In Isaiah 45, “the LORD” (“Yahweh” in Hebrew) speaks to Cyrus and tells him that he will be an instrument in God’s hands to fulfill His Will. He specifically prophesies that and how Cyrus will conquer Babylon (compare verse 1) and that he will allow Jerusalem to be rebuilt and Judah to be released from captivity (compare verse 13). He also emphasizes that Cyrus did not know God, when He called him for his special mission (verses 3-5).
It appears that Cyrus was an idol worshipper of the Persian sun god Mythra (whose day of worship was Sunday, and whose birthday was celebrated on December 25). He apparently also worshipped the Babylonian god Marduk. It is in that context, that the LORD (“Yahweh”) says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me” (verse 5, compare verse 6).
It is true that Yahweh’s comments are more encompassing than just referring to Cyrus. He repeats His claim that He is God, and that there is no other God besides Him, in several verses throughout the chapter (verses 14, 18, 21, 22; compare also Isaiah 46:9).
All these passages deal with the true God in contrast with false “gods” or idols. The “LORD” is stating that He created the universe and everything that exists; that He is carrying out His Will and that His prophecies will come to pass; and that no other “god” had or will have any part in any of this. But does this mean, as some have suggested, that Isaiah taught that there was only one God Being—the “LORD”?
We have seen in previous Q&As that God is a Family, consisting of two Beings. We also pointed out in our booklet, “The Book of Zechariah—Prophecies for Today,” that the “LORD” (“Yahweh”) can refer to any one of the two Beings within the God Family. Although normally referring to Jesus Christ, it can also refer to God the Father.
It is therefore obvious that when the LORD says that He is “God,” and that there is no other, this must be referring to either one and including both of the two Personages, who are both identified as “LORD.” The word for “God” is “elohim” in the Hebrew, describing a (family) unit. Remember, God (“elohim”) said in the beginning: “Let US make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness…” (Genesis 1:26). Here, God (“elohim”) is used as a plural word, describing a unity of more than one being.
The LORD—whether the reference is to the Father or to the Son—is declaring that He—as the representative of the God Family—is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. (We discussed before that God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ, compare Colossians 1:12-16). No other god or idol must be worshipped or thought of as having participated in any creation process. But as we saw in a previous Q&A on Deuteronomy 6:4, the Father and the Son are “one”—totally unified in approach, purpose and goal—so that when the One speaks, He speaks likewise for the Other.
Several commentaries have clearly understood that the passages in Isaiah 45, as quoted above, do not teach that God consists of only one person. For example, we read in Isaiah 45:22 that Yahweh says: “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”
Clarke’s Commentary to the Bible states:
“This verse and the following contain a plain prediction of the universal spread of the knowledge of God through Christ; and so the Targum appears to have understood it; see Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10. The reading of the Targum is remarkable, viz., … look to my Word, … the Lord Jesus.”
To explain in passing, “Targum” is defined as, “Any of several Aramaic translations or paraphrasings of the Old Testament” (The American Heritage Dictionary, copyright 1992). The above quote from Isaiah 45 is an adaptation from such Aramaic paraphrased translations of the original Hebrew Old Testament. Aramaic was the commonly spoken language in Judah during the time of Jesus.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds:
“’Look unto me,’…. And not to idols, nor to any creature, nor to the works of your hands… all must be looked off of, and Christ only looked unto… He is to be looked unto as the Son of God, whose glory is the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world; as the only Mediator between God and man; as the Saviour and Redeemer…’for I am God, and there is none else’; and so mighty to save, able to save to the uttermost, all that come to him, and to God by him, be they where they will; since he is truly God…”
These commentaries explain that Yahweh, who is speaking here, is actually Jesus Christ; they also understand that Christ is God—but not the only God Being, of course, because the FATHER later impregnated Mary with the Christ child through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30-35).
Christ—Yahweh—exclaims that He is God, and there is no other—not in reference to God the Father, but in reference to pagan idols and gods who were invented through the maneuvering and under the influence of Satan the devil to create a substitute for Jesus Christ. That is the reason why pagans believed in Savior “sun-gods,” such as Mythra or Attis, who died around Easter time, on a Friday, and who were believed to have come back to life on a Sunday.
Sadly, orthodox Christianity absorbed those pagan concepts and applied them to Christ, claiming that Christ was born on December 25; that He was crucified on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday; and that He must be worshipped today on a Sunday. All these unbiblical practices and beliefs are of pagan origin, and the Bible strongly condemns this kind of syncretism (Deuteronomy 12:29-32).
Likewise, we read in Isaiah 46:9, that Yahweh says: “Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me.”
Again, this is not teaching that there is only one God Being, but that we must not worship any pagan gods, as they are of no relevance.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible remarks:
“Remember the former things of old… which are so many proofs of the true deity of the God of Israel, in opposition to the idols of the Gentiles…”
In conclusion, Isaiah does not teach that there is only one God Being, but that both the Father and the Son, referred to as “Yahweh,” are members of the one true God Family. Isaiah also teaches that no “god” or “idol” must be viewed as a helpful way to salvation; rather, whatever is not of, or belonging to the true God, is to be avoided and rejected.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link