Hebraic thinking VS Greek Thinking
Written by Brad Scott
It should be quite obvious that the subject of the nature of Elohiym cannot be discussed or compared in this short course. We have taken just two aspects and compared them. Actually, everything we will discuss is part of the nature of YHWH in one form or another. We are now going to look at some of the doctrines or practices of 'religious' life and see the difference between the way the one YHWH of the Scriptures designed them and how the 'anti-' or 'instead of' culture sees them.THE GREEK VIEW OF WORSHIP
Worship is at the very heart of Greek culture. Many great colosseums were built to accommodate the throngs of worshippers gathered to idolize and revere the gods. These gatherings were thought to please the gods and cause them to cast favor upon the people. Different gods were worshipped for different reasons in that each god was hovering over a different aspect of the world. Songs were sung, instruments were played, and nude dancing was common. Singing songs, playing, and dancing to the gods was worshipping, and this worship is what unified the people. Homosexual acts were quite common in that the body is irrelevant to the gods. It was the state of mind that the gods were interested in.
The Stoics however, would have nothing to do with this kind of activity. Worship to them was equally a state of mind, however, a proper state of mind does not succumb to the writhing pleasures of the body. The Greek concept of worship, (proskuneo), was seen as a specific act of reverence or homage. Modern worship is also seen from the Greek point of view. We worship on Sunday morning. Praise and worship teams are popular today, as those who lead in Sunday morning worship time. Praise is seen as upbeat with a faster tempo and worship is when the tempo is slowed down and more serious adoration is displayed. When the weekly, mundane, cares of the world go through their cycle, then Praise and Worship begins again with the next Sunday morning. There are also special occasions for Praise and Worship as well, that generally take place on anniversaries or semiannual events. To the western mind, worshipping is an event and not part of the daily Greek lifestyle. When the event was over both the worshipers and the worshipped were pleased and content.THE HEBREW VIEW OF WORSHIP
Worship is also at the heart of the observant Jew. The difference is how worship is defined and acted upon. The Tehillim (Psalms) are full of the worship and adoration of YHWH. All the writers of this book are singing, playing various instruments, clapping, shouting, and dancing unto YHWH. But there are several fundamental differences between the worship of the nations and scriptural worship. The first difference is in the actual meaning of the word worship. The Greek word used to translate worship has defined out some of the crucial focus of the Hebrew word. The Greek tends to separate worship from service, which is the background in Hebrew thought, to understanding worship. In the Hebrew culture the word avodah is understood as service, worship, or servitude. The Temple service, before Yahshua, was called The Avodah and a false worship is known as avodah zerah.
A servant of YHWH was a worshipper of YHWH, and worship was a continuous act. It was not limited to set times, even though worship was part of the set times (feasts, Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, etc.). Worship was intimately tied to work or service. Service to Elohiym was not seen as secular and worship as religious or spiritual, but rather they were the same act. Why is this? Because everything is seen as theological to the Jew. When a man goes to his job, he is going to worship and serve YHWH. He is worshipping YHWH when he tends to his wife's needs. HE does not separate out ordinary daily activities from his 'religious' duties, for they are one and the same. So, whatever he does he approaches it with the motivation, kavanah, that this is his worship and service to YHWH. All of life is a unity, just as he sees himself. We will talk more about this later. In Hebrew thought, all occupations are holy and sacred, and they are to be observed as such. One might ask, "So then is a bartender a holy and sacred occupation?" The answer is no. Well I thought you just said that all occupations are holy! That's right! But to the observant Jew, a bartender is not an occupation.
When everything you set out to do is understood to be worshipping YHWH your perspective changes dramatically. It would be very foreign to the scriptural mind to 'worship' YHWH for one to two hours a week, and then go back to the secular life for one week and repeat the process over again. I have read and come in contact with many observant Jews who are aghast when observing Christian worship. Many would say that our God is a part time God. They would observe that what goes on inside the walls is not practiced outside the walls and vice versa. For example, most westerners have no problem with jumping up and down and shouting at a sporting event, but would not dare jump up and down or shout in their assembly. I would think that YHWH has done more for them than the Broncos have. Many would also have no problem in kneeling and praying inside the walls of the assembly, but would not be caught dead doing that at work or at play somewhere else.