- 1 Moses and the Prophets explained YHVH ELOHIM and YHVH
- 2 Jesus identified Himself as YHVH ELOHIM when He said, “I and the Father are one.”
- 3 The Invisible God and His Image were one in the Old Testament
- 4 Verses from Isaiah to understand YHVH ELOHIM, and YHVH
Moses and the Prophets explained YHVH ELOHIM and YHVH
“I and the Father are one”
In Chapter 1, we read that God told the Israelites not to worship Angels in Deuteronomy 4.
We wondered, how could the Israelites worship the Messenger, the Angel of YHVH, as “their ELOHIM”?
We saw that Moses’ words of comfort came in Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Hear O Israel (Jacob): YHVH our ELOHIM (the Spirit of Christ), YHVH (the Father), ECHAD (is one), (therefore) you shall love YHVH your ELOHIM will all your heart, all your soul and all your strength
The understanding of two YHVHs as “one unit” allowed the Israelites to call their God “Father,” “Almighty,” and “Most High.” The invisible God and His image became indistinguishable; they not only shared the name of YHVH, but even YHVH of the ARMIES (Angels).
After the Messenger stopped appearing, it was often impossible to differentiate who was really speaking: was it the invisible God, or YHVH ELOHIM? But God’s explanation of an ELOHIM to Moses put away this concern.
When the Spirit of Christ began to speak to the prophets, it no longer mattered whether Christ or God was identified as the immediate speaker; the words were understood to be the words of the invisible God, and the name of YHVH was shared by Christ and God.
When the Spirit of Christ was identified as the Angel of YHVH, the Angel sometimes spoke for Himself, proving to us that the Angel was not the invisible God. In the Book of Revelation, the Angel, the Spirit of Christ, sometimes spoke for Himself, and sometimes for the invisible God.
Jesus identified Himself as YHVH ELOHIM when He said, “I and the Father are one.”
Jesus equated Himself to the Spirit of Christ, the ELOHIM of the Old Testament.
In John Chapter 10, Jesus said to the Pharisees. “I and the Father are one,” (John 10:30) to imitate the “Shema,” which Jesus called “the greatest commandment” in Matthew 22:36–39.
Sh’ma, Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai, Ecḥad
Hear, O Israel: YHVH our Elohim (“I”), YHVH (“the Father”), is one.
In John Chapter 8, Jesus called Himself “I AM,” and now He was implying that He was YHVH ELOHIM.
So they immediately they took up stones, to stone Him.
The fact that Jesus was identifying Himself as YHVH ELOHIM was obvious, because, to defend Himself, He quoted Psalms 82:6: “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are ELOHIM”’”? (John 10:34).
The “Shema” is recited daily by the Jewish people: “Hear O Israel, YHVH ELOHIM (I), YHVH (the Father), ECHAD (is one). You shall love YHVH ELOHIM with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
The Shema has three understood meanings. All of which are correct:
- Literal: YHVH your Gods, YHVH, is one (as an appositive statement.) The plurality is one.
- Implied: YHVH your ELOHIM (Christ), YHVH (the Father), is one. In the common use of ECHAD (meaning “is one”), as found in the first four uses of this word in Genesis.
- Understood: YHVH your God, YHVH, is one (as an appositive statement). There is only one true God, the Father.
The Invisible God and His Image were one in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament, the expression YHVH was eventually replaced by the expression “LORD.”
Jesus Himself used the expression LORD when referring to YHVH in the Old Testament. He quoted Deuteronomy 6:4 in Mark 12:29, which is translated in some version as “Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord” and in other versions as “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
In either case, the message is the same: the invisible God and His image came together as “one.”
The Hebrew word used to describe this unity is “ECHAD.” We find this meaning in the first four uses of the word “ECHAD” in Genesis 1:5; 1:9; 2:24; 11:6:
- the morning and evening (ECHAD) one day;
- gathered into (ECHAD) one place;
- they shall become (ECHAD) one flesh; and
- they are (ECHAD) one people.
|The Oneness of the LORD in the Old Testament|
|In the Old Testament, the invisible God and His image formed one Lord. The Hebrew Shema literally reads: “YHVH your Gods, YHVH, ECHAD (is one).”
The Hebrew word “ECHAD” in its first four uses in the Book of Genesis, all describe “two coming together as one.” The plurality of ELOHIM was at one time understood by the Israelites, who knew that the ELOHIM was the Messenger, and that He spoke for the invisible God.
Verses from Isaiah to understand YHVH ELOHIM, and YHVH
Hear O Israel, YHVH ELOHIM, YHVH, ECHAD (is one).
Throughout the Old Testament, Christ, YHVH ELOHIM, spoke for the invisible God, who was one with His image.
Here, we will examine a few famous verses from Isaiah that demonstrate how this really works. These verses are probably among the most difficult in the Bible. But, once we understand them, the entire Biblical message of Christ and God will come alive.
Isaiah 6:5, 8, and 9
This passage is perhaps one of the clearest indications that Christ spoke as “the invisible God.”
Here, Isaiah was commissioned as the Messianic prophet. In verse 5, Isaiah told us that he saw the coming King, as the “image of the invisible God.”
Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
YHVH of hosts.
Then in verse 8, Isaiah told us:
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
In fact, Isaiah heard the voice of Christ, the King.
This is an unusual situation; he is looking at the King, the coming Redeemer, who is speaking God’s desire for Christ to preach the kingdom of God as the coming Messiah. Therefore, God must use the expression “Us” because He is speaking about the speaker whom Isaiah sees.
Isaiah answered the King, saying.
“Here am I! Send me.”
And the King said: “Go, and tell this people:
Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
Keep on seeing, but do not perceive . . .”
These words were quoted by Paul in Acts 28:25 as being spoken by the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, who was the Spirit of Christ.
“Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,”
says YHVH and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
The Targum reads: “My Word shall be your help, saith the Lord, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
Here, we see there are two speakers, the LORD, YHVH, and Christ, “your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel.”
“You are My witnesses,” says YHVH,
“and My servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe Me,
and understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God (El) formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.”
“My Servant – My Elect One” was Christ, as just described for us in Isaiah 42:1–7:
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”
There are two speakers in Isaiah 43:10: “YHVH and My Servant whom I have chosen.”
Some versions translate this verse such that Israel is both “the Witnesses (plural) and the Servant.” It is true that in some places Israel is also called My servant, My chosen. But the Pulpit Commentary writes, “To explain this as meaning ‘and ye are also my servant, whom I have chosen’ (Nagelsbach, Cheyne, Delitzsch), is to empty it of all its force.”
The Jewish Targum translates Isaiah 43:10 as:
“Ye are my witnesses,’ saith the Lord,
“and my servant, the Messiah, in whom is my delight,
in order that ye may know, and that ye may believe in me,
and understand that I am He who was from the beginning;
ages after ages are mine, and beside me there is no god.”
Thus says YHVH (He WILL BE), the King of Israel,
and (its) Redeemer, YHVH (He WILL BE) of Hosts,
“I am the First, and I am the Last,
Besides Me, there is no God (ELOHIM).”
“The King of the Jews” was the name Pilate put above the cross, in Luke 23:38, for “the Redeemer.” Therefore, Jesus told the Pharisees that they would know He is “I AM” (the promised “He WILL BE”) when they saw Him on the cross, “when you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that I AM” (John 8:28).
Christ was “the Commander of the Lord’s army” who appeared to Joshua and said (as He did to Moses), “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Joshua 5:15).
The LORD of hosts is the one who Isaiah saw in his vision of the Messiah.
Woe is me, for I am undone!
For my eyes have seen the King,
YHVH of hosts.
Of course, we know that Isaiah did not see the invisible God, but His image, Jesus Christ, and so Isaiah began his great prophecies of the coming Messiah. Many of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah identify “the LORD of Hosts” as the speaker.
I am the First and the Last (see also iv below)
After the Lord’s Day, God will speak again directly through Christ. They will again form “one Unit”—“One LORD.” Hence the expression, “I am the First and the Last,” that we find in the Book of Revelation, because the invisible God is “The LORD” in the Old Testament, and after the Lord’s Day. But being invisible, He can only speak to us through Christ. Christ is both His image and His spokesman.
Besides Me, no ELOHIM (literally no Gods)
In verse 6, the invisible God being one with His image, tells us there is no ELOHIM besides Him. No other combination of the invisible God and His image, such as the Jewish people imagined for the named national gods of other nations who were also referred to as ELOHIM. Then in verse 8, the invisible God asked whether there is any “EL” (god, singular) besides Him.
Thus says YHVH (He WILL BE), your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;”
This is a very difficult verse, but one of the most profound.
Some ask whether Christ was really involved in creation, since God said, “I am the Lord, who stretches out the heavens all alone.” The Targum reads, “I stretched out the heavens by My Memra (My Word).” Is the Targumist adding an idea to the original text?
Isaiah 44 can be divided into three parts, each part beginning with “Thus says.” The first part, beginning in verse 2, identifies the Father as the speaker, “He who made you in the womb.” The second part, beginning in verse 6, identifies Christ as the speaker, “He WILL BE your Redeemer.” The final part, beginning in this verse, reveals the two speakers: Christ “your Redeemer” and the Father, “He who formed you in the womb.” However, there is really only one speaker; Christ is speaking on behalf of the Father.
God is the real creator, who spoke through Christ, to speak the worlds into being. Christ was simply God’s instrument to complete creation.
Christ was God’s “face” in the beginning of creation. As we read in Genesis 4:14 and 16: “from Your face I will be hidden.” And “Cain went out from the presence (face) of YHVH.” Presence and Face are the same Hebrew word. Isaiah 63:9 called “the Angel of YHVH” the “presence” or “face” of YHVH.
Christ’s right hand was God’s right hand, in Isaiah 48:
My glory I will not give to another.
Listen to me, Jacob,
Israel, whom I called!
I, it is I who am the first,
and am I the last.
Yes, my hand laid the foundations of the earth;
my right hand spread out the heavens.
He was the image of the invisible God, through whom the invisible God created the heavens and the earth. Christ’s voice was God’s voice, and His hands were God’s hands. Since Christ Himself is only part of God’s creation, of course, God received all the glory. But Christ shared in God’s glory because He participated in the work of creation and salvation. And we likewise share in the glory of Christ (Romans 8:17, 1 Peter 5:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:14).
Justin Martyr explained Isaiah 42:8, “My glory I will not share with another,” to mean that God was denying idols 1.
We will discuss the oneness of Christ and God in the Old Testament again in Chapter 30. In the Book of Revelation, it also will be impossible to distinguish the invisible God from Christ, when Christ submits to God, when God becomes the LORD again.
In Chapter 10, we will look at several more verses that reveal the true existence of Christ in the Old Testament and that He spoke the words of the invisible God.
- Chapter 65, Dialogue with Trypho ↩