCHANON (JOHN) 4:23-24 את CEPHER

Who are true worshipers and what is true worship?

According to the Scriptures's definition of worship, it is more than just praising Yahuah. In fact, while praising Yahuah is a form of worship, it is only a small part of a larger concept.

We will discuss the various parts of true worship, followed by a concluding definition of what true worship really is.

True Worship and Sacrifice

In the Old Testament, sacrifice is described as a form of worship. However, what exactly is sacrifice? The reason why burnt animal sacrifices were offered to Yahuah, is because sacrificing something was viewed as equivalent to giving it to Yahuah.

This is why Paul describes Followers of the way as living sacrifices, saying, I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Alahiym, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Alahiym, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of Alahiym.  ROMAIYM (ROMANS) 12:1-2 אתCEPHER

And what does it mean to be a living sacrifice? Paul speaks of "spiritual service" and being "transformed," as well as doing the "will of Alahiym."

Being a living sacrifice means giving ourselves to Yahuah and living for him, rather than ourselves. Essentially, it means obeying Yahuah's will.

And in fact, Samuel confirmed this idea in the Old Testament. And Shemu'el said, Has Yahuah as great delight in ascending smoke offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahuah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  SHEMU'EL RI'SHON (1 SAMUEL) 15:22 אתCEPHER

As Samuel explains, obedience is better than sacrifice. And in reality, as Paul explains, obedience is becoming a living sacrifice by giving ourselves to Yahuah.

This reveals that there is a connection between true worship and obedience to Yahuah. Becoming a living sacrifice is our "spiritual service" and is our true worship.

This means that obedience is true worship, as we will continue to reveal from the Scriptures.

Worship and Service

In the Old Testament, the people of Yahuah were instructed to serve (obey) Yahuah, as opposed to worshiping false alahiym. Now therefore fear Yahuah, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the alahiym which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Mitsrayim; and serve ye Yahuah.  YAHUSHA (JOSHUA) 24:14 את CEPHER

The following verse highlights this connection between service and worship:

And it shall be, if you do at all forget Yahuah Alahayka, and walk after other alahiym, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 8:19 את CEPHER

In this verse, "walking after", serving, and worshiping are all communicating one overall concept: obedience. To say it more simply, "If you obey other alahiym, you shall surely perish."

Similarly, Yahusha says, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  MATTITHYAHU (MATTHEW) 16:24 אתCEPHER Again, denying self, taking up the cross, and following Yahusha all basically mean the same thing: obedience to Yahuah.

Following Yahusha means taking up the cross, which means denying ourselves in favor of Yahuah's will. And this is exactly what Yahusha did: He denied himself and obeyed Yahuah, even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8).

Additional verses that show this concept of worship and service include:

But if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other alahiym, and serve them;  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 30:17 את CEPHER

Guard yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other alahiym, and worship them;  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 11:16 אתCEPHER

And lest you lift up your eyes unto the heavens, and when you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, should be driven to worship them, and serve them, which Yahuah Alahayka has divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 4:19 אתCEPHER

Worshiping False alahiym

Yahuah says, I am Yahuah Alahayka, which have brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other alahiym before me. You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  SHEMOTH (EXODUS) 20:2-4 את CEPHER

What does it really mean to worship a false alahiym, and why does our Alahiym Yahuah have a problem with it?

As we have revealed from the Scriptures, worship is defined by our obedience to that Alahiym, which is similar to bowing to a king in subjugation to their will. When we worship a false alahiym, we are subjugating our will to theirs. Likewise, when we obey the true Alahiym, we are worshiping him.

Likewise, disobedience to Yahuah is connected to serving false alahiym. …whose heart turns away this day from Yahuah Alahaynu, to go and serve the alahai of these nations…   DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 29:18 את CEPHER

So part of the reason why "worshiping" or "following" other alahiym is a problem is because the expectations of the false alahiym opposed the expectations of the Alahiym. Meaning, obedience to the false alahiym meant the people were disobeying the true Alahiym.

Yahusha confirms this when he explains, No man can serve two above all: for either he will hate the one, and את love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.   MATTITHYAHU (MATTHEW) 6:24 את CEPHER

While Yahusha is speaking about money in this particular verse, the overall concept still applies.

Consider the example of the worshipers of Baal, who cut themselves as an act of worship. Referring to the worshipers of Baal, it says, And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.  MELEKIYM RI'SHON (1 KINGS) 18:28 את CEPHER

Why would they cut themselves?

Because they believed it was required of their alahiym. Essentially, they cut themselves because they were choosing to obey and serve their alahiym, being under the delusion that this was pleasing to their alahiym.

Likewise, to follow false alahiym is equated to rebelling against the true Alahiym. In 1 Samuel 12, all these concepts are interconnected. The fear of Yahuah, service, and obedience all are being used to communicate one overall concept: If ye will fear Yahuah, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of Yahuah, then shall both ye and also the king that reigns over you continue following Yahuah Alahaykem: But if ye will not obey the voice of Yahuah, but rebel against the commandment of Yahuah, then shall the hand of Yahuah be against you, as it was against your fathers.  SHEMU'EL RI'SHON (1 SAMUEL) 12:14-15 את CEPHER

Again, worship is service to a alahiym, which means obeying that alahiym. True worship of the true Alahiym is service and obedience to his will. While "praising" Yahuah amongst the called out assembly (or even on a daily basis) is a part of this obedience, it is nothing compared to Alahiym’s desire for us to not sin.

Just as Samuel said in 1 Samuel 15:22 that sacrifices and burnt offerings were nothing compared to obeying Yahuah's will, likewise praising Yahuah is worthless without living a righteous life. (Keep in mind that burnt offerings were a part of Yahuah's will, yet Samuel says to obey is better.)

And Shemu'el said, Has Yahuah as great delight in ascending smoke offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahuah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  SHEMU'EL RI'SHON (1 SAMUEL) 15:22 את CEPHER

Yahusha makes a similar statement to the Pharisees, saying, Woe unto you, scribes and Parashiym, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted את the weightier matters of the Torah: Judgment, Mercy, and Faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave את the other undone.  MATTITHYAHU (MATTHEW) 23:23 את CEPHER

True Worship and Fear of Yahuah

There are a lot of verses that speak of the topics of praising, worshiping, obeying, serving, and fearing Yahuah because these topics are all one overall concept in the Scriptures. And yes, the fear of Yahuah is also a part of this overall concept of true worship:

And Yahuah commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Yahuah Alahaynu, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 6:24 את CEPHER

For great is Yahuah, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all alahiym. For all the alahai of the people are idols: but Yahuah made the heavens.  DIVREI HAYAMIYM RI'SHON (1 CHRONICLES) 16:25-26 את CEPHER

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Alahiym, and guard his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  QOHELETH (ECCLESIASTES) 12:13 את CEPHER

The fear of Yahuah tends to life: and he that has it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.  MISHLEI (PROVERBS) 19:23 את CEPHER

And the covenant that I have cut with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other alahiym. But Yahuah Alahaykem ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.  MELEKIYM SHENIY (2 KINGS) 17:38-39 את CEPHER

Consider the fact that all of these verses would still communicate the same concept if we replaced the word "fear" with "worship." Try it out above.

The only reason why this works is because both the words "worship" and "fear" of Yahuah are a part of the same general idea in the Scriptures.

Additional verses that reveal the connection between fear of Yahuah and worship/service include:

Fear Alahiym, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.  CHIZAYON (REVELATION) 14:7 את CEPHER

You shall fear Yahuah Alahayka; him shall you serve, and to him shall you cleave, and swear by his name.  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 10:20 את CEPHER

Fear of Yahuah and Salvation

The Scriptures also reveals a strong connection to fearing Yahuah and salvation.

Yahusha says, But I will forewarn you whom את ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he has killed has power to cast into Gey Hinnom; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.  LUQAS (LUKE) 12:5 את CEPHER

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, and strength of yeshu`ah: the fear of Yahuah is his treasure.  YESHA'YAHU (ISAIAH) 33:6 אתCEPHER

The fear of Yahuah tends to life: and he that has it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.  MISHLEI (PROVERBS) 19:23 את CEPHER

Why does this matter? Because just as true worship is actually obedience to Yahuah, by not sinning, there is also a connection between obedience to Yahuah and salvation. As we will see, all these concepts are connected.

Fear of Yahuah and Obedience

How is the fear of Yahuah and obedience connected? Moses tells us, saying, Fear not: for Alahiym is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.  SHEMOTH (EXODUS) 20:20 את CEPHER

Furthermore, the Scriptures says, Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and your stranger that is within your gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear Yahuah Alahaykem, and guard to do all the words of this Torah:  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 31:12 את CEPHER

Fearing Yahuah is a primary motivation for obeying him, because disobeying the creator of life means death – this is consequential. Death is a natural consequence. Death is not just Yahuah being mean; rather, sin opposes his very existence, making it impossible to be in his presence.

To be sinful in Yahuah's presence results in death because he is holy, and likewise being completely separated from Yahuah's presence is death, because he is the source of life.

Death is a natural consequence to sin, which is why sinners cannot and will not inherit the kingdom of Yahuah. Paul says, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of Alahiym? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sodomiym, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of Alahiym.  QORINTIYM RI'SHON (1 CORINTHIANS) 6:9-10 את CEPHER

The fear of Yahuah is essential to salvation, because those who do not fear Yahuah will not respect Yahuah. Anyone who understands the full weight of the consequences of our disobedience will naturally fear Yahuah. Sanctify Yahuah Tseva'oth himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  YESHA'YAHU (ISAIAH) 8:13 את CEPHER

Yes, as Isaiah says (who met and spoke with Yahuah), "he is the one you are to dread" because Yahuah holds our lives in his hands, and he has told us the consequences of our decisions. Yahusha says, He that has an ear, let him hear את what the Ruach says unto the called out assemblies; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.  CHIZAYON (REVELATION) 2:11 אתCEPHER

Yahusha bluntly explains that those who truly repent will not die eternally.

Additional verses that discusses the Fear of Yahuah and salvation include:

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of Yahuah, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.  IYOV (JOB) 28:28 את CEPHER

Then Kepha opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that Alahiym is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.  MA'ASIYM (ACTS) 10:34-35 את CEPHER

I call the heavens and the earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 30:19 את CEPHER

Fear of Yahuah, Obedience, and Love

While it may seem contradictory to some people, the ideas of fearing Yahuah, obeying Yahuah, and "loving Yahuah" all go together.

Moses states this connection, saying, And now, Yashar'el, what does Yahuah Alahayka require of you, but to fear Yahuah Alahayka, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Yahuah Alahayka with all your heart and with all your soul, To guard the commandments of Yahuah, and his statutes, which I command you this day for your good?  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 10:12-13 את CEPHER

Also, Yahusha says, If ye love me, guard my commandments.  YOCHANON (JOHN) 14:15 את CEPHER

Furthermore, just as we are told to fear Yahuah, we are also told to love him absolutely with our entire being.

And you shall love את Yahuah Alahayka with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 6:5 את CEPHER

If you shall hearken unto the voice of Yahuah Alahayka, to guard his commandments and his statutes which are written in this Cepher of the Torah, and if you turn unto AL-Yahuah Alahayka with all your heart, and with all your soul.  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 30:10 את CEPHER

Similarly, just as it is our duty to fear Yahuah and keep his commandments, it is also required of us to be righteous, love mercy, and walk in humility with Yahuah:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Alahiym, and guard his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  QOHELETH (ECCLESIASTES) 12:13 את CEPHER

He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what Yahuah requires of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your Alahiym?  MIYKAH (MICAH) 6:8 את CEPHER

However, the connection between fearing Yahuah , obedience, and love does not stop at us loving Yahuah. It also includes our love for others and Yahuah's love for us.

The following verse is an instruction to love our neighbors, with the fear of Yahuah being our motivation. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but you shall fear your Alahiym: for I am Yahuah Alahaykem.  VAYIQRA (LEVITICUS) 25:17 את CEPHER

And the fear of Yahuah and obedience are also connected to Yahuah's love for us. Yahuah expresses the desire for us to obey him, so that he can be with us. O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and guard all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 5:29 את CEPHER

Yahuah wants to be with us, but he will not force us to be with him. If we choose to disobey him, it is equivalent to choosing not to be with Yahuah. By sinning, we are runaways, with the ultimate destination of eternal death. By sinning, we choose to not be with Yahuah, instead choosing to please our own selfish evil desires (James 1:13-15).

Obeying Yahuah is also connected to loving Yahuah in the following verse: And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love Yahuah Alahaykem, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 11:13 את CEPHER

Obedience and Salvation: The Connection to True Worship

As should already be evident, there is a strong connection between obedience and salvation. Yahuah first told the Israelites to obey and receive life:  I call the heavens and the earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:  DEVARIYM (DEUTERONOMY) 30:19 את CEPHER

Yahusha Ha’Mashiach also reveals the importance of our actions in salvation by saying, And why call ye me, Rabbi, Rabbi, and do not את the things which I say?  LUQAS (LUKE) 6:46 את CEPHER

And Yahusha also says, Not everyone that says unto me, Rabbi, Rabbi, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.  MATTITHYAHU (MATTHEW) 7:21 את CEPHER

James also confirms the importance of obedience by saying, But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  YA`AQOV (JAMES) 1:22 את CEPHER

And Paul confirms this truth as well, explaining, They profess that they know Alahiym; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.  TITUS (TITUS) 1:16 את CEPHER

True worship, which leads to salvation, is obedience to Yahuah, which is the requirement for salvation. Obedience does not earn salvation (Matthew 19:25-26; Ephesians 2:9), but repentance has always been the requirement to be covered by the blood and sacrifice of Yahusha Ha’Mashiach (Acts 3:19).

Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of Yahuah;  MA'ASIYM (ACTS) 3:19 את CEPHER

Praise vs True Worship

Now that we have discussed the connection between worship, sacrifice, service, obedience, fearing Yahuah, and salvation, we will consider the difference between praising Yahuah and true worship.

Why does this distinction matter?

In modern times, many people equate worship to be praise. To many believers, praising Yahuah once a week is equivalent to worshiping Yahuah. However, this common assumption is incorrect and dangerous.

While praise is a part of worship, the opposite is not true. Worship is not equal to praise, and just because we praise Yahuah does not mean we are truly worshiping him. Yahuah says,  Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:  YESHA'YAHU (ISAIAH) 29:13 את CEPHER

The concept of "praise" is what most people imagine when they think of the word worship. And oftentimes the word "worship" is used to communicate praising Yahuah. For example, this example from the Scriptures sounds like worship to many people: Stand up and bless Yahuah Alahaykem forever and ever: and blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. You, even you, are Yahuah alone; you have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and you preserve them all; and the host of heaven worships you.  EZRA V'NECHEMYAHU (NEHEMIAH) 9:5-6 את CEPHER

However, as the Scriptures reveals, worship is much more than praising Yahuah. True worship is also obeying Yahuah, fearing Yahuah, respecting Yahuah, and loving Yahuah– with all of these ideas being one concept, rather than separate pieces.

True Worship Defined

So what is true worship? True worship is obedience to Yahuah, by not sinning. True worship is becoming a living sacrifice, by giving ourselves to Yahuah, and being transformed into Mashiach’s image (Romans 12:1-2).

True worship is repentance, turning away from our own selfish desires and returning to obey only Yahuah's will. According to Yahusha, those who fail to truly worship Yahuah, by repenting, will see their names blotted from the book of life: Remember את therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you.  CHIZAYON (REVELATION) 3:3 את CEPHER He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the cepher of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  CHIZAYON (REVELATION) 3:5 את CEPHER

Note: Yahusha is speaking to believers in this passage of Revelation 3:3-5, telling them to truly repent or they risk having their name removed from the book of life.

True worship is fearing Yahuah, who has the power to send us to the second death, even after the body has died. But I will forewarn you whom את ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he has killed has power to cast into Gey Hinnom; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. LUQAS (LUKE) 12:5 את CEPHER

Please note that it is Yahusha Ha’Mashiach who makes this statement in Luke 12:5.

True worship is also obeying Yahuah's commandments. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Alahiym, and guard his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  QOHELETH (ECCLESIASTES) 12:13 אתCEPHER

True worship is living as a Follower of the way should live, living as Yahusha lived in complete obedience to Yahuah's will.

He that says he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. YOCHANON RI'SHON (1 JOHN) 2:6 את CEPHER

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. PHILIPPIYM (PHILIPPIANS) 2:8 את CEPHER

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