I continue from where I previously left off: VENERATION OF THE SAINTS: A BIBLICAL OUTLINE PT. 1.
Here I will list examples where God permits, and in some cases even demands, that certain individuals be served, employing the very same key Hebrew (avad) and Greek (douleuo) terms used in relation to serving God.
For instance, even though God strictly condemns serving others as gods besides him,
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself (tishtahweh) to them, nor serve (ta’abadem) them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” Exodus 20:1-5
“Thou shalt not bow down (proskyneseis) to them, nor serve (latreuseis) them; for I am the Lord thy God, a jealous God, recompensing the sins of the fathers upon the children, to the third and fourth generation to them that hate me,” Exodus 20:5 LXX
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service (edouleusate) unto them which by nature are no gods.” Galatians 4:8
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve (douleuein) the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
The Lord allows for those whom he honors and exalts to be served by others:
“And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve (ya’abod) the younger.” Genesis 25:21-23
“… and the elder shall serve (douleusei) the younger…” LXX
“let people serve (ya’abduka) thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee… and by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve (ta’abod) thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” Genesis 27:29, 40
“And let nations serve thee (douleusatosan soi), and princes bow down to thee (proskynesatosan soi), and be thou lord of thy brother, and the sons of thy father shall do thee reverence; accursed is he that curses thee, and blessed is he that blesses thee… And thou shalt live by thy sword, and shalt serve (douleuseis) thy brother; and there shall be [a time] when thou shalt break and loosen his yoke from off thy neck.” LXX
“And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: and he said… Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me (ya’abduni). Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me.” 2 Samuel 22:1-2, 44-45
“… a people which I knew not served me (edouleusan moi).” LXX
“For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee (ya’abduk) shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Isaiah 60:12
“For the nations and the kings which will not serve thee (douleusousi soi) shall perish…” LXX
Amazingly, God even commanded the nations to serve the king of Babylon despite his paganism!
“And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve (wa’ibdu) the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.” 2 Kings 25:24
“… dwell in the land, and serve (douleusate) the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.” LXX
“And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve (wa’abadu) the king of Babylon seventy years.” Jeremiah 25:11
“… and they shall serve (douleusousin) among the Gentiles seventy years.” LXX
“For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve (la’abod) Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.” Jeremiah 28:14 – Cf. 27:6-17
The inspired NT writings even exhort believers who happen to be slaves to serve earthly masters, as an expression of their service to their risen Lord and Master:
“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service (douleuontes), as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” Ephesians 6:5-9
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve (douleuete) the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:22-24
If such is the case with imperfect, fallible human beings, how much more would this apply to believers who are now glorified and perfected in the heavenly presence of the Lord Jesus Christ?
“but ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17
Biblical references taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.