NOTE: An understanding of the information in the document "Knowing God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ" is necessary for comprehension of this document. That article can be found under Doctrinal Documents at AMK.COM. 

It is hoped that the following comments and quotations will help those struggling with issues related to divine identity.   

Increased perspective is given by careful consideration of Old Testament references to deity, preceded by some explanations concerning how these references are translated in the King James Version (KJV). In the KJV Bible the Hebrew "El" is generally translated as "God", and "Elohim" as "God" or "Gods". The tetragrammaton YHWH (Jehovah/Yahweh) is usually rendered as "LORD" or "GOD" (all caps), and "Adonai" is denoted by "Lord". In the three quotations given below the Hebrew names of deity are transliterated from the Masoretic (Hebrew) text and given in brackets previous to the English translation. Translation can be verified by referring to the applicable references in The Interlinear Bible and Strong's Concordance. (Both sources use Strong's word numbers, some of which are as follows: El=410; Elohim=430; Jehovah=3068; Adon(ai)=113.) As illustrated by the following verses, the names of Elohim and Jehovah are sometimes used interchangeably.

"17 For the [Jehovah] LORD your [Elohim] God is [Elohim] God of [Elohim] gods, and [Adonai] Lord of [Adonai] Lords, the great [El] God, a mighty and terrible ... " (Deut. 10:17) 

"13 And, behold, the [Jehovah] LORD stood above it, and said, I am the [Jehovah] LORD [Elohim] God of Abraham thy father, and the [Elohim] God of Isaac: The land where on thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed." (Gen. 28:13)  

"14 And [Elohim] God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And [Elohim] God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The [Jehovah] LORD [Elohim] God of your fathers, the [Elohim] God of Abraham, the [Elohim] God of Isaac, and the [Elohim] God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations." (Exodus 3:14-15) Note: the word translated as "memorial" in the KJV is translated as "title" in the The Interlinear Bible.  

Since language usage and translation relating to deity can be confusing, the following quotation from the Old Testament institute manual is very helpful.

The word Elohim is a plural form of the Hebrew word for God, although modern scholars agree that it should be taken as a singular noun even though the im ending is a plural form. Joseph Smith, however, indicated the significance of the plural form:

"If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, …`The head one of the Gods said, Let us make a man in our own image' … The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take [that] view of the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods." (Teachings, p. 372.)

Elder James E. Talmage explained the special significance Elohim has for Latter-day Saints:

"The name Elohim … is expressive of supreme or absolute exaltation and power. Elohim, as understood and used in the restored Church of Jesus Christ, is the name-title of God the Eternal Father, whose first- born Son in the spirit is Jehovah -the Only Begotten in the flesh, Jesus Christ." (Jesus the Christ, p. 38.)

It is vital to remember the place of God the Father: He is the Father of our spirits (see Hebrews 12:9) and is our God. The existence of other Gods cannot alter that fact. He is the author and sponsor of the eternal plan of salvation. It is equally essential to note, how-ever, that the agent by whom he administers his affairs on this earth is his Firstborn Son, known as Jehovah in the Old Testament. He gave Jesus the full "Fatherly" authority to organize and govern the earth, then through the Atonement Jesus became the Father of the faithful. The Savior thus became the chief advocate of the Father's plan.

Because Jesus is one with God and is also God, the Old Testament prophets sometimes referred to him as "Jehovah Elohim," which the King James translators rendered "LORD God." This construction in Hebrew, "Jehovah Elohim," is not used very often after Genesis 2 and 3, although the phrase "Lord God" is found in the English. To avoid awkward repetition, "Lord GOD" was used to translate the Hebrew phrase "Adonai Jehovah," which literally translates as "Lord Lord" (see Genesis 15:2, 8; Deuteronomy 3:24). Thus, in the King James Version of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for Jehovah is almost always translated just this way: LORD or GOD. (Entire italicized quotation is from the Old Testament Institute Manual, pgs. 45-46) 

Moving beyond the Old Testament, the following quotations should give additional insight.  

"20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 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 hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:20-24)

"35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. 36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one." (3 Nephi 11:35-36; See also 3 Nephi 19:23, 29; D&C 35:2; D&C 50:43; D&C 93:3-28)

The following quote is part of a Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and The Twelve.

"Jesus Christ the 'Father' By Divine Investiture of Authority - A fourth reason for applying the title 'Father' to Jesus Christ is found in the fact that in all His dealings with the human family Jesus the Son has represented and yet represents Elohim His Father in power and authority ... Thus the Father placed His name upon the Son; and Jesus Christ spoke and ministered in and through the Father's name; and so far as power, authority and Godship are concerned His words and acts were and are those of the Father ... The ancient apostle, John, was visited by an angel who ministered and spoke in the name of Jesus Christ. As we read: 'The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.' (Rev. 1:1) John was about to worship the angelic being who spoke in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, but was forbidden: 'And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.' (Rev. 22:8,9) And then the angel continued to speak as though he were the Lord Himself: 'And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.' (verses 12,13) The resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ, who had been exalted to the right hand of God His Father, had placed His name upon the angel sent to John, and the angel spoke in the first person, saying 'I come quickly, I am Alpha and Omega,' though he meant that Jesus Christ would come, and that Jesus Christ was Alpha and Omega." (Messages of the First Presidency, Vol. 5, pgs. 31-32, The Father and The Son - A Doctrinal Exposition by The First Presidency and The Twelve [1916]. Entire exposition reprinted in April 2002 Ensign, The Father and the Son, pgs. 12-18.) 

The following quotes should give additional clarity and understanding.

"Class members should understand that Jehovah, not Heavenly Father, appeared to Moses in this vision [Moses 1:1-11]. Jehovah was the premortal Jesus Christ and the God of the Old Testament. He is one with his Father in purpose and represents him in power and authority. His words are those of the Father and sometimes, as in Moses 1:6, he speaks in the first person for the Father. (See James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 12th ed. [1924], 470-471)" (Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher Manual [2002], pg. 1)  

"There are some important things concerning the office of the Messiah in the organization of the world, which I will speak of hereafter." (Teachings Of The Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 341)

"28 A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest. 29 All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ ... 32 According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest." (D&C 121:28-29,32)

Concerning exaltation and patriarchal succession, the prophet Joseph Smith taught, "... they shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. What did Jesus do? Why; I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children. It is plain beyond disputation, and you thus learn some of the first principles of the Gospel, about which so much hath been said. When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel-you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pgs. 347-348)

We have learned that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and some angels, at times speak and act in the first person for each other. Therefore, it is often unnecessary, and even impossible, to determine individual identity. Since various divine names or titles may be applied to those who have received divine investiture of authority, or who have become one with God, the following counsel by President Wilford Woodruff is a practical necessity. "Then why trouble yourselves about these things? God is God. Christ is Christ. The Holy Ghost is the Holy Ghost. That should be enough for you and me to know." (Millennial Star, vol. 57, pgs.355-356. This statement was made in the context of resolving controversy related to the Adam-God theory.) 

Since very little has been revealed concerning such things as divine investiture or patriarchal succession, we should transcend doubts and disputations by exercising faith in what has been revealed. 

Knowledge of spiritual realities requires more obedience than research. We must always remember that the greatest knowledge comes to those who purify themselves. (1 John 3:1-3; 3 Nephi 19:29; Moroni 7:48) 

© 2001-2004 Ancient Message Keeper™ All rights reserved. This document is the result of personal scholarship and does not represent the official position of any church.