I said you are gods" John 10:34
In John 10:34-35, when the Savior was being accused of blasphemy by the Pharisees, for saying that he and his Father are one, he responded by saying,
John 10:34-35 "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I said you are gods', If He, Yahuweh, called them gods, to whom the word of God came and the Scripture cannot be broken (meaning, this cannot be denied), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, I am the Son of God"?
(The word translated 'god' or 'gods' throughout the Gospels and Epistles is the Greek word "theos", and in the Hebrew it's the word "elohim". We'll discuss that more in a moment.)
The Messiah was quoting from Psalm 82, where the Heavenly Father, Yahuweh, is referring to the judges of Israel as "gods" (Heb: elohim) and His children, "I said you are gods (Heb: elohim), and all of you are sons of the Most High" (Ps 82:6), after which the Savior posed this question to the Pharisees, "if He, Almighty Yahuweh, called them 'gods' (Gr: theos) to whom the word of God (Gr: theos) came, then why are you saying I'm blaspheming by saying I'm the "son" of God (Heb: elohim)? - John 10:34
In the past I've asked a number of religious "leader" who it was that the Almighty Himself was referring to as "gods" in Psalms 82:6, and quoted again by the Savior in John 10:34, and strangely enough many that call themselves ministers today had no idea who these 'gods' where.
Which is sad, because I'm certain that when someone comes to understand of who the Messiah was talking about here many of the misconceptions that so many people have today about who the Only True God is, that being the Father, Yahuweh (John 17:3; John 20:17), would be cleared up.
Before we take a look at just who these "gods" are that are being referred to by the Savior, in John 10:34-35, I'd like to point out a few important facts that should be understood first.
The Hebrew word "elohim"
The word 'god' in the Tanak, the so-called Old Testament, is the Hebrew word "elohim". And in the Hebrew language all the letters are the same case, in other words in the Hebrew to this day there isn't such a thing as upper or lower case letters. There's no such thing as a big G's or little g's, big E's or little e's. The entire Hebrew alphabet is made up of the same case letters. It is totally up to the discretion of the translator as to whether he or she translates the Hebrew word 'elohim' with a capitol 'G' or small 'g', it has nothing at all to do with the "original text" of the Tanak.
And the same is true with the 'koine' Greek that was used in the writings of the 'New' Testament. Unlike the modern 'classical' Greek the earlier Koine Greek had "only" upper case letters. So when the Greek word "theos", which is the Greek word for the English word "god", was translated with a capitol "G" or small "g" was again totally up to the discretion of the one doing the translating.
The reason for stating that is to show that when the Hebrew word 'elohim' (Eng: god) appeared in the Tanak, that is the 'Old' Testament, or the Greek word 'theos' (Eng: god) appeared in the 'New' Testament, it was totally up to the discretion of the translator as to whether he made the word 'elohim' (in the Hebrew) or 'theos' (in the Greek) with a big 'G' or little 'g', it "WAS NOT INSPIRED" to be written that way.
When a Hebrew or Greek speaking person read the Scriptures in it's original form he or she simply read the word 'elohim' in the Hebrew and 'theos' in the Greek and the individual had to decide, depending on the context, as to who was being spoken of. For there are many individuals in the scriptures are referred to as "elohim'" and/or "theos". Some examples would be, the Almighty Yahuweh of course, the Messiah Yahoshua, Moses, the judges of Israel, angels, and the devil himself, are all referred to as "elohim" or "theos". And could have been translated as "god" or "gods". As the Savior did in John 10:34 by calling the "judges" of Israel "gods". We'll discuss that in much more detail in this article.
In summary: when the word 'god' appears in the bible whether it has a big or little 'g' was totally up to the discretion of the translators, for in the original "inspired" text of both the 'Old and New' Testaments all the letters were always the same case. And of course, depending on the translators religious preference, say for instance the translator believed in a 'Trinity' then whenever the word 'god' was used with reference to the Messiah, Yahoshua, they would make it a big "G'. If they didn't believe the Messiah was the Almighty or 'part' of a Trinity then they would use a small 'g' to refer to the Savior.
I've heard so many people in the past say, "Well in my bible the Messiah is called 'god' with a big "G", not realizing that is totally irrelevant. The translators because of their personal bias' in believing in a Trinity, are misleading many people.
Another important thing to understand concerning the word 'elohim' or 'g-d' is that it "IS NOT" a name, it's a title, and it simply means "mighty one" (singular) or "mighty ones" (plural), depending on it's use in the sentence. Similar to the English words 'sheep' or 'fish', which could be referring to one fish or one sheep or many fish and/or many sheep, depending on the context in which the word is being used in the sentence. And the words 'elohim' (Hebrew) and 'theos' (Greek) are used throughout the Scriptures to describe a number of various individuals. Some of which we'll be taking a look at now.
Angels are called "elohim" (or gods)."
Ps 8:5; "For thou hast made him a little lower than the 'angels' and has crowned him with glory and honor."
(the word translated 'angel' here is #430 in the Strong's concordance, the Hebrew 'elohim.' Which is almost always translated "God" referring to Almighty Yahuweh.
The "judges" of Israel are also referred to as 'elohim' (gods) in Exo 22:8 -9; Psa 82:6; John 10:34. Which we'll take a look at more in depth in a moment.
The Almighty made Moses a 'elohim' or 'god' to Pharaoh (Exo 7:1).
The prophet Samuel is called an 'elohim' in 1 Sam 28:13. Some translation translated the word 'elohim' found in this passage as 'spirit' or 'divine being' but it's #430 'elohim' in the Strong's Concordance, the same word translated 'God' over 2000 other times in the Tanak.
Satan of course is referred to by the apostle Paul as the "god of this world" (2 Cor 4:4). The word in the Greek would be "theos".
All the pagan mighty ones are called elohim or 'gods' by the writers of the scriptures. (Judges 11:24; 1 Kings 11:33; etc.)
And of course second only to the Almighty Yahuweh himself, is our Master and Savior, Yahoshua the Messiah, who is also referred to as 'god', Hebrew - elohim, or in the Greek - theos.
You see the word Hebrew 'elohim' or the Greek word 'theos' translated as 'god' is not a name, it's a title. Translated it simply means "mighty one" or "mighty ones" depending on the context.
Let's take a look at a few of those examples that were mentioned. Turn to Psalm 82, if you would. This is the passage the Savior was quoting to the Pharisees in John 10:34-35, as they tried to accuse him of blasphemy for saying he was the "Son of God".
(never is such a term "god the son" every used in the entire bible.)
In Psalm 82:1, we read, "God" (Heb: elohim) stands in the congregation of the mighty, He judges among the "gods"(Heb: elohim)",
You'll notice that both the word "God" and "gods" are the exact same Hebrew word, 'elohim.' That's #430 in the Strong's Concordance. In the Hebrew both words 'elohim' used here are all the same case.
Notice also how this word 'elohim' can be used in a singular sense 'god' or in the plural 'gods'. Again, depending on the context and the verb tense being used.
As a matter of fact the word 'elohim' #430 in the Strong's Concordance is used a total of 2,605 times in th Tanak, so-called Old Testament, and 2,366 of those times it's used in the 'singular' sense and only 239 times in the 'plural' sense. So contrary to what so many 'minister' try to say, in that "elohim" is always referring to a plurality, the fact is it's almost always used in the 'singular' sense. We'll discuss that more at length later.
In verse 2, the Almighty rebukes these 'elohim' or 'gods' for judging unjustly and showing partiality to the wicked.
Psa 82:2 How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah.
Verse 3 & 4, He commands them to 'Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked."
In verse 5, because "They (the poor and fatherless) know not, neither will they understand: they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.'
In verse 6, the Most High, Almighty Yahuweh, calls these 'men' the judges of Israel 'elohim or 'gods'
Verse 6, "I have said, You are gods(Heb: elohim) , and all of you are children of the Most High."
Notice that not only does the Almighty call these mere men, the judges of Israel, 'elohim' or 'gods' but He also calls them 'His children,' - 'children of the Most High.'
But even though they are 'His Children' because of their judging unjustly they will all die like men.
Many people are unaware of the FACT that the judges of Israel were known as 'gods'. NOT false 'gods' mind you, but 'good gods', "children of the Most High". vs 6
Also in Exodus the 'judges' are referred to as 'elohim' (or 'g-ds) but it's somewhat concealed by the translators.
Ex21:6 "Then his master shall bring him unto the 'judges' (Heb: elohim, or g-ds, #430 in the Strong's); he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever." (KJV)
Ex22:8-9; If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the 'judges' (Heb: elohim, #430 in the Strongs), to see whether he had put his hand unto his neighbor's goods, ...the cause of both parties shall come before the 'judges' (Heb: elohim, #430); and whom the 'judges' (Heb: elohim #430) shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbor. (KJV)
Ex 22:28; Thou shall not revile 'the gods' (Heb: elohim, referring to the 'judges' - #430 in the Strong's) or curse the ruler of thy people. (KJV)
The reason for calling the judges of Israel gods, or elohim, was due to the fact that they were acting on the Almighty's behalf in judging people on matters of life and death situations. They, the judges, decided whether an individual was guilty or innocent, deserving of the death sentence, usually by stoning, or some other punishment. And because of their position they were called 'gods' (Heb: 'elohim'). Keep in mind these aren't men calling the judges 'gods' it's the Almighty Himself calling them 'gods' and He also calls them "His sons, children of the Most High". We'll discuss that point, the judges being called 'gods'' further on in this article, in the context of the Messiah Yahoshua being the ultimate 'judge'.
This Hebrew word, 'elohim' (translated 'god' or 'gods') again IS NOT a name, but rather it's a title. A title which is 'almost' exclusively used in reference to the Heavenly Father, BUT as we've just seen it's used also to describe a number of other individuals as I mentioned above, such as the Savior, Yahoshua the Messiah of course, Moses, Samuel the prophet, the Judges of Israel, and angels.
Psa 8:5 Yet You have made him a little lower than the angels (elohim or gods), And You crown him with glory and majesty!
Ps 8:5 is of course a prophetic passage referring to the Messiah. And the 'angels' that the Messiah was made a little lower than, are referred to as 'elohim' or gods, #430 in the Strong's Concordance.
(You'll have to look the word 'angels' up in the concordance to verify that it's elohim, #430)
Ex 7:1, And Yahuweh (the L-RD) said unto Moses, See, I have made you god (elohim - #430 in the Strong's) to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.
So Moses was made god (Heb: elohim) to Pharaoh. Remember the word 'elohim' translated simply means "mighty one" or "mighty ones" in this case referring to Moses it's used in the singular sense as 'god' or "mighty one".
Samuel - the Prophet
When King Saul approached the witch of Endor asking her to bring up the prophet Samuel, who had died sometime early, she at first refused. But after Saul assured her that no harm would come to her she agreed.
When the witch cried out and Saul perceived that she seen the prophet Samuel he asked her, “…what do you see?“ and the witch said, “I see a god (#430) coming up out of the earth.” (1 Sam 28:13 - ASV)
The words “a god” used by the witch in verse 13 is the Hebrew word ‘elohim’ - #430 in the Strong’s Concordance. It‘s the same Hebrew word translated “God, god, gods“ almost 3,000 other times in the Tanak. Was Samuel “a god”? Absolutely he was, the prophet Samuel was a ‘mighty one’, just as the judges of Israel, angels, Moses, and of course more prominent above all ‘gods’ or ‘mighty ones‘ is the Messiah Yahoshua. But just as Samuel, the judges, angels, and Moses received their power and might from the “Only True Mighty One” Yahuweh (John 17:3), so did Yahoshua the Messiah received his power and might from the Father, the only true God.
Mat 28:18 And Yahoshua came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
John 5:30 "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me
Luk 10:22 "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, …"
John 3:35 "The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.
John 13:3 Yahoshua, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,
Act 2:36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that Yahuweh has made Him both Lord and Messiah--this Yahoshua whom you crucified."
Yahoshua the Messiah
Remember earlier, we talked about the reason the 'judges' were referred to as gods (Heb: elohim), was because they were given the power and authority to judge on behalf of the Almighty Himself? With that in mind, please turn in your Bibles to Act 17:30-31 and allow the Bible to teach us.
Act 17:30-31, "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance Yahuweh is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He (Yahuweh, the Only True Elohim) has fixed a day in which He, Yahuweh, will judge the world in righteousness through "a Man" whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him (Yahoshua) from the dead.
So we see that Elohim, Yahuweh, will judge the world in righteousness, but how will He do it? He'll do it through "a Man" the Man, Yahoshua the Messiah. Therefore as the 'judges of Israel' were referred to as 'gods' or 'elohim' because of their standing in place of Yahuweh to judge on matters of life and death, how much more should the Savior who will judge the world on behalf of the Almighty HImself, be called 'god'? And of course He is referred to as 'god' in such passages as: Isa 9:6, John 20:28; and Heb 1:9, "...therefore god (theos), your God (theos)..., See John 20:17, for verification that the Father, Yahuweh, is the God of the Messiah, Yahoshua.
The apostle Paul comments on the fact that many are called 'gods' in 1 Cor 8:6, "there are many that are called 'gods' (theos), yet for us there is but one God (theos), even the Father"
And to deny this Basic Truth, that the Father Yahuweh, is the "Only True God", is to deny the very words of the Savior Himself, when He said,
"This is Eternal Life the they might know YOU, Father, the only true God (or Mighty One), and Yahoshua the Messiah, whom YOU sent" John 17:3
I believe that when people understand this concept of the word 'elohim' or 'god' that much of the confusion people often have in believing the Messiah Yahoshua to be part of a Triune godhead would be cleared up. Because the Messiah is called 'god' does not make him part of a "Trinity", something never mentioned in the Bible.
May Yahuweh bless those that are truly seeking after Him, in spirit and truth. Reuven
(Some of the articles that I have listed below have to be added yet. please be patient)
To view other passages that are often times misunderstood click the titles listed below.
- Deut 6:4 "Hear Oh Israel Yahuweh is ONE"
- Who is the Only True Savior, the Father Yahuweh or the Messiah Yahoshua?