Last week we left off with the reading to John 10 where Jesus said “I and my father are one”. The next verse said that the Jews picked up stones to stone him because of the saying. The saga over the statement continues on in chapter 10. Now of all the passages in the New Testament that the LDS missionaries and apologists and defenders of the faith use, this is perhaps the most difficult for Christians to explain because of the way that it is said and done. And because it’s not really an easy passage to understand without some research, even Bible-reading Christians have difficulty. The LDS pounce upon this as proof of one of their strange doctrines. The LDS believe, whether they make it clear or not in casual conversation today, is that they will become gods. Faithful Mormons believe that in addition to having a marriage that last forever and their children sealed to them for ever, becoming a God as one of the rewards of being a faithful dutiful Latter-Day Saint. And as a means to prove that their belief is sanctioned by God, they use the following passages which come right after Jesus said “I and my father are one.” When Jesus said this, the Jews picked up stones to kill him for blasphemy, for making himself God. When he said “I and my father are one”, that was making himself God in their eyes. So the Jews pick up stones and in his defense Jesus replied and John 10:32 “Many works have I showed you from my father. For which of those works do you stone me?” The Jews answered him saying “For a good work we stone thee not but for blasphemy because thou being a man make thyself God.”
As a means to respond to them and their justification for wanting to stone him, Jesus uses some witty understanding of the scripture to confound them and this is what he does. He says in verse 34: 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 scripture cannot be broken, say ye of me whom the father have sanctified and sent into the world “Thou blasphemest” because I said I am the Son of God? Now let’s look at this answer, the response Jesus gives in two parts. In the first part, Jesus shows them that they shouldn’t object to him calling himself God even if he was just a mere man. That was the first point of this. He does this by quoting from Psalm 82 which reads:
God (uppercase G) stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judges among the gods (lowercase G). How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy. Free them from the hand of the wicked. They do not know nor do they understand. They walk about in darkness. All the foundations of the world are unstable. (All of that is a description of who these gods were on earth and their duties, what they did as gods here on earth.) I said “You are gods (lowercase G) and all of you are children of the most high but you shall die like men and fall like one of the princes.
This is some unique language that is not easy to understand that Jesus is calling from and is using on these Jews who were about to stone him. In Psalm 86:1, the psalmist differentiates between Yahweh (capital G God), the true and living God, and other gods (lowercase G) by saying God stands in the congregation of the mighty. He judges among the (lower case G) gods. Psalm 82 shows that the word translated (lowercase G) God can be applied to a man, it can be apply to angels in scripture, it’s a general noun for the title of God. The lowercase God in the ordinary sense is used to describe the deference and honor given to men who are put in offices like judges and magistrates and even in Scripture it sometimes apply to angels and to mighty men (lower case G) god. For example and Exodus 7:1 God says to Moses “See I have made you as god (lowercase G) to pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. There are many (lower case G) gods throughout the universe. Our sick modern vernacular has our teenager sometimes referring to their idols as “Oh he’s a god.” They will say that. It means lowercase G. It means somebody that deserves reverence here on earth. In judges 10:13, the only true and living God says “Ye have forsaken me and served other gods (lowercase G) wherefore I will deliver you no more.” But the term is just about and referring to men of power and pagan idols and has nothing to do at all with (uppercase G) God, singular, true and living. Then Jesus made his second point by saying in other words “if God himself called men who were servants and magistrates gods (lowercase G) because they acted with dignity and honor toward the responsibilities entrusted to them and scripture cannot be broken (meaning the authority of scripture is final and cannot be set aside) then he asked “how can it be blasphemy to use this word towards someone who is far more exalted than mere judges and magistrates?” That’s the point, that’s the context and I realize it’s been a lot of trying to explain it but that’s what the LDS preys upon. It is because he (Jesus) says, it proves their point. And most people can’t go to the time or trouble and don’t have the inclination to try to figure out exactly what’s being said. This was the point of his argumentation. Jesus was saying “you charge me with blasphemy, the foundation of that charge is the use of the name God or Son of God apply to myself, yet the same term has been applied in scripture to mere mortal man, mere magistrates. The Lord simply used their law and scripture to show that at the least level of understanding, they could not condemn him or stone him for blasphemy. Also realize that Jesus did not deny that he meant to apply the term God to himself. You don’t hear him say that in this. Neither did he deny that it should properly be assigned to him. And finally, he didn’t deny that the term perfectly implied that he was God. None of that comes out in this. So all this comment shows that he was simply affirming that there was inconsistencies in their thinking. And therefore to bring forth a charge of blasphemy and to stone him would have been unlawful. But in the end, if the LDS want to continue to teach that they’re going to become gods, let them do it. Just don’t ever let them get away with pulling out a verse from the Bible to support their blasphemous teaching. It won’t work if you do your homework.