The Use of the Term "God" in the Holy Script

by Martin Eldon

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Since Brother Lynnford has suggested that we begin our study on the TRUTH about GOD on the subject of the ONE GOD of the bible, I think it wise to first investigate the term 'GOD'. Trinitarians tell us that when the term 'god' is used in the bible it is refering to either the True GOD or to false gods, but is that so?

In the bible we read the following "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; (1st Corinthians 8:5-6). Very many today are ignorant of this fact as the bible testifies. "Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge 1st Corinthians 8:7. The scriptures identify a great number of beings and attributes as god, yet it testifies time and again that there is really but one true God. This is especially seen in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. In the following study we would like to look at a few examples of the use of the word `God' in the bible.

The first term we should look at is El. The Strong's Hebrew Concordance defines El in this manner. 'e^l Ale… strength; as adjective mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity): Thus we see that El in its generic sense simply means Strong or Mighty, but is used often in reference to the Almighty, but also to any deity. In fact the word El is translated in the following ways: God (god), X goodly, X great, idol, might, mighty, mighty one, power, strong. In Psalms 82:1 A Psalm of Asaph, we read that there is a congregation of Els. "God standeth in the congregation of the mighty (el); he judgeth among the gods (Eloheem)."

Thus we see that the term El does NOT always refer to God or to a false god, but often it denotes great strength especially that of rulers. For example : "The strong (El) among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword" Ezekiel 32:21. Here the "El" is in reference to the great men who were slain with the sword.

Next we should look at the word Eloheem, Eloheem is the majestic plural of the Hebrew word El. In the Hebrew sense of the word it too simply means Mighty. Some suggest that because Eloheem is plural and that it is used to reference the Almighty God many times in scripture that it denotes a plural ness of God. This is quite shocking, for the Lord has told us that He is ONE. Not two or three, the Jews who base their beliefs solely on the Hebrew Scriptures are purely monotheistic. As stated earlier Eloheem is the Majestic Plural of El. It denotes Exceeding Strength. For example a King may state, "Lay not your hands on OUR person". Our in this sense is the majestic plural; it is a plural word that refers to one person. We can find Eloheem clearly used in this manner in reference to several singular beings. For instance the singular god Dagon of the Philistines is referenced as such. "Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god (eloheem), and to rejoice: for they said, Our god (Eloheem) hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand". Judges 16:23

In the following verse the singular false god Chemosh is referred to as Eloheem along with Jehovah. Judges 11:24 Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god (eloheem) giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God (Eloheem) shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.

Jehovah refers to Moses as Eloheem in Exodus 7:1. "And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god (Eloheem) to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet". Thus again we see the singular being Moses is referred to as Eloheem. Now, was Moses the one true God or a false god? Neither! He was a mighty representative of the one true God.

In Psalms 45:6 "Thy throne, O God (eloheem), is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre." The term Eloheem is used in reference to Solomon. Israel, especially the King of Israel, was chosen by Jehovah to be his vicegerent upon the earth. As verse seven of the Psalms explains Jehovah had anointed him above his fellows. The fulfillment of this Psalm in the fullest sense is found in another Son of David, Jesus, who was `born King of the Jews'.

Another example is the Angels who are representatives and messengers of the One True God and are often called Eloheem in the bible.

Psalms 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels (Eloheem), and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Psalms 97:7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods (eloheem-Angels).

Eloheem is translated `Judges' in the following places: Exodus 21:6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges (Eloheem); he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

Exodus 22:8 If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges (Eloheem), to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour's goods.

Now were the Judges the One true God or false gods? Of course neither, they were representatives of God. Eloheem is also used to refer to followers of Jehovah in general in the following verse.

Psalms 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods (Eloheem); and all of you are children of the most High.

When Jesus was accused of blaspheming for claiming to be the Son of God, he quoted this verse in his defense. Jesus had just told the Jews that He and the Father were one, they accused him of claiming to be God, what did he answer? Did he say, "Yes, I'm God Almighty"?

John 10:34-36 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

Did Jesus say he was God? Of course not, he perfectly explains that he was telling them that he was the Son of God. Now I want us to notice a few things, in Christ's day, and during the days of the writing of the New Testament the common language was Greek. The New Testament is written in Greek. The Hebrew word Eloheem had ceased to be used, it was replaced with the Greek Word `Theos'. When a Jew used the word `Theos' he used it in the same manner that the word Eloheem was used. Generically it simply means mighty. The Strong's Concordance tells us that in Hebraism the word Theos means "very". Of course it is used many times in reference to the One True God.

Now we need to look at the use of `theos' for a moment and see how this evolved. During the days of the Old Testament the name of God was used extensively, the exact vowel points are now lost, but we know that it consists of four consonants YHWH. The Jewish tradition became to be, to add the vowels from the Hebrew word Adonai, which means Lord to the YHWH. This reads "YAHWEH", when the Jew was reading scripture and he saw the name YAHWEH he would pronounce it LORD, or ADONIA. When the language changed to greek, the Septuagint which is one of the first greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures continued to use the tetra gram which is YHWH for a time. Then the Aramaic language began to grow in the area, and in it the letters for YHWH would read something like Pi Pi. Thus the tetra gram was removed from the Greek Scriptures and replaced with theos. To stipulate between theos in the regular sense and the Divine name of GOD the definite article HO was usually added. This is also explained to a certain degree in the Strong's concordance. "theos… especially (with the definite article ho) the supreme Divinity;".

Theos is used as a proper noun when referring to the Supreme Divinity, it is used as an adjective in describing mighty attributes to individuals or the God like qualities of individuals, and it is used as a title of ruler ship. We have already seen the use of theos when Christ called the Jews "ye are gods'. It is used as a title of ruler ship in reference to Satan.

2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god (Theos) of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

It refers to a number of false gods in the bible: John10:35, Acts 7:40, Acts 14:11, Acts 19:26

It is used to show the God like qualities in the following verses. 2nd Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly (Theos) sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2nd Corinthians 7:9 , Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly (Theos) manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

1st Timothy 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly (Theos) edifying which is in faith: so do

3 John 6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly (theos) sort, thou shalt do well (also see 2nd Corinthians 7:11, 11:2)

It is used to show `much or very' in the following: Acts 7:20 In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding (Theos) fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months:

The term theos is used in several places in reference to Christ. For example: John 1:1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (Ho Theos), and the Word was God (theos). The same was in the beginning with God. Here we see that the Word was with the God, which is the proper noun for the Almighty God, and the word was theos, or like God (Divine) for it is in the adjective form. Not only does the bible use theos in description of the divine nature of Christ, but it also uses it to show Christ as God's chief representative and his divine ruler ship which was given to him by God Almighty.

1Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Here Paul must have had the writings of Isaiah in mind, where Christ is declared to be the "Mighty God" (Isaiah 9:6). As we have before noted that there is a whole congregation of these mighty gods (Psalms 8:21), again this is referring to him being the God given ruler of the people, and the chief representative of God to the people. It is not describing him as God Almighty. Yet many argue that the `glory of the Father' (The Great God) will appear with "Christ" (Our Saviour) when he returns; this explanation is also plausible, thus this verse cannot be used as a definite place where theos is used in reference to Christ.

The same use of the word is found in Hebrew 1:8 where the Son is called "God" by the Father, but the next verse declares that the use of the word is the secondary sense for the speaker is the GOD of the one that was called God. Hebrews 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. This is taken from Psalms Forty Five where it is used to reference Solomon, the King of Israel. Again, the titles Eloheem and Theos are given to God's Vicegerents upon the earth.

The same use of the word is found when Thomas exclaims "My Lord and God" (John 20:28) while speaking to Christ. Though many suggest that Jesus is being referenced as the One true God by using this verse, John assures us in his gospel that Jesus is the "Son of GOD", the "Christ", and the "Word". Please note that Jonathon exclaimed the same phrase while speaking to King David In 1st Samuel 20:12 "And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel". Will the Trinitarians suggest that David is a part of their triune god? Of course not, they know that this is an exclamatory phrase. For example when a person receives a phone call that contains a very bad report, the person may sigh "Oh my God". No one for a moment would suggest the one on the other end of the line is actually God.

Further more John in his gospel states that the one who Jesus called Father was the only True God; who was greater than Christ and the giver of Christ's power and life.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

John 14:28 …I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. John did not write his Gospel so that we would believe Christ to be the One true God, but rather that we would believe that Jesus is the Son of GOD.

John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

There are many, many more inconsistencies found with the doctrine that Christ is God Almighty, but this short study of the use of the words `El, Eloheem, and Theos' should help anyone with a honest heart to admit that the bible calls many different beings god. Jamieson, Faussett and Brown Bible Commentary states the following. - "For even supposing there are (exist) gods so called (2Th_2:4), whether in heaven (as the sun, moon, and stars) or in earth (as deified kings, beasts, &c.), as there be (a recognized fact, Deu_10:17; Psa_135:5; Psa_136:2) gods many and lords many." Angels and men in authority are termed gods in Scripture, as exercising a divinely delegated power under God (compare Exo_22:9, with Exo_22:28; Psa_82:1, Psa_82:6; Joh_10:34-35).

And it lends to the best interest of the reader to accept the clear biblical testimony, that there is only ONE TRUE GOD, the Father and there is none else besides He..

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only tru

1John 5:20 … (the Father) is the true God, and eternal life.

Ephesians 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

1Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Romans 16:27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Mark 12:29,32,34 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: … And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: … And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. .. it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: John 8:54

1Corinthians 8:4-6 … there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.