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"Arise, O God, Govern the Earth"

"Yeshua answered them... Ye are gods!"

By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © September 09, 2009 (last updated January 1, 2020)

Jewish doctrinal defense against heresy.
This section of LearnEmunah.com is intended only for Jewish education and defense.

The Scripture: "Arise, O G-d, govern the Earth..." Psalm 82

The Misdirection: "Yeshua answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" John 10:35

It is common for those who would draw Jews away from Torah to quote biblical texts out of context and historic meaning in order to seduce them to go after other gods our ancestors have not known (Deuteronomy 28:64). Psalm 82 is so abused by many different foreign sects. It never ceases to amaze me how sincere people of different beliefs can use the same scriptural supports to arrive at very different destinations than those delivered to us by Moshe Rabbeinu and our sages. This is such a case in point. Let's begin by taking a close look at John:10:34 in the Christian New Testament.

As always, context is essential so let's read the whole bit first:

From the NASB version with bracketed additions for clarity: John 10:22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication [i.e. Chanukah] took place at Jerusalem;
23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.
24 The Jews then gathered around him, and were saying to him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ [i.e. HaMashiach], tell us plainly."
25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in my Father's name, these testify of me.
26 "But you do not believe because you are not of my sheep.
27 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29 "My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
30 "I and the Father are one."
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning me?"
33 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."
34 Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I SAID, YOU ARE GODS'?
35 "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),
36 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'?
37 "If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me;
38 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."
39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize him, and he eluded their grasp.

Here we have Yeshua/Jesus entering the Holy Temple with large numbers of his fellow Jews surrounding him excitedly. Could he be the one they had been waiting for? HaMashiach (the Messiah)? Many Jews doubtless hoped that he was and eagerly awaited some sort of clear confirmation from him. Others were convinced he was just another in a long series of false claimants. We know there were many of these before, during and after his lifetime. Both sides looked for evidence. After all, the prophets are clear that once Messiah comes everyone will know and and accept him as the King of Israel:

For this is the covenant that I will form with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will place My law in their midst and I will inscribe it upon their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be My people

And no longer shall one teach his neighbor or [shall] one [teach] his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will no longer remember -- Jeremiah 31:33,34.

Of course after 2000 years of waiting this has never happened. This major prophecy, like so many others, remains unfulfilled. Today this should be obvious to all who accept the Bible. Clearly he was not the Messiah. But at the time, the people were hanging onto his every word. Some hoping he was Mashiach ben David, some hoping for a disqualifying slip up so they could disregard the claim and go on with their lives.

As usual, he does not claim to be the Messiah here. He does not respond to the direct question affirmatively. He simply replied: "Look at what I'm doing! Are not these things of God our Father?" (Luke 13:34). You be the judge of my mission. Arguably he was implying that he hoped he might be chosen for the role, but that's not the same thing. The holy Lubavitcher Rebbe implied the same hope and yet was not chosen. With the words, paraphrasing, 'You do not believe I am a tzadik because you are not of my sheep, my sheep hear my voice" he was clearly referencing Navi Nahum 1:6,7:

Who can stand before His fury and who can rise amidst His wrath? His wrath has reached [the earth] like fire, and the rocks have been broken up by Him.
Adonai is good-yea, a stronghold on a day of trouble- and is cognizant of those who trust in Him.

So Yeshua says, You do not know me because you are estranged from our G-d and Father! What I do I do in our Father's name, by His authority and His power, not my own.

He never claims divinity for himself in the New Testament. Rather, he says that his mission, his goal, is to shepherd the people back into submission to the G-d of Israel. Note that he directly says: My Father, who has given [them] to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father's hand (ie not his). And a bit later at John 10:28 he says, "If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."

According to the Gospels Yeshua acknowledged that no one, including himself, is equal to nor independent from the Father, HaShem. So why did this statement so enrage some of those who were present? Why did they consider it to be blasphemy? What was he claiming if not personal divinity?

His next words, if not properly understood, were indeed completely blasphemous from a Jewish/biblical perspective! But as is so often the case, there was more to his teachings than is readily apparent!

Yeshua says: (John 10:30) "I and the Father are one."

From beginning to end the Torah shouts loudly that:

Exodus 20:5 ...I, HaShem your God, am a jealous God...
Deuteronomy 6:14, 15 You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you for HaShem your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of HaShem your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.

Who was this young itinerate preacher audaciously claiming to be such a tzadik (i.e. a person of such righteousness) and possibly even more? His audacity understandably kindled the anger of the rabbis.

It was for this reason:

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.

Nicean Christians (i.e. those who accept the dogmas listed in the Nicean Creed -- as do most Christians today) often point to this section as a clear statement of Jesus' self-proclaimed divinity.

But context is essential!

Note that Yeshua neither denied nor confirmed their understandings of his claim. From the context it is not even readily apparent what his claim was here. No doubt the Christian interpretation of these events never even occurred to Yeshua or he would have replied one way or the other. Rather:

He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" -- Matthew 15:24.

Again, his answer is unclear. Is he talking about the long since divorced 10 houses of the Northern Kingdom (II Kings 17:18)? Is he referring to the Samaritans? Does he mean the unrighteous of the houses of Judah and Benjamin? Its not clear from the text we have. This is part of the frustration when seeking to understand the Gospels, much is vague and open to many interpretations.

We know from the Gospel accounts that one of Yeshua's main concerns was his belief that the Jewish people had allowed some of the Traditions to interfere with their relationship with the living G-d. Our sages agree with this. For example the Chofetz Chaim told us of that generation:

Our Sages state: "Jerusalem was destroyed only because its inhabitants limited their decisions to the [letter of the] law of Torah" (Bava Metzia 30b). This seems difficult, for Scripture records many sins of which that generation was guilty.

Our discussion sheds light on the matter. Had the people overlooked the wrong caused them, then HaShem would have forgiven them as well. However, they were absolutely unrelenting toward each other, demanding from one another whatever they could possibly extract according to the law -- and Heaven judged them accordingly.

So he said in effect, I've been doing good works from the G-d of our people, what I am doing is halachically approved. This was his defense. Why are you accusing me of being Torah observant as though that was heresy? What is my crime under the Law?

To this the Rabbis replied, For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; AND because you, being a man, make yourself out [to be] God."

"You see," Nicean Christians will point say, "they understood he was claiming to be God!"

But was he? Read his response carefully and in context:

Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I SAID, YOU ARE GODS'? -- John 10:34

What! Logically if we understand his comment at 10:30: "I and my Father are one" to be a claim to his own divinity, then we must also here accept the statement at 10:34: "I said, Ye are gods?" to mean that everyone is God! And there are those who teach this as you know, but not Jews! Torah specifically rejects this notion as it describes the events at Tower of Babel. Such an idea is biblically blasphemous. Torah is clear, HaShem is the One and Only and He will never share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8)!

In this response Yeshua was referring to Psalms 82. Lets consider this Psalm.

In the KJV: Psalm 82:1 God standeth in the congregation of God; He judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, And respect the persons of the wicked? Selah
3 Judge the poor and fatherless: Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
4 Rescue the poor and needy: Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither do they understand; They walk to and fro in darkness: All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, Ye are gods, And all of you sons of the Most High.
7 Nevertheless ye shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; For thou shalt inherit all the nations. Psalm 83 A song. A Psalm of Asaph.

Let's read this in a more accurate Jewish version now, the Judaica Press translation:

A song of Asaph. God stands in the congregation of God; in the midst of the judges He will judge
How long will you judge unjustly and favor the wicked forever?
Judge the poor and orphan; justify the humble and the impoverished.
Release the poor and the needy; save [them] from the hands of [the] wicked. They did not know and they do not understand [that] they will walk in darkness; all the foundations of the earth will totter.
I said, "You are angelic creatures, and all of you are angels of the Most High."
Indeed, as man, you will die, and as one of the princes, you will fall Arise, O God, judge the earth, for You inherit all the nations.

In verse one we read that God (Elohim) is standing in the congregation of the mighty ones (the ruling angels); that He is judging (shaphat: governing) the gods (the elohim). The One G-d governs or rules the gods. How can this be since there is but one God?

Human parents give birth to human children. Cats give birth to cats and so on. We are told in Genesis that G-d (Elohim) created humans in His own image and likeness. Since G-D is our Parent, what sort of children are we if not 'godlings'? in a manner of speaking. We are the sons and daughters of G-d, created in His image! This is our true nature! This is our birthright! The word "angel" simply means messenger or representative. We are intended to be reflections of G-d's Presence on the Earth. The Psalm is therefore calling us to embrace our potentials as worthy sons and daughters of G-d.

BUT -- and this is very important -- we are all failing in our service as His Sons and Daughters! We are failing in our duties as the children of G-d! We accept wicked rulers and do not hold them accountable to the standards established in the Torah! We allow evil doers to rule over us! To abuse us! We allow the honest and simple to be robbed, cheated and raped, to live in poverty and despair and ignorance while the wicked often thrive like princes of darkness! Such things are not befitting of the Children of God! So, Arise Oh God! Arise my Children! Take hold of your inheritance!

On this earth WE -- the children of G-d -- are commanded to serve as G-d's ambassadors! We are to be G-d's hands and feet in the world! We are called to be holy and to righteously judge between good and evil. For this reason HaShem revealed the Seven Noahide Laws) for all of humanity and the 613 Mitzvot for the Jews. But time after time we fail to fulfill our divine mandate to "Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked" and so on.

Because of OUR failures, "They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course" and soon only Divine Intervention will be able to save us from the New World Order's Planned conquest and enslavement of the Planet.

"The foundations of the earth are out of course" due to OUR failures!

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does evil exist in the world?

Here is your answer!

WE are not fulfilling OUR obligations as the Sons and Daughters of G-d! At John 10 Yeshua is calling his hearers to emunah and obedience!

G-D has declared that we are His heirs! HE has given us all needed authority and the means to establish a Paradise Earth! Yet just see how we continue to fail our jobs are caretakers of the planet! Needless pollution, war, famine, starvation, disease, suffering of every kind...

Oi!

But... I [G-D] have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.. "Prince" here is sar, referring to a mundane usually corrupt politician.

This is what Yeshua was advocating:

"Arise, govern the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations."

So, Yeshua was not claiming "I am God!" He was saying quite literally, "I am God's Son and so are you! Wake up!"

He is claiming, "I am completely surrendered to G-d our Father. What G-d wants, I want. His Will is my will. Arise and make the same intention for your life! THEN you will be ready to receive Mashiach and the Kingdom he will herald when the time comes!"

Yeshua is saying that he sanctifies himself, keeps himself under G-d's authority and glory, in order to show his talmidim, "that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth" -- how to place and keep ourselves under that same authority and glory he submits to. We can all become tzadikim.

Why and to what end?

"...that they may all be one; even as You, Father, [are] in me and I in You, that they also may be in us...

What else can this possibly mean?

He considered himself to be a rabbi. He judged that many rabbis had gone astray from Torah, just as today, many had lost emunah, just as today, but anyone can restore this and get back on the derech, the Path. This is a good teaching.

The problem: The Jesus of the Church is not the Yeshua of the first century. Their teaching contradict his on countless levels. These contradictions are so severe and so deeply compromise the text of the New Testament that we do not know with any certainty what Yeshua ben Miriam actually believed or taught. We do know that the rabbis who heard him speak and who challenged his teachings face to face rejected him both as Mashiach and as a legitimate teacher of our people. The good that he allegedly taught is found throughout the writings of the Jewish sages. There is no benefit to be had in going to the Church. They know neither him nor his teachings. There is no benefit in studying the New Testament as it is at best a tainted and heavily edited and altered rendition of teachings lost since forgotten. There is a Path for non-Jews who wish to come before the G-d of Israel. It consists of seven essential categories of laws. For those who desire, it is possible to convert into the Covenant of Israel, although I do not recommend this. But know that Torah is the Divine Source book for mankind and that anything that contradicts it is by definition false.

Got Questions or Comments?

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And
Don't let the perfect defeat the good

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