‘Echad’ or Trinity

“Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

Within the Christian church there is a tenet called the trinity.  This is also known as the ‘three in one Godhead.‘   Sometimes to explain this principle, an egg is used.  It is one entity having three parts: the shell, the yolk and the white.  Water is even used: solid, liquid and gas.

The Greek word trinity comes from a Latin word trinitas meaning the ‘number three’ or a ‘triad’.   Theophilus of Antioch first used this word in the second century in reference to God as God, the Word and His Wisdom. Tertullian was the first to defend the trinity in the third century. 

The New Testament does not use the word trinity nor did Yeshua or the Apostles teach this concept of God.  Though the followers of Messiah saw the power of God through the risen Savior,  recognized the voice of God in the flesh as Yeshua,  they did not teach three different parts or entities to God. 

Nimrod

“Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth.  He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, ‘Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD” (Genesis 10:8).

The notion of the trinity is not new.  It began after the time of Noah with the son of Cush who was known as Nimrod. Nimrod was from the land of Cush, modern-day Ethiopia. He was also known as ‘a mighty hunter before the LORD’.   The word ‘hunter’ can also mean ‘tyrant’.  ‘Before the LORD’ is a Hebrew idiom for “in the face of, against, impudent, anger and battle.” Thus, Nimrod was a man whose face was set against the LORD and hunted down men stealing their lives and souls.  This is the ultimate spirit of rebellion and is the beginning manifestation of the the ‘man of lawlessness’.  Nimrod  was given authority over many cities and one of them was Babel from which a great rebellion against God at the Tower of Babel.   

Nimrod is known in different cultures as Molech, Baal and Zeus.  Molech was the god of death and required the sacrifices of children in fire (Leviticus 20). Baal worship is mentioned throughout the Scriptures especially in the days of the prophet  Elijah and the wicked queen Jezebel (1 Kings 18:19).    Finally, there was the forced worship of Zeus in Israel by Antiochus Epiphanes.  This was the god idol put in the Temple in Jerusalem during the days of Judah Maccabee when the Temple was desecrated (1 Maccabees). 

Queen of Heaven

“We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 44:17).

Nimrod had a wife named Semiramis.  She is known through different cultural eras as Astarte, Istar and Easter.  She was famous for being a beautiful woman and was worshipped as ‘the queen of heaven‘ (Jeremiah 7:18).  She was also believed to be a ‘holy spirit’  because she gave birth to a reincarnated son, Tammuz.

Tammuz

“Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz” (Ezekiel 8:14).

Tammuz was the son of  Nimrod and Semiramis.  In world  cultures Tammuz is known as Cupid who represents modern Valentine’s Day, Dagon the idol that fell over in front of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 5), and Horus and Osiris both being embraced by Egypt’s worship of death. 

The simple account of Tammuz is that he was killed by a wild boar and taken to the netherworld.  His mother-turned-lover mourns for him for 40 days until he is brought back to life at the spring equinox.  He was worshipped as his brought-back-to-life father, Nimrod.

This family unit of Father (Nimrod), Mother Spirit (Semiramis), and Son (Tammuz) became the model for the three-in-one god foundation of the trinity in other world religions.   Each of these gods within the trinity was worshipped as an individual.  Each of these gods had a unique purpose within the godhead.  Nimrod was cruel, Semiramis was the beloved mother of the god Tammuz, and Tammuz was the murdered child who resurrected.

Early followers of Messiah did not want to adopt the trinity, but Constantine forced the doctrine on threat of exile.  The Roman Catholic church merged this trinitarian story with Biblical accounts.  Lent became the 40 day mourning period of Tammuz and Easter became the day of the child’s resurrection.  The mother with her baby is worshipped in the Madonna and she is called the ‘mother of god.’

The Protestant church also adopted the trinity  in spite of there being no reference to such a doctrine in the Scriptures.  The worship of the three individual gods (parts) is easily recognized within different segments of Christianity.   Protestant churches like the Methodist and Lutheran focus their worship on the father. The Evangelical Christian movement worships the son. Pentecostal churches exalt the spirit above all.

Returning back to the concept of the egg, accepting the trinity in this manner would be like choosing to worship the shell, the yolk or the white of the egg.  This would not be worshipping the egg in its fullness.  Nor would worshipping ice or steam be honoring water in the fullness of its created state.

The Shema

“Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is ONE” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

This doctrine of trinity leads people, especially Jewish people  away from the truth of the God of Israel who took His people out of Egypt from the worship of false gods and the trinity of Ra, Isis, and Osiris.   He brought them to Mt. Sinai so they could worship Him as their God, the One true and living God.  He commanded them to worship Him as One in what is known as the Shema meaning ‘to hear or to listen.’

Hebrew Word Pictures

Hear – Shema שמע

Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or Shekinah,  ‘the Divine Presence of God’

Mem – Water means ‘come down from, immense’

Ayin – An Eye means ‘to see or understand’

In Hebrew word pictures shema: “Understand the immense divine presence of God.”

The word ‘one’ in this passage is echad and means ‘one, single.’ God is telling the people He redeemed from Egypt that He is ONE  SINGLE GOD.  This was probably a new concept to these people as they had seen the multitude of gods in Egypt worshipped as trinities and other diverse ways.  The Yod Hey Vav Hey is ONE God, the only entity to be worshipped as the Eternal God, the Elohim.

Hebrew Word Pictures

One – Echad אחד

Aleph א – An Ox means ‘strength, first’

Chet ח – A Fence means ‘inner room’

Dalet ד – A Door means ‘pathway’

The Hebrew word picture for echad: “The first inner room pathway.” 

Though echad has the nuance of ‘diversity’, this doesn’t mean God is a trinity.  It means that God can, did, and does reveal Himself in diverse ways: a bush that didn’t burn, the man who ate with Abraham, the pillar of fire, the cloud of glory, a still small voice, a hand on the wall, and wind blowing where it will.   

The Creator

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God (Elohim), the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28).

We know that Elohim was the Creator;  and according to John chapter 1, so was Yeshua.  This makes Yeshua echad with Elohim because ‘he was with God and was God’.  Through Yeshua all things were made because all things were spoken into existence by Elohim.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3).

Spoken Word

“This day I call the heavens and earth as witnesses … and that you may love the LORD your God (Elohim), listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:20).

We know that Elohim spoke to Noah and told him to build an Ark.  Elohim spoke to Abraham and gave him His promises.  Elohim spoke to Moses from a burning bush and told him to deliver His people.   Elohim spoke to the Israelites when He brought them to Mt. Sinai and gave them His Words.  Elohim spoke through the prophets preparing Israel for the  Messiah.

“The Word [of God] became a human being and lived with us, and we saw his glory, the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The voice of Elohim, His spoken words became  a human being in the flesh of Yeshua.  Yet, Elohim remained echad.  His voice was not separate from Himself; His voice only did the things He told it to do.

As God’s Word in the flesh, Yeshua made it clear that he and His Father were ‘one’ or echad in John 10:30.  The Greek word ‘one’ in in that verse is heis and is used to signify ‘one in contrast to many, and in union with.’ Yeshua also said that he only says what he hears his father tell him to do.

“For I have not spoken on my own initiative, but the Father who sent me has given me a command, namely, what to say and how to say it” (John 12:49).

The Spirit

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water” (Genesis 1:1-2).

In Hebrew the word for Spirit is ruach and means ‘breath, air, and wind.’  In the beginning the breath of Elohim hovered over the waters.  This breath was not separate from Him, but part of his existence as the ‘living God’ who created all things.

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground I will pour out my Spirit (breath) on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants” (Isaiah 44:3).

Elohim breathed into the nostrils of Adam and gave him life (Genesis 2:7).  He put His breath  into Bezalel from the Tribe of Judah and gave him the ability to do artistic works with silver, gold and bronze for the Tabernacle.  Joshua was filled with the breath of wisdom because Moses had laid hands on him.  King David, when anointed by Samuel to be King over Israel, was filled with the breath of God. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting she was filled with the breath of God and her baby leaped in her womb.  The breath of God descended like a dove on Yeshua when he was immersed in the Jordan River.  Believers in Messiah are called the Temple and filled with breath of God manifested in gifts and fruits.  Zechariah prophesied that the rebuilding of the Temple in the Millennial Kingdom will  not be by [human] power but by the power and breath  of God  (Zechariah 4:6).

“Again Yeshua said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’  And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).

The most powerful testimony of Elohim and Yeshua being one in Spirit occurs after the resurrection when Yeshua breathes on his disciples.  The very holy breath of Elohim comes out of him, from his mouth, enters the disciples and empowers them to be sent forth to the world as he was sent – forgiving sins and being witnesses of the resurrection.

Even though the Scriptures reveal a Creator, His Word and His Spirit, this doesn’t mean that they can be separated like a yolk, white and shell of an egg and called separate persons.   If they are, they lose their uniqueness as being echad and are easily torn apart and used as means to their own end and misrepresenting Yod Hey Vav Hey, the I Am that I Am.

Church Fathers and the Trinity

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). 

Some may say that Yeshua’s ‘great commission’ in Matthew to make disciples involved immersing them in the ‘name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’; however, those words are not in the original manuscripts.  They were added sometime after the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325.  This council which was convened by Constantine to primarily deal  with the issue of Yeshua’s deity and his oneness with God.  Earlier church fathers like Origen, Tertullian, Polycarp, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr had come up with the idea of a ‘divine trinity,’  but adding the Holy Spirit to the ‘divine three’ was not completed until the Council of Constantinople in 360 A.D.  (wikipedia)

A better explanation of the ‘great commission’ is found in Luke.  In ‘his name’ repentance leading to forgiveness of sins was to be proclaimed to the world beginning in Jerusalem.  Disciples were to be made through his teachings and commandments which were the same as His Father’s and not something new or different.   

“Then he [Yeshua] opened their minds, so that they could understand the Scriptures telling them, “Here is what it says: the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day;  and in his name repentance leading to forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed to people from all nations, starting with Jerusalem” (Luke 24:45).

Elohim’s Arm

“A psalm.  Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him” (Psalm 98:1).

The word ‘salvation’ in this verse is the Hebrew word yeshua.  This means that Yeshua is God’s right hand AND His holy arm.  Yeshua was and is not a separate entity from Elohim.  He was part of Him: His breath, His words, His right hand and His holy arm.

When God put His Spirit into Mary (Miriam) for her to conceive His Son, she knew it was salvation or yeshua for Israel.   When the Jewish people saw the Word in the flesh, though they weren’t able to accept the voice in the body, they knew Yeshua spoke with authority and wisdom.   When God gave His only begotten Son to the world, they saw His holy arm reaching down and His right hand bringing them yeshua.

Elohim is not a three-part Godhead nor three gods known as a trinity.    Elohim is not an egg or water that we should separate Him into the parts that we choose to use or worship.  Elohim is echad. God is One.  We must worship Him in the fullness of who He is as Yeshua said: in  Spirit and in Truth. We must honor Him as the Creator of the Universe whose words and voice became flesh, whose arm worked salvation and whose breath of life empowers us to be witnesses to the world.

© 2008 Tent Stake Ministries (from Journey With Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.)

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