“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Why does Jesus say there are multiple 'sons of God'?

This statement by Jesus completely negates the notion put forth by so many sectarian teachers that Jesus is the only son of God. Why, if Jesus is the only son of God, would he say there are multiple sons of God?

Quite obviously, the use of a plural form by Jesus clarifies that the assumption of God having only one son is preposterous. While practically any human can have five or more sons, God can only have one?

In this verse, some Biblical translations will say "children of God" (KJV, NIV, NLT, NET, WEB) - while others translate υἱοὶ θεοῦ to "sons of God" (NKJV, ESV, CSB, NASB, RSV, ASV, YLT, DBY, HNV).

Why would the other Biblical translations translate this to "children of God" while translating virtually the same Greek words (υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ) but singular to "son of God"?

This started as a Roman strategy to politically organize Christianity to better control the populace of the Roman Empire (and later, the Holy Roman Empire). The Roman Emperor Constantine and Roman Bishop Eusebius (soon to be Pope) organized the political assembly of the First Council of Nicaea. Here they developed the Nicene Creed in order to define Jesus in a way consistent with their political positions.

For this reason, the earliest Latin translations describe Jesus repeatedly as "Son of God," consistent with the Roman term given to Caesar and other Roman Emperors such as Nero. This terminology, however, was not consistent with the teachings of Jesus and the teachers in Jesus' lineage such as John the Baptist, Isaiah, David, Moses and Abraham.

This institutional strategy of manipulating the interpretation of Jesus continued with the Second Council of Ephesus. Here, a political debate that led to the creation of the Roman Catholic Church ensued. 

What does υἱὸς mean in this context?

Jesus' statement from the Greek text sheds light on the correct translation of the word translated to “son,” υἱός (huios). While this can indicate an offspring when the context is a physical family. But there are also several other meanings of the word in other contexts.

For example, we can see how υἱός can be narrowly translated to "son" when Jesus referred to Simon as the son of Jonah.

But in the context that Jesus refers to in Matthew 5:9, the word is more appropriately defined, from the Thayer's Greek lexicon, as "one who depends on another or is his follower." 

In the context of spiritual life, this would be describing someone who is a devoted follower. 

Furthermore, Thayer's lexicon clarifies that the phrase can refer to the "representative of God."

Devoted follower also makes more sense within the context of the attribute that Jesus is giving those who apply his teachings, thereby becoming "peacemakers." If we utilize the correct translation to “devoted follower,” we discover the statement’s true meaning: by becoming dedicated to Jesus and God, we become a devoted follower of God.

This interpretation is supported by other statements by Jesus:
"But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:35-36 NKJV)
The same Greek word υἱὸς is also used to refer to those who are followers of darkness - the "kingdom" of "darkness" in another statement by Jesus:
“But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12 NKJV)
Then the same Greek word υἱὸς is applied to another statement of Jesus, attributed to those who were attendants of the bridegroom:
"Can the sons of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then will they fast." (Matthew 9:15 ASV)
In all of these statements, we find the Greek word υἱός being used by Jesus here and elsewhere in contexts no describing a physical offspring ("son"). They all refer to those who are devoted in some way, to either God and the resurrection, to the kingdom of darkness, or to the bridechamber (Matt. 9:15).

For this reason, other versions have translated υἱός alternatively. These alternate translations of υἱός in these verses include "attendants" or "servants" (of the bridegroom) or "children" (of the kingdom or of the resurrection or of God).

Why are alternatives to "son" okay in these cases, but not for alternatives for "son" in the case of "son of God"? Why can't Jesus also be considered as a "child of God" or "follower of God" or "servant of God"? Why is the translation of υἱός to "son" only apply for certain in Jesus' case, and not in these other cases?

Because many translations of the Bible have been used to manipulate followers of sectarian institutions. Translating υἱός to "son" without alternative even though "son" is not a logical translation of the relationship between Jesus and God follows the indoctrination by the church and it's Synod of Nicea to a particular narrative: That Jesus is somehow the only begotten son of the Supreme Being.

As if the Supreme Being did not also beget many others. As if the Supreme Being became impotent after begetting Jesus. As if the Supreme Being gave up His ability to procreate following His creation of Jesus.

Are there other Biblical references to 'sons of God'?

There are multiple references to "sons of God" among popular Bible translations:
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (Genesis 6:2)
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6)
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1)
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 6:9)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12)
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

These all point to "sons of God" being used to describe devoted followers or servants of God.

Within the context of Jesus, and many of those who also preached on behalf of the Supreme Being, there is another potential translation for υἱός (huios). This would be applicable in the case of when the loving servant is teaching others on behalf of God: This would make that person a representative of God. One who is serving and following God will also represent God. This was Jesus' role - he is representing the Supreme Being.

These all point to "sons of God" being used to describe devoted followers or loving servants of God and in some contexts - for Jesus in particular, the representative of God.

What did Jesus mean by 'peacemakers'?

One might wonder what making peace has to do with becoming a devoted follower of God - “Blessed are the peacemakers..."

Does this mean the opposite of war? Someone who makes peace between warring tribes or nations?

And what about Jesus? Was he always making peace? When Jesus turned the tables at the marketplace at the Temple he certainly was not making peace.

And when Jesus criticized the Pharisees as hypocrites he was not making peace with them. 

The conventional meaning of "peace" would not be appropriate in this context.

On the other hand, making "peace" with God and following God’s instructions would be the ultimate in peace-making. This gives rise to the expression: Make your peace with God.

When we act in a self-centered fashion, we find ourselves in conflict with God, because God is full of love and kindness. This is the opposite of peace.

God is by nature, a loving, giving and compassionate God. If we are working against that nature, we are in conflict with God and ourselves.

But if we use our lives to grow closer to God, we are making peace with God. That would make us "peacemakers" in the context of Jesus' statement. This is because God wants us to come back to Him. He wants us to revive our loving relationship with Him. This is why Jesus taught:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)