Does YHWH = Jesus and Elohim = god?

4 07 2008

Recently I had a discussion with a Mormon friend of mine; we were talking about the Mormon belief that Jesus Christ, and God the Father are “separate and distinct” gods and that Mormons believe that Jehovah (YHWH) is Jesus’ name and that Elohim is God’s name.

I had forgotten about this discussion until doing my morning reading. I was going through Deuteronomy 32, and I noticed that Lord and God are presented as equivalents within the parallelisms. Parallelisms are common in the OT and are characteristic of Hebrew poetry.

Here is the passage:

My teaching will drop like the rain, my sayings will drip like the dew,

as rain drops upon the grass, and showers upon new growth.

For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; you must acknowledge the greatness of our God.

As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just.

He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright.

Aside from being a beautiful passage, what do we see? Clearly, Moses is speaking of God here. There is a lot of parallelism going on because this is in song form. The first line and the second line of each couplet are equal and complimentary.

teaching = sayings

drop like the rain = drip like the dew

drops on the grass = showers upon new growth

Proclaim the name of the Lord = Acknowledge the greatness of our God.

His work is perfect = His ways are just.

Never unjust = fair and upright

But what’s notable is that “Lord”, and “God” are aligned in the Hebrew parallel style just as all of the other synonyms. This song is written from Moses’ point of view…he is referencing one God; the God of the burning bush.

Not only that; before our passage, it says that Moses writes the words of this song down and commands them to put it in the Ark of the Covenant. He tells them:

31:26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God.

The phrase “Lord your God” in Hebrew is:

“YHWH attem Elohim,” clearly speaking of one entity. Just as in the preceding song of Moses; Lord and God are synonymous; one is the proper name of God, the other is the generic term for God, as in “Fred, your teacher.”

If the words YHWH and Elohim are to be understood from the Mormon point of view (that YHWH is the name of Jesus and that Elohim is the name of God the father) then none of this would make any sense, it would become:

31:26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Jesus Christ your God the Father”

That turns the verse into gibberish.

In fact; a simple search of the words “YHWH” and Elohim” reveals that the reference “Lord God” or “Lord your God” is found 562 times in the Old Testament in the context of referring to God.

So, where does the evidence lead us? To the idea that “YHWH” is Jesus’ name, and that “Elohim” is God’s name and that they are “separate and distinct gods” or that both words refer to the same being?

In other words; does the Mormon belief hold up under scrutiny?

No.

If you are Mormon, do you have any thoughts on what I’ve written here?

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16 responses

4 07 2008
jane abraham

Your comment has been deleted for the following reasons:

1.) It was a “red-herring.”

2.) It was a cut/paste from the internet.

If you have some thoughts that are your own, and they DIRECTLY the point of my post, then I’d like to hear it…otherwise, start your own blog.

bob

4 07 2008
rpavich

Jane,
The question addressed above is this:

Does the term “Jehovah” refer to Jesus, while “Elohim” refer to God the father?

Nobody is arguing that God and Jesus Christ are exactly the same being…I WAS arguing however that the Mormon belief that THESE WORDS REFER TO TWO DIFFERENT BEINGS is false.

You’ve read my post; does Mormonism have a case or not?

5 07 2008
Brad

Great post, Bob. This, and MANY other things, will always show that Mormonism isn’t true. Problem is, you still have to try to convince the Mormons…

5 07 2008
rpavich

Brad,
Thanks for the kind words!

I know what you’re saying about converting Mormons…
I realize that Mormons are converted the way all rebellious men are…by the preaching of the gospel. They aren’t Mormons because they lack some vital piece of information and that once they get it they will convert…no…they are blinded and need their eyes opened and only the Holy Spirit can do that.

I just want to get them to think for a second about what exactly they are saying and believing…that’s all.

I pray that God will open the eyes of any LDS folk who visit here….

bob

7 07 2008
JLFuller

Jeff,
Your comment has been deleted because you didn’t stay on topic…true to LDS form; you didn’t engage my point in the post.

If you’d like to address the point of my post directly, I’ll approve the comment, if not…start your own blog.

7 07 2008
Jack Fuller

Jack,
Once again comment deleted due to wandering off topic.

If you’d like to contact me through email; use the contact form. Be advised, though, that what you write has the possibility of being used in a post for the world to see.

bob

24 07 2008
Rand

From Romanists to the WatchTower… you just have to admire how these cults try hard to “spin” you with a whole lot of nonsense. Good luck getting a straight answer from Mormons, Robert.

I’ve failed to get one yet!

Rand

24 07 2008
rpavich

Rand,
Unfortunately, I’ve not met a Mormon yet who would directly interact with the content of a discussion or a blog post…they just deflect, and confuse.

bob

19 02 2010
Rohan

Sorry but I believe that we are gods. I know most of you have read the book lost symbol, the secret and the alchemist. All of these lead to the same thing of man. Thought. And also, Elohim is plural. Jesus again, was born in the form of a human. Didn’t he say ” What i can do, so can you, and greater…”. He healed people with a touch. He was a god yet he was human. Don’t you think he understood this power of thought? Maybe he could control it and thus move to the next level, or rather the level us humans were once before we forgot.

Also, thought may just be one part of a great secret that so far no one has come close to.

I have faith. But I am someone who would like to understand. I think we weren’t just born here for no reason. There must be a reason.

Maybe we were created by someone. Maybe this happened by mistake. Maybe,…we were born for a purpose. A purpose we have forgotten over the years.

It also is true, all the recent discoveries are rather re discoveries.

So far, I think we have powers that are just waiting to be revealed and thought is just a part of it. Once common…now a great secret….

12 03 2010
jackL

El is the singular form of the word God, when -im is added e.g. Elohim, it is made plural. When used to refer to God Almighty, Elohim is similar to a uniplural noun. A uniplural noun can be used to indicate an object in the singular or plural sense.

Example: The word sheep can be used to describe one sheep or many sheep. Example: Deer. One deer was at the lake. Many deer are in the woods. Even though Elohim is the plural form of the word, it is ALWAYS translated in the singular form when used in reference to the one true God. There are times when Elohim is translated in the plural sense when referring to pagan gods, but it is also translated singularly to describe a pagan deity.

Since Elohim describes more than one god when translated in the plural form and is used so frequently as a name for God, Trinitarians use it to promote the concept of plurality in reference to God Almighty. Some Trinitarians interpret the word GOD (Elohim) to mean a group of individuals in one unit, specifically, three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, as one God. They believe that the very word elohim sends messages of plurality within the Godhead. The doctrine of the Trinity uses the word Elohim to give support to its argument that three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, can exist as one God. This uniplural interpretation of the word elohim is used to support the Trinitarian dogma in texts of the Bible where the solitary “Oneness” of God is disputed.

When applying the Trinitarian explanation of the word Elohim, we find that God’s presentation of His nature is incompatible with Trinitarian thought. Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God (El- -singular); Genesis 17:3 And Abram fell on his face: and God (Elohim- -plural) talked with him. God (El- -singular) appeared to Abram. Only one individual appeared in Genesis 17:1, but in 17:3, that same individual, God (Elohim- -plural), appeared to Abram. Was God alone during one moment and accompanied by the other two members of the Trinity in the the next, while Abram continually saw only one LORD? This would be a very difficult feat regardless of the semantic side stepping. The method of explanation implemented by Trinitarians to avoid this potential contradiction in their doctrine is to believe that the triune nature of God was appearing to Abram and talking to him.

If Trinitarians do not interpret El to be the entire Godhead, then one member of the Godhead is claiming to be “Almighty” over the other two members. Does this manner of interpretation remain consistent with the basic truths of the Bible? It is not consistent with the Bible, nor with common sense!

Psalm 71:22 I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. God (El, singular) is called the Holy One of Israel. When God (El, singular) is given the assignment to be the Holy One of Israel, there is no indication or connotation of the triune nature. It would appear that God is disclaiming association with anyone else. Trinitarians escape this in the same way as above, by concluding that every time “God” (El or Elohim, singular or uniplural) is mentioned, the entire triune Godhead is being described. When Trinitarians conclude that God is referring to one of the three persons of the Trinity, they destroy the Deity of the other two members in the partnership.

Psalm 78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. It says they tempted God (Elohim, plural) the Holy One of Israel. This verse reinforces the requirement for Trinitarians to understand God as the entire triune Godhead each and every time God is mentioned in order to maintain a Trinitarian consistency throughout the Bible. To deny this is to separate one member of the Trinity to be the Holy One when God is referred to in the singular sense (El). This practice of interpretation causes even a more severe inconsistency in Isaiah 45:21, 22.

Isaiah 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God (Elohim, plural) else beside me; a just God (El, singular) and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Verse 22: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God (El, singular) and there is none else. In this text, God (Elohim, plural) says there is no God beside Him and then God (El, singular) states that there is none else. There is no confusion from this verse if it is interpreted in the light of those verses more easily understood. God is GOD. He is alone. Whether He is called El or Elohim, He is GOD and He is alone. But if God (El- -singular) is interpreted to be one member of the Trinity, that member, whichever one you choose, is separating himself from the other members and claiming Deity only to himself, thus stripping the other members of the Trinity of their Deity and destroying any thread of consistency in their doctrine. To evade this problem some Trinitarians explain the scripture by concluding that the entire Godhead is speaking in both the singular and plural references to God (El or Elohim). The Trinitarian method of explaining Bible texts is inconsistent . If they were to use acceptable methods of interpretation, and take the general truth of the Bible into consideration, the doctrine of the Trinity would cease to exist as a standard doctrine of churches.

If we find it difficult to understand that GOD MEANS GOD, whenever we read the word God, we can say to ourselves, “all Deity.” Example: Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God [all Deity] with us. It was not just the second person of a Trinity with us, the whole being of God was with us in Christ Jesus. Example: 2 Corinthians 5:19: To wit, that God [all Deity] was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. It was not the first or second person of the Trinity in Christ; it was all of God.

The same understanding assists one to comprehend and reply to the Trinitarian argument that, “the Word was with God,” means the Word was face to face with God. This interpretation has become popular among Trinitarians because one famous Greek scholar (A.T. Robertson) suggested in one sentence that the preposition with means “face to face.” If the Word was face to face with God, then the Word could not be God. Anything facing God was already facing all Deity, and therefore could not be deity. The Trinitarians must make the mistake of understanding “God” in verse 1 to mean God the Father, first person of the Trinity in order to support their interpretation.

The following paragraph is repetitive in hope of driving home the thought that the word God means all of God, the entire Deity, all Divinity. If these verses are followed closely, their real meaning, and the real meaning of God will become more clear. Mark 12:26 (Jesus is replying to the Sadducees here)…How in the bush God [all Deity] spake unto him [Moses], saying, I am the God [all Deity] of Abraham, and the God [all Deity] of Isaac, and the God [all Deity] of Jacob? Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest and the Lord God [all Deity] shall give unto him the throne of his father David. Luke 7:16 And there came a fear on all : and they glorified God [all Deity] , saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God [all Deity] hath visited his people. John 5:18 …but said also that God [all Deity] was his Father, making himself equal with God [all Deity] . John 10:33 For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because thou being a man, makest thyself God [all Deity] . John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God[all Deity] , believe also in me. John 19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God [all Deity]. Romans 3:30 Seeing it is one God [all Deity] , which shall justify the circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith. Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God [all Deity] , thought it not robbery to be equal with God [all Deity] . 1 Timothy 1:17 ..unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God [all Deity], be honour and glory for ever and ever. 1 Timothy 2:3 …..in the sight of God [all Deity] our Saviour. 1 Timothy 3:16 God [all Deity] was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1 Timothy 6:1 ….that the name of God [all Deity] and his doctrine be not blasphemed. Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God [all Deity] , the firstborn of every creature: Hebrews 1:8: But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God [all Deity] , is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Jude 4 …..denying the only Lord God[all Deity] , and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 25 To the only wise God [all Deity] our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.

12 03 2010
rpavich

JackL,
thanks for the lengthy explanation.

I’m left wondering what this has to do exactly with my post? :)

12 03 2010
jackL

I was addressing the statement, “Recently I had a discussion with a Mormon friend of mine; we were talking about the Mormon belief that Jesus Christ, and God the Father are “separate and distinct” gods and that Mormons believe that Jehovah (YHWH) is Jesus’ name and that Elohim is God’s name”.

We have to be careful when throwing around the names YHWH, El, Elohim, and coming to conclusions without a deep study of each use and the surrounding words…

Best Regards
jack

12 03 2010
rpavich

JackL,
thanks for the clarification.

Much appreciated the in depth look at this subject.

12 03 2010
jack

I was LDS all of my life (nearly 50 years). But the LDS belief that Elohim is the proper name of God the Father is simply not accurate. Any student of the Hebrew language would tell them that without a second thought.

But still, it is a very complicated subject.

Best Regards,
Jack

3 03 2011
RichardS

Hi Jack,

In my perspective, the Mommons are not entirely wrong if the bible were to be looked at objectively.

No one can claim the God of Israel is the Father of Jesus without cotradicting the bible. Again, no one can deny that Jesus is separate from His Father. I’ll take two verses to support my position.

*John 8:58: Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” [Jesus Claims to be Yahweh]

* John 5:26 – For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. [remember, Jesus says he has his will, but he has chosen to follow that of the Father]

A careful study of the new testament reveals something interesting; Jesus never gives the glory of creation to his Father. His Father readily gives the glory of creation to Christ in Hebrews 1:10. Paul does this in Col 1:15-16, John does it in John 1:1 and Rev 14:7.

With all these am tempted to think Jesus is the ONLY God of Israel. But again, Its not that simple.

Richard

3 03 2011
rpavich

richard,
the problem is not that Jesus is YHWH….which he clearly is….but that YHWH is a “name” for him…like “Fred”…..

It’s simply not…it’s a name of God and the LDS church does NOT believe that Jesus is God.

So on this…I think you are completely wrong….sorry.

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