Hebrews 1:8

Does Hebrews 1:8 prove Jesus is God?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)


     In my many discussions with Trinitarian Christians on the divinity of Jesus Christ one favourite passage that is often used as a proof text is Hebrews 1 with specific reference to verse 8 which reads as follows:

“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.”

One Christian apologist remarked, “Here we have God calling Jesus God which means he is indeed God.” If God calling someone “God” makes that person truly God himself, then I suppose Moses ought to be worshipped by these Christians too as we see him being called God by God:

“I have made you God over pharoah, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” (Exodus 7:1)

What is very apparent is that Moses isn’t just called God in the above verse, but is said to have his own prophet! Does that make him God? Following the Christian logic it apparently does. But I suppose Satan is God too as we read in the following verse:

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

The New Living Translation of the Bible identifies the identity of this god in its translation:

“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

As a matter of fact most commentaries agree with the NLT’s interpretation and identify ho theos(the god) in 2 Corinthians 4:4 as a reference to the devil. So is Satan literally the God of this world? It is curious that Satanists haven’t tried to exploit this verse to their advantage.

What about the judges in Psalms 82 which is cited by Jesus in John 10?

“I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ (Psalms 82:6)

Are the judges literally gods like the Supreme Being because they are called gods?

If one were to go by the Trinitarian way of thinking with regards to Hebrews 1:8 then we would have the following dilemma:

“The Father is God, Jesus is God, Satan is God, Moses is God and the judges are God.”

Is it just me or do Christian arguments tend to send them into polytheism?

To be honest I have no problem with Hebrews 1:8 being referred to Jesus. In fact, this verse is a quotation from Psalms 45:6. The context of Psalms 45:6 refutes the idea that the verse is about the Most High and Supreme God.

My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

You are the most excellent of men
and your lips have been anointed with grace,
since God has blessed you forever.

Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
In your majesty ride forth victoriously
in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.

Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;
let the nations fall beneath your feet.
Your throne, O God,will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.

Verse one begins with identifying the subject of the praise that is woven which is the king. This king is definitely not God as he is described as “the most excellent of men” whom “God has blessed…” Verse seven describes the king as having God who sets him above his companions and anoints him with the oil of joy. Thus any good reader can see that the king who is addressed as “God” in verse six is a man(human being) that is distinct from the Most High and Supreme God. The New International Version Bible in its footnote to verse six refutes the Trinitarian fallacy by stating plainly that,”Psalm 45:6 Here the king is addressed as God’s representative.” [1] Prof. Anthony Buzzard says, “The king of Israel had been called “God” (Ps. 45:6), and this title was applied in Hebrews 1:8 to Jesus as Messiah.”[2] In a footnote to this Buzzard adds:

“The Roman Catholic translation of the Bible (NAB) very helpfully has “Your throne, O god, stands forever; your royal scepter is a scepter for justice.” The notes observe that “god” is a courtly royal title describing a human being who represents God. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament confirms that “In Ps. 45:6 the Elohim undoubtedly refers to a man i.e., the king, and not to Yahweh”(Eerdmans, 1965, rep. 2006, 3:96).” [3]

The eminent Biblical scholar James Dunn says:

“For in Hebrews 1.8 the writer quotes Psalm 45.6 as an address to the Son:”Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever.’…we should recall that Psalm 45.6-7 was probably addressed to Israel’s king, a fact that the writer of Hebrews was probably aware of since he carries on the quotation to Psalm 45.7, which speaks of the king as having been anointed by ‘God,your God.'” [4]

James Luther Mays states, “…the term elohim need not indicate a belief in a king who is divine by nature but rather a divinely chosen and gifted person.” [5] Confirming and joining the ranks is Artur Weiser who explains:

“[6-7] The picture of the prince of peace is placed side by side with that of the great royal warrior. It is probably not by accident that in this very context the king is called ‘God’…it cannot , however, be proved from any Old Testament any passage that a deification of the king took place such as was practiced by the Egyptians and the Babylonians. The insurmountable distinction between Yahweh and the king, between God and man is everywhere maintained and is explicitly expressed also in v. 7 (‘Yahweh, your God‘; see Intr. 62f. The designation ‘divine king’ (Gottlicher) signifies in the Old Testament the function of the king as the righteous ruler rather than a specific quality. It is in this sense that he becomes the representative of God in the midst of his people through his anointment as king.” [6] (emphasis added)

The Biblical scholar Artur Weiser hit the nail on the head by clearly stating that there is an explicit insurmountable distinction made between the king who is addressed as ‘God’ in verse six and the Most High, God in verse seven. This means that because this verse is applied to Jesus he is the human king that is anointed who is not the Most High and Supreme God. The title is merely symbolic of the king’s function as God’s representative. It does not make him literally God in any way.

 

References:

[1] New International Version. Psalm 45. Retrived from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+45&version=NIV

[2] Buzzard, A. (2007). Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian: A Call to Return to the Creed of Jesus. Morrow, GA: Restoration Fellowship. p. 116

[3] Ibid.

[4] Dunn, D. G. (2010). Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?: The New Testament Evidence. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 136

[5] Mays, J. L. (1994). Psalms. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching.  Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 181

[6] Weiser, A. (1959). The Psalms (Herbert Hartwell, Trans.). Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 363

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12 Responses to “Hebrews 1:8”

  1. harry says:

    Hi Ibn Anwar

    you said…“I have made you God over pharoah, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” (Exodus 7:1)

    In fact, Moses isn’t just called God in the above verse, but it is said that he also has a prophet! Does that make him God? Following the Christian logic it apparently does. But I suppose Satan is God too as we read in the following verse:

    in dealing with the text about Moses you need to read the following…

    Exo 4:14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
    Exo 4:15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.
    Exo 4:16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.

    this gives you the context of what was happening.

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      Exodus 4:14-16 is about the spiritual relationship shared between Moses and his brother Aaaron. It is not the context of Exodus 7:1 which is about the relationship between Moses and the Pharoah. But, thank you for pointing out that Moses is “tiyeh lo lelohim” to Aaron i.e. his God. Thus, according to scripture Moses is Aaron’s God as well as Pharoah’s. Notice, that Harry has failed to refute the essential thesis of the article. What he’s doing now is an attempt at nitpicking which he has failed to do as well! As you can see it backfired on him lol.

      • The Bull says:

        Harry has done well. The key phrase is this: “instead of God”, meaning that Moses is clearly not God, but his representative, as were the Judges in Psalm 82:6.

        • Ibn Anwar says:

          The ESV translates the verse as, “He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.” This verse is regarding the relationship between Moses and Aaron i.e. Moses is “God” to Aaron. It does not define the kind of “God” Moses is to the Pharoah in Exodus 7:1. The judges in Psalms 82 are not described as those who were “in the place/instead” of God. That is your assertion regarding it which the text itself does not clarify. The point that you and Harry are missing is that the word “God” in both Hebrew and Greek are applicable to both human beings and the Most High. Refer to Thayer’s Lexicon def. 4.

  2. Oro says:

    *Assalamu Alaykum,
    Brother, i mean am still waiting for ur response.
    Thank you

    • Ibn Anwar says:

      Wa’alaikum salah warahmatullah.
      Akhi, where exactly did the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. say that memorising the Qur’an does not preserve it? We know from clear traditions in the sihah sittah and elsewhere that the Prophet s.a.w. encouraged people to memorise the Qur’an and he himself knew the Qur’an through memorisation as he was illiterate. To suggest that the Prophet s.a.w. said memorisation does not preserve the Qur’an is utter nonsense. You can refer to my article on the subject for more details here http://unveiling-christianity......the-quran/. Jzk.

  3. menj says:

    Funny how Christians take one part literally and another metaphorically.

  4. rocko says:

    bull, why did you hungry god walk up to a tree looking for fruit on the tree? mark says that the SEASON wasn’t right for FIGS and thats the reason why their were no figs, BUT jebus DIDN’T know that . so jude, if you were there WOULD YOU HAVE been worshipping an INCAPACITATED god who had many off his “divine functions” switched off? lol

  5. The Bull says:

    Hi Rocko

    Why don’t you investigate it (figs) via google search, you’ll find an answer or answer(s).

  6. rocko says:

    TO HE ll with google search. why did matthew omit the WORDS “FOR IT WAS NOT THE SEASON FOR FIGS”
    WHY did he also SPEED up the WITHERING OF THE FIG TREE which was NOTICED ON THE SAME DAY by the DECIPLES , ” the fig tree you cursed has WITHERED AT ONCE” before they said this , the story teller informs his readers that the FIG TREE WITHERED AT ONCE. Now , mr bull, if you had MARKS gospel alone you would see that the WITHERING ISN’T AN IMMEDIATE withering, but it is NOTICED 1 DAY AFTER THE tree is CURSED. and to make matters were you god WALKS UP to a tree to see if it had any figs on it. this means he DIDN’T KNOW. if you WERE THERE WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN WORSHIPPING AN INCAPACIATED god who had SWITCHED off his OMNISCIENCE attribute, look YOU clearly said that you WOULD BOW BEFORE the flesh and bones of jebus krist, YOU SAID that you worship jebus, so THIS means you would ALSO BOW before him when he was DYING on the cross. the IMAGE of jesus , the meat and blood and bones IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD BOW before. to ALL observers it would see that you are a HUMAN worshipper, but all i would like to KNOW IS THAT if you were jebus’ COMPANION WOULD you be WORSHIPPING him wHILE his OMNSCIENCE WAS INCAPACIATED ?

  7. rocko says:

    bull, don’t tell me to investigate what is AN EMBARASSMENT to you christians , you think i don’t know about the bloodY apologetic spin christians apply on what they are embarassed with? THE TEXT in greek CLEARLY SAYS that your god WENT UP TO A TREE to FIND FIGS on it, WHY would a human who s filled with a god NEED TO go up to a tree WHICH WOULD NOT PRODUCE FIGS IN THE WRONG SEASON? WHY ALSO LIKE A BLOODY HOOLIGAN curse it FOR ITS INABILITY TO PRODUCE FIGS IN THE WRONG SEASON, THAT IS TEENAGER behaviour and unenvioromental. jebus is IGNORANT OF THE SEASON and IS hungry and therefore wants a MUNCH EARLY IN THE MORNING . aren’t you hungry EARLY IN THE MORNING jebus worshipper? and to make MATTERS WORSE, ACCORDING to once gospel ACCOUNT before jesus HURTS THE TREE , he DRIVES OUT THE TRADERS FROM THE TEMPLE LOL
    so after all of that DRIVING OUT AND WHIPPING OUT , he would NEED FOOD to regain his energy LOL. apologists DON’T LOOK AT THESE SMALL details WHICH IN OF THEMSELVES ARE BIG DETAILS DESCRIBING that jebus WAS VIOLENT IN NATURE WHO NEEDED TO REFUEL his energy loss/battery RECHARGE.

    SO jebus is GIVEN authourity and the CROWDS say that god gave AUTHOURITY TO THE PERSON of jebus and then christians , trintarian ones , shout out, “he is a god” LOL, but when he is INCAPACITATED , he is still a god? LOL , not only are you ppl image worshippers, but also cherry pickin christians who FIND a god in texts you like , but when jebus is receiving help or needing SPIRIT TO TAKE him FROM PLACE TO PLACE

    QUOTE
    Mark 1:12/Matt 4:1/Luke 4:1—“the Spirit drove him into the
    desert” (Mark)/ “Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit” (Matthew
    and Luke). Mark uses the very harsh ejkbavllw, while Matthew and Luke
    use (ajn)avgw, a much gentler term, to describe the Spirit’s role in
    bringing Jesus to the desert for temptation.

    you christians can’t find all powerful god in meat in these passages , can you? notice something, DROVE requires POWER AND ENERGY from the one WHO drives the object , on the other hand see how matthew simply has jebus use the SPIRIT as a SATELLITE NAVIGATION SYSTEM? and bull TRUSTS these SATANS who CHANGE WORDS because they didn’t like what mark said?

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