Jesus IS

the “Gift” of the Holy Spirit

Part 2

 

 

 

And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38  AMPLIFIED BIBLE

 

 

 

 

Section Titles  (Click on a title to go directly to that section or scroll down to begin reading this study.)

 

Where Did The Idea of A ‘Holy Spirit’ come From?

 

Is the term “Holy Spirit” found in the Old Testament?

 

King David Spoke in the Consecrated Spirit

 

A capital ‘Spirit’ or a small ‘spirit’…only the context determines which one!

 

The ‘Spirit of God’ NOT the ‘Holy Spirit’

 

Pneuma Is Greek & Spirit Is Latin

 

 

 

 

Where Did The Idea of A ‘Holy Spirit’ come From?

 

In over 4000 years of Old Testament history the ancient Hebrews never referred to God as “the Holy Spirit”.  The Jews, who were first converted to faith in Jesus as Messiah, followed the scriptures of their forefathers, the prophets and men of old.   We must remind ourselves the New Testament books were not written and called “scripture” until after the apostles wrote them and they had been spread throughout the Christian churches in Palestine and Asia Minor.

 

Even the New Testament books, which use the words “Holy Spirit” almost exclusively, are the result of poor translating.  Nearly every Bible translation has been influenced by the pagan theology of the Trinity (a belief that God exists as three persons of God).  In the Trinity there is one person of ‘God the Father,’ a second person of ‘God the Son’ (aka Jesus the Pre-Incarnate Christ), and a third person of ‘God the Holy Spirit.’

 

The Hebrews never believed in the polytheistic theology of the Trinity.  To them God is and always was one (not three-in-one).  Their most sacred scripture is found in Deuteronomy 6:4 and is echoed by Jesus in the book of Mark.

 

 

 

Is the term “Holy Spirit” found in the Old Testament?

 

In the Old Testament the phrase, “the Holy Spirit,” is non-existent.  The words “Holy Spirit” are used in a few Old Testament verses, but never with a definite article “the” preceding them.  On the other hand, in English versions of the New Testament, the words, “the Holy Spirit,” and “Holy Spirit,” appear in numerous scripture verses. 

 

This obvious difference and contrast between the Old and New Testaments indicates something unique, and is the reason for this study.  In other words, the “Holy Spirit” of the New Testament cannot be references to Almighty God as He appears in the Old Testament.  God does not change; He is immutable.  He did not suddenly become the “Holy Spirit” simply because the new covenant begins.  Therefore the phrase “the Holy Spirit”  is an anomoly of New Testament significance, and most likely refers to the work of Jesus the Christ.

 

 

The following scripture verses from the Old Testament illustrate the only two examples where the English words “Holy Spirit” are used (Psalms 51:9-13 & Isaiah 63:9-12).

 

 

In Pslams 51:9-13 King David prays for forgiveness and restoration; this prayer follows his adultery with Bathsheba.  He asks God for a “clean heart” (one that is forgiven), and that God would “renew a steadfast spirit” within him.  In other words, David asked for mercy and divine help to restore his walk of integrity before the LORD.

 

The next part of David’s prayer seems a bit redundant, “Do not cast me away from Your  presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”  God’s “presence” IS His Spirit, because God IS spirit. 

 

Why would David ask God that he not be “cast away” from God’s presence and in the same breath say, “…and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me?”  This would be the equivalent of one person saying to another, “Don’t cast me away from you, and do not take yourself away from me.”  This is a superfluous statement, and God would not inspire this to be recorded in scripture. 

 

In the Hebrew language, the words “Holy” and “Spirit” found in Psalms 51:11 are BOTH NOUNS.  Therefore, the Bible translators have made a serious mistake by using “Holy” as an adjective to describe the noun “Spirit.”  

 

A more accurate rendering of Psalms 51:11 is as follows:

 

The Appropriate Translation

 

 

David is pleading that God would still allow him to come before His presence, and that God would still consider his heart, mind, soul and body as the sanctuary for God’s Spirit to dwell.  David had been set apart (consecrated) for the LORD’s purposes and use, and he didn’t want to lose this position of service in the kingdom of God.  David feared that just as Saul lost God’s anointing because of rebellion, he might lose God’s anointing to lead Israel because of adultery (1 Samuel 16:14-23).

Our relationship with God today is a parallel to David’s plea.  We would offer a similar prayer, “Lord, please don’t let my sin of adultery keep me from being able to come before your throne of grace to find help in time of need, and don’t take away the privilege of housing your spirit in my innermost being so that I may continue to fulfill your will upon the earth as it is in heaven.”

 

The only other mention of the “Holy Spirit” in the Old Testament is found in Isaiah 63:7-16.  Again, there are some serious translator errors found within the text.

 

 

There are two sets of words italicized in the text above; “the Angel of His Presence” and “His Holy Spirit” (X2).  By accenting the translator error in both, it becomes easier to understand the passage and to verify that Bible translations are heavily influenced by preconceived notions and church doctrine.

 

Isaiah 63:9 reads differently when translated appropriate to the original Hebrew language:

 

 

God dispatched a variety of ambassadors to rescue His people from their tight places (aka “afflictions”).  In the Hebrew language, the word translated as “presence” is a plural word, indicating the wide-ranging ways that God operates. 

 

For example, God sent a man named Moses as a messenger to deliver Israel from bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt.  Another time God sent two messengers to rescue Lot and his family from Sodom; these messengers were two powerful angels in the form of men (Genesis 19).  God works through His messengers in a wide-range of ways, sending them to deliver His people. 

 

The personal pronoun “He” used in in Isaiah 63:9 of the NKJ Bible, “In all their affliction He was afflicted,” is omitted in the original Hebrew text.  The Hebrew word translated as “affliction” means “tight places.”  It does not make sense to say that “He” (God) would find Himself in a “tight place” just like Israel did!

 

In Isaiah 63:10 the Hebrew word for "Holy" is translated "holy vessel" because it is a noun (not an adjective).  The word "Spirit" in the same verse is the Hebrew noun "ruach" which means literally "breath."  In Isaiah 63:10 “ruach” should be translated as "feelings of anger" because ruach is sometimes used in context with emotional aggravation, like the blasting of air through ones’ nostrils when they become agitated and hypertensive (eg –Exodus 15:8).

 

In Isaiah 63:10, the words “Holy” and “Spirit” are both nouns.  Verse ten is a follow up to verse nine which depicts the divine messenger sent to rescue Israel.  A more accurate reading of Isaiah 63:10 is below:

 

 

Another manifestation of a divine messenger seen in the Old Testament is called “the angel of the LORD (Yahweh)” or “the angel of GOD.”  This is a very specific angel who is visible to humans and speaks directly for God.  Moses had an encounter with this angel, proclaiming afterward he had seen God “face to face.”  The record of Moses’ conversations with the angel of God in the “pillar of cloud” is found in Exodus 33:7-11. 

 

Isaiah is most likely refering to this particular angel of Yahweh in 63:10 & 11 because this angelic messenger is considered to be the very revelation of God Himself.  The angel of Yahweh is therefore the “holy vessel” of verse ten, and the “angel of His presence” in verse nine.

 

In verses 11-12, the “Holy Spirit” is mistranslated again, and should be a reference to the angel of Yahweh who led Israel through the Red Sea by the right hand of Moses.  Below, the Hebrew noun “Holy” is translated more accurately as “holy vessel” since it is NOT an adjective describing “Spirit.”  The Hebrew noun (ruwach) for “Spirit” is more accurately translated as “wind put into motion by divine breath.”

 

The Appropriate Translation

 

 

The air put into motion by divine breath refers to the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that God sent to lead Moses and his people out of Egypt as they escaped from Pharaoh.  This manifestation WAS God’s “holy vessel” (i.e. – the angel of God) working on behalf of the Almighty.  It appeared to be like a tornado or vortex of air in which God appeared in some form, speaking with Moses. The following scripture passages from Exodus prove this is the correct interpretation:

 

 

 

Further verification is found in the parallels of Isaiah 63:10 and Exodus 32:34-35; both passages show the angel acting as a friend when Israel is obedient, but as a foe when they rebel against God.

 

 

There is no mention of the words “Holy Spirit” in the Old Testament; is the proof of this important?  It must have some validity because we’re talking about the identity of God.  Who is He?  What is He?  How do we relate to Him?

 

No one disputes that God is holy; He is the very essence of purity.

 

 

 

 

 

We view God as holy and pure, and from the beginning, His existence is spoken of as “Spirit” (Hebrew = Ruach).

 

 

 

The question that needs to be answered is two fold:

 

  1. Why didn’t God identify Himself as the “Holy Spirit” during the first four thousand year period of time (Old Testament)?

 

  1. With the advent of the Messiah (Jesus the Christ), we find that God appears to be repeatedly given the title of Holy Spirit (along with His other titles); is there a connection between the glorified spirit of Christ and God’s Spirit? 

 

 

King David Spoke in the Consecrated Spirit

 

The ancient people of Israel did not have a concept of a holy spirit.  The Hebrew word for holy is qodesh meaning “a sacred place or thing”; it comes from a root word meaning “to be clean (ceremonially or morally).”  Another form of this Hebrew word is qodosh and means “sacred.”  This word is often applied to God (Elohim) or LORD (Yahweh), but is not used as an adjective to describe the spirit (ruach) of God.

 

The Hebrew words used for holy were most often associated with things that were sacred or consecrated or both.  Sacred is defined as follows:

 

SA'CRED - The sense is removed or separated from that which is common, vulgar, polluted, or open, public.

1.  Holy; pertaining to God or to his worship; separated from common secular uses and consecrated to God and his service; as a sacred place; a sacred day; a sacred feast; sacred service; sacred orders.

2.  Proceeding from God and containing His precepts; as the sacred books of scripture.

3.  Consecrated; dedicated; devoted; with to.  With due reverence as of something holy or consecrated to God; as, to observe the sabbath sacredly; the day is sacredly kept.

4.  The state of being sacred, or consecrated to God, to his worship or to religious uses; holiness; sanctity; (e.g. - the sacredness of the sanctuary or its worship; the sacredness of the sabbath; the sacredness of elders responsibility to shepherd the church).

5. Inviolableness; (e.g. - the sacredness of marriage vows).

 

King David was a man dedicated and devoted to God, including obedience to His laws and ordinances, and separating himself in his heart unto God.  David did more than perform the outward functions and duties of a king.  From his youth he loved the Lord and at an early age was set apart as a leader of God’s people.  He was called a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).

 

David had a sense of honor and commitment in his service to God.  Though he was given to temptation and sin, he always found room for repentance.  When he was confronted for his adultery with Bathsheba, he wept sincere tears of sorrow, and was willing to accept the consequences for his sin (2 Samuel 12).

 

David had a tender heart and a sensitive spirit, and he often wrote of his meditations and reflections of the Lord.  He is credited with being the author of the majority of OT Psalms, many of which are prophetic of the Messiah.  One such example is given by Jesus with regard to David’s devoted life:

 

·        Mark 12:35-37 And Jesus answering began to say, as He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself said in the Holy Spirit (toó Pneúmati toó Hagíoo), 'The Lord said to my Lord, " Sit at My right hand, until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet.'"  David himself calls Him 'Lord'; and so in what sense is He his son?"  And the great crowd enjoyed listening to Him.  NAS

 

Since the Greek word ‘pneuma’ and the Hebrew word ‘ruach’ both mean “breath” and the Greek word ‘hagiou’ and the Hebrew word ‘qodesh’ both mean “sacred” as their primary definition(s), the best possibility for translating Mark 12:36 is as follows:

 

The Appropriate Translation

 

·        Mark 12:36a David himself said in the sacred breath, ‘The Supreme in authority said to my master {meaning Messiah}…”

 

Sacred breath refers to the utterances David laid forth when writing the psalms; he did this while in a disposition of reverential devotion to God.  This is a mental and spiritual disposition, which caused King David to seek knowledge from Yahweh regarding the Messiah of Israel.

 

David’s utterance is clearly prophetic when he says, “THE Lord (Supreme in authority) said to MY Lord (David’s Messianic Master who is subordinate to Yahweh, the Supreme in authority).”  How could David lay forth this statement unless by divine revelation?  His “sacred breath” are words spoken when Gabriel, the angel of Yahweh gave him counsel on behalf and directly from Yahweh.  This will become evident in the sequence of scriptures provided below.

 

When Jesus asks the question, saying, “David himself calls Him 'Lord'; and so in what sense is He his son?" he is referring to the second in sequence.  In other words, Jesus is asking the Jews, “In what sense is David’s master (meaning Messiah) the son of the Supreme authority (referring to Yahweh)?”

 

·        Acts 2:34-36 " For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet. "'  Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ-- this Jesus whom you crucified."  NAS

 

Peter speaks to a large multitude of Jews gathered in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, and he reiterates a Messianic psalm familiar to them (Psalms Chapter 110).  A series of other NT scripture passages prove the interpretation above is the correct one.  Regarding David, who speaks in a “sacred breath,” a parallel passage says David spoke “in the spirit” (see below).

 

·        Matthew 22:41-46 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?"  They said to Him, "The son of David."  He said to them, "Then how does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet"'?  If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his son?"  And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.  NAS

 

The leaders of the Jews (Pharisees) knew that Messiah was referred to as, “the son of David” (i.e. – meaning, from the lineage of David, according to the promise of God made to him).  What the Pharisees were unwilling to acknowledge was the fact Jesus was the literal and only begotten son of God.  To them, it was not enough that David substantiated the fact that Messiah was God’s son.

 

These self-righteous leaders of the Jews were so indignant they failed to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth was raised by a godly father (Joseph), whose direct lineage was from David’s seed (also see Luke 20:42-43).

 

Finally, one element is essential to comprehend how David was able to speak in a “sacred breath” and minister “in the spirit.”  Like other OT prophets and patriarchs, God used His angels to be vessels that would render help to David in his sanctified position and function.  The Book of Hebrews emphasizes this point:

 

·        Hebrews 1:13-14 But to which of the angels has He ever said, "Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet"?  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? NAS

 

In Acts 1:16 we are blessed with more insight into the unique ministry of David.  The angel of Yahweh is a very exclusive and exceptional angel sent to speak and act directly on Yahweh’s behalf in the Old Testament.  Some scholars speculate this angel may be one and the same as Gabiel (Danierl 9:20-27) who gave Daniel the vision of Messiah the Prince, and who announced the birth and ministry of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias (Luke 1:18-25). 

 

Also, in Luke 1:26-38 the angel Gabriel announces to Mary the birth of the Messiah.  In Matthew 1:18-25 we see the ONLY place in the entire NT where “THE angel of the Lord” is mentioned, and in this narrative the angel is speaking to Joseph regarding the birth of the Christ, the son of God.

 

Gabriel’s name means “man of God” or literally “man of strength.”  This is a name given by God to fit his task of setting men apart and consecrating them unto the Almighty for the work of service.  Gabriel also provides men with the “strength” needed to accomplish the work of God. 

 

Hence Gabriel is THE angel of Yahweh, and most references in the NT that mention him use a definite article.  When a definite article precedes the Greek words translated ‘holy spirit’ (‘Hagion Pneuma’), the Greek text reads like, “tó Pneúma tó Hágion.”

 

·        Acts 1:16-20 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit (tó Pneúma tó Hágion)  foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry."  (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.  And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)  "For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his homestead be made desolate, and let no man dwell in it'; and, 'His office let another man take.'”  NAS

 

The Appropriate Translation

 

·        Acts 1:16 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the sacred (consecrated) spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas…

 

The sacred (consecrated) spirit foretold of a traitor who would betray the Messiah.  This is a prime example of how Yahweh spoke to men through His unique angel, giving them insight and inspiring them to pen scripture.

 

·        Acts 4:24-26 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, "O Lord, it is Thou who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the Holy Spirit (Pneúmatos Hagíou), through the mouth of our father David Thy servant, didst say, 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples devise futile things?  The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ.'”  NAS

 

The Appropriate Translation

 

·        Acts 4:25 “That one, through the mouth of our father David, your servant and child, who, through an undefiled life (Pneúmatos Hagíou), said, “For what reason do pagan nations gush forth in rage and peoples meditate on things that result in nothing?”  

 

Because the definite article is omitted, the text above most likely refers to David’s sacred devotion to serving God and prophesying at the appropriate time.  He kept himself undefiled and in his untainted state of existence before God he could righteously say, “For what reason do pagan nations gush forth in rage and peoples meditate on things that result in nothing?”

 

 

A capital ‘Spirit’ or a small ‘spirit’…only the context determines which one!

 

One of the unspoken doctrines of the Christian church is expressed in Bible translations that capitalize words like “Spirit.”  Bible translators shoehorn their theology into their translating skills by doing this.  It is their way of saying to the reader, “This use of the capital ‘S’ is done on purpose, in order that you might know and automatically agree that its use with the word ‘Spirit’ is a willful reference to the ‘Spirit’ of God.”

 

One can appreciate the respectful position the Bible translators take by ascribing a capital ‘S’ to the word they feel applies to God’s ‘Spirit.’  The problem with this is twofold:  1) It promotes preconceived dogma, and knowingly inserts theology into scripture 2) It stifles revelation that comes from seeing an application to the human spirit; a revelation covered over by simply using a capital ‘Spirit’ instead of a small case ‘spirit.’

 

Most Christians are incredibly  naïve and take for granted that any pronoun that is capitalized (e.g. – He, His) implies Deity (see, I did it myself!; deity can be spelled with a small case letter as well!).  In fact, the average believer will actually defend their favorite translation of the Bible with authoritative vigor, “If it says ‘Spirit’ with a capital “S” or uses a capital “H” to spell “He” the words have to refer to God!”

 

The ignorance of people is fodder for the doctrinal cannons of Bible translators who try to slip in a Pre-Incarnate Christ here and there, or a Holy Spirit there.  The first example of the misuse of a capital ‘S’ is found in the text of 1 Corinthians 2:7-16.

 

 

 

·        1 Corinthians 2:10 reads, “But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”  (NIV)

 

The assumption by translators of the NIV is that God reveals His hidden wisdom only “by his Spirit” (capital ‘S’).  However, the Greek Interlinear Bible (GIB) translation of verse 10 reads differently:

 

The Appropriate Translation

 

·        1 Corinthians 2:10 “But unto us the God has uncovered (disclosed) it through the spirit, because the (human) spirit inquires about (investigates) all things (pertaining to their quality), even the secret unrevealed purposes of God.”

 

Can you see how much different an accurate translation is, and how it completely changes the interpretation of a particular verse?  In 1 Corinthians 2:10, the human spirit is being mentioned, not God’s Spirit.  The context of the chapter proves this, and validates The Appropriate Translation above. 

 

In the context of First Corinthians chapter two, “God's secret wisdom” is being sought after.  If we add a capital ‘S’ to ‘Spirit’ in verse 10, as the translators have done, then the verse is nonsensical.  To do so would have GOD trying to investigate HIS OWN secret wisdom!

 

However, by properly changing 1 Corinthians 2:10 to read with a small case ‘s’ and read (human) “spirit” we unveil, or uncover the meaning of the verse.  It is OUR HUMAN SPIRIT that is seeking to investigate the quality and therefore the value of God’s hidden wisdom!  Now compare The New International Version with The Appropriate Translation of 1 Corinthians 2:10-13.

 

The New International Version

 

·        1 Corinthians 2:10-13 But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.  (NIV)

 

The Appropriate Translation

 

·        1 Corinthians 2:10-13 “But unto us the God has uncovered (disclosed) it (the hidden wisdom) through the spirit, because the (human) spirit inquires about (investigates) all things (pertaining to their quality), even the secret unrevealed purposes of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not taken hold of the spirit of the world, but rather, the spirit that has its origin proceeding out of or from God, in order that we may understand the things that have come forth from God, granted as a favor to us.  The things we speak, not in words taught by (natural) human wisdom but in words taught by the (human) spirit, judging spiritual things in connection with spiritual words.”

 

This translation fits the context, gives insight to us regarding the function and capacity of our human spirit, and is much better than the old fashioned Bible translation.  In fact, verse twelve has been altered by the NIV and other Bible translations to read, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God…”  The personal pronoun “who” was added to coincide with the use of a capital “S” for ‘Spirit.’

 

There are many places throughout the Bible where one can find translation errors of capitalization of the word “Spirit.”  As you search for them in scripture, allow the CONTEXT of each text to be your primary guide, and then refer to Greek study helps, and lean heavily on the Spirit of God for help!  (Also read Romans 1:9; 8:16, Galatians 6:18, 2 Timothy 4:22; Philemon 1:25).

 

Whatever you do, don’t buy into the lie that because a word is capitalized it automatically refers to God.  Use common sense, don’t assume English translations are correct, let the overall context help solve the tough questions, and study to be a workman approved by God.

 

·        2 Timothy 2:15 Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.  AMP

·        (NOTE: Did you notice how the Amplified Bible capitalized ‘Word’ and ‘Truth’ in this verse unnecessarily?)

 

 

The ‘Spirit of God’ NOT the ‘Holy Spirit’

 

The phrase “Spirit of God” is the most accurate way English translations of the Bible refer to the Almighty.  In contrast, the phrase, “the Holy Spirit,” is meant to be a reference to God by most Bible translators.  Whether intentional or not, the use of the word construction, “the Holy Spirit” is erroneous and cannot accurately portray the meaning of the Greek NT words.

 

The majority of Bible translators have been heavily influenced by their doctrinal preconceptions, and translate from Greek or Hebrew to English accordingly.  They cannot be faulted for doing this because, in their minds and hearts, they are doing the best they know how.  It is my opinion however that there are some translators whose bias has crossed over the line in violation of their conscience.

God is very particular about His word, and He doesn’t look too kindly on the motives and actions of men who willfully add to and subtract from the content of His inspired scriptures.

 

·        Jeremiah 23:28-31 “The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth.  What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the LORD.  “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?  Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who steal My words from each other.  Behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who use their tongues and declare, ‘The Lord declares.’”  NAS

 

·        Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is tried and purified; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him. [Ps 18:30; 84:11; 115:9-11.]  Add not to His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.  AMP

 

Unfortunately the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Trinity is widespread and pervasive in the Christian church.  The Trinity teaching asserts a Supreme Deity consisting of three co-equal persons of God.  The various churches and individual Christians who believe in the Trinity can trace its origin to the Athanasian Creed written in about 323 A.D.

 

·        The Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, in Christian belief, is the third person of the Trinity, the other persons being God the Father and God the Son. A theology of the Holy Spirit developed slowly, largely in response to controversies over the relation of Jesus Christ to God the Father. In 325, the Council of Nicaea condemned as heresy the Arian teaching that the Son was a creature, neither equal to, nor coeternal with, the Father. In 381, the Council of Constantinople condemned the logical extension of that view, that the Holy Spirit was created by the Son. The council stated: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father. Together with the Father and the Son he is adored and glorified.” Later pronouncements brought only one important doctrinal change, the 9th-century addition of filioque to the creed of Constantinople. That addition, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the son, has been a source of discord between Eastern and Western Christianity ever since. Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

When the average person reads his or her New Testament and sees “the Holy Spirit” naturally they assume this is a reference to God the Holy Spirit.  The truth eludes them because of mistranslation, and so they never question it.  There is no such thing or person as “God the Holy Spirit.”  This is the brainchild and invention of Roman Catholic theologians.

 

Throughout the entire canon of scripture, God is referred to as “the Spirit of God” or “God’s Spirit” and sometimes just “the Spirit.”  The only way to be certain whether “Spirit” refers to God or something or someone else is by carefully examing the context in which the phrase appears, and to study the original Greek text to determine if the translation has been properly applied.

 

Most people don’t study Greek and Hebrew, but some believers, who are called as teachers, MUST question the validity of any text that is suspect, and do their best to provide accurate information to the church.

 

Thus far in our study we have determined the term “Holy Spirit” does not appear in the Old Testament Hebrew text of scripture.  Subsequent studies following this one will demonstrate how the majority of New Testament scriptures using the words “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost” have done so erroneously.

 

The following is a list of various places in the Old and New referring to “the Spirit of God.”  This is the ONLY way Israel acknowledge God as a spirit being; they had no concept of a “Holy Spirit.”   In fact, it was not until centuries after Jesus and his disciples lived on the earth that the Roman Catholic church and its’ theologians introduced the idea of a holy spirit as a “person” of God.

 

Old Testament

 

·        Genesis 1:2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. NASU

 

·        Numbers 24:2 And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him. NASU

 

·        1 Samuel 10:10 When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them. NASU

 

·        1 Samuel 11:6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and he became very angry. NASU

 

·        Job 33:4 "The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.  NASU

 

·        Ezekiel 11:24 And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God to the exiles in Chaldea. So the vision that I had seen left me. NASU

 

The OT Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word pneúma is ruwach.  The Hebrew word ruwach means “breath” just as the Greek word pneúma does.  The Hebrews and later the Israelites associated ruwach with life itself, because from the invisible breath of the Creator, all living things have their existence.

 

When the ancients spoke of the spirit (ruwach) of God, they did not distinguish it as one of three persons of God.  In fact, the very idea of more than one person of God was considered blasphemy among Israelites.

 

·        Exodus 20:3-5 "You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God… NAS

 

·        Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord]. AMP

 

We must align our concept of God with the truth of the scripture.  God is one, and he is spirit.  He is the Creator, and as such he is the Father of all living things.  God is also holy and righteous, pure in all His ways. 

 

A God whose very existence is spirit and who by nature is holy would certainly be capable of inspiring His word to align with an accurate description of who He is.  God chose NOT to describe Himself as ‘the holy spirit’ for some very important reasons.

 

First, the languages of men are a tool of communication between mortals.  Our definition and understanding of “holy” and “holiness” is greatly distorted in contrast with the level of holiness attributed to the Creator.  If God inspired the writers who penned the scriptures to use the words “holy spirit” to explain Him, their use of “holy” would be subjective to what each person, culture or society viewed as such.  Hence, the word “holy” may or may not be defined as being without sin by one culture verses another.

 

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil has been the global standard by which men decide what is right or wrong, good or bad.  This knowledge is skewed by the deceiver (Satan) who makes what is good seem bad, and what is evil seem right.  God in His mercy laid forth a standard for right and wrong when He gave the Law to Moses, lest mankind corrupt himself to the level just prior to the flood.

 

Second, the realm of holiness that is inherent only to God cannot be adequately expressed in human language.  Used as an adjective before the word “spirit” the human word for “holy” is a feeble attempt to relate in our native dialects exactly how pure the Lord God truly is.

 

Just as our actual existence, or essence is body, soul and spirit, God has an essence (intrinsic being or self-existence) that is spirit.  God does not want His being to be misrepresented by attaching a low level human standard of holiness to it.  Therefore God chose not to refer to Himself as “the Holy Spirit.”

 

The LORD did however allow the penmen of scripture to refer to Him as being “holy.”  God knew it was necessary for the true worshippers to have an explanation of the Deity, and therefore God anointed and inspired the scriptures with Hebrew and Greek adjectives illustrating his pure and undefiled character.  Moses discovered, to a degree, how “holy” his God was when he met with him on the mount:

 

·        Exodus 3:4-6 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”  And he said, “Here am I.”  God said, “Do not come near; put your shoes off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.”  Also He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.  AMP

 

Moses discovered, as have other prophets of the LORD, that no man can look upon God and live.  His holiness would result in the complete consumption of our carnal flesh if we were to stand in His holy presence.

 

·        Exodus 33:17-20 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have asked, for you have found favor, loving-kindness, and mercy in My sight and I know you personally and by name.”  And Moses said, “I beseech You, show me Your glory.”  And God said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim My name, THE LORD, before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy and loving-kindness on whom I will show mercy and loving-kindness.”  But, He said, “You can not see My face, for no man shall see Me and live.”  AMP

 

The nature and character of God never changes.  He did not suddenly become the “Holy Spirit” just because the new covenant (New Testament) begins.

Ironically, the mention of the “Holy Spirit” increases dramatically in the books called the New Testament. 

 

Anyone who is seeking to know the one true God must question this glaringly obvious discrepancy between Old and New Testaments.  It will be demonstrated over and over in this consecutive series of studies that the Bible translations have erred on a wholesale level when choosing to use the words “Holy Spirit” in both Old and particularly the New Testament.

 

The following are the majority of Bible verses from the New Testament that describe the Almighty as, “the Spirit of God.”  Next to each phrase in parenthesis the Greek words used have been provided.

 

New Testament

 

·        Matthew 3:16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God (Pneúma toú  Theoú) descending as a dove and  lighting on Him, NASU

 

·        Matthew 12:28 "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God (Pneúmati Theoú), then the kingdom of God has come upon you. NASU

                              

·        Romans 8:9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God (Pneúma Theoú) dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. NASU

 

·        Romans 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God (Pneúmati Theoú), these are sons of God. NASU

 

·        1 Corinthians 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God (tó Pneúma toú Theoú). NASU

 

·        1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God (toú Pneúmatos toú Theoú), for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually (pneumati) appraised. NASU

 

·        1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God (tó Pneúma toú Theoú) dwells in you? NASU

 

·        1 Corinthians 7:40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God (Pneúma Theoú).

 

·        1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God (Pneúmati Theoú) says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.  NASU

 

·        Philippians 3:3 For we are the true  circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God (Pneúmati Theoú) and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, NASU

 

·        1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God (tó Pneúma toú Theoú): every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; NASU

 

The majority of these verses use the proper Greek noun “pneuma” to describe who God is.  He IS spirit (John 4:24), and the Greek strengthens this fact by using pneuma instead of pneumati or pneumatos.  The five exceptions (Matthew 12:28 Romans 8:14 1 Corinthians 2:14 1 Corinthians 12:3 Philippians 3:3) all illustrate how man relates to God and how God relates (for a specific purpose) to man.

 

·        John 4:24 "God is spirit (Pneúma ho Theós), and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."  NAS

                                   

Pneumatos is the genitve form of pneuma, and it usually denotes purpose.  In other words, this form of the word is used in a context where it is necessary to show what the function or purpose of the noun pneumatos is.  In 1 Corinthians 2:14 pneumati is also translated “spiritually” in reference to spiritual discernment.

 

Regardless of the form in which the Greek noun pneúma appears (i.e. – pneúma, pneúmati, pneúmatos) only the context can determine if it applies to God.  If the Greek word hagios (translated as ‘holy’) appears before or after pneuma, it need not be translated as “holy spirit.”  In fact, most often hagios is the word used in reference to those who serve God by being set apart and consecrating themselves for service to God.

 

There is yet another form derived from pneuma (pneumatikos) that is always translated as “spiritual” or “spiritually.”  The following references are all the places in the NT where pneumatikos is found.

 

·        4152. pneumatiko  pneumatikos ROM. 1:11; 7:14; 15:27; 1 COR. 2:13, 15; 3:1; 9:11; 10:3, 4; 12:1; 14:1, 37; 15:44, 46; GAL. 6:1; EPH. 1:3; 5:19; 6:12; COL. 1:9; 3:16; 1 PET. 2:5 (AMG Complete Wordstudy Bible & Reference CD)

 

We have learned that there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the manner in which the Bible translators have chosen their words.  Without being aware of what they were doing, they inadvertantly added to the text of the scriptures, particularly the Greek, to substantiate their doctrine regarding the holy spirit. 

 

Ultimately it is Satan’s job to misrepresent God, and if he can do so through improper translating of the scriptures, he is only too happy to oblige.  However, God is bringing to light all the hidden things, and making Himself known to those who seek Him in spirit and in truth.

 

·        John 4:23-26 A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.  God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality).  The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming, He Who is called the Christ (the Anointed one); and when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make it clear to us.  Jesus said to her, I Who now speak with you am He.  AMP

 

 

Pneuma Is Greek & Spirit Is Latin

 

Greek is the language of the New Testament manuscripts.  There are literally thousands of manuscripts and manuscript fragments that have been discovered by archaeologists.  Today we enjoy the benefit of having both Old and New Testaments translated into modern English, but has not always been so in the history of mankind.

 

The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek was the first major innovation in providing a text of scriptures to the Roman world.   Nearly 300 years after the death of Christ the Latin Bible was written, but no one is 100% certain of its origin.

 

Toward the close of the Fourth century the Roman Catholic Church, at the command of Pope Damasus, commissioned Jerome to produce a standard Latin version of the Bible.   Jerome's Latin Bible, (390 AD - 405 AD) came to be known as the Latin Vulgate. 

 

Jerome himself acknowledged that the most authoritative and final response to criticism should be the Greek manuscripts.  He put far more weight in them than in his Latin translation, saying, “But if the truth is to be sought from the majority, why not rather go back to the Greek original, and correct the blunders which have been made by incompetent translators, made worse rather than better by the presumption of unskillful correctors, and added to or altered by careless scribes?”

 

Jerome’s Latin Bible became the predominant text of the Catholic Church, as it was felt by church authorities that too many copies of NT manuscripts existed, and one uniform text was needful.  Thus as early as the Fourth century the Latin Vulgate asserted its’ authoritative weight in the religious community, but NOT in the hearts and minds of the true disciples of Jesus.

 

·        The language of Christian Rome was mainly Greek, down to the 3rd century.  Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans in Greek.  When Clement of Rome in the last decade of the 1st century wrote an epistle in the name of the Roman church to the Corinthians, he wrote in Greek.  Justin Martyr, and the heretic Marcion, alike wrote from Rome in Greek.  Out of 15 bishops who presided over the Roman Church, (down to the close of the 2nd century), only four have Latin names.  Even the pagan emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote his Meditations in Greek.  If there were Christians in Rome at that period whose only language was Latin, they were not sufficiently numerous to be provided with Christian literature; at least none has survived.  (From International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)

 

The Latin word used to translate the Greek word pneuma is ‘spiritus.’  The Latin word ‘spiritus’ originates from its’ Latin root word ‘spiro’ meaning, “to breathe, to blow.”  The primary sense is to rush or drive. 

 

The Latin Vulgate used spiritus in most every text of the New Testament where pneuma appears.  The reasoning behind this is quite simple.  Pneuma means, “a current of air or breath.”  Pneuma is derived from its Greek root word pnéo meaning, “to breathe hard, i.e. – a breeze.”

 

The closeness in meaning made pneuma and spiritus compatible for translation.  However, because the Latin Vulgate was the authoritative translation used by the Roman Catholic Church, the use and meaning of the word spiritus was governed by the doctrines of Rome.  These doctrines, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, are pervasive today, even within the beliefs of so-called Christianity.

 

Hence, the meaning of the original Greek word pneuma became tainted by ecclesiastical and religious tradition, philosophy and the precepts of man.  For example, the use of the literal meaning of pneuma (i.e. – to breathe) is all but lost in the NT scriptures.  The original meaning of pneuma and pnéo was frequently associated with the equivalent to the English word for “life.”

 

The Greeks used pneuma to represent human life in much the same way the ancient Israelites used the Hebrew word ruach.  Ruach is the Hebrew word often mistranslated as “spirit” in the OT.  Ruach means, “wind, breath, a reasonable or violent exhalation.”

 

Figuratively, both pneuma and ruach mean, “life, as the vital principle of man; a rational human being, human spirit or soul (including its expression and functions).”  These Greek and Hebrew words can also be used to represent one’s mental disposition and emotions such as anger.”  They can be used in context to mean “wind, a region of the sky; superhuman spirit, either angelic, divine or demonic.”

 

The frequent use of the word “spirit” by Bible translators creates difficulty in understanding the correct application and translation of the Greek word pneuma.  In the case of “the Holy Spirit” it seems like translators have limited any other plausible use of the word.  Hence viable alternatives like “holy life, undefiled life, sanctified life, etc” are outweighed in favor of translations that attempt to corroborate the third person of the Trinity (i.e. – God the Holy Spirit).

 

This nine part study will lay foundational information necessary for understanding why errors occur in Bible translating, what the common errors are, and hopefully help readers to question translations and think for themselves.  Part 3 will begin intensive study of the texts that mention Jesus as being the “Helper” or “the Holy Spirit.”

 

 

 

 

SELAH…Pause and reflect

 

 

Continued in Part Three

 


Links to the Entire "Jesus is the Gift of the Holy Spirit” Series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Addendum (Quick Reference Guide)

 


 

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