Is the Spirit of Elohim a He, She or It?

Acts 8:16, For as yet He had

In most of our modern English Bibles, this verse supports the notion that the Holy or Set-Apart Spirit is masculine by using the third person singular of the verb in reference to the antecedent Holy Spirit, which is found in the preceding verse. Is this a correct translation? 

First, the Greek word spirit pneuma/pneuma is a neuter gender noun. To be grammatically correct, therefore, our verse should read, “For as yet, It….” and not “He.” However, the Bible reveals that the Set-Apart Spirit is a Person, so it has to be either masculine or feminine. In our text, the English words “he had” are the one Greek word ’hn which is the active, indicative, imperative, third person singular of the verb ’eimi meaning, in its infinitive state, “to be,” or in its imperfect tense, “was.” In this verse, the verb ’eimi in this form can mean either, “he was, she was, or it was” (Basics of Biblical Greek, p. 59, by William Mounce). 

So how do we determine what the gender should be of the Set-Apart Spirit? In the Tanakh, the Hebrew word for spirit (as in Set-Apart Spirit) is ruach/JUr, which is in the feminine gender. Since the concept of the Set-Apart Spirit originates in the Hebrew language of the Tanakh, and since Elohim (the plural Hebrew noun indicating the plurality of the Godhead) reveals himself as both male and female (Gen 1:26–27), it is, therefore, illogical to refer to the Set-Apart Spirit in the masculine gender in Acts 8:16. 

Therefore, in Acts 8:16, referring to the Set-Apart Spirit as he is a blatant example of scribal gloss, and is an example of the translators bowing to the Catholic doctrine of the third person in the Godhead being male in gender even though the linguistics of this verse don’t support it, and something the Bible as a whole doesn’t support. This now begs the following question: If the Set-Apart Spirit isn’t male, but is part of the Godhead, then what other gender is there for the Set-Apart Spirit to be?

 

Leviticus Chapter 9—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Leviticus 9:1, 9, 15, 18, Take for yourself…sons of Aaron…the people’s offering. Redemption (along with obedience to YHVH’s commands leading to righteousness and holiness) starts with the individual (in this case, Aaron the high priest)—especially the head or priest of the home (i.e. the husband or father) and then ripples out to the immediate family (“the sons of Aaron”) and then spreads to those around us (“the people”). 

Leviticus 9:2–4, YHVH will appear. It is impossible to appear before YHVH Elohim without the shedding of innocent blood for the atonement of man’s sins. Man is too sinful and unholy to be able to come before his perfect and holy Creator. The sooner human’s realize their sinfulness and unworthiness, and the need to deal with the sorry state their live is in, the sooner they will be able to fill their inner (some say the “God-shaped) void and the unmet need of having an intimate relationship with their Creator.

Leviticus 9:6, This is the thing. When atonement for sin is made, and a person comes to their Creator on that basis, YHVH and his glory will appear in one way or another in that person’s life.

Leviticus 9:6, 23, The glory [kobowd] of YHVH. Kobowd means “glory, honour, glorious, abundance, riches, splendour, dignity, reputation, reverence.” The root word of kobowd is the verb kabad or kabed meaning “to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome and be honoured.” According to The TWOT, the literal meaning of kabad/kabed is rarely used in Scripture; rather, its figurative meaning (e.g. to be heavy with sin) is more commonly used. As such, in Scripture it often refers to a weighty, impressive or prominent person in society who is worthy of honor and respect. 

Derivatives of kabed include kabed meaning “great,” kabed meaning “liver,” kobed meaning ­“great,” kabod meaning “glorious” (Ps 45:14; Exek 43:41), kabod meaning “glory,” k’budda meaning “abundance, riches” (Judg 18:21) and k’bedut meaning “heaviness” (Exod 14:24).

In Lev 9:6 and 23, kabod is a noun referring to glory, glorious, honor or honorable and is often used combination with another noun as a noun-adjective (e.g. the glorious king).

Leviticus 9:7, Go to the altar…sin offering…make atonement. For the glory of YHVH to appear in one’s life, one must first go to the altar of the cross, and must do two things: lay one’s life down as an offering or living sacrifice (i.e. die to one’s carnal sin nature) before YHVH, and then receive Yeshua as an atoning sin offering in payment for one’s sins. 

Leviticus 9:12, Sprinkled all around. (Other references to sprinkling of the blood include Exod 24:6; 24:8; Lev 6:27; 8:11; 8:19, 24, 30; 9:12, 18.) This is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s shedding or sprinkling his blood on the cross. The apostolic writers use the term sprinkling on several occasions to describe what happened on the cross for the atonement of sin (1 Pet 1:2; Heb 9:13–14; 10:22; 12:24).

Leviticus 9:22–23, Aaron lifted his hand…blessed the people…the glory of YHVH…fell on their faces. The acceptance of and the blessings from heaven flow down to us when what we are doing lines up with heaven’s word and will. Aaron lifting his arms up and blessing the people pictures the river of life flowing from heaven through him and onto all the people. This river of life occurred because Aaron had followed the instructions Moses had received from YHVH (i.e. the Torah), then he cleansed himself of sin (v. 1), then the spiritual renewal and the river of life and redemption flowed to his immediate family (v. 9), then outward to the people around him (vv. 15 and 18). This done, the people were blessed and “the glory of YHVH appeared to all the people” (v. 23), and their sin offering was accepted as in heaven and earth came into agreement with each other resulting in the people worshipping Elohim (v. 24). 

Leviticus 9:24 and 10:1,Fire from heaven versus profane fire. Fire is a biblical metaphor for spiritual light and truth. Divinely revealed Truth originates only from heaven. Man, because of his fallen, sinful condition, is incapable of originating Truth. Whatever religion, philosophy or ideology man invents out of his own carnal mind will, at best, be a mixture of Truth and error. This mixture is the result of humans feeding from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and listening to the fork-tongued two-pathed serpent (i.e. of good and evil or talking out of both sides of his mouth at once), who is lurking in that tree waiting to subvert and deceive man into joining his sinful rebellion against the Almighty Creator. That is why walking away from YHVH’s the divinely revealed (Torah) instructions—the spiritual light and fire of YHVH, is so perilous. This is what Nadab and Abihu did when they offered up strange fire to Elohim; they followed the inclinations of their sinful and fallen natures instead of walking in the light of YHVH’s truth by following his instructions. Playing with fire is a double-edged sword; fire both enlighten, energizes and purifies, but is also a symbol of divine judgement in that it destroys and consumes the carnal and often sinful works (the wood, hay and stubble, 1 Cor 3:12–15) of rebellious and prideful man.

 

Blog Scripture Readings for 4/4 Through 4-10-21

Aside

Parashat Shemini — Leviticus 9:1 – 11:47
Haftarah — 2 Samuel 6:1 – 7:17
Prophets — Isaiah 38:1 – 45:25
Writings — Job 8:1 – 14:22
Testimony — Acts 8:26 – 12:25

Our annual Scripture Reading Schedule for 2020-2021 with daily readings that began on 10/11/20 is available to download and print. The link to the previous 2019-2020’s Scripture Reading Schedule will still be available on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links” into next year. If you are using a mobile device or tablet, the link may be below, meaning you’ll need to scroll down instead.

Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link or the “share your thoughts” box below.

The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day: one each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 4/4 through 4/10/2021.

 

Isaiah Chapters 12 to 28—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Isaiah 12 

Isaiah 12:2, LORD Yehovah. Heb. YAH YHVH. Yah (Strong’s H3050; TWOT 484b) is a contraction of YHVH (Strong’s H3068, see TWOT 484b) and is found some 50 times in the Tanakh. (For more on this subject, see notes at Ps 68:4.)

Isaiah 12:2–3, El is my salvation. The Hebrew word for salvation is Yeshua. Three times Isaiah declares that Yeshua is the actual name of coming Messiah, that he is El (i.e., deity), that he is the source of salvation for those Israelites who had been scattered around the world, and that through him these scattered Israelites would be regathered (Isa 11:11–12).

Isaiah 14

Isaiah 14:4, Proverb.Heb. maschal meaning “proverb, a parable containing an instructive point, an extended didactic discourse, byword, a public example (especially relating to someone involved in unorthodox behavior). In comparing the king of Babylon to Lucifer, Isaiah is using the mashal as a parable to illustrate a point. This is a similar literary device that Ezekiel employed when comparing the prince of Tyre to the anointed cherub in Eden who fell from grace in Ezekiel 28.

Isaiah 14:9, The dead.Heb. rephaim. This refers to the dead spirits or ghosts of the dead humans or the dead inhabitants of the netherworld. The rephaim are another name for the giants who were the demigod offspring of the fallen angels or sons of Elohim and the daughters of men. When these human giants died, the evil spirits (the fallen angel part) that inhabited the human bodies became the demons who continue to torment humans to this day.

Isaiah 14:12–21, Lucifer. Linking the king of Babylon to Satan can present a hermeneutical problem unless one interprets this passage metaphorically. If so, is there biblical precedence for doing so? Yes, for elsewhere in the Scriptures, Babylon is a metaphor for this world’s anti-Elohim system of which the ultimate spiritual head of that system is Satan himself (Rev 13:2,4 cp. Rev 17:5; 18:1–24; 20:1–3) who is the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4).

The name Lucifer means “morning star,” which is also a name for Yeshua the Messiah (Rev 22:16). This emphasized the fact that Satan as the great counterfeiter and imitator has as his basic strategy the impersonation of Yeshua. After all, in this Isaiah passage, he says, “I will be like the Most High….” To this point, elsewhere we read that Satan comes as an angel of light in attempts to deceive even the saints of Elohim (2 Cor 11:13–15). 

The parallels between Lucifer, the king of Babylon and the end times Man of Sin and Antichrist figure who plays a prominent role in the end times Babylon the Great worldwide system are striking. (For a discussion of this, see notes at 2 Thess 2:3–4.) Moreover, like the king of Babylon, Satan will fall from glory in defeat and will be cast into a pit and into the lake of fire (Luke 10:18; Rev 12:9; 20:1–3, 10).

Isaiah’s taunt of the king of Babylon in this passage goes to the heart of both the king’s and Satan’s rebellion against YHVH,which is pride. Both were attempting to deify themselves as the king of the earth, even as will the case with the end times Man of Sin, Antichrist figure along with the beast and whore systems with which he is aligned as revealed in Revelation chapters 13, 17 and 18.

Isaiah 17

Isaiah 17:5, Valley of Rephaim.This was a valley located east of Jerusalem, which produced abundant grain crops.

Isaiah 18

Isaiah 18:1–3, America in prophecy? In the chapter heading in some Christian Bibles, Isaiah chapter 18 is titled “Ethiopia.” Is this an accurate chapter heading? Isaiah 18:1 refers to “the land … which is beyond [on the other side of] the rivers of Ethiopia.” The traditional view among many biblical commentators (both from Christian and Jewish sources) is that this prophecy is referring to the area of modern Ethiopia, which is just south of Egypt. It is believed that the river mentioned in this passage is the Nile with its tributaries, while the ships are a reference to boats that regularly ply those waters, and the whirring wings refer to either locusts or to tsetse flies, which are abundant in that region. These same commentators offer various views on how this prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled in ancient times. In these commentaries, no explanation was given of the meaning of the word sea in verse two and how that relates to Ethiopia, or how Ethiopia was a nation that was feared far and wide (verse 2). Perhaps another interpretation could be offered that would better fit the descriptions of the land and its people given in this prophecy.

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Acts Chapters 2 through 6—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Acts 2

Acts 2:1, With one accord in one place. The location of this event was likely in the Solomon’s portico area of the temple mount, and not in the traditional site of the upper room located on Mount Zion in the City of David, which is southeast and outside of the temple mount area. (See notes at Acts 5:12.) Here, the disciples were gathered in one accord. This is likely the spot where the Acts 2 Pentecost gathering occurred.  The reasons for this supposition are these: First, this area was large enough to accommodate thousands of people (unlike the traditional upper room location on Mount Zion in the City of David). Second, people from many nations would have been passing through the city gates located in this area en route to the temple and would have heard Peter preaching. Third, mikveh pools were located just to the south of the Temple Mount (and are still visible today) where those who repented and believed could have been easily and quickly baptized.

In one place. Where did the early believers hold their meetings? In “church” buildings? Not necessarily.

  • Acts 2:1 In one accord in one place. The upper room or on the southern steps of the temple?
  • Acts 3:1 At the temple at the hour of prayer at the Beautiful Gate.
  • Acts 3:11 Peter preaches in the temple area at Solomon’s Porch.
  • Acts 4:5, Peter preaches to the Sanhedrin.
  • Acts 4:31, The place or room where they were assembled was shaken.
  • Acts 5:11, The church was not a building, but the body of redeemed believers—the saints, set-apart ones.
  • Acts 5:12, The church met at Solomon’s Porch in the temple area—all in one accord.
  • Acts 5:42, Met daily in the temple and every house where they taught and preached Yeshua the Messiah.
  • Acts 8:3, The church met in houses (Greek oikos meaning “an inhabited house, home, any dwelling place, building of any kind.”
  • Acts 9:20, Paul preached Yeshua in the synagogues of Damascus.
  • Acts 10:22, 44, Meeting in Cornelius’ house, and the Spirit falls.
  • Acts 12:12, Gathered together praying in Mary’s house.
  • Acts 13:5, Peached the gospel in the synagogues.
  • Acts 13:13ff, Went into the synagogue on the Sabbath for the purpose of preaching the gospel, and on the next Sabbath as well (v. 44).
  • Acts 14:1, Preaching again in the synagogue.
  • Acts 15:21, Go to the synagogue each Sabbath to learn Torah.
  • Acts 16:13, Meeting by a river side, customary prayer was made on the Sabbath.
  • Acts 16:40, Lydia’s house a gathering place of the brethren.
  • Acts 17:3, Paul, as was his custom, reasoned with the Jews on the Sabbath in their synagogue.
  • Acts 17:5, A congregation in Jason’s house.
  • Acts 18:4, More reasoning with the Jews in the synagogue every Sabbath.
  • Acts 18:7, The house of Justice was a gathering place for the believers.
  • Acts 18:19, More preaching to the Jews in the synagogue.
  • Acts 18:24ff, Apollos preaching in the synagogue where Priscilla and Aquilla met him.
  • Acts 19:8, Paul continues to preach in the synagogues.
  • Acts 19:9–10, The disciples of Paul met daily in a school for two years.
  • Acts 20:8, Sabbath evening, meeting in an upper room.
  • Acts 28:23, In Rome, Paul preaches the gospel from his place of lodging.
  • Acts 28:31, From his own rented house, Paul preached the kingdom of Elohim and the gospel for two years.

Shavuot at Mount Sinai and Pentecost in Acts 2

Although some 1500 years separate the first Pentecost at the foot of Mount Sinai and the one recorded in Acts 2, they are wonderfully linked to each both prophetically and spiritually. Few people understand this. In fact, one large branch of Christianity takes its name from Pentecost, yet it is safe to say that most Christians who claim the moniker of “Pentecostal” know little about the deeper implications of this term.

The first Pentecost is the foundation for and points to the latter one. Each was a watershed event for the people of YHVH that helped set their course of destiny for generations to come. We can learn much by studying these two events and understanding the spiritual implications for us as end time believers even though these events occurred thousands of years ago.

At the first Shavuot, the commandments of Elohim were written on two tablets of stone (Exod 24:12); on the Day of Pentecost, the same Torah was written on the heart of men by the Spirit of Elohim on Shavuot (or Pentecost, Acts 2:1–4; Heb 8:10). In 2 Corinthians 3:3 we read,

“Forasmuch as you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Messiah ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Ruach of the living Elohim; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” (2 Cor 3:3)

Interestingly, as YHVH inscribed the Torah on two stones at Sinai, likewise the human heart is also comprised of two “tablets,” or compartments, which physicians refer to as the “left heart” and the “right heart.” 

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Chag Sameach (Joyous) Feast of Unleavened Bread!

Free resources from Hoshana Rabbah to make your celebration of the biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag haMatzot) more meaningful:

 

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