May 27, 2021 – Thursday
Genesis 1:1 NIV
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
No matter which version of the Bible you read this is the first verse in the Bible. A few, very few, instead of
writing God, they write Elohim. The two are NOG (Name Of God Bible) and OJB (Orthodox Jewish Bible). That does not present a problem though as if you look at the Hebrew for this verse here (you may wish to enlarge the type as I did to 175% for an easier read) you will find Elohim which is translated as God.
And that is one of the things I wish to explore in this verse, the use of Elohim. The word Elohim is very unusual as it plural in form but when joined with a verb is singular. This is true until it refers to false gods in which the verb becomes plural according to Ellicott’s Commentary. From Genesis 1:1 through Genesis 2:3 only one word is used for God, Elohim, Ellicott writes is strictly a plural of Eloah, which is used as the name of God only in poetry, or in late books like those of Nehemiah and Daniel. And adds, In poetry Eloah is sometimes employed with great emphasis, as, for instance, in Psalm 18:31a: “Who is Eloah except Jehovah?” You may see this yourself here and in the BlueLetterBible as well.
Elsewhere Ellicott notes, the Hebrews used the plural Elohim as the ordinary name of God, the difference being that to the one God was simply power, strength (the root-meaning of Eloah); to the other He was the union of all powers, the Almighty. The plural thus intensified the idea of the majesty and greatness of God; but besides this, it was the germ of the doctrine of a plurality of persons in the Divine unity. For me this is the beginning of seeing the Trinity in one God, Elohim. Adam Clarke makes an even stronger case for this when he quotes Rabbi Simeon ben Joachi, on the word Elohim, Come and see the mystery of the word Elohim; there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone, and yet notwithstanding they are all one, and joined together in one, and are not divided from each other. Whereupon Clarke added, He must be strangely prejudiced indeed who cannot see that the doctrine of a Trinity, and of a Trinity in unity, is expressed in the above words.
To close I will use the words of the great evangelist Arno Gaebelein who believed Israel was the key to all Biblical prophecy. He wrote, God’s Name mentioned for the first time in the Bible is “Elohim.” It is in the plural indicating God’s great dignity and power as well as the fact that God is triune. And then, Elohim is God’s name as Creator. Gaebelein suggested reading Isaiah 45:18 as it points us in the same direction, For this is what he Lord (Yahweh) says—He (Elohim) who created the heavens, He is God; He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—He says: I am the Lord (Yahweh), and there is no other. This is from the NIV and the inserted words are from the online interlinear Hebrew. Then there is the Name of God Bible version of this verse as well, Yahweh created the heavens. Elohim formed the earth and made it. He set it up. He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited. This is what Yahweh says: I am Yahweh, and there is no other.
The point of all of this? Simply to cement the point Elohim and Yahweh are not separate and contradictory, but One. And in my opinion Elohim does indeed point to the Trinity as Jesus is clearly our Creator as shown in Colossians 1:15-17, The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Prayer: Dear Father, Thank You for pointing me to Your various names, especially Elohim and Yahweh. Either one points to You, our Creator. And it was through Your Son Jesus that everything was created. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.