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Bible verses about Elohim
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Is Elohim one? Yes! It is one institution, one family, one kingdom in which everybody agrees. It acts as one, and because it acts as one, even though it consists of many, it takes a singular verb. We have to change our thinking so that we understand that Elohim consists of more than one, even though individual members of Elohim acting in the name of our God, because they are part of the Godhead.

Jesus tries His hardest to help us to understand this by using family terminology: father, son, children, brothers, sisters. A family is one, even though it has many members.

Even in the Old Testament there are two Jehovahs identified. David said, "The LORD said to my Lord" (Psalm 110:1), clearly showing that there are two in Elohim. But that is not the only place it appears. In Daniel 7:13, we find, "One like the Son of man . . . came to the Ancient of Days." Other places as well clearly show two Jehovahs—or more correctly, Yahwehs.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

If one allows the Bible to interpret itself, it clearly shows that Elohim is an institution consisting of more than one Person. The Old Testament shows that Elohim consists of two divine Beings. The New Testament adds that we are being drawn into that same institution to be one with Those who are already there.

It is true that Elohim is also used in many places to indicate a singular divine Being. This is because Elohim always acts as one. They are in perfect harmony, in perfect agreement.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

Elohim: The first place a name of God is revealed is in the first chapter of Genesis. Here we find Elohim (God) repeated in almost every verse. Elohim is a plural noun, which is first and primarily used in Scripture to describe the one true God Family, which includes God the Father and our Creator-Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Wherever we find "God" throughout the Old Testament, it is most likely Elohim.

However, in contrast to its use to refer to the true God, biblical writers use elohim more than 200 times to refer to pagan idols and gods whom the pagans feared and worshipped (Exodus 12:12; 23:24; Leviticus 19:4). Does this multifaceted usage of elohim mean we should not use the English word "God" today in reference to the God Family because it, too, can refer to heathen gods? No, it merely underscores Satan's constant counterfeiting of any reference to the Supreme Being. In fact, the usage of elohim in Scripture shows that it is perfectly acceptable to use a word like "god" to refer to both the true and false deities.

Martin G. Collins
The Names of God


 

Genesis 1:1  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Even before leaving the first verse, a serious student of the Bible is confronted with a difficulty - unless he is willing to believe what the Bible consistently shows from the beginning to the end. The fourth word in the Bible is "God," Elohim in Hebrew. But that takes some explaining. Elohim is God - plural. "In the beginning Gods created the heaven and the earth." For an English-speaking person, this is confirmed in Genesis 1:26, where the translators finally used plural pronouns to conform to the plural noun antecedent, Elohim.

The translators recognized in verse 26 that Elohim - "God" - was speaking to somebody, and He was speaking to someone who was just like Him, which is why the word Us is used. They were forced into using a plural pronoun. "Let Us make man in Our image." In fact, Elohim is used 66 times in a row at the beginning of the Bible before any other Hebrew word is translated into the English "God." That occurs in Genesis 6:5 when finally another word is used for God.

Someone reading this beginning in Hebrew would have to be impressed that the author of this book was trying to get something across to the reader that "Gods" (plural) did everything - not an individual but a least two. Elohim is used in the Old Testament 2,570 times, and every usage is plural - "Gods."

As shown by this plurality, the God Family clearly consists of more than one Being, or more than one Person or Personality.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

Genesis 1:26  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This verse uses the plural pronouns "Us" and "Our" to refer to their antecedent elohim. Two divine personalities were working as one. They were equal in that both were God but not equal in authority, even as husband, wife, and child are equal in their humanity but not equal in authority. Jesus said it Himself: "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28).

John W. Ritenbaugh
God Is . . . What?


 

Deuteronomy 6:4  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The word "God" here is Elohim. It says, "The LORD our Elohim is one LORD." This phrase is not normally grammatically correct—a plural noun [Elohim] with a singular verb, "is." Elohim is the plural of both El and Eloah. El and Eloah mean "mighty One," "strong One," or "powerful One" according to Brown, Driver, and Briggs. Elohim, being either of these two words in the plural, therefore means "strong Ones," "mighty Ones," or "powerful Ones."

Just from these definitions, Elohim consists of at least two powerful beings. But, as the New Testament shows, Elohim is not limited to two. It can actually signify an unlimited number, so Elohim is a group or assembly of powerful beings.

It is jarring to the ear to say "Gods is," because there is a plural noun and a singular verb, but it is not incorrect. Consider "United States of America." States is plural, but one does not say, "The United States are going to war." One says, "The United States is going to war." One uses a singular verb with a plural noun. Gramatically, we are speaking of collective nouns.

Elohim is plurality in one, and because the sense is singular, it calls for a singular verb. However, everyone using it knows that it is plural and represents many in unity. Our culture forces us to look for a singular being, but Elohim is not singular.

In the New Testament, it becomes very clear that Elohim is a kingdom, consisting of many! Elohim always acts in a singular way. There is never any divisiveness, only agreement.

We have no problem at all saying or hearing, "The United States is bordered on the north by Canada," or, "The United States is in the northern hemisphere," or "The United States delivered a sharp memo to the Japanese today." We always speak of the United States in the singular. We speak of it as an composite of many rather than a singular entity.

When Moses wrote this verse, it was no more discordant to a Hebrew-speaking person, no more grammatically wrong, than it is for us to say, "The United States is. . . ." Elohim, "the powerful Ones," is a Family of at least two divine beings, and many sons and daughters coming into it. A family, whether human or divine, is a unit of many individuals joined as one.

The Bible reveals that a nation is nothing more than a family grown great. This is why we have the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, which shows the forebears of the nations after the Flood. They began with one man and one woman, and they grew great. So it is that Elohim is one institution—a Family—growing ever larger and more complex until it becomes a nation, the Kingdom of God. We see, then, that this is what Elohim is developing.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

Deuteronomy 10:17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This concept is shown throughout the Bible. There is a plurality within Elohim, and Elohim is consistently described as "the Lord of hosts." Hosts means "armies." A little bit broader and clearer definition is, "He is Lord of many things."

We also find cautions throughout the Bible not to let any of these lesser gods take the place of Elohim, who is revealed to us in the very first chapter of His book. The reason our culture has such a narrow view of this is because a false Christianity has dominated its religious thinking. For the past 1600 years, it has taught a false god, the non-biblical and inexplicable "three-in-one" Trinity. The Trinity is inexplicable because theologians try to fit their explanation into a biblical context, and it does not and will not fit. Their final "out" is that the Trinity is a mystery that one must accept on faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

Psalm 45:2-7  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Psalm 45 is a Messianic prophecy. The word for "God" used once of the Messiah and later for the Messiah's God, is elohim. Paul quotes this psalm in Hebrews 1:8-9 to prove that Jesus ("through whom also He made the worlds," verse 2) is worthy of the worship of angels. To worship anything less than God breaks the first commandment! This shows Jesus to be God before and after His incarnation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
God Is . . . What?


 

Malachi 2:10-16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God wants us to learn to honor our parents because the family is not only the basic building block of society, but also of the Kingdom of God. The godly principles learned and the character built within the human family unit is transferable into the spiritual family relationship of the Kingdom of God. God expects a transference from parents to Him of the character and manner of living derived from keeping this commandment.

Parents are His representatives, His agents, to begin preparations for the Kingdom of God. Thus the creative majesty and power of God is honored and revered in the parents when children obey them.

This passage is directed toward Judah generally and toward the priests specifically at a time when the institution of marriage was under attack. Idolatrous marriages with foreign women were common, as was divorce. Today, marriage is under attack generally, but specifically from perverse same-sex unions. The Jews of Malachi's day wondered why, despite giving their offerings to God, they were receiving no blessings from Him. His answer: their idolatrous marriages and covenant-breaking divorces. He specifically states that a purpose of marriage is that He wants godly children to be produced. These marriages were not producing godly children.

The Hebrew word that is translated as "godly" is elohim, used here as an adjective. It means "filled with reverence and love for God; devout, pious; belonging to or emanating from God." Godliness and holiness are not specifically the same: Godliness is a respectful, reverential attitude, while holiness indicates living as God does. As attributes, as qualities of character, they are absolutely inseparable.

The conclusion is inescapable. After creating Adam and Eve and announcing that He had created them in His image, God immediately establishes the family through marriage. Marriage, therefore, plays an important role in God's overall purpose of creating man in His image. This fact provides the fifth commandment with its greatest degree of significance.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Commandment


 

John 5:17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This verse clearly identifies two of the persons within the Godhead: the Father and the Son. The Jews understood what He was driving at; they knew He was saying, "I am God." Jesus Christ was identifying Himself as within Elohim. The Jews understood this, and they were ready to jump on Him for blasphemy.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

John 5:19-23  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus would have had to have been with the Father to see the Father do these things. He even asserts Himself as having the powers that go with the Godhead: to raise the dead.

In verses 22-23, Christ is clearly asserting and affirming to those people that He is one of the Godhead. One is called the Father. The other is called the Son. The plural Elohim is simple to understand within this instance.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

John 11:51-52  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Christ died for our sins so that the children of God can be gathered in one. One family. One kingdom. It begins with the one church; that we all have one spirit, that we are in one body that becomes the Kingdom of God that is Elohim—the Godhead.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

John 17:5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The first thing Christ does in this prayer is establish that He was with the Father. In this case, the word with means "beside" or "alongside of." This agrees with John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word [Christ], and the Word was with [along side of] God, and the Word was God."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

John 17:11  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Deuteronomy 6:4 states, "The LORD our Elohim is one LORD." In John 17:5, Jesus establishes that there was a time when He was alongside the Father, but now He says that He is with, alongside of, His disciples. He is not alongside of the Father, and in this context, He asks the Father, "that they [the apostles] may be one as we are." What kind of oneness is this, if it is not being "alongside of"? John 17:21 shows this unity is actually "inside of"!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

John 17:20  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

We are reading their word right now, that is, the word that the apostles wrote. Jesus' prayer, then, is that those of us who now believe through the writings of the apostles may be one with the Father and the Son, and that oneness may come through the reading of the word that they wrote.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

Ephesians 3:14-15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Family of God is located both in heaven and on earth. In heaven there are two Beings of spirit who are part of the God Family. This flies right in the face of the concept of strict monotheism! But even more startling is that God considers true Christians to be part of the God Family already!

Currently two members of the Godhead are spirit. But God—Elohim—said, "Let Us create man in Our image" (Genesis 1:26), and what is evident from the beginning of the Bible all the way to the end is that Elohim is expanding! God is increasing what Elohim is. God is increasing the number of those who are in the God Family. This is not hard to understand. Now we are already children of God. We are in His Family.

To us, monotheism indicates that one is worshipping one distinct and unique almighty personality, and if anyone claims anything more than that, that person is considered to be a polytheist—worshipping many gods. This is hard to accept here in this Western world, and this resistance to accepting what the Bible clearly reveals about the God Family has in large measure led to the introduction of the "Trinity." People just cannot accept the simple truth of the Bible, that God is expanding. He is increasing His number. We will be part of that God Family.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

 




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