The only way for anti-Trinitarians to make an attempt to solve the problem that Jesus is called God in Hebr. 1:8, John 20:28, etc, is to try to make an inflation out of the word ”God”, with the hope that it will lead to a position where it’s not a big deal to be called God since people are called God left and right. They are incorrect, however, since the Bible shows that there are only two alternatives that could apply to Jesus – the true God or a false god, and false gods are no gods at all.
The only verse that they could possibly use as support is a psalm (82:6), which POETRY naturally couldn’t make the case that other beings than the true God can be called God – unless we’re talking about false gods. Godly judges or priests wouldn’t dream about being called God by anyone. (See further down below.) So if someone tells you that judges, priests and angels are also called gods (outside poetry) they are greatly mistaken. The only angel that was called God (even JAHVE) was the Angel of the Lord, and he was not a created angel but actually a manifestation of God himself – probably Jesus,who was with the Israelites during the Exodus – 1 Cor. 10:4. Read more about the Angel of the Lord here.
False gods are no gods at all
244 times in the KJV, Elohyim is translated as ”god” instead of ”God”, indicating that it’s not the true God that is referred to but a false god (or just an idea of god, such as when Satan told Adam and Eve that they would be as gods if they ate of the forbidden fruit).
Ex. 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Please note, that oftentimes people (and sometimes even Jahve himself) might refer to other things as gods even though they don’t actually believe there exist more gods than GOD. When people worship idols, those idols are called gods also by those who don’t really view those idols as anything else but stone, wood or hay. Demons are of course real, and they are at times also called gods since they are idols that are being worshiped. Again, by referring to these idols as gods is by no means a confirmation of that these created things or demons are in actuality real gods of any kind!
Gen. 35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
2 Chron. 32:19 And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.
Ps. 95:6 FOR ALL THE GODS OF THE NATIONS ARE IDOLS: but the Lord made the heavens.
Ps. 97:7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.
Deut. 32:17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
Ex. 12: 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.
Ex. 23:24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
Deut. 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.20 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
Take special notice of the last few verses where God is called God of gods in order to make a statement about the many gods that the strangers in Egypt were worshiping. Jahve is the true God of all! Which god are you worshiping? God is the God of that god, because there is only one real God and he is over ALL.
1 Cor. 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is NOTHING in the world, and that there is no other God but one.5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. (NKJV)
(Also read this article where we can read that God alone is, or is doing something … and yet Jesus is also, just as we can read that Jesus alone is, or is doing something… and yet God is also.)
Both Ex. 4:16 and Ex. 7:1 use the word Elohiym, and most Bible translators have translated the below highlighted passages to ”as God”, and others ”instead of God”. The fact that words such as ”as”, and ”instead of” are not in use in Hebrew, doesn’t mean that prepositions should neither be used in other languages – where such words indeed are in use. If Bible texts would be handled in that way, the end result would not be grammatically correct and extremely confusing to read. It’s simply not possible to always translate a language word for word into another language, and sometimes words can hold a number of alternate meanings. I believe we have no reason to doubt that the world’s translators, and experts in Hebrew have done a good job, or is there any particular reason to not trust them? Because we don’t like the outcome?
Note below that Moses is never called God according to these verses, but he was to be AS God for Aaron (and Pharao). Moses was supposed to be his spiritual leader, and he were supposed to turn to him since Moses was acting on Gods behalf. Whenever the translators have phrased themselves as ”instead of God”, they of course don’t suggest that Aaron was supposed to drop the real God (Jahve) altogether and instead put Moses there in his place and start to worship him, but rather that Moses was the mediator between God and man. This is an entirely different story than Hebr. 1:8, where Jesus is directly CALLED God by his own Father.
1) Ex. 4:16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him AS GOD. (NKJV)
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)
Ex. 4:16 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)
16 Y él hablará por ti al pueblo; él te será a ti en lugar de boca, y tú serás para él en lugar de Dios. (Reina -Valera, 1960)
16 Il sera ton porte-parole devant le peuple, il te servira de bouche, et tu seras pour lui comme le dieu qui parle à son prophète. (La Bible du Semeur)
16 Und er soll für dich zum Volk reden und soll dein Mund sein, und du sollst für ihn an Gottes Statt sein. (Schlachter, 1951)
2) Ex. 7:1 So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you AS GOD to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. (NKJV)
Ex. 7: 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I make you AS GOD to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. (NASB)
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. 7:1 But Adonai said to Moshe, “I have put you in the place of God to Pharaoh, and Aharon your brother will be your prophet. (Complete Jewish Bible)
Ex. 7:1 And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet (KJV)
Elohiym (Strong’s 430)
KJV translates the word : God (2,346x), god (244x), judge (5x), GOD (1x), goddess (2x), great (2x), mighty (2x), angels (1x), exceeding (1x), God-ward (with H4136) (1x), godly (1x).
When we check these options, we can see that Jesus (who was not called by a description/adjective, but was addressed with THEOS = GOD in Hebr. 1:8) was either called a TRUE God or a FALSE god. It’s one or the other. Isn’t the most likely option that Jesus was called a TRUE God, considering that all the angels were supposed to worship him and that Jesus was often also worshiped by men?
Hebr. 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and MY GOD.29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Let’s check all KJV options for GOD:
goddess (2x) – there are no female Gods so this is evidently about false gods as well (Ashtoreth to be exact)
great (2x), mighty (2x) –
Gen. 30:8 and Rachel saith, `With wrestlings of God I have wrestled with my sister, yea, I have prevailed;’ and she calleth his name Napthali. (Young’s Literal)
1 Sa. 14:15 and there is a trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people, the station and the destroyers have trembled — even they, and the earth shaketh, and it becometh a trembling of God. (Young’s literal)
Gen. 23:6 `Hear us, my lord; a prince of God [art] thou in our midst; in the choice of our burying-places bury thy dead: none of us his burying-place doth withhold from thee, from burying thy dead.’ (Young’s Literal)
Ex. 9:28 make ye supplication unto Jehovah, and plead that there be no voices of God and hail, and I send you away, and ye add not to remain.’ (Young’s Literal)
Evidently Jesus wasn’t called any of the above descriptions in Hebr. 1:8. He was plainly called GOD.
Jon. 3:3 and Jonah riseth, and he goeth unto Nineveh, according to the word of Jehovah. And Nineveh hath been a great city before God, a journey of three days. (Young’s Literal)
Jesus wasn’t called this description either.
God-ward (1x) (with H4136) – only with the combination of H4136.
godly (1x) –
Mal 2:10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lordwhich he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.— 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. (KJV)
It’s the seed that is ”godly”, and neither this verse is suggesting that other people/beings than God is a God.
angels (1x) –
When Jesus walked as a man on earth, he was made lower than the angels, and if you’re lower than the angels you’re naturally lower than GOD because God the Father certainly isn’t lower than his own created angels. Gen. 8:12 and Gen. 32:1 both translate ”Malak Elohiym” with ”the angels of God”, and it makes sense to also translate Elohiym in Ps. 8:5/6 here below with ”God”, to prevent the text from saying ”God’s gods”. This is also what we will see in many Bible versions across the world. Young’s Literal is interesting since ”Godhead” is used, and it’s certainly true that Jesus left the Godhead (the trinity) in order to be born as a baby boy on earth and become one of us. He didn’t cease to be God, but he left his first estate. Also the German version concedes that the name is in plural.
Psalm 8:4 What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet (NASB)
Psalm 8:5 And causest him to lack a little of Godhead, And with honour and majesty compassest him.6 Thou dost cause him to rule Over the works of Thy hands, All Thou hast placed under his feet. (Young’s literal)
Psalm 8:5 je me dis: Qu’est-ce que l’homme, pour que tu en prennes soin, et qu’est-ce qu’un être humain pour qu’à lui tu t’intéresses? 6 Pourtant, tu l’as fait de peu inférieur à Dieu, tu l’as couronné d’honneur et de gloire. (La Bible du Semeur)
Psalm 8:5 Hiciste al hombre poco menor que un dios, y lo colmaste de gloria y de honra. (Reina Valera Contemporánea)
Psalm 8:5 Was ist der Mensch, daß du seiner gedenkst, und des Menschen Sohn, daß du auf ihn achtest? 6 Du hast ihn ein wenig Gottes entbehren lassen; aber mit Ehre und Schmuck hast du ihn gekrönt; (Schlachter 1951)
(Gottes, hebr. Elohim, ein Name in Mehrzahl zur Bezeichnung Gottes (LS)
The KJV translators have translated Elohiym to ”judges”, unlike many other Bible versions where they have consistently translated Elohiym to God (in their own respective languages) also here. KJV is usually a very good translation, but it would have made more sense to translate Elohiym to God, as it’s done in more than 2.346 other times in the Bible. The translators were likely referring to the fact that God doesn’t actually come down to earth himself to sort out disputes between men, and when for instance the servant/slave is to be brought before God he is actually brought before the judges who are acting on behalf of God. However, the judges were definitely NOT gods and neither were they called gods by anyone else (unless we’re speaking about a certain poetic verse…). So when people are asked to stand up before God to sort out an errand and/or to get a judgment, where do they go now when it’s impossible to actually stand right before the living God? Do they stand before the rest of the family? Before a tree? Before a house? No, naturally it makes sense to stand before those individuals who are supposed to give them the verdict, and those are the judges/priests. That’s why it’s not wrong to say that the Israelites were supposed to ”come before the judges” to sort out a problem, because this is what was actually done – as long as we understand that the original text doesn’t actually say ”judges” but GOD, and judges and priests never referred to themselves as god and neither were they called god by anyone else.
1) Ex. 21:6 then his master shall bring him to GOD, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. (NASB)
Ex. 21: 6 then his master is to bring him before God; and there at the door or doorpost, his master is to pierce his ear with an awl; and the man will be his slave for life. (Contemporary Jewish Bible)
Ex. 21:6 then hath his lord brought him nigh unto God, and hath brought him nigh unto the door, or unto the side-post, and his lord hath bored his ear with an awl, and he hath served him — to the age. (Young’s literal)
Ex. 21:6 entonces su amo lo traerá a Dios y lo traerá a la puerta o al quicial. Y su amo le horadará la oreja con una lezna, y él le servirá para siempre. (La Biblia de las Américas)
Ex. 21:6 ich will nicht freigelassen werden, so bringe ihn sein Herr vor Gott und stelle ihn an die Tür oder den Pfosten und durchbohre ihm seine Ohren mit einem Pfriem, daß er ihm diene ewiglich. (Schlachter 1951)
2) Ex. 22:8 If the thief is not found, the owner of the house shall come near to GOD to show whether or not he has put his hand to his neighbor’s property. 9 For every breach of trust, whether it is for an ox, for a donkey, for a sheep, for a cloak, or for any kind of lost thing, of which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before GOD. The one whom GOD condemns shall pay double to his neighbor. (ESV)
Ex. 22:7 (8) But if the thief is not found, then the trustee must state before GOD that he did not take the person’s goods himself. 8 (9) In every case of dispute over ownership, whether of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, clothing, or any missing property, where one person says, ‘This is mine,’ both parties are to come before GOD; and the one whom GOD condemns must pay the other one double. (Contemporary Jewish Bible)
Ex. 22:8 `If the thief is not found, then the master of the house hath been brought near unto God, whether he hath not put forth his hand against the work of his neighbour;9 for every matter of transgression, for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, for any lost thing of which it is said that it is his; unto God cometh the matter of them both; he whom God doth condemn, he repayeth double to his neighbour. (Young’s literal)
Ex. 22:8 Dans toute affaire frauduleuse, qu’il s’agisse d’un bœuf, d’un âne, d’un mouton, d’un vêtement ou de n’importe quel objet perdu dont deux personnes revendiqueront la propriété, les deux parties porteront leur litige devant Dieu; celui que Dieu déclarera coupable restituera le double à l’autre.9 Si un homme confie en garde à son prochain un âne, un bœuf, un mouton ou tout autre animal, et que celui-ci meurt, se casse une patte ou se fait capturer par des voleurs sans qu’il y ait de témoin,(La Bible due Semeur)
Ex. 22: 8 Ist aber der Dieb nicht zu finden, so soll man den Hausherrn vor Gott bringen [und ihn darüber verhören], ob er sich nicht vergriffen habe an seines Nächsten Gut.9 Wird irgend etwas gestohlen, sei es ein Ochs, ein Esel, ein Schaf, ein Kleid, oder was sonst abhanden gekommen sein mag, wovon einer behauptet: Der hat’s! so soll beider Aussage vor Gott gelangen; wen Gott schuldig spricht, der soll es seinem Nächsten doppelt ersetzen. (Schlachter, 1951)
3) 1 Sam. 2:25 If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the Lord desired to kill them. (NKJV)
1 Sam. 2:25 If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the Lord desired to put them to death. (NASB)
1 Sam. 2:25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lordto put them to death. (ESV)
1 Sam. 2:25 If a man sin against a man, then hath God judged him; but if against Jehovah a man sin, who doth pray for him?’ and they hearken not to the voice of their father, though Jehovah hath delighted to put them to death. (Young’s literal)
1 Sam. 2:25 Wenn jemand wider einen Menschen sündigt, so wird Gott Schiedsrichter sein; wenn aber jemand wider den Herrn sündigt, wer will sich für ihn ins Mittel legen? Aber sie folgten der Stimme ihres Vaters nicht; denn der Herr wollte sie töten. (Schlachter 1951)
1 Sam. 2:Si un homme pèche contre un autre, Dieu est là pour arbitrer, mais si quelqu’un pèche contre l’Eternel lui-même, qui interviendra en sa faveur? Mais les fils ne tinrent aucun compte de l’avertissement de leur père, car l’Eternel voulait les faire mourir. (La Bible due Semeur)
Satan is out to fool us into believing that Jesus has NOT come into flesh and that he is NOT God
Satan is doing what he can to deceive the people of the earth, and he is grateful to get help from false teachers. Some christians might not be aware of their errors (much like Peter, when Jesus said ”Get thee behind me, Satan”), but others are more actively serving Satan by purposely seeking out false teachers who can serve them the false doctrines that they are looking for. They are not interested to amend their ways and be corrected by the Bible, but they have much energy to twist the Bible in such a way that it serves their purpose. They are only interested in feeding themselves with food from these false teachers in order to find more tasty arguments for their falsehood, and they are not interested to be fed by other teachers who are presenting simple Biblical truth. They also love to look around for disciples, who can learn about these falsehoods and hopefully continue to spread them to more and more people. We are living in the last days, and Satan is doing what he can to destroy us. Be prepared, and question yourself which teacher you allow to get the last word? Often we let that particular teacher get the final word, who teach us what we want to hear – according to our itching ears.
2 Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears
There are mainly two lies that Satan is presenting to us. 1) We are NOT going to die even if we sin, and 2) Jesus Christ is not God who has come in the flesh and lived as a man
Satan doesn’t have any problems with accepting that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the holy one of God, the son of God or that God is ONE, (see Mark 1:23-24, Ja 2:19, Luke 4:41), but he does not confess that Jesus Christ has started out with God the Father (often called just GOD), and humbled himself and BECAME man in the flesh, and died on the cross for mankind.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.2 HEREBY KNOW YE the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: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.
1 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 an antichrist.8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
Isaiah 7:13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Matt. 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
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.5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.—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.15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
John. 17:And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee BEFORE the world was.—Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me BEFORE the foundation of the world.
Phil. 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
It’s no mystery why Satan wants to spread the word that Jesus is NOT the IAM (the true God – the alpha and the omega), because if people have a chance to accept him as such and still refuse, it certainly looks like they will die in their sins. I’m not talking about innocent people who might live in an area where it’s hard to find a Bible, and who consequently might not understand all details about who Jesus really is (but according to Romans 2, we do have a conscience when it comes to our life styles), but I’m talking about those who have all the chances in the world to understand the basics of the Bible, but still choose to feed themselves with falsehood which they also spread to others. God can see our hearts.
Joh. 8:24 I said, therefore, to you, that ye shall die in your sins, for if ye may not believe that I AM [he],c) ye shall die in your sins.’25 They said, therefore, to him, `Thou — who art thou?’ and Jesus said to them, `Even what I did speak of to you at the beginning;26 many things I have to speak concerning you and to judge, but He who sent me is true, and I — what things I heard from Him — these I say to the world.’27 They knew not that of the Father he spake to them;28 Jesus, therefore, said to them, `When ye may lift up the Son of Man then ye will know that I am [he]; and of myself I do nothing, but according as my Father did teach me, these things I speak;29 and He who sent me is with me; the Father did not leave me alone, because I, the things pleasing to Him, do always.’30 As he is speaking these things, many believed in him; (Young’s Literal)
From Bible Gateway under c) (translation from Swedish) Read more about the IAM here.
c) The I Am term is referring to Ex. 3:14, where it’s used for God himself. It’s connected to the most supreme and divine name, JHVH, which is a never pronounced out of respect for God, but was substituted with ”Adonai”, which means the Lord.
You can read in this article about Jesus reference to ”gods” in John 10:34-35, which is a quote from a poetic POEM from Ps. 82:6. The Jews who wanted to kill Jesus naturally knew about that psalm, and when Jesus made a reference to it they again picked up stones to kill him.
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.
Did they miss the inflation that has happened to the word GOD, and that loads of people can be called this name?
Also the early church fathers believed in the deity of Jesus, as can be seen here. (Quotes in English)