Is it not written in your law, I said, YE ARE GODS? (John 10:34)
Yahve (Strong’s 3068) is used 6220 times in the Bible, and it’s the name of our only Creator God. No one else but our only true God is called by this name. (Yahve was one of three who ate with Abraham outside his tent – see my article about the angel of the Lord.)
Elohim (Strong’s 430) is another name for God and is used 2598 times in the Bible. This word has a little broader meaning even if our only true God is the most common meaning. – divine (1), divine being (1), exceedingly (1), God (2326), god (45), God’s (14), goddess (2), godly (1), gods (204), great (2), judges (3), mighty (2), rulers (1), shrine* (1).
El (Strong’s 410) is used 248 times in the Bible and also means God in singular or plural. (A suitable name for a trinity.)
Adon (Strong’s 113) is used 325 times in the Bible and means Lord or Master, which of course God is
Theos (Strong’s 2316) is used 1327 times in the Bible (NT) and means God and/or Creator of all
People who refuse to accept the Biblical message that Jesus Christ is God
Whenever the above titles for GOD are used, the majority of the time they concern either 1) our only Creator God, or 2) false gods who are not real Gods at all according to the Bible. It’s not difficult to understand whether the text is referring to our real God or false gods, and we also get a great help by knowing Jahve is only used for our real God. However, it seems like the only times when some people are in doubt about which type of god the text is talking about, it’s only in those verses where Jesus Christ is called God, as in Hebr. 1:8. That’s because they often have an agenda to never accept the deity of Jesus, even if the verses clearly say so. It’s actually not surprising that some people take it as their mission to promote the idea that Jesus is not the WORD who was with God and who was GOD and lived among us (thus Jesus is God) because the spirit of Antichrist is active among us:
John 8:24 I said, therefore, to you, that ye shall die in your sins, for if ye may not believe that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.’ Young’s Literal (I AM = ego eimi)
1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and anantichrist.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD.2 The same was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.—14 And THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Excuses – “Anyone can be called God, so it’s not a big deal that Jesus too was called God in Hebr. 1:8“?
We can read that Moses was to be AS GOD for Pharao, and it’s not to be understood as though Moses is one God among many other gods. That would only make God the Creator to be a liar for suggesting that he is the only God if the truth is that polytheism is a reality. JAHVE (God) is only applied to our only Creator God in the Bible, but here Elohim is used.
Ex. 7:1 And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god (Elohim) to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (KJV)
Ex. 7:1 And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you LIKE God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. (ESV)
Ex. 7:7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I make you AS God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. (NASB)
God said something similar about Aaron, and his status in relation to Moses:
Ex. 4:15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and THOU SHALT BE TO HIM INSTEAD OF GOD. (KJV)
Ex. 4:16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and YOU SHALL BE AS GOD TO HIM. (ESV)
Ex. 4:16 Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and YOU WILL BE AS GOD TO HIM. (NASB)
So the above cannot be used as support for that people other than God can be called gods. There is, however, one particular verse that some people desperately put all their hope and energy on, in order to escape the clear meaning that Jesus is God – and that is John. 10:34
John 10:34 and Psalm 82:6 – ye are Gods
John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for BLASPHEMY; and because that THOU, BEING A MAN, MAKEST THYSELF GOD.34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?*) 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand (* See Ps. 82:6)
The above is a reference to the below psalm, and psalms often contain POETRY that MIRRORS the truth and uses SYMBOLIC PHRASES with a deeper meaning. Let’s keep this in mind so we don’t interpret such text in the wrong way and end up starting a false doctrine.
Ps. 82:1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
To start with, the reason these jews provide for wanting to stone Jesus is due to blasphemy, “because you being a MAN, make yourself GOD”. The jews were experts on the Scriptures, and they understood that human beings should not call themselves GOD. The first commandment is, after all:
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
If people other than GOD can literally be called “gods” (like mighty judges) by others, then we end up having other gods before GOD, and we also end up making God to be a liar for falsely saying that we should have no other gods when he himself endorses multiple gods. But doesn’t Jesus confirm the availability of other gods in his statement in John. 10:34? He confirms this PSALM and the correct meaning of both the psalm and the term “gods” in its proper context – the way they are supposed to be understood. If certain individuals (like judges and leaders) can also commonly be addressed as gods, then there would be a huge risk that the above commandment would be watered down, and this wouldn’t be according to God’s plans. The jews did not relax the slightest bit when Jesus confirmed that he was the son of God and that the Father is in him and he is in the Father, because calling oneself the son of God and suggesting that the Father and the son are inside each other, is still calling oneself GOD! God certainly doesn’t have any children together with a woman, so if you’re a son to God you have your origin in God himself which means you’re God. So the jews still wanted to kill Jesus, and they knew exactly which psalm that Jesus was quoting from.
The jews were familiar with all the psalms, including Ps. 82:6 which Jesus was referring to when he said “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods”. If godly judges can be called “gods” because they represent God, how much more should not Jesus Christ be able to call himself this (despite not being a judge) since he is sent by God the Father who was with him from eternity past in the trinity? This seems to be the way the jews understood him too, because we can read n v. 39 that THEREFORE (for this reason) they tried to take him once again. They felt Jesus confirmed his deity by referring to that passage where he gave his arguments for why he had the right to be called God.
The word for God in Ps. 82:6 is not “Jahve” but “Elohim“, and while this usually refers to either the Creator God or “false gods who are no real gods”, it can also be translated as “mighty ones” which could apply to judges who are ordained by God to do his work, and God himself is a mighty one – even the mightiest one. “I have said, Ye are gods”, i.e. “in my law I have called you gods”. They are given such name and status since they judge on God’s behalf and act as his representatives, but they are not “gods” in the strictest sense. They are possessing a derived divinity, and in a sense “children of the most high”. In the law, they were so by God’s appointment because he constituted them judges and although they were gods by office, they were also mortal men and would die. It’s not likely that any of those judges were at any time literally called “god” in real life, due to the commandment to have no other Gods but GOD.
Examples of judges appointed by God to do his work:
Deut. 1:13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.15 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.18 And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.
2 Cron. 19:6 And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment.
Ps. 58:1 Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?2 Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.—5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.6 Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord.—10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.11 So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.
Rom. 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Paul explains why there on one hand exists only ONE God, and on the other hand we learn about multiple gods, and even multiple lords. “There is none other God but ONE”, says Paul, and “TO US there is but ONE GOD”. (Do read my blog article about the claim “the only true God” in this blog article.) Surely we can trust him? So if God the Father dares to call his son “GOD” in Hebr. 1:8, he isn’t contradicting what Paul is saying here, and neither does he contradict himself from his own previous claims where he says there is ONE GOD only. Other lords are only lords in the sense of being “masters” (and they are certainly not “Lord of Lords” which the Father AND the son call themselves), and other gods are either false gods (so no gods at all), or gods in the symbolic sense due to their office and they are likely never literally addressed as gods by others (in order to not disobey God’s commandment about serving only one God).
1 Cor. 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that THERE IS NONE OTHER GOD BUT ONE.5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)6 But TO US THERE IS BUT ONE GOD, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
5 Mosebok 4:35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.— 39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
John is told to NOT worship the angel but to worship GOD. John didn’t ask “which one of all gods should I worship?”
Rev. 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.
Rev. 22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: WORSHIP GOD.
If it’s alright for other individuals apart from God to be called God, then why was the prince of Tyrus (or Satan, which is the angelic comparison) sinning for also calling himself God? As a prince (or as a messenger of God, as Satan was) he would be a person in lead of others, and he was also supposed to act as a judge for them, so maybe calling oneself “god” in the Psalm 82:6- sense was rather fitting? Yet, God is not at all pleased with prince of Tyrus calling himself a god, and he criticizes him heavily and calls him proud. Why did God motivate his criticism towards him with “yet thou art A MAN and not God”? That sounds like God finds it preposterous for a mere human being to call himself God. So did the jews who wanted to kill Jesus!
Ezekiel 28:2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God
The house of David will be “LIKE” God, so LIKE the angel of the Lord (who is Jesus Christ incarnate) going before them – just like the angel of the Lord (Jesus) went before the Israelites in the desert.
Zechariah 12:8 On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD going before them.
Jesus is trying to get the jews to understand that if the symbolic term god can be applied to certain individuals with a certain mission from God and with a proper office, and this is NOT considered blasphemy, then neither should they accuse Jesus of blaspheming, because he is in the Father and the Father is in him. Who can make such a claim unless you’re the son of God? Being the son of God equals having the source in God, meaning you originated in God which means you’re GOD!
Do read another blog article about Hebrews 1:8 where Jesus is called GOD by his Father.