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St. John and the angel in the book of Revelation


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#1 Anthony G. Peggs

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 12:00 PM

my question is this: in the book of Revelation it is said that St. John The Apostle twice falls down before the angel and worships him. then the angel tells him not to.

how do we understand this when we venerate the Saints and Holy Angels.

obviously this does not contradict our veneration of The Saints and Angels, so can somebody please help me understand this from our Holy Orthodox Tradition?

#2 Michael Albert

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 05:15 PM

Veneration is not the same as worship.

#3 Owen

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 05:40 PM

I think Michael Albert meant to say that veneration (dulia) is not the same as latria. The teaching following from St. John Damascene posits three kinds of proskynesis (worship): dulia (the service due Saints), hyperdulia (the special service due the Theotokos), and latria (the service due God alone). The latter is distinguished from the former two by the element of sacrifice.

#4 Anthony G. Peggs

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 06:40 PM

Thank you all for you responses!

but, in Revelation with St. John and The Angel, is he Venerating The Angel, or worshipping Him (the kind of worship due God alone)?

#5 Anthony G. Peggs

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 07:12 PM

also, i should mention that i'm asking about this because protestants use this verse, to try and deny our Veneration of The Saints and Angels. i know they're wrong, but how do we deal with this to answer them.

#6 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 08:51 PM

Perhaps the angel merely felt he did not want to be worshipped OR venerated at the time, perhaps the angel was merely deferring to the Holy Apostle.

Do your Protestant friends remove their hats and cover their hearts when they say the Pledge of Allegiance? When they do so are they violating Scripture by worshipping a piece of cloth? How is this different than the respect shown to the saints? I would love to hear their answer.

Herman the saluting Pooh

#7 Michael Albert

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 02:08 PM

I suppose you could point out to your protestant friends, (as has already been discussed), the difference between veneration/honour and worship. The verse in question says:

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

The Greek for "worship" here is "proskuneo". Some translations use the word "adore".

#8 Michael Albert

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 02:10 PM

The footnote for the Douay-Rheims Bible states the following:

St. Augustine (lib. 20, contra Faust, c. 21) is of opinion, that this angel appeared in so glorious a manner, that St. John took him to be God; and therefore would have given him divine honour had not the angel stopped him, by telling him he was but his fellow servant. St. Gregory (Hom. 8, in Evang.) rather thinks that the veneration offered by St. John, was not divine honour, or indeed any other than what might lawfully be given; but was nevertheless refused by the angel, in consideration of the dignity to which our human nature had been raised, by the incarnation of the Son of God, and the dignity of St. John, an apostle, prophet, and martyr.

#9 Kosta

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 08:42 PM

The greek word proskuneo went thru a change of meaning between the older classical greek and the NT era. In the greek OT the word proskuneo is used multiple times esepcially in paying homage to royalty and other humans, it wasnt limited to the adoration of God. By the NT era the word was interpreted in a more rigid fashion -limited to the worship of Jesus and God only. Today the word has reverted back to what the OT intended.

#10 Anthony G. Peggs

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 07:12 AM

so is this the same reason why St. Peter declined the veneratin of Cornelius?

#11 Michael Albert

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 01:26 PM

Today the word has reverted back to what the OT intended.

Interesting. I did not know that.

#12 Kosta

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:52 AM

In the NT the boundaries between veneration and adoration are alot stricter, It is reserved only for God, perhaps because the NT was read my former pagan converts.

In the OT in 2Chronicles 29.20, the congregation worshipped both God and King David who was in their prescense. While Peter declined the veneration of Cornelius, The prophet Daniel accepted over the top veneration from King Nebuchadnezzer, "Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors unto him."(Dan 2.46)

In Joshua 5.14, Joshua fell on his face and worshipped the angel. In this instance though, it can be interpreted that the angel who is described as the captain of the Lord's host and a sword drawn in his hand, is either a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ or the archangel Michael. If its the archangel then we can see how more rigidly the word proskuneo is interpreted by the NT authors while in the OT its more lenient also meaning veneration.




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