ECHAD AND ELOHIM
Hebrew Titles for God do not support a trinity of three numerically distinct divine persons.
Trinitarians often allege that God must eternally exist as three separate and distinct divine persons because the Hebrew word for one (echad) can be used as a unity of one rather than a strict numerical one. The Hebrew word “echad,” meaning “one,” appears 977 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and almost always implies one in a strict numerical sense. However, just like the English word one can imply either a singular or a plural meaning so the word “echad” can be understood to mean a numerical one or a unity of one. The only way to know if a numerical one or a unity of one is intended is to read whether or not the particular passage of scripture demands a singular or a plural meaning. An example of a plural meaning of the word one (echad) is found in Genesis 2:24 where the man and the woman are spoken of as “one flesh.” Just as in Genesis 2:24, all verses of scripture where a unity of one is intended is revealed by the context of the particular passage of scripture.
Trinitarian Apologist Gregory Boyd admitted in his book entitled, “Oneness Pentecostals And The Trinity” (Pages 47, 48) that the Hebrew words “Elohim” and “Echad” are weak arguments to support Trinitarian Theology:
“… It is not uncommon to find Trinitarians arguing for the doctrine of the trinity on the basis of the fact that the word for God in the Old Testament is Elohim, which is the plural of the word El … Unfortunately, this is indeed, as most Hebrew scholars recognize, a weak argument on which to base the doctrine of the trinity. When a numerical plurality is intended, the corresponding verbs in the context will be plural. When the one true God is referred to Elohim, however, the corresponding verbs are always singular … the term is applied to the one angelic being who wrestled with Jacob and to the one golden calf the Israelites worshipped. Hence it is easiest and best to understand the plural of Elohim when referenced to Yahweh as denoting a plurality of majesty.”
“Even weaker is the argument that the Hebrew word for one (Echad) used in the Schema (“Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD”) refers to a unified one, not an absolute one … An examination of Old Testament usage reveals that the word echad is as capable of various meanings as is our English word one. The context must determine whether a numerical or unified singularity is intended.”
Some Trinitarians have also argued that the Hebrew word yachid is always used in the strict numerical sense. Therefore it is argued that if God wanted to show that He is only one numerical individual in the strictest sense then He could have used the word yachid for one in relation to Himself rather than elohim or echad. Yachid is always used as a strict numerical one. However, the word yachid is used in the stricter sense of an only child, or for expressing the feelings of solitude, loneliness, and isolation (Genesis 22:16; Judges 11:34; Psalm 25:16; 68:7; Jeremiah 6:26).
THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND THE SPIRIT OF HIS SON “WE WILL MAKE OUR ABODE IN HIM”
“He that has my commandments, and keeps them, it is he that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him ... If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:21, 23).
Trinitarians who superficially read the “we” and the “our” in John 14:21-23 think that this chapter depicts two different divine persons who reign together in a coequal manner. Yet when we read the fourteenth chapter of John in its entirety we find Jesus saying in verse nine, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” And again in verse seventeen, Jesus spoke of God sending His “Spirit of truth” to his disciples. Then Jesus goes on to say in this same verse, “... but you know him [the Spirit of truth]; for he dwells with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.” Therefore Jesus identified His personal being with the being of God the Father and with His Spirit of truth.
Yet how can we reconcile these verses of scripture that identify the deity of Jesus with the deity of the Spirit of God the Father with John 14:23 which states that Jesus and the Father would both come into the disciples and make their abode with them? Here we can clearly see a distinction between the Father [God’s Spirit] and the Son [Christ’s human spirit]. The only logical explanation that harmonizes with all of the scriptural data is that Jesus is not God the Father merely dwelling in an external shell of human flesh as the Son of God. Nor is Jesus a coequal and coeternal second almighty divine spirit person dwelling in an external shell of human flesh as the Son. The only logical explanation that fits all of the scriptural data is that Jesus is all of the fullness of God’s personal being becoming a man. God’s essence of being not only dwelt in the physical body of Jesus but God’s Spirit also became a human spirit with a human mind, soul, and will.
Therefore Jesus could not have been God in an external shell of flesh who pretended to pray and who pretended to be tempted by the devil because the scriptures state that Jesus really did pray as a man and that he really was tempted by the devil as a human being. After Jesus was made of a woman he needed to pray just as all humans need to pray. But the human aspect of his existence does not diminish the fact that He was also fully God in the flesh. When God became a man He had to incorporate humanity into His deity. Otherwise, it could not be said that Jesus was a man at all! That is why Ephesians 4:9-10 states:
“Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all the heavens THAT HE MIGHT FILL ALL THINGS.”
Since the omnipresent Spirit of God already fills all things (heaven and earth), this scripture must be speaking about something other than the deity that was in Jesus. “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Says Yahweh. DO NOT I FILL HEAVEN AND EARTH? Says Yahweh.” Jeremiah 23:24
Since it is ludicrous to think that the deity of Jesus (as the One omnipresent Spirit of God) did not already fill the heavens and the earth prior to his ascension into heaven, Ephesians 4:10 has to be speaking of the human spirit that God had taken to Himself when He incarnated Himself as a human being inside of the virgin. Ephesians 4:9-10 could not be speaking about an alleged second almighty divine spirit person because an alleged coequal divine person called God could not lose his divine attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence without un-deifying Himself (Malachi 3:6). The scriptural data informs us that God’s omnipresent Holy Spirit could not have lost His omnipresence [being everywhere present] when He had incarnated Himself into the holy child Jesus. Therefore when God became a man (a human person) He also incorporated the humanity of His Son into His deity. This is why Galatians 4:6 states that “... God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son (a human spirit) into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
The human spirit of the Son could not have been merely the spirit of a created angelic being because the scriptures identify Jesus as God Almighty (1 John 5:20 / Micah 5:2). Nor could the human spirit of the Son have been merely a created human person who had no connection to the Spirit of God because God will not “give His glory to another” who is not God (Isaiah 42:8). The only interpretation that can harmonize with all of the scriptures is that Jesus is the Spirit of God as God with us as a man (Matthew 1:23). Therefore when God became a man, He incorporated the human spirit of priestly-ness into His deity which He never possessed prior to the incarnation
It was the human spirit of the Son of God who was incorporated into God’s deity who first descended into the lower parts of the earth and then ascended up into heaven that “he might fill all things.” The Spirit of the Son is not just the Spirit of God; it also includes Christ’s human spirit of priestly intercession. This is why the scriptures state that “the Spirit itself makes intercession for us” in Romans 8:26.
Therefore the “we” and the “our” in John 14:23 is not two different coequal divine spirit persons of a three person deity, but rather, the One Spirit of God who has added to Himself the human spirit of His Son that was made in the womb of Mary. Hence we have two persons: “One God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).” Yet this man is also God who became a man in every sense that the word “man” entails. This is the only valid explanation that fits all of the scriptural data. If not, then Ephesians 4:3-6 and many other verses of scripture which prove that God is only ONE SPIRIT could not be correct.
Surely Trinitarians should have no problem thinking of God the Father and the Son of God as being two persons. Oneness theology believes that there is a distinction between the Father and the Son as two persons but not in the same sense that Trinitarians do. Oneness Theology believes that God is One God Person and that the Son of God is one man person who is God’s only “express image (Hebrews 1:3)” of Himself as a man. Hence we have two persons: One God Person and one man person – but that man person is that God Person who became a man person. The main problem with Trinitarian teaching is that it divides God’s being into three separate and distinct coequal and coeternal God Persons; something the scriptures never state.
Therefore it is scripturally correct to say that there is “One God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).” But it is not scripturally correct to state that there are three separate and distinct coequal and coeternal divine spirit persons within the deity. For Hebrews 1:3 calls Jesus “the express image of His [God’s] Person.” Since God is invisible, Jesus is the only visible “image of the invisible God [the Father]” that we shall ever see as a man (Colossians 1:15).
Just as the Spirit of Jesus is both fully God and fully man so the Spirit of Christ that was poured out upon the disciples is both fully God and fully the human spirit of Christ. This explains how Christians have the Spirit of God’s Son in their hearts crying out “Abba Father.” However, this outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the incorporation of the human spirit of His Son could not have occurred until after Jesus had first descended into the lower parts of Hades and then rose from the dead “that He might fill all things.” This is why the disciples had to wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts chapters one and two).
When the Spirit of God “makes intercession for us” we know that it is not a third divine person praying to a first divine person. For God does not pray to God, only humans do. When the Spirit makes intercession for believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit, it is the human element of the Spirit of His Son who intercedes for us. Yet that human spirit of His Son is also a manifestation of God’s Spirit taking upon Himself human attributes to save us from our sins.
The majority of the Christian believers in the second century were called Modalistic Monarchians because they believed that the omnipresent Spirit of God the Father can operate in different modes or manifestations of His presence as the Holy Spirit in emanation and as the Son in incarnation while remaining one single Monarch [Ruler]. This is the only rational explanation that fits all of the scriptural data even though it is extremely confusing for our finite minds to fully comprehend.
THE LAMB OF REVELATION CHAPTER FIVE
Revelation 5:6-9 “... in the midst of the throne ... stood a lamb as it had been slain, having SEVEN HORNS and SEVEN EYES ... And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne ... And they sang a new song saying, you are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and HAVE REDEEMED US TO GOD BY YOUR BLOOD ...” Here again we have only One God Person on the throne and one man person who took the book from the God Person seated on the throne. Note the use of the words “stood a lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes.” This vision speaks not of Christ’s deity but it speaks symbolically of his humanity as the Lamb of God. Wherefore we have one God and one Man in this passage of scripture: not two God Persons but One God Person and one man person. Also notice that this ONE MAN PERSON has “REDEEMED US” TO ONE “GOD” PERSON. It does not state that a second divine Person called God redeemed us to another first divine Person called God. Hence, there is clearly a distinction between Christ’s humanity and God’s divinity.
Yet this passage of scripture also indicates the Oneness of the deity of God in Christ Jesus. The Greek Lexicon by Bower, Arnt, and Gingrich states: “In the midst of the throne” means “on the center of the throne.” Therefore the lamb is situated on the center of the throne of God which clearly attests to His identity as the one true God who became a man.
Revelation 22:3-4 also proves the Oneness of God’s deity in the man Christ Jesus: “And there shall be no more curse: But THE THRONE OF GOD and the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants SHALL SERVE HIM (not them): And they shall see HIS FACE; and HIS NAME shall be in their foreheads.”
Notice that this scripture does not state, “The Thrones of God and the Lamb.” Nor does it state, “The Throne of God and the Throne of the Lamb” as if there were two visible thrones. Neither does it state that we shall see more than one face. It simply states that we shall see only ONE FACE - “HIS FACE.” Therefore there is only One God who can be seen through the human person called Jesus Christ who is both FULLY GOD and FULLY MAN!
SCRIPTURAL FACTS FACT: There is only ONE invisible God seated on ONE Throne! FACT: JESUS THE LAMB is on the CENTER of that Throne! FACT: We shall only see ONE FACE - JESUS! FACT: We only see One Name in their foreheads - HIS NAME! FACT: The Being who is both God and the Lamb [Man] is Jesus!
CONCLUSION: The Lord Jesus Christ is both God and the Lamb!