Which God? Arianism Today

There are only a few things in Christianity that creates such anger in the Christian community as questioning the validity of the Trinity.   And I don’t take questioning the doctrine of the Trinity lightly. But I am fully convinced and as you examine the verses themselves you would be able to at least understand why I have come to my position. The most crucial truth that must be understood is the usage of the word “God” in the Bible. Most Christians of today do not fully understand how the word “God” was used in the Bible. And because of that misunderstanding we have stumbled into error. But I do believe that God is going to use this book and others like it to restore full understanding of the gospel message.

To begin with we will examine the word “God” in the Bible. There are two words in the Bible for “God” that we want to examine one is “Elohim” and the other is “Theos.”

“Elohim” is the word “God” in Hebrew.

“Theos” is the word “God” in Greek.

“God” is the word in English.

Now we must understand that the word “God” is a title. Obviously “God” is most predominately used to define the creator of the universe in the book of Genesis. What would be easier is to call him by his name to prevent confusion. The Jewish people have been blessed with the knowledge of the name of God, but consider it too holy to speak or write. And since God has entrusted his name to them, and they have seen fit to make his name secret we now only have four letters that we do know are in his name. YHWH are the four letters that we know. It is called the “Tetragrammaton” since we do not fully know the name of YHWH. We have turned to titles to attribute to YHWH like the word “God.” But we must understand clearly that the word “God” is not his name, but it is a title used to refer to him. Our concept of the word has changed since the days the Bible was written. Somehow we have come to the assumption that the word “God” can only apply to a deity. But this is entirely untrue, and the loss of this understanding has created confusion to the point of error. What’s most important is understanding how the word has been used in the Bible and it will determine how we can use it today. To prevent confusion whenever the Bible (King James version) writes LORD with all capitals it means that it says “YHWH” in that spot.  So we can identify where in the Bible it uses “YHWH.” What we will be examining is the title “God” which is given to a supreme being. And is used more often than not for ”YHWH” than any other person in the Bible. Let us examine the definition of the word “God”.

God, god a term generally used in the ancient world of beings who have powers or confer benefits that lie beyond the capacity of mortals. In translation the capitalized term God refers to a specific deity and ordinarily to the One God of Israel.[i]

Now that is the definition of the title “God” it refers to “beings who have powers or confer benefits that lie beyond the capacity of mortals.” Now this definition is extremely important to understand the usage of the word “God.” Let us examine versus that use the word God to understand its usage. Since we understand that the Bible does not make mistakes, and because we understand that it is holy and no unclean thing could come from the true words of God. It is safe to use words in the Bible the same way the Bible has used it previously as long as it fits with its previous  uses throughout the Bible. In other words if the Bible uses a certain word in a certain way, it can be used again that way as long as it does not contradict other verses.

    1. 1.      4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, (Gen 2:4 KJV)[ii]

 

    1. 2.      11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? (Exo 15:11 KJV)

 

    1. 3.      6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (Psa 82:6 KJV)

 

    1. 4.      And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (Exo 7:1 KJV)

 

    1. 5.      In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2Co 4:4 KJV)

 

  1. 6.      19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Phi 3:19 KJV)

As we can see there are several uses for the title God, and we will examine each one of these. The first verse (1.) was Genesis 2:4 where the title God was preceded by God’s actual name YHWH. So there is no confusion what “God” we are speaking of because his name is given in this chapter. The second verse (2.) uses the name YHWH and it also uses the title “god” but not in reference to YHWH but in reference to the false “gods” of the world. The English-speaking world understands slightly the loose usage of the word “God” as it applies to false deities. I think we understand that even though we use the same word “god” for false ones, it is not necessarily taken as though they were real “gods” but acknowledging that someone else considers them as such. So in that respect we understand that the word is a title that can be applied to other things without blaspheming YHWH. Let us make it very clear the name of God must only be applied to the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. If a human or a false deity were to assume the name of God that would be blasphemy. Not the usage of title “God” but the usage of his name. With that understanding I respect the Jewish people’s decision to not disclose the true name of God because of the potential for blasphemy. God has appointed them stewards of his name and his word and God does not make mistakes. And now on to the third verse (3.) Psa 82:6 KJV, now this verse applies to humans when it uses the word “god” in this verse. This is the part where Christians start to lose understanding. How many sermons have you ever heard where they called us “God”? I guarantee you not very many in fact I’ve never heard one. But this verse clearly calls humans “God’s” and it also calls us children of the most high. Today Christians easily accept the fact that they are children of God. We understand that we were sinners, but by the grace of God we have been forgiven through Jesus and are now children of God. It does not seem like a radical idea. But in the time of the New Testament it was a very radical thing. In fact if we were standing before the Jews of the time of the New Testament they would’ve considered that blasphemy. This can examine verse that shows how the Jewish people would consider being a child of God, blasphemy in their eyes.

18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. (Joh 5:18 KJV)

Whats most important here is that the mere concept of a man or woman claiming to be a child of God was equal in their eyes, of considering oneself God himself. Talk
about putting words in your mouth! Although the verse we read (Psa 82:6 KJV) shows that we can consider ourselves children of God without calling ourselves equal with YHWH. What’s interesting is that the Jews went to such an extreme to confuse what was being said that they forgot the verses that agree with that statement. They made statements that were contrary to their own understanding about the Bible because they could not find fault in anything Jesus said. As Christians we understand that when we say we are the children of God we are not saying that we are necessarily equal with God but that we are his children through grace and forgiveness. But the Jewish people of that day would not accept that argument from us and would consider us blasphemers, heretics, and false prophets. In the very same way that they treated Jesus.  Also in the verse the man of God who wrote this called us “god’s”. But in what sense of the word?  Certainly not in the sense of being God himself, but in some other sense. To help us understand what could possibly be meant here that us examine another verse in the same context.

28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people. (Exo 22:28 KJV)

In this verse we see that this verse appears to protect false gods from being reviled. But this is not the interpretation, the word “gods” here is concerning judges and magistrates. I would like to provide a portion of Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse.

II. A law against the contempt of authority (v. 28): Thou shalt not revile the gods, that is, the judges and magistrates, for their executing these laws; they must do their duty, whoever suffer by it. Magistrates ought not to fear the reproach of men, nor their revilings, but to despise them as long as they keep a good conscience; but those that do revile them for their being a terror to evil works and workers reflect upon God himself, and will have a great deal to answer for another day. We find those under a black character, and a heavy doom, that despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities, Jude 8. Princes and magistrates are our fathers, whom the fifth commandment obliges us to honour and forbids us to revile. St. Paul applies this law to himself, and owns that he ought not to speak evil of the ruler of his people; no, not though the ruler was then his most unrighteous persecutor, Acts xxiii. 5; see Eccl. x. 20.[iii]

So now that we have an understanding about how the title “God” can be used we have a better understanding about how the context in Psalms 82:6 may be coming from. It could mean that the servants of God, who are in the operation of God’s will can be called “god” as a title. Allow me to clarify that I am not saying that the servants of God could assume the name of God (YHWH). But the title with the understanding that they are subject to YHWH, can be used for the children of YHWH and it not be considered blasphemy.  Now I understand that you’ve never heard this before, and I understand that the concept seems confusing or wrong in some way.  What we are learning is only how the word “God” can be used and to be consistent with Scripture we must acknowledge this truth. If we do not embrace truths in the Bible when we see it we leave ourselves open to deception.

In the story of Adam and Eve we see an exchange between Eve and the serpent. The most important part of the story is that Eve did not understand correctly. To begin with God had spoken to Adam concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

(Gen 2:8-9 KJV)[iv]

To be clear Eve has not yet been created. It is only Adam at this point and he has just been placed in the garden. A clear command is given concerning the trees in the garden.

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 (Gen 2:16-17 KJV)

The command that God gave Adam was to not eat it. It did not say you cannot use it for wood to burn it. It did not say you could not use the branches to prop up your tent. It did not say that you can’t climb up on top of it to look further down the garden. The only restriction is to not eat it. Like a poisonous plant we should not eat it but we can use it as a decorative plant. So when we see a command from God we should not add to it further restrictions than what God has instituted. We must also not take away from the command as it was clearly stated, because it harbors confusion.

2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deu 4:2 KJV)

The truth is only true when it is in its purest form. Adding to or removing from the truth makes it untrue and the breeding ground for confusion. This is part of the reason why the Jews that confronted Jesus misunderstood his actions because of man-made laws that were added to God’s original laws.

5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

 (Mar 7:5-9 KJV)

The Pharisees did not understand between the traditions of men and the true word of God. And because of that they missed the opportunity to be able to accept the Messiah they had spent so long waiting for. The same will be true today some Christians have traditions that are not based on the Bible, and if they do not accept the true word of God will stumble and find themselves at odds with truth.

God blessed Adam with the helper who we all know is Eve. I don’t know how Adam told the story to Eve concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Bible doesn’t show a conversation between Adam and Eve concerning the command of God that Adam had received. Because Eve was not present to hear the command for her own self, she had to take the word of Adam. I don’t know why and there is no biblical proof for either way but for some reason Eve gave a wrong answer to the serpent.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit
of the trees of the garden:

 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (Gen 3:1-3 KJV)

Where did the “neither shall ye touch it” come from? Is that what God had originally commanded? Unfortunately it is not, for whatever reason she believed that she could not touch it. To be honest it sounds like a good idea to add restrictions to the rules of God but ultimately it’s deception. What would happen if one of those fruits fell on her head? Now since she believes that she cannot touch it and if it fell on her head involuntarily and she did not die would that not make her question the rest of the command? Now I’m not saying that that’s what happened. But it is a good illustration of how not understanding correctly can cause us to error. It’s a good illustration of how not understanding the Bible clearly can create confusion and error. This is at the heart of what this book is about, clearly understanding the Bible without adding or subtracting anything. BALANCE IS KEY.

With that being said, the Bible clearly shows that the title “God” can be used for judges, magistrates, and the servants of God without violating the commands of God.

I believe that it’s safe to say that Jesus never misunderstands the Bible. Of all the teachers in the Bible Jesus can be trusted most. And interestingly Jesus has commented on this verse.

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

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

 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? (Joh 10:34-36 KJV)

What Jesus says here is foundational to understanding one of the most important truths in the Bible. Jesus is reminding the Jews of the Scripture that says “ye are gods.” And then he says that the man of God who received the words of YHWH called the other servants of YHWH “god’s!” Now this statement by Jesus explains his interpretation of the verse. His interpretation is that the word “god” can be used for the people of YHWH. This truth spoken by the mouth of the son of God cannot be denied, because to do so is to claim that Jesus did not understand Scripture correctly. And I do not believe that that is possible. When we read the word of God and we see something that does not conform to our understanding we must submit to the truth and not try to add to it something it does not say. Another thing that Jesus says after acknowledging that even the Bible applies the word “God” to the people of God, he also makes the statement that this Scripture cannot be broken. In other words it is not an error in the Bible. We cannot undo what the Bible already teaches, it is forever a testament against anyone who does not accept this truth. Because as Jesus says it is unbreakable. So before someone tries to tell you that what I’m saying is heresy, they may want to re-examine this verse.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. (Mat 13:14-16 KJV)

That us examine the fourth verse (4)

And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (Exo 7:1 KJV)

In this verse we see a truth that I’ve never heard preached before. Now let us remember let us remember that when the word “Lord” is spelled in all capitals it means that the actual name of God is being used here. YHWH says that he has made Moses a “God.” What does that mean for us? We have just seen a verse where YHWH appointed a man as a “god” to the king of Egypt and Aaron his own brother a Jew and the future priesthood of YHWH. Before we go any further let us remember that the Scriptures cannot be broken, according to the words of Jesus. Now I won’t go into deep arguments about Scriptures. Except to say that the Scriptures that was used during the time of Jesus was called the Septuagint. And I can say that these versus existed in the Septuagint. So from this verse we can say safely that God can and has appointed human beings as a “god” to others on earth. That is not to say that Moses was free to do as he pleased.

9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.

 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?

 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

 12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. (Num 20:9-12 KJV)

Moses was chastised in this verse and not allowed to bring the children of Israel into the land which God had promised to them. This shows how Moses was appointed to the position of having the title of “god” but still being subject to obedience to YHWH. Essentially it’s just a title when it is applied to a man. It means that this man of God has no equal in the kingdom of God. Moses was chosen and appointed and there was no one that could come to YHWH without Moses. Moses was a mediator between God and man. He would go into the presence of YHWH and he would come back with direction from YHWH. YHWH would speak to him to send his message out to the rest of the people of God.  Does this sound familiar?

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

 3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.

5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;

 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Heb 3:1-6 KJV)

What’s being shown here is that Jesus was counted worthy of more glory than Moses. Now I understand that Jesus is due more glory than Moses, but given what we know now about Moses being appointed as a “god” in the servant of God sense. How much more glory can Jesus receive? We will study that in another chapter. But what we must understand is the usage of the word “God”, how it was used and how it can be used.

6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the
sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psa 45:6-7 KJV)

Here is another beautiful example of how the word “God” is used in relation to a King. As we read in verse seven it says “therefore God, thy God has anointed thee”, and the way it is understood is that the King is being called “God” but later on we see that this god King has a God himself which we understand is YHWH. I want to reiterate the point that the word “God” is a title meaning separated unto YHWH for his purposes exalted and anointed unto obedience to YHWH. In no way should it be interpreted that YHWH is relinquishing his own authority. YHWH is Almighty and he appoints whom he wants and they are at the mercy of his decisions regardless of what position he appoints them to. So to understand Scripture correctly YHWH can appoint a man with the title of “God” as he wills, and that does not mean that they are no longer subject to YHWH, but I believe are required even stricter obedience.

 

The fifth example (5.)

4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2Co 4:4 KJV)

Is when it applies to the devil when the Bible says “god of this world.” To understand why the Bible describes the devil in this way we have to go back to the book of Genesis. When God made Adam it was in his image and likeness.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Gen 1:26 KJV)

So when God created Adam he gave him dominion over everything on earth as one man. Essentially Adam was a “God” on the earth, although he was still subject to YHWH God, still required to obey YHWH God’s every word. This is what was meant for Adam dominion over everything upon earth. At this moment we can see we can travel faster on land than any animal on earth. We can fly faster than any animal on earth. We can travel underwater faster and more efficiently than any animal in the sea. No animal upon the face of the earth could conquer mankind. But we sinned and fell from our position and in relationship with God. The one thing that that made us in the image of God was purity, and the sinless example we were supposed to be.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Rom 6:15-16 KJV)

We lost our position, instead of listening to YHWH we listened to the serpent. And became servants to sin and death. Which is why I believe is why it calls the devil “the god of this world”. And as we know when Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God until all his enemies are made his footstool and that includes the devil.

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Heb 10:12-14 KJV)

This portion of Scripture shows that God will reestablish all things through Jesus. Amen hallelujah!!!

And for the last example (6)

19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Phi 3:19 KJV)

So this example shows that even the human belly has been called “God.” It is truly amazing how this word can be applied to many things. But the most important part of this truth is that it is a title that can be used in different ways, and one of those ways is for humans to whom God’s appointed for a special purpose.

[i] Greek New Testament and LXX Morphological Database (BGM). Norfolk: BibleWorks, LLC., 1999

 

[ii] Authorized Version, 1769 Blayney Edition (KJV). Oxford: Cambridge University Press, 1769 BibleWorks, v.9..

 

[iii] Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. n.p.: n.p. BibleWorks, v.9.

 

[iv] Authorized Version, 1769 Blayney Edition (KJV). Oxford: Cambridge University Press, 1769. BibleWorks, v.9.

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