Introduction

One of the most frequently recited verses in Scripture is Deuteronomy 6:4. In other words, that verse is spoken – out loud from memory – on an extremely frequent basis. For example, observant Orthodox Jews will recite that verse at least twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the evening.

The Hebrew in that verse is pronounced as follows:

Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.

Here is the translation of that verse, from the ESV:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

All of the other common English translations of the Bible have extremely similar renderings of that verse.

Deuteronomy 6:4 is sometimes referred to as “the sh’ma” (or “the shema”) – since it is referenced so frequently.

Interestingly, Jesus himself also recited the sh’ma. Note the following passage:

Mark 12:28-30 (ESV):

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

At this point, the obvious question is: why is that verse recited so frequently? The general answer to that question is that the sh’ma very succinctly summarizes the difference between the God of the Bible – Yahweh – and the pagan gods of other religions. Basically, that verse explicitly states that there is only ONE Almighty God. This is in stark contrast to the multiple, competing gods, in the pantheons of most other religions.

As a result, reciting the sh’ma is a very simple, convenient way for a person to re-confirm that he believes in the God of the Bible – rather than believing in multiple, pagan gods.

 

The Hebrew word “echad”

The very last word in the sh’ma is the Hebrew word echad. That word is rendered as “one” in most English translations of the Bible; some translations use “alone” instead. In either case, the straightforward, common-sense understanding of echad in the sh’ma tells us that only one person is Almighty God – and that one person is our Heavenly Father – Yahweh.

Some groups have an alternate belief about echad, though. In essence, those groups assert that echad refers to a “compound unity”. In other words, they believe that echad refers to one group, which contains multiple members. For example, they state that echad means “one” as in “one baseball team”; as opposed to “one” as in “one chair”.

So, according to that understanding of echad, the sh’ma could be translated this way:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is a compound unity.

Of course, the reason why this alternate understanding of echad is important is because it allows some groups to “spin” the sh’ma – into an endorsement for the Trinity! In other words, some groups state the following: “The sh’ma tells us that God is one. That is true – but that “one” refers to a compound unity. So, the sh’ma is telling us that there is only one God – but He is comprised of multiple persons.”

 

How is echad actually used in Scripture?

The crux of the above argument is that “echad” refers to a “compound unity”. Of course, in order to determine if that argument has any merit, it is necessary to examine how that word is actually used in Scripture.

The word echad (and its feminine version achat) appears 970 times in Scripture. In the vast majority of cases – over 600 times – the word echad explicitly refers to a simple, unitary one. In other words, in almost every case, echad refers to one single item – rather than to one group of items.

This concept is usually expressed in English translations with the word “one”; but the words “single”, “unique” and “first” are used as well, depending on the context. Here are some examples of echad meaning a simple, unitary one:

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one (echad) place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:9, ESV)

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one (achat) of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. (Genesis 2:21, ESV)

We are all sons of one (echad) man. We are honest men. Your servants have never been spies.” (Genesis 42:11, ESV)

“My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one (echad) shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. (Ezekiel 37:24, ESV)

It [the Passover meal] is to be eaten in a single (echad) house (Exodus 12:46, NASB)

I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single (echad) day (Zechariah 3:9, ESV)

For it will be a unique (echad) day which is known to the Lord (Zechariah 14:7, ESV)

But my dove, my perfect one, is unique (achat) (Song of Solomon 6:9, NASB)

The name of the first (echad) [river] is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. (Genesis 2:11, ESV)

And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first (echad) day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. (Genesis 8:5, ESV)

Clearly, all of the above examples refer to one single person, place or thingnot to one group of items.

 

What about these cases?

As mentioned, in the vast majority of cases, echad refers to one single item. However, in a small minority of cases, echad refers to one group of items. Here are three examples of this:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one (echad) flesh. (Genesis 2:24, ESV)

God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first (echad) day. (Genesis 1:5, ESV)

And they came to the Valley of Eshcol and cut down from there a branch with a single (echad) cluster of grapes (Numbers 13:23, ESV)

Here is a “summary” of the above examples:

Example 1: Echad is used to describe a husband and a wife – together – as one flesh.

Example 2: Echad is used to describe an evening and a morning – together – as the first day.

Example 3: Echad is used to describe a single cluster of grapes.

Some groups point to those specific examples, to try to prove that echad – in the sh’ma – refers to the Trinity. In other words, they assert the following:

Echad, in the sh’ma, is used to describe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – together – as one God.

However, is the above assertion really true? Do the three examples listed above actually describe the doctrine of the Trinity?

Consider those three examples again. In example 1, Scripture states that a husband and wife – togetherbecome “one flesh”. This means that the husband – by himself – does not fully comprise the one flesh; and that the wife – by herself – also does not fully comprise the one flesh. Instead, the husband and the wife, by themselves, are only parts – or “halves” – of the one flesh.

Similarly, in example 2, Scripture states that an evening and a morning – together – became the “first day”. This means that the evening – by itself – does not fully comprise the first day; and that the morning – by itself – also does not fully comprise the first day. Instead, the evening and the morning – by themselves – are only “subsets” of the first day.

The same principle applies to example 3. One single grape – by itself – does not fully comprise the entire cluster; one grape is just a single member – a subset – of a cluster of grapes.

The reason why the above items are important is because the doctrine of the Trinity asserts the following:

The Father is fully God, the Son is fully God, and the Holy Spirit is fully God. However, there are not three Gods, but one God.

Of course, that doctrine is entirely different than the examples provided above. Consider example 1 again – it states that the husband and the wife – by themselves – are NOT fully the “one flesh”. The Trinity doctrine, though, states that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – by themselves – ARE fully the “one God”.

To make the contrast even more clear, consider the following: In order to cause example 2 to agree with the Trinity doctrine, Scripture would have to say something like this:

The evening fully comprised one entire day, and the morning fully comprised one entire day. However, there were not two days, but one day.

Of course, the above assertion is pure nonsense. What Scripture actually states is that the evening was just part of the day, and the morning was just part of the day – and that the two of them, together, comprised one full day.

Now, consider this: In order to cause the Trinity concept to agree with the examples above, one would have to say something like this:

The Father is “one third” of God, the Son is “one third” of God, and the Holy Spirit is “one third” of God; and the three of them – together – comprise one God.

However, most Trinity proponents strongly disagree with the above statement. This is because they are completely focused on the idea that each “person” of the Trinity is fully God – and that there are not three Gods, but one God. That concept is not expressed by the word echad at all – not in any of the places where it appears in Scripture.

 

Conclusion

Some mainstream expositors make the following type of blunt assertion, whenever they discuss the sh’ma: Echad means a compound unity – period.

The implication of that assertion, of course, is that echad only means a compound unity. In other words, that assertion implies that in every case where echad is used, it always refers to one group of items – rather than to one single item. However, as mentioned above, in the vast majority of cases, echad actually refers to just one single item.

So, the implication that echad always refers to a “compound unity” is demonstrably false.

Not only that, but even in the minority of cases where echad does refer to a compound unity, the meaning still does not conform to the doctrine of the Trinity. Basically, in the cases where echad refers to one group of items, it is clear that each member of the group is only a subset of the listed “compound unity”.

For example, Scripture states that a husband and a wife – together – become “one flesh”. This indicates that the husband and wife are each “subsets” of the one flesh – but that together they comprise a “complete” one flesh. This is the opposite of the Trinity doctrine – which states that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are each fully God – but there is still just one God.

The final item to note is that many other passages in Scripture state that only our Heavenly Father is Almighty God. That, in turn, tells us that echad – in the sh’ma – refers to just one person: our Heavenly Father.

First of all, note that the phrase “God the Father” does appear in Scripture – in many places – but the phrases “God the Son” and “God the Holy Spirit” do NOT appear anywhere in Scripture. The terms that actually do appear in Scripture are the Son of God and the Spirit of God.

Next, consider the two passages below. In the first, Jesus himself states that our Heavenly Father is the only true God, while Jesus is the one who was sent by God. Similarly, Paul tells us that the Father is our God – while Jesus is our Lord – i.e., our “master”, or “boss”:

John 17:1-3 (ESV):

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

1 Corinthians 8:5-6 (ESV):

For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Finally, Jesus explicitly denied that he was Almighty God; and he even stated that our Heavenly Father was his God – just like He is our God. Consider the following passages:

Mark 10:17-18 (ESV):

17 And as he [Jesus] was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

John 20:17 (ESV):

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

The information in this post will hopefully prove useful, if one encounters the argument of “Echad in the sh’ma proves the Trinity”.

 

46 Responses to “What does the Hebrew word “echad” mean?”

  1. on 29 Sep 2013 at 2:52 pmJas

    Brian
    Considering there are 3 possibilities for the meaning of Echad I would be very careful with hanging my hat on it meaning one in number.
    It can mean one in number, it can mean in unity and also it can mean FIRST in rank ,the last is the more probable because Yhwh states in Ex 20 to not have any OTHER gods before him, Otherwise he,they are not to be held as secondary or even compared .
    But I whole heartily agree with your purpose of writing to show the trinity as false just not your conclusions which in this case doesnt prove a thing other than you choose one of the possibilities because it is required in your belief.

  2. on 01 Oct 2013 at 8:10 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Thank you, Brian! It was a new angle for me in how you broke down the ‘compound unity’ argument. One grape is part of the cluster but it is not the cluster, I think, destroys the notion that each person of the godhead can be a distinct person and fully God at the same time.

    Because of the weightiness of this verse, the spin to make compound unity work is most disturbing. If God is a trinity, then the shema means God is a parser of words.

  3. on 05 Oct 2013 at 11:48 amXavier

    http://youtu.be/n22LtqPM3vk

  4. on 05 Oct 2013 at 3:48 pmJas

    Xavier
    Actually the use of the word echad in Gen 1 means first day.
    However, the Hebrew language has an alternative word for “one,” as well, which is YACHID (the feminine, YACHIDA) and does not occur very often in the OT – twelve times to be exact, but is specifically used whenever an ONLY/Individual One or Single Entity/Unit is implied, as whenever in Gen. 22:2 & 12, Isaac is called Abraham’s “only son,” and in Jdgs. 11:34, Jephthah’s daughter – his “only daughter.” Nonetheless, even this word, can and does, sometimes mean a kind of Group of One, although more loosely inferred than is ECHAD. To this end, the word YACHIDA, has its main emphasis respective of a SINGULAR Entity – one and only one…and most likely would have been the word of choice relevant to Deuteronomy 6:4, if the absolute numerical singularity of ONE had been intended.
    So even though echad can mean unified ,the use of it in Deuteronomy 6:4 to mean that is very low ,about the same as it meaning a single one. The highest probability is Rank which puts a fly in the ointment for both monotheism and trinitarianism.

  5. on 06 Oct 2013 at 2:35 pmXavier

    Jas

    “One” is an adjective “Rank” is a noun. So I don’t really know what you mean here.

    Also, ask any Jew what echad means and you will get something like this response from Rabbi Singer:

    The word echad in the Hebrew language functions in precisely the same manner as the word “one” does in the English language.

    In the English language it can be said, “these four chairs and the table constitute one dinette set,” or alternatively, “There is one penny in my hand.” Using these two examples, it is easy to see how the English word “one” can mean either many things in one, as in the case of the dinette set, or one alone, as in the case of the penny.

    Although the Hebrew word echad functions in the exact same manner, evangelical Christians will never offer biblical examples
    where the word echad means “one alone.” Thus, by only presenting scriptural verses such as Genesis 1:5 and Numbers 23:13, it creates the illusion to the novice that the word echad is somehow synonymous with a compound unity. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.

    For example, Deuteronomy 17:6 reads:

    “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one (echad) witness he shall not be put to death.”

    Or Ecclesiastes 4:8 reads:

    “There is one (echad) alone, without a companion; yes he has neither son…”

    In the above two verses the exact same Hebrew word is used, and clearly the word echad is referring to one alone, not a compound unity.

  6. on 06 Oct 2013 at 3:55 pmJas

    Xavier
    Echad describes what postion in rank, so what is your point.
    First what,second what, third what???
    Why would I ask a jew who to stay in grace with other jews or out of need is forced by doctrine.
    Not sure who told you first is a noun but they misled you.

  7. on 06 Oct 2013 at 9:24 pmXavier

    Jas

    Echad simply means the numeral “1″. Nothing to do with “rank”.

    And if you want to know the meaning of words in other languages why not ask a native speaker? Or simply consult a Hebrew lexicon.

  8. on 06 Oct 2013 at 9:51 pmJas

    Xavier
    Actually Echad does not simply mean numeral one, it can but in the case of Deuteronomy 6:4 it means First in Rank as the Elohim of Israel. I can find 1000′s of Jews whose native language is Hebrew who claim it means a compound unity be that as it may they have converted to messianic judaism of the triny flavor.
    Like I said the fact that Echad in Deuteronomy 6:4 means first causes as much problems for monotheism ,jew or christian as it does for trinitarians. Why dont you read and translate every usage of Echad in OT which you will see 90% that first is a better choice in the verse but most translators are trinitarians or have some doctrine to protect like your belief

  9. on 07 Oct 2013 at 1:14 amXavier

    Jas

    Echad appears over 900 times in the Hebrew Bible, making it the most frequently used adjective in the Tanakh (so, its frequency is just what we would expect for the number 1, like our English “one”).

    “one place” (Gen. 1:9); “one man” (Gen. 42:13);

    “one law” (Ex. 12:49);

    “one side” (Ex. 25:12);

    “one ewe lamb” (Lev. 14:10);

    “one of his brethren” (Lev. 25:48);

    “one rod” (Num. 17:3);

    “one soul” (Num. 31:28);

    “one of these cities” (Deut. 4:42);

    “one way” (Deut. 28:7);

    “one ephah” (1 Sam. 1:24);

    “one went out into the field” (1 Kings 4:39);

    “one shepherd” (Ezek. 37:24);

    “one basket” (Jer. 24:2);

    “one [thing]” (Ps. 27:4);

    “Two are better than one” (Ecc. 4:9); “one day or for two” (Ezra 10:13).

    Sometimes it is simply part of a number, like “eleven” (echad + asar [= “ten”]), in, for example, Gen. 32:22. Sometimes it is well translated by an indefinite article (“a, an”): “a new cart” (1 Sam. 6:7); “a juniper tree” (1 Kings 19:4, 5); “a book” (Jer. 51:60).

    Perhaps most importantly, echad clearly has the meaning of “single,” “only one,” or “just one,” the idea of a limit of one (Num. 10:4; Josh. 17:14; Est. 4:11; Is. 51:2).

    In Deut. 17:6, for example, it really isn’t precise English to translate echad merely as “one.” For if the “one” witness referred to is the second or the third witness, then that one witness is enough to convict the hypothetical person in the passage of murder. The meaning is that a person must not be put to death on the evidence of only one witness (which is the way the NRSV translates it). Echad means “one” and only one.

  10. on 07 Oct 2013 at 8:04 amJas

    Echad appears over 900 times in the Hebrew Bible

    Xavier
    Yes indeed it does and I said Echad could mean “one”, I even allowed for a 10 % possibility . As for most of your examples above many could be that the one was the first.
    Out of the 960 occurrences the Net bible only translates it as “one” 467 times and translates it as “first” 60 times which for a very trinitarian leaning translation is amazing.
    But you can keep on claiming Echad simply means one if that is what is required for your belief

  11. on 07 Oct 2013 at 8:37 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    So do we have three possible interpretations?

    1) One (God is one [not two, or three, etc...])
    2) Compound Unity (God is one but multiple ‘components’)
    3) First (God is first)

    The more I think about it, I am actually thinking #3 makes the most sense. God is first – that makes more sense since it follows that we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, soul, strength. That does seem more like a declaration of priority and not number.

    Either way, I still think the compound unity argument is pitiful for the reason Brian pointed out. The components of that unity are not each that unity as the trinity teaches. All other comparisons of echad to compound unity fail in that respect.

  12. on 07 Oct 2013 at 9:34 pmJas

    Tim
    I agree it is a very low probability Deuteronomy 6:4 is speaking of a equal unity and even if The Elohim in this verse was speaking of the Most High and any other agent God set up over Israel in unity it would not support the trinity what so ever. You can not have 3 equal persons making up the Godhead if one is called the MOST HIGH

  13. on 07 Oct 2013 at 10:42 pmXavier

    Tim

    In what language does the word “one” mean “priority/rank”?
    Please provide proof.

  14. on 08 Oct 2013 at 12:00 amJas

    Xavier
    Actually every language the word for “one”can mean postion of rank, in english we normally use the word “first” in place of “one”, other languages may use same word allowing context to define meaning.
    Even in english “one” can describe rank like “we are number one”

  15. on 08 Oct 2013 at 1:39 amTim (aka Antioch)

    Jas said it. Thinking also of the Ford slogan – Quality is job 1!

  16. on 08 Oct 2013 at 1:43 amTim (aka Antioch)

    And just re-reading the article – Gn 2:11, the name of the ‘first’ river seems to support the notion that ‘echad’ can mean ‘first’.

  17. on 08 Oct 2013 at 2:04 amBrian Keating

    Hi,

    As Tim mentioned above (and also as listed in the original post) there are three “basic meanings” of echad:

    1. One single item – e.g., one rib;

    2. One group of items – e.g., one “flesh” (husband + wife);

    3. First in rank, or first in time – e.g., the first day of the month.

    Meanings 1 and 2 are “mutually exclusive”. In other words, in any given case, echad can either refer to one single item, or it can refer to one group of items – not to both concurrently.

    Meaning number 3 is completely different. In other words, first in rank does not have anything to do with “simple unity” or “compound unity”. That is, God can still be first in rank – regardless of whether He is one person or multiple persons.

    Certainly, Scripture does speak of other “gods” – i.e., heavenly beings (such as angels). Scripture also states that we must not hold any other gods in higher regard than Yahweh. So, Yahweh is certainly “first in rank” over heavenly beings, as per meaning 3.

    However, is that what is meant by echad, in the sh’ma? Well, as mentioned, the reason why the sh’ma is recited so frequently is because it describes the difference between the God of the Bible, and the pagan gods of other religions. The reason why this is important is because IF echad – in the sh’ma – means “first in rank”, then the sh’ma would NOT actually be describing any difference between Yahweh and pagan gods. Consider this:

    - Yahweh is first in rank over other heavenly beings;

    - Zeus is first in rank over other pagan Greek gods;

    - Odin is first in rank over other pagan Norse gods;

    - Ra is first in rank over other pagan Egyptian gods;

    - Dagda is first in rank over other pagan Celtic gods;

    - Anu is first in rank over other pagan Babylonian gods;

    and so on, and so on…

    So, if echad in the sh’ma means first in rank, then the sh’ma is not describing any difference between Yahweh and the leaders of pagan pantheons. As a result, it is extremely unlikely that echad in the sh’ma means first in rank.

    Instead, it appears likely that echad in the sh’ma means a single person – our Heavenly Father. In other words, only one person is Almighty God (El Shaddai). This means that Yahweh – alone – has absolute power over everything in creation. This is radically different than the pagan gods of other religions. For example, Zeus is first in rank of the pagan Greek gods; but he does not have absolute power over the other gods.

    In any case, echad in the sh’ma definitely does not provide any evidence, whatsoever, for the Trinity. (In fact, none of the appearances of echad agree with the Trinity.)

  18. on 08 Oct 2013 at 2:55 amTim (aka Antioch)

    Hi Brian,

    I agree ‘first in rank’ does not resonate. However, ‘first in mindshare’ is more what I am thinking. Nothing comes before God – it is the first commandment. This is reinforced by the next words – love the Lord your God with all your heart… We put Him first, we do everything we can to remember to put Him first.

    The monotheism of Judaism may have separated them from others at the time, but I am having a hard time making that the reason for the shema’s weightiness. I may be wrong that it was a much bigger deal at the time than it is now, but, what would be a central tenant that would have been relevant then and still so very relevant now is making God first in our lives.

    I’m still stewing on this…this is a vast change in my thinking of what the shema was about, but so far it seems to make it much more deserving of its importance.

  19. on 08 Oct 2013 at 3:27 amBrian Keating

    Hi Tim,

    Sure, the concept of “first in mindshare” certainly seems like a legitimate meaning as well.

    In any event, this article was not intended to discuss “meaning 3″ of echad (the meaning of “first”). Instead, it was intended to deal with the mainstream view that “echad in the sh’ma proves the Trinity”.

  20. on 08 Oct 2013 at 8:46 amJas

    Brian
    Would not discussing the “meaning 3″ of echad which has the highest probability in Deuteronomy 6:4 be profitable in your purpose of writing? Would it not also be profitable when debating a trinitarian? Some even here did not even know of the possibility much less the probability .

  21. on 08 Oct 2013 at 9:53 amXavier

    Theology is the only scholastic endevour, it seems, where anyone can make up their own words and definitions. :/

  22. on 08 Oct 2013 at 11:48 amTim (aka Antioch)

    Xavier, I don’t think anyone has made up any new definition. You may disagree that someone has interpreted a verse differently, but is it not then a Berean exercise to sort out which interpretation stands up? That’s what I see taking place now.

    Brian – agreed.

  23. on 08 Oct 2013 at 11:53 amXavier

    Tim

    In what language does the word “one” mean “priority/rank”?
    Please provide proof.

  24. on 08 Oct 2013 at 5:05 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Xavier – Gn 2:11, echad is interpreted as ‘first’. Jas gave you ‘we are number one’ as an example as well.

  25. on 09 Oct 2013 at 9:26 amXavier

    Tim

    Last time…

    In what language does the word “one” mean “priority/rank”?
    Please provide proof.

  26. on 09 Oct 2013 at 11:42 amTim (aka Antioch)

    English and Hebrew, proof was given above.

  27. on 09 Oct 2013 at 1:34 pmXavier

    Tim

    Please post the relevant English and Hebrew dictionary/lexicon where the word “one” is defined as “priority” or “rank”.

  28. on 09 Oct 2013 at 6:51 pmJas

    Xavier
    For the last time it refers to POSITION in priority or Rank which in english most of the time “first” is used but not always.
    I really think you are twisting the conversation to be about the word “rank” instead of postion of rank as a red herring.

  29. on 10 Oct 2013 at 3:10 pmXavier

    It is absurd to say that an adjective is a noun or the simple meaning of words!

    And even a child knows what ONE means: “1 and not 2 or more”.

  30. on 10 Oct 2013 at 10:07 pmJas

    Xavier
    Who says that an adjective is a noun? Do you think because “First”
    is used AS a noun that makes it a noun..Whenever you see First standing alone in a sentence it is because the noun it is describing has already been implied . Yes a child knows that one can mean 1 but also they know it describes order or postion, I would even say most children understand one in unity.
    The Hebrew word Echad also can be used the same way .

  31. on 12 Oct 2013 at 7:00 pmRay

    I don’t know much about Hebrew words, but I do believe that the Father and Jesus together are one Lord, and one God, that Jesus is always in agreement with the Father, and that God is always with Jesus first and foremost above any way that God may be with anyone else.

  32. on 13 Oct 2013 at 11:52 amJas

    Ray
    The issue here is not about belief ,it is about possibilities and the probability of them. Brian understood the possibilities but was unwilling to expand upon all of them because his concern was to only address how trinitarians are wrong. Xavier refused to even accept all the possibilities to protect his belief. Tim understanding all the possibilities, weighed them and chose the probability which made the most sense to him. As for me all I want is all the facts so I can have the best understanding possible .

  33. on 12 Apr 2014 at 10:17 pmKeith

    I have found this debate very interesting on the Hebrew word “echad” It has confirmed to me that my understanding of the trinity is not wrong, but to the contrary, has quite a strong foundation. Where can a single have fellowship? Where can a single have unity? Where can a single have meaning? Dose not the scripture say that it is not good for man to be alone? Surely these references allude to God knowing that and seeing the futility of what happens when that does happen? What was the case when Yeshua said “Why have you forsaken me” And again where ever did that voice come from who said,” This is my Son in whom I am well pleased, hear Him”. Granted there is much we do not understand who and how God is. I am a finite person and so are you folks. But God is infinite can we understand Him? For me I lean to the trinity teaching 3 in 1. Whose blood paid the price? Was it not the blood of the Son of God? Was it not the power of the Spirit of God that brought about the Resurrection of Yeshua from the grave? Hey thee are many things that are not altogether understandable that are not really clear in the scriptures, That we can say this is this is the case, we would like to, but it does not seem to be the case.

  34. on 13 Apr 2014 at 1:45 pmJas

    Keith
    If this discussion has confirmed then you certainly do not hold the “orthodox ” belief in the trinity.
    If all 3 persons are equal then they would not be in need of the other such as the Spirit of God bringing about Jesus’ resurrection . Why do you claim there are many things not understandable or really clear in Scriptures then using it to defend your belief when unitarian belief is understandable and very very clear in the scriptures and they also understand what unity really means

  35. on 14 Apr 2014 at 10:38 amSarah

    Keith,

    What about Malachi 2:10?

    “Have we not all one [echad] Father? Has not one [echad] God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?” (Mal 2:10)

    It seems to me that when echad refers to the One God, it is referring to the Father alone.

  36. on 14 Apr 2014 at 11:33 amJas

    Du 32:6 Is this how you repay 9 the Lord(YHWH),
    you foolish, unwise people?
    Is he not your father, your creator?
    He has made you and established you.
    32:7 Remember the ancient days;
    bear in mind 10 the years of past generations. 11
    Ask your father and he will inform you,
    your elders, and they will tell you.
    32:8 When the Most High 12 gave the nations their inheritance,when he divided up humankind, 13
    he set the boundaries of the peoples,
    according to the number of the heavenly assembly(gods,sons of God). 14
    32:9 For the Lord’s(YHWH)
    allotment is his people,
    Jacob is his special possession. 15

    Sarah
    The Most High God set aside his right to create for himself a nation. (Mal 2:10) is in reference to Israel which only has One God the Most High God as their Father . He is to remain FIRST AND ONLY to them and this verse does not deny lessor gods or subordinate beings such as HS or the resurrected Jesus

  37. on 14 Apr 2014 at 5:10 pmSarah

    Jas,

    I agree with you that this verse doesn’t preclude lesser gods, in the sense that elohim is sometimes applied to humans and angels in scripture.

    My point is simply this: “echad Father” doesn’t refer to a plurality of fathers called the One Father. This is important, because Malachi is using a Hebraic parallelism in this verse, such that the “one Father” and the “one God” refer to the same thing. Thus “echad Father” = “echad God.”

    In my view this verse elaborates on the Shema, leaving no room for the other two Trinitarian persons via the term echad.

  38. on 14 Apr 2014 at 6:04 pmJas

    Sarah
    YHWH is echad because Israel belongs to him. He set aside Israel as his private portion. Whether the HS is a separate person or not a person can not be determined from either the shema or this verse. There can only be determined that YHWH is to be First above all to Israel. As for Jesus post resurrection status I see his rank is second to only the Creator but I think it is a shared rank with the HS and above any lessor gods and heavenly beings. The fact is there exist a concept of a trinity just not the “orthodox”concept of the trinity. Some people think there is only two choices and when the line is drawn in the sand they see a concept of a trinity therefore can not accept any form of unitarianism because only one is given as a choice. There is 100 miliion heavenily beings called Angels but Du 32 shows that there were greater heavenily beings given even greater task .
    I disagree that any human has every be called gods but were set up as god’s over other humans. That would be like saying a human messenger is a heavenily being because the word for messenger is angel. Only one being other than YHWH has came visible carrying the Name YHWH which has been called the messenger or spirit of YHWH but can not be the invisible YHWH.

  39. on 15 Apr 2014 at 1:47 pmJas

    Sarah
    In Ezekiel’s vision of the four living beings there is another being who is called the Spirit and in Rev 4 this being (She) is also present . In the OT she is called Wisdom,Angel of YHWH,Spirit of YHWH and called YHWH’s visible Presence .The bible is very clear no human has ever seen the Most High therefore YHWH’s visible Presence Must then be another being. The shema does not discount this fact nor does any declaration that the Most High is Israel’s sovereign King not even the appointment of human kings. The bible is solely about the creation of Israel as the Most High’s portion, the purpose of Israel,the Promises made to Israel and their founding Fathers all the way back to Seth the first of Eve’s Offsprings that lead to the Offspring to fulfill the prophecy given to her and satan. This Jesus did make peace between All mankind and their Creator thereby reinstating the Possibility of Life after human death but first God must keep his promise to Israel to offer them a better method of entering and maintaining a Covenant Relationship and entering his Sabbath Rest Age. This promise must continue till every last offspring of the exiles has been reached With the Gospel or the means of this gathering cease in bring about anymore fulness from the (not my people) exiles.
    The gates of the grave will not prevail against his set apart because the One of Israel is Faithful in his Promises

  40. on 15 Apr 2014 at 5:36 pmSarah

    Jas,

    The bible is very clear no human has ever seen the Most High therefore YHWH’s visible Presence Must then be another being. The shema does not discount this fact nor does any declaration that the Most High is Israel’s sovereign King not even the appointment of human kings.

    I’m not even remotely arguing against the idea that YHWH’s agents can representationally bear his name. After all, that’s a central tenet of Last Adam Christology!

    Nevertheless the OT, NT, and very early church all specifically identify the creedal One God of Israel as the Father alone. Malachi says that we have “echad” Father, who is “echad” God. This shows that Israel understood the One God of the Shema to be a singular unipersonal being, namely the Father. That was my point regarding Mal 2:10.

  41. on 15 Apr 2014 at 7:57 pmJas

    Sarah
    You need it to be about quantity and if it was meant that way it would not be at odds with my belief that the Creator is One. But unless the early Israelites were questioning whether there was 2 in 1 or 3+ in 1 neither verses make sense. But I see it as describing a relationship not the person of God therefore it is not a proof text against any amount in 1 God. The Israelites were to worship the one who they belong to, He should be first and no others whether gods, angels or humans should come before him. The “Orthodox ” trinity has absolutely no proof anywhere in the bible and has many verses against it. We should not trying to force verses into proof text, there is plenty enough.
    I know you understand agency but you deny the HS personhood and individuality because the trinity sees it but falsely claims equality with the Creator which would be impossible because even it being the first created it was Created

  42. on 16 Apr 2014 at 10:28 amJas

    Sarah
    The literal reading in Hebrew of Mal 2:10 is.
    not father echad all ,not el echad create
    Lxx
    not god to create us, not father individually us.

    Should this verse be use as a proof text for a one person god especially since the LXX does not even use any form of the word for “one”? How many times has a trinitarian used a bad translation to be shown the literal doesn’t support that reading but it reflects the doctrine of translator . This verse could be handed back to us the same way .

  43. on 16 Apr 2014 at 12:06 pmSarah

    Jas,

    The transliteration of Mal 2:10 according to the LXX (Greek Apostolic Bible Polygot) is:

    ouchi pater (Father) heis (one) pas ego ouchi theos (God) heis (one) ktizo ego tis hoti egkataleipo hekastos ho adelphos ego ho bebeloo ho diatheke ho pater ego

  44. on 16 Apr 2014 at 12:38 pmJas

    Sarah
    You do understand the Greek Apostolic Bible Polygot is just a translation from the Masoretic Text to Greek and is not the original wording of the Greek OT known as the LXX.
    The LXX is without any word for “one” in Mal 2:10

  45. on 16 Apr 2014 at 5:30 pmJas

    2:10 οὐχὶ θεὸς εἷς ἔκτισεν ὑμᾶς οὐχὶ πατὴρ εἷς πάντων ὑμῶν τί ὅτι ἐγκατελίπετε ἕκαστος τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ τοῦ βεβηλῶσαι τὴν διαθήκην τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν

    LXX Septuagint

    Sarah
    This is the orignal reading which you can see there is no word for “one” and the sentence structure is not even the same. This is the oldest reading of that verse some 600+ years before the Masoretic Text. The Masoretic text probably added “one”to the text.

  46. on 18 Apr 2014 at 11:42 amJas

    Sarah
    Just noticed I pasted wrong script. There wasn’t no spaces or markings in original form. I think in most ancient languages the written form was like notes meant as a memory aid . The Priesthood was taught to memorize generation to generation and so were the first christians. There were also many groups where children could reciite whole books of the bible because under persecutions it was the norm to burn the writings of so called heretics. This was the practice of the Paulines,the Abyssinian, the Jacobites, the Maronites, the Armenians and the Waldenese.
    If you would like to learn about these groups here is a link.
    http://www.logon.org/english/s/p122.html
    While I am fairly sure echad was original in both verses I dont think it carries the meaning of describing how many but describes relationship. But even if it is quantity this does not effect the concept of the trinity where is is claimed over and over that there is only One God not 3 Gods in 1 which is found in their earliest creed .

  

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