The word echad is found in the Hebrew Scriptures nearly 1000 times. In its basic meaning, it is the number 1 when counting in Hebrew. It also means ‘first.’
“God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, the first day” (Genesis 1:5).
“Their rings of outer leaves and their branches were of one piece with the shaft. Thus the whole menorah was one piece of hammered work made of pure gold” (Exodus 37:22).
“You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you” (Exodus 12:2).
“Now choose yourselves twelve men out of the tribes of Isra’el, one man for each tribe” (Joshua 3:12).
The word echad also means ‘undivided oneness.’
“This is why a man is to leave his father and mother and stick with his wife, and they are to be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
“I and the Father are one” (John 10:39).
Even though Eve came from the flesh of Adam to become a separate person, when they came together in the marriage covenant with Elohim, they rejoined as ‘one’ flesh. What God joins together, no man should separate because they become an ‘undivided oneness.’
When Yeshua was at the Temple during Hanukkah, (the Feast of Dedication), he told the people that he and his Father are an ‘undivided oneness.’ They cannot be separated into two gods or separate persons. They are ‘uniquely one.’
Echad means ‘uniqueness.’ This word ‘unique’ brings understanding to several specific Scriptures: the binding of Isaac, the Shema, and the nation of Israel.
“He said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Yitz’chak; and go to the land of Moriyah” (Genesis 22:2).
“Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
“And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, because of Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from other nations and their gods?” (2 Samuel 7:23, NASB).
In Genesis 22, Abraham is told to take his ‘only’ son, Isaac, to Mount Moriah. Isaac is not Abraham’s ‘only’ son; he had an older son named Ishmael. The word for ‘only’ is echad and doesn’t mean ‘one’ in this passage, but ‘unique.’ God is telling Abraham to take his ‘unique’ son, the son that was born from his faith to the place that would become the Temple mountain. Isaac is ‘unique’ in that there is no other offspring like him in the world. He is one-of-a-kind.
In Deuteronomy 6:4, the words of the Shema include the word echad in describing Adonai. This word has the same nuance of not only being the ‘only’ God, but a ‘unique’ God among the ‘gods.’ There is no other God like Yahweh. He is one-of-a-kind.
In 2 Samuel 7, King David uses the word echad to describe the ‘uniqueness’ of the nation of Israel. There is no other nation on earth that God redeemed for Himself and to make a name for Himself. It is the ‘only’ nation through which God revealed His eternal plan of redemption. The offspring of this nation will not be rejected until the sky can be measured, the foundations of the earth understood – in other words, never rejected (Jeremiah 31:36). Israel is a ‘unique’ one-of-a-kind nation.
Hebrew Word Pictures
One, Unique – echad – אחד
א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ or ‘strength.’
ח Chet – A Fence means ‘to protect.’
ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’
The Hebrew Word Picture for echad: first strength protects the pathway
In Greek the word monogenes means ‘unique.’
The Greek word mono means ‘one, singular or alone.’ The Greek word genes means ‘offspring’ or ‘pertaining to origin.’ Genes is where the words genealogy and genetics derrive.
The words ‘only begotten’ are a mistranslation of the Greek word monogenes. God has many ‘sons,’ as seen in Genesis 6:2. Yeshua is His ‘unique’ son, one-of-a-kind. Other created ‘sons of God’ are not the ‘visible image of the invisible God.’ That is ‘unique’ to Yeshua. The following verse translates monogenes correctly in the Complete Jewish Bible:
“Those who trust in him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is God’s only and unique Son” (John 3:18).
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