Who can be rightfully called, “god,” or “God?”

Who can be rightfully called, “god,” or “God?”

I certainly do not have enough hair on my head to count the multitude of answers, from people, to this question. Of course, the correct answer is found in the scriptures and it may be easier to answer than many think. The principle of the answer is below, with more detail and scriptures after that.

Do you think that it would be proper to call Moses, God? How about calling others of ancient Israel who judged Israel, such as Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, or Samson, gods? Believe it or not, the Almighty did and it is recorded for us in scripture (Psalms 82:1-6). These ones had authority given them, from Jehovah. They represented qualities of the Almighty in different ways.

Moses represented Jehovah to Pharaoh, as God, in Exodus 7:1 (DARBY), and judged Israel Exodus 18:13

Exodus 7:1:

And Jehovah said to Moses, See, I have made thee God to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

Exodus 18:13:

13 On the next day, Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from the morning to the evening.

Psalms 82:1-6:

82 God presides in the great assembly.
    He judges among the gods.
“How long will you judge unjustly,
    and show partiality to the wicked?” Selah.

“Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless.
    Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy.
    Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”
They don’t know, neither do they understand.
    They walk back and forth in darkness.
    All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I said, “You are gods,
    all of you are sons of the Most High.

Deborah was a prophet of Jehovah and judged Israel

Gideon was a military leader and prophet of Jehovah who judged Israel

Jephthah was a military leader who judged Israel

Samson was given immense strength from Jehovah and judged Israel

Jesus referred to this fact, as a defense, when his enemies tried to find fault with him, to put him to death. The entire account is at John 10:22-39. Jesus’ scriptural defense is found at John 10:34-36 (in bold). Keep in mind, at that moment in time, Jesus had recently opened the eyes of a man born blind (John 9:1-34), stated that he had been before Abraham (John 8:57-59 (WE)), told the Pharisees (Religious leaders) that their Father was the Devil (John 8:44), stated that he was the light of the world (John 8:12), that he was from the realms above (John 8:23), and that he and his Father are one (John 10:30). Jesus’ reply to their accusation was simple. Jesus referred to Psalms 82:1-6 where humans such as judges or others that have authority from the Almighty over others are referred to as “gods” (John 10:34).

John 10:22-39 (WEB);

22 It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem. 23 It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, “How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me. 26 But you don’t believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?”

33 The Jews answered him, “We don’t stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods?’ 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can’t be broken), 36 do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’ 37 If I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me. 38 But if I do them, though you don’t believe me, believe the works; that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

39 They sought again to seize him, and he went out of their hand.”

The religious leaders picked up stones, to stone Jesus. They accused him of blasphemy.  They accused him of making himself “a god” (NWT); “God” (NIV) (John 10:33).

There is a lot of contention on how John 10:33 should be translated. That is why I presented both translations (NWT/NIV). It does not matter much either way. The judges who judged Israel, included Moses, who was made by Jehovah to be, “God to Pharaoh” (With a capital G). In any case, Jesus set their thoughts straight by also reiterating what they most likely heard before, that Jesus said that he was “the Son of God,” in verse 36. Jesus’ enemies could not have thought that he called himself “God,” as if the Almighty. If Jesus’ enemies would have heard Jesus state that, for a certainty, they would have brought that as a charge worthy of death, in front of Pilate. Rather of charging Jesus as saying that he “made himself the Son of God,” which they did (John 19:6-7), they would have charged him with saying that he “made himself God,” that is, the Almighty. This would have been a more serious “crime.” They did not say that he made himself, “The Father,” or anything else.

John 19:6-7 (WEB);

When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they shouted, saying, “Crucify! Crucify!”

Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves, and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” ‘

The ones who judged Ancient Israel and derived their authority from the Almighty, were also called “sons of the Most High,” in Psalms 82:6. Moses, in Deuteronomy 33:1 (DARBY) is called “the man of God.” In comparison, just because Jesus said that he was the Son of God, did not make him anymore the Almighty than the “gods, sons of the Most High” spoken about in Psalms 82:6. You are either someone or you are not. However, Jesus was able to reflect his Father’s qualities on a grander scale.

Psalms 82 (RSV):

God has taken his place in the divine council;

    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I say, “You are gods,
    sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like men,
    and fall like any prince.”

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
    for to thee belong all the nations!

The Almighty even made Moses, as God, when he sent him to Pharaoh:

Exodus 7:1 (ASV);

“And Jehovah said unto Moses, See, I have made thee as God to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.”

Just because Moses was sent to and made him as God to Pharaoh, by the Almighty, does not make Moses the Almighty. Moses was Jehovah’s representative (Exodus 7:1) and was given authority by him.

Likewise, it can be proper to refer to Jesus as God, but not Almighty God. He has authority given to him from the Father, the Almighty, over others, and was sent by him to be his representative (John 5:42-44, John 17:8). But just as it is in Moses’ case, that does not make him the Almighty.

John 5:42-44 (TPT);

42 for I know what kind of people you really are, and I can see that the love of God has found no home in you. 43 I have come to represent my Father, yet you refuse to embrace me in faith. But when someone comes in their own name and with their own agenda, you readily accept him. 44 Of course you’re unable to believe in me. For you live for the praises of others and not for the praise that comes from the only true God.”

John 5:42-44 (TLB);

“42 “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me, for as I know so well, you don’t have God’s love within you. 43 I know, because I have come to you representing my Father and you refuse to welcome me, though you readily enough receive those who aren’t sent from him, but represent only themselves! 44 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the only God!”

John 17:8 (TPT);

And the very words you gave to me to speak
    I have passed on to them.
    They have received your words
    and carry them in their hearts.
    They are convinced that I have come from your presence,
    and they have fully believed that you sent me to represent you.”

John 17:8 (Interlinear Bible);

“For the words which You gave to Me, I have given to them. And they received, and truly knew that I came out from beside You; and they believed that You sent Me.”

Thomas did nothing wrong when he referred to Jesus as his God. Jesus had authority given him from the Almighty. John 20:28 (ASV); “Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” This did not mean that Jesus was the Almighty any more than Moses or any of the gods referred to in Psalms 82:6.

Satan is called a god, in 2 Corinthians 4:4. His authority could have only been given to him by the Almighty. His authority had to have been real, in order for him to tempt Jesus (Luke 4:5-7, John 14:30).

2 Corinthians 4:4 (WEB);

“4 in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.”

Luke 4:5-7 (WEB);

‘5 The devil, leading him up on a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. The devil said to him, “I will give you all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want. If you therefore will worship before me, it will all be yours.” ‘

John 14:30 (WEB);

“30 I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world comes, and he has nothing in me.” Denoting Satan’s authority.

Humans and the devil have been called “gods” or “God.” They all had a measure of authority over others, from the Almighty. No one else, other than the Almighty, has ever been called, the Almighty God, who is, Yahweh (Jehovah).