Before I say anything else, I admit that this question, “Is there really only one god?” sounds both ridiculous and blasphemous. But you know me, I normally ask questions most people don’t ask. So, here we go: Does the Bible really present its audience with a monotheistic worldview (i.e. only one god exists)? The answer to this question is surprisingly – no.

In fact, the Bible reflects the ancient worldview of a god-congested universe. Here are just a few representative texts:

“God stands in the Divine Council; He renders judgment among the gods… I said, “You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High. (Ps. 82:1, 6)

“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” (ESV, Deut.32:8 following Qumran/LXX version of the Hebrew.)

“Ascribe to the Lord, sons of the mighty (literally from Hebrew sons of gods), ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.” (Ps. 29:1)

“Who is like You among the gods, O LORD?” (NASB, Ex. 15:11)

“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God…” (ESV, Deut.10:17)

“You shall have no other gods before Me. (NASB, Ex.20:3)

The view of the divine world presented in the Bible is not monotheistic, but rather henotheistic (there exists a multiplicity of gods, but One Supreme God exists above them all). Apostle Paul, whose thinking was very much in line with this very idea (because of his pharisaic idea of the Shema), wrote the following:

For although there are many that that are called gods in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many gods and many lords) – 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”. (1 Cor. 8:5-6)

There are other powerful heavenly beings (this is how in Biblical times gods were understood – any god is bigger than any human). Now we commonly refer to them as angels and demons (as well as principalities and powers), but in the Biblical times most people called them gods and/or sons of god/s.  Clearly, Moses, Jesus and Paul presume this. They also are in agreement on an even more essential point. While there may be other “gods,” only God Most High, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is worthy to be worshiped, adored and obeyed! Reread the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the New Testament as it was first intended!

The Bible can provide us with truth, but it can also be difficult to decipher! Whether you're looking for some biblical direction, stumped on scriptural questions, or just want to confirm that you're already on the right track, join the growing community of faculty and students at Israel Bible Center! (Click here to begin your journey of discovery).

273 COMMENTS

  1. That was an interesting question that I have pondered before. The way it was asked is tricky, if I may say so. When a Jewish person look at your question, they will say yes to only one God. While a biblical scholar would say no. However, if you ask “Is there one True God?”, The jewish person would definitely say YES to “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”, and the biblical scholar would agree, and I too.

  2. You mentioned Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me”, that commandment goes beyond the physical gods in the heavenly realm, I believe the ‘gods’ is what our heart desired and fashion as such that pull us away from the ‘One True God’.

    • Shalom, Harry. I am now in Rome and as my wife and I explore the ancient Roman ruins we are stunned with the god/s-congested picture of antiquity that they present.

      • Isn’t there a Bible verse that says, “They worship gods that are no gods..”? “Before Me was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.” (Isaiah.) All angels (those who are loyal to God and those who fell) and all people (saved and unsaved,) are created by the One True and Living God. There is none beside Him. He manifested Himself in flesh in due time, to offer unto Himself a sinless atonement for the sins of us all. The Name that is above every other name is Jesus (Yehoshua.)

        • Please, kindly see my previous response that brings up the point of nearly all verses like that coming exclusively from ISAIAH.

        • Dr. Eli: Quote: “Did you notice that all your quotations are Isainic (nothing wrong with that of course), but in Isaiah, in particular, we have this kind of polemic (I think) between YHWH and other gods that bring” You referred me to this quote, but it is unfinished. I believe Isaiahs’ prophecies. It is far more than God having a polemic against “gods” (He knows they are only demons): He desires US to know there is only ONE God, & in Isaiah He clarifies that. We either believe what is written or we don’t. One God. Thank You.

          • Lindy, do remember that every book of the Bible had its own original audience. What I am saying is that Isaiah prophecies within his own time to his own time. He did not write to US. We can reap the benefits as well of course IF (big if) we bother to understand the original meaning and THEN apply it to our own time and our own space. (I believe in Isaianic prophecies too… naturally).

        • lindy. he just pointed out that there is only one true God, Jesus is not God at all ,, he is Gods son,, who came to tell us about the creator and it is true he payed the penilty for our sins.. but he is not God

        • Wayne Johnson: You do not believe that Jesus is God? He is God manifested in flesh. God with us. The express image of the invisible God. ALL the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Him. So many more verses. Father in Creation, Son in redemption, Holy Ghost in outpouring. One God in three manifestations or relationships with us. Jesus. God bless.

        • Hi Lindy. i have another thing for you to think about, you have rightly pointed out that there is only ONE true and living God,, there is NUN like him..,,that is true,, but here is the catch right,, if Jesus was God right ,you would have 2 Gods, ,, the first commandment in the bible is to love the LORD your God with ll your heart right,, so you would be breaking the first commandment,, secondly,, you can not nail God to a cross and kill him,, .. its impossible to kill God,, jesus died as a man a perfect

          • Hi Wayne — Let me say this…
            In John 10:30, we read Jesus saying:
            “I and the Father are One.”
            The word One is, “hen”/”heis”, the neuter gender. This does not speak of one person, it speaks of one “essence, power, quality…”.
            Moreover, looking at 1 Corinthians 2:10, we read:
            …”For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” Who can do that but God?
            Thus, it is safe to say, neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Spirit would ever disagree with one another because disagreeing is tantamount to improving utter, comprehensive perfection. In contrast of course, humans never stop disagreeing — for the opposite reasoning — we are all grossly imperfect, and due to our finite minds there is always the necessity to seek perfection.
            And, as Jesus told Philip: “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the father?'” (John 14:9).
            Many people has trouble with the word, “Trinity”, but the case is made repeatedly in Scripture. If that case isn’t made than no case is made.

        • Lindy, there IS only ONE True God, Our Father in Heaven, who through His Spirit dwelt in Yahusha. 1 Corinthians 15:27&28.

        • Since there is no part of GOD that is not GOD, then by that reasoning JESUS would have to be GOD as well: We have GOD, HIS WORD, and HIS POWER. So then what part of those 3 is not GOD? Or a better rendering of the question might be WHO/Which of the 3 (GOD, HIS WORD, HIS POWER) is not GOD? Considering it this way also shows, and assists in understanding the pecking order of THE THREE WHO (referred to as the Triune GOD) are actually ONE!

  3. I appreciate all that you do and I appreciate your teachings. However, I am having difficulty reconciling what you said in the brief lesson above with the following OT Scriptures: Is. 43:10, Is. 44:6, Is. 45: 5-6, Is. 45:18, Is. 45:22. My understanding is that the Bible’s references to “other gods” is not an acknowledgment of their existence, but rather an acknowledgment of human depravity (in that humans want to have gods of their own making), and an acknowledgment of Satanic deception. People worship other things as gods, but they do so from a fallen and deceived nature.

  4. Although I have pondered several of the scriptures you quoted, the idea that there are other, lesser, gods makes me very nervous.

      • One Creator God–exists in three Persons–God the Father Almighty “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16), God the Son, through whom all things were made (Colossians 1:16) and God the Holy Spirit, the Ruach Ha Kodesh, –instrumental in the Creation (Genesis 1:2). Fallen angels are powerful spirit beings (Satan is the most powerful) but they do NOT have the power of Creation (they come ONLY to “steal, kill and destroy”–John 10:10). They can only work destructively through the actions of humans. Humans share, in small part, the creative ability of God–they also have His power to destroy the physical.

        • J. Bell, you wrote: “One Creator God–exists in three Persons…” This is not scriptural, except in a general theophanistic sense where he can exist also in his creatures and messengers. The Shema says Yahweh is One. Then Deut 32:39a says there is no other God with him. Then Deut 32:39b says none can deliver out of his hand. Then, in John 10:29, Yeshua uses Deut 32:39b to tell us Yahweh is the same one he calls “Father” when he says “no one is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand”.

        • J. Bell, even by quoting the Shema in Mark 12:29, Yeshua was identifying Yahweh as the Father. So, J.Bell, it is this Yahweh that is one, “Yahweh echad” (Deut 6:4), that he called “the only true God” in John 17:3. Yeshua also referred to him as “My God” in Rev 3:12.

        • There is however a Trinity in the scriptures, not as persons in one person, but as three persons with key roles in the sanctification of saints. In this Trinity, Yahweh, the only true God(John17:3), possesses the will that is done in the heavens, and should be done on earth (TheLord’sPrayer). And he is the God of all, including Yeshua (Rev3:12). Yeshua is the example of perfect obedience, sent by Yahweh to the lost saints bring them back to him(John14:6) . And the Holy Spirit is the OT promise(Ezek36:26-27) fulfilled in Yeshua to help the saints unto eternal righteousness.

    • Dr Eli and Lindy, Shalom! We must be driven by doctrine and it is essential for one to be saved as the bible says time and again. The ONE True God whose Name is YHWH came down to earth as He promised He would and delivered us from the burden of sin the humans carrying in their lives. The human beings are led by the knowledge of demons, we say Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara are God [generator, operator and destroyer] and we can see this throughout all nations. But Bible never talks about three but One True God.bahuvu@gmail.com

      • God is the main and ultimate subject of the bible and we should all get the True knowledge of our one True God

        • Agreed on this point because God doen`t approve ignorance when it comes to worship and everything pertain ing Him and His Son Jesus Christ in extension, John 17:3

    • There are gods because the people who believe in them perceive so, those demons are considered gods by those who believe in them because they are supernatural and more superior to the human race. But those who believe in the one true God, know that those gods are powerless to them. But they can be powerful to those who don’t believe in the one true God, because they don’t have the power of Christ to overcome the power of those gods. We Christians have power in the Name, the blood of Jesus and the Holy ghost.

  5. Yes there are Gods and we are sons and daughters of God. We have God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, They are separate beings and one in purpose. The Rock of our salvation is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  6. John 17 King James Version (KJV) 17 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

  7. The term “elohim” may refer to the One True God, or to malachim (angels) of various ranks, or to men of position and power. So yes, there are many Gods. As Meshiachim this is a question we should have asked ourselves and come to terms with. What makes Judaism monotheistic is that there is One God who is self-existent. One God who created al others, who has power over them all and to whom they will ultimately answer. That One God is who we serve and worship and obey. And that’s why we can say the Shemah with clear hearts.

    • Yes, but I would say that at least Biblical Judaism is not really monotheistic, nor is it polytheistic, it is henotheistic (one God above all others).

      • Interesting. As Messianic believers one thing sets us apart. We have been and are still willing to pass everything we know or believe through the fire. We then keep only what remains. So while I see your point (and would agree on the surface), this is a concept that I think will require some thought and refinement before I change from saying my beliefs are monotheistic to henotheistic. Words have meanings, and the ones we use shape our outlook and attitude.

      • Thought about it. Henotheism assumes all gods to be self existent while elevating one due to power or dominion. That is not the case. And as Isaiah 42:8 says, “I am the Lord; … my glory I give to no other.” Our Elohim is kadosh, set apart from all petty elohim which depend on Him for their very existence. So semantically if we redefine henotheism to include all “gods,” we could say Judaism is henotheistic. I prefer to hold to monotheism, as this preserves the set apart status of our God.

      • Have you had a favourite preacher whose interpretation u trusted? Then one day he says something that brings you to earth with a thud (ib disappointment on account of its error)? That is what I am experiencing right now. So long Dr. Eli, you did sound promising – sad you have gone the way of many learned. The Bible is monotheistic as it calls all that men call gods nothing ‘if Baal is god, you worship him…’ sad really what you are saying.

        • No, Tiyamike, you err greatly. What is Dr Eli’s sin? If you know how much you sound like the Jewish audience of Yeshua that wanted to stone him, you would recoil at yourself. Read John 10:29-38 with understanding. The Jews had made the common name “GOD” so holy that Yeshua calling himself “Son of GOD” made them want to stone him. But he drew their attention to their very scriptures that also made saints GODS.

        • In John 10;34-35, Tiyamike, he reminded those seeking to stone him of Psalm 82:6. If saints could be called GODS, what was his sin? But, like them, you have now also made the common word “GOD” so holy you would discount Dr Eli for merely repeating the words of your very own bible that there are other GODS. Why? Will you also make the Bible a liar? Easy, my brother. Learn to rightly divide the word.

  8. One God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That God. None other. Men can make gods and forget them, but the One God does not forget His creation.

  9. I was taught that the ‘Adonai Echad’ in the Shema could be viewed as a construct of two nouns and so translated ‘the LORD is the One’.

    • Yes, but please take a look at my other post on Shema (it is hyperlinked to this one) when I talk about Apostle Paul.

  10. I have always believed this because of Genesis, and your explanation would support Genesis 1:26 (NIV) “Then Gods [Elohiym = plural of God] said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,….'” or it could be said this scripture also supports your plural Gods.

    • Girdlestone in “Synonyms of the Old Testament” , page 22, says regarding “Elohim”: “Many critics … of unimpeachable orthodoxy … (such as Cajeton and Calvin) take the plural form as a plural of majesty, and as indicating the greatness, the infinity, and the incomprehensibleness of the Deity.” This intensive plural form is also used in English when Kings of old would say of themselves “WE are very much displeased.” In the Septuagint when the Jews translated the Hebrew into Greek they translated “Elohim” into “theos” (singular) not “theoi” (plural) since Greek has no intensive plural.

    • You seem to be saying Gd is consulting with angels about making man. I’ve heard this before, and always rejected it. I still do. Which ones? The ones that have four faces? My interlinear interprets Genesis 1:26 thus: and·he-is-saying Elohim we-shall-make do human in·image-of·us as·likeness-of·us I think Elohim is speaking in the third person plural, as royalty has done for centuries; probably since they first heard this is how Elohim referred to Himself. Gd made man in His image, not the image of angels.

  11. Thank you for that. A few years ago I had to write an essay on whether Israel was monotheistic or monolatrous. The latter being one supreme God over many lesser deities. And yes, I used the verses you mentioned to back up the monolatrous stand.

  12. I must commend you on this article. These were thoughts were always with me. The western Christian translators placed YHWH at Gen1:26 when it should read “the gods” created etc. Besides there were no Israelites at the times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob so theologians read back from Moses’ use YHWH into the period before this event so as to present a consistency theory of truth rather than a correspondence. The views of god as being jealous, angry, vengeful, murderous, kind, generous e.t.c. corresponded to the writers experience of his/her lived experience. The tribes worshipped gods before and after Moses

  13. George Lewis In explaining the parable of the weeds to His disciples,Jesus said in Math.13:38 “The field is the world and the good seed stands for the sons of the Kingdom.The weed are the the sons of the evil one and the enemy that sows them is the devil ” It follows then that the sons of the Kingdom of God (The God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob) stand opposed to the sons of the evil one (god/s),the devil. However,by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,we can now lifve this life to the glory of His name .

  14. Recently was teaching at fellowship and mentioned that the ancient Hebrew mindset was henotheistic more than monotheistic and it opened up quite the can of worms! Lively discussion! Two questions: Does the Hebrew support “demons” in Deut. 32:17 (“They offered sacrifices to demons . . .”) which might buttress your position? If so, this also complements the Deut. 32:8 article. Second, is Psalm 82 about human judges, or the supreme council of the “gods” in the throne room of the ONE great God?

  15. The word knowledge in this context is interesting. To know is different than to be known (8:3). “We know. . . there is none other God but one” seems to fall under “know”. Paul doesn’t use the word know when he speaks of God the Father & Jesus Christ; he says “but to us there is but one God”. In a previous article I read that “but I tell you” was Jesus building fences around Torah. Could Paul’s statement (but to us) be a description of the Father and Son in us (agape love for God)? Yet or but?

  16. I to clarify I’m not saying Gd consulted with angles. There seems to be several entities involved throughout scripture, that we see as Gd. I come to understand or believe them to be The Father (Elohim or Gd), The Son (Jesus or The Word), and The Spirit. Both Old and New Testament, describes them as being unique having separate power, authority, and function. Just a few reference to such: Psalm 110:1, Proverbs 8:29-30, and on and on. No man can see Gd and live Exodus 33:20, 23 yet Moses dealt with an entity face to face as did others.

  17. Shalom Alejem Dr. Eli, the list of gods found in the royal library and or temple of Ugarit. These tablets date from ca. 1400 B.C. to ca. 1200 B.C. A pantheon of deities was worshiped in Ugarit as a result of being conquered by near by neighbors, such as Egypt and Hyksos. Here is a short list of gods worshiped: El known as the king of the gods, both creator and fertility (depicted in the form of a bull). Athirat, a.k.a Asherash wife of El and gave birth to 70 gods and goddesses. Baal means “master” or “lord”. Be Blessed.

  18. In zack. 12:10 says ………” they will look upon Him whom they ha pierced ” also In first John 5:20 says … That we are in the son … Who is the true God and the eternal life. What I can understand by these references is that Yeshua is identified with YHVE. I agree that there is EIS absolute God and His name one

    • Jan.Jane, 1 John 5:20’s “This one is the true God, and eternal life” can be ascribed to Yahweh or Yeshua in the passage. But the bible has a context of truth. And, in that context, Yeshua calls Yahweh “My God” (Rev 3:12). So, Yahweh is this one true God. But you can make the passage serve error when you make “this one true God” become Yeshua. For, what then does Yeshua’s own God, Yahweh, become?

  19. This is random but necessary for me to read the 1 Cor 8. I would not say “I love God” (L_ove) for many years. I think it had something to do with replacement theology. Still, how could I “agape love God” (1 Cor 8:3)? Agape is too holy for me to say, but now I wonder if “to be known by God” is to hear the voice of Christ (His voice, not my works). Is the history behind the unspeakable name of G_d have anything to do with a revelation? Is there an article on this site?

  20. I have always pondered this. I asked others, but the answers varied, but no one could tell what the answer was. You have explained well. I indeed still ponder and marvel, at the many things the Bible brings out that many don’t have an answer to. Thank you for posting such an interesting subject! Elena

    • Elena, I am truly excited to have you as part of our student body! I trust that you will find your courses both enjoyable and challenging in a good way!

  21. SHalom Dr, Excactly as you say, Politheism was a standard in the antique world. All tribal life believed on different gods, includeng Israel. Actually, tons of Idols and statues (Therafins) have been found in excavations thoughout Israel. There a way more texts that armonize with Israel being a twin brother of Ugarit and its beliefs!!

  22. Michael S Heiser has defined this question well in that the Divine Council of Yahweh is made up of the Elohim, however Yahweh is superior to and Commander of the Elohim of the Council. He is obeyed and there are none “His Equal” although Elohim ( gods) exist , there is one Prime Mover , one Ultimate and omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent Lord over all. That Divine Ultimate is YHVH. Elohim exist but only One to be worshiped, the Creator of all other things in creation. Even the Elohim sing Kodosh Kodosh Kodosh Lord of Armies / Hosts.

    • Yes. That is correct. Michael Heiser should be credited for popularizing what scholars have known for decades (he acknowledges this readily of course). His gifts is to be able to bring it from the library shelf to the local church. I recommend his writings very much.

  23. I have been reading your articles for some time now. Until now, I have found them interesting. This one I find to be heretical to the Godhood (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). It is not that there were multiple Gods, but that the people believed their were multiple Gods in their pagan beliefs. Christianity has always been monothestic. You claim the bible doesn’t have to be re-written, but re-read, why do you use different re-written versions of the bible in your article above?

    • Bill, I am sorry that I offended your sense of orthodoxy :-), I certainly don’t mean to do that (though I do want to challenge you to think outside of the box). Some on this forum (not me I am as orthodox as they come in spite as appearances) actually find trinity doctrine to be heretical :-). So people are different in their views. But back to your question, why do you work with different translations and then sometimes provide my own? Simple: All translations are interpretations (and I mean it positively). There is not one translation that fully captures the meaning of the text. We must use translation, but remember that they are the Word of God ONLY as far as they faithfully reflect the original text (Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek). You can see this example – https://israelbiblecenter.com/dont-mess-abraham/ and see if you can agree that things are not as simple as they sometimes appear.

  24. dr. eli in my manuscript revelations: God is the unmeasurable, everlasting, alpha and omega, all poweful almighty powers of the uncreated creator of things visible and invissible. by that: God by the power of the WORD or word power created the spiritual kingdom and spiritual creations, after creation the WORDPOWER became God Father (of all creations). by that same God because of the sin of one high angel Satana-el, the same WORD created the material garden and recreated all the spirits in the spiritual kingdom this time, the inhabitants are flesh-coated spirits (Adam/Eve/Serpent) the garden was created to TRAP/STOP/END SATAN

  25. The Father,Son & Holy Spirit = God…. One God eternally existing in 3 persons, there was/is no word in English to describe this, so the closest we can come to understand this is using terms like Gods or Trinity. The 3 persons are uncreated, eternal and equally divine , of one substance yet differing in function(for the plan of redemption). We do not say that the Father died, no it was the Son who died yet both these persons are God and yet we still accept that God died-why? The nature of Son of God is the same as God.

  26. “The sons of God” are the angelic beings. The true God only speaks of “god’s” from the point of view of those who worship false gods. However, both the Tanach and the NT are emphatically clear — there is only one true God who is Triune, and mankind is a tripartite being in order that he may receive and express the Triune God in life & nature.

  27. Dr. Eli, can you explain why the Shema ends with the word “echad”, rather than “yahid”. Echad allows for a plurality of “oneness”, which would seem to indicate that Hashem could consist in a form known to us as the Trinity. Note that Abraham was visited by three in the desert with Sarah. “Yahid” would indicate a singular being, without possibility for a plurality of personality in the Most High. Comparing the beliefs of sincere praying Christians, it is evident that the will of Hashem is singular. However He is constituted, his will is not varient.

    • You have it the other way round. Echad is the singular unit, while yachad means “together”. Example: Joshua 12:24 “The king of Tirzah, one (echad): all the kings thirty and one (echad).” Both “one’s” in this verse are echad in the Hebrew! Then, Genesis 13:6 “And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together (yachdau): for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together (yachdau). Yachad, not echad, is what allows a plurality of oneness. The Shema therefore actually protests Yahweh’s UNITY! YAHWEH ECHAD!

  28. A question that was not spoken of is : what is a god ? What make one qualified to be god or God ? Scriptures are inconsistent on the subject. Depending on wich page you read ,we are gods ,sons of god but the same book says also there is just one , so are we or are we not gods? The only way i could come to an understanding is that the word God mean ; directing principle. With that definition everything fall into place. Rulers of old ,roman kings ,stars etc take their proper place

  29. As a couple of people have mentioned already, the books by Michael Heiser on this topic will crack one’s brain open for sure. I had to read The Unseen Realm twice to really absorb that info. When I try to tell people about it they just stare at me as if I’m reading about ancient aliens and Planet, X or other ‘new age’ books; as if I’ve completely gone to the dark side. I grew up in an evangelical church and never heard of the ‘divine council.’ The church just skips these verses altogether it seems.

    • Correct. I recommend Michael Heiser’s works wholeheartedly. There are very few things on which we think differently.

  30. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, I understand that you are not particularly discussing this here in this writing, which was excellent, but I’m curious to know how do you view the teaching of a trinity? And how does that teaching square with the idea of ONE God? I have great respect for your understanding of Holy Scripture and this is an issue I have been trying to resolve in my own mind. Thanks for your help.

  31. Some years ago I read an article in which it was mentioned that in Psalm 110: 1 it said originally: «YHWH said to my YHWH…» That the Septuagint read that reading and that’s why they translated it as: «The Lord said to my Lord…» But, when the definition of which books were canonical (late 1st century AD) came, the rabbis in the Synod of Yamnia changed the reading of this verse by: «YHWH said to my Adon…» (which is the current reading in the Masoretic Text). But the previous reading was preserved in the Masora Magna.

  32. This would be consistent with what Dr. Eli mentions about the original henotheism existing in the Bibla and that led to strict monotheism from the Synod of Yamnia circa 90 AD.

  33. Total confusion reigns as the subject is very debatable. Firstly, If all Christians accept the old testament, then there only one God,YHWH. Secondly, God acknowledges Jesus as his Son and Jesus acknowledges the father, which can be found in the gospels. My conjecture is the early church fathers wanted to break away from the Jewish practice decided to create their own Christian God at Nicea even against great opposition, thus we have the Trinity. I know this will create further condemnation but it makes sense to me.

    • Yes Floris, I also believe that the trinity doctrine emerged much later in history of the Christian church and was adopted into the creeds centuries later and formally imposed on the rest of the believers by the early Christian leaders around the time of the pagan Constantine – possibly earlier. Long before the Christian era, numerous variations of the threefold god existed, and they were found in a host of pagan religions and mythologies.

  34. Please can you tell me if there is anything in Jewish history that supports the ideology of a pre-Adamite civilization? Any research That I have done indicates this ideology is born out of paganism and in more modern terms incites racism. Many Christians, including a friend of mine, are buying into this old ideology and claim many Scriptures, even to Genesis 1, to support the idea of a pre-Adam. Can you help me and can you also provide me with Scripture to refute such an ideology?

  35. In reference to Mr. Prices, comment to be clear, while mankind tends to worship many things and People, the term gods some times is used to mean the worship of ‘fallen angles’ who present themselves in forms posing as the god to worship. This is NOT In Accordance with the Teaching of the Scriptures, as well stated by others in this blog. The Of Abraham, The Creator Of Heaven and Earth and ALL There In, IS THE ONLY TRUE G’d TO BE WORSHIPED!

  36. I also ask this same question , in the ten Commandments, it is “you shall have no other gods before me” , which clearly stated that God is ONE, but in Psalm 110:1 , it reads” The Lord says to my Lord”. seems to indicate either a Trinity relationship or more than ONE?

  37. cont. The historical Jesus did not consider himself (as a Jew) a God (Mk 10:18@other Synoptics).At Nicea A.D.325, st.Athanassius righly argued the relation between term “father”@”son” is eternal as any logical law or priniciple; “father” has no meaning in itself and only in relation to “son”;they are relational names and not individual (John)or general(man). All terms have sense if properly understood. In Creed we have “God from God” but it is just a metaphor and not a strict phil. sentence!Phil 2:11 has an anti-Cesar news: Jesus is Lord and not Cesar!

  38. I, coming from a layman’s view would make this question. Would the answer not be based on one’s definition of what a god actually is? People today are still worshiping Elvis. I think a god is something one turns to, to explain the un-explainable or fix things they and mankind cannot. On the other hand, the Bible teaches there is only one creator G-d, a G-d that created all things. There fore there are many g-d’s (things / people worshiped), but only One True Creator G-d.

  39. Doesn’t the book of Enoch mention that the ancient ones advised God against creating man? Who were these ancient ones, that God would consult with them? I am aware of the controversy surrounding this book, but I am not sure there should be a controversy.

  40. The confusion lies in the so called “mystery” of “1=3” wrongly understood the relation between one God, YHWH(Exods 3,14 or “ipsum esse” in Summa Theologica of St.Thomas Aquinas (also a Muslim, and Avicenna, a rabbi Majmonides) and the historican man, Jesus from Nazareth who was resurrected and then called the Son of God or Lord(Romans 1:4). The Greek term “hypostasis”(Eng.”mode”) of one indivisible substance (“ousia”) was translated into Latin, as a “person” and consequently it created the coming chaos and Christological controversies! Who cares?

  41. Dr Eli, I am a One God Bible believing Christian who believe in the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I hold onto the monotheistic original definition and acceptance of what One God is. The subject of One God is central to our belief system and I would encourage you to prayerfully seek God for the real truth. You seem to be an intelligent man with all the head Knowledge but lack a tangible relationship with this One True God you fearlessly and disrespectfully try to contest. Stop promoting idol worship and humble yourself.

    • Shalom, Richard. I seem to be an intelligent man? Well, I suppose that is sort of a back-handed compliment…. sort of.

      • No offence Dr Eli, Isaiah 43-45, Deut 6 and similar scriptures declare that there is only One God. God declared that there are no other gods beside Himself, in the past nor shall there be any after. God said He know not any and tells Israel to be witness.God is True so as His Word. God is saying there were no gods before nor shall there be any after Him. He further states that He doesn’t know any if they exist at all. Maybe God is lier as there are other gods besides the Almighty. Thanks

        • Shalom Richard, No offense taken. I’m glad you are with us. We never read a text in a vacuum – which is why we automatically assume that that the text is from the beginning expressing monotheism. Eventually that does happen – But even very conservative Bible scholars will acknowledge that the early Israelite’s were henotheists.

  42. WERE THE TEMPLES ON TEMPLE MOUNT? I realize this is a new topic–and a contentious one, but I have been encouraged by Anna to post. My book ‘THE PLACE Ha Makom: where Jerusalem’s temples stood’ traces in narrative style the biblical history of ha makom–The Place. I argue that to fulfill the spiritual typology their must be ‘living water’ (flowing) at the sanctuary. I believe even John used the ancient ‘nickname’, The Place (Grk. ho topos) several times in his gospel.

  43. I never had a problem with the understanding that the OT alluded to a member of Gods – Eloihim.. My understanding is that the word God in English and I suppose in Hebrew too will refer to an object of worship. The same as the word “man” and only gets an identity when a name is ascribe to the Man. Hence God identified himself by saying “I am the YHWH” …..you shall have no others Gods beside me and thus confirms that fact of others Gods. Therefore, when Jesus says that the God of this world is Satan he endorses

    • Hi Tevor, Please finish your thought – you got cut off. And remember there is a word limit : – )

  44. it’s very contentious…i have read from some hindu, sikh,etc..literatures that the subject of God is beyond our word attributes.. so to talk of “one” and ” many” are attributes.,but their cosmogony have 5 levels of existence..from down going up..the pinda/physical our physical creations, the dimmest..then the lower brahm region, generally what we called astral…with kal niranjan as the presiding deity, then brahm and parbrahm region..with brahm as the deity.. then the sat region..sat purush as deity..but most intriguing is that they only attribute yahweh as the lord only of pinda, sitting in astral ..he is kal niranjan to them..

  45. I had written elsewhere that biblical Israel was to be “monotheistic” rather than “polytheistic”. After reading you, I reviewed the meaning of “henotheism”. Yes, it means having one God among a plurality of Gods. In this sense, Israel was indeed henotheistic. However, “henotheism” does not appear to adequately affirm the chief contention of the prophets of Israel that their own God, Yahweh, was the Most High of all the Gods. “Monotheism” affirms this claim indirectly, but errs in trying to restrict the use of the common name, God, for Yahweh, the Supreme-Being, whom monotheistic Yeshua called “the only true God”.

  46. The only reason why there appears to be some confusion over God vs Gods in the first place is that the personal names of the Gods have been ignored. If early post-apostolic era Christianity had known the God of Israel by his personal name, Yahweh, no confusion would have existed. It is like a Jewish audience condemning Yeshua for calling himself “son of God”, and he had to remind them even they were called “Gods” by Psalm 82:6 (John 10:34). They too had tried to make the common word “God” holier than it should be.

  47. The personal name of the God of Israel, the name Yahweh, is what separates him from all other Gods. Psalm 83:19 lets us know that he alone has the name Yahweh. When Judaism says his name is too holy to be pronounced, it makes it clear that the substitutes it uses, eg, Adonai, Hashem, Elohim, etc, are not his holy or personal names! Else, they would also be too holy to be pronounced! The substitute “God”, with equivalents in many languages, is similar. They are all common names, or worse, the names of idols! None is his personal name.

  48. His name being too holy to be pronounced is not an eternal condition. Its prophetic source is clear. Jeremiah had to say to some rebels on Yahweh’s behalf: “Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says Yahweh, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah, saying “Chai Adonai Yahweh”! in all the land of Egypt.” (Jer 44:26). The name he removed from Judaism, his great name, is the name Yahweh. The same name removed by prophecy returns today according to prophecies in Psalm 22:22, Psalm 80:18b/19b, Zachariah 14:9, and John 17:26.

  49. Yahweh’s work in Israel in these last days will be to sanctify that great and holy name Yahweh (Ezekiel 36:23) that separates him from the Gods of other nations, as he had done for is holy name in the days of the exodus of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 9:16).

  50. Words are so important because they create a picture of understanding. In 1 Cor 8: 5-6 Paul writes; ” for even IF there are so called Gods whether in heaven or on earth,” so it seems to me Paul uses these words to create a picture that says it may be common thought or belief that there are many Gods, but he then goes on to say; “yet for us there is but ONE God,” a picture that to me says that we know better than that.

  51. Does the plural not refer to God’s resonance. The fact that he can be in several places at once doing different things. He can be healing someone of cancer in India while at the same time be driving a demon out of someone in Italy. It becomes more interesting when he is doing several things at once in one country, or one state, one community or maybe even at one gathering. To the onlooker, it appears to be different divine beings competing against each other yet it is the one true God working all in all.

  52. Dr, Eli, this subject gets sticky and rather confusing for me. I had a conversation with a Muslim guy, 6-yrs-ago. He stated the same thing-‘there are many gods’. I was brought up that anything/anyone outside of GOD the FATHER and JESUS, were idols. There are Angels, demons and, the devil is REAL. For me there is ONLY ONE GOD-GOD the FATHER and JESUS (HIS SON, Savior of the world) and the HOLY SPIRIT known as the Comforter. Am I wrong to believe this?

    • Well… I think it is an issues of difinition and use of terms. What you and I call today God not have ANY equals but the God of Israel. But what people in the ancient world called God/s is ANY usually heavenly being that is greater than man. That is why the Bible speaks in terms of God of gods.

  53. Others may a said and I will repeat that there is only one God (the Creator of all matter, the universe, all life and author of the Torah and Bible) but many man-made and imagined gods. The fallen angel, Lucifer (Satan), is one such god to many.

  54. The problem for most people in answering this question is that we all have been conditioned to think of God as an anthropomorphic super being that “exists outside of creation” that created the Cosmos by “will.” God Incarnate…Jesus Christ (Yeshua ben Joseph) revealed that the True God is Spirit that dwells within us. He is the ONE God we should worship as Jesus said. In Christ..david

  55. Just as a matter of interest, I looked up the portion of Scripture in The Complete Tanakh (Tanach) – Hebrew Bible, and I also read the commentary of Rashi. Deuteronomy – Devarim 32:8. For your convenience, here it is: Verse 8: When the Most High gave nations their lot, when he separated the sons of man, He set up the boundaries of peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.
    Rashi’s commentary:
    *When the Most High gave nations their lot: When the Holy One, Blessed is He, gave those who provoked Him to anger their portion, He flooded them and drowned them [i.e., that was their lot]
    *when He separated the sons of man: When [God] scattered the Generation of the Dispersion [which built the tower of Babel], He had the power to remove them from the world [altogether], but He did not do so. Rather, “He set up the boundaries of peoples,” [i.e.,] He let them remain in existence and did not destroy them.
    *according to the number of the children of Israel: [God let man remain in existence] for the sake of a [small] number of children of Israel who were destined to descend from the children of Shem, and [the sake of] the number of the seventy souls of the children of Israel who went down to Egypt, He “set up the boundaries of peoples,” [i.e., He separated men into seventy nations with] seventy languages.

  56. Wayne Johnson,
    Are you sure of eternal life? Look in your Bible, the epistle of John. 1 John 5 vs 11: God has given us eternal Life and this Life is in His Son.
    He who has the Son, has Life, he who does not have the Son of God, does not have Life.

    • Hi, Paul. Not sure what you referring too. Please, unpack, but keep it civil (disclaimer I have 0 influence from Mormonism).

  57. The One True God, as I understand it, was not created, God The Father. Any other “gods” (of old) are created beings usurping the title.

  58. I would like to answer this question out of my personal opinion.

    My answer is: Yes.

    The reasoning for that:
    Over the milenia all come back to good and evil. All people considering good, has the basic same sense of good. We all then pray to the God of good. All nations all languages is different therefore a unique name to this God. All of us has a tendency to believe this name is correct in using the name, and therefore our God is only ours: whether group, culture, nation, household or Church.
    I have come to a point to individualise rather than group evaluating. Each personality differ from the next. So focusing on personalities, we all can then send the specifics of a good and Godly personality. This is the group to come together.
    All then pray to the same Spirit Creator of that Good that we belong to. That makes as kin and equals. Externally my differ, languages may do, but I can not see any way that the greater Good and the One God for All be not the Same One.

    Spiritually and by God we are all One when our focus is truthfully centered to God.

    I am who I am, a God with many names, all Good, who am I.

    His Gracious go with you.

    Gert Kroucamp

  59. Thank you Dr. Eli. I read “Unseen Realm” by Heiser and so this is all very understandable to me, but I actually brought up the Psalm 82 passage one time in a Bible study and first, the pastor disagree with me and another member accused me of blasphemy. The Pastor asked a seminary student who was there, to look in his interlinear Bible and see if I was correct. After the service was over, the seminary student came up to the pastor while I was standing there and told him that yes, in fact, I was correct.
    It’s going to take some time, I think, for people to understand this concept. But I think it is coming back to us at a time when we need it. I think there are a lot of things going on in the world that we can better understand when we understand the unseen realm and the “gods” that rule the world, while ALMIGHTY GOD (El Shaddai) has his own kingdom of the righteous who live IN this world, but are not of it. 🙂

  60. One of the joys of doing research is the art of living dangerously. Most people don’t use their minds and never know the joy of discovery.

  61. Interested in this thought! Was Matthew 28:19, As we have that written today,Where Jesus Supposedly Instructed the 11 Apostles around 31-32A.D. That it was “Now God’s Plan To Baptize Gentiles and Make Them Part Of God’s Kingdom Included In The Original Hebrew Matthew Gospel? One Main Concern is the Fact that Matthew was not The Apostle Commissioned For That Purpose Anyway!Peter Stated In Acts 15:7, That God Chose Him To Take The Gospel To The Gentiles Which He Did In Acts 10! This Event was around 10 Years Later than Matthew 28 and Peter Told Cornelius ” It Is Unlawful For Me, A Jew, To Associate With A Gentile”! Had Peter forgotten Jesus’s Supposedly Stated Plan Given in Matthew 28:19! And What About The Other Apostles In Acts 11, When They Withstood Peter’s Trip To Gentiles? Had They All Forgotten! Lends Credible Evidence That Jesus Never Commissioned Them In 31-32 To Go To Gentiles! Your Thoughts! In Jesus Name! Charles Kelly Memphis, tenn.

  62. You have to understand the foundations to get a grasp. One way is to draw a square …then divide into halves vertically and horizontally so you have 4 squares within the square. (You may write/label God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, yourself per square) Each square is a square and the whole is a square. Each square is identical in nature having four 90 degree angles. So by ratio you are the same. Together as one you are the same having four 90 degree angles. Therefore, you can speak together as one or individually from the same perspective of being a square. (All having the power of speech.) Together you are a kingdom, field, or matrix. As a kingdom you speak as a kingdom being one square having the faith and one faith that what you say is the same as any other like you. …But you have to be the same parameter not a little different.

  63. As stated in my comment 0f 9-12-18…..God’s Spirit comes in dwells within us if we repent and accept His Son Jesus Christ. The problem with all religions is they have implied that God is a “super being” instead of SPIRIT that dwells within. Obviously there is ONE GOD when we accept what Jesus said.

  64. IMO, Elohim can mean: God most Supreme, which is singular (as is the verb) in Genesis. Father, Son, and Spirit are titles describing the One Being as Creator, Redeemer, and Helper. Yashua became fully man/ fully God when he incarnated.

  65. The Religious World Revolves around Matthew 28:19! If Jesus is instructing the 11 Apostles (Judas has fallen) To Now Baptize Gentiles 32A.D., Why did Peter have trouble with that command when 10 years later, he was sent to Cornelius’ Home (Acts 10)! Then in Acts 11, All The Other Apostles Had Trouble Understanding! Also If Jesus The Christ Did Instruct The Apostles To Baptize Gentiles Saying “In The Name Of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Did Jesus State There Are Three Names! If So What Is The Name Of The Father and Of The Holy Ghost?

  66. Thanks for this article. IMO, i believe that the God of the Universe, the creator of all things is the Almighty. I believe in the quote of Deut. 32:8. That Jehovah is one of the sons of God (Job 1:6, 2:6) who is specifically for the affairs of the Jews. That all other cultures have their different Gods who are to protect, give guidance and intercede for them before the Almighty God.

  67. Dear Dr Eli, thank you very much. Please know my gratefulness to have come across Israel Bible Weekly and onto your column. Since I joined (2-3 weeks ago) I have learned Hebrew words and their appropriate meanings in the Bible which is becoming an asset to me. I live in the center of Papua New Guinea where Bankcards such as VISA etc are pretty rare which hinder me from enrolling for the courses offered by the Israel Bible Center.

    May I request to copy and paste all your posts for my reference later?

    Shalom

  68. I love the idea that Dr Eli wants us to think out of the box. We want to be careful not to be arguing over semantics when we are using a finite language to describe our infinite God. I think this was God’s plan all along for us to seek after Him. If we could ever come to a full understanding our pride would kick in and we would have no further need to seek after Him. When correcting another please correct with gentleness through a love for them. We will not receive full enlightenment until face to face wHim

    • Very well said, Daryl. We will get a lot further in our spiritual lives when we accept that it is okay to disagree and still be good friends. 🙂

  69. Pls, Dr. Eli, I need a clarification of the book of John chapter 1:1-5, who is that word and what does it stand for? What is the reason Jews wanted to stone Jesus in the book of John 10:30?

  70. Hi, thank you for the article I wanted to make a few small comments which are hopefuly helpful. 1st, I would say Yeshua did not “presume” anything, He knew. Remember He is from the Father, and spoke of what He has seen. John also states that He was with God in the begining etc etc.

  71. He Elohim is a plural word. translated God in english. If their was only one God, why in Genesis 1:26 God says “Let us make man in Our image”. God the Father and Jesus Christ were together from the beginning. Jesus Christ was together with God the Father before He became Jesus Christ. John 1:1-3, 14. The Word became flesh proves Christ was together with God the Father from the beginning. John 17:1-5. Emphasis on verse 5. Many other scriptures prove Christ, before He became Christ, was with God the Father from eternity.

    • Not that I buy into it, I would point out that Judaism has long explained this passage that God in humility was consulting angels, in whose image man would be formed. Hence the “we” and “us”. But I like your comment. Thank you, Kenneth.

  72. For more on this concept, which supports Dr. Eli’s summary, check out Dr. Michael Heiser’s videos, blogs, podcasts, and books, “The Unseen Realm” and “Supernatural”. He is a Semitic languages scholar who has done extensive work on the Divine Council. It’s an odd concept for most of us moderns and a bit jarring at first, but according to the literature of Jesus’ day, this is how the ancients saw it. Like Dr. Eli and his colleagues say, we need to learn to think like an Ancient Neareaster, not a 21st century Westerner, when approaching the Bible.

  73. Hi. I would believe there is only one God. But then again. Jesus came for the house of Judah, Jewish. God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, all Jewish. So if God is Jewish, and came to save the Jewish people, then who is the God of the Germans, the French, the south African or African people. If there is a god for the Jews, then obviously there should be a God for the other nations also? All of the Jewish people here on this forum always argues that salvation is from the Jews and God is a Jew etc etc.

  74. God says in my translation of the scriptures that there was no God “formed” before & after. I can’t even begin to grasp that! I am mighty glad the Almighty from everlasting to everlasting is love, kindness & righteousness & there are 3 persons in God Head. Blessed be God forever!!! The Spirit of God is who reveals things of God & the light of the Messiah is shined into the heart; otherwise in darkness & can’t get the spiritual matters. Praise to God! We engage in the word of God to be w the “Word of God”! Amen?

  75. As in Genesis 1:1, Elohim. A word plural in form, but joined with a verb singular, except when it refers to the false gods of the heathen, in which case it takes a verb plural.

  76. I find the way to understand the ONEness of YHWH and the Trinity – (which was supposed to help us understand, but only confuses everyone)!. . is that He is ONE omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Father – who is the Holy Spirit. Jesus/Yeshua taught us to pray: ‘Our Father’ because that is the RELATIONSHIP – not a second nor third person! He revealed Himself in human form not only to teach and heal us – but to have His own blood to shed to forgive and redeem us – ONE wonderful, Father, YHWH Salvation, Healer, Redeemer!

  77. Many people interpret the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4 English Standard Version (ESV)) 4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” as meaning that there is only one god, while others may interpret it to mean that the Lord is our God and no other.

    Personally, I think that the biblical concept of “other gods” refers to those deities contrived by the minds of men or idols created by men that have become the subject of their worship. In other words, we worship the one true God who is the only Creator of Heaven and Earth.

  78. In Hebrew, Psalm 82:1 begins and ends with the word Elohim. The first appearance is typically translated as God, the second appearance is typically translated as gods. The word El, in the middle of that verse, is sort of bypassed. Shouldn’t Psalm 82:1 be more properly translated “gods rise in the court of El, and draw near to hear (El’s) verdict. (El) judges among the gods”. It seems unlikely that the word Elohim should have two contradictory meanings in the same sentence.

  79. There are many elohim, but only one Yahweh (Creator God). Although Yahweh is an elohim, no elohim is Yahweh. Yahweh is the Creator of all things and involves His creation in what He is does. His Divine purpose for all things is to unite the Seen and the Unseen realms into what Eden was and shall be with Man ruling and reigning over all things with JESUS, who is God over all forever more to be praised. Elohim does mean gods and angelics spirits or heavenly beings, but in Psalm 82 Yahweh is refering to ruling spirits who disobeyed.

  80. I am completely confused! I’ve understood the triune God as still being ONE God? What then is hypostatic union? Aren’t we limited in any language to define God?

    As a Christian, you’re saying Jesus isn’t God? Oh dear Lord! I love Jesus. Honestly, “Father” feels harder to grasp.

  81. Who went up to heaven and then went down?
    Who picked up the wind in a handful?
    Who wrapped the water in her dress?
    Who put the ends of the earth?
    Tell me what your name is
    and the name of son, if you know it.
    Pr 30: 4

  82. (1) Does Revelation 20:6 refer to a future Millennial Kingdom for mankind on earth?

    (2) Do you think Jewish people who do not presently appreciate Jesus have a national conversion awaiting per Zechariah 12:10? Or that this text refers merely to individual conversions?

    • 1) Yes, with Yeshua as king on David’s throne. 2) By the grace of God, it will be a large movement of accepting Yeshua as Messiah and king.

  83. Deut. 4:35, Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.

  84. …that’s not what henotheistic, means, in our dictionaries—Moses gave the Commandments to them all-collectively, not to be interpreted-per-family, nor partially-interpreted… ergo it’s not, henotheistic… But worse-altogether they didn’t recognize nor realize the god-murdering god (wargod) in their geneology…

  85. Deut 6:4 “Hear Oh Israel the Lord you God is ONE, you shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, all your soul and all your mind, and teach this to your children.”

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