Truth, Understanding, Insight

Son of God

29th November 2008, mgh,hej


10) The Title 'God'

The title of God was applied to Jesus when Thomas saw the risen Christ. He said, “My Lord and my God!” Does the use of this title prove that Jesus is the second person of a Trinity?

If it did, it would be a contradiction to the many passages already referred to that have shown that he is not co-equal with his Father. The same title is used for angels and men who stood in a special relationship to the Creator. If an agent goes forth as a representative of a company, he merges his identity with that of the company which he represents. Similarly, angels and men used God's name when acting as His agents. In Genesis 1, the Elohim (that is the Angels) carried out the work of Yahweh's creation. Jesus spoke to the Jews of men being called gods in the scriptures, saying,

“Is it not written in your Law, 'I said, ye are gods?' If He called them 'gods' unto whom the word of God came, and the scriptures cannot be broken why say ye of him whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, 'You blaspheme,' because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10: 34-35)

Jesus is quoting from Psalm 82, where the divinely appointed priests and elders of Israel are given the title of 'Gods” because they acted and spoke in the name of God. This did not make them a part of Yahweh, nor does it make Jesus a part of Yahweh. This is exactly the point that Jesus is trying to impress on the Jews. He is trying to make it perfectly clear that he is not claiming equality with the Creator.

Those to whom the word of God came, such as the priests in Israel, derived their authority from God, judged on His behalf and were His representatives among the people. (2 Chronicles 19:6, Deuteronomy 19: 17) In both Exodus 7:1 and 4:16, Moses is called 'God'. The angels also spoke and acted in the name of God, without having equality with the Creator.

In most cases, where the word 'God' appears in the Bible, it is used as the equivalent for the Hebrew word 'Elohim', which literally translated is “Mighty Ones”, and is also translated 'angels' (Psalm 8: 5), and 'judges' (Exodus 21: 6; 22: 8-9). In the Revised Version of the Bible, the word is translated 'God' in those instances. It was the ambition of Adam and Eve to become “equal to the gods”, that is the Elohim or the angels. It is the hope of the redeemed that they may become “equal to the angels” (Luke 20: 36). Paul taught that

“we are the children of God and if children then heirs: heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ: if so be we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together.” (Romans 8: 17) and
“we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5: 2)

This is the hope set before the faithful believers. They can obtain the glory of God, divine nature, the name of God and oneness with him as explained by Jesus,

“I pray for them which shall believe on me... that they all may be one ; as You Father are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us.” (John 17: 20-21)

The possession of the name of God does not mean that the name-bearer is equal to the Creator. The apostles were to be “one” in Jesus. The Bible is setting out that what Jesus became and is now, that is, glorious, divine and immortal, the redeemed will become in the future.

Yahweh exalted and promoted Jesus to his position of honour and to be the Saviour of the faithful.

“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus , whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him has God exalted with His right hand to be a prince and a saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5: 30-31)

One of the greatest difficulties in the New Testament is the lack of differentiation of the names and titles applied to the Creator. The Old Testament clearly distinguishes between Yahweh as Creator and our all powerful God and the Elohim, who are the angels and messengers that carry out His will and commands.

We are told in the Bible that no man can look on Yahweh and live, yet Moses saw God. How can this be? The answer is that Moses spoke with the Elohim, as is clearly indicated by the use of the Hebrew 'Elohim'. This is again a very clear proof that Jesus was the Son of God and not God the Son. There are odd cases where some distinction is made in titles in the New Testament. Luke 20: 42-44 quoting from Psalm 110: 1 does clarify the relationship between Jesus and Yahweh.

“And he said to them, How say they that Christ is David's son? And David himself said in the book of Psalms, the LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

David knew that in the future there would be a son, his descendant, who would be greater than he himself had been, a son who would rule the world in peace. Notice the quote from Luke, as in the original from Psalm 110:1, gives a distinction in the term 'lord'. 'The LORD' indicates the Creator, Yahweh, and 'Lord' is in Hebrew Adonai, or lord as we understand it in English. Here again we have the greater LORD, who is Yahweh the Creator elevating a Lord, who is Jesus, to a position of prominence at His right hand until the time is ready for him to return to earth to judge the nations and take up his position as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. This clearly indicates a differentiation between Yahweh and Jesus and the subjection of the Son to His Father.