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Jesus as the God of Gods Revisited

This post is intended to supplest the following article:

Jesus Christ – The God of Gods and the Prince of princes (https://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/jesus_prince_of_princes.htm)

According to the prophet Daniel, a wicked tyrannical ruler will arise to challenge and defy the true God, whom the prophet describes as the Ruler/Prince/Commander of the army:

“Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the LORD (Sar ha-tsaba); it took away the daily sacrifice from the LORD, and his sanctuary was thrown down. Daniel 8:9-11 New International Version (NIV)

Note how the following versions translate this particular Hebrew phrase:

“…  It even dared to challenge the power of God, Prince of the Celestial Army!…” The Message (MSG)

“It grew even to the host of heaven,[d] so that it cast down to earth some of the host and some of the stars and trampled on them. It grew even to the Prince of the host, from whom the daily sacrifice was removed, and whose sanctuary was cast down. The host was given over together with the daily sacrifice in the course of transgression. It cast truth to the ground, and was succeeding in its undertaking.”

  1. 8:10–12 The host of heaven: the angelic host, symbolized by the stars. The Prince of the hostthe Most High God, whose worship Antiochus suppressed(1 Mc 1:45). New American Bible (NABRE)

“That little horn set itself up as equal to God, the Commander of heaven’s armies…” New Century Version (NCV)

Later in the same chapter, the prophet calls the true God the Prince of princes:

“He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes (Sar sarim). Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” Daniel 8:25 NIV

Once, notice how various translations render the text:

“… opposing even the supreme leader. But he will be broken— and not by a human hand.” Common English Bible (CEB)

“… and he will even attack God, the Supreme Ruler. But God will crush him!” (Contemporary English Version CEV)

“… He will even defy the greatest King of all, but he will be destroyed without the use of any human power.” Good News Translation (GNT)

One of the reasons why these English versions believe that is the true God who is being described as the Prince of the host and the Prince of princes is because elsewhere in Daniel, this same evil ruler is said to oppose the God of gods, an obvious reference to Jehovah:

“The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods (El elim). He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.” Daniel 11:36 NIV

This is further supported by the fact that both Daniel and the Hebrew Bible in general call Jehovah the God of gods, as well as the Lord of lords/kings:

“The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings (Elah elahin umare malkin) and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.’” Daniel 2:47 NIV

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords (Elohe ha’elohim wa’Adone ha’adonim), the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” Deuteronomy 10:17 NIV

“Give thanks to the God of gods (lelohe ha’elohim)His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords (la’Adone ha’adonim)His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:2-3 NIV

The foregoing explains why the majority of scholars and commentators on the book of Daniel, whether conservative or liberal, believe that the prophet is identifying Jehovah as the Prince of the host and the Prince of princes:

“… Montgomery rightly contends, WITH THE MAJORITY OF SCHOLARS, that the ‘Prince’ in v. 11 ‘can be none other than God.’ Moreover, the language of this verse indicates that the Prince is no mere man.

“Not only would the ‘horn’ consider himself the Prince’s equal; he would also set himself ‘against’ the Prince (an alternate translation of the Heb.). He felt that he and his Greek gods were above Yahweh, and he blatantly attacked Yahweh and his worshipers… Antiochus even dared to ‘take his stand against the Prince of princes,’ that is, the ‘greatest Prince,’ an allusion to God himself..” (Stephen R. Miller, The New American Commentary An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture – Daniel [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994], Volume 18, p. 226, 235; capital emphasis mine)

“… The ‘Prince of the host’ may refer to the high priest or the priesthood generally since priests officiated at the daily sacrificial ritual in Jerusalem temple (cf. Goldingay, 209-11). MOST RECENT COMMENTATORS, however, understand the ‘Prince of the host’ to refer to God himself as ‘Lord of hosts’ (cf. Lucas, 216)… His arrogance drives him to stand against ‘the Prince of princes,’ no doubt a reference to God himself (cf. Goldingay, 218).” (Andrew E. Hill, Daniel–Malachi (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary) [Zondervan Academic; New, Revised edition 2008], pp. 149, 155; capital emphasis mine)

“… ‘The Prince of the host’ (properly a military term, generalissimo, Gen. 21 22 and often) is the same as ‘the Prince of princes’ (cf. ‘God of gods,’ 2 47, q.v.and can be none other than God, ‘the God of Hosts,’ as is accepted by almost all comm., even those who take ‘the host,’ v.10, in a contrary sense… The ‘Prince of princes’ is ‘the Prince of the host,’ v.11, q.v.i.e., God. (James A. Montgomery, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel (The International Critical Commentary Series) [T. & T. CLARK, Edinburgh, Third Impression 1959], p. 336, 351; bold emphasis mine)

“… More likely it is God himself, who is presumably the ‘leader supreme’ (Sar sarim) of v 25, the one who is YHVH tsebaot (‘Yahweh of armies,’ EVV. ‘the LORD of hosts’). The term cannot be a personification of the holy ones (a plausible view of the humanlike figure in 7:13), since he is distinguished from the rest of the army; nor does an attack on Israel thus constitute an attack on God, so that anti-Semitism is deicide (against Lacocque). It is an attack on the Jerusalem sanctuary that constitutes an attack on God. Although Antiochus hardly made himself an object of worship, his self-designation as Epiphanes could be taken to imply something approaching such arrogance, and theologically his assuming authority over the affairs of the temple involved assuming an authority belonging to God alone…” (John Goldingay, Daniel (World Biblical Commentary) [Zondervan Academic, Grand Rapids, MI, Revised edition 2019], Volume 30, p. 422; bold emphasis mine)

“The leader supreme (Sar sarim, ‘leader of leaders’) against whom Antiochus sets himself must be God himself (see v. 11 Comment). Antiochus’s setting himself against God will bring his rebellion to its ultimate point, but thus to that point where God intervenes…” (Ibid., p. 432; bold emphasis mine)

“… Its great horn is broken but the new little horn magnifies itself even up to the Prince of host (God)…” (John Joseph Collins, Daniel: With an Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature (The Forms of The Old Testament Literature) [William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids MI 1984)], Volume 20, p. 85; bold emphasis mine)

“… Antiochus indeed took a stand against the ‘Prince of princes,’ that is, against God…” (Tremper Longman III, The NIV Application Commentary: Daniel, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 4th Printing edition 1999; bold emphasis mine)

“… He assailed the Creator of the universe Himself (‘the prince of the host’)…” (John Phillips, Exploring the Book of Daniel: An Expository Commentary [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2004], p. 141; bold emphasis mine)

“… this repeats the assertion that Antiochus tried to combat with God himself (see 7:21, 25). Usually the Prince of the host would refer to an angelic being (cp. 12:1), but, as the writer speaks of his sanctuary, it seems that Antiochus is seen as fighting God himself… Antiochus is seen as challenging God himself who is the Prince over the princes (i.e. the angels; cp. 8:11)…” (Raymond Hammer, The Book of Daniel (Cambridge Bible Commentaries on the Old Testament) [Cambridge University Press,1976], pp. 85, 90-91; bold emphasis mine)

“The Prince of the host who is next challenged by the horn is God himself (v. 11) who is supreme over the host of heaven, just as these celestial beings have authority over the nations…” (Norman W. Porteous, Daniel: A Commentary [The Westminster Press, Philadelphia 1965], p. 125; bold emphasis mine)

8:11 The little horn set itself up to be great as “the Prince of the host”, “the Prince of princes” (Daniel 8:25) who is the Lord God, “the Lord of hosts” (1 Chronicles 17:24). (Hegumen Abraam D. Sleman, The God Of Daniel: A Biblical Commentary On The Book Of Daniel [Coptic Media Productions 2008], p. 119; bold emphasis mine)

  1. Having prospered through skilland deceit, this ruler will become great in his own heart, and without warning he will destroy many, and he will stand against the Prince of princes.In other words, he will arrogantly fight God, ‘the Prince of princes.’… (Paul R. House, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Daniel: An Introduction and Commentary [IVP Academic, Downers Grove, IL 2018], Volume 23, p. 145; underline emphasis mine)

“… The Prince must be God Himself, and not merely some earthly representative,  such as the high priest Onias (as some hold); because verse twenty-give identifies him as ‘Princes of princes.’ ‘The host’ refers to the Jews, whose Prince was God…” (Leon J. Wood, A Commentary on Daniel [Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 1973], p. 214; bold emphasis mine)

“… It magnified itself, even up to the Prince of the host. Note the progression, ‘magnified himself’ (4), ‘magnified himself exceedingly’ (8), until pride showed its ultimate goal in defying the Prince of both stars and monarchs, their Creator and God…” (Joyce G. Baldwin, Daniel An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries Volume 23), General Editor: Donald J. Wiseman, IVP Academic, Downers Grove, IL 1978; bold emphasis mine)

GOD AS AN ANGEL?

This is where it gets rather interesting. In another place in the Hebrew Bible, the Commander of the host/army appears as a man and is depicted as being personally distinct from Jehovah:

“Once when Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you one of us, or one of our adversaries?’ He replied, ‘Neither; but as commander of the army of the LORD (sar tsaba YHVH) I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and he said to him, ‘What do you command your servantmy lord?’ The commander of the army of the LORD (sar tsaba YHVH) said to Joshua, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The evidence suggests that this Commander is not other than the Angel or Messenger of God, who is both personally distinct from Jehovah while also being identical to him, and who also appears in visible form.

For instance, much like the Commander, the Angel commands his servants to remove their sandals in his presence,

“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.’ When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’ ‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’” Exodus 3:1-5 NIV

And like the Commander, the Messenger has a sword in his hand to wield against the enemies of God and also receives worship:

“Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, ‘Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.’” Numbers 22:31-32 NIV

This is unlike other angels, who are nothing more than servants that refuses to be worshiped by anyone:

“In speaking of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.’… Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:7, 14 NIV

“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!’” Revelation 22:8-9 NIV – Cf. 19:10

It is, therefore, clear that the Commander/Angel is no mere creature, but rather is Jehovah God Almighty appearing in visible form, often as a man, who is also distinct from Jehovah God:

“The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, ‘You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.’ Then the woman went to her husband and told him, ‘A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name.’… Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: ‘Pardon your servant, LORD. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.’ God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. The woman hurried to tell her husband, ‘He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!’ Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, ‘Are you the man who talked to my wife?’ ‘I am,’ he said. So Manoah asked him, ‘When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?’ The angel of the LORD answered, ‘Your wife must do all that I have told her.’… Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, ‘What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?’ He replied, ‘Why do you ask my name? IT IS BEYOND UNDERSTANDING.’ Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized THAT IT WAS THE ANGEL OF THE LORD. ‘We are doomed to die!’ he said to his wife. ‘WE HAVE SEEN GOD’ But his wife answered, ‘If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.’” Judges 13:3-6, 8-13, 17-23 NIV

What this means is that, according to the Old Testament, the Prince of the host and of all the other princes who happens to also be the God of gods is presented as a multi-Personal Being, namely Jehovah and his divine Messenger.

WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?

As if this wasn’t amazing enough, the inspired New Testament writings identify Jesus as the Commander of the armies of heaven, who is also described as the only sovereign Ruler that reigns as King of all kings and Lord of all lords!

“In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which HE will bring about at the right time—HE who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is HE alone WHO has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to HIM be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:13-16 NRSV

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS… Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and HIS army.” Revelation 19:11-16, 19 NIV

And since Jesus is clearly not the Father,

“But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.’ Then they asked him, ‘Where is your father?’ ‘You do not know me or my Father,’ Jesus replied. ‘If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’” John 8:16-19 NIV

This means that he must be that very same divine Angel whom the prophets such as Moses and Joshua saw, and whom they worshiped as Jehovah God Almighty, being the very Prince of princes and the God of gods that Daniel prophesied would be opposed by that wicked tyrannical little horn, thereby foreshadowing another evil ruler to come, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy by his glorious appearance and the sword of his mouth:

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 NIV

Contrast this with what Daniel wrote:

“The king shall act as he pleases. He shall exalt himself and consider himself greater than any god, and shall speak horrendous things against the God of gods. He shall prosper until the period of wrath is completed, for what is determined shall be done. He shall pay no respect to the gods of his ancestors, or to the one beloved by women; he shall pay no respect to any other god, for he shall consider himself greater than all.” Daniel 11:36-37 NRSV

In light of the foregoing, could the God-breathed be any clearer that Jesus Christ is the very God of gods whom Daniel wrote of, the divine Angel/Commander of the heavenly host who is personally distinct from the Father, and yet one with him in essence and nature?

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