WHO IS "GOD"?
(SOMETIMES IT ISN'T WHO YOU THINK!)
WHO IS GOD AT THE BURNING BUSH?
In the Bible, words spoken in the First Person are not always "proof" of the identity of the speaker!
For example, at the burning bush Moses heard what appeared to be the "voice of God", saying, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob". (Exodus 1:3-6) It even says that "Moses was afraid to look at God".
At first glance, it would seem to say that God was present in person and that Moses was hearing the genuine voice of God. However, there is more information here about the real identity of the speaker.
The voice that Moses heard was not actually that of God Himself. Back in verse 2, it says that "the angel of the LORD appeared to him". It was the angel who spoke in the first person, as though it was God speaking.
Angels act as God's agents. They do not speak for themselves. When they speak in the first person, as though it was God speaking, it is because they are God's messengers, communicating the words of God to the hearer.
WHO IS GOD TO AARON?
In the same way, Moses became "as God" to Aaron. (Exodus 4:16) Not that Moses was God, but that he was to "put God's words in Aaron's mouth". When Moses told Aaron what to say to Pharaoh, he was giving him God's words, not his own.
Moses stood in God's place to be God's human messenger (angel) to Aaron.
WHO IS GOD TO PHARAOH?
In the same way, Moses was also "made God" to Pharaoh. (Exodus 7:1) Aaron was Moses' "prophet", speaking to Pharaoh the words that God gave to Moses. "Thus says the LORD .... Let my people go."
Aaron did the actual speaking, but it was Moses (not Aaron) who stood in God's place, to be God's human messenger (angel) to Pharaoh.
WHO IS GOD IN PSALM 8:3-4?
This is another place where a Hebrew word, most often used for God Himself, actually refers to someone who is not God!
The "Son of man" (Jesus' "favorite" title for Himself) is made (created) a "little less than God" (RSV, NASB, NEB) or "the angels" (KJV - but margin note says "God"). The Hebrew word is "ELOHIM".
That "angels" is the valid translation, is shown from its use in Hebrews 2:6-9.
WHO WERE THE "GODS" IN PSALM 82:6?
This leads to another piece of useful information about the application of the word "God" to ordinary human beings.
On one occasion, Jesus was accused of "making himself God" because, as a man, he said that God was his Father. (John 10:31-33) However the accusation was FALSE! What Jesus had actually claimed was NOT that He was God, but that He was the Son of God. (Verse 36)
But He also pointed to Psalm 82:6, where the word "Gods" is used of ordinary men who are "sons of the Most High". (The Hebrew word for God in this Psalm is "ELOHIM") Jesus is not saying here that He is GOD! Rather, he is saying that if other MEN can be called "God", because they speak for God, then it is also valid for Him, as both SON OF MAN and SON OF GOD, to claim the same authority and status for Himself.
WHO WERE THE "GODS" IN EXODUS 21?
Another less obvious place where the same Hebrew word "ELOHIM" is used about men, is Exodus 21:6 (KJV). There it is translated "Judges". (It is also translated that way in Exodus 22:8, 9)
We are meant to understand that the judges, though mere mortal men, spoke on behalf of God, when they rendered just judgement from God's laws.
WHO IS GOD WHEN JESUS SPEAKS?
The above Scriptures show us that both men and angels can be sent to stand in place of God, to carry messages and speak Gods words to others.
When that happens, it does not mean that the messenger is actually God in person! It means simply that God has sent an AGENT to stand in His place and speak for Him.
It should not surprise us therefore, to find that as Son of God, Jesus claims similar authority to stand in God's place, to speak God's words to us:
"For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me." (John 12:49-50)
BUT WE MUST NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF SAYING THAT MEANS THAT JESUS IS GOD!
Jesus went out of His way to leave us in no doubt that He himself WAS NOT GOD. He said clearly that HIS FATHER is the only true God. (John 17:3) Jesus is someone else. He is the Son of God.
theologians "interpret" other verses in a way which contradicts that plain
statement from Jesus Himself, confusion is certain to follow!