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OUR GOD IS ONE GOD
By Jon W. Quinn
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!" (DEUTERONOMY 6:4). There is but one true God. There are not two, three or more. There is only one true God and many false gods (I CORINTHIANS 8:4-6).
Because of this, some have denied the deity of Christ. Some have denied that The Holy Spirit is God. Some have even denied that the Holy Spirit is a person! They say that only the Father can be God because there is only one God and if Jesus and the Holy Spirit were also God that would make three. I suppose that reasoning would be sound if the word "one" in the phrase "one God" always referred to a mathematical one. It does not!
"THE LORD IS ONE!"
"To you it is shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him." (DEUTERONOMY 4:35). The term "LORD" in these passages is a translation of the Hebrew name "Jehovah." So, "Jehovah , He is God, there is no other besides Him" is an accurate translation of the above verse. The earlier passage could be translated this way: "Hear O Israel! Jehovah is our God, Jehovah is one!" This truth cannot be denied.
However, the word translated "God" (Elohim) is plural in form. That makes the sentence really interesting and deserving of very careful consideration: "Hear O Israel! Jehovah is our God (plural), Jehovah is one!"
Add to this one other very important point: the Hebrew word translated "one" is echad. This word refers to a combined or united one made up of more than one part! Perhaps the easiest understood examples of how this word can be used is found in the first two chapters of the Bible.
(1) "And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day" (GENESIS 1:5). Here, we have two parts (light and darkness) making up one day.
(2) "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." (GENESIS 2:24). Here we have two persons becoming one. After doing so, are they no longer two distinct persons? Of course they are! They have not become mathematically one person. They are two individuals who have become united as one without losing their individuality.
The point is this: Jehovah is one God. But this does not mean that He is one person any more than a husband and wife are one person because they are married.
THREE PERSONS ARE CALLED "JEHOVAH" IN THE BIBLE
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (MATTHEW 28:19). This verse mentions three distinct entities united in one name, or authority. It is a fact that the Bible refers to each of these three as "LORD" or "Jehovah."
(1) The Father is referred to many times as "Jehovah" and as far as I know there is little controversy here. However, for the record, here are some references to consider: (I CHRONICLES 29:10; ROMANS 1:7; I CORINTHIANS 1:3).
(2) Christ, the Son, is also referred to in the Bible as "Jehovah" or "LORD." For example, the LORD of hosts (the Father) will one day send the LORD (the Son) to this world to "dwell in your midst" according to one prophecy (ZECHARIAH 2:8-11). Both the Sender and the One sent are referred to as "Jehovah" or "LORD." The Hebrew writer quotes several Old Testament passages which speak of "God" or "Jehovah" and apply them to Jesus, the Son (HEBREWS 1:6-12). Jehovah identifies Himself to Moses as "I AM" out of the burning bush and Jesus identifies Himself to the people as "I AM" as well (EXODUS 3:14; JOHN 8:24,58). Isaiah prophecies of John's ministry as one who would "clear the way for the LORD (Jehovah) in the wilderness" and "Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God." (ISAIAH 40:3). Of course, this was fulfilled by John preparing the way for Jesus; Jesus is the One to whom Isaiah referred to as Lord and God according to the New Testament (MATTHEW 3:3). Many other examples such as ISAIAH 44:6; 48:12 and REVELATION 1:17-18; 2:8; 22:13,16 could be compared and cited. The point remains: Jesus is Jehovah.
(3) The Holy Spirit is also referred to as "Jehovah" in the Bible. When Isaiah answered the Lord's call unto the office of prophet there was a pressing need in the land. "And I heard the voice of the LORD (Jehovah), saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I (ISAIAH) said, 'Here am I. Send me!' And He said, 'Go and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand.' (ISAIAH 6:8,9). Here, Jehovah spoke to Isaiah. Would the term "LORD" or "Jehovah" refer to the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit? There is a way to know for sure. The New Testament refers to this verse and informs us that "LORD" here refers to the Holy Spirit "rightly speaking through Isaiah the prophet..." (ACTS 28:25). Also, the Old Testament speaks of the coming of a New Covenant and says; "But the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the LORD, 'I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (JEREMIAH 31:33). It is the "LORD" or "Jehovah" that made this declaration! The New Testament further identifies the One making the declaration as "the Holy Spirit" (HEBREWS 10:15,16).
So, it is as we have already stated; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are each referred to in the Bible as Jehovah. It is correct to refer to each of these three in this way. They are distinct; and yet they are also one.
GOD SAID, "LET US..."
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our own image..." (GENESIS 1:26). Who made man? God did! Who helped God accomplish that task? No one helped; God did it all by Himself! Who is God speaking to and why use the term "us?" Because our one God consists of more than one person.
Who else could God have been talking to? Was He talking to the animals which He had made? To the ducks and frogs and buffalo? Did they help make man?
That's ridiculous! Maybe He was talking to angels. Well at least that makes more sense. But it is wrong just the same! "Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, I the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone..." (ISAIAH 44:24). Jehovah insists that the angels did not help. He did it all Himself! But wait, there's more!
If only Jehovah took part in the creation; and if Jesus is not Jehovah, then that means that the Son of God had no role to play in the creation of the universe. But to the contrary, the Bible says that He did, so the Son must be regarded as Jehovah as well as the Father. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." (JOHN 1:1-3). Later, the chapter identifies the Word as Jesus, the Son of God (vss. 14-17).
Reprinted From the Bradley Banner Bradley Church of Christ Bradley, Illinois August 30, 1992
And further, we know that the Holy Spirit also had a role to play in the creation (GENESIS 1:2). So again, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each had roles to play in the creation of all things. The term Jehovah appropriately applies to all three, who are one God even as the husband and wife are one flesh. If you cannot fully comprehend 3 in 1 do not despair. There are many, many other things about our eternal, all wise and all powerful God none of us can comprehend, at least presently. To be filled with awe and live by obedient faith is what is necessary. That we all can handle.