Are Christians Little gods like Word Faith/Prosperity Preachers proclaim?

There is a common teaching among many Word Faith leaders that we Christians are little gods.  They will quote Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34 out of context to "prove" their case.     

Mormons quote Psalm 82:6 as well to "prove" their doctrine that they will be exalted to godhood.  Chew on that for a minute, the very proof text that Word Faith/Prosperity Teachers cite is the same as the cultic Mormon Church.

Below are numerous qoutes from various Word Faith/Prosperity Preachers that can be seen every day on "Christian" television.  I have removed their names from their qoutes because numerous "Christian" leaders rely on the power of the courts instead of the power of God.  Does the Bible Forbid Christians to Sue each Other?

All of the Word faith/Prosperity Preachers listed below are/were on "Christian" television and they each have thousands of members in their churches.  How can this be?  It is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy:

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
Acts 20:28-31.

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."
2 Timothy 4:2-4

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."
2 Peter 2:1-3

"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him....For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
2 Corinthians 11:2-4, 11-13

Little god or Little "g" Qoutes:

"You know, I was listening to a set of tapes by one man and he explained it like this, and I think this kind of gets the point across, he said, ‘Why do people have such a fit about God calling His creation, His man—not His whole creation, but His man—little gods?  If He’s God, what’s He going to call them but the god-kind?’  I mean, if you as a human being have a baby, you call it a human kind.  If cattle has another cattle, they call it cattle-kind.  So, I mean, what’s God supposed to call us?  Doesn’t the Bible say we’re created in his image?  Now, you understand I am not saying you are God with a capital G."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"I'm going to to tell you what blasphemy is!  When God says you are the righteousness of God and you go around talking about, 'I'm unworthy.'  That's blasphemy!...Blasphemy is when you go against what God has said about your true self!  OOOOh!  We are so unworthy!  Shut up with that blasphemy!....You are not a sinner saved by grace.  You are sons and daughters of the Most High God!  You are gods!  You are God's reflection on this planet.  For you to say that thing is for you to count the blood of Jesus worthless.  His blood was sent to cleanse you of your sin and you going around saying that you are still a sinner!  What's the matter with you?"
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"What do you think is going to happen when God Almighty declares, 'I want you to create a universe?  I want you to speak to these worlds.  And like I said, 'Light be,'  you say, 'Light be!'  Like I said, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the firmament,' you do the same!  I share with you my authority!  I share with you my power!  Start acting like my children!"
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"All right!  I'm going to say something, you are gods on this earth.  And it's about time we start operating like gods instead of a bunch of mere powerless humans."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"That's why I believe in little lords.  Little 'g' turn to your neighbor and say, 'Hello little g'.  Come on!  Turn aside and say, 'Hello little g.'"
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"You don't have a god in you, you are one!"
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"Adam in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"God's reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself...He was not a little like God.  He was not almost like God.  He was not subordinate to God even."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"And I say this with all respect, so that it don't upset you too bad.  But I say it anyway: When I read in the Bible where He says, 'I Am,' I just smile and say, 'Yes, I Am, too."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"Now Peter said by exceeding great and precious promises you become partakers of the divine nature.  Alright, are we gods?  We are a class of gods."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"When you say, 'I am a Christian, you are saying, 'I am mashiach' in the Hebrew. I am a little messiah walking on earth, in other words That is a shocking revelation....May I say it like this?  You are a little god on earth running around."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"God came from heaven, became a man, made man into little gods, went back to heaven as a man.  He faces the Father as a man.  I face devils as the son of God..Quit your nonsense!  What else are you?  If you say, I am, you're saying I'm a part of Him, right?  Is he God?  Are you His offspring?  Are you His children?  You can't be human!  You can't!  You can't!  God didn't give birth to flesh You said, "Well, that's heresy."  No, that's your crazy brain saying that."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"God created man and woman an exact duplicate of himself."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost had a conference and they said, 'Let us make man an exact duplicate of us.'  Oh, I don't know about you, but that does turn my crank!  An exact duplicate of God!  Say it out loud --- 'I'm an exact duplicate of God!'
Come on, say it!  I'm an exact duplicate of God!'  Say it again, 'I'm an exact duplicate of God!'  Say it like you mean it, 'I'm an exact duplicate of God!'  Yell it out loud!  Shout it!  'I'm an exact duplicate of God!'  'I'm an exact duplicate of God!'  When God looks in the mirror, He sees me!  When I lookin the mirror, I see God!  Oh, hallelujah!...You know, sometimes people say to me, when they're mad and want to put me down....'You just think you're a little god!'  Thank you!  Hallelujah!  You got that right!  'Who do you think you are, Jesus?'  Yep!  Are you listening to me?  Are you kids running around here acting like gods?  Why not?  God told me to!....Since I'm an exact duplicate of God, I'm going to act like God!"
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"...But He is talking about man.  He calls him elohim, created in the image and likeness of God. God duplicated Himself in kind.  Man was created to have dominion and authority in the earth.  It was Elohim among the elohim...We are the family of God--Elohim among the elohim.  Man needs to return to his rightful place and see himself as the Creator created him!  They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.  I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High, Psalm 82:5-6."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"Touch your neighbor and say, 'You are mighty.'  See, watch this, look at me--I'm going to try and read this.  We don't want to accept that God calls us gods!  Because, if you accept being, don't, don't--I'm not starting a cult!  I'm reading Scripture.  The Almighty sits in the congregation of His reflection--El (God), who is mighty.  Watch this, and we can't accept God calling us small g-o-d.  Because if we were given that authority that means that we would have to take responsibility."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"I know who I am!  And, and, and, see, when you know who you are-- wherever you go, as a god, as a king-- you have an entourage.  You have security."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"I don't make poor gods!  You know why some of you haven't got a financial breakthrough?  It's because, first--You ain't recognized who you are.  And you don't recognize as a god you have territory.  So God cannot release your wealth because you still don't know you have a territory..But just as soon as you realize that, 'I am a god.'  And as revelations reveal, 'I am a king.'  He is King of kings.  He is God of gods!  But you know what?  Some of you still, you will go to work and mess this up in a testimony.   'I was at church and Bishop Long said--I ain't say you were gods!  God said it!  Show them the Scripture."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"You need to understand when folk start talking about stuff and how evil things are.  You'll look at them and say, 'But, I ain't going out like that!'  Well how come?  Because, I'm god!  I'm little 'L.'  I'm not going out like men.  I believe what God said about me!  How you going to kill god?  That's a good question.  How you going to kill god?  How you going to kill him?  So if you look like Him then you'll talk like Jesus.  What did Jesus say?  'Ain't nobody going to take my life.  When it's time to go I'll lay it down.'  But ain't nobody taking my life."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"When God said, 'Let us make man in our image, 'He created us as little gods, but we have trouble comprehending this truth.  We see ourselves as 'little people' with very little power and dominion.  Until we comprehend that we are little gods and we begin to act like little gods, we cannot manifest the kingdom of God."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"Adam and Eve were placed in the world as the seed and expression of God.  Just as dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods.  Seed remains true to its nature, bearing its own kind."
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

"He [God] doesn't even draw a distinction between Himself and us. . . . You know what else that's settled, then, tonight?  This hue and cry and controversy that has been spawned by the Devil to try and bring dissension within the body of Christ that we are gods.  I am a little god! . . . I have His name.  I'm one with Him.  I'm in covenant relation.  I am a little god! Critics, be gone!"
(Popular Word Faith/Prosperity Preacher)

Let us look at Psalm 82 in context to see what it is saying.  Do you agree that we translate the bible in a literal sense, but if the context is speaking figuratively we will do harm to translating it literally.

For example, Jesus said to pluck out your eyes and cut off your hands if they cause you to sin.  Does Jesus actually want us to chop off our hands?  A resounding no!  Jesus is simply telling us how serious sin is and that we should make every effort to avoid it.
When Psalm 91 says that we shall find protection under God's wings is it saying that God is a bird?  When David calls God his rock, is God a literal rock?  Of course not!  They are simply describing the attributes of God so that we can understand.  This is called an anthropomorphism.

Let us quote Psalm 82 in full:

"God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.  How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.  Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.  They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.  I 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.  Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations."

What is going on in this verse?  The judges of Israel are called god's (Elohim) because they were in a position of God.  They ruled matters of life and death, they were appointed by God to rule and judge as Romans 13:1-2 clearly states.

Compare Romans 13:1-2 with Exodus 4:16, 7:1-2.  God calls Moses god in Exodus 7:1.  Why is that?  Well, God explains that it means you are a spokesman for him.  Exactly like the wicked judges in Psalms 82.  See for yourself what God said about Moses and him being a god, i.e., spokesman for Him:

"And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.  Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land, "Exodus 7:1-2.

With this in mind do you see what is happening in Psalm 82?  God is actually mocking these judges and telling them, "But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes."  God is telling them that your position of a judge has corrupted your thinking and your actions.  Despite your high and lofty view of yourself you shall die like a man!  How can a god die like a man?  Do you see the contradiction in believing that this verse proves that men are gods?  In context this verse actually mocks people for thinking this.

See what God has to say about there being any other gods beside Himself:

"Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it?  Ye are even my witnesses.  Is there a God beside me?  Yea, there is no God; I know not any,"
Isaiah 44:8.

"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me,"
Isaiah 43:10.

"I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me...Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God...Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time?  who hath told it from that time?  Have not I the LORD?  And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else," 
Isaiah 45:5, 14, 21-22.

"To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?...Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,"
Isaiah 46:5, 8-9.

In the book of Acts chapter 14 after Paul healed a man the people said, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men."  Here is a perfect opportunity for the apostle Paul to teach the doctrine that Christians are gods. Let's see what Paul says, "Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things?  We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein."

The apostles were outraged at being called "gods" yet this is what Word Faith teachers preach from pulpits.  This was the perfect opportunity for them to teach us that we are gods--instead of doing that they tore their clothes and told them that they were also men just like them.

Why didn't Paul say, "I am God's reflection on the earth!  I am just like my Daddy!  I come from God stock!  I am a little 'g'!  I am the Lord your God!  I'm a god of the Most High God!  I'm a little god on this planet."  Doesn't that sound absurd?  Well, those are exact quotes from one popular Word Faith Preacher who can be seen every week on "Christian" television.

The Bible warns us not to follow men (Jeremiah 17:5, Psalm 118:8), but to test what all leaders teach with scripture (1 John 4:1, Acts 17:11).  God even says that he will test us with false prophets to see if we truly love God with all of our heart (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).  God even says that some of these false prophets will have signs and wonders that come to pass, thus emphasizing the importance to prove all things with scripture.

Do you truly love God with all of your heart and soul or do you follow man?  Is the Bible your final authority or man?  These are some questions that you might have to wrestle with.  I pray that you choose God over man.  


JOHN 10:34—Did Jesus advocate that people could become God?
MISINTERPRETATION:

Jesus answered a group of Jews and said, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods.’”  Does this mean that humans can become God?  New Agers tell us that “we can be the God that Jesus proclaimed us to be: ‘Ye are Gods’” (Spangler, 1978, 47).  Mormons also cite this verse to support their view on the plurality of gods (Bruce McConkie, 1977, 24).

CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION:

This text should not be used to support the view that we are (or can become) little gods, for such an interpretation is contrary to the overall context. Jesus is not speaking to pantheists (who believe that God is everything and everything is God) or polytheists (who believe in many gods). Rather, he is addressing strict Jewish monotheists who believe that only the Creator of the universe is God.  So, his statement should not be wrenched out of this monotheistic context and given a pantheistic or polytheistic twist.

Jesus’ statement must be understood as part of his overall reasoning here which is an a fortiori argument: “If God even called human judges ‘gods,’ then how much more can I call myself the Son of God.”  Christ had just pronounced himself one with the Father, saying, “I and My Father are one” (10:30).  The Jews wanted to stone him because they thought Christ was blaspheming, making himself out to be equal with God (vv. 31–33).  Jesus responded by quoting Psalm 82:6 which says, “I said, you are gods.”  So, Jesus reasoned, if human judges could be called “gods,” then why can’t the Son of God be called “God”?

Note that not everyone is called “gods” but only a special class of persons, namely, judges about whom Jesus said, they are those to “whom the word of God came” (v. 35).  Jesus was showing that if the Old Testament Scriptures could give some divine status to divinely appointed judges, why should they find it incredible that he should call himself the Son of God?

These judges were “gods” in the sense that they stood in God’s place, judging even life and death matters.  They were not called “gods” because they were divine beings.  Indeed, the text Jesus cites (Psalm 82) goes on to say that they were “mere men” and would “die” (v. 7).  It also affirms that they were “the sons of the Most High,” but not because they were of the essence of God himself.

It is possible, as many scholars believe, that when the psalmist Asaph said to the unjust judges, “You are gods,” he was speaking in irony. He was saying, “I have called you ‘gods,’ but in fact you will die like the men that you really are.”  If this is so, then when Jesus alluded to this psalm in John 10, he was saying that what the Israelite judges were called in irony and in judgment, he is in reality.  Jesus was giving a defense for his own deity, not for the deification of man.
(Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. 1997. When cultists ask : A popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations . Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Mich.)


PSALM 82:6—Does this verse mean that human beings can become gods?

MISINTERPRETATION:

Psalm 82:6 says, “I said, ‘You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High’ ” (nasb).  Mormons believe this verse supports the idea that human beings may become gods (Bruce McConkie, 1966, 321).

CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION:

There is no evidence for the Mormon polytheistic belief that men are gods in this text. Unlike the word Lord (Yahweh) which always means God, the word “gods” (elohim) can be used of God (Genesis 1:1), angels (Ps. 8:4–6; cf. Hebrews 2:7), or human beings (as here).
This psalm focuses on a group of Israelite judges who, because they exercised life and death decisions over people, were loosely called “gods.” But these judges became corrupted and were unjust.  So Asaph, the author of this psalm, said that, even though these judges were called gods, they would die like the men they really were (see v. 7).

Asaph may have been speaking in irony in calling these evil judges “gods.”  If so, then there is no justification for calling them “gods” in any serious sense.  In any event, the polytheistic claim is without justification, since this verse is uttered in the context of Jewish monotheism, in which it is blasphemous for any mere human being to be called God in a divine sense.

Besides, in Isaiah 44:8, God himself asks, “Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock?  I know of none” (nasb).  Similarly, Isaiah 43:10 portrays God as saying, “Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.”  Clearly human beings can’t become gods.
(Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. 1997. When cultists ask : A popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations . Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Mich.)


"Two proof texts are often used by the Word-Faith teachers to support their teaching.  In Psalm...(you need to listen to this, this is their case here...in Psalm 82:6 God says to the rulers of earth, "You are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High."  They quote that all of the time, Psalm 82:6, you might want to turn to it.  And we will close with just a look at the two texts they use, and we are going to take it up next week.  Psalm 82:6, God says to the rulers of earth, "You are 'gods'; and all of you are sons of the Most High."  And so they say, "See, God says we are gods!"

A simple reading of the Psalm however, says something very, very, different than that.  If you look at the Psalm it will reveal to you that those words were spoken to ungodly rulers who were on the brink of judgment: ungodly rulers on the brink of judgment.  Look at verse 7, (they never want to read verse 7), "Nevertheless, you will die like men; and fall like any one of the princes.  Arise, O God, judge the earth."  What is this?  There is a note of irony. God looks at these rulers and they have been rendering unjust judgments. Back in verse 2 they have been judging unjustly; they have been showing partiality to the wicked.  They have been, rather, doing injustice than justice and He says, "Look, in your own eyes you think you are gods, but you are going to die like,"...what? "men."  How could you ever rip that 6th verse out of that context and make it an affirmation that a Christian has become a god?  Far from confirming their godhood, God is condemning them for thinking they were gods!

Word-Faith teachers will immediately turn to their other favorite proof text, John 10:33-34. Guess what?  This is where Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6, so if you understand Psalm 82:6 you don't have a problem understanding John 10. "The Jews answered Him, 'For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy because you being a man make yourself out to be God.'"  And then Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your law, 'I said you are gods.'"  Don't fail to notice Jesus' purpose for choosing that verse. It would have been a very familiar one to the Scribes and Pharisees.  They would have understood that that verse was an condemnation of wicked rulers, and Jesus is simply echoing the irony of the original Psalm.  Walter Martin wrote an excellent comment on this, He said, "Jesus mocks the people as if to say, 'You all think you are gods yourselves. What's one more god among you?'"  Oh, the irony.  You are going to stone me for claiming to be God, you all are claiming the same thing.  What's one more god?  The sarcasm.

Walter Martin says, "Irony is used to provoke us, not to inform us.  It is not a basis for building a theology."  Further he says, "It is also pertinent to an understanding of John 10 that we remember that Satan is called the "ruler of this world" by no less an authority than Jesus Christ, and Paul reinforces this by calling him the "god of this age."  We can make a god out of anything: money, power, status, position, sex, patriotism, family, or as in Lucifer's case--an angel.  We can be our own god; but to call something deity or to worship it, or to treat it as divine is quite another thing.  Then it is being by nature and in essence deity.  Jesus is not calling them "God" in the true sense; He is saying that you have made a god out of yourselves just like the people in Psalm 82 who felt the blast of God's judgment. 
God said to the rebellious Israelites in Isaiah 29:16, "You turn things around!  Shall the potter be considered equal with the clay" (Isaiah 29:16).  Does the clay think it is equal to the potter?" According to the Word-Faith movement, what's the answer?  "Yes, if not superior."  They have the wrong god."
(Dr. John MacArthur, "Charasmatic Chaos," page 335-336)


Charles Spurgeon On Psalm 82:6-7
1834-1892


Verse 6.  I have said, ye are gods.  The greatest honour was thus put upon them; they were delegated gods, clothed for a while with a little of that authority by which the Lord judges among the sons of men.  And all of you are children of the Most High.  This was their ex-officio character, not their moral or spiritual relationship.  There must be some government among men, and as angels are not sent to dispense it, God allows men to rule over men, and endorses their office, so far at least that the prostitution of it becomes an insult to his own prerogatives.  Magistrates would have no right to condemn the guilty if God had not sanctioned the establishment of government, the administration of law, and the execution of sentences.  Here the Spirit speaks most honourably of these offices, even when it censures the officers; and thereby teaches us to render honour to whom honour is due, honour to the office even if we award censure to the officer bearer.

Verse 7.  But ye shall die like men.  What sarcasm it seems! Great as the office made the men, they were still but men, and must die.  To every judge this verse is a memento mori!  He must leave the bench to stand at the bar, and on the way must put off the ermine to put on the shroud.  And fall like one of the princes.  Who were usually the first to die: for battle, sedition, and luxury, made greater havoc among the great than among any others.  Even as princes have often been cut off by sudden and violent deaths, so should the judges be who forget to do justice.  Men usually respect the office of a judge, and do not conspire to slay him, as they do to kill princes and kings; but injustice withdraws this protection, and puts the unjust magistrate in personal danger.  How quickly death unrobes the great.  What a leveller he is.  He is no advocate for liberty, but in promoting equality and fraternity he is a masterly democrat.  Great men die as common men do.  As their blood is the same, so the stroke which lets out their life produces the same pains and throes.  No places are too high for death's arrows: he brings down his birds from the tallest trees.  It is time that all men considered this.



Matthew Henry On John 10:34
1662-1714


Christ's reply to their accusation of him (for such their vindication of themselves was), and his making good those claims which they imputed to him as blasphemous (v. 34, etc.), where he proves himself to be no blasphemer, by two arguments:—

1. By an argument taken from God's word.  He appeals to what was written in their law, that is, in the Old Testament; whoever opposes Christ, he is sure to have the scripture on his side.  It is written (Ps. 82:6), I have said, You are gods.  It is an argument a minore ad majus—from the less to the greater.  If they were gods, much more am I.

Observe, (1.) How he explains the text (v. 35): He called them gods to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.  The word of God's commission came to them, appointing them to their offices, as judges, and therefore they are called gods, Ex. 22:28.  To some the word of God came immediately, as to Moses; to others in the way of an instituted ordinance.  Magistracy is a divine institution; and magistrates are God's delegates, and therefore the scripture calleth them gods; and we are sure that the scripture cannot be broken, or broken in upon, or found fault with.  Every word of God is right; the very style and language of scripture are unexceptionable, and not to be corrected, Mt. 5:18.

(2.) How he applies it.  Thus much in general is easily inferred, that those were very rash and unreasonable who condemned Christ as a blasphemer, only for calling himself the Son of God, when yet they themselves called their rulers so, and therein the scripture warranted them.  But the argument goes further (v. 36): If magistrates were called Gods, because they were commissioned to administer justice in the nation, say you of him whom the Father hath sanctified, Thou blasphemest?  We have here two things concerning the Lord Jesus:—[1.] The honour done him by the Father, which he justly glories in: He sanctified him, and sent him into the world. 

Magistrates were called the sons of God, though the word of God only came to them, and the spirit of government came upon them by measure, as upon Saul; but our Lord Jesus was himself the Word, and had the Spirit without measure.  They were constituted for a particular country, city, or nation; but he was sent into the world, vested with a universal authority, as Lord of all. They were sent to, as persons at a distance; he was sent forth, as having been from eternity with God.  The Father sanctified him, that is, designed him and set him apart to the office of Mediator, and qualified and fitted him for that office. Sanctifying him is the same with sealing him, ch. 6:27. 

Note, Whom the Father sends he sanctifies; whom he designs for holy purposes he prepares with holy principles and dispositions.  The holy God will reward, and therefore will employ, none but such as he finds or makes holy.  The Father's sanctifying and sending him is here vouched as a sufficient warrant for his calling himself the Son of God; for because he was a holy thing he was called the Son of God, Lu. 1:35. See Rom. 1:4.

[2.]  The dishonour done him by the Jews, which he justly complains of—that they impiously said of him, whom the Father had thus dignified, that he was a blasphemer, because he called himself the Son of God: "Say you of him so and so? Dare you say so?  Dare you thus set your mouths against the heavens?  Have you brow and brass enough to tell the God of truth that he lies, or to condemn him that is most just?  Look me in the face, and say it if you can.  What!  say you of the Son of God that he is a blasphemer?"  If devils, whom he came to condemn, had said so of him, it had not been so strange; but that men, whom he came to teach and save, should say so of him, be astonished, O heavens!  at this.  See what is the language of an obstinate unbelief; it does, in effect, call the holy Jesus a blasphemer.  It is hard to say which is more to be wondered at, that men who breathe in God's air should yet speak such things, or that men who have spoken such things should still be suffered to breathe in God's air.  The wickedness of man, and the patience of God, as it were, contend which shall be most wonderful.



Matthew Henry On Psalm 82:6-7
1662-1714


Earthly gods abased and brought down, v. 6, 7.  The dignity of their character is acknowledged (v. 6): I have said, You are gods.  They have been honoured with the name and title of gods.  God himself called them so in the statute against treasonable words Ex. 22:28, Thou shalt not revile the gods. And, if they have this style from the fountain of honour, who can dispute it? But what is man, that he should be thus magnified?  He called them gods because unto them the word of God came, so our Saviour expounds it (Jn. 10:35); they had a commission from God, and were delegated and appointed by him to be the shields of the earth, the conservators of the public peace, and revengers to execute wrath upon those that disturb it, Rom. 13:4.  All of them are in this sense children of the Most High.  God has put some of his honour upon them, and employs them in his providential government of the world, as David made his sons chief rulers. 

Or, "Because I said, You are gods, you have carried the honour further than was intended and have imagined yourselves to be the children of the Most High," as the king of Babylon (Isa. 14:14), I will be like the Most High, and the king of Tyre (Eze. 28:2), Thou hast set thy heart as the heart of God.  It is a hard thing for men to have so much honour put upon them by the hand of God, and so much honour paid them, as ought to be by the children of men, and not to be proud of it and puffed up with it, and so to think of themselves above what is meet.  But here follows a mortifying consideration: You shall die like men.  This may be taken either, 1. 

As the punishment of bad magistrates, such as judged unjustly, and by their misrule put the foundations of the earth out of course.  God will reckon with them, and will cut them off in the midst of their pomp and prosperity; they shall die like other wicked men, and fall like one of the heathen princes (and their being Israelites shall not secure them anymore than their being judges) or like one of the angels that sinned, or like one of the giants of the old world.  Compare this with that which Elihu observed concerning the mighty oppressors in his time. Job 34:26, He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others.  Let those that abuse their power know that God will take both it and their lives from them; for wherein they deal proudly he will show himself above them.

Or, 2. As the period of the glory of all magistrates in this world.  Let them not be puffed up with their honour nor neglect their work, but let the consideration of their mortality be both mortifying to their pride and quickening to their duty. "You are called gods, but you have no patent for immortality; you shall die like men, like common men; and like one of them, you, O princes!  shall fall."  Note, Kings and princes, all the judges of the earth, though they are gods to us, are men to God, and shall die like men, and all their honour shall be laid in the dust.  Mors sceptra ligonibus aequat—Death mingles sceptres with spades.

II. The God of heaven exalted and raised high, v. 8.  The psalmist finds it to little purpose to reason with these proud oppressors; they turned a deaf ear to all he said and walked on in darkness; and therefore he looks up to God, appeals to him, and begs of him to take unto himself his great power: Arise, O God!  judge the earth; and, when he prays that he would do it, he believes that he will do it: Thou shalt inherit all nations.  This has respect, 1. To the kingdom of providence.  God governs the world, sets up and puts down whom he pleases; he inherits all nations, has an absolute dominion over them, to dispose of them as a man does of his inheritance.  This we are to believe and to comfort ourselves with, that the earth is not given so much into the hands of the wicked, the wicked rulers, as we are tempted to think it is, Job 9:24.  But God has reserved the power to himself and overrules them.  In this faith we must pray, "Arise, O God!  Judge the earth, appear against those that judge unjustly, and set shepherds over thy people after thy own heart." 

There is a righteous God to whom we may have recourse, and on whom we may depend for the effectual relief of all that find themselves aggrieved by unjust judges. 2. To the kingdom of the Messiah.  It is a prayer for the hastening of that, that Christ would come, who is to judge the earth, and that promise is pleaded, that God shall give him the heathen for his inheritance.  Thou, O Christ! shalt inherit all nations, and be the governor over them, Ps. 2:8; 22:28.  Let the second coming of Christ set to-rights all these disorders.  There are two words with which we may comfort ourselves and one another in reference to the mismanagements of power among men: one is Rev. 19:6, Hallelujah, the Lord God omnipotent reigneth; the other is Rev. 22:20, Surely, I come quickly.

Here is what Charles Spurgeon said about false teachers:
"I cannot endure false doctrine, however neatly it may be put before me. Would you have me eat poisoned meat because the dish is of the choicest ware?  It makes me indignant when I hear another gospel put before the people with enticing words by man who would fair make merchandise of souls; and I marvel at those who have soft words for such deceivers.  "That is your bigotry," says one.  Call it so if you like; but it is the BIGOTRY OF THE LOVING JOHN, who wrote, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed; for he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds.

I would to God we all had more of such decision, for the lack of it is depriving our religious life of its backbone and substituting for honest manliness a mass of tremulous jelly of mutual flattery.  HE WHO DOES NOT HATE THE FALSE DOES NOT LOVE THE TRUE; and he to whom it is all the same, whether it be God's word or man's, is himself unrenewed at heart.  Oh, if some of you were like your fathers, you would not have tolerated in this age the wagon loads of trash under which the gospel has been of late buried by ministers of your own choosing. 

The apostle spake by inspiration when he said, "If we or an angel from heaven preach to you any other gospel than that ye have received, let him be accursed."  According to modern effeminacy he ought to have said, "Let him be kindly spoken with in private, but pray make no stir.  No doubt the good brother has his own original modes of thought and we must not question his liberty.  Doubtless he believes the same as we do, only there is some little difference as to terms.

This is treason to Christ and treachery to truth and cruelty to souls.  IF WE LOVE OUR LORD, WE SHALL KEEP HIS WORDS AND STAND FAST IN THE FAITH, coming out from among the false teachers.  Nor is this inconsistent with charity; for the truest love to those who err is not to fraternize with them in their error, but to be faithful to Jesus Christ in all things."


Here is what Charles Spurgeon said about the "wretched indifferentism" of his day:
"We have been likened by one of our opponents to the boy in the fable who cried, "Wolf!"  The parallel only fails in the all-important point that he cried "Wolf!" when there was none, and we are crying "Wolf!" when packs of them are howling so loudly that it would be superfluous for us to shout at all if a wretched indifferentism had not brought a deep slumber upon those who ought to guard the flocks.  The evidence is to our mind so overwhelming that we thought that our statements only gave voice to a matter of common notoriety.  Either we are dreaming, or our brethren are; let the godly judge who it is that is asleep."


J. Gresham Machen had some insightful thoughts on these leaders that tell us to just love everybody regardless of what they teach:
"That disaster is a figure of what will come of optimism in the churches of today.  Superficially our ecclesiastical life seems to be progressing as it always did: the cabins are full of comfortable passengers; the orchestra is playing a lively air; the rows of lighted windows shine cheerfully out into the night.  But all the time death is lurking beneath.  In this time of deadly peril there are leaders who say that all is well; there are leaders who decry controversy and urge peace, declaring that the church is all perfectly loyal and true.  God forgive them, brethren!  I say it with all my heart: may God forgive them for the evil that they are doing to Christ’s little ones: may the Holy Spirit open their eyes while yet there is time!  Meanwhile, in the case of many of the churches, the great ship rushes onward to the risk, at least, of doom."


J. C. Ryle has well said:
"Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion.  They
weaken the cause of true Christianity.  They give occasion to the enemies of all godliness to blaspheme.  But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved.  False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism.  If people separate themselves from teaching which is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved.  In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin...

The old saying must never be forgotten, 'He is the schismatic who causes schism...Controversy in religion is a hateful thing, It is hard enough to fight the devil, the world and the flesh, without private differences in our own camp.  But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine tolerated, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation...It is a plain Scriptural duty to "contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints"...

I am quite aware that when a man expresses such opinions as those I have just brought forward, there are many ready to say, "He is not faithful to the Church."  I hear such accusations unmoved.  The day of judgment will show who were the true friends of the Church and who were not.  I have learned in the last thirty-two years that if a minister leads a quiet life, leaves alone the unconverted part of the world, and preaches so as to offend none and edify none, he will be called by many "a good pastor.And I have also learned that if a man studies Scriptures, labors continually for the conversion of souls, adheres closely to the great principals of the Reformation, bears a faithful testimony against Romanism, and preaches powerful, convicting sermons, he will probably be thought a firebrand and "troubler of Israel."  Let men say what they will.  They are the truest friends of the Church who labor most for the preservation of truth."


Here is what Charles Spurgeon said about taking a stand:
"We admire a man who was firm in the faith, say four hundred years ago...but such a man today is a nuisance, and must be put down...Yet imagine in those ages past, Luther, Zwingle, Calvin, and their compeers had said, 'The world is out of order; but if we try to set it right we shall only make a great row, and get ourselves into disgrace.  Let us go to our chambers, put on our night-caps, and sleep over the bad times, and perhaps when we wake up things will have grown better.'  Such conduct on their part would have entailed upon us a heritage of error.  Age after age would have gone down into the infernal deeps, and the pestiferous bogs of error would have swallowed all.  These men loved the faith and the name of Jesus too well to see them trampled on.

It is today as it was in the Reformers days.  Decision is needed.  Here is the day for the man, where is the man for the day?  We who have had the gospel passed to us by martyr hands dare not triffle with it, nor sit by and hear it denied by traitors, who pretend to love it, but inwardly abhor every line of it...Look you sirs, there are ages yet to come.  If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to His truth today.  We have come to a turning point in the road.  If we turn to the right mayhap our children and our children's children will go that way; but if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to His Word."


Martin Luther said the following:
"If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God, except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.  Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved."


J. C. Ryle has well said:
"I now pass on to the second lesson that we learn from Antioch.  That lesson is, 'That to keep Gospel truth in the Church is of even greater importance than to keep peace.'...Paul's example is one we shall do well to remember in the present day. Many people will put up with anything in religion, if they may only have a quiet life.  They have a morbid dread of what they call "controversy."  They are filled with a morbid fear of what they style, in a vague way, "party spirit," though they never define clearly what party spirit is.  They are possessed with a morbid desire to keep the peace, and make all things smooth and pleasant, even though it be at the expense of truth.

So long as they have outward calm, smoothness, stillness, and order, they seem content to give up everything else. I believe they would have thought with Ahab that Elijah was a troubler of Israel, and would have helped the princes of Judah when they put Jeremiah in prison, to stop his mouth.  I have no doubt that many of these men of whom I speak, would have thought that Paul at Antioch was a very imprudent man, and that he went too far!"


Merrill F. Unger has well said:
"Deception will surely engulf people who follow man's voice instead of God's and who ride ecumenical trends that depreciate God's Word and approve false shepherds within the professing church."


Here is what Charles Spurgeon said about controversy:
"Controversy for truth against errors of the age is, we feel more than ever convinced, the peculiar duty of the preacher."


In C. H. Spurgeon's Autobiography his wife added:
"Many people were foolish enough to suppose that he had adopted a new role, and some said that he would have done more good by simply preaching the gospel, and leaving the so-called 'heretics' to go their own way!  Such critics must have been strangely unfamiliar with his whole history, for, from the very beginning of his ministry, he had earnestly contended for the faith once for all delivered to the saints."


J. C. Ryle has well said:
"I feel deeply the painfulness of speaking out on these subjects.  I know well that speaking plain about false doctrine is very unpopular, and that the speaker must be content to find himself being thought of as very uncharitable, very troublesome, and very narrow-minded.  Thousands of people can never distinguish differences in religion.  To the bulk of men a clergyman is a clergyman, and a sermon is a sermon, and as to any difference between one minister and another, or one doctrine and another, they are utterly unable to understand it. 
I cannot expect such people to approve of any warning against false doctrine.  I must make up my mind to meet with their disapproval, and must bear it as I best can.  But I will ask any honest-minded, unprejudiced Bible reader to turn to the New Testament and see what he will find there. 

He will find many plain warnings against false doctrine: "Watch out for false prophets" (Matthew 7:15).  "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy" (Colossians 2:8).  "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings" (Hebrews 13:9).  "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God" (1 John 4:1).

He will find a large part of several inspired epistles taken up with
elaborate explanations of true doctrine and warnings against false
teaching.  I ask whether it is possible for a minister who takes the
Bible for his rule of faith to avoid giving warnings against doctrinal
error?...

False doctrine does not meet men face to face, and proclaim that it is false.  It does not blow a trumpet before it, and endeavor openly to turn us away from the truth as it is in Jesus.  It does not come before men in broad day, and summon them to surrender.  It approaches us secretly, quietly, insidiously, plausibly, and in such a way as to disarm man's suspicion, and throw him off his guard.  It is the wolf in sheep's clothing, and Satan in the garb of an angel of light, who have always proved the most dangerous foes of the Church of Christ....

Let us be on our guard against the "insidiousness" of false doctrine.
Like the fruit of which Eve and Adam ate, at first sight it looks pleasant and good, and a thing to be desired.  Poison is not written upon it, and so people are not afraid.  Like counterfeit coin, it is not stamped "bad:" it passes for the real thing because of the very likeness it bears to the truth...

In the next place, let me entreat every true hearted servant of
Christ "not to be deceived by the superficial disguise" under which false doctrines often approach our souls in the present day.  Beware of supposing that a teacher of religion is to be trusted, because although he holds some unsound views, he yet "teaches a great deal of truth."  Such a teacher is precisely the man to do you harm: poison is always most dangerous when it is given in small doses and mixed with wholesome food.

Beware of being taken in by the apparent earnestness of many of the
teachers and upholders of false doctrine.  Remember that zeal and
sincerity and fervor are no proof whatever that a man is working for
Christ, and ought to be believed."

"Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God...They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.  Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God?  But thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee."
Ezekiel 28:2, 8-10
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
Genesis 3:4-5
John MacArthur: Word Faith, Positive Confession, Prosperity Gospel, Name it Claim it False Gospel.