Jesus as “a god” alongside God Pt. 2

We continue from where we previously left off https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/jesus-as-a-god-alongside-god-pt-1/.

Regarding demons, the Watchtower publication Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 1, pp. 612-613, says:

The demons as such were not created by God. The first to make himself one was Satan the Devil (see SATAN), who became ruler of other angelic sons of Godwho also made themselves demons. (Mt 12:24, 26) In Noah’s day disobedient angels materialized, married women, fathered a hybrid generation known as Nephilim (see NEPHILIM) and then dematerialized when the flood came. (Ge 6:1-4) However, upon returning to the spirit realm, they did not regain their lofty original position, for Jude 6 says: “The angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.” (1Pe 3:19, 20) So it is in this condition of dense spiritual darkness that they must now confine their operations. (2Pe 2:4)… However, wayward Israel went so far as to sacrifice their sons and daughters to the demons. (Ps 106:37; De 32:17; 2Ch 11:15)…

According to this same volume the Greek word for demon, as well as its compound form, can also be used in reference to deities:

This use of the word ‘demon’ is narrow and specific compared with the notions of ancient philosophers and the way the word was used in classical Greek. In this regard the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by G. Kittel (Viol. II, p. 8), remarks: “The meaning of the ad[jective daimonios] brings out most clearly the distinctive features of the G[ree]k conception of demons, for it denotes that which lies outwith human capacity and is thus to be attributed to the intervention of higher powers, whether for good or evil. [To daimonion] in pre-Christian writers can be used in the sense of ‘divine.’” (Translated and edited by G. Bromiley, 1971) When speaking controversially with Paul, some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers concluded: “He seems to be a publisher of foreign deities [Gr.,daimonion].”- Ac 17:18

When speaking to the Athenians, Paul used a compound of the Greek word daimon, saying: “You seem to be more given to the fear of the deities [Gr.,deisdaimonesterous; Latin Vulgate, ‘more superstitious’] than others are.” Commenting on this compound word, F. F. Bruce remarks: “The context must decide whether this word is used in its better or worse sense. It was, in fact, as vague as ‘religious’ in Eng[lish], and here we may best translate ‘very religious’. But AV ‘superstitious’ is not entirely wrong; to Paul their religion was mostly superstition, as it also was though on other grounds, to the Epicureans.”- The Acts of the Apostles, 1970, p. 335.

When speaking to King Herod Agrippa II, Festus said that the Jews had certain disputes with Paul concerning their “worship of the deity” [Gr., deisdaimoni’as; LatinVulgate, ‘superstition’]. (Acts 25:19) It was noted by F. F. Bruce that this Greek word “might be less politely rendered ‘superstition’ (as in AV). The corresponding adjective appears with the same ambiguity in [Acts] 17:22.”- Commentary on the Book of the Acts, 1971, p. 483. (Ibid., p. 613)

The NWT renders these specific terms as deities, lending further support that demons were mistakenly viewed and/or worshiped as gods. The following citation further demonstrates that demons are angels, and that behind every idol lay an angelic presence:

“All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; all gods bow down before him.” Psalm 97:7 RSV

The LXX understood these gods to be angels:

Let all that worship graven images be ashamed, who boast of their idols; worship him, all ye his angels. Brenton’s

We know of course that the angels, which are connected to the idols, are in fact demons.

More importantly, both the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) and the LXX have a different reading in De 32:43 that is not found in the Masoretic text (MT). This variant provides additional evidence that the gods to whom Yahweh was referring in De. 32:39 included the angels:

“Rejoice, O heavens, together with him, and bow down to him all you godsfor he will avenge the blood of his sons, and will render vengeance to his enemies, and will recompense those who hate him and will atone for the land of his people.” (Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English, translated and with commentary by Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint & Eugene Ulrich [HarperCollins, paperback edition: October 22, 2002], p. 193; bold emphasis ours)

“Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance, and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people.” Brenton’s LXX

Stafford, interestingly, believes that Paul quoted De 32:43 in Hebrews 1:6:

“It is also not out of the ordinary to find ‘angels’ as a translation for ’elohim. The LXX of both Deuteronomy 32:43 and Psalm 97:7 use ‘angels’ for ’elohim. The author of Hebrews (whom Jehovah’s Witnesses believe to be the apostle Paul) even quotes Deuteronomy 32:43 in Hebrews 1:6, again showing his agreement with the LXX in using ‘angels’ for ‘gods.’ The same is true of Psalm 138:1, where ’elohim again is translated ‘angels.’” (Ibid., pp. 110-111)

And:

“The LXX of De 32:43 is more likely the source of Paul’s quotation as there are LXX manuscripts of this text that match Paul’s quotation word for word. That he primarily quotes from the Psalms is not a deterrent to accepting Heb 1:6 as a quotation from De 32:43, since he also quotes from 2Sa 7:14 in Heb 1:5. The quotation in Heb 1:6 seems to have come from a Hebrew recension other than MT, which is reflected in 4QDeutq… (Ibid., p. 111, f. 105)

At times, the DSS and the LXX preserve a more primitive, and thus more accurate, form of the Hebrew text. Stafford agrees. In addressing why Hebrews 10:5 used the LXX’s rendering of Psalm 40:6 instead of the MT, Stafford writes:

“… As for why Hebrews 10:5 accepts the meaning of the LXX over the Hebrew of Psalm 40:6, it may be that at this point the LXX reflects a more ancient Hebrew text than the MT. This is clearly the case with Deuteronomy 32:43, which differs from MT but agrees with the more primitive text of 4QDeutq (see note 105 above).” (Ibid., p. 112; bold emphasis ours)

The most amazing part about all this is that Stafford fails to make the connection between the gods mentioned in De 32:39 with the angelic gods of De 32:43! Stafford actually thinks that the renderings found in DSS and LXX support his position that angels are gods, when in fact it proves the exact opposite! It proves that when Yahweh says that there are no gods with him he means exactly that, i.e. that neither angels nor idols are gods in nature. In this respect the Watchtower got it right since it is true that De 32 is attacking beings which are falsely viewed as gods. Yet where the Watchtower got it wrong is in their claim that these beings do not include angels. The scriptures clearly teach that others may falsely consider angels as gods, but the truth is that Yahweh alone is God in essence and nature. As the Psalmist says:

There is none like you among the gods, O Jehovah, Neither are there any works like yours. All the nations whom you have made will themselves come, And they will bow down before you, O Jehovah, And will give glory to your name. For you are great and are doing wondrous things. You are God, YOU ALONE.” Psalm 86:8-10

The inspired Psalmist states that Yahweh alone is God amongst the other so-called gods. The 1984 NWT of the Holy Scriptures with References has a footnote here, which reads:

8* “Among the gods.” Heb., va’elohim’; Gr., the-ois; Lat., di’is; T, “lofty angels.”

Evidently, the Jewish translators of the Targums understood these gods to be angels. There is nothing in the context of Psalm 86 linking these so-called gods with the gods/idols of the nations. Furthermore, the Psalms themselves provide additional support that these are angels, as the NWT makes plain. The NWT cross-references the preceding text with Psalm 89:6. Verse 7 is included for context:

“For who in the skies can be compared to Jehovah? Who can resemble Jehovah among the sons of God? God is to be held in awe among the intimate group of holy ones; He is grand and fear-inspiring over all who are round about him.”

The reference to the sons of God demonstrates that these are angels, which provides further confirmation that Yahweh alone is God amongst the heavenly host.

Other passages affirming that Yahweh alone is God include:

“You-you have been shown that Jehovah is the [true] God (ha elohim); there is no other besides him…  And you well know today, and you must call back to your heart that Jehovah is the [true] God (ha elohim) in the HEAVENS ABOVE and on the earth beneath. THERE IS NO OTHER.” Deuteronomy 4:35, 39

The LXX reads:

KURIOS hO THEOS SOU hOUTOS THEOS ESTI (“the Lord your God, He is God”)… KURIOS hO THEOS SOU hOUTOS THEOS.

Notice that we have a Colwell Construction (.e.g, a preverbal anarthrous THEOS before EIMI) in verse 35 and an implied one in verse 39.  It may be that here we have a qualitative use of THEOS here, which would entail that the text is actually saying, “The Lord your God, He is (by nature) God.”

Yahweh alone is elohim in heaven and on earth, showing once more that the angels who are in heaven are not real gods. It would be nonsense to say that this refers to idols and/or to the false gods of the nations, since neither the idols nor the false gods dwell in heaven.

Again:

“There is none holy as Jehovah; For there is none besides thee, Neither is there any rock like our God… Jehovah killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to Sheol, and bringeth up.” 1 Samuel 2:2, 6 ASV

Finally:

“that all the peoples of the earth may know that Jehovah, he is God; there is none else.” 1 Kings 8:60 ASV

Once more, there is nothing in the particular context of the preceding citations about the gods or idols of the nations, which indicates that the claim that there is none besides Yahweh means exactly that. There are simply no other gods. Hence, all these citations conclusively demonstrate that whatever the word “gods” means in relation to Yahweh’s angelic host, one thing it does not mean is that these beings are actually gods in nature. In the words of the Apostle Paul:

“Nevertheless, when YOU did not know God, then it was that YOU slaved for those who by NATURE are NOT gods.” Galatians 4:8

To summarize the data thus far:

  1. De 32:39 states that there are no gods alongside Yahweh.
  2. The context shows that these gods include demons.
  3. Demons therefore are not gods.
  4. According to the Holy Bible demons are actually angels.
  5. Since demons are angels who are not gods, angels therefore are not gods.

We still have more to say in the third part of our discussion https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/jesus-as-a-god-alongside-god-pt-3/.

 

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