“Ye are gods” – what does this mean?


I received from a good friend the following question:

I want to ask you about something, if you are healthy enough to answer. What does Psalm 82:6 mean? Of course, this is connected to John 10:34 as well. And on the same topic, who are the “sons of God” in Genesis and Job?

This topic may look like one topic, in a sense there is an element of being related, but in fact I would regard these as two separate issues. Let’s deal first with the issue of Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34.

Psalm 82 says the following:

82.1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the gods

At first glance, this looks not dissimilar to other passages, as you say in the start of Job is a good example, where God is talking among the angelic host. But see what he says in the next verse:

82.2  How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?

This puts an entirely different slant on it, as we see no cases of angels being given judgement of men. Instead, we are told that we shall judge angels (1 Cor 6.3). This certainly puts human judges on a higher line towards God almighty than the angels themselves, but surely that cannot mean any humans, this may be referring to the elect, or to people within the elect that had been given certain priviledges or responsibilities to represent God in the earth. Let’s see what further light we can find as we read on:

82.3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy

82.4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked

These directives are what God expects from earthly just rulers and judges. If the UK’s leaders and judges cared about that, they would allow Julian Assange to go to Ecuador today, now that he has been granted asylum, amongst a million million other less topical things that they ought to do, and have failed to do. Why do the earthly rulers fail to do justice?

82.5 They know not, neither will they understand, they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course

This earth, given for this time over to sin and the devil and his legions, is out of course at its very foundations. There is a lack of the knowledge of God and His righteousness even among those whom Providence has set in the most priviledged place – that of being a judge deciding the destiny of other men, able to stand for them in the place of the true Judge, whose appearing is not yet, and therefore representing to them, to a degree, the position of God.

82.6 I have said, Ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.

82.7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

They have been granted priviledges above other men, these earthly magistrates and judges. But they are not really divine, they are mortals and will die just as other men, therefore they should not get carried away by their elite status, but be humble, and pursue righteousness in their work of judging.

Finally Asaph, who wrote this Psalm, addresses God and calls for His intervention. He is prophetically calling for the return of Christ in order to take back power from the failed and corrupted elite of this world.

82.8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

Now, of course, there are people who put all kinds of additional theology on to these verses. Mormons use this Psalm to hang their aberrant idea that humans eventually become Gods and that our God Jehovah was once a human being like we are. Roman Catholics tend to find in these verses support for the Pope having an office of vicar of Christ on earth. Certainly many if not most popes have been as corrupt as the evil judges described here so maybe they are not far wrong. Watchtower people, falsely known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, use these verses to make out that Jesus is saying, when he quotes them, that he is a god and not really God. Therefore these are verses that have been pressed into service to suit a lot of strange ideas.

A good line of looking at these verses is to consider this: before Jesus comes along and gives us extra light on these verses over a thousand years later, what did the Jews themsleves think of the verses and what did they consider the “gods” to refer to? Certainly Jews have never been in any doubt about there being one true God, but the Jewish scriptures talk about false gods, about certain beings in early history being called sons of God and of angels being referred to as sons of God.

As you might imagine, Midrashim have more than one interpretation of what the verses in Psalm 82 mean. Yes, there are those who think they refer to angels, although how angels can die as men or be judges of men is beyond me and I reject that interpretation as remote. Another interpretation, the most common, is that they refer to human judges, as I outline above. There are two other interpretations in Midrashim which are interesting and may well be valid in addition to the judges interpretation. One of these is the idea that it refers to Israel at Sinai, receiving the law, which is interesting, but if you slot that idea into the whole psalm as I did with the judges argument, you’ll see it becomes more problematic. The final interpretation is that it refers to Melchizedek, the founder of a priestly order mentioned in the Book of Hebrews and elsewhere. I can’t see Melchizedek being upbraided for corruption, though, as the “gods”in this Psalm are, so I don’t really give much credence to that interpretation either.

So I think that what we have is a two level way of looking at this, on one hand we have the earthly elite, the judges, the elite of Israel, and by extension the world, many of whose elite even today are Israeli or at least Jewish. On the other hand we have a possible further understanding of the verse as referring to Israel at Sinai, and this was one of the interpretations that had currency when Jesus Christ appears and speaks to the priests of Israel.

So with those considerations in mind, let us go to John 10. The context is that Jesus has just told the leader of the temple, standing in Solomon’s porch, that He and the Father are one. Their reaction to that is to start looking for stones to stone Him. Let’s take up the narrative there:

10.32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

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.

So at this point we have the Jews recognising Christ’s claim to Divinity, by saying that He and the Father are one, and what is Christ’s response to this? You may find it strange, as here Jesus has the ideal chance to say, “That’s right, I am God”. But this was not the time for that. Had the princes of the world known the true identity of Christ, they never would have riled up the hearts of their servants around Jesus to take Him to the cross, the demons and the devils running earth under satan would have done all they could to avoid that happening, as it was their ultimate downfall. Therefore Christ is never explicit about His Godhead prior to the Resurrection, which alone and in itself confirms it.

10.34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

10.35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

10.36 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?

So here Christ in His wisdom shows them how even  divine status had been accorded by Jews to messengers of God (“them, to whom the word of God came”) and this effectively sidesteps the issue, although the wise would already draw their conclusions about who Christ was from what had already been said. Here we have a possible fifth interpretation raised by some commentators, that the “gods”are those who actually wrote the Bible, people like Moses, etc. But Jesus doesn’t say that. He doesn’t say via whom tthe word came, but to whom it came. So again we have the people of Israel. This giving more credence of course to the Israel at Sinai argument.

In that case the “gods” effectively would be the leaders and judges of the nation of Israel, and by extension the nation, as our nations are symbolised by the Kings, Queens and other Heads of State which represent them. It doesn’t mean that they are immortal, it means that they have privileges to represent God to ordinary people – but privilege comes with responsibility.

But if they were not wrong to use the term “gods” to talk about their leaders, then how much more should the true anointed, sanctified and sent into this world by the Father, be able to be called the Son of God, He asks. Of course He is understating Himself here, not showing them that He indeed is the Alpha and the Omega, the very Creator of the World, able by speaking to destroy these people and vaporise them where they stood if He so chose, but He gave them the measure of understanding He wanted for them, namely to underline their hypocrisy.

This is therefore a separate line of thinking than in passages in Genesis and Job where apparently spiritual beings, not native to this part of Creation, are referred to as sons of God. The context is really the main tool we have in distinguishing it.

Hope that was helpful.

About David J. James

53 year old accountant who loves languages, literature, history, religion, politics, internet, vlogging and blogging and lively written discussion. Conservative Christian, married to an angel, we have three kids, and live in Warsaw, Poland. I can help you with company set-up, bookkeeping, payroll, tax, audit and due diligence all over Poland and the region.

Posted on 16/08/2012, in Answers to your questions, Creation v Evolution, Religion and Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Not really, your reply is nothing but psychological evasion. God or Jesus doesn’t say anything about earthly rulers or kings you just interpreted it that way. Jesus was amongst regular Jews, at the time there were no Jewish King or Rulers, the Romans owned the Jews. In fact Jesus said it is”written in your law” meaning the very essence of your being is Godly.Aren’t we mad in God’s Image? Didn’t God breathe his “breath” in us to give us life? In terms of false Gods, it was meant for those who claimed they were The way to salvation and not Jesus, but God AND Jesus said the same thing. Stop trying to create illogical conclusions from obvious words from God and Jesus. God is in the business of fashioning Gods.

    Like

    • Well, like I said, that is the take that Mormons make on it. It goes along with their generally theology that God makes gods who go on to become gods of their own. This is a Book of Mormon idea, that the course of the lord in “one eternal round” (Alma 7:20, Alma 37:12, 1 Nephi 10:19) but in the real Bible the course of history is never considered as a cycle, but as a line with a clear beginning and an ending.

      The appeal of the Mormon theology to the natural mind of Man is clear. Biblical theology about a linear plan of creation and redemption talks about a time line which is a one off, and after that eternity – but we cannot envisage eternity. And so the real Bible never attempts to answer questions such as where God came from, what He will do next after this creation is finished, etc. This leaves unanswered questions which people naturally find hard to deal with and so they seek ways to “tidy up” the theology and give snappy answers to doubters also, as we all know how atheists like to try to stump theists by asking about eternity which none of us have experienced neither can we envisage.

      The Mormon theology of cyclical salvation history, called also “eternal progression” seems to produce a nice answer to this, but it has many down-sides, the biggest one is that it isn’t true. On top of other dangerous aspects like effectively making us all the equals of God and debasing and downgrading God Himself in this way, this theology also doesn’t really answer the questions that atheists ask anyhow, because we still don’t know how it all started and whee it will all end, it is just all pushed out into endlessness. It is, in other words, one great big cop-out. Or, to use your own words, “nothing but psychological evasion”.

      My interpretation of these verses on the other hand is, unlike yours, consistent with at least some of the Rabbinical tradition. Jesus is clearly quoting Psalms – even you presumably wouldn’t be so far gone as to presume He was quoting Doctrines and Covenants – and so it’s natural to go to the Psalms and look at the verses in the immediate context (as it let the Bible interpret itself, rather than grab your own sect’s doctrine textbook and see what you are supposed to believe it – something that both you lot and the JWs need to get away from as the way you people study the Bible, you may as well not have an open Bible present at all!). The verses around it show that it must be earthly kings – unless you are saying that God “is in the business” as you quaintly put it, of fashioning corrupt deities?

      Mormonism makes no sense, friend. Well, actually that is a lie, it makes perfect sense, but it makes sense for the devil. It is a major tool of the devil. There are unfortunately 14 million in your anti-christian religion and they often are only there (despite the large number of people who have been falling away) or only get in there by the fact that once, in a remote part of America, the devil was able to achieve a critical mass of enough deceived people to make those in the cult say “all these people can’t be wrong!” Now they think “14 million can’t be wrong” or “the people who built all these really impressive temple buildings can’t be wrong!” (Stalin applied the same technique of course, that’s why he insisted on ‘gifting’ these huge wedding cake palaces to places like Warsaw, Prague, etc).

      Well, unfortunately, 14 million people can be wrong. You need to examine the history of the organisation, in particular its links to freemasonry – another thing you guys share very closely with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

      Now freemasonry is the god of this world (satan)’s major weapon in getting his way and influencing events. The small number of people at the top of freemasonry who actually know what’s going on are highly occultic, Faustian, devil-possessed people who have sold their souls for the wealth and the influence they have – and they do include many of the most wealthy people on this earth (I still wouldn’t change places with them – they price they are going to pay for that is too high and my intact soul in the safekeeping hands of Christ is worth more than the entire riches of this universe.) These people were the ones involved in helping Mormonism get going, against all the odds. Joseph Smith was a Mason, so have most other prophets and leaders of Mormonism been. It is in fact a Masonic invention. Mormon and Mason even sound similar. BUt where you can really tell this is in the Temple ceremonies and the secrets. Even the five points of fellowship ritual, which is plainly masonic, is used in your temple rite. The marriage rite that you go through in the Temple is little more than a Masonic (and therefore demonic) initiation rite.

      You are being told that you are sealed for time and for eternity. You also can do this with a second wife if the first dies, meaning that even though polygamy was banned in “mainstream” Mormonism – (here we see that oddball groups like the FLDS make standard LDS look “mainstream” when it anything but, and Mitt Romney is now being pushed forward by the Illuminati and Masons who run America so that the evil religion of Mormonism call look more “mainstream”) – nevertheless in eternity Mormons are still expecting to be polygamous. They expect to be having marital relationships and making spirit children and populating planets in the future. This is even more direly carnal and bestial a view than the Islamic promise of the 77 houris! And absolutely against the clear information from Jesus about what life in heaven is like, when asked by the Pharisees whose wife a certain hypothetical woman would be, who had been widowed and remarried several times over. He said “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (Matthew 23:29-30). Men will no more be married and have children than angels do, Christ has told you plainly!

      By all means a Christian can expect to recognise his wife in heaven, but he would no more lie with her there than he would with his born sister here. His love and familiarity with her will surely be special, but not sexual. There is no further reproduction for those who are resurrected. They have other joys, and are fulfilled without that.

      So your main unique selling point in Mormon Theology, this eternal sealing matter, flies in the face of Jesus’ plain words. But it is there to terrorize women and children, as they can only be saved, not by their own faith as in the real Testament of Jesus Christ, (not the phoney one) but by the works of a man. If people say that women are disempowered in real christianity because we underline different roles in the family and the Church, then at least we have nothing on you guys, who make the woman less than human at the level of her soul. Shameful. She is not even allowed to know the Temple name of her husband, but has to wait for him to call her out of the grave on Resurrection day, with her name which he by some quirk of freemasonry (which also hates women, so no surprise there) is allowed to know.

      You need to get your soul out of that occultic mess and into some proper relationship with Jesus Christ and some proper Biblical understandings. I’m going to make this a main article in the blog so that I can add a very good youtube film here about Mormonism which every Mormon should watch. If you chicken out of it, you will only have yourselves to blame if you lose your eternity. I am afraid to watch nothing which challenges my faith.

      The problem is, of course, that when Mormons become ex-Mormons, they are not like ex-Exclusive brethren or ex-Roman Catholics, ex-muslims or others who very often end up as Christians. I’ve observed that a much higher percentage of Mormons who leave – and we all know that there is is an embarrasingly large turnover of Mormons coming in and going out, with the average time a new convert remains a Mormon being little over one year – never believe in anything again. That is all linked in to what the real sense of Mormonism is in the hands of its owner the devil. It’s purpose is to so abuse the faith of those in it, including bilking them for their time and money beyond anything shown as normal in Scripture so that the “Church” can be rich, with such ridiculous fairy stories about planet Kolob, about Lucifer being Jesus’ brother, about blacks being an accursed race, nonsense like the Book of Abraham, etc, that when a person emerges from it they feel stupid for having exercised faith, and they fear to exercise faith again. The Mormon church stretches the blind faith of its adherents precisely in order to injure it. And the devil doesn’t care if, of the 14 million Mormons that there are, one or two million might come in and one or two million go out every year. The important thing is that they go out with their faith-capacity so abused that it becomes a much harder thing for them ever to become true Christians.

      Dear Mormon reader, if you have had the guts to follow this far don’t let that plan of the devil’s win in your case. Understand what is going on, leave that synagogue of satan behind and join a proper Christian church today. You’ll find true Christians in a whole series of denominations. Probably doctrinally most helpful would be the Southern Baptists – I don’t align myself with any denomination but for the sake of giving you a safe bet for a good church, if you’re in America as most Mormons are then they will be among the most likely to give you the Gospel and give it good. Most protestant denominations contain plenty of Christians who are right with God, going to heaven and able and happy to help you go with them. The important thing is to know Jesus, the real Jesus, who He is, and to know Him personally.

      Like

  2. A fantastic reply! You present the train of thought in a very pedagogic way that is easy to follow. You also include several interpretations, even the ones you refute, which I’d say is both fair and enlightening. Thank you so much Uncle Davey!

    Like

Your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: