By David Cook
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
Deuteronomy 6:4 NIV
What is Moses telling us in this scripture passage in the Torah? Let’s go back to the book of Genesis to begin our investigation for an accurate Biblical interpretation.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1 KJV
The Hebrew word that Moses uses for God in this verse and 32 times in chapter one of Genesis is “Elohim”, which is a transliteration from Hebrew to English. Moses uses Elohim for God 207 times in the book of Genesis and numerous times throughout the Torah. This name for God is an important word to understand. Elohim is a plural and masculine noun used for God. Elohim is used over 2300 times in the Hebrew Bible.
Moses gives us a foundational understanding about many things in Genesis – the book of beginnings. In Genesis the first book of the Torah we find our initial understanding on the essence of God’s nature, the creation of the heavens and earth, the creation of man and woman, the beginning of marriage, and the beginning of the nation of Israel.
In the Torah we read; “In the beginning Elohim created…”
The name for God that Moses uses in Genesis 1:1 is “Elohim” (plural Almighty God) has a plural intensive syntax. The Hebrew verb “bara” (created) is singular since Elohim is “echad” (one or a unified one) as Moses reveals later in the Torah in Deuteronomy 6:4. The triune Almighty God — Elohim (plural noun for mighty God) who is revealed in the Torah is a unique unified one, therefore the verbs and adjectives used with Elohim are singular.
In the Torah Moses writes that a man and his wife, the two become “echad” (one, a unified one) married couple, that the divided nation of Israel made up of the tribes of Judah and the tribes of Ephraim become “echad” (one, a unified one) nation and the Lord our God, the Lord is “echad” (one, a unified one) God. (See Genesis 2:24, Ezekiel 37:17-22, and Deuteronomy 6:4)
Elohim (plural Almighty God) is the triune God who is the unique unified one true living God, revealed in the Bible who created the heavens and earth; there is no other living God.
In chapter one, verse one of the book of Genesis Moses explains that God created the heavens and the earth. In the second verse Moses writes that the Spirit of God moved over the surface of the waters, the Spirit of God; is a distinct person of the triune Godhead. “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2 KJV The Hebrew word that Moses uses for Spirit is “Ruach” that means breath, wind or Spirit. The Spirit of God is involved in creation in unity and in collaboration with God our Father in heaven. Moses refers to the Spirit (Ruach) 23 times in the Torah and Ruach is referred to over 200 times in Tanakh.
In Genesis 1:26 Moses quotes Yehovah Elohim who speaks to other Persons of the triune Elohim in the plural. Why did the Spirit of God illuminate Moses’ mind to choose the word Elohim a plural noun for God and quote the triune God speaking to the triune Elohim in the plural? Moses specifically writes about the plural nature of Elohim in Genesis,
Then Elohim said,
“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”
Genesis 1:26 NASB
1. “Let Us make man” 2. “in Our image” 3. “according to Our likeness”
Moses quotes Elohim who refers to Himself in the plural three times, Elohim is speaking to other persons of the triune Godhead. One of the persons of the triune Godhead is speaking to the other two. Our Father who is in heaven, His Son and the Spirit of God are having a conversation about the creation of man being made in their image and their likeness.
The New Testament confirms what Moses wrote in Genesis that creation was a unified collaboration by Elohim the triune Almighty God who is the Creator of the universe. We read about creation from Saint Paul where he writes about the role of God’s Son, Jesus our Messiah:
“He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For by him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.”
Colossians 1:15-17 NIV
Elohim a Hebrew word for God that is a plural masculine noun with plural meaning for the Almighty God is used as a “plural intensive” referring to the unified one God of Israel. The triune God; the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit of God, these three persons of the Godhead are a unified one.
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
John 1:1 ESV
What is the Spirit of God teaching us through the writing of the apostle John? The same thing that He taught us through the writings of Moses in the Torah. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 6:4, “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” The apostle John wrote that the LORD our God, the Father, and the “Word” are divine. In the Torah and in the New Testament we see that our Father in heaven is God, and His divine Son Yeshua and the Spirit of God; these three are one (echad), a unified one God (Elohim).
So who is the “Word” that the apostle John wrote of? The word John used for the “Word” is “Logos” a Greek masculine noun.
1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. 1 John 1:1-4 NASB
The “Word” that the apostle John wrote about in chapter 1 is the Son of God, Yeshua the promised Moshiach.
1 In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things came into being through Him,
and apart from Him nothing came into being
that has come into being.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
5 The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1:1-5 NASB
The “Word”, is a title for the Son of God, Yeshua the promised Messiah, He was with God in the beginning, He is the living Word, Yeshua is the Messiah the Son of the living God. Here John tells us that the Word (the Son of God) is a Co-Creator with His Father and the Spirit of God; “All things came into being through Him”.
Saint John gives us this insight concerning creation and that fact that Elohim (plural God) was involved from the beginning; Our Father in heaven and His Son our Messiah, who is called in this scripture the “Word” (Logos) of God. The Son of God, Yeshua our Messiah is the the A & the Z, He is the WORD of God the Logos. Yeshua our Messiah existed before Abraham the father of faith, Yeshua is the first and the last, He is the beginning and the end; Creator, Prophet, Redeemer, Savior, High Priest, Prince of Peace, KING of Kings, LORD of Lords and Judge.
When Jesus the promised Messiah returns He will fullfill the remaining prophesis in the Bible that are before us in the future; Messiah is the hope of Israel. When Yeshua was born in Bethlehem hometown of King David as Micah foretold, the Son of David became the incarnation of the Logos! God’s Son lived and dwelt among us, He is Emmanuel – God with us!
Yahweh the Elohim of Israel has not revealed everything about Himself to everyone, He is unique, there is no other god like Him, He is the infinite all-wise, all-powerful, everywhere present God; He is the King of the universe. Man is finite in understanding and yet God gives illumination through the Holy Scriptures and by His Holy Spirit who gives us more understanding into the nature and essence of Yahweh our Elohim. Both the Torah and the Tanakh and the New Covenant reveal the conundrum that surrounds the mystery of who God is; line upon line, precept upon precept.
Yehovah Elohim exists, He causes all things to come into existence. Yehovah Elohim is the self-existent One. Yehovah Elohim is the great “I AM”; who is, who was, who is to come. He is the first cause; Creator of the universe, all that is seen and unseen, all that is visible and invisible. Yehovah Elohim, the Lord our God is a unique unified one.
El is a Semitic name for God. The Hebrew word “Elohim” is a plural masculine noun that means the strong supreme One, Almighty God. Moses also writes in the Torah of our Almighty God (Elohim) in the plural in Genesis 3:22 and Genesis 11:7.
Then the LORD God said,
“Behold, the man has become like one of Us…”
Genesis 3:22 NASB
“Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language,
so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”
Genesis 11:7 NASB
Yehovah our Elohim is a unified one. As Moses tells us,
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
Deuteronomy 6:4 NIV
The Hebrew word Moses uses to describe God is “echad” translated as “one” in English. In the Tanakh the word echad is used to mean a unified one and also may mean one alone. The Rabbinic Jews interpreted echad to mean Elohim is one alone, that is God is a singularity. Although, this interpretation is not congruent with Genesis 1:26 where Moses quotes God speaking to Himself in the plural. Nor does this Rabbinic interpretation line up with Psalms 110:1 where King David quotes the LORD speaking to his Lord.
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
Psalms 110:1 NASB
Yehovah said to my Adoni:
“Sit at My right hand,
until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
Our Father in heaven said to His Son our Messiah, “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” The reason King David calls Him “my Lord” is because Messiah is the KING of Kings and the LORD of Lords. Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus Christ) is the Son of the living God and the promised Messiah. David calls Messiah my “Lord” (Adoni in Psalms 110:1 and Adonai in 110:5), even though Messiah would be a descendant of David who would be born of a virgin in David’s hometown of Bethlehem many years later while the Roman Empire ruled over Israel. Why would King David call his descendant the Messiah his Lord? Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of the living God existed before Abraham, and before Genesis 1:1. Since Messiah Himself came and lived among us He is “Emmanuel” (with us God), Yeshua is divine, He is God incarnate. Yeshua explained the essence of God in the New Covenant. Believers in Jesus as the Messiah who are called Christians now see and understand that Elohim (a plural noun for God) is a unified one.
The LORD our God, the LORD is “echad” — a unified one.
The Hebrew name for the Savior of the world is Yeshua translated as Jesus into English, is the Son of God, who is of one essence with the Heavenly Father and the Ruach of Elohim that is the Holy Spirit of God. Yehovah our Elohim is a unified one: our Father in Heaven who has an only begotten Son named Yeshua and the Spirit of God makes the three persons of the Holy Trinity, the triune God; these three persons of the Godhead are the LORD our God, the LORD is one. The LORD our God is echad — a unified one.
Some say God who is the Creator and King of the universe is speaking to members of His heavenly court, but God was speaking to members of the triune Godhead. Yehovah Elohim is speaking to Adonai and the Ruach of God. Our Father in Heaven is speaking to His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit of God. “Let Us make man in Our likeness and our image.” Man is created solely in the likeness and image of God not in the likeness and image of both God and members of His heavenly court.
Yahweh the “Elohim” of Israel may enjoy not revealing all about Himself to all, He is the infinite God. Man is finite in understanding and yet God gives illumination through the Holy Scriptures and His Holy Spirit that gives us more understanding into the nature and essence of Yahweh our Elohim. Both the Torah and the Tanakh and the New Covenant reveal the conundrum that surrounds the mystery of who God is.
In the Tanakh we read of our Father in heaven and His Spirit two distinct Persons of the Holy Triune God. It seems as though Judaism embraces both Our Father in heaven and the Spirit of God although they view God only as a singular one. Father God and the Sprit of God are of the same essence yet two distinct Persons of the Trinity who are one, a “unified one”. Many within Judaism also believe in God’s Messiah but they do not think Messiah can be divine, so they reject Yeshua as the Messiah who was foretold by the Hebrew prophets. But the Jewish community needs to reread Isaiah chapter 9:6-7, Messiah is divine!
The prophet Isaiah foretold:
“For to us a baby is born, to us a Son is given:
the government shall be upon His shoulders;
His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Omnipotent God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.
His government and peace will increase and go on for eternity.
He will rule on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
He will establish, sustain and defend it,
with justice and righteousness;
from its origin throughout all eternity.
The zeal of the self-existent One, the cause of all,
the LORD of the armies of heaven will accomplish this.”
Isaiah 9:6-7 HSV
Messiah will rule on David’s throne forever, He is the “Prince of Peace”, the “Almighty God”, the “Eternal Father”! Elohim is the strong supreme One – the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator and King of the universe, He is the unique unified one “Almighty God”!
How can this Son prophesied by Isaiah who will rule upon the throne of David forever, the promised Messiah; be the “Prince of Peace” and the “Mighty God” and the “Everlasting Father”? Jesus the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God taught us in the New Covenant; “I and My Father are one.” John 10:30 NASB The Jews who heard Messiah make this profound statement understood that He was claiming to be one with His Father in heaven, claiming to be a unified one. Yehovah our Elohim, Yehovah is a unified one.
There is only one triune God, there is no other. The triune God is a unique unified one God, our Father in heaven, His beloved Son and the Holy Spirit. Christianity is not a pagan polytheistic religion. One Hebrew name for God that Moses used in the Torah is “Elohim”, a plural name for God. The YHWH our Elohim, the YHWH is echad. The Hebrew word “echad” typically means a unified one and may be used as a numerical one. The Hebrew word “yachid” that means an absolute numeric one is never used to describe God. The Jewish Rabbinic community may wonder, “When writing the Torah why didn’t Moses use the word ychid in the “Shema Yisrael” in Deuteronomy 6:4? The reason is because the Spirit of God directed Moses to use an accurate word to describe The LORD our God, “echad” – a unified one. “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” The LORD our God, is a unique unified one LORD. The numeric one commandment of the ten is; “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” The LORD our Elohim, is the triune God; the unique unified one true and living God, Creator of the heavens and earth.