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Jesus seems to be waxing sarcastic in the context of John 10:34 when it records "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" (ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Οὐκ ἔστιν γεγραμμένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ὑμῶν Ἐγὼ εἶπα Θεοί ἐστε). The Jews are about to stone him for claiming to be God; but Jesus seems even more emphatic with the statement adding "If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken 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?" (Jn 10:35-36, KJV).

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In Jn 10, the context of 'one' is in relationship to Jesus and the Father as the shepherd of the flock. The flock quite obviously represents the people of God. The shepherd is represented in the following ways. Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd" to whom the flock belongs and that no one can snatch them out of his hand. He then says they also belong to the Father and no one can snatch them out of his hand. He closes this illustration then with the statement, "I and the Father are one." The question then is one what?

Contextually, they are one shepherd, one owner of the flock. Always allow the context to define its own use of language. We learn from a number of O.T. passages like Psalms 23 and Ezk.34 that the Shepherd of Israel is Jehovah. The Jews to whom Jesus spoke did not miss the implication of Jesus' illustration. They knew who the Shepherd of Israel was and just who Jesus was claiming to be. Their response was to pick up stone to stone him for blasphemy, "You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Although Jesus never said in his illustration "I am God" they immediately and correctly made the connection.

Now, if Jesus is not God, then they not only had a right to stone him to death for blasphemy, they had an obligation to do so. If on the other hand, Jesus is God as he presented in the illustration then the people were wrong for wanting to stone him. In Jn 10, the context of 'one' is in relationship to Jesus and the Father as the shepherd of the flock. The flock quite obviously represents the people of God. The shepherd is represented in the following ways. Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd" to whom the flock belongs and that no one can snatch them out of his hand. He then says that they also belong to the Father and no one can snatch them out of his hand. He closes this illustration then with the statement, "I and the Father are one."

The question then is one what? Contextually, they are one shepherd, one owner of the flock. Always allow the context to define its own use of language. We learn from a number of O.T. passages like Psalms 23 and Ezk.34 that the Shepherd of Israel is Jehovah. The Jews to whom Jesus spoke did not miss the implication of Jesus' illustration. They knew who the Shepherd of Israel was and just who Jesus was claiming to be. Their response was to pick up stone to stone him for blasphemy, "You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Although Jesus never said in his illustration "I am God" they immediately and correctly made the connection. Now, if Jesus is not God, then they not only had a right to stone him to death for blasphemy, they had an obligation to do so. If on the other hand, Jesus is God as he presented in the illustration then the people were wrong for wanting to stone him.

Psalms 82:6

1 God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”:

2 “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?"

3 "Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed."

4 "Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."

5 "The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken."

6 "I said, ‘You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.’"

7 "But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.”

8 "Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance."

John 10:34

“The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, 'I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?' The Jews answered Him, 'For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.'*

This is a criminal charge. They knew who the Shepherd of Israel was and just who Jesus was claiming to be. Their response was to pick up stone to stone him for blasphemy, “You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Although Jesus never said in his illustration “I am God” they immediately and correctly made the connection. Now, if Jesus is not God, then they not only had a right to stone him to death for blasphemy, they had an obligation to do so. If on the other hand, Jesus is God as he represented in the illustration then the people were wrong for wanting to stone him.

Jesus offers two arguments for defense against the charge of blasphemy to show the foolishness of their charge, 34-39.

  1. The technical argument from the evidence of scripture

“Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, You are blaspheming, because I said, I am the Son of God?”

The passage to which Jesus refers is Psalms 82:6.

“God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High. “Nevertheless, you will die like men and fall like any one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations.”

The first thing that needs to be understood is to whom God was speaking in Psalms 82. God was not speaking to all men. In fact, he was not even speaking to all of those of Israel. He was speaking to those who were appointed as judges over the people "YOU are gods." So, this declaration is very limited in its scope. Calling them gods is related not to their intrinsic nature but to their appointed function as those who were responsible for giving the Law of God to the people. In the very next verse God reminds them of their intrinsic nature, “you will die like mere mortals.” These 'gods' were those who sat in the seat of Moses to whom God said, “See, I make you as God to Pharaoh.”

Like Moses before Pharaoh, these judges stood before the people as gods to the people. As such, their function was to “defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed,” to “rescue the weak and the needy,” and “deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” They had abandoned this appointed function and had defended the unjust and shown partiality to the wicked. Of them God says, “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness.” All of these charges are contrary to the intrinsic nature of God. Since God cannot defy his own nature, we know that the term gods then define not their nature, but their function. For this reason, God says he will render judgment among these gods, verse one.

In John 10 we find Jesus being accused of blasphemy “because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” The Jews understood the implication of Jesus statement. When they threatened Jesus with stoning, Jesus reminded them of the 82 Psalm which says ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ Apparently, they had properly understood the Psalm and did not equate being called gods as a declaration of man's equality with God. They knew to whom this Psalm was directed. “He called them gods, to whom the word of God came.” They knew this was talking about those who were charged with giving the Law of God to the people. Yet, now, Jesus is himself “sanctified and sent into the world” by the Father to impart the word of God again to the people. This is the exact same function that was given to the judges yet, when Jesus calls himself the Son of God, they want to stone him for it. Jesus is simply pointing out the lunacy of their reasoning.

  1. The pragmatic argument form the evidence of his works

Ellicott makes a good point that

“Whether He is a blasphemer or not depends upon whether He represents God or not, and to prove this He appeals again to (His) works.”

“If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the- Father. Therefore, they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.”

Even if they took issue with his words, they were still confronted with the reality of the miracles. There is no way to account for the miracles except to attribute them to the power of God. His works prove who he is. These two lines of argumentation served only to infuriate them further and they again attempted to arrest him.

This was a criminal charge of blasphemy if indeed Jesus was not who he claimed to be.

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  • "they immediately and correctly made the connection" Does the context and the rest of the scriptures affirm that Jesus claimed equality with God, his Father and his God?
    – user35499
    May 13, 2020 at 11:21
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    He certainly claimed it here. The apostolic testimony repeatedly asserts his deity. The Father addressed the Son as God in Hebrews 1:8-9, and Jesus ascribes divine titles to himself in the first there chapters of Revelation.
    – oldhermit
    May 13, 2020 at 11:28
  • The first chapter and first verse of the book of Revelation already reveals that Jesus is not God. Revelation 1:1 says “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him”. God is differentiated from Jesus. The God of Jesus Christ gave Jesus Christ this revelation.
    – user35499
    May 13, 2020 at 14:52
  • Psalm 45:6 was originally addressed to a human king, whom the writer did not think as the Almighty God, was possibly, Solomon, was said "to sit on YHWH throne" 1 Chronicle 29:23. God is the source/giver of Jesus' kingship Luke 1:32, Dan 7:13-14. Hebrews 1:8-9 does not proove Jesus is equal to his only true Almighty God. John 17:3.
    – user35499
    May 13, 2020 at 15:49
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    Your 2nd, 4th, and 7th paragraphs have a lot of verbatim repetition. Yes, God became man. That Son of Man is the Son of God
    – Walter S
    May 13, 2020 at 21:29
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You are allowing your theology to over rule the language of the text. Jesus is the one who identifies himself in verses 17-18 as

“I am the First and the Last, the Living One. I was dead, and behold, now I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of Death and of Hades."

This can be no one but Jesus. He is the speaker throughout the first three chapters of Rev and ascribes at least four divine titles to himself.

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  • He s the first to be resurrected to immortal life and the last one that YHWH resurrected personally. Colossians 1:18. The Book of Revelation clearly distinguishes between the Almighty God, “Him who sits on the throne” (Revelation 4) and “the Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5). The two are never confused. The Lamb is not God (who sits on the throne), God is not the Lamb.
    – user35499
    May 13, 2020 at 22:09
  • Jesus worship his Father, the only true Almighty God. John 17:3. Jesus himself admitted that his Father is greater than anything, John 10:29, himself included., John 14:28.. Would Jesus Christ worship the only true Almighty God if they are equal?
    – user35499
    May 14, 2020 at 12:14

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