The following four questions all came at once, presumably from the same
person, and will be answered together, as they are all related:

1. In John 5:18, John says that Jesus was accused of calling God his own
Father; making himself equal with God and that is why they wanted to kill
him Don’t we consider God our Father, what is the difference? Are there
two words in Greek for Father?

2. I know from my studies, especially from the book of Hebrews, that Jesus
is God/man, but I have some scriptures that have been bothering me. One
of them is John 10:33. The Jews said that Jesus claimed to be God by
referring to himself as the Son of God (vs.36) (though that word is not
said in the paragraph before, unless his oneness with the father is
equated with the word Son of God). My question is, why did Jesus correct
the view of the Jews in vs.34-36? Is it because he wasn’t God but just
the Son of God? I know they would be upset if he said he was God, but is
it possible they could be upset because he claimed to be just the Son of

3. In Hebrews 9:16-18 is it talking about God since he made the
covenant. If so, God had to die. My only explanation is that it is
referring to Jesus because he indeed died, which would mean that God
“died”. My question is am I able to use this to prove Jesus was not only
man but God as well, or am I reading into it something that is not there?

4. I have heard people say Jesus was the “Son of God” before his birth on
earth but I can’t find a scripture that says it, I know in Hebrews he says
that “today I have begotten you” “I will be a Father to him and he shall
be a Son to me,” but isn’t this talking about his birth upon the earth? In
the OT I’m assuming that Jesus only had the names that were given to the
Father since God’s “being” wasn’t known by the Jews.

1. Your first question brings up an interesting point. Most
Christians take the title Son of God to not be a big deal. Besides, even
we are “sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26). To
the Jews, anyone taking the title son (or Son) of God for himself was
claiming to be God. This is true, at least partly because of the
religious situation in the Near East at that time. The emperors of many
Near Eastern religions would claim deity for themselves, by claiming
direct descent from a god. They claimed to be sons of a god. Within one
generation of the life of Jesus, Roman emperors such as Domitian began to
take such titles as well. To the Jews, the title Son of God meant deity.
For anyone to claim that title would be blasphemy.

It is important to remember that Jesus was the first Jew we
know of who ever called God, Jehovah, “Father.” This was a totally new
concept. That God is a Father, ie that he has a personal relationship
with us was a new concept. Therefore, when Jesus called God “Father” he
was being revolutionary, both in claiming to be the unique Son of God (ie.
deity) and in thinking of God as having a personal father-like
relationship with us. When one of us calls God “Father,” we, unlike
Jesus, are not claiming to be God, to be the only begotten Son of God,
but, like Jesus, we are claiming to have a personal relationship with him
as our “Father” in heaven. When we call God “Father” we are not claiming
ourselves to be equal with God. It was different for Jesus, and the Jews
were well aware of it. In his religious setting, he was claiming deity.

2. I will have to admit I have never answered your second question
to my own complete satisfaction. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.”
This was clearly a claim to deity, to say the least. That would explain
why they wanted to kill him. That part is very easy to understand. The
hard part is to understand exactly what Jesus’ point was in mentioning
that they themselves were called “gods” in Psalm 82:6. Perhaps what Jesus
is saying here is that the idea of one of God’s children being called a
god should not have been such a huge shock to them, as it was in the
Bible. Therefore, when he called himself God, they should have been at
least familiar with the idea in general. To me, this sounds like a weak
argument, because, despite Psalms 82:6, Jesus’ claim to be “one with the
Father” still had to be an astounding claim, nevertheless. However, I am
not used to Jesus making weak arguments, so I will have to admit I am
simply not completely sure of the answer to this question. I know that he
is not “correcting them because he is the Son of God, but not God,” as
Jesus is clearly claiming to be God. He certainly does not deny their
main accusation which that he was claiming to be God. Jesus made similar
claims, for example, in John 8:58, “before Abraham was born, I AM!” When
Jesus equated himself with YHWH (Jehovah), which means I AM, he was
certainly claiming to be God.

3. You have it right that Hebrews 8:14-18 is talking about the
fact that Jesus died as a sacrifice to “cleanse our consciences”, so we
may “serve the living God,” to “set them free from the sins committed
under the first covenant,” and so forth. What I do not see is where this
passage is saying that God died specifically. Perhaps you are using a
different translation than mine. Perhaps you are referring to the phrase,
“In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who
made it,” If one can assume that “the one who made it” is God, and that
the death of Jesus was how this covenant was sealed, I can see how one
might think of this as a proof that Jesus is God. So, yes, I guess I
agree with you. However, the statement is not direct. I would not use
this as my first example, or even as my tenth example of a passage which
proves that Jesus is God, but I believe that you do have a legitimate
point that this passage is, indirectly, saying that Jesus is God. (by the
way, some more clear passages to use to support that Jesus is God include
Titus 2:15, John 8:58, Colossians 2:9 and many more).

4. I believe that the insight you imply by your question is
accurate, more or less. The idea that there was a Son of God as a
distinct part of the deity was not made abundantly clear in the Old
Testament. There were a number of hints about this in prophecies, but,
given that the Jews did not ever (as far as I know) state, using the Old
Testament, that someone called “The Son of God” would come tells me that
such a concept was not made clear in the Old Testament.

Having said that, there are passages which certainly
imply, with hindsight, that the Son of God was to come to the earth to
live with men. One passage which comes to mind is in Psalms 110:1 (“The
Lord said to my Lord”), in which David prophesies about the Messiah,
saying that The Lord (the Father?) said to my Lord (the Son?), “Sit…”
Probably the best example is Psalms 2:7, a messianic prophecy, which says,
“He said to me ‘You are my Son, today I have become your Father.” This
passage implies that the Messiah will be called God’s Son. Using these
passages (and some others could be mentioned) I conclude that the Messiah,
Jesus Christ, was thought of by the Father as his “Son” before Jesus was
born as a man. I would not be particularly dogmatic about what is the
best way to say this, but that seems to be a reasonable way to take the
passages cited. When Jesus was born as a baby, he became the “Son” of God
in the sense that God was literally the physical father of Jesus, as he
was conceived by miraculous conception. So there is at least a sense in
which Jesus became the “Son” of God in a new way when he was conceived.
There is some deep theology behind all these con
cepts. It might be a good
idea to not become too concerned about the terminology.

John Oakes

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