The Foundation to the Golden Rule


Shema Yisra’el Adonai Elohim Adonai Echad
Hear, O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is One.

Sh’ma – hear (listen-obey-accept)

This word, as a Christian, directs my mind to words in the New Testament from the author of Hebrews. He cautions us, “Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts as they did in the rebellion” (Hebrews 3:15). In context, this passage is about how Jesus Christ is greater than Moses and prompts us to remind one another that we should encourage one another to hear (listen-obey-accept) God’s Word.

The call is to open one’s heart in a summited loyalty to God. As Jesus puts it, “if anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23 NET, Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34,).

Yisra’el – Israel (a name with historical context)

God gave Israel its name from combining “sarita” {you have fought} and “el” {God} which ends up being “Yisra’el” meaning “God fights” or “he fights with God.” This is the name because Jacob wrestled with God. In that story, (see Genesis 32:22-32) we are told Jacob would not let go. Jacob believed that blessings came from God. He must have believed this since he wrestled with the man all night and would not let go. He would not quit because of his belief that blessing came from God. God rules.

In the same way, believers trust in God. When testing comes, God’s blessings seem to disconnect from us. We who believe keep wrestling. Our wrestling is with God because it is from Him that we seek blessing. No one else. Nothing else. So, come what may, we hold on to God. We don’t let go. We trust Him by faith. He then blesses us who humble ourselves before Him. You see, this is not wrestling to get rule over God and win, but to reveal genuine faith. Genuine faith is not letting go.

Bible tells us that overcomers are believers in Jesus who die rather than deny God. See 1 John 5:1, 1 John 5:5, Revelation 2:10.

Adonai Elohim – The Lord God (the One in charge- the Most High)

The deity spoken about is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (YHWH). This is YHWH God in Genesis 18:1 whom Abraham called “My Lord” in Genesis 18:3 (Hebrew = ‘adown) or in the translated Greek (kurios) meaning “Master” or “Lord.” God appeared to Abraham, and he called him Lord. We, Abraham’s promised children (people of faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) do as well. Our Master is the Adonai Elohim {The Lord God}.

What’s more important here is Abram/Abraham obeyed what God said and did not just call Him, “Lord.” He did not just pick his favorite deity or the most popular god of his day and call that One his “Lord.” It was not like having a favorite superhero. No, he heard from God. This call is similar to how we hear God’s call to us today through the Gospel message. Abram turned away from worthless things and followed the command of God. Let me remind you of the words of Jesus when He said, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) And more importantly when Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Those that truly say the Lord is their God do what He says.

Adonai Echad – The Lord is One (the one in authority of the Holy Nature)

God is the One on Whom all authority in Heaven and earth rests. Jesus claims this title in Matthew 28:18. This is a title unique to God. Jesus can take this title because He was in the Father and the Father was in Him (John 14:10). God the Father stated that His Name dwelled in the angel of the Lord (Exodus 23:20-21). Is this not the angel that Jacob wrestled with? The angel of the Lord (in whom God’s name is in) wrestled with Jacob, and then Jacob claimed to have seen the face of God and lived. James, too, speaks of the one God of whom the demons tremble (James 2:19). They don’t tremble because they are reminded that God exists, but they tremble because of who He is. “The LORD is One” is extremely important.

The point here is not that there is only one God, but rather that the Lord is One. As stated above, this is the oneness of ultimate authority. This means the one of sacred purity, of total transience to the created cosmos, and the essence of whom God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are “Adonai Echad” or “El Echad,”

What we speak in the church today is similar, proclaiming God the Son is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” He is “God of gods” if you will. Again, a title Jesus claims. The God of the Christian, to Whom the Christian says Christ is my God by dying to self and rises into a new life in Christ. God in Christ providing forgiveness through the one true nature found in Jesus the Son (God Himself) and baptizing with his Holy Spirit those that place under the new covenant their faith in him. The one God the same God the Israelites said Adonai is our God, Adonai is One.

The Most Important Command

The most important command is to accept God’s love and to love, to listen (Shema) to the One GOD.

Mark 12:28-34 ESV says, “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared ask him any more questions.”




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