You teach that in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word, "Elohim," which is translated as "God" in most English Bibles, is a plural word, referring to more than one God Being in the God Family. But Jeremiah 31:1 seems to contradict this assertion. Please explain.


It is important that we understand correctly the meaning and usage of the Hebrew word “Elohim,” as many teach that the word “Elohim” either ALWAYS conveys a singular meaning, or that it ALWAYS conveys a plural meaning. However, both of these teachings are WRONG!

It is correct that the Bible teaches that God is a Family, presently consisting of TWO immortal God Beings, called in Scripture God the Father and the Son of God, Jesus Christ. It is also correct that the Hebrew word, “Elohim,” translated as “God,” describes the God Family. However, the Bible does NOT teach that the Hebrew word, “Elohim,” ALWAYS refers to more than one God Being in the God Family. A thorough study of the Old Testament reveals that the word “Elohim” CAN refer to the entire God Family, but, depending on the context, it can ALSO refer to EITHER ONE of the God Beings within the God Family.

Jeremiah 31:1 is an example where one of the two God Beings, the LORD, speaks about Himself, calling Himself “God,” or “Elohim.” As many other Scriptures reveal, the word “LORD” refers mostly, but not necessarily always, to the Son, Jesus Christ. However, there are a few incidents where the Old Testament refers to God the Father as “LORD” as well (For proof, please read our free booklet, “God Is A Family.“)

In Jeremiah 31:1, we read:

“‘At the same time,’ says the LORD, ‘I will be the God [“Elohim”] of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.'”

In this passage, Jesus Christ, the “LORD,” states that HE will be called “Elohim” in the future by all the families of Israel, and that they will be HIS people. In this passage, the word “Elohim” clearly refers to just ONE Member of the God Family–Jesus Christ–serving as a REPRESENTATIVE of the God Family.

Please note the following excerpts from our booklet, “God Is A Family,” explaining in more detail how the Hebrew word “Elohim” can apply to the entirety of the God Family, as well as to EITHER ONE of the two Members of the God Family. For the purpose of this article, we have highlighted certain phrases in the following quote, to show our teaching of the meaning of the word “Elohim.” Our booklet includes many more examples in this regard, but the following excerpts should suffice:

“The very Hebrew word translated ‘God’ in Genesis 1:26 reveals that God consists of more than one person. That Hebrew word is ‘Elohim,’ which CAN be used as a plural word. It CAN be singular in grammar, but plural in meaning… Grammatically, it can be a singular word, but it CAN have a plural meaning… George Knight writes in his book… that the word ‘Elohim’ is clearly a plural word. He explains that the same is true for the word ‘Adam.’ Normally, ‘Adam’ is translated as ‘man.’ The word ‘Adam’ CAN refer to the individual; it CAN refer to both man and woman; and it CAN even refer to ‘man-kind.’…

“George Knight goes on to explain that there are several words in the Hebrew, all ending with ‘-im,’ which are derived from a grammatically singular word that conveys plural meaning… The concept of water, in particular, is very interesting, as it CAN refer to a single drop of water or to a vast ocean. We understand though that it is the same kind of water in either case, and it is always referred to as ‘water.’ In that sense, water is BOTH SINGULAR AND PLURAL. Knight goes on to point out that the SAME IS TRUE for the word ‘Elohim.’ When we read that ‘Elohim,’ or ‘God,’ said: ‘Let US make man in Our image,’ we should realize that the word for man, ‘Adam,’ as well as the word for God, ‘Elohim,’ CAN BE SINGULAR OR PLURAL in meaning, depending on the context…

“We also need to remember that the word ‘Elohim,’ or ‘God,’ CAN refer to EITHER ONE of the two beings in the Godhead. EACH ONE IS CALLED, AND REFERRED TO AS ‘Elohim,’ or ‘God.’ In Genesis 1:26, God, or ‘Elohim,’ says, ‘Let US make man in OUR image.’ One God being speaks to the other God being, referring to both of them as ‘Us.’ When we read in Genesis 1:27 that GOD, or ‘Elohim,’ created man in HIS image, we understand that it was the one God being who actually did the creating, and we already know from the New Testament that God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ… “

Please note, in addition, that the Hebrew word “Elohim,” when applied to the true God, CAN refer to the unity of the God Family, consisting of the Father and the Son. This is proven by the fact that the word “Elohim” CAN be followed by a plural verb, even though in most cases, it is followed by a singular verb. But the latter is strictly a question of grammar. Even in English, we cannot say,”the club agree,” but we need to say, “the club agrees,” even though it is understood that the word “club” consists of more than just one member.

However, notice the following examples, as quoted from our booklet, “God Is A Family,” proving that the word “Elohim” MUST include MORE than just ONE God being:

“In Genesis 20:13, Abraham states, ‘And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her [Abraham’s wife, Sarah], This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, He is my brother.’ The Hebrew word for ‘God’ here is ‘Elohim.’ The word for ’caused’ is in the plural in the original Hebrew, not in the singular.

“In Genesis 35:6–7, we read, ‘So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother.’ The Hebrew word for ‘God’ is ‘Elohim.’ The word for ‘appeared’ is in the plural in the original Hebrew, not in the singular.

“In 2 Samuel 7:23, we read this prayer of David: ‘And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name…’ The Hebrew word for ‘God,’ ‘Elohim,’ is followed by a plural Hebrew verb, translated as ‘went’ in the English.

“The fact that the word ‘Elohim,’ when referring to the God of Israel, can be accompanied in the Hebrew by a plural word is important, as it rejects the claim that the God of Israel (‘Elohim’) can only be one personage. The above-cited examples of plural Hebrew words (the Hebrew expressions for ’caused,’ ‘appeared’ and ‘went’) make this very clear. In the Hebrew, the words for ’caused,’ ‘appeared’ and ‘went’ are distinctively plural, and cannot be understood to be singular… The fact that the Hebrew word ‘Elohim’ is at times accompanied by a plural (not a singular) Hebrew verb proves that ‘Elohim’ consists of more than just one being.

“It is true, however, that in most cases, the Hebrew word ‘Elohim,’ when referring to the God of Israel, is accompanied by a singular verb. This fact—that the word ‘Elohim’ can be either singular or plural, and the verb that follows the noun ‘Elohim’ may be in the singular in either case—should not surprise us. For instance, in German, we can observe the same principle when looking at the word for ‘police,’ which is ‘Polizei.’ One can refer to ‘Polizei’ as conveying a singular or a plural meaning, but the verb in German is always in the singular. As an example, a single policeman could say: ‘Hier steht die Polizei,’ meaning, ‘Here are the police.’ Note that in German, the verb is in the singular. Or, the policeman could say, ‘Die Polizei befiehlt.’ (‘The police order you.’) Note again, that in German, the verb is in the singular, although now the single officer who gives the order speaks on behalf of the entire police force. At the same time, a group of police officers could all refer to themselves as ‘the police.’ When they do, the verb associated with ‘Polizei’ is still singular in German.”

In conclusion, the Hebrew word for God, “Elohim,” CAN REFER TO MORE than one God being, or it CAN REFER TO EITHER ONE of the two God Beings. It would be wrong to teach that the Hebrew word “Elohim” is always singular, or that it is always plural. It can be either, depending on the context. In Jeremiah 31:1, the word “Elohim” clearly refers to ONE of the two God Beings–the LORD or the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The fact that the word “Elohim” CAN refer to MORE than just one God Being proves that God IS a Family, consisting of more than just ONE God Being, and that BOTH Members of the God Family ARE–and always have been–GOD! The amazing truth is that Christ’s true disciples CAN also become full members of the God Family. For more information, please read our free booklet, “God Is A Family.”

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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