Elohim

Elohim is one of two words in the Hebrew that means God. The other one is El. Elohim is plural and means gods or, as a pluralis majestatis or generic term, God. Its singular is Eloah. El is singular, and elim in the plural.

Elohim is used of God, when His characteristics of ruler, judge, mighty one are in view. When the Bible talks about the personal God, the father, the God of mercy, it uses the tetragram JHWH, what we usually translate to Jehova or Jahwe.

But the Bible does not only use Elohim for God. Especially in Psalm 82:1, we see God (elohim) stand in the councel of God (el) among the gods (elohim).

So there are gods, and in Psalm 82:6 they are even called sons of the Most High (beney elohim).

But it gets even more interesting. In 1 Samuel 28:3-18, we read the story when Saul inquired Samuel after his dead. How did Saul do that?

Saul asked an necromancer (a mistress of the ob) to consult an ob for her. Ob means a spirit, what we today would call a familiar spirit. This is a spirit that disguisses itself as a familiar but dead person. The necromancer was also called ob, as the word means familiar spirit as well as vessel. So the necromancer is but the vessel for the familiar spirit to appear.

But what happened: the woman called out: “I see a god (elohim) coming up out of the earth”. The spirits of dead people – as opposed to spirits that disguised as them – were called elohim.

Now for a little rabbit trail: Where did paradise go after the fall? In the beginning it was guarded by mighty angels, the cherubim. But we can say that, at least after the flood, it hasn’t been found on earth. Could it be that paradise, the garden Eden, became part of Hades? Hang in this for a moment with me.

Jesus tells the story of poor Lazarus and the rich person. When they died, Lazarus was in the bossom of Abraham and the rich person saw him from Hades, but could not cross the chasm. Jesus also tells the thief on the cross that he would be in paradise with him the same day – but Jesus did not ascend to heaven that day, but descend to Hades to get the keys.

Could it be that Lazarus was in Paradise, and it was the part of Hades for the just? The place that Jesus went to to preach the Gospel to the just of the OT?

If so, maybe the just people of the OT were elohim as they were back in the original paradisiac state?

But then, haven’t we been justified and restored to paradisiac state at the cross? Wouldn’t that mean by deduction that we are elohim (Psalm 82:6, John 1:12)?

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Accompanyist | Pastor in Exile | Iconoclast — I am a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach and a Spiral Dynamics practitioner.