Okay, so last week, we dealt with the Trinitarian Doctrine and what it teaches, but this week, I’ll focus on giving a clear picture of exactly who God is and how we should define Him.
Before we begin, let’s establish some definitions that will be used throughout the entire series.
Deity – Any spiritual being who is given some authority over a select number of lives. This can include humans or spiritual beings
We can see this in Ephesians 6, where Paul talks about whom we wrestle against. He outlines several evil spirits known to be rulers, authorities, powers, and forces of evil in this world (earth) and the heavenly realms.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
God (common ‘g’) – Any deity who is worshipped by those whom they govern.
In Second Corinthians, Paul talks about people who are deceived by the ‘god of this age’.
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
False God – Any deity (like the above) who solicits worship from those whom they govern or any deity parading themselves as the True God
We can see the fullness of this outlined in Revelation 13 (more on that later), but in the Bible, during the temptation, Satan makes himself a god by asking Christ to worship him.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from Me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the LORD your God, and serve him only.’” (Matthew 4:8-10)
NOTE: The difference between a god and a false god is that the latter claims to be the True God and forces others to worship him/her. The false god is synonymous with the antichrist. Not every being that is worshipped is a false god. Some humans worship angels and make them a god, but these angels do not accept worship.
Idol – Any non-deity (whether human, idea, feelings, or object) that is worshipped.
It is clear that idols are created. They are often from nature (trees, stones, animals, etc.), created by humans (such as images or statues), or other humans.
“Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 26:1)
It is very clear that idols and gods are NOT the same things when reading the commandments outlined in Exodus 20. The first commandment, YHWH specifically talks about gods, which are REAL spiritual beings.
In the second commandment, YHWH speaks about idols, which are created things.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:3-6)
God (capital ‘G’) – The title given to YHWH, the Creator of all things (including spiritual beings and humans). God can also be considered the current governing body (government) of the cosmic universe (including the spiritual and physical realms).
So, who is God?
It is important to note two things: God is a title, NOT a name. Most people make the common mistake by considering the word ‘God’ as a name, but in fact, the word God in the Bible is translated from the word ‘Elohim’, which is the plural word for ‘El’ or ‘Eloah’.
Elohim means ‘God’ (in plural form), and when capitalized, it is an honorific given to the Most High YHWH. As it is an honorific and NOT a name, it is a title. In the Old Testament, we often see the ‘LORD, your God’ or the ‘LORD God’.
This is because LORD (capitalized) is Adonai, which is a stand-in for YHWH (during the Babylonian exile, Hebrew scholars replaced YHWH’s name with Adonai to keep His name sacred). It is the same way we may refer to Queen Elizabeth as Her Majesty or Her Royal Highness.
The title God, is one that is shared, but this is NOT the true and proper name of the Father (the Creator). His true and proper name is YHWH.
However, there is a lot to gain from the usage of Elohim that speaks of both YHWH’s sovereignty and the triune nature of God. The use of the plural form of El (or Eloah) as Elohim, rather than using the singular El Shaddai (God Almighty) or El Elyon (God Most High):
- Showcases the plurality of God (or the Godhead)
- Speaks of the reigning government of the universe
The problem with the Trinitarian Doctrine is that it doesn’t establish the definition of God. The other problem with those who attempt to argue for or against the Trinity is that they forget that in Hebrew, the word ‘God’ is actually a plural word being treated as a singular unit. This is very important.
Let’s take, for example, the Monarchy in the UK. We often refer to Crown in the singular, and we know the Queen is the Crown. However, the Crown consists of two other people—her son and grandson who directly work alongside her.
These three make up the Crown, but still, the Crown, though there are three, is treated as one.
Another mistake I see many people making is assuming that God and YHWH are essentially the same. YHWH is the personal name of the Father. God is His title. Just as the Trinitarian Doctrine says the Father and the Son are not the same person, YHWH and Jesus (Yeshuah) are NOT the same person.
Jesus’s name, Yeshuah, means ‘YAH saves’. His other name , Immanuel, means ‘God with us’. ‘God with us’ simply means that the Kingdom promise has now been fulfilled, just as Jesus prayed: ‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.
Jesus’s name ‘God with us’ also prophesies His second coming, where He will come as a King to rule the earth as seen in the Book of Revelation.
So, next question:
- Does the Bible talk about the Trinity/establish the Trinity?
- Does the Bible say that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are also God?
While the above two questions may seem difficult, I tried my best to use the Bible as my ultimate source and reference. However, I also try to keep an open mind and think critically about what I’m reading.
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