Monotheism is defined as, "The belief that there is only one Elohim" as opposed to polytheism - "the belief that there are many gods." An example of polytheism would be the Hindu religion which has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of deities depending on how "deity" is defined.
There are three modern religions that profess to be monotheistic and who view the "one Elohim" as existing outside the universe and not a part of it. Each of them is based on the religion of ancient Israel as revealed in Scripture; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Mohammedanism).
This study was written to present the Scriptural evidence on which monotheism is based and to show how the deification of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) within Christianity and Messianic Judaism is a corruption of the true Biblical teaching of monotheism.The Oneness of the Shema
The foundation upon which Judaism has built their understanding of monotheism is the Shema (Deut 6:4);
"Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Elohim is one Yahweh:" or ". . . Yahweh is one."
It is believed by many that the word "echad," translated "one," means "a united one" or a "compound unity," not singularity. The scriptures prove this belief to be false. Note Nu.7:13-82 where "echad" is translated "one" 84 times and each time it means one as in the number one, singularity; "one spoon," "one kid,"etc. Consider also Gen.2:1 - one rib , Dan.9:27 - one week and Ezek 33:24 - ". . . Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many . . ."
Historic Judaism does not give "echad" the meaning of unity or plurality as is seen in the Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 14, p.1373: "Perhaps from earliest times, but certainly from later, the word echad (one) was understood also to mean unique. Elohim is not only one and not many, but He is totally other than what paganism means by gods." Note also The Jewish Commentary, Soncino Edition, p.770: "He is one because there is no other Elohim than He; but He is also one, because He is wholly unlike anything else in existence. He is therefore not only one, but the Sole and Unique, Elohim."
Perhaps the most conclusive evidence that the word "echad" has the meaning of alone or unique comes to us from the Messiah himself in Mk.12:28-31. When asked which commandment was the most important, Yeshua responded by quoting the Shema.
"And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Yeshua answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; Yahweh our Elohim is one Yahweh: And thou shalt love Yahweh thy Elohim with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
In response to Yeshua's answer the teacher replied,
". . . Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one Elohim; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love hisneighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Yeshua saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of Elohim. And no man after that durst ask him any question."
Although Yeshua did not specifically say "there is none other but he" the teacher understood that meaning to be implied in the word "echad" or "one." Yeshua acknowledged that the teacher answered wisely (discreetly) thereby confirming the teacher's correct understanding of the meaning of the Shema. This was the Jewish understanding of the Shema in the days of Yeshua.
Additionally, the word "one" in Greek is "heis" meaning, "a primary numeral; one." There is no compound unity found in this Greek word as is supposed in the Hebrew "echad." "Heis" is the word used for "one" in the Septuagint of Deut 6:4 and Ezek 33:24.
It is true that the word "echad" in the Shema (Deut 6:4) was used in verses such as Ge.2:24 and Ge.41:25. There we see two people becoming one flesh and two dreams having one meaning. The key here is that two become one. In the Shema, we only see one individual, Yahweh, proclaimed to be one! It doesn't say, "And the two Yahweh's became one." In the two verses in Genesis, we don't see one becoming two. But that is what people are trying to do with the Shema. They say one means two and therefore, there must be two Yahweh's or two Gods comprising the one "Godhead."
Here is a break down of how "echad" was translated over 950 times in the Old Testament:
"KJV - one 687, first 36, another 35, other 30, any 18, once 13, eleven + 06240 13, every 10, certain 9, an 7, some 7, misc. 87; 952
1) one (number)
1a) one (number)
1b) each, every
1c) a certain
1d) an (indefinite article)
1e) only, once, once for all
1f) one...another, the one...the other, one after another, one by one
1h) eleven (in combination), eleventh (ordinal)"
Notice that none of these translations or definitions from the Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon carries the idea of compound unity.No other Elohim but Yahweh
The fact that "there is none other [Elohim] but he" (as was confirmed by Yeshua in Mk 12) was firmly ingrained in the mind of Israel throughout their history. Over and over again we read this thought coursing through the Scriptures that Yahweh gave to Israel.
Moses understood this truth when he wrote;
"Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that Yahweh he is Elohim; there is none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that Yahweh he is Elohim in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else." Deut 4:35-39
Hannah understood this truth when she prayed;
"There is none holy as Yahweh: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our Elohim." 1Sam 2:2
Solomon understood this truth when he prayed;
". . . Yahweh Elohim of Israel, there is no Elohim like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:"
"That all the people of the earth may know that Yahweh is Elohim, and that there is none else." 1 Kgs 8:23,60
Hezekiah understood this truth when he prayed;
". . . Yahweh Elohim of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the Elohim, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth." 2 Kgs 19:15
Yahweh Himself taught and confirmed this truth through Isaiah when He inspired him to write;
"Ye are my witnesses, saith Yahweh, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no Elohim formed, neither shall there be after me."
"Thus saith Yahweh the King of Israel, and his redeemer Yahweh of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no Elohim."
"I am Yahweh, and there is none else, there is no Elohim beside me: I girded thee, though thou has not known me."
"Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I Yahweh? and there is no Elohim else beside me; a just Elohim and a Saviour; there is none beside me."
"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am Elohim, and there is none else."" Isa 43:10; 44:6; 45:5, 21,22
Yahweh Himself taught this truth through the prophet Jeremiah;
"But Yahweh is the true Elohim, he is the living Elohim, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation." Jer 10:10
The prophet Joel knew this truth;
"And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am Yahweh your Elohim, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed." Joel 2:27
This same truth is revealed through the prophet Malachi;
"Have we not all one father? hath not one Elohim created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?" Mal 2:10
Yeshua himself confirmed this truth when he prayed;
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true Elohim, and Yeshua Messiah, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3
The New Testament carries this truth that there is no other Elohim except Yahweh in several of the Apostle Paul's writings as well as that of James.
"Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but Elohim is one." Gal 3:20
"One Elohim and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Eph 4:6
"For there is one Elohim, and one mediator between Elohim and men, the man Messiah Yeshua;" 1Tim 2:5
"Thou believest that there is one Elohim; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." James 2:19
In each of these verses, the word "one" is from the Greek word "heis" meaning, "a primary numeral; one." Again, there is no compound unity found in this Greek word as is supposed in the Hebrew "echad."
The evidence is undeniable; there is only one single Elohim. This comes directly from the words of our Creator Himself, our Savior Yeshua, two of Christianity's greatest Apostles, Paul and James, and a host of Old Testament saints.
Two other verses that address this issue also reveal one Elohim.
"And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." Mt 23:9
"There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?" Jas 4:12
The "one Father" and "one Lawgiver" are identified in Scripture as Yahweh. Since Yahweh is the one true Elohim, here again, it is taught that there is only one, single, solitary, being that can claim to be the supreme deity of the universe.
In addition to the wealth of Scripture proclaiming one Elohim, there are over 20,000 singular pronouns and verbs describing the one Elohim. Yet, the opponents of monotheism will "overlook" them all as they cling desperately to a handful of verses such as Gen 1:26 and 11:7 where plural pronouns were used.
Some try to draw out of John 10:30 the oneness of being between the Father and the Son. Yeshua said, "I and my Father are one." Does that mean they are the same being? Yeshua said something similar in Jn.17:22, "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:"
Here again, Yeshua says he and the Father are one. But he also prays that his followers will be one in the same sense that he and Yahweh are one. That is a oneness of mind, purpose, and will, not a oneness of being or of deity.Yeshua is Elohim?
How does this truth of one Elohim affect the teaching that Yeshua [Jesus] is Elohim (Elohim) or that he is a second Elohim as some believe? One sect of Christianity teaches that Yeshua preexisted as a second "YHWH" and was, in reality, the one who dealt with Israel throughout the Old Testament. They believe he parted the Red Sea, led Israel out of Egypt, gave the Ten Commandments, etc., and therefore is the Elohim of Israel.
1 Tim 2:5 makes it especially clear that Yeshua is the mediator between the one Elohim and men, therefore, he cannot be the one Elohim or a part of it as in the trinity doctrine. One cannot mediate with one's self. Additionally, Acts 3:13 says;
"The Elohim of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the Elohim of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Yeshua; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go."
Jacob is Israel. The Elohim of Israel glorified His Son. In other words, the Son is not the Elohim of Israel. Yeshua is the Son of the Elohim of Israel.
If it were true that Yeshua is a second Elohim, that would be polytheism. That position is impossible to harmonize with the many Scriptures that teach monotheism or one Elohim. It is also impossible to harmonize the two YHWH doctrine with verses that teach there is only one Yahweh. Consider Nehemiah's prayer;
"Thou, even thou, art Yahweh alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee." Neh 9:6
Ps 83:18 says;
"That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Yahweh, art the most high over all the earth."
A second Elohim cannot be named "Yahweh."
Not only does the Shema make this declaration as we have seen, but Zech 14:9 does so as well.
"And Yahweh shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Yahweh, and his name one."
The two YHWH error and verses used to prove Yeshua is "Elohim" are dealt with in the studies, "One Yahweh" and "Yeshua the Messiah is Not Almighty Yahweh."Elohim - Plural or Singular?
The word "Elohim," translated "God," is often misunderstood as well. It is believed that it denotes a plurality or a god consisting of more than one being or more than one manifestation of a being. This, too, is a false concept based on the philosophy of men. Elohim is used in the Bible with a plural sense when it refers to several deities and in a singular sense when it refers to a singular deity. Its plural sense can be seen in Ex.12:12;
"For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the elohim of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am Yahweh."
Its singular sense can be seen in 1 Sam.5:7;
". . . and upon Dagon our elohim"
and 2 Kgs.1:2;
". . . Go, enquire of Baal-zebub the elohim of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease."
Are we to believe that Dagon and Baal-zebub are also plural beings?
The word "elohim" is properly applied to Yeshua in Heb.1:9 and Jn.20:28. Both words are from the Greek word "theos" which was also used in reference to Satan (2 Cor.4:4) and Herod (Acts 12:22). It has the same meaning as the Hebrew word "elohim" and can be applied to men, angels, and the Almighty. Ps.82:6 applies it to any child of the Most High;
"I have said, Ye are gods [elohim]; and all of you are children of the most High." It simply means "a mighty one among his people."
It is not wrong to call Yeshua an elohim. The problem lies in believing he is the one true Elohim, Yahweh Almighty. Yeshua made it clear that he was not the one true Elohim, in Jn.17:3;
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee [Yahweh] the only true Elohim, and Yeshua Messiah, whom thou hast sent."
The Apostle Paul declared the same thing in 1 Cor.8:4-6;
"As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other Elohim but one. For though there be that are called elohim, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be elohim many, and lords many), But to us there is but one Elohim, the Father [Yahweh], of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Master Yeshua Messiah, through whom are all things, and we through him."
1 Jn.5:20 is often wrongly interpreted to mean that Yeshua is the one true Elohim. It reads;
"And we know that the Son of Elohim is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Yeshua Messiah. This is the true Elohim, and eternal life"
When it says, "his Son Yeshua Messiah," it means "Yahweh's Son Yeshua Messiah." That being the case, the previous use of the pronoun "him" in the two phrases "him that is true" must also refer to Yahweh. The "his" and "him" refer to the same person. To say that "This is the true Elohim" refers to the Son is grammatically incorrect.Yahweh is Yeshua's Elohim
Not only is Yahweh the one true Elohim, but He is also Yeshua's Elohim. If Yeshua is an elohim and he himself has an Elohim, then surely his Elohim must be a greater Elohim. This is what scripture teaches in Mt.27:46; Jn.17:3; 20:17; Eph.1:17; Heb. 1:9; and Rev.3:12. Rev.3:12 says;
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my Elohim, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my Elohim [Yahweh], and the name of the city of my Elohim, New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my Elohim: and I will write upon him my new name."
Yeshua is saying this after he ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of Yahweh (Heb 8:1). If he was the Yahweh Almighty of the Old Testament, who is Yeshua's Elohim and who is he sitting next to? Two scriptures answer that question. The first is Ps.110:1;
"Yahweh said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
The second is Mic.5:4;
"And he [Yeshua] shall stand and feed in the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh his Elohim; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth."
After Yeshua ascended to heaven, he sat down on the right hand of Yahweh. Yahweh is Yeshua's Elohim. Yeshua feeds on the strength of Yahweh. In other words, Yeshua's strength or power is derived from Yahweh (a separate being).
If Yeshua was Yahweh, he could not be sitting beside himself, nor would he be talking to himself as in Ps 110:1.
Several other Scriptures make it clear that Yahweh is the Elohim of all other elohim.
Ex 18:11 - "Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all elohim: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them."
De 10:17 - "For Yahweh your Elohim is Elohim of elohim, and Lord of lords, a great Elohim, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:"
1Ch 29:11 - "Thine, Yahweh, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, Yahweh, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Ps 97:9 - "For thou, Yahweh, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all elohim."
Ps 135:5 - "For I know that Yahweh is great, and that our Lord is above all elohim."
Ps 136:2 - " O give thanks unto the Elohim of elohim: for his mercy endureth for ever."
Isa 46:5 - "To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?"
Isa 54:5 - "For thy Maker is thine husband; Yahweh of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The Elohim of the whole earth shall he be called."
Jer 10:6 - "For as much as there is none like unto thee, O Yahweh; thou art great, and thy name is great in might."Conclusion
It is an undeniable fact of Scripture (both Old and New Testaments) that Yahweh, the Father of Yeshua, is the one true Elohim of all the earth and He is the Elohim of Israel. Yahweh is not a plural unity, but is one in the sense of singularity. He alone is the one true Elohim.
Yeshua and the children of Israel, are called "elohim" as well. However, they are not elohim in the sense that Yahweh is Elohim. Yeshua is certainly an elohim (a mighty one among his people), but he is not the one true Elohim as he himself professed in John 17:3.
Throughout the Old Testament period there was no other elohim in existence in the sense that Yahweh is Elohim. We are taught this in several passages.
"See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no elohim with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand." Deut 32:39
"Ye are my witnesses, saith Yahweh, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no Elohim formed, neither shall there be after me." Isa 43:10
"Thus saith Yahweh the King of Israel, and his redeemer Yahweh of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no Elohim." Isa 44:6
"Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a Elohim beside me? yea, there is no Elohim; I know not any." Isa 44:8
"I am Yahweh, and there is none else, there is no Elohim beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:" Isa 45:5
"Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I Yahweh? and there is no Elohim else beside me; a just Elohim and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am Elohim, and there is none else. " Isa 45:21,22
Throughout the Old Testament, Yahweh repeatedly gave Israel instructions and teachings concerning the fact that there is only one Elohim. He gave those instructions in such a way that there could be absolutely no misunderstanding or mistake as to what He meant. That is why the faith of Israel has always been monotheistic. There was no other choice.
Yeshua cannot be a second Elohim that existed eternally along side Yahweh. Neither can he be part of a "trinity" in which he is one of three "persons" comprising the "One Elohim."
As the Scriptures plainly declare and as the New Testament teaches as our confession of faith;
"Whosoever shall confess that Yeshua is the Son of Elohim, Elohim dwelleth in him, and he in Elohim." 1 John 4:15
Additionally, John concluded his evangel with;
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of Elohim; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:31
We are not to believe or confess that Yeshua IS Elohim, but that he is the SON of Elohim or the Son of Yahweh. If you believe that Yeshua is Yahweh instead of the Son of Yahweh or that Yeshua is Elohim instead of the Son of Elohim, the truth is not in you. Peter knew this truth and responded correctly; "Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living Elohim" (Mt.16:16).
How will you now respond and to whom will you direct your worship as the one true Elohim of this universe?
I highly recommend you read the following articles to understand this subject in greater depth;
Who is the Creator?
Yahweh: Creator of All Things
Yeshua the Messiah is Not Almighty Yahweh
Are the Father and Son One and the Same Being?
Did Our Savior Pre-exist?
Can a Spirit Being Die?
The Historic Translation of John 1:3-4
The Holy Spirit
Theophanies and Christophanies?