A Closer Look At the “One God” Deception
As a part of the elect of this age, I have found highly intriguing the various arguments put forth for a single God entity in the “One God” seminars and writings. It is time to expose some myths of this idea, because it leads to errors in our perception of our Creator, Sustainer, and Savior as we strive to know and emulate Him. I realize that the words on this short discourse will likely not alter the views of those already deeply set into the One God ideology, but perhaps some of the thoughts expressed here will motivate others to give this matter a second look, and perceive more accurately the truth of our great Life-Giver. To Him we owe everything that we are, or ever will be.
Various speakers and writers have added supposed evidence to the idea that there is only one God, and that Jesus Christ the Messiah is not the God of the Old Testament period, but rather was a man who was conceived of the Father, as the Scriptures say (Luke 1:35), but He had no preexistence, nor can He be likened to the Father as God.
I have often wondered about this strenuous effort to remove Jesus Christ from being a part of the term God. Several of these One God advocates use their arguments to exclude Christ as being God to help ensure that the Trinity concept is destroyed. Apparently having two Gods is a step closer to being three Gods, as the Doctrine of the Trinity purports, so it is best to reduce the God number to one.
The origin of the One God idea stems in large part, as far as I can determine, from the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, which states (NKJV throughout this article, except where indicated otherwise),
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (KJV)
Most translations parallel the King James Version, including the ESV, NASB, NKJV, HCSB, JSP, Tanakh 1917, and NASV. It is unfortunate that such translations have formed the foundation of the understanding of who God is, for they imply that there is only one God-Being in all the universe. We shall see that this misunderstanding is a serious error when trying to understand the reality and nature of God.
Other translations give a more accurate interpretation of Deuteronomy 6:4. The New Living Translation comes closer to reality.
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.”
This NLT version implies that the Israelites knew there were other gods besides the Lord, but that Yahweh [Lord] was their God. Such a view is shared by Michael Heiser, a Ph.D. in ancient Near Eastern languages used in original scriptural texts, who believes that the prophets’ repeated statements that “there is none beside Yahweh” can easily lead a person to the assumption that the Old Testament Israelites did not believe in other gods—this in spite of the fact that many Biblical passages show they did (www.thedivinecouncil.com). I will not go into these passages in this short article, but the reader is encouraged to do so.
Who Is God, and Who Is Not?
We all know that the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9, 13, 22) is God; He is identified with the Father, and is spirit. Yet, where is the line drawn to divide spirits that are God and those that are not? Are the Sons of God, God?
Let us examine the Father’s view of the heavenly organization, which states that “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family (patria, ‘lineage, family, tribe, race’) in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15). We understand family relationships here on earth—fathers, sons, grandsons, and so on—and as this scripture indicates there is likewise a “family” in heaven. Such is logical, because mankind was made in Elohim’s image (Genesis 1:27), including our relationship to one another. A father has a son; they have the same name, and the son grows up to be a father as well in due course. If the father’s name is Johnson, so is the son’s name Johnson.
The analogy may not always be perfect between heavenly and earthly things, but Scripture implies that same relationship when Jesus Christ is called the Son (hyios, “a legitimate son, a descendant”) of God [the Father]. If the Father is God, then is not the Son of God—Jesus Christ—God as well? This identity of the Father and the Son as God is made even more plain when Jesus claimed the embedded identity of Himself with His Father:
“How then does David in the spirit call Him ‘Lord’, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand till I made Your enemies Your footstool?’ If David called Him ‘Lord’, how is He his Son?’” (Matthew 22:43-45).
This identity of oneness is beautifully expressed in John 17:21, which says,
“… that they may be one, as You, Father, are one in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us ….” (NKJV)
In this statement even the saints—you and me—are included in this family, this unity and oneness with the Father and Christ—all united in spirit, all on the same plane, as it were, as Gods!
Jesus Christ’s Preexistence
These are bold statements to receive by those who believe that there is only one God, the Father, in the heavenly realm, and that Jesus Christ did not exist before He lived on earth as a human being. Let us examine some of the evidence that He did indeed exist before His incarnation within the womb of Mary.
“For to which of the angels did He [the Father] ever say, ‘You are My Son [Jesus Christ], today I have begotten You’? And again, ‘I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son’? But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says,’ Let all the angels of God worship Him.’ And of the angels He says, ‘Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire’. But to the Son He says, ‘Your throne is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.’” (Hebrews 1:5-9; NKJV)
Verses 8 and 9 of Hebrews 1 are quoted directly from Psalm 45:6-7, showing that Jesus existed with the Father along with other “companions”—we know not how many. What we do know is that He existed there with His Father, and that He excelled above His “brothers”, as it were, in righteousness; He hated wickedness. David is writing in the present tense, and this was written some 1,500 years before Christ was born as a human being. This scenario sounds strangely familiar to the assembly of the Sons of God in Job 1:6 and 2:1, and to Micaiah’s vision in I Kings 22:19-22, where the hosts of heaven stood around the Father’s throne. These events preceded Christ’s birth by many centuries.
Michael Heiser in More Unseen Realm (www.moreunseenrealm.com) has concluded that there exists a “Divine Counsel” of Sons of God, headed by the Father, with Jesus Christ being Lord of this council. Based on the above references, this view makes perfect sense.
The book of John states emphatically in several places that Jesus preexisted in the spirit realm. Note John 6:50-51, 58-62.
“This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world…. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?”
Can the text be any plainer that Jesus came down from heaven and became the living bread, His flesh which He gave for the life of the world. He then went on to explain that He would ascend and go back to where He resided before in the heavenly ream.
John 17:5 explicitly states that Jesus existed before His human incarnation: “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17 implies the same in verses 3, 8, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. Verse 24 states that the Father loved Him before the foundation of the world; how is it possible to love a being that does not yet exist?
We all know John 1:1-5, where the Word is identified as existing with the Father “in the beginning,” through whom all things were made. Then we are told in verse 14 that this “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” How is it possible not to associate this spirit reality of Jesus becoming flesh with the conception of Jesus within Mary’s womb through the Father’s action (Luke 1:35)? Moreover, how is it possible not to call Him God when the prophecy of His birth from Isaiah 7:14 states explicitly that “… they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23)?
Spirit Can Become Flesh!
Let’s not stop there. Notice Hebrews 2:14, which states that “… He [Christ] Himself likewise shared in the same” [that is, to partake of flesh and blood], that He might destroy the one who has the power of death, the devil. To partake of flesh and blood implies that He had to preexist as spirit in order to be translated into the physical realm. In a similar way, John in his letter of II John, stated in verse 7, many deceivers have gone into the world who “… do not confess Jesus Christ’s coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” Come from where? Obviously from His previous existence in the spirit realm, where He lived with His Father.
Hebrews 2:14, quoted above, makes it plain that Jesus had to partake of flesh and blood so that He could serve as our sin offering—the perfect sinless One for the imperfect—“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NKJV). Is it impossible for the Father to send Jesus Christ, that is, His spirit reality, into Mary’s ovum to grant conception as a physical human being? Some seem to think so, but we need to understand that our “real being” is a spirit. Paul stated that we can be “… absent from the body and present with the Lord. Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (II Corinthians 5:8-9, NKJV). He restated this thought in Philippians 1:23: “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (NKJV). The “real Paul” was his spirit, a spirit that inhabits a flesh and blood person and continues on “at rest” in the grave, until the resurrection (Job 14:13-14).
Let’s continue on with the evidence. I Corinthians 10:1-4 reveals that the “Rock” in the pillar of cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night, was none other than Jesus Christ. Paul was very explicit in identifying this connection. This does not mean that the Father as well could not have been present with Israel during the Exodus and wilderness journey, in particular on Mt Sinai when Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders saw the God of Israel on a paved work like a sapphire stone, “… like the very heavens in clarity” (Exodus 24:9-10). This incredible scene is akin to other visions of the Father’s throne in Daniel 7:9-10 and Ezekiel 1:26 and 10:1. Other sons of God, and many angels, surely participated in Israel’s journeys, for we know that Elohim—members of the God Family—participated in the recreation (Genesis 1:26-27); apparently the recreation recorded in Genesis 1 involved a great number of powerful spirit beings, of whom Jesus Christ was the Chief, through whom all things were made (John 1:3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Psalm 33:6).
Look for a moment at Isaiah 9:6-7. These prophecies are concerning Jesus Christ; most everyone will agree with that. Look what names this Son of God is given in verse 6: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. “Mighty God” refers to a very powerful el, or God, which is also used when referring to the Father (Deuteronomy 10:17; 11:2; Joshua 4:24; Nehemiah 9:32; Job 9:4; 36:5; 50:1; Psalm 89:8; Isaiah 10:21; Jeremiah 32:18; Ezekiel 20:33; Zephaniah 3:17). “Father [ab] of eternity,” in the context of Isaiah 9:6, refers to the familial relationship represented by the word “father”. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary states, “He is God, one with the Father”, and the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary declares that, unlike human kings who die and leave their kingdom behind, Christ will reign over and bless His people forever.
Notice also Psalm 82, where in verse 1, “God stands in the congregation of the mighty [literally Gods, or Elohim]; He judges among the gods [Elohim, or Mighty Ones, Gods].” This reference to many Gods is repeated in verse 6, which says, “I said, ‘You are gods [Elohim, or Mighty Ones, Gods], and all of you are children of the Most High.’” Here we have many Gods indicated besides the Father Himself. It is important to note that the word Elohim can be either singular or plural, depending on the verb associated with it, and in Psalm 82 the verb is plural to show that there is more than one God indicated, similar to the use of Elohim in Genesis 1:26.
Look also at Mark 2:5, where Jesus healed the paralytic and said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Some of the scribes retorted that only God can forgive sins—a true statement which they knew well from Scripture—but by saying so they admitted that Jesus was indeed God, in the sense that He was the Son of God, and thus Sons of God are indeed God…being a part of the God family.
An Important Issue
Jesus Christ did indeed exist in the spirit realm before He came to earth, to be born of a virgin. He has been shown to be God, from several references throughout Scripture. Moreover, we have seen that there are many spirits in Scripture that are termed God. This evidence proves that the One God idea of a single God entity is erroneous. A correct understanding of the Shema verifies this fact.
This truth should be extremely encouraging to all of us among the elect, for as brothers of Jesus Christ, who is the firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:29), we recognize that we are to become God as He is God (I John 3:2; I Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21; Colossians 3:4; II Peter 1:4). The God family is to increase endlessly (Isaiah 9:7), and I personally believe will ultimately populate the entire universe with the Father’s descendants. Recall that Adam was a son of God (Luke 3:38), and we are all his descendants (Acts 17:26), destined by the Creator to be kings and priests of a renewed earth in the near future (Revelation 5:10; Acts 3:19-21). It is not the Father’s will that any be lost (Romans 11:26; I Timothy 2:4).
It is highly important that we as Christians recognize that our future is assured by a loving Advocate of the Father who was, is, and ever shall be, who laid down His life for us so we might have everlasting life as well. We can totally rely on God the Father, and His Son, the very image of the Father and God (John 14:9), our Advocate and Intercessor who truly cares for us … so much so that He laid down His life for us!