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Echad One and Not Two
“Echad” (Hebrew: “one”) is a numerical adjective which appears 650 times in the Old Testament, and at no time does this word itself carry the idea of plurality. While it is true that “echad” is sometimes found modifying a collective noun — one family, one herd, one bunch, etc. — the sense of plurality actually resides in the compound noun, and not in the word “echad”! Echad appears in translation as the numeral “one”, and also as “only”, “alone”, “undivided”, and “single.” Its normal meaning is “one and not two”, as we find in Ecclesiastes 4:8. Abraham was “only one man” (“echad”) in the NIV’s rendition of Ezekiel 33:24, and he was “alone” (“echad”) in the KJV translation of Isaiah 51:2.
Echad: Compound Unity?
It is untrue to say that the Hebrew word echad (one) in Deuteronomy 6:4 points to “compound unity. A recent defense of the Trinity¹ argues that when “one” modifies a collective noun like “bunch” or “herd,” a plurality is implied in echad. The argument is fallacious. The sense of plurality is derived from the collective noun (herd, etc.), not from the word “one.” Echad in Hebrew is the numeral “one.” “Abraham was one [echad]” (Ezekiel 33:24; “only one man,” NIV). Isaiah 51:2 also describes Abraham as “one” (echad; “alone,” KJV; “the only one,” NJB), where there is no possible misunderstanding about the meaning of this simple word. Echad appears in translation as the numeral “one,” “only,” “alone,” “entire, undivided,” “one single.”² Its normal meaning is “one and not two” (Ecclesiastes 4:8). “God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4, cited by Jesus in Mark 12:29, NASV), hence obviously one person only and distinct from the “Lord Messiah” mentioned in the same passage (Mark 12:36). The One God is identified with the Father in Malachi 1:6 and 2:10 and is constantly in the New Testament distinguished from Jesus, the Son of God, who is presented as a separate individual. In the Hebrew Bible “the Lord’s anointed” (literally “christ”) is the King of Israel. This agent of the Lord God is on no occasion confused with God.
Trinitarians . . . sometimes advance the statement in Genesis 1:26 as proof (in contradiction of the evidence of thousands of singular pronouns denoting the One God) that a plurality of persons in the Godhead was responsible for the creation. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” This argument is precarious. Modern scholars no longer take the Hebrew phrase, “Let Us” or the word elohim (God) to mean a plurality of God persons as creator. It is most likely that the plural pronoun “us” contains a reference to the One God’s attendant council of angels,¹ who themselves had been created in the image of God and had been witnesses to the creation of the universe (Job 38:7). It is fanciful to imagine that this verse supports the idea that God was speaking to the Son and the Holy Spirit. Where in Scripture does God ever speak to His own Spirit? The text says nothing at all about an eternal Son of God, the second member of a coequal Trinity. Moreover, the “us” of the text gives no indication of two other equal partners in the Godhead. If God is a single person, His use of the word “us” means that He is addressing someone other than Himself, i.e., other than God . ..
Whose Feet? Speaking (and Standing) Through Official Representatives
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof...” (Zechariah 14:4, KJV)
Elohim: The Angels or God Himself?
An otherwise excellent religious magazine which has recently come to hand, there is an article with the above heading. In the course of his article, the author says:
Dr. Cohn, the Jews and the Doctrine of the Trinity
A reader in Martinville, Arkansas, has sent along a booklet for our comments. It is by Dr. Leopold Cohn, and is issued by the American Board of Missions to the Jews, Brooklyn, N.Y. Its avowed purpose is to “convert Jews to a belief in the Doctrine of the Trinity.”
The Meaning of the Hebrew Title “Elohim"
I should like to place before readers some considerations which cause many to reject P.H.A.’s [the Editor’s] viewpoint as stated in the December, 1947, Testimony [magazine]:
Elohim: A Plurality of Beings, and Oriental Parallels
[Correspondent] W.G.L. (Birmingham, UK) writes: I was very glad to see that a protest has at last been made against the common assumption that the plural form of Elohim denotes a plurality of beings, and I thought you might be interested in the following Oriental parallels to the use of the plural form “gods” as a singular concept. (I am indebted chiefly to Jirku’s Altorientalischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament.)
"Elohim” Is Not a Name
In Genesis 2, God opened up a new period in His dealings with man, there being revealed not only as Elohim (God), but as “JEHOVAH-Elohim”—“the LORD God,” revealing personal interest by the use of a personal name.
John Milton: the Unrecognized Hebrew Language Student
Because of the love of the English for the Bible, the Jews and their language have been objects of interest and study in England more perhaps than in any other country. This is noted in Sokolow’s History of Zionism, and a few years ago was more thoroughly treated in one of the pamphlets issued by the Zionist organisation, British Projects for the Restoration of the Jews. In this, popular interest in the Jews and the Hebrew Language is traced from the 16th century down to our time.
Wrested Scriptures: Plural “Us” (Genesis 3:22)
“And the Lord God said behold the man is become as one of us...”
Agency, Law Of
The Law of Agency deals with the status of a person (known as the agent) acting by direction of another (the principal), and thereby legally binding the principal in his connection with a third person. The person who binds a principal in this manner is his agent, known in Jewish law as sheluaḥ or sheliaḥ (one that is sent): the relation of the former to the latter is known as agency (sheliḥut). The general principle is enunciated thus: A man’s agent is like himself (Ḳid. 41b).