What Is the Gender of the Holy or Set-Apart Spirit?

For about 12 years I’ve been holding back sharing this information. Now is the time to let it out. By doing so, I’m running the risk of turning people away from reading this blog and maybe even losing some friends over it. But I don’t care. I don’t care about the praises of men, I don’t take their money, and I’m not trying to get a following and I have nothing to sell. I care about only two things: the Truth and pleasing Elohim. If you’re on board with this, then read on. If not, now is your time to bail out…blessings!

I also encourage anyone who reads this article to also read the comments section that is attached to this article. In it, readers ask questions or make comments which I then address in attempts to add (hopefully) more clarity with respect to my understanding of the nature of the Godhead.

— Natan


The Simplicity of Truth

Why do humans like to make things complicated? To the contrary, Yeshua said that unless one becomes like a little child that one would in now way enter the kingdom of heaven, for of such is the kingdom of Elohim (Mark 10:15; Luke 18:16–17). There are many valuables insights that we can away from this terse passage, but one of them is this: The basic message of the Bible is so simple that even a child can understand it. 

So what does this have to with the gender of the Holy or Set-Apart Spirit? Simply this. A basic understanding of who Elohim is should not be complicated. Let the Bible speak for itself. On the other hand, be wary of complicated philosophical theologies of men who take simple things and make them complicated. Such will likely not fall under the Yeshua rubric of a child being able to understand it.

It seems that theologians often invent complicated explanations as a way to justify their ivory-tower, super-spiritual and self-righteous existence. Those who want to become initiated into their academic inner circle country clubs and to receive their pieces of paper which confer upon the initiated titles that engender superciliousness must pay exorbitant fees and be willing to bow before and to kiss the feet (and other parts of the anatomy in the nether regions) the false gods of intellectual  pride. 

Now I’m not averse to academic training. I have paid my dues and run the gauntlet of five institutions of higher learned at home and abroad and have earned my papered credentials, and can view it all objectively. The fact is that there were only several formerly trained academicians in Scripture, and none of this got the recipients any closer to Elohim. In fact, Paul, the most learned of all, referred to his academic training as dung (Phil 3:8). Facts are facts and are stubborn things that are hard to ignore.

So now back to the subject at hand. What does all of this have to do with the gender of the Elohim’s Spirit? Much in every way. Read the Bible and let the facts speak for themselves. If the theologies of men line up with the Word of Elohim, then keep them. It not, toss them into the garbage can labeled “vanity of vanities and the traditions of men by which the Word of Elohim is made of none effect” (Mark 7:9, 13). Elohim, the Truth and one person still make a majority regardless of how many theologians, academicians, popes, “rabbis”, pastors, Bible teachers, lay people, churches or denominations say otherwise. 

And now on to our subject of the gender of the Spirit of Elohim. If you are a truth seeker at all costs and willing to let Scripture speak for itself, then read on. If not, then change the channel now.

The Dishonesty of the Bible Translators 

There are several examples in the New Testament where the Bible translators have read their own biases into the Scriptures and mistranslated the gender of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:16, Romans 8:16, 26–27 and 1 Corinthians 12:11 are examples of this. Here the translators refer to the Spirit in the masculine gender when the word Spirit, which is the antecedent, is the Greek word, which pneuma, is a noun in the neuter gender. To be honest, the translators should have said it instead of he. There is no grammatical justification for this mistranslation. This is biased translating to substantiate the idea that the gender of the Spirit of Elohim is male when the Scriptures do not say this.

So Is the Holy or Set-Apart Spirit Masculine or Feminine?

In the Christian doctrine of the trinity, the Father, the Son and the Set-Apart Spirit are said to be all masculine in gender. Is this a biblical way to view the “Godhead” or is this simply a tradition of man that has been passed on down for so long that now no one dares question it? What is the biblical truth on this matter? Are the Father, Son and Spirit all masculine Beings?

One thing we know from the Bible is that the Father is a father and is masculine. Likewise, the Son is the also masculine. What about the Set-Apart Spirit? Masculine or feminine? Who are we going to listen? Men’s traditions or the Bible? Hold that thought; we will come back to this later.

In Genesis 1:27 we find an interesting verse.

So Elohim created man in his own image, in the image of Elohim created he him; male and female created he them. (See also Gen 5:1–2.)

From this passage, we find that Elohim (plural) has both male and female components. We know that the Father and the Son aren’t female, so what’s left? Obviously by process of elimination and through logical deduction all that we have left is the Holy or the Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim. The femininity of the Spirit is substantiated by the fact that the Hebrew word for spirit (ruach) is in the feminine gender. This is interesting!

Does the Bible anywhere ascribe a masculine gender to the Spirit of Elohim? Well, sort of, but not in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). This is to be found in the Greek New Testament in only four places.

In Yeshua’s final instructions to his disciples before he went to the cross, he promised to send the Spirit of Elohim whom he referred to in four places as “the Comforter” or “Helper” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).  In Greek, the word of Comforter is paracletos, which in Koine Greek is in the masculine gender. On the other hand, the Greek word for spirit in reference to the Holy or Set-Apart Spirit is pneuma, which is in the neuter gender. The word pneuma in reference to the Set-Apart Spirit is to be found in the Greek New Testament more than 200 times. 

So, based on the evidence found in the Scriptures, we have verses that can be used to prove that the Spirit of Elohim is a he, she and an it. The Tanakh (or Old Testament) indicates that the Elohim has a female component and Spirit as in the Spirit of Elohim is in the female gender.  On the other hand, the Greek New Testament, which often proceeds from or comes out of the revelation of the Hebrew Tanakh and, in some cases, is a translation of passages therefrom, refers to the Spirit by both the masculine and neuter genders. When translating the Greek New Testament, the Christian translators were faced with a dilemma. They could take the neuter word pneuma and follow the Hebrew gender of the word ruach and refer to the Spirit by the pronouns she and her, but this wouldn’t be a proper translation of the neuter gender Greek word pneuma. The pronouns relating to this word would be it or its. The other option for the translators was to land on the Greek word paracletos, which is in the masculine gender, and refer to the Spirit as he or him. It seems that this is what they did, even though the preponderance of biblical evidence shows us that the Spirit of Elohim is neither in masculine nor the neuter gender, which leaves us with only one option: the feminine gender.

In fact, Christian Bible translators have been so intent on forcing the concept of a masculine Spirit, thus upholding the cherished all male trinity doctrine, that in at least three places (discussed below), they use the male pronoun he when referring to the neuter word pneuma. In these instances, to be honest to they should they should have used the pronoun it. This is dishonest translating, which upholds a non-biblical tradition of men!

 

The Voice of YHVH: A Gentle Stream or a Mighty River?

Isaiah 8:6–7, Waters of Shiloach/Shiloah/Siloam…waters of the River. Here the prophet is contrasting the stream that flows from the Gihon Spring and empties into the Pool of Siloam in S.E. Jerusalem with the Euphrates River. When YHVH’s people reject the gentle waters of his river of (Torah-) life and instead find their joy in the mighty river of men’s carnal and rebellious ways after which the majority seek, as a judgment, YHVH’s will allow his people to be overrun and overcome by that river in which they have put their trust.

The waters of the Gihon Spring are here contrasted against those of the mighty Euphrates River, which calls to mind two other scriptural principles as well. The straight, narrow and unpopular way of YHVH’s Truth is juxtaposed against the broad and popular way of the world, the flesh and the devil. Moreover, these contrasting symbols call to mind the still, small and gentle voice of YHVH versus the loud, demanding and brash voice of the world, the flesh and the devil. Elijah learned at the mountain of YHVH that his Creator was not in the earthquake, the wind or the fire, but speaks quietly and gently to his servants (1 Kgs 19:12). 

This is the same voice to which the psalmist makes reference when he declares, “Be still I know that I am Elohim” (Ps 46:10). On the other hand, when humans refuse to listen to the gentle voice of their heavenly Parent, Elohim is forced to raise his voice in judgment against his rebellious children at which time his voice thunders, breaks things and shakes everything (Pss 18:13; 29:1–9; cp. 32:8–9).

 

How do YOU become holy?

How does a person become holy? Does holy water make you holy? Does a robed priest sporting a goofy headdress and wearing a giant charm around his pencil neck while waving his gaunt and delicate hand over you make you holy? Does stepping into a gilded and ornately decorated church and performing some religious mumbo-jumbo exercise make you holy? NO! The Bible declares how a person becomes holy, and it’s NOT what most people think!

For starters, most well-meaning but deceived folks don’t even know what the word holy means. It comes from the Hebrew word kadash, a verb meaning “to be pure, undefiled, unpolluted, set-apart or sanctified.” The Hebrew word kodesh is the biblical adjective to describe Elohim who is totally pure and sinless and without any pollution or defilement. Kodesh also describes those things which YHVH has made holy or declared to be holy such as certain times (such as his Sabbath and feasts), certain places (such as the Tabernacle of Moses), and certain people (such as his priests and saints). No matter how elaborate and convincing the efforts humans cannot make or declare anything holy regardless of the ceremonialism and religious activities. These efforts are merely futile, vain and, quite frankly, laughable! Many unbelieving pagans see this religious charade for what it is and are not  convinced. Some even mock and scorn such efforts. Religiosity is NOT the way to bring people to Elohim—to bring unholy man into the presence of a holy Elohim.

So what is true biblical holiness, and how is it different than the counterfeit that often passes for holiness in religious circles? Let’s discuss this briefly below.


1 Peter 1:16, Be holy, for I am holy. How do we as redeemed believers initially become kadosh or set-apart? This occurs only through the blood of Yeshua, the Lamb of Elohim at the time of our salvation. 

And from Yeshua Messiah, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. (Rev 1:5)

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says YHVH. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa 1:18)

How does one stay set-apart or sanctified andstay in fellowship with a kadosh Elohim? This is accomplished by staying under the blood of Yeshua the Lamb and by confessing and forsaking sin (i.e. violation of the Torah-law of Elohim—1 John 3:4) on a regular basis:

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness [sin or Torahlessness], we lie, and do not the truth [i.e. Torah/YHVH’s instructions in righteousness], but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Messiah Yeshua his Son cleanse us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:6–9)

We also stay set-apart or holy by walking in accordance with YHVH’s Torah commandments. The Scriptures are clear on this: holiness or being set-apart from world cannot be separated from obedience to YHVH’s Torah instructions in righteousness.

Everywhere in Scripture (Exod 22:31; Lev 11:45; 19:2; 20:7, 26;  21:28; 1 Pet 1:16) where YHVH’s saints are commanded to be holy, the command is tied to obedience to his laws be they his dietary laws, the Sabbath, honoring one’s parents, treating one’s neighbor ethically, being a righteous minister, or not succumbing to the pagan practices of the world including sexual immorality, witchcraft, sorcery and witchcraft. To be sure, when we practice holiness by living according to the word of Elohim, it will set us apart and make us different from the world. We cannot be like the world and be holy, set-apart and pleasing to Elohim.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with Elohim? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of Elohim. (Jas 4:4)

Don’t forget the importance of being holy or set-apart from this world, for the Scriptures tell us that without holiness no one will see Elohim (Heb 12:14). This is pretty cut and dried!

Why is holiness so important? Simply this. Contrary to Scripture, the mainstream Christian church teaches one of two things: either holiness is equivalent to religiosity, or that love is YHVH Elohim’s chief attribute. The first notion is incorrect because the Bible teaches that holiness is about obedience to the word or will of Elohim and is not merely about religious activities. The second notion is incorrect because although the Scriptures teach that Elohim is, indeed, love, this is not his chief attribute. Holiness is. This is why the heavenly beings surrounding the Elohim’s heavenly throne are continuously declaring that he is holy. 

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the YHVH of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isa 6:3)

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, YHVH Elohim Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (Rev 4:8)

Elohim created humans with the potential to be holy as he is holy, so that he, a holy Elohim, can spend eternity with holy glorified humans. No unholy or sinful beings can remain in his presence.

 

Where is the fear of YHVH Elohim?

The Bible declares that the fear of Elohim is both the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Prov 1:7; 9:10; Ps 111:10. Therefore it can be reverse reasoned that where there is no fear of Elohim, foolishness and ignorance will abound to one degree or another.

Look around yourself and what do you see from the highest level of human institutions (religious including the mainstream Christian church, government, education, science, the arts, the media, entertainment et al) to the lowest level? Point proved! Such ignorance and foolishness not only confounds those people with a modicum of intelligence and common sense, but all the more the saints who walk in the true light and fear of YHVH Elohim.

Let’s now discuss the reverence and fear of Elohim a bit below.


Numbers 3:38, The the outsider who comes near.This verse teaches the principle of the fear and reverence of YHVH when approaching his divine Presence. Other scriptures that teach our need to be careful when approaching him include Psalms 15:1–5; 24:3–5 and Ecclesiastes 5:1–2 (see also Gen 28:16–17; Exod 3:5; Lev 10:3; Josh 5:15; Ps 89:7; Heb 12:28–29). 

As YHVH didn’t permit the Israelites to come near to him except through the intermediary of the Aaronic priests, similarly we can only come to our Father in heaven through the intermediary of Yeshua the Son of Elohim, and our Great High Priest (Heb 4:14), who is the spiritual door and way to the Father (John 14:6). 

Although, YHVH permits his set-apart ones (the saints) to come boldly before him through the agency of Yeshua’s high priesthood and his blood (Rev 5:6–8) to obtain mercy and grace in time of need (Heb 4:16), let’s not forget two things. First, we come to YHVH Elohim in human weakness needing help and grace from him who is greater than us; therefore, we need to maintain a humble disposition (see Isa 66:2). 

Second, our Elohim is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29); therefore, we need to serve him with reverence and godly fear (Heb 12:28), since in his hands he holds the power of life and death (Matt 10:28). Fire is a biblical metaphor for judgment, and YHVH will judge all people including his own people (Heb 10:30–31) for all that they have done while in the flesh whether good or bad to determine levels of rewards and punishment (Matt 5:19; 16:27; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:12; 22:12). In fact, Peter admonishes us to conduct our lives in the fear of Elohim and to be holy as he is holy who will judge each man according to his works (1 Pet 1:17).

 

Leviticus 16:1—The Protocols for Coming Into the Presence of the Almighty Creator

How do humans come into the presence of YHVH Elohim? There is one proper way to do so, and many improper ways. The Torah’s discussion pertaining to the rituals associated with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) reveal to us what the proper protocol is and also alludes to the fact that there is an improper way to approach the Almighty Creator as well—something which brings disastrous results.

Now YHVH spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before YHVH, and died… (Lev 16:1)

Elohim killed Nadab and Abihu because they came into the holy of holies in the Tabernacle of Moses (a representation of Elohim’s heavenly throne room) in a careless and indifferent manner. Not only were they intoxicated with alcohol, but they failed to follow the proper ceremonial protocols outlined by YHVH Elohim to come into his presence. The next few verses lay out what those protocols are to come before the King of the universe. To not follow those protocols brings the death penalty on the person. Such a person is entering illegally as an unauthorized trespasser.

Before exploring how to enter the presence of Elohim properly, let’s bring this abstract concept down to a level we can understand. For example, who hasn’t seen signs on private property that say something like this: “Private Property, No Trespassing,” “Government Property, No Trespassing,” “Unauthorized Entrance Prohibited,” “Violators Will Be Prosecuted to the Full Extent of the Law,” or “Violators Will Be Shot”? What happens to an uninvited intruder who climbs over the fence around the White House or over the walls of Buckingham Palace? He’s arrested if not shot on the spot. Similarly, there are penalties for coming into the throne room of the Almighty YHVH Elohim illegally.

…and YHVH said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. (Lev 16:2)

YHVH Elohim doesn’t allow humans to casually saunter into his presence anytime and in anyway they want. Though he is our loving Heavenly Father, he is holy (set-apart) and is the Creator of the Universe who is to be feared and respected. He has the power of life and death; he gives life and can take it away. Humans (especially Christians) would do well to know their place before the Almighty, to treat him with the respect he is due and to follow his instructions in all areas of their relationship with him. Indeed, YHVH wants humans to come before him, but in the proper way.

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Who or What is the Word of Elohim/God?

John 1:1, The Word was Elohim.Is Yeshua or the Father the God (Elohim) of the Old Testament (Tanakh)? For many believers in Yeshua, there is confusion as to who it was in the Godhead who interacted with the Israelites in the Tankah. Was it the Father or the Son? In the minds of the apostolic writers, there was no confusion about this. Yeshua, in his preincarnate state, was the One that YHVH Elohim the Father used to both create (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3), and then to interact with mankind. He was the Word of YHVH Elohim, the Father, who become flesh and dwelt among men (verse 14). This truth is easily confirmed in several passages in the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament).

First, Yeshua himself claims to be YHVH or the I Am of the burning bush (see John 8:58 cp. Exod 3:14). The Jews viewed Yeshua’s claim to be deity as blasphemous, which is why they picked up stones to kill him (John 8:59). Next, Yeshua in declaring to the Jewish religious leaders that “I send you prophets, wise men and scribes: some you will kill…” (Matt 23:34), he is claiming the rights and prerogatives of YHVH — a right and role that solely belonged to YHVH in the Tanakh.

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Why use the Hebrew names for deity?

Exodus 23:13, Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of your mouth. (See also Ps 16:4.) Not only is YHVH against the worship of pagan deities and wants their names to be destroyed (Deut 12:3), but he says that he will take from the lips of his people the names of pagan deities (Hos 2:17), and eventually, he will restore a pure language (presumably one that is free of pagan names) to his people (Zeph 3:9). 

Obeying this Torah principle today is difficult, since so many common words such the days of the week and some of the months of the year are named for pagan deities making normal communication without using these names difficult. Nevertheless, the redeemed righteous of YHVH will endeavor to be mindful of this command and speak as cleanly as possible. 

Since this commandment immediately follows commands regarding the weekly Sabbath and the biblical feasts, which are times YHVH has commanded his people to assemble, this is a clear remez or hint that YHVH’s saints should guard against mentioning the names of pagan gods when they gather together to worship Elohim. To mention the names of pagan deities is a slap in the face of the one and only true Elohim!

If one trains ones mind and mouth to use the biblical Hebrew names of “God,” then one will be fulfilling this command. Here is a list of the common English names for deity and their biblical Hebrew equivalents:

  • God = Elohim, El (for short)
  • LORD = YHVH (pronounced Yud Hey Vav Hey), Yah (for short)
  • Lord = Adonai
  • Jesus = Yeshua
  • Christ = Mashiach (or Messiah)