Made Himself God

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

John 10:33-34 (KJV)

Makest thyself God – I have often heard this verse used to support that Yeshua was God, but there are a few problems with that claim which I will outline here.

Problem 1

It is not Yeshua who makes this claim. In fact there is no where in the Bible where Yeshua simply states that He is God. Notice that this statement comes directly from Yeshua’s opposition, not from Yeshua Himself. Their effort is to discredit Yeshua, and what better way than to put words into His mouth deceptively.

Problem 2

Yeshua’s reply is quoting Scripture that uses the Hebrew word, Elohim, in reference to judges (other men). In fact this reply implies that he is not God based on the usage of Elohim in Psalm 82:6. Elohim can be a tricky word.

According to Strong’s concordance, Elohim, is definitely used often for God as in Genesis 1:1, but it can be used for judges as in Psalm 82:6, and for angels as in Psalm 8:5. It indicates someone of “greatness.” So with this understanding, which is quite different than how we may use it today, Elohim is not reserved solely for deity.

Furthermore, I submit that Yeshua’s usage when replying to the Jews was intentionally to exclude Himself from their claim that He made Himself God. Rather than quoting a verse that supports and validates Yeshua as God, Yeshua uses a verse to suggest that “men” or “judges” are elohim. Simply put, if their claim is that He was making Himself God, then Yeshua argues that it is only as a reference to men of greatness, or judges, not as God Himself. He destroys their false claim with logic and an understanding of culture and language.

This is why it is so important to learn the language of the Bible, to learn the culture of the people, and to understand the deeper meanings found therein. Most of the authors of the New Testament were multilingual – they knew Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. Let’s use them as our examples and then we can use their logic as our examples when digging further into the text.

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