Posted by: Apostolic Oneness Pentecostals | February 26, 2014

Proof There Is One God & Not A Trinity: Lesson 4 The Old Testament Teaches There Is But One God

The classic expression of the doctrine of one God is found in Deuteronomy 6:4. “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD.” This verse of Scripture has become the most distinctive and important statement of faith for the Jews. They call it the Shema, after the first word of the phrase in Hebrew, and they often quote it in English as “Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.” (See also the NIV.) Traditionally, a devout Jew always tried to make this confession of faith just before death.

In Deuteronomy 6:5, God followed the announcement of the preceding verse with a command that requires total belief in and love for Him as the one and only God: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” We should notice the importance which God attaches to Deuteronomy 6:4-5. He commands that these verses be placed in the heart (verse 6), taught to the children throughout the day (verse 7), bound on the hand and forehead (verse 8), and writ-ten on the posts and gates of houses (verse 9).

Orthodox Jews literally obey these commands today by binding tefillin (phylacteries) on their left fore-arms and on their foreheads when they pray, and by placing mezuzzah on their doors and gates. (Tefillin are small boxes tied to the body by leather straps, and mezuzzah are scroll-shaped containers.) Inside both types of containers are verses of Scripture hand-written in black ink by a righteous man who has observed certain purification rituals. The verses of Scripture usually are Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:18-21; Exodus 13:8-10; and 13:14-16.

During a trip to Jerusalem, where we gathered the above information,1     we attempted to buy tefillin. The Orthodox Jewish merchant said he did not sell tefillin to Christians because they do not believe in and have the proper reverence for these verses of Scripture. When we quoted Deuteronomy 6:4 and explained our total adherence to it, his eyes lit up and he promised to sell to us on the condition that we would treat the tefillin with care and respect. His concern shows the extreme reverence and depth of belief the Jews have for the concept of one God. It also reveals that a major reason for the Jewish rejec-tion of Christianity throughout history is the perceived distortion of the monotheistic message.

Many other Old Testament verses of Scripture emphatically affirm strict monotheism. The Ten Commandments begin with, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7). God emphasized this command by stating that He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). In Deuteronomy 32:39, God said there is no other god with Him. There is none like the LORD and there is no God beside Him (II Samuel 7:22; I Chronicles 17:20). He alone is God (Psalm 86:10). There are the emphatic declarations of God in Isaiah.

“Before me there was no God formed, nei-ther shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour” (Isaiah 43:10-11).

“I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

“Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:8).

“I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself” (Isaiah 44:24).

“There is none beside me. I am the LORD and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:6).

“There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:21-22).

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

“I will not give my glory unto another” (Isaiah 48:11; see also Isaiah 42:8).

“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth” (Isaiah 37:16). There is only one God, who is the Creator and

Father of mankind (Malachi 2:10). In the time of the millennial reign, there shall be only one LORD with one name (Zechariah 14:9).

In short, the Old Testament speaks of God in terms of being one. Many times the Bible calls God the Holy One (Psalm 71:22; 78:41; Isaiah 1:4; 5:19; 5:24), but never “the holy two, the holy three,” or “the holy many.”

A common remark by some trinitarians about the Old Testament doctrine of the oneness of God is that God only intended to emphasize His oneness as opposed to pagan deities, but that He still existed as a plural-ity. However, if this conjecture were true, why did not God make it clear? Why have the Jews understood not a theology of “persons” but have insisted on an absolute monotheism? Let us look at it from God’s point of view. Suppose He did want to exclude any belief in a plurality in the Godhead. How could He do so using then-existing terminology? What strong words could He use to get His message across to His people? When we think about it, we will realize that He used the strongest possible language available to describe absolute oneness. In the preceding verses of Scripture in Isaiah, we note the use of words and phrases such as “none, none else, none like me, none beside me, alone, by myself,” and “one.” Surely, God could not make it plainer that no plurality whatsoever exists in the Godhead. In short, the Old Testament affirms that God is absolutely one in number.

Bernard, David K. The Oneness of God. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame, 1983. Print.


Responses

  1. You’ve done an excellent job in using the Old Testament scriptures to bring out your point on the oneness of God. So many apostolics rarely use the
    Old Testament to show the one Lord.
    Do you know why it was hard for many of the Jews during the time of Jesus to believe in who He is?
    Exodus 24:9-10
    9. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: 10. And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
    These individuals that saw the Lord, passed down through the generations, what they saw on that day. This is the type of person they were expecting to see when their Messiah came to this earth. There weren’t expecting this comely looking and poor individual like Jesus. They expected a King David type Messiah, but they didn’t know the scriptures, only a small percentage out of the masses.


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