Is It Lawful to Call Yeshua ‘Elohim’?

Posted by on Sep 30, 2018

Is it in accordance with the Torah to call the Messiah Yeshua ‘Elohim’? To answer this question, first we need to find out what the Hebrew word “elohim” means. It may be a surprise for the reader to learn that there is no specific word in Hebrew that denotes what in the Gentile languages is known as “god”.

The word “God” (German: “Gott”) is an abstract word that denotes a concept of any supernatural being worshipped as a deity who is the personification of a divine force in a religion. In other words, “God” is seen as a supernatural power or powers (gods) that control human destiny, etc.

There are many words in Hebrew with which the Creator of the universe is described in the Scripture, but they are all concrete, not abstract, words with specific meanings. Below are these Hebrew words.



One of Power

Gen 14:19



One of Power

Deu 32:15



One of Power

Gen 1:1



He exists

Gen 4:1




Gen 18:27


El Elyon

Most High

Num 24:16




Psa 47:6




Isa 64:8




Isa 45:15



Wind, breath

Gen 1:2




Isa 40:28




Isa 54:5




Isa 54:5

אל שדי

El Shaddai

Mighty Power

Gen 17:1

אלהים צבאות

Elohim Tseva’ot

Power of the heavenly armies

Psa 80:7

And also, below are these words coupled with the Name of the Creator. But for more information on the Creator’s Name the reader is encouraged to refer to the article, The Hebrew Yehovah vs. the Roman Yahweh.

אדוני יהוה

Adonai Yehovah

Master Yehovah

Gen 15:2

יהוה אלהים

Yehovah Elohim

Yehovah the Powerful

Gen 2:4

יהוה יראה

Yehovah Yireh

Yehovah sees

Gen 22:14

יהוה נסי

Yehovah Nisi

Yehovah is my banner

Exo 17:15

יהוה שלום

Yehovah Shalom

Yehovah of completeness

Jdg 6:24

יהוה צדקנו

Yehovah Tsid’qanu

Yehovah is our righteousness

Jer 23:6

יהוה צבאות

Yehovah Tseva’ot

Yehovah of the heavenly armies

1Sa 1:3

Our topic, however, is whether it is lawful to call Yeshua Elohim, hence, we need to find out what “elohim” means in Hebrew.

Elohim is masculine, plural; the singular form is Eloah, and the short form is El. Elohim is the Hebrew word that is very often rendered as “God” in the translations. Elohim or El literally and concretely means “one of power” or “a powerful one”.

Its concrete meaning comes from the ancient Hebrew pictographs of the word EL, alef and lamed. In Hebrew an ox is elef (spelt identically with the letter alef). Hence, the pictograph of alef is a head of an ox, and an ox is a strong animal.

By the same analogy, the letter lamed has the pictograph of a shepherd staff; with his staff a shepherd applies his authority over the flock, hence, lamed represents the authority of the shepherd.

Together the pictographs of elef and lamed represent “the strong authority”. It is interesting to notice that in ancient times, the kings wore a pair of horns of an ox on their heads and carried staffs as a symbol of power and authority they had over the subjects. Hence, we may say that EL has the meaning of one in power and authority or the mighty one. From this form of EL comes Eloah which has the pictographs of an ox head, a shepherd staff and a man, and the plural form Elohim (the suffix im identifies the noun as a masculine plural): all with the same meaning of one in power and authority. All three forms are used in the Scripture to identify the Creator of the universe in power and authority.

As we noted, the word Elohim is plural. It is good to know that in Hebrew language plurals can have quantitative and/or qualitative aspects. The verb will indicate which aspect of the plural noun is to be considered and how the noun should be translated. If the verb is plural, then the noun is to be translated as plural, and if the verb is singular: the plural noun is to be considered as singular. The same rules apply to our word in question: Elohim.

Let us consider the following examples.

And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (Exo 7:1 KJV)

In Exo 7:1, YHVH referred to Mosheh as elohim (plural) used for one person, since Mosheh is singular. Most translations read, “See, I have made you a god” (following KJV translation) implying that YHVH has allowed Mosheh to act with his authority, but this is not the meaning of the Hebrew.

First, we should note that elohim is in plural form, and the phrase is not saying, “I have made you … ” but “I have given you …” because we find the verb nathan, to give, which states that He “gave” something to Mosheh. Then, we find the plural elohim. But what did YHVH give to Mosheh before his first encounter with Pharaoh?

YHVH gave Mosheh elohim.

Here we are coming to our main subject: is it lawful to call Yeshua Elohim?

Previously, we saw that elohim is something or someone in strength, power and authority. Therefore, what YHVH gave to Mosheh was not god(s), much less He made him god(s), but what the Hebrew text is actually saying is that YHVH gave Mosheh the strength, the power and the authority to do His work before Pharaoh in order to glorify His Name before the heathen.

Or, possible translation would be: So Yehovah said to Mosheh, “Look, I gave you power and authority to Pharaoh, …” which has the meaning of making Mosheh powerful and authoritative before the Egyptians.

How has the Jewish Publication Society translated the above phrase in question? We read thus,

And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘See, I have set thee in God’s stead to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (Exo 7:1 JPS)

In other words, the JPS translators have rendered Exo 7:1 to mean that YHVH authorized Mosheh to act before Pharaoh in His place, as if YHVH had to deal with the Egyptian personally. Regardless of the translation, the meaning is that YHVH gave Mosheh the power and the authority to execute the judgments over Egypt.

And indeed, we see that Mosheh and Aharon acted in accordance with what YHVH gave them. We should recall that upon the execution of the plagues over Egypt, the Hebrew slaves, Mosheh and Aharon, had a free access to Pharaoh whenever and wherever they, not Pharaoh, wished. Without the power and the authority given to them to do the will of YHVH, the two slaves would have been slaughtered on spot by Pharaoh’s guards. But empowered by YHVH, Mosheh and Aharon acted with the awe of Elohim to execute His judgment over Egypt.

A similar interpretation of Exo 7:1 we find in the Sages’ teachings to mean, I have made you a lord over Pharaoh: Heb. אֱלֹהִים, elohim, a judge and a chastiser, to chastise him with plagues and torments. — [from Onkelos and Tanchuma, Va’era 9]

Another example is in Gen 1:1 where the verb bara to create is in masculine singular form which identifies Elohim as singular, not plural. If the Messenger of the presence of YHVH who gave Mosheh the account of the Creation story meant to identify the Creator as plural, he would have used the masculine plural form baru “they created”.

With all that being said, we saw that the Hebrew word Elohim is a term that refers to one with power and authority. And what YHVH gave Mosheh was power and authority before Pharaoh.

So, we come to the point to define the use of the plural form Elohim and how it relates to our question: Is it in accordance with the Torah to call the Messiah Yeshua Elohim?

Having said that, how should we understand the use of the plural Elohim in reference to Mosheh and to YHVH Himself in that matter? Why is that “anomaly” in Hebrew to couple a plural noun with a singular verb? And how can that “anomaly” explain whether Yeshua is Elohim?

In Hebrew, when a plural noun is coupled with a singular verb, it is in the so-called royal plural form. In the case of the Hebrew word Elohim, it is to be understood in its royal plural form to denote grandeur: the quality of being magnificent, splendid or grand. That is Majesty!

YHVH the Creator of the universe and everything visible and invisible in it is Elohim, the Sovereign One of Power and Authority over all. It is the Sovereign plural that reflects YHVH who exists outside time and space and is not subject to any dimensions.

The royal plural in Hebrew grammar simply follows the Sovereign plural that reflects YHVH, as His Name means “He exists” [beyond time, and space, and dimensions].

Who is the prophet YHVH promised to Israel in Deu 18:15? Is this any prophet from the midst of Israel, or the Prophet promised from the beginning of the world?

So, is the Messiah Yeshua Elohim? We read from Deu 18:15-16 thus,

Yehovah your Elohim shall raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brothers. Listen to him, according to all you asked of Yehovah your Elohim in Horev in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of Yehovah my Elohim, nor let me see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ (Deu 18:15-16)

According to Deu 18:15-19 Mosheh predicted that YHVH will raise from the midst of Israel, a prophet like him, Mosheh. And if YHVH made His servant Mosheh of power and authority, or gave him the power and the authority to represent Him, how much more it will be for the Prophet Mosheh promised Israel? About Him Mosheh said, “Listen to Him!” For more insight on this, please, refer to the article Is Yeshua the Prophet in Deu 18:15?

Therefore, from Hebraic perspectives Yeshua is Elohim, of power, and authority, and glory of the Father.

In conclusion of the matter whether it is lawful to call Yeshua Elohim, we should recall the words of a Temple priest in Jerusalem, Flavious Josephus, from The Antiquities of the Jews which he wrote about Yeshua the Messiah.

Now there was about this time Yeshua, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Messiah. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Messianic so named from him are not extinct at this day. Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews 18:3:3

For more insight on the Messiah of the One who exists forever, refer to the articles dedicated to Yeshua the Messiah.

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May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days!


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