Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ye are NOT gods

Another attempt to wrongly reinterpret

Contrary to John 10:34 & Ps 82:6, ye are NOT gods.

As an on-going proliferation, the “overly grace” believers continue their re-interpretations of scriptures with the skewed lenses of insisting that one, upon born again, is instantly and completely made perfect and righteous, and stays that way, for life, regardless of him sinning, including not needing to confess sin and ask for forgiveness, despite it being taught by the Lord Himself, or dictated by 1 John 1:9, for they believe that all sins, past, present and FUTURE, are forgiven of him AT his born-again moment. It is already unbearable that they use grace and love of God to justify the call to just bask in the grace of God, and ignore exhortation of good works, claiming that they already have the full mind of Christ at born-again, and therefore, have no need of anyone suggesting to them that they ought to or should or should try to do anything good. Their doctrines are so skewed that they believe they have arrived, when the whole counsel of the Word of God is suggesting that we are on a journey of holiness and righteousness, that we are to be holy as God is holy, we are to perfect holiness out of reverence for God, we are to imitate Christ, and grow to be more Christ-like, and that the Christian life is one, where we are no longer of the world but are in the world, and so we have to endure and be long-suffering as men, dependant on God’s love, grace and mercy, to run on, to complete the race marked for us, overcoming until the end.

And now it has come to my attention that among the overly grace believers, there are those who are re-interpreting John 10:34 and Ps 82:6 to say that we are gods to further strengthen their claim of perfectness and righteousness of a born-again. This is a misinterpretation, and must be pointed out. The clearly unacceptable thing that such overly grace believers are doing is that they are on a mission to discredit the church (institutional or otherwise), which if they have any sense of rightness in them, should have recognized that they are a part of (and should stop tearing it apart), labeling teachings by the church as lies, when many such accusations are relative emphases. It is one thing to put different emphases on different aspects of the faith, but is another, to spin new core theologies of the faith, which is what many of these overly grace believers are doing. We, as believers, must love, even the overly grace believers, just as God loves the sinners, but just as God hates sins, so must we also hate organized false teachings being spread in the church body, even when Scripture had it that, in the last days, there will be false teachings coming into the body to mislead even the elects.

Let me try to dispel the claim that we are gods by looking at Psalm 82 & the relevant verses of John 10. I will deal with Psalm 82 in my usual commentary style, with particular emphasis to point out that “gods” in the psalm was not referring to gods as in deities (god and goddess), as in god like Yahweh or Jehovah or LORD is God, or as Jesus or the Holy Spirit is God, in fact, not even as (the lower) angels.

Psalm 82

A psalm of Asaph.

1 God presides in the great assembly;
he gives judgment among the "gods":
2 "How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
[The psalmist, Asaph, declared that God presides in the great assembly; He gives judgment among the rulers and judges or any others who are in positions to judge. This is the most logical interpretation of the word “gods” here. Let me explain:

I believe this psalm was an outcry against men, and based on my interpretation, it was particularly against the rulers and judges or any others who were in positions to judge, and even lead. It was not an outcry targeted against God. Verse 2 was very clear in meaning, the psalmist was expressing that it had been going on for a long time, that the unjust had be defended for, and partiality had been shown to the wicked; it could not be directed at God. The “you” in verse 2 could not have been referring to God, because simply God could not be defending the unjust and had shown partiality to the wicked. God may allow certain wickedness to continue on, but it is another matter to suggest that God has defended the unjust and shown partiality to the wicked. God is holiness, and there is no wickedness, not even a tiny bit, in God. God is good all the time. In verse 1, “he gives judgment among the “gods”, simply mean God judges among the men rulers and judges, and leaders or those who lead. The Psalmist was trying to drive home the point that we should not forget we are just vice-regents to judge and to lead; there is still God who presides and judges men in the exact same roles that He had called us to play in the world.

The “you” here, in verse 2, was referring to men, particularly, rulers and judges or any others in positions to judge. Now, if you are thinking and asking the question of whether or not, there is a basis for my claim, besides saying that it is logical, you are perfectly justified, but I will give you the answer when we come to the same word, “gods” in verse 6, which is what the overly grace believers are using as the verse to claim god status.

Before I move on to the next verse, is it possible that verse 1 was referring to God presiding in great assembly of deities or real gods? The answer is “no”, because verse 2 & the subsequent verses 3-4 suggested to us that men were being referred to. Now, this is a very short psalm, and if you believe with me that the psalmist was expressing concern over the state of affairs of men with appeal to God Almighty, and not {affairs} of the deities or gods, these verses in the body of this short psalm had to refer to men. Furthermore, verse 7 (we will see later) clearly indicated that men were being referred to.]
3 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
[The “you” in verse 2 were asked by the psalmist to defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed, rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. The “gods” in verse 1 and the “you” in verse 2 were referring to the same – men, particularly, the rulers and judges or any others in positions to judge. In other words, the rulers and judges who purportedly were answerable to God (as in verse 1), but instead were doing the things in verse 2, were being exhorted by the psalmist to do the things he listed in verses 3 & 4.]
5 "They know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
[“They” here referred to the people mentioned in verses 3 & 4, namely, the weak and fatherless, the poor and oppressed, and the needy. This category of people, according to the psalmist, they were ignorant and lacked understanding, they stumbled around among the wicked, and justice for them was perverted. They walked about (walked on, KJV) in darkness, not “they walked in darkness”. So, wicked were not them, but those who perverted righteousness and justice.

What was meant by the foundations of the earth, or the foundations of the earth were shaken? King David, in his various psalms, left us some clue. In psalm 11:2-3, these are what we read:

2For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.
3 When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?"

And in psalm 89:14 we read this, concerning foundation (of the throne of God):

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
love and faithfulness go before you.

It can be inferred from these that the foundations of the earth having been shaken, was referring to the righteousness and justice of God having been destroyed or perverted.

I believe the choice of the psalmist in using the phrase “foundations were shaken” was intentional to signify that God would be angry. An idea of this we can see in David’s Song of Praise recorded for us in 2 Sam 22. This song of praise was authored by David after his deliverance from King Saul (and his other enemies). We, of course, know that despite David’s righteous and honorable dealings with King Saul, the latter was bent on dealing with David unjustly and with wicked intentions. In verse 8 of 2 Sam 22, we read during the time of David’s distress,

The earth trembled and quaked,
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they trembled because He {God} was angry

As in the many scenarios recorded in Scripture when God’s foundations, of righteousness and justice were shaken, we could expect God to act to reinstitute those foundations again; and that was what the psalmist was banging on, in his concluding verse 8 below, which we would address in a moment.]
6 "I said, 'You are "gods";
you are all sons of the Most High.'
7 But you will die like mere men;
you will fall like every other ruler."
[Now, the verse of contention, v6; the psalmist said, ‘you are “gods”’. The “you” was referring to the people in verse 2, and the “gods” was the same “gods” in verse 1. The Strong no. used (Hebrew) for “gods” here, was H430, and when one looks at the Lexicon for the meaning, one will find that besides the meaning of true god related meaning like God, god, goddess, deities, there is another, and that is “rulers and judges”. One can see from the context of the psalm which I have also amplified, “rulers and judges” was the best fit for the meaning intended by the psalmist for the word “gods” used in verse 1 and verse 6.

In fact, the subsequent verse, v7, further suggests that the psalmist was referring to men, the “gods” will die like mere men; they would fall like every other ruler.

So, verses 6 & 7 should be interpreted as: You, rulers and judges or any others in positions to judge, and even lead, you were all sons of the Most High (God) {and they were, Israelites were the sons of the Most High}, but you would die like mere men, you would fall like every other ruler (without any distinction as sons of the Most High).
8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are your inheritance.
[The psalmist finished off this outcry against the judges and rulers of his time (the “gods”), with plea for God to arise and judge the earth, for all the nations are His.

One would realize the significance of this verse 8 when one scrutinizes the text surrounding John 10:34 where Jesus quoted, “You are gods”.]

It is very clear that the “gods” referred to in this psalm were referring to the rulers and judges or any others in positions to judge, nothing of the sort that suggested that men who were the children of God were gods. So, even when we are born again, and become children of God, we are not gods, not in this life, anyway.

John 10:34 explained

Now, I will proceed to talk about John 10:34 which referred back to the key verse which we have just looked at, Ps 82:6.

The background to verse 34 was this (you can read them from John 10:22-33): It was the time of the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem, and it was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon Colonnade. The Jews gathered around Him, and asked Jesus not keep them in suspense but to tell them plainly who He was (since prior to this, they had seen Jesus did a number of miracles, including opening the eyes of a blind). Jesus answered them saying that He had already told them but they just wouldn’t believe. Jesus declared to them that He and the Father God were one. The Jews on hearing that wanted to stone Jesus for blasphemy, saying that Jesus, “a mere man, claim to be God”. Jesus answered them by quoting Ps 82:6 in verse 34:

34Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? 35If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? (John 10:34-36)

At first glance, it may appear that Jesus was trying to say that men are gods since the Jews accused Him of blasphemy by stating He, a mere man, was claiming to be God. But if one thinks more deeply, that could not be the intention of Jesus, it would have been a lame answer if that was what it was intended to mean, for if it were so, then every man could likewise claim that he was God since the argument was that everyone was a god. And if that were, also the meaning for “gods” in Ps 82:6, wouldn’t it be obvious to the Jews as well, that everyone was a god. That was not what Jesus was saying; but first, let us look at the Greek word used here, in John 10:34, since the New Testament was in Greek, and the Psalms being part of the Old Testament, were in Hebrew.

The Strong no. (Greek) for “gods” in verse 34 is G2316, and the Lexicon gives the same groups of meaning as the Hebrew H430. The clear additional meaning was the meaning, “of God” or “things or that of God” which was not clear from H430. What is important and relevant to us though is that G2316 has in it as well, the meaning of “gods” as representative or vice-regent, chiefly magistrates and judges. Now, this is the meaning of “gods” in verse 34 of this John 10, same as that in Ps 82:6, namely, rulers and judges or any others in positions to judge. Referring to the Jews in the temple, perhaps, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and even other Jews who were knowledgeable enough to have considered blasphemy and wanted to stone Jesus, Jesus was pointing out that they were indeed rulers and judges, and people in positions to judge, and even lead others, yet, just as in the law (wide application of the law included the whole of the Old Testament, including the Psalms), they, rulers and judges were not judging rightly. Jesus elaborated in verses 35 & 36. Jesus said the psalmist, unto whom the word of God came to {some have preferred “whom” as referring to the “gods”, i.e. they were judges called of God}, had called them, including the Jews whom Jesus were referring to, gods, meaning rulers and judges, and any others in positions to judge; and as such gods (meaning rulers and judges), they had not judged rightly and had perverted God’s righteousness and justice (you can read these in Ps 82), and now, they, again as gods (meaning rulers and judges), wanted to say of Him, Jesus, the Ruler and Judge, whom the Father God had set apart and sent into the world, as having blasphemed when He had said that He was the Son of God when they {the rulers and judges} were only “of God” or the representatives or vice-regents of God, and He, Jesus was The Representative or The Vice-Regent of God, coming to fulfill Ps 82, according to the plea of the psalmist in the last verse, v8 - Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.

In essence, Jesus had just answered them, Jesus said He was the fulfillment of Ps 82, the Ruler and Judge to come, because the sons of God (Jews, generally), of God, as rulers and judges, were not judging right, allowing the foundations of God, righteousness and justice, to be shaken. It should also be noted that Jesus, followed through, from verses 34-36, to state that Jews, as rulers and judges, of God, should believe that He was OF GOD since He was doing the works of God (to help the poor and needy, the weak and oppressed, by works of miracles, which were part of the works of God), but instead the response from them was that they again were upset, and wanted to seize Him even more. The response, I believe, was because Jesus was insinuating that they (being the gods) did not do their job right {Jesus had no need to spell them out, it was all in Ps 82, and they knew it}, and that was why He had to come!

Of course, during Jesus’ ministry on earth, He moved only in righteousness and justice, and love and faithfulness went before Him, as in Ps 89:14. He will return again, to finally take up His position as the Ruler and Judge.

Use of Daniel 2:47 showed the overly grace believers were wrong

Now, the overly grace believers also quoted another verse in the Bible and use it together with the above to adamantly suggest that we should acknowledge ourselves as gods. And this verse is Daniel 2:47 –

The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery." (Daniel 2:47)

Now, the Strong no. for gods here, in verse 47 is not the same as that for Ps 82. Here the no. was H426, and this is the one that has essentially one meaning, god as in deities, or as in God is god. In fact, if indeed the psalmist of Ps 82 had intended that he was referring to men as gods, he would have used H426 rather than H430. Of course, the King Nebuchadnezzar was referring to the LORD as God of gods (and not referring to the LORD as the God of men). In fact, by using this Daniel verse, the overly grave believers were contradicting themselves; it was just that they did not know H426 was used in Daniel 2:47, instead of H430, as used in Ps 82 which had the corresponding Greek form in G2316, as used in the New Testament in John 10:34.

The Conclusion

Ye are not gods (H426). Those wanting to know another of core tenet of the faith being reinterpreted by the overly grace believers, can read my separate article,"1 John 1:9 is for believers".

Anthony Chia – We are NOT gods, yet we, of God, are rulers and judges. Be good rulers and judges, fellow believers, as we wait for the final coming of the Ruler and Judge, our big brother, Jesus.

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