The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Did God Address his Son as "God"?

8 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” (Heb 1:8,9 NKJV)

The NKJV is a typical translation of this passage. “He says” is in italics since it isn’t in the Greek. Yet, it is clear from the previous verses, that the writer understands God as the speaker.

It seems peculiar that God would address his Son as “God”. The verse comes from Psalm 45:6,7 where the writer addresses the king, presumably King David. But the writer to the Hebrews understands it as the Father addressing the Son. Another peculiarity is that in Greek, the word “God” in both Hebrews 1 and in Psalm 45 (Septuagint) is not in the vocative case, but in the nomative case. That is doubtless the justification that the NWT translators rended the phrase not as “Your throne, O God” but as “God is your throne.” The latter is grammatically correct. Let me explain. The nominative case of “God” is “θεος” (thĕos) while the vocative case is “θεε”(thĕ-ĕ). Here is an example of the use of the vocative case of “God”:

Exekiel 4:14
και εἰπα-- μηδαμως κυριε θεε του----- ἰσραηλ
and I said not so-- O, lord God of the Israel

In the text above, both “lord” and “God” are in the vocative case. But Heb 1:8 does NOT have “God” in the vocative case, but in the nominative case:

προς— δε τον υἰων ὁ θρονος σου----- ὁ-- θεος εἰς τον αἰων
toward but the son the throne of you the God into the age.

A very similar grammatical constuction can be found in Psalm 73:26

ἡ-- μερις μου---- ὁ θεος εἰς τον αἰων
the part of me the God into the age

This is translated as “My part is God into the age.”

So, a parallel translation of “ὁ θρονος σου ὁ θεος εἰς τον αἰων” could be
“Your throne is God into the age.”

There are strong objections to this translation. One person wrote, “God is on his throne. He isn’t the throne of anybody else!” Some have tried to avoid that problem by rendering it, “Your divine throne is (lasts) into the age.” This may be compared to John 1:1 in which the latter part could be translated as “The Logos was divine." This might be a valid translation of Heb 1:8 if “θεος” were not preceded by the article. In John 1:1, “θεος” is NOT preceded by the article. So for that reason (in my opinion), the translation “your divine throne” must be rejected.

It seems that the nominative IS sometimes used in a vocative sense:
I desired to do your will, O my God, and your law in the middle of my heart. (Psalm 40:8)

The phrase “O my God” is obviously vocative in meaning and yet “God” is “ὁ θεος” which is the nominative. So if I were arguing that because of the nominative case, Heb 1:8 needs to read, “God is your throne,” I would have to reluctantly concede that a possible translation is “Your throne, O God.” However, I am not arguing that. I am
seeking to know which translation is correct, and I have not settled on one or the other. I am more inclined to go with “God is your throne,” because it doesn’t seem likely that God the Father would address his Son as “God,” even though He is fully divine. But then the early Christian writers referred to Him as “God”, and Thomas seems to have addressed Him as “God,” (John 20:28) even though some say He was merely exclaiming, “My Lord and my God!” as one might exclaim, “O my God!” today. But that seems to be stretching it. Notwithstanding, the Almighty addressing Him as “God” seems less appropriate than mere human beings addressing him as “God.”

So how do I understand, “God is your throne,” without meaning that Jesus sits on the Almighty and rules into the age from that position? I think the text may be simply saying that as Jesus reigns in his Kingdom for ages, before turning the Kingdom over to the Father, He won’t be reigning independently of the Father, but is so united with the Father, that one might as well say that the Father Himself is ruling. “God is your throne.”

But let me emphasize, I am not dogmatic about this. From other uses of the nominative as a vocative, the translation, “Your throne, O God” seems to be grammatically correct, but it still seems peculiar to me that God would address his Son as “God,” and then in the very next sentence say, “God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness…”

Note: All of the OT quotes are taken from the Septuagint, a translation, several hundred yeard B.C. of a particular text type of Hebrew into Greek. This text type differs from that of the Masoretic, and was found in Cave 4 of Qumran, whereas the Masoretic text type was found in the other caves. The NT quotes from the OT, resemble the Septuagint text, and are identical in many places. They differ markedly from the Masoretic text (the text from which your OT was translated). The Septuagint itself was altered over the centuries. However, it seems that the NT quotes of the OT were quotes either of the Septuagint, or else from a Hebrew text type similar to, or identical with, that which was found in Cave 4.

As I understand it… of all God’s men (sons) Jesus was the man (son) above all men i.e., “Son of man”; he was God’s ultimate Son. Adam was the first (Lk 3:38) Jesus was the last (Mk 1:1) cf. 1Cor 15:45.

As God’s viceroy Jesus could say with all truth “He who has seen Me has seen the FatherJn 14:9. It is in this sense that Jesus was divine, i.e., appointed, He carried full divine authority, “all authority” (Mt 28:18).

The same sense is shown in terms of Moses, Aaron and Pharaoh.

Ex 4:16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.

Ex 7:1 So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.

In both these text the word “as” is nowhere in the text; thus they actually read… “and you shall be to him God.” – “See, I have made you God to Pharaoh”. For all intents and purposes, as Yahweh’s spokesman Moses “was God” – when Moses spoke God spoke. This then is the same sense of Jesus’ “I and the Father are one.Jn 10:30 This was not a reference to ontological divinity, it was Jesus saying “what I’m saying to you the Father is saying to you” “We are on the same page” i.e., Jesus was ALL about the purpose or “business” of the Father (Lk 2:49).

Accordingly… God could address his Son as “God”.

I’m off on other things this morning (and afternoon), and tomorrow, but I’m working on a reply.

The overly short version is that it cannot in principle be even slightly more peculiar for {ho theos} to address His Son as {ho theos} than for YHWH to address His Son as YHWH two verses later, in a context where YHWH is claiming the highest and singularly unique ontological status over all not-God reality, explicitly against the idolatry of religiously worshiping any lesser lords or gods.

Whether it makes sense contextually (since it can admittedly be read that way grammatically) for the Greek back in verse 8 to be meant as “Your throne is the God”, is kind of beside the point next to that. :wink: But to be fair, so would be any structural arguments I have (which I do have) for thinking that can’t be what’s intended.

Being a horrible pedant (or just for the sake of accuracy, if you’ll allow), I’m willing to go into details about that; but it would be pretty trivial overall, compared to whether {ho theos} is supposed to be the throne of a lesser lord or god who is also being called YHWH by {ho theos} in a referential context where YHWH is being religiously contrasted to any possible lesser lord or god.

Or putting it briefly another way, even if I granted for the sake of argument that {theos} at the start of the contested phrase in John 1:1 could legitimately be translated or interpreted as the adjective description “divine”, the point would be that {ho logos} has the same kind of divinity {ho theos} does, no less; and so is no less than the one and only ground of all reality, just like {ho theos}. {ho logos} might as well be called {ho theos} – just as the actual application of a fronted nominative predicate comparing two name/titles would be tacitly including the {ho} even though it isn’t being printed. (And just like the reference to the habit of the Aramaic Targums would indicate, regularly replacing references to names of God Most High with the Memra of Elohim.)

Davo, in the Septuagint, there is no article before “god”, so the reference is not to “THE GOD,” but probably to “a god.”
The Greek probably ought to be rendered, “See, I gave you [as] a god to Pharoah.” Though there is no “as” in Greek, it wouldn’t make sense to translate it without"as". It WOULD make sense if the verb were “made” rather than “gave.”

I haven’t studied Hebrew, and so I suppose the Masoretic text from which your Old Testament is translated, might have “made” instead of “gave.”

In that case the Hebrew might be translated as, “I made you a god to Pharoah.” Indeed, that is the way it IS translated by the AV (King James), BBE, Rotherham, RWebster, and YLT, except that not all of these translations render the verb as “made.” Some of them use a different verb.

Jason, there is a huge difference between the Father addessing his Son as “Yahweh,” and addressing his Son as “God” (with the article, in other words “THE GOD.” And “God” does have the article in the verse in question.

As you know, Jesus, in his prayer to the Father, addressed Him as “The only true God.”

This is lasting life that they might know you, the only true God, AND Jesus Christ whom you sent. (John 17:3)

By means of that little word “and” (I make it BIG), Jesus indicated that He was someone else — someone other than “The only true God.”
Jason, if you are a classic Trinitarian, as I think you are, then you know that Jesus and the Father are distinct Individuals, no matter how united they may be. If the Father is the ONLY TRUE GOD, then Jesus, who though fullest Deity, is NOT. So the Father would never address the Son as “God” (with the article), since only He qualifies as “God” in that sense.

But it seems probable that both the Father and the Son share the name “Yahweh.” Justin Martyr in his “Dialogue With Trypho,” made this claim, and used Genesis 19:24 as the evidence.

Then Yahweh rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from Yahweh out of heaven.

In this verse, there seem to be two Individuals called “Yahweh,” one on earth to whom Abraham addressed as “Yahweh,” and through whom the brimstone and fire came, and another in heaven, the source of the brimstone and fire.

Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Heb 11:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has **by inheritance **obtained a more excellent name than they.

1 Cor 15:27 But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

John 17:1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as **You have given Him authority **over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Phil 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Col 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been (filled)made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

Eph 1:19 These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

The scripure says all the fulness was made to dwell in Him. It also says, “and of His fulness have we all received”. In Him all of the fulness dwells and we are in Him having been filled. This speaks of the divine nature- in Christ in perfection/completion as the image of God and eventually also perfected and completed in each one of us in the measure appointed under His headship- for the same purpose, to minister reconciliation.

Phil 2:6 provides a lot of problems for people when the Trinity is questioned, but looking at it in the context of all the other verses above, which are a few of many bearing similar import…it is clear to me that Jesus was made equal to God by His “appointment”(Heb 11:1). He obtained a “more excellent name” by inheritance. He received the fulness of God because it pleased the Father to “make it” tabernacle in Him, and Jesus saw it this way(imo) because He said all authority is “given to me by My Father”. Paul digs into this in 1 Cor 15, “it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted”… so as the Father created “through Him”(Col 1) He also will reign through Him, subjecting all things until there is no more need for “rule, power or authority” because God will be all in all, Christ Himself also subjected- as He always has been and as He said of Himself, to His Father. He, being found in the “form of God” having all power as the executor of God by inheritance and appointment, did not use this power to enhance Himself in anyway- but rather emptied Himself, earning even greater glory.

The tricky question, regarding which men of good conscience may disagree, is whether Jesus authority was intrinsic, inherent, self-originated because of His being God, or if it was given by “the only true God”, who sent Him.

John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

The Holy Spirit likewise, does not speak on His own authority- because He is the messenger/breath of “the only true God”, whom no man has seen at any time, it is the Son, who is in the bosom of the Father of has explained/related(exegeomai) Him(God).

Jesus is in the Father’s bosom on a throne of God’s making and establishing, reigning over a kingdom of God’s making by authority given to Him by God and through the executive power of the Holy Spirit, the fulness of which is in Him because the Father made “all the fulness dwell in Him” and after His ascension(John 7, Acts 2) He received the promised Holy Spirit and poured it forth on us, “and you are in Him having been filled”, and “of His fulness have we all received” that we might be “filled up to all the fulness of God” under the headship of the one who has been made to sit over all things and has been “given” as Head over all things to the church, “the fulness of Him who fills all in all”(Eph 1)

The action of the Father underneath, or through all these things that Jesus is by the Father’s initiation from the seed idea(alpha, logos, Lamb slain from the foundation of the world) to the final fulfillment(omega, many sons unto glory, all creation redeemed and restored) is reflected(to me anyway) in all these verses- where it is clear that is is the act of God upon Christ and in Christ that makes Him what He is, the Chief cornerstone of the “living stones being built into a habitaition of God in the Spirit”- “brothers, we know not yet what we shall be, but we know we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is”…“that they may be one even as you and I are one, I in you and you in me and I in them”

A compound being? The reason I have not got a problem with some trinitarian concept is because I think God is creating a compound being, of which Jesus is Head(body) and Root(vine) and Cornerstone(tabernacle) and Firstborn(many sons unto glory) and Lord(kingdom)- and throughout which the Spirit is wind and living water, God as all in all, in all creation… “For in Him we live and move and have our being”(Acts 17)

When read from an interlinear without all the verse numbers and periods, Col 1 reads like this

…who is the beginning firstborn out from the dead that might be in all things he** holding preeminence because in him he was pleased for all the fulness to dwell and by him to reconcile all things to himself by the blood of the cross** of him through him whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens…

He that descended is he that ascended that he might fill all things(Eph 4)

Everything in all these scriptures passes through and conjoins at the exaltaion of Christ which is by the Father, not by Jesus himself, because it pleased the Father to make all the fulness dwell in Him, the fountainhead of the building, body, vine, compound being God is making. He makes His messegers winds, His ministers flames of fire- He is wind/spirit…He is fire, all things are being drawn into Him through the exaltaion of Jesus Christ, who has received this exaltation because of His willingness to become obedient to the point of death on a cross, through which His blood is reconciling all, as they are drawn to Jesus by the Father.

“If I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me”…“No man comes unto me except the Father draw Him”…“I am determined to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified”.

I haven’t studied much into ancient history, but generally speaking, the people in ancient days looked to the earthly king as divinely appointed authority. The kings words were what God said, whether they were or not. The heir to the king’s throne was the firstborn son or a descendant of royal blood. I think the bible reflects some of the cultural view points of the times. I believe one of the reasons God came to Earth was to reestablish the proper order of the world. My view of the Trinity is different from most, but I think it all boils down to the same thing.

Holy Spirit
Father } All as One
Son-righteous men who follow in God’s footsteps to be ruling and judging by His words and His Spirit
All else underneath

My belief
Holy Spirit
God’s spoken Word - spoken to us by God Himself in the flesh. By this we know that there truly is a God, who He is and what we should be doing. Son-righteous men who follow in God’s footsteps to be ruling and judging by His words and His Spirit
All else underneath

I believe God Himself came to Earth in the flesh as a Son( man ) to restore His words, show us how to live properly, and how to build our societies
so that we can live peacefully amongst one another. He ascended back to heaven and is the Holy Spirit. He is the Father and creator of all things(the Master Mind) and the Ultimate authority(law). His Spirit is also One of truth ,love ,compassion etc. that dwells in our hearts. We are the
Son(sons). God gave man dominion over the Earth, but with express knowledge of His word, and the understanding that He is the Ultimate authority of all things. So the Sons who follow in God’s Word are the ones who should be leading the way.

Hi Eaglesway,

You’ve quoted a lot of great scriptures!
I had a problem with only one of them, which I regard as a mistranslationn:

No Greek text of this verse have the preposition “over” in it. Rather “all” and “creation” are in the genitive case, which means that it is to be translated as “The firstborn of all creation.” I think that those translators who inserted the word “over,” did so because they did not believe that the Son of God was the firstborn OF all creation.

I have been able to find only three translations in which the word “over” was inserted: EMTV, HCSB, and NKJV.
The vast majority of translators render the phrase as the Greek dictates, “The firstborn of all creation.” Here are some that do so (though some of these have “The firstborn of every created thing” or some other such variation):

ASV, AV(King James), Darby, Diaglot, Douay, ESV, Murdoch, NASB, Rotherham, RWebster, WEB, YLT

Yes, I agree with that entirely. Firstborn of all creation. The NAS actually translates it that way.

With regards to Ex7:1, yes I’m aware of the “no article” but that wasn’t so much my point, as “the article” although mostly used when referencing God doesn’t necessitate it ALWAYS being used with reference to God. For example… the numerous arguments around the lack of “the article” in the likes of Jn 1:1’s “the God” or “a god” being a case in point. IOW, said lack of article doesn’t really negate the solidity of what said text is saying.

But that said, Ex 4:16 DOES indeed supply “the article”… thus giving credence (if this needs to be a requirement) to the point I’m raising, as per: καὶ αὐτός σοι προσλαλήσει πρὸς τὸν λαόν καὶ αὐτὸς ἔσται σου στόμα σὺ δὲ αὐτῷ ἔσῃ τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. “τὸν θεόν” = the God. IOW, for all intents and purposes… Moses was God to Aaron, just as Moses was God to Pharaoh as per 7:1.

Again yes certainly… the “as” of course only being supplied and added to give sense as per our ‘English’ understanding.

Well… as I understand it, the passive verb “given” would indeed make sense. That said however, the “made” reference of the Ex 7:1 seems to fit the vast bulk of translations.

This word translated made in 7:1 is δέδωκά (dedoka), derived from διδωμι (didōmi). As I understand this term carries a strong sense of divine appointment as somewhat indicative in these translations…

Ex 7:1 But Adonai said to Moshe, “I have put you in the place of God to Pharaoh, and Aharon your brother will be your prophet. (Complete Jewish Bible)

Ex 7:1 And the Lord said to Moses: Behold I have appointed thee the God of Pharao: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (Douay–Rheims)

Ex 7:1 The LORD said unto Moses, See, I have constituted thee as god unto Pharaoh; and Aaron, thy brother, shall be thy prophet. (Jubilee Bible)

Luke 10:19
John 17:02
John 17:04
John 17:07
John 17:08
John 17:09
John 17:11
John 17:12
John 17:14
John 17:22
John 17:24
John 18:09
Revelation 03:08
Revelation 16:06

It is interesting to note that ALL references to δέδωκά (dedoka) as found in the NT are in reference to that which is “GIVEN” (appointed or made) in terms of authority, power, glory, opportunity or judgment as being conferred by or from God. THIS then I believe gives strength to the position I’m positing on these Exodus texts.

I did some more thinking about this since 4 years ago. I thought I’d like to share my current thoughts:

Did God address His Son as “God”?

Consider Hebrews 1:8 as it is almost universally translated:

But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. (ESV)

However, the Greek for “God” is “ο θεος” (ho theos). The word “theos” and the article “ho” preceding it, is literally “the God” and is in the nominative case. That means that “ho theos” is used as the subject of a sentence—not a form of address. When God is addressed, the word “God” must be in the vocative case which for “God” in the second person singular is “θεε”.

Many will tell you that the vocative can be expressed with the nominative case. Or they may say that “ο θεος” can be the vocative case as well as the nominative case. They tell you there are many examples in the Greek NT or in the Greek Septuagint of the OT. I believe that to be a mistake. I searched but have never yet encountered a clear example of this.

Here is a NT example of using the vocative case:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God , (θεε) my God , (θεε) why have you forsaken me?”

(Matt 27:46)

I found 6 examples in the Apocrapha of the use of the vocative case. Here are 3 of them:

So she prayed by her window and said, "Blessed art thou, O Lord my God , (θεε), and blessed is thy holy and honored name for ever. (Tobit 3:11)

Then Raguel blessed God and said, "Blessed art thou, O God , (θεε)with every pure and holy blessing. Let thy saints and all thy creatures bless thee; let all thy angels and thy chosen people bless thee for ever. (Tobit 8:15)

O God (θεε) of my fathers and Lord of mercy, who hast made all things by thy word…(Wisdom 9:1)

Hebrews 1:8 in Greek is quoted from Psalm 45:6. The writer applies it to Jesus, the Son of God, and the NT writers do with many of the OT passages. Indeed the Lord Jesus does it, too. But Psalm 45:6 seems to directly apply the human king (See vs 1-5). I don’t think the king would be addressed as “God.” Rather the translation of both Psalm 45:6 and Hebrews 1:8 should be Υοur throne is God .”

Here are the words in Greek:

ο θρονος σου ο θεος

In English characters with a literal translation beneath:

ho thronos sou ------ho theos

the throne of you (is) the God

The word “God” with the article reads as “the God” and where there are no other modifiers, always refers to the Father alone. Some say that this is nonsense. What would it mean for God to be anyone’s throne? Well… what is a throne? A king’s throne symbolizes his authority. If God is the throne of the human king in Psalms, then that king has God as his authority, so that that what the king commands, God backs up. The same in Hebrews with Jesus. Jesus said that He does nothing on His own authority, but that the Father who dwells within Him does the works (John 14:10). So God is Jesus’ throne as well.

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