Why Don’t Christians Say “Most High (God)”?

Christians often identify their God by various titles attributed to him in the Bible. They call him “Lord,” “Father,” “Almighty,” “Jehovah,” “Yahweh,” “El Shaddai,” and “Jehovah Jireh” just to name a few. But you rarely hear them say, or see them write, “the Most High” or the like. Yet God is called in the NASB:

  • “the Most High” 27x in the Old Testament and 5x in the New Testament
  • “The Most High God” 6x in the Old Testament and 4x in the New Testament
  • “God Most High” 5x  in the Old Testament
  • “LORD [=YHWH] Most High” 3x in the Old Testament

It is interesting to see where these “Most High” titles for God are dispersed throughout the Old Testament and who says them. In the Pentateuch (first five books of OT), “God Most High” occurs four times in the account about the priest of Melchizedek honoring Abraham as he returned victorious from war by retrieving goods and people, and both the priest and Abraham say it (Genesis 14.18-22). Then “Most High” appears only two more times in the Pentateuch. Most occurrences of “Most High” and its additives are in the psalms. Yet there are no such occurrences in the writing prophets except that Isaiah has one, which is a quotation of some very arrogant and pagan “king of Babylon” (Isaiah 14.4, 14). There are ten appearances of the “Most High (God)” in the apocalyptic book of Daniel which both Daniel and Babylonian kings say.

Thus, “the Most High (God)” appears nine times in the New Testament. Most memorable is that the angel Gabriel appears to the virgin Mary who was to give birth to Jesus, saying to her of him, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David” (Luke 1.32). Obviously, “Most High” here refers to “the Lord God.” When Mary asked how it could happen, since she is a virgin, Gabriel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (v. 35). Again, “the Holy Spirit” is obviously “the power of the Most High,” who is God.

In Luke’s account that is similar or the same as Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said of his genuine disciples, “you will be children of the Most High” (Luke 6.35). And later, when Jesus was about to perform exorcism on the demon-possessed fellow from Gadarenes, the chief demon cried out in a loud voice, “What do I have to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (Mark 5.7; Luke 8.28). Later, and similarly, as the Apostle Paul was about to cast a demon out of a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination the demon exclaimed through her concerning Paul and his missionary associates, “These men are slaves of the Most High God” (Acts 16.17). Thus, both Jesus and demons recognized God as “the Most High God.”

What does it mean for God to be designated as “Most High” or the like? It surely means that God resides in heaven and that his throne is very high, thus higher than any other throne. This fact symbolizes that God is greater than anyone else. But “Most High God” seems to require that there are other gods that are lower than the Most High God. (I have a book manuscript I intend to publish in my Still Here series in which I enter into detail about how God is “Most High” in heaven and “high above” the earth.)

Thus, “Most High God” means he literally is higher than anyone else. Of course, that raises the question of whether or not there are other gods. Some biblical authors described certain angelic beings as “gods” whereas Isaiah relates otherwise? Is this seeming contradiction the reason Christians avoid calling God “the Most High God”? Or do they think God actually, literally is not higher than anyone else? (See my next, related post, “Is the Judeo-Christian Faith Monotheistic of Henotheistic?)

(To see a titled list of over fifty, two-three page posts (easily accessible) about the Bible not saying Jesus is God, click here.)

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  • David Nixon

    The event in Isaiah clarify the only God worthy of worship. So where God says there is no other god than me. He is meaning no other god worthy of worship. The issue was who is the true God. Not whether other gods or godlike beings exist.

    • kzarley

      I think that’s a pretty good take on the subject.