The Design of Scripture

The Number One - Unity

The numbers we will be covering at length will be cardinal numbers rather than ordinal numbers. Cardinal numbers are one, two, three, four, etc. Ordinal numbers are first, second, third, fourth, etc. In almost all languages, the cardinal number one represents unity and 'how many', and the ordinal numbers represent primacy, order, or pre-eminance. This is particularly important in understanding that YHVH is one, or that ’Elohiym (God) is one. This will become clearer as we define the word 'one' and research it's use in scripture.

One or '1', is unique in the sense that it contains none of the other numbers, but it the source of all the other numbers. Removing it from each number would make each number somewhat less than what it was designed to be. This is one reason (pun intended) that God is one. None of His creation is part of Him per se, for He is spirit, but He is the source of all that there is. When you remove Him from any part of His creation, (perhaps because of sin?) then each part is less than it was designed. God is one, this is clear. He does not need us, but we need Him. Earlier, I stated one of the interpretations of "in my flesh I shall see God". We see in our own bodies the reason why God is one. We have only one head and one mind. We have two arms to do things two ways, we have two legs to walk different ways, we have two eyes to look two ways, two ears to hear different things, but these things work in harmony when they take their instructions from the one head. This is why His people are called the body and He is called the head (Ephesians 1:22-23). In order to fully understand the oneness of God, we must first define 'one'.

One is the cardinal number in Hebrew and is dominantly represented by the word 'echad. In the Greek, this word is translated primarily as heis, and its feminine neuter form of mia. Heis and mia are the Greek words, like their Hebrew counterpart, that express the thought of 'how many'. The Hebrew word rishon and its counterpart, protos, express the thought of primacy, position, or order. Protos is where we get the English word prototype, which means the first or original. It is the word used for order or position. For example, compare the word 'firstborn' in Colossians 1:15 with Yochanan 1:1. The word for 'firstborn' is prototokos. This word is a word denoting position and pre-eminance and not oneness. This is why we are told that the Word of God (the Messiah) was 'in the beginning', denoting His pre-eminance. The word mia, however, is the common everyday term for the idea of 'how many'. The only violation of this in the Greek text is in the occurrences of the phrase 'first day of the week' and in Titus 3:10. First day of the week reads in the Greek as 'mia ton sabbaton' or 'one of the sabbaths' and not 'first day of the week'. That, of course, is a subject for another time.

The root meaning of 'echad, is one, alone, or only. The largest percentage of Hebrew scholars however understand and teach that the word means 'unity'. This is because of the nature of it's use in scripture. The Sh'ma states, "Sh'ma Israel, YHVH our ’Elohiym, YHVH is one ('echad). Based upon the use of the word 'echad, the Sh'ma is telling us that there is but one God and one YHVH, and not two or three or hundreds of gods. He is 'echad because there is no other. He alone is God. The verse in B'reshith 1:26 in which we read that man was created in 'our' image, does not violate the oneness of God. It only opens the door to various interpretations as to the nature or essence of the one God, i.e., the Christians trinity or the Rabbinical views of the many attributes of God, or even that He is counting the angels that were with Him. This is why B'reshith 1:26 does not contradict Yesha'yahu 44:24: ... 'oseh kol oteh shamayim levadiy', 'who makes all things stretching the heavens alone.' This simply teaches that there is no other God who created all things, i.e., the number of Gods. It does not teach the nature or essence of the one true God.

The idea of unity within the one God can be seen in other uses of the word 'one'.

Sh'mot 12:49
"ONE Torah shall be to him that is home-born and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you."

The multifaceted Torah is seen as one. Also in B'reshith 1:9:

"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto ONE place ..."

Here again we see the concept of unity. There are a handful of occassions when 'echad is translated as first.

B'reshith 1:5
"... And the evening and the morning were the FIRST day."

B'reshith 2:11
"The name of the FIRST is Pishon ..."

B'reshith 8:5
"... on the FIRST day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen."

But by far the dominant meaning of 'echad is 'how many'. Perhaps the most divisive concept of unity is in the manifestation of God, or the Messiah. This, of course, no more violates the oneness of God, than many Rabbinical ideas about the nature of God. The association of the number one with God simply takes a unique position relative to the existence of everything else. According to the laws of logic, there can be only 'one' beginning. This testifies to the laws of Sir Isaac Newton. Modern science, using the unbending law of cause and effect, have concluded that all the effects that we see have ONE cause or ONE beginning. Ultimately, every seen and unseen thing came from ONE source and not 'no source'.

In Hebrew there is a number system applied to each of the Hebrew letters. This will be posted at the end of this teaching for future reference. As you would imagine, the first letter of the Aleph-bet, or the Aleph, is represented by the number one. The Aleph is called the 'head' of the letters. There are many Hebrew words that have the idea of oneness attached to their meaning, that begin with the Aleph. This is one of the first things you look for in studying the 'sod' or deeper meaning of a text. The beginning letter, it's meaning and gematria, starts the process for discerning why YHVH chose that particular word and not another. Several of these words are: God, one, truth, faith, father, mother, Aviv (first month of the year), Adonay, Adam, earth, tabernacle, word, light, sign and ark. Scripturally, those things that are revealed as 'one' are unique and should be studied. Here is a fairly comprehensive lists of those things that are uniquely 'echad.

  • One YHVH, One God: D'varim 6:4
  • Man and Wife: B'reshith 2:24
  • His Name is one: Z'kharyah 14:9
  • One Body: Ephesians 4:4
  • One Spirit: Ephesians 4:4
  • One Hope: Ephesians 4:4
  • One Faith: Ephesians 4:5
  • One Baptism: Ephesians 4:5
  • One Father: Ephesians 4:6
  • One Seed: Galatians 3:16
  • One Son: Yochanan 3:16
  • One Law: Sh'mot 12:49
  • One Way: Yochanan 14:6, Yirmeyahu 32:39
  • One Truth: Yochanan 14:6
  • One Master:Mattityahu 23:8
  • One That is Good: Luke 18:19
  • One Mediator: 1 Timothy 2:5
  • One Man of disobedience: Romans 5:19
  • One Man of Obedience: Romans 5:19
  • One True Husband: 2 Corinthians 11:2
  • One New Man: Ephesians 2:15
  • One Lawgiver: Ya‘aqov 4:12
  • One Tabernacle: Sh'mot 26:6
  • One Heart: Yirmeyahu 32:39
  • One Stick: Yechezk'el 37:17
  • One Shepherd: Yechezk'el 37:24
  • One Nation: Yechezk'el 37:22
  • One King: Yechezk'el 37:22
  • One Head: Hoshea 1:11
  • One Consent: Tz'fanyah 3:9
  • One People of God: Yochanan 17:21-22

The scriptures cast away all those doctrines and religious concepts that would teach that there is one law for Israel and one law for the church. It destroys the notion that there is one destiny for Israel and another one for the church, or that there is more than one seed, one faith, one way, or one truth. Since the Greek word for church is used extensively from B'reshith to Hitgalut, it would not take a rocket scientist to figure out how many churches God has, or how many Israel's there are. The concept of 'echad is unique and truly one. This is by no means a fully comprehesive study of the number one, but I hope it is a good start.

Yochanan 17:21-22
That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou has sent me. And the glory which thou gaves me I have given the, that they may be one, even as we are one."

GEMATRIA VALUE FOR EACH LETTER Aleph = 1 Bet = 2 Gimel = 3 Dalet = 4 He = 5 Vav = 6 Zayin = 7 Chet = 8 Tet = 9 Yod = 10 Kaph = 20 Lamed = 30 Mem = 40 Nun = 50 Samech = 60     Ayin = 70 Peh = 80 Tzaddi = 90 Qoph = 100     Resh = 200 Shin = 300     Tav = 400 Kaph = 500    
Final Form Mem = 600
Final Form Nun = 700
Final Form Peh = 800
Final Form Tzaddi = 900    
Final Form

Note: the final form means that the letter takes on a different form when it is the last letter of the word, vs. not the last letter of the word!

Shalom Alecheim!