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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Rabbi K.A. Schneider » Rabbi Schneider - What the Lord’s Name Reveals?

Rabbi Schneider - What the Lord’s Name Reveals?

Rabbi Schneider - What the Lord’s Name Reveals?
Rabbi Schneider - What the Lord’s Name Reveals?
TOPICS: Rabbi Schneider: Devotions, Names of God, To Know Him by Name

So we're gonna dive in now. Very first verse of the Hebrew Bible, we have a title of God. All of us are familiar with the verse: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. You'll see in my studio here that I've actually got in the studio, in Hebrew, the very first verse of the book of Bereshit, which means in the beginning, in the beginnings, God created the heavens and the earth. When we say the word "God" in Bereshit, chapter one, verse one, what is the actual Hebrew there? The Hebrew title for God that's used in Genesis 1:1 is the name Elohim. In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.

Now the word "Elohim" comes from the singular use of that Hebrew word, which is El. And the word "El" just simply is translated as God. And what's interesting is that even pagan cultures use the name "El", to refer to their gods. So for example, the Canaanites, which you've all heard of, they refer to their god as El. So when the Lord revealed Himself as God, the true God, the real God, He didn't just call Himself El, He called himself Elohim. Because when you add the word "im" or the additional "im" onto the end of a Hebrew word, it makes that Hebrew word plural. And oftentimes this is done to give the singular emphasis. So in other words, when you say Elohim, you're saying this is the one true God. He's not just a god, he's not just one of the many gods, but by giving it a plural narrative, it becomes He is the one true God.

So sometimes you add "im" onto the end of a singular Hebrew word to give that word emphasis. And other times you add the word "im" onto the end of a singular Hebrew word to make it dimensional, to make it a plural form. So, for example, we've all heard of the angels a cherub or a seraph. But oftentimes, we heard not just a reference to a single cherub or a single seraph, but we hear the Cherubim, the seraphim, the angels. It's now plural. Cherub Seraph, singular. Cherubim, plural. So we add the "im" onto the end of the word to give it a plural form. So considering this phenomenon then, considering this fact, we ask ourselves, well, what does a plural on the end of the word "el", which again is the singular form of God, but Elohim is the plural? Why did God refer to Himself as plural? Why did God reveal Himself in plural form?

In the beginning, Elohim, plural, created heavens and the earth? Does it mean that there's more than one God? I mean, think about this. We're going into a profound mystery right now. Because we read in Scripture that in the beginning the Lord created mankind in His own image, and He said this, "Let us.". He said... the Lord's speaking here. And He said, "Let us..". Notice the plural there. The Lord is speaking of Himself, and he says, "Let us create man in our image". There's a conundrum there. What does He mean? Why is God saying let us (plural) make man in our (plural) image? Who was He talking to when He said "us"? Who was He referring to when He said "our"?

Now the traditional rabbis teach that God was speaking to the angels? But obviously that's not correct because God didn't create mankind in the image of the angels. He created us in His own image. "Let us make man in our image," the Lord said. He's speaking about Himself. Man is created in God's image. So why would God use the term "us" and "our" in referring to Himself. And here's the mystery, beloved friends. Because God is multidimensional and He has relationship within Himself. Let me say it again. God is not a singular unity but He's a multidimensional unity. God is not a singular unity, He is a multidimensional unity, and He has relationship within Himself. This is why we refer to God as being Father, Son, and Spirit. And yet each one has a unique personality.

So, for example, the Father is in relationship with the Son, the Son is in relationship with the Father, and yet they're both God. They're both God's essence. And yet there's real relationship there. So when the Lord says, "Let us make man in our image," He's talking to the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Spirit that is within Himself. Now, this is difficult for the human mind to comprehend because it's beyond the natural mind. The Lord said, "Even as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts". So we cannot comprehend how God is one, how there's only one God, which by the way is the highest declaration of traditional Judaism. Here, O Israel: the LORD our God, the Lord is one. There's only one God, and yet within God there is relationship and a multidimensional essence to Him.

So when you think about, for example, God's creation of the family unit, right, moms, dads, brothers, and sisters, this is actually a manifestation of fact that there is community within the Godhead, or even the body of Messiah. We're members one of another. Where does that come from? It comes from the fact that, listen now, key point, within the Godhead, there is community. There is community within the Godhead. God is never alone. God is never lonely, He's never alone because there's relationship, beloved friends, and community within Himself. So I love this: that God is in us.

Now, that sounds almost heretical to say God is us, God is in us. But what did God say? He said, "Let us make man in our image". Taken out of context, this everybody. When you understand that God is us, that there's community within the Godhead, that we've been brought into relationship with the God who is us and who is community, it transforms our worldview so that we begin to look at relationships and society as not being separate from one another. But we look at us all in being in community together. And it really does a lot to deliver people from a sense once again of isolation and of loneliness. I hope that this is helpful for you.

Listen to what I'm saying. I'm not saying that there's more than one God. I'm saying that within the Godhead, there is the Father, Son, and the Spirit, He is a multidimensional God, there's relationship within Him, He is an us, He made us in His image. And I should say, "Let us make man in our image, in our image". And we take that and digest it, we recognize that when we come into relationship with Elohim who created us, we begin to think like He does and we stop seeing ourselves as separate from others, but we start seeing everybody around us that we're in relationship in being community with us. And this is why the Scripture tells us, don't look out merely for your own interest, but look out also for the interest of others.

So when I realized this, when the Lord really sovereignly revealed this to me by His Spirit, it was very, very transformative for me, that God is community. So oftentimes, because of being defensive and being afraid in life, we can begin to think of the world as the world against me, right? Me against the world. Or that song long ago, back from the 70s. Remember? I think it was Neil Diamond, I am a rock, I'm an island, or the solitary man. And we kind of think that, you know, we've got our fist up against the world because we got to survive and you know, we got to fight, and everybody's against us. And if we don't fight, then we're going to end up, you know, being casualties in life. But God wants to transform our thinking, to recognize He's a God of love, He's a God of community. He is community within Himself and He wants us to live in relationship to others with this same, beloved, type of paradigm.
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