The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 123 of 207
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In this self-same chapter we have, in such a fundamental matter as the nature of God,
a most remarkable use of the singular and the plural verb. Quite apart from the fact of
inspiration, we should expect that Moses would not use language that was in any way
misleading on such a vital subject. He evidently seeks to express the fact that Elohim
stands for a unity. This unity, therefore, may be sometimes said to act in the singular
number or in the plural, a feature of divine revelation that meets us on the very threshold,
and warns us that there is no possible way of understanding the nature of God by human
means. We must believe what He says of Himself, and all that He says of Himself, even
though (as in the case of the use of both singular and plural verbs, pronouns and
adjectives) the matter does not come within our experience nor can be made to conform
to our reasoning. The Elohim Who created in such a way that it demanded a singular
verb to explain the truth, nevertheless can be said to take counsel at the creation of man:--
"And Elohim said (singular), Let US (or WE will make [plural]) man in OUR image,
according to OUR likeness."
Moreover, while the O.T. teaches that God is One, we have the remarkable passage in
Eccles. 12: 1, which reads: "Remember thy Creators" not "Creator".
The idea that God took counsel with angels, or received assistance from any creature
is repudiated by Isa. 44: 24. There is no alternative, therefore, but to bow before the
revelation of truth, and confess that the title Elohim is taken by God to reveal to man
a Unity, and not a Being of solitary and absolute one-ness.
If the reader will glance at the diagram on page 64 once more, he will see that both the
names Elohim and Jehovah are not in the realm of pure Being (that is expressed in the
words "God is Spirit"), but are in the realm of manifestation, creation, redemption or
relation. All that we know of God is relative, not absolute, and it is a fallacy to attempt
to reason back from either the word Elohim or Jehovah into that realm where neither time
nor space have any place.
Now, instead of this fact causing the simple believer to shrink back from such a
theme, the very fact that God, Whom no man hath seen nor can see, Who recognizes
neither the limits of time nor space, Who cannot be found out into perfection by
searching, the very fact that He has revealed to us, His creatures, as much as can be
grasped, by minds like ours, of His Person and attributes so far as they relate to the ages
and their purpose, should fill us with abounding thanksgiving.
With this introduction to these two great titles, let us here conclude, and be prepared in
our next article to examine as fully as time and space will permit the meaning that
Scripture attaches to them:--
"Jehovah our Elohim (plural) is Jehovah One" (a unity) (Deut. 6: 4).
"This God is our God."