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Bible verses about Godhead
(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


 

Genesis 1:26

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?


 

Genesis 2:24

This verse shows that two human personalities can become one flesh. Why, then, can God not be one with two distinct personalities who work independently yet in complete harmony? Paul adds in I Corinthians 6:17, "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." If a human can be one with God and remain entirely distinct, why cannot another spirit being with a separate personality be one with Him?

John W. Ritenbaugh
God Is . . . What?


 

Deuteronomy 6:4

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 a 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


 

John 1:3

Paul adds in Colossians 1:16, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him." These verses reveal the Word, who became Jesus Christ, as the agent of creation, performing the work necessary to carry it out. He is not only God but with Another who is also God. "Through Him" implies that this other Being authorized the works of creation carried out by the Word. Does this not indicate two distinct Personalities, both called God by inspiration, working in harmony to accomplish a work?

John W. Ritenbaugh
God Is . . . What?


 

John 5:17

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

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

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

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

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


 

Acts 5:3

This verse is unclear on the nature of the Holy Spirit, and it must stand in the light of verses from other parts of the Bible before it is correctly understood. For instance, nowhere in the Bible is the Holy Spirit shown to have manlike shape. The Father and the Son are revealed to have body parts like us—they even sit on thrones—but the Spirit is described to be like wind, oil, fire, and water.

The only shape it is ever given is that of a dove (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32), and some dispute that the Spirit looked like a dove but rather in a visible form descended like a dove. Nevertheless, the Spirit is never described to have a humanlike shape. Man was created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27), so man looks like God. If the Spirit were also a person in a "trinity," it too would look like a man just as the Father and Son do (John 14:9). Yet, at best, the Spirit had a dove's shape in one instance, and a man and a dove have never been mistaken for each other.

Other verses show the apostles giving praise, glory, and honor to the Father and Son without mentioning the Spirit (Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:1-4; Galatians 1:1-5; and so on through the epistles). If it were part of the Godhead, this would be a grave omission.

Many of the Spirit's attributes can be shown to originate in the Father or the Son. For example, the Spirit is named "Comforter" in John 14:26 (KJV), yet the Father is called "the God of all comfort" in II Corinthians 1:3-4. Other examples include making intercession: Romans 8:26I Timothy 2:5 and Hebrews 7:25; and enabling spiritual understanding: I Corinthians 2:10-16 and I John 5:20.

In addition, the Spirit has no familial relationship to Christians. God is our Father and Christ is our Elder Brother. Paul says "Jerusalem above . . . is the mother of us all" (Galatians 4:26). The Spirit, though, is not a person but a gift of God, the mind and power of God working in and through us (II Timothy 1:7).

Finally, the history of the trinity doctrine is open knowledge. The true church never accepted the idea, and even the false church did not embrace it until three centuries after Christ! Even then, it was only accepted as a political concession to the Roman emperor, Constantine. Add these facts to its absence in the Scripture, and it is no wonder the Catholics and Protestants call it a mystery!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Lying to the Holy Spirit


 

Romans 1:18-20

Godhead indicates divinity or nature, and a modern translation will translate it that way, usually as "nature"—the nature of God. The word itself in the Greek means "that which is divine," and divine in English means "relating to God," or in this context, His nature.

In this passage, Paul is saying that the creation of God is a constant and natural revelation, and therefore it is available to all. If people will just stop to think about it, they can learn a great deal about God. However, it is not enough of a revelation for God to hold mankind responsible in terms of salvation, for that takes a special, personal calling and revelation from Him. However, it is enough for God to hold them responsible for their conduct, which is what the remainder of Romans 1 explains.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 3)


 

Romans 8:9-14

The context is human beings in whom the Spirit of God dwells. Jesus, as a human being, having the Spirit of God without measure, was still considered to be part of the Godhead. These verses, verse 14 especially, show that if God begins to give His spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32), they also become the sons of God! This is also seen in I John 3:1-2.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Nature of God: Elohim


 

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

Here, the Godhead is mentioned together—the Father and the Son. There is, again, no mention of the Holy Spirit. The apostles spoke for the Father and for the Son, but, evidently, not for the Holy Spirit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit


 

Ephesians 3:14-15

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


 

Ephesians 5:5

Once again, the Holy Spirit is left out. It is God's Kingdom and Christ's Kingdom, but it is not the Holy Spirit's Kingdom because the Holy Spirit is not a personality. If the Holy Spirit were a personality, why does Paul leave him out whenever the Godhead is mentioned? The reason is clear: because the Holy Spirit is not a personal being.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit


 

Philippians 2:6-7

Phillips renders this, "For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his privileges as God's equal, but stripped Himself of every advantage by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born a man." Moffatt translates, "Though he was divine by nature, he did not set store upon equality with God, but emptied himself by taking the nature of a servant; born in human guise and appearing in human form." As in other scriptures, He was God, divine by nature, with—beside, accompanying—a different personality also called God!

John W. Ritenbaugh
God Is . . . What?


 

 




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