09-20-23 Define One (Echad)

Trinity In the Old Testament  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:30
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What does "One" mean in the Hebrew Scriptures? Is it only a numerical number used for absolute oneness? You may be surprised! We will go through the Hebrew Scriptures as well as text from respected Jewish authors to learn what "echad", one, really means. It is an exciting study! Join us!

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Trinity 2: Define One (Echad) Rev. Noelle Huether REFERENCES USED: Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2: Theological Objections Dr. Michael Heiser, Unseen Realm, www.DrMSH.com The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary Lexham Dictionary One for Israel, "A Jewish Defense of the Trinity - The Case for Messiah" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7D2djAnAbI Dr. Benjamin Sommer, The Bodies of God, Cambridge University Press TODAY: Define 'One' (echad) which is used over 940 times in the Old Testament DEFINE ECHAD Echad (used 944 times in OT) one, another; first; certain one; only; unique. Used often for the God of the Old Testament. Used like we use "one" in English. (From Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary) -being a single unit or thing 〈one day at a time〉 -being the same in kind or quality 〈both of one species〉 (1): constituting a unified entity of two or more components 〈the combined elements form one substance〉 (2): being in agreement or union 〈I am one with you on this〉 -ONLY as in comparison 〈the one person she wanted to marry〉 Sum up the Jewish understanding of the Christian Trinity Dr. Benjamin Sommer, a professor in Bible and ancient Near Eastern languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in his book The Bodies of God, Cambridge University Press Some Jews regard Christianity's claim to be a monotheistic religion with grave suspicion, both because of the doctrine of the trinity (how can three equal one?) and because of Christianity's core belief that God took bodily form. Jews must repudiate many beliefs central to most forms of Christianity; these include a commitment to a person whom Judaism regards as a false messiah; the repudiation of the Sinai covenant to which God committed Godself and Israel eternally; the veto on the binding force of Jewish law; those aspects of Christian ethics that subjugate justice to victimhood; and the rejection of God's baffling but sovereign choice of a particular family and that family's descendants. No Jew sensitive to Judaism's own classical sources, however, can fault the theological model Christianity employs when it avows belief in a God who has an earthly body as well as a Holy Spirit and a heavenly manifestation, for that model, we have seen, is a perfectly Jewish one. A religion whose scripture contains the fluidity traditions [referring to God appearing in bodily form in the Tanakh], whose teachings emphasize the multiplicity of the shekhinah, and whose thinkers speak of the sephirot does not differ in its theological essentials from a religion that adores the triune God." EXAMPLES GOD USES TO TEACH COMPOUND UNITY FOR ECHAD More than one become one: Man & Wife two humans become "echad" Genesis 2:24 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one (echad) flesh." Tabernacle many curtains together become "echad" Exodus 36:11-13 He made loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain of the first set. Likewise he made them on the edge of the outermost curtain of the second set. 12 He made fifty loops on the one curtain, and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was in the second set. The loops were opposite one another. 13 And he made fifty clasps of gold, and coupled the curtains one to the other with clasps. So the tabernacle was a single whole (echad). Peoples & Nations Multiple individuals become "echad" Genesis 11:6 Tower of Babel one (echad) people, and they have all one (echad-feminine) language. Jeremiah 32:38-39 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them one (echad) heart and one (echad) way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them GOD AS COMPOUND UNITY Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. Amos 4:11 "I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to me," declares the LORD. Angel of the Lord Dr. Benjamin Sommer, The Bodies of God, Cambridge University Press, p 40 In many passages, the word מלאך (malakh - literally, 'messenger', but usually translated 'angel') means a small-scale manifestation of God's own presence, and the distinction between the messenger and God is murky... The malakh is these cases is not a being separate from Yhwh whom Yhwh sent on a mission, rather it is a part of the deity that can act on its own. Genesis 22:11-12 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 12 He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me. Exodus 23:23-27 When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, 24 you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces. 25 You shall serve the LORD your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. 26 None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. 27 I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. GOD AS ONE ALONE OR ONLY Comparative "Only" Sense 1 Chronicles 29:1 (Jewish Publication Society. (1985). Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures. Jewish Publication Society.) King David said to the entire assemblage, "God has chosen my son Solomon alone (echad), an untried lad, although the work to be done is vast-for the temple is not for a man but for the LORD God. Zechariah 14:9 (Jewish Publication Society) And the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one (echad) LORD with one (echad) name. Deuteronomy 6:4 (Jewish Publication Society) Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone (echad). Isaiah 45:5 ESV I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God (elohim); Isaiah 45:18 ESV For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens who formed the earth and made it; "I am the LORD, and there is no other. Compound Unity & Comparative Only. Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts, "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god." What words did Jesus choose to use? Greek: Hen Used in NT as compound unity as well as absolute unity. Used of God and other contexts. Mono Used in NT only as absolute oneness. Used of God's oneness as well, to single God out from the others. Matthew 4:10, Luke 5:24, 1 Timothy 1:17, 2 ECHAD UNIFIED ONE HEN Gen 2:24 Two become one Matt 19:5 Man + Woman Deut 6:4 God is One Mark 12:29 Father + Son + Holy Spirit John 1:18 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. ESV Note "or the only one who is God" Zecheriah 12:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. Yahweh is one. His oneness is complex, unique, incomparable and beyond our understanding. "The LORD (YHWH) our God (elohenu), the LORD (YHWH) is one (echad)." - Deuteronomy 6:4 Translation options, italics are needed for proper English: "The LORD is our God; the LORD is one." NAS95 "The LORD our God, the LORD is one." ESV, NIV, NKJV, HCSB "The Lord our God is one Lord." KJV, RSV "The LORD is our God, the LORD alone." NRSV, NLT, Tanakh "Yahweh our God, Yahweh is unique." LEB Paul quotes the Shema in 1 Corinthians 8:6 by using a Greek Solecism (use of improper Greek grammar in order to make a specific point). Since Deuteronomy 6:4 does not contain a verb, and neither does 1 Corinthians 8:6 as Paul wrote it. He also added a clarification to the Shema, Jesus Christ. "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."
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