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What Does It Mean That HaShem Is Echad?

By Shlomo Phillips © 12.23.2013

This piece was written in response to a question I often receive. The Shema reads:

Sh'ma Y'israel Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad:
Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One [echad].

This sounds clear to me. God is One (i.e. He is not three etc).

The question (usually more of a challenge than a question) normally includes one of two points: One might have single (echad) bunch of grapes, so maybe God is like that -- one but really three. Or, since Adam and Chava (Eve) were "one (echad) flesh" then maybe God is like that, only three instead of two.

The Hebrew word echad means "one." Period.

Echad can be modified, as in you and I may "be one" in our support for Jonathan Pollard's release etc, but there the word echad has been modified (as in 'of one accord', 'one bunch of grapes' etc.). If it is not modified echad means one and only one. The God of the Bible is echad according to the Shema and scores of other direct statements: One, not three. It says echad in the Shema and it is not modified. Since the Shema was revealed to explain the essential nature of the Holy One in contrast to the beliefs of others (like the Ba'al worshippers who believed that God is one but manifested as different Baals or masters/ demigods) using this word to mean more than one would make no sense. The difference between the God of Israel and the gods of the nations is that HaShem is One. This is what monotheism means: One God.

In addition to what the word means, there is not a single verse in the Bible (including in the New Testament) that presents God as being more/other than echad (nor is His Oneness modified in any way). There is not a single verse in the New Testament claiming that Y'shua was God (heaven forbid). There is not a single verse in the Bible that presents the Ruach of HaShem (i.e. the Holy Spirit) as a third god nor as an individual being other than HaShem (nor as part of a trinity). There is not a single verse in the Gospels where Y'shua claims divinity for himself. This is, stated bluntly, an anti-Torah teaching that denies the very heart Avraham's revelation, the teachings of Moshe (i.e. Torah) and the established principles of monotheism. Neither the historic Y'shua, his disciples nor their followers accepted nor even conceived of this dogma. There is no place for it within any area of biblical religion (nor within Jewish Tradition).

Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh [hayah echad basar].
Consider: Genesis 2:24 does not contradict the biblical teachings of the Shema.

So called "Messianic Jews" and other Christians believe several things that are not only not taught in the Bible but that violate its clear teachings. While I have no interest in disparaging the beliefs of others, for those seeking biblical knowledge it is important to understand that the Trinity doctrine is but one example of non-biblical teaching. The God of the Bible is echad, there is no other god with Him. He is Utterly, Eternally, One within Himself and all existence.

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt bow down to no other god; for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God;

Deuteronomy 3:14 God said to Moses, "Ehyeh asher ehyeh (I [singular] will be what I {singular] will be)," and He said, "So shall you say to the children of Israel, 'Ehyeh (I [singular] will be) has sent me to you.'"

Isaiah 45:14: ...Surely God is in thee, and there is none else, there is no other God.
Everything other than the Holy One was created by another being. HaShem alone is echad as implied by the Shema. He owes His existence to none other. He alone exists complete unto Himself. There is NONE with Him nor like Him:
Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that it is I! I am the One, and there is no god like Me! I cause death and grant life. I strike, but I heal, and no one can rescue from My Hand!

Be the Blessing you were created to be
Don't let the perfect defeat the good

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