Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

Dispelling Myths About "Elohim"

The Messiah, our teacher and lord (John 13:13), said in Mark 12:29, "The LORD our GOD is one LORD." This should settle all doubts once and for all, that the Messiah never, ever disturbed the central, core principle of all true religion that God is one single LORD. Tell your Jewish friends and your Muslim friends, and very gently even your Christian friends who are likely to be puzzled if not infuriated!

by HOIM Staff

The argument that because Elohim (God) has a plural ending in Genesis 1:1, it must point to a plurality in GOD, is rejected by all good language study. It was a piece of popular folklore, which provided "comfort" to some that the God of the Bible was mysteriously "Triune" or "Biune" -- and this despite the fact that God in the Hebrew Bible used every form of language possible to describe Himself as one single Divine Person. 164 times God says of Himself "I am YHVH," but Bible readers, strongly indoctrinated by tradition, imagined that one Person was mysteriously plural!

If Elohim is plural, because of its plural ending, then it must necessarily be translated "In the beginning Gods created the heaven and earth." This is blatant polytheism and destroys the creed of Israel that "the LORD our God is one LORD" (Deuteronomy 6:4 and affirmed by the Messiah in Mark 12:29). The Messiah knew nothing at all about a plurality in God. Yeshua was a Jew, and 64 out of 66 books in the Bible, including 25 out of our 27 New Testament books were written by men whose heritage and nationality were "Jewish" (i.e. related to the nation of Israel) and not Gentile. Luke who wrote a large part of the New Testament (two long books) was almost certainly of Gentile origin. But he had learned to revere the one and only God of the Jewish people.

Consider this: A single pagan god, Milchom or Astarte or Dagon, is also individually called an elohim. These gods were not each plural! Did you know that in Genesis 42:30, 33 Joseph is called "the lords of the land"? Joseph was not more than one person! These plurals are known as "plurals of intensity" but they are not translated as literal plurals. The Greek New Testament Scripture invariably renders Elohim, referring to the One God, who is the Father (some 1300 times) by the singular Greek word theos. This is the way the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint, or LXX) renders the word Elohim when it designates the one and only true God.

The Messiah uttered the classic monotheistic statement and confession, when he described the Father as "the only [monos] true God [theos]" in his prayer in John 17:3. He spoke of God as "the only God" (monos theos) in John 5:44. The Messiah connected belief in that single true God, the Father, as the first element in "eternal life" -- "the life of the age to come" based on Daniel 12:2 where the sleeping dead will arise to the "life of the age," which comes into our New Testament some 40 times as "the life of the age to come," life in the future Kingdom.

Very frequently in the New Testament God is "the GOD," that is the one and only God of true belief as distinct from other pagan gods which always threaten to deceive us.

Some today in desperation are reviving a completely false understanding of plurality in YHVH, because Genesis 19:24 reads that "YHVH rained brimstone from YHVH in heaven." But they did not notice that "Solomon gathered the people to King Solomon" in 1 Kings 8:1. Two Solomons? Obviously not. These are special Hebrew idioms and easily explained as such.

People who clutch at these anomalies forget that the One God of Israel is described by singular personal pronouns thousands upon thousands of times. You learned in high school (we hope!) that a singular personal pronoun refers to a single person. If you learn of someone who is I, ME, THEE, THOU, HIM, MYSELF, THYSELF, HIMSELF -- can you concede the simple fact that God is a single Person?

Unfortunately your church probably gathers under the strange banner of a GOD who is "three in one." This teaching has been thought to be quite false to the Messiah and Scripture by thousands of competent scholars and by 5 American Presidents -- and by Sir Isaac Newton who spoke of the West's strange cult of "three gods." Newton was deeply troubled by this non-biblical concept of God. John Milton, the British poet, and John Locke the philosopher were adamantly against the idea of a triune God. Others died at the hands of a cruel [Catholic] church for refusing to believe that the God of Scripture is triune. Michael Servetus was murdered by John Calvin over this issue.

Counting how many God is in the Bible is in no way difficult. We are to rejoice and relax in the wonderfully sound and health-giving truth that as the Messiah said "The LORD our GOD is one LORD" (the Greek of Mark 12:29, reflecting the LXX of Deuteronomy 6:4). The Messiah upbraided Jews of his time for failing to believe Moses. If they would not receive the words of Moses predicting the Messiah, how would they believe in the Messiah who had come? (John 5:46).

One Lord is not two Lords. Yeshua the Messiah declared his firm confession of the One God of Israel (Mark 12:29), and then as if to anticipate objections the Messiah went on immediately to discuss Psalm 110:1, where there are two lords. It is hardly a matter of higher learning or advanced mathematics to see that if "the LORD our God is one LORD" (as the Messiah had just said, in agreement with a friendly unitarian Jew), then the second lord of Psalm 110:1 cannot also be GOD, making two Lord Gods! Then note (and Strong's Concordance alas hides this from you) that the second lord, "my lord" (adoni) of Psalm 110:1 is never the title of Deity, but always the title of a superior who is not GOD. The capital letter in your Bible on the second lord of Psalm 110:1 is false and misleading. It should read "lord," not "Lord"! A capitalized Lord regularly translates the Hebrew ADONAI (the Lord God, 450 times) and the second lord of the psalm the Messiah quoted to silence all objectors is not Adonai! It is adoni, my lord. ADONI occurs 195 times in the Hebrew Bible.

The Messiah, our teacher and lord (John 13:13), said in Mark 12:29, "The LORD our GOD is one LORD." This should settle all doubts once and for all, that the Messiah never, ever disturbed the central, core principle of all true religion that God is one single LORD. Tell your Jewish friends and your Muslim friends, and very gently even your Christian friends who are likely to be puzzled if not infuriated!

You might want to help them by pointing out that even the famous reformer John Calvin said:

"Elohim as a proof text with the plural ending to prove that God is plural appears to me to have little solidity. I will not insist upon the word; but rather caution readers to beware of violent glosses [comments] of this kind. They think that they have testimony against the Arians to prove the Deity of the Son and of the Spirit, but in the meantime they involve themselves in the error of Sabellius [Modalism or Oneness, represented by "Oneness Pentecostals" today] ...If we suppose three persons to be here [Gen. 1.1] denoted, there will be no distinction between them... For me it is sufficient that the plural number expresses those powers which God exercised in creating the world." [1]

"The followers of Jesus could assume that Jesus, like many other Jews of his day, would have regarded Deut. 6:4-5 and Lev. 19:18 as the ideal summation of the Jewish law. Jesus was repeating a common Jewish understanding of the law...The words 'the Lord our God is one Lord' are the proper expression of Jesus' piety." [2]

Why, you might ask, then do not churchgoers pay reverent attention to the command which the Messiah calls the most important of all commands? Because churches have long since given up thinking of the Messiah as their rabbi and teacher -- contrary to his own constant admonition that we listen with rapt and concentrated attention to what he taught! Not to listen to the Messiah and obey him is the one fatal error we humans cannot afford to make (John 3:36 -- believing the Messiah leads to immortality and refusing to obey him is a dangerous mistake!).

To persuade your friends, invite them to explain Mark 12:29. Yeshua agrees wholeheartedly with a Jewish scholar, and we know that Jews were believers in God as ONE single Divine Person, not a Trinity. Being exposed to the words of the Messiah in Mark 12:29 can produce the necessary shock which enables believers to rethink! At present, once one says "Jesus is GOD," one is admitting to belief in two who are GOD ! This is NOT the monotheism of the Bible!

The world of scholars today often treats the Bible as an unreliable source! That is hard for many to grasp! But the typical comment of scholars is that "we do not know whether Jesus said a given saying reported in the New Testament. It might be that the church made it up and put it back into the mouth of Jesus to give the impression that Jesus said it: but no one knows if Jesus really uttered these words!"

This sort of thinking is highly toxic and contaminating, since it puts a question mark of uncertainty (the very opposite of faith) over everything the Messiah said! Many students in colleges learn this skepticism in their formal training. But the great central truth about God is not complex.

Is this really so difficult? Can you spot the similarities? Start with a verse which sums up the whole Hebrew Bible and opens up the mind of the Messiah, the Jew, to us: "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?" (Malachi 2:10).

We know that "there is no idol in the world, and that there is no God but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4).

"There is for us only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we are for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we have our being through him" (1 Corinthians 8:6).

This is exactly what the Messiah said in John 17:3: "You, Father, are the only one who is true God."

The Messiah answered, "The most important is, 'Listen, Israel, the LORD our God is the only LORD" (Mark 12:29).

The legal expert said to him, "Well said, Teacher. You have truthfully said that God is one and there is no other besides Him" (Mark 12:32).

One Father = one God, no God but one, one God the Father, the Lord our God is the only Lord, God is one and there is no other beside Him, one Lord GOD. You, Father, are the only one who is true God.

Yeshua is the Messiah, the man Messiah, the lord Messiah of Luke 2:11. This man Messiah was born (God cannot be born) and this man Messiah (1 Timothy 2:5) died and the immortal God cannot die. Why not urge your friends to stop singing nonsense in the hymn, "'Tis mystery all -- the Immortal dies."

For a fascinating study of how "shy" some modern scholars are about admitting the errors of the Trinity, please read The Only True God by James McGrath. McGrath agrees entirely that the New Testament writers are all adherents to the strict monotheism of Israel and of the Messiah. But somehow the later departure of the Church from the Messiah on the definition of God is "OK." Rather than calling for repentance and a return to the Messiah, some scholars paper over the cracks and the status quo is allowed to continue unchallenged and unchanged!

-- Edited By John D. Keyser.


[1] Calvin, Commentary on Genesis, trans., ed., John King.

[2] Stephen Patterson, DD, The God of Jesus, p. 115.


Hope of Israel Ministries -- Proclaiming the Good News of the Soon-Coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God Here On This Earth!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.

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