2. By the Word of YHVH the Heavens were made

The Word was the Speaker who brought creation into being

By the Word of YHVH the heavens were made,
and by the breath of His mouth all their host.

Psalms 33:6

The Psalmist described the creation of God by “the Word,” and by the breath of God.

The expression “the Word” described the Spirit of Christ as “the speaker” who spoke creation into being. In fact, you may notice that creation in Genesis 1, was by the way of Ten Commandments, all using the expression “and ELOHIM spoke.”

In fact, the Jerusalem Targum identifies “the Word” as the speaker of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1: “And the Word of the Lord spoke all these glorious words.”

The Spirit of Christ was “the only begotten God” (John 1:18), who spoke creation into being, and brought Israel the Law.

The “Wind” or “Breath” of God in Genesis 1:2

In the New King James Version, we read Genesis 1:1–2 as “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Trinitarians have suggested that the phrase “Spirit of God” in Genesis 1:2 is proof of a “third person” of the Godhead who existed eternally with Christ and God. However, the Jewish Bible has noted that the Hebrew words “RUAH ELOHIM” in Genesis 1:2 should be translated as “wind” or “breath of God.” This is evident from other Old Testament Books and the Jewish Targums. The phrase “Spirit” is “RUAH” in Hebrew and has the primary meanings of “wind or breath,” as does the word “Pneuma” in Greek.

The true meaning of RUAH ELOHIM in creation is probably best explained by Psalms 33:6:

By the Word of YHVH the heavens were made,
and by the breath of His mouth all their host.

Job called the Spirit of Christ “the Spirit of EL,” saying,

The Spirit of EL, SHE-made-me,
And the Breath of the Almighty, gives me life

Psalms 104:30 also has Genesis 1:2 in mind, to say the breath of God, brought life into being:

You send out your Wind (or Breath), they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.

“RUAH of God” in Genesis 1:2 is translated as “Wind of God” in the Jewish Targums. This is particularly evident in the “Jerusalem Targum,” which uses the expression “merciful wind” in both Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 8:1:

a merciful wind from before YHVH was blowing over the surface of the waters.1

Genesis 1:2

and YHVH caused the wind of mercies to pass over the earth, and the waters were dried.

Genesis 8:1

The Targum Onkelos reads “and a wind from before the Lord blew upon the face of the waters.”

The Greek Septuagint does not have the article “the,” before “Pneuma of God,” suggesting that “wind” is the meaning (καὶ πνεῦμα θεοῦ ἐπεφέρετο ἐπάνω τοῦ ὕδατος, Wind of God moved over the water).2

The Hebrew word RUAH in Genesis 1:2 can only refer to “wind” or to the Spirit of Christ, because it is expressed in the feminine. As we will show in Part K, the expression “RUAH of YHVH,” only describes God Himself, when it is used in the masculine, such as in 2 Samuel 23:2, and Isaiah 40:13:

Who has directed the Spirit of YHVH, to counsel-HIM, inform-HIM?

Isaiah 40:13, 1 Corinthians 2:16

The first seven uses of the expression “RUAH” occur in Genesis 1–8, where we see that “wind” or “breath of life” is always the meaning. The first occurrence is Genesis 1:2, which speaks of the “wind” or “breath” that brought life into the world.

Genesis 1:2 “Wind from God was over the face of the waters”
Genesis 3:8 “walking in the breeze of the day”
Genesis 6:3 “My spirit (breath of life) shall not always strive with man”
Genesis 6:17 “all flesh in which is the breath of life”
Genesis 7:15 “all flesh in which was the breath of life”
Genesis 7:22 “all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life
Genesis 8:1 “And God made a wind to pass over the face of the earth and caused the waters to subside” (as He did in Genesis 1:2)

The Jewish Bible, JPS Tanakh (1985), now recognizes “Wind” as the most appropriate translation in Genesis 1:2.

(For more on Genesis 1:2, see Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers.)

The Spirit of ELOHIM was the Spirit of Christ in the Prophets.

The phrase “Spirit of ELOHIM” always refers to the Spirit of Christ in the Old Testament, and never to the Spirit of God Himself.

In fact, “Spirit of ELOHIM,” “Spirit of YHVH,” “Angel of God,” and “Angel of YHVH” all refer to the Spirit of Christ.

Peter told us that the “Spirit of Christ” was in the prophets, which we can see in all the expressions of “Spirit of ELOHIM” in the Old Testament. The first prophet in the Bible might be Joseph, of whom Pharaoh said, “can we find such as one as this (Joseph) in whom the Spirit of ELOHIM dwells” (Genesis 41:38). In Joseph, we find the first evidence of the Spirit of Christ in the prophets. The Palestine and Onkelos Targums, which we shall discuss, tell us that “the Word of YHVH was Joseph’s Helper” in Genesis 39:2, 21, 23, 48:21, and 49:25. The Word of YHVH was the Spirit of Christ in Joseph, who helped him to explain dreams and gave him wisdom. The Spirit of Christ was the first “Helper” of Israel. The same said, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper,” (John 14:16) which was the Spirit of God, poured out on the Day of Pentecost.

The expression “Spirit of ELOHIM” in the NKJV Old Testament (14 times)
Genesis 1:2: “the Spirit (Wind) of ELOHIM” moved over the face of the deep
Genesis 41:38: “can we find such as one as this (Joseph) in whom the Spirit of ELOHIM dwells”
Exodus 31:3: “And I have filled him with the Spirit of ELOHIM and wisdom”

This is God speaking; He did not say “My Spirit.”

Exodus 35:31: And he hath filled him with the Spirit of ELOHIM, in wisdom and understanding.”

The writer does not say “His Spirit” to mean God’s own spirit.

Numbers 24:2: “And Balaam lifted his eyes . . . and the Spirit of ELOHIM came upon him.
1 Samuel 10:10: “The Spirit of ELOHIM came upon him (Saul) and he prophesied”
1 Samuel 11:6: “The Spirit of ELOHIM came upon Saul”
1 Samuel 19:20: “the Spirit of ELOHIM was upon the messengers of Saul”
1 Samuel 19:23–24: “And he (Saul) went thither . . . and the Spirit of ELOHIM was upon him . . . therefore they say “is Saul also among the prophets”
2 Chronicles 15:1: “the Spirit of ELOHIM came upon Azariah (and he prophesied)”
2 Chronicles 24:20: “the Spirit of ELOHIM came upon Zechariah”
Job 27:3: “and the breath (ruah) of ELOHIM is in my nostrils” (ruah is translated as Spirit in some Bibles, but means breath here, as in Genesis 6:17; 7:15, and 22).
Job 33:4: “the Spirit of ELOHIM, SHE-made me”
Ezekiel 11:24: “in a vision by the Spirit of ELOHIM”

The Trinity Doctrine Equated the Spirit of Christ to the Spirit of God

Prior to 325 A.D., all believers knew there were two “Holy Spirits” in the Bible. They understood that “the Holy Spirit” poured out on the Day of Pentecost was not the “the Holy Spirit” who was manifest in the man Christ Jesus.

The Spirit of Christ is Christ’s Spirit, and the Spirit of God is God’s Spirit. But this obvious truth was confused by the Trinity doctrine.

After the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., Trinitarian philosophers said that the Spirit of Christ in the Old Testament and the Spirit of God poured out on the Day of Pentecost were the same “person” called “the Holy Spirit.” They said this “Holy Spirit” was the third person of the Trinity.

The Trinitarian believers also said that the “RUAH of ELOHIM,” meaning “Wind of ELOHIM,” in Genesis 1:2 was the first reference to the third person of the Trinity, whom they called “the Holy Spirit.” The Trinitarians saw Genesis 1:2 as proof that there was another person called “the Holy Spirit” who existed eternally and was therefore equal to the Father.

The idea that the Holy Spirit was “another person” was rejected by the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and all of the Eastern Churches of Asia, because the Greek Church understood the Greek language. They knew that the Spirit of God was simply the Spirit of the Father, and they understood that the “He” references in the Gospel of John were only a function of the Greek grammar, referencing the masculine word “Comforter.” The Greek Church and the Churches of Asia believed that Christ was “the only begotten God” and “the Word” in the Old Testament. They saw only “two persons” in the Bible: who were Christ and God.

The Chalcedonian Definition of the Greeks, adopted in A.D. 451 at the Council of Chalcedon in Asia Minor, reads:

co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead . . . before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead . . . not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us 3

Some think Paul equates the Spirit of God to the Spirit of Christ in Romans 8:9: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” But, Paul was not equating the Spirit of Christ to the Spirit of God in this verse. Paul was telling us that those who have received the Spirit of God are “in the Spirit (of Christ).” We will discuss this in more detail in Chapter 23.

The Holy Spirits of the Old and New Covenants

Today, many are still confused by the Trinity’s explanation of “the Holy Spirit.” But the proper explanation is very simple.

There are two Holy Spirits in the Bible.

The Spirit of Christ was the Holy Spirit of the Old Covenant, who brought the Law. The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit of the New Covenant, the Spirit of grace and truth, poured out on the Day of Pentecost.

Zechariah 7:12 describes the Spirit of Christ as the Word who spoke through the prophets: “Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the things which YHVH of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets.”

And Zechariah 12:10 identifies the Spirit of God as the Spirit of grace in the New Covenant: “I will pour out on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication, then they will look upon Me whom they pierced.”

Here, Christ, the Word, prophesied that He would pour out the Spirit of God on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2:35.

The expression “Holy Spirit” appears only three times in the Old Testament. Two of these references are Isaiah 63:10 and 63:11, which the Targum translates as “the Word,” being the Spirit of Christ. The other use of the expression “Holy Spirit” is in Psalm 51:11, where David said, “take not your Holy Spirit from Me.” But Jesus told us that David called the Spirit of Christ, “his lord,” by the Spirit. Therefore, we can see that all the references to the “Holy Spirit” in the Old Testament are referring to the Spirit of Christ.

The phrase “the Holy Spirit” appears 92 times in the New Testament. After the Day of Pentecost, the phrase “Holy Spirit” only referred to the Spirit of God. The expression “the Spirit” referred to the Spirit of Christ. For example, Paul said, “the Lord is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

The most confusing area of the Bible is the Gospels. There were two Holy Spirits in this time because the Old Covenant was still in effect, and therefore the Spirit of Christ was still called the Holy Spirit. But, Christ became the first of the Kingdom of God, when He received the Spirit of God in His baptism, while the rest of the world was still under the Old Covenant. The Spirit of God that descended on Jesus is the Holy Spirit of the New Covenant, the Spirit poured out on the Day of Pentecost.

But the Targum of Isaiah completely clarified this mystery, because it called the Spirit of Christ “the Word,” and called the Spirit of God “the Holy Spirit.”

The Spirit of Christ was “the Word” in the Old Testament

The “Word” is explained for us in the Jewish Encyclopedia 4. From the Targums, the Jewish people understand that “the Word” was God’s Messenger in the Old Testament. A Targum is a translation that makes the original meaning more understandable. The Jewish Targums were written in Aramaic, and “the Word” is “Memra” in Aramaic. In Hebrew, it is “Dabar.”

The first reference to the Spirit of Christ as “the Word” in our Bibles may be in Genesis 15:1 and 4: “After these things the Word of YHVH came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid Abram.’”

The Word was the Spirit who appeared to Abram and spoke to him.

Our next passage might be 1 Samuel 3:7 and 21, where we read that YHVH was revealed by the Word: “Now Samuel did not yet know YHVH, nor was the Word of YHVH revealed to him.” “Then YHVH appeared again in Shiloh. For YHVH revealed Himself in Shiloh by the Word of YHVH.”

In 1 Samuel 15:10, we read “and came the Word of YHVH to Samuel, saying, ‘I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king . . .’”

The expression “and came the Word of YHVH to me saying” (wayhi dabar YHVH elay minor) is used throughout the Book of Ezekiel (e.g. Ezekiel 1:3, 3:16, 6:1, 7:1, etc.).

We might also find “the Word” in 2 Samuel 23:2, but here the Hebrew word is “millah: “The Spirit of YHVH, HE-spoke in me, and His Word was on my tongue.”

In 2 Samuel 23;2, the masculine verb is attached to “RUAH,” telling us the Spirit of YHVH is the invisible God. The “word” in his “tongue” was Christ, who was the Spirit in the mouth of David. Compare David’s expression, “His Word was in my tongue,” with 1 Kings 22:22: “I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” The Spirit of Christ spoke the words of God, through David.

The expression “Dabar” or rather “Memra” in Aramaic was used extensively in the Targums.

The Spirit of Christ was called “the Memra” or “Word” in the Pentateuch Targums of Onkelos (110AD) and extensively throughout the Targum Yerushalmi Fragments (Jerusalem Targum), and in the Pseudo Jonathan Ben Uzziel Targum.

 

Excerpts from the Targums of the Pentateuch

Below, we present a sample of references to “the Word” in Pentateuch Targum translations available on the Internet. The expression “the Word” is used throughout the Targums.

For a complete listing see: juchre.org/articles/word.htm.

Targum Onkelos

“And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, ‘if the Word of YHVH will be my support, and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I again come to my father’s house in peace; then the Word of YHVH be my God.’”

Genesis 28:20,21, 110 A.D. (Onkelos)

“and My Word shall overshadow thee until I have passed”

Exodus 33:2, 110 A.D. (Onkelos)

So-called Jerusalem Fragments

There are only fragments of the “Jerusalem” Targum. In total, we have about five manuscripts’ fragments, held in various places in the world. There is one fragment that includes Genesis, which is: “MS Vatican Ebr. 440, folios 198.”

The Vatican fragment above only includes some verses of Genesis. In Genesis Chapter 1, we only have verses 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 14, and 27. Genesis 1:27 in the fragment reads: “And the Word of YHVH created man in His likeness, in the likeness of YHVH, YHVH created, male and female created He them.”

Michael L. Klein, one of the foremost experts on Targum translation, reconstructed Genesis 1, using this fragment, and actually assumed that “the Memra”—“the Word”—was the speaker in all verses of Genesis 1. 5

 Below are just a few more examples of “the Word” in the Jerusalem Targum.

“And the Word of the Lord said unto Moses: ‘I am He who said unto the world, Be! And it was.’”

Exodus 3:14 (Jerusalem)

“And the Word of the Lord caused to descend upon the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.”

Genesis 19:24 (Jerusalem)

the Word of the Lord will provide me a lamb.”

Genesis 22:8 (Jerusalem)

“This day you have made the Word of the Lord to be King over you, to be your God. “

Deuteronomy 26:17 (Jerusalem)

“And the Word of the Lord spoke all these glorious words (the Ten Commandments).”

Exodus 20:1 (Jerusalem)

“And Abraham worshipped and prayed in the name of the Word of Lord, and said, ‘Thou art the Lord who dost see, but Thou cannot be seen.’”

Genesis 22:14 (Jerusalem)

“And Hagar praised and prayed in the name of the Word of the Lord, who had revealed Himself unto her.”

Genesis 16:13 (Jerusalem)

“Stand up now, O Word of the Lord, in the strength of thy might . . . return now O Word of the Lord, from the might of thy anger.”

Numbers 10:35, 36 (Jerusalem)

So-called Pseudo Jonathan Uzziel Targum or Palestine Targum

There is one complete copy of the “Palestine” Targum, commonly referred to as “Pseudo-Jonathan Ben Uzziel.” It is held at the British Museum. Here are some quotes from it:

“She (Hagar) gave thanks before YHVH, whose Word spoke with her.”

Genesis 16:7 (Pseudo Jonathan)

“at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance before the Lord; where I will appoint My Word to (meet) you there, to speak with you there.”

Exodus 29:42, 30:36, 33:9, Leviticus 1:1, Numbers 17:4 (Pseudo Jonathan)

“I will put thee in a cavern of the rock, and will overshadow thee with My Word until the time that I have passed by.”

Exodus 33:22 (Pseudo Jonathan)

“And the Word from before YHVH met Balaam.”

Numbers 23:4 (Pseudo Jonathan)

Targum Neofiti

The Word of the Lord created the two large luminaries . . . and the Glory of the Lord set them in the firmament.”

Genesis 1:16–17 (Neofiti)

“On the seventh day the Word of the Lord completed the work which He had created . . . and the Glory of the Lord blessed the seventh day.”

Genesis 2:2–3 (Neofiti)

The Jewish Encyclopedia, in 1906, said the author of the “Jerusalem Targum” is unknown, but is likely of “ancient” times. The Jewish Encyclopedia quotes Hai Gaon, an eleventh-century Jewish Theologian, who lived in Iraq (Babylon):

We do not know who composed it, nor do we even know this Targum, of which we have heard only a few passages. If there is a tradition among them [the Palestinians] that it has been made the subject of public discourse since the days of the ancient sages [here follow the names of Palestinian amoraim of the third and fourth centuries], it must be held in the same esteem as our Targum (Onkelos); for otherwise they would not have allowed it. But if it is less ancient, it is not authoritative. It is very improbable, however, in our opinion, that it is of later origin (comp. “R. E. J.” xlii. 235). 6

There is also a more recently discovered Targum Neofiti, found in 1949. It has been linguistically dated to the second century, BC. 7

All of these Targums were written during the same era. At one time, most scholars believed that the so-called “Jerusalem Fragments” and the “Pseudo Jonathan Ben Uzziel Targum” originated from the same source at Jerusalem. However, since the discovery of the Neofiti Targum, this idea has been rejected. It is now quite obvious that there were several Aramaic translations—Targums—written by different scribes throughout the Aramaic period, which began in 300 BC. And all of these scribes understood the concept of the Word.

The Targum of Isaiah

The Targum of Isaiah best helps us understand the Spirit of Christ as the Word.

Jonathan Ben Uzziel, the writer of the Targum of Isaiah, lived thirty years before the birth of Christ 8 His paraphrase was considered by the Jewish Synagogue to be inspired by God. He was personally surrounded by Jewish legends. From the Babylonian Talmud (200–400 A.D.), Tract Megilla, we read that Jonathan Ben Uzziel wrote his Targum under the supervision of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. We also read, “Then the ground of Palestine trembled (as if shaken by an earthquake) four hundred Parsaoth square, and a heavenly voice was heard: ‘Who are these who have revealed My Mystery to man?’”9  Also from the Babylonian Talmud, Tract Sukkah, we are told: “Jo. Ben Uzziel was a worthy of the Shekina (the Holy Spirit) which rested upon him, as he did upon our teacher Moses. He was such a holy man, that when he studied the law the birds who flew over his head were burnt to death.”10

Jonathan Ben called the Spirit of Christ “the Word” throughout Isaiah. In fact, the preface to C.W.H. Pauli’s translation contains an index of 90 references to the Word.

The identification of Christ as the Word is especially apparent in Isaiah 34:16, 42:1, 48:16, 59:19, and 63:10, where he substituted “Spirit” and “Holy Spirit” with the expression “the Word.”

Our 1871 translation of the Targum of Isaiah follows the text of the Biblia Magna Hebraica (קחילת משח), which is the authorized and accepted text of the Synagogue.

Who will go for Us?
In Isaiah 6:8, Isaiah saw a vision of the Messiah, the YHVH of Hosts, speaking the words of the Invisible God, saying, “Who will go for Us?”

The message of Isaiah 6:8 was repeated in Isaiah 48:16: “And now YHVH ELOHIM, and His Spirit have sent Me.”

The Jewish Targum reads “The prophet saith: ‘And now the Lord God, and His Word, hath sent me.’”11

In Acts 28:25, Paul told us the words in Isaiah 6:8 were spoken by, or through, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Christ spoke for the invisible God. He was the Word.

“His Spirit” in Isaiah 34:16 is Christ in Matthew 24:31. Isaiah is describing the gathering together of the saints in the Lord’s Day: “His Spirit shall gather them together.” The Targum reads “by His Word they shall be gathered together.”

In the Masoretic text of Isaiah 63:9–11, the Angel of YHVH was called the Holy Spirit who dwelt among the Israelites:

In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the Angel of His Presence saved them;
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
And He bore them and carried them
All the days of old.
But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit;
So He turned Himself against them as an enemy,
And He fought against them.
Then he remembered the days of old,
Moses and his people, saying:
“Where is He who brought them up out of the sea
With the shepherd of His flock?
Where is He who put His Holy Spirit (in the midst of) within them?

 The Targum of Isaiah from Jonathan Ben Uzziel reads:

Whenever they sinned against Him, that He might have brought upon them distress. He did not distress them; but an angel was sent from Him . . . But they rebelled against the word of His holy prophets, and blasphemed, and His Word became their enemy, and He waged war against them. 12

Jonathan clearly shows that the Holy Spirit described in Isaiah 63 was not the man-made third person of the Trinity, but the pre-existent Christ, the Word, the Angel, who turned to fight against the Israelites because of their disobedience.

Jonathan called the Spirit of God to be put on Christ: “the Holy Spirit” in Isaiah 42:1: “Behold, my servant, the Messiah, whom I bring, my chosen in whom one delights, My Word, I will put my Holy Spirit upon Him.

In this passage, we can see that Jonathan Ben calls the Spirit of Christ “the Word,” and the Spirit of God to be put on Christ in the New Testament was “the Holy Spirit.” From here we can understand that there are two Holy Spirits in the Bible: the Spirit of Christ, who was the Word, in the Old Testament, and the Spirit of God, that was first put on Christ, and then poured out on the Day of Pentecost.

The Apostle John explained the Spirit of Christ as the Word

The Apostle John explained Christ as the Word. He was simply following the message of the Old Testament, which the Jewish people were very familiar with.

The Word was replaced by “the Metatron”

Within 200 years of Christ, “the Memra” disappeared from Aramaic Jewish literature. The 6,200-page Aramaic Babylonian Talmud (200–400 A.D.), makes no mention of “the Memra,” and explained Psalms 33:6, “By the Word of YHVH the heavens were made,” as “speaking is equal to acting.” 13  Their explanation was that God’s speaking had made the heavens, and not that the heavens were made by the Word, the Spirit of ELOHIM.

Furthermore, the Talmud said that the Angel who spoke for God was “the Metatron.” From the Second to Fifth Centuries, a Jewish folktale called “Enoch 3” was written by a Rabbi, who said Enoch ascended to heaven and was the Metatron. Jewish Rabbis, through this story of the Metatron, explained away “the Word” as the speaker who created the world.

The word Metatron is probably derived from Metator, meaning guide, to represent the Angel who went before the Israelites in the wilderness. The Metatron is mentioned a couple of times in the Babylonian Talmud. Here is one quote that is worth noting:

And unto Moses He said, “Come up to the Lord.” But surely it should have stated, Come up unto me!—“It was Metatron who said that,” he replied, whose name is similar to that of his Master, for it is written, “For my name is in him.”14

Indeed, the Rabbis are puzzled by Exodus 24:1. The speaker is obviously not God, otherwise He would have said, “come up to Me.” But who was this one who spoke as God, but was not God? The Rabbis concluded that it was not “the Word,” but “the Metatron,” Enoch, speaking on behalf of God. They also said that the name of the Metatron was “the same as His Master”—YHVH.

This suppression of “the Memra” has been noted by the Jewish Encyclopedia: “Possibly on account of the Christian dogma, rabbinic theology, outside of the Targum literature, made little use of the term ‘Memra.’”15

The Apostle Peter said the Spirit of Christ was in the Old Testament Prophets

Peter called the Holy Spirit of the Old Testament “the Spirit of Christ.” He was actually the only Apostle who used the expression “Spirit of Christ,” when speaking of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.

Peter wrote:

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.

1 Peter 1:10–11

The Apostle Paul called the Spirit of Christ, “the Spirit”

Paul wrote to the Gentiles, who were unfamiliar with the expression “the Word” in the Jewish Targums. These Targums were written in Aramaic.

Therefore, Paul called the Spirit of Christ, “the Spirit.” John also used the expression “the Spirit” several times in Revelation, where the Spirit of Christ also said, “hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.”

The expression “the Spirit” is used extensively in the Book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel said, “the Spirit lifted me up” several times (Ezekiel 3:12, 14, 8:3, 11:1, 24; 43:5). This was similar to John’s expression “I was in the Spirit” (Rev 1:10; 4:2). Ezekiel also described “the Spirit” entering him two times (2:2, 3:24). In the Old Testament, it was common for the Spirit of Christ to enter people, and then depart from them.

The Apostle Paul told us “the Lord is the Spirit.”

  • Paul equated the Spirit of ELOHIM to Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:2–4: “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” In the Old Testament, Christ Himself was “the Spiritual drink” that they drank, the Spirit of ELOHIM.
  • In 1 Corinthians 15:45–49, Paul called Christ “a life-giving Spirit,” saying, “’The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam 16 became a life-giving Spirit . . . And as we have borne the image of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”17

In 2 Corinthians 3:17 and 18, Paul brought out the message of Genesis 1, saying,

17Now the Lord is the Spirit—Κύριος τὸ Πνεῦμά ἐστιν—and where the Spirit of the Lord—Πνεῦμα Κυρίου—is, there is liberty. 18But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Lord, the Spirit—ἀπὸ Κυρίου, Πνεύματος.

By “the same image,” Paul spoke of God’s plan in Genesis 1:26, “Let Us make man in Our image.”

Christ was the Spirit who would complete the plan of salvation to make man into His image.

  • In Acts 28:25, Paul said the words spoken by the Lord of Hosts in Isaiah 6:9 were spoken by the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit was the Spirit of Christ, who was the Word, God’s speaker, and the image of the invisible God, who Isaiah saw.

The Post-apostolic Belief

The early Church knew that Jesus Christ was the Spirit of the Old Testament “who was manifested in the flesh.”18

Our strongest confirmation of the early Church belief comes from the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas, two Books included in the New Testament in the Codex Sinaiticus. The Codex Sinaiticus, known as א, is the best “complete” Greek text we have, and designated Manuscript (01). It was written between 325 and 360 A.D., twenty years before the Trinity doctrine was established in 381 A.D. The New Testament books in the Codex Sinaiticus were those we have today, with the addition of the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas19, which followed the Book of Revelation.

Both of these books strongly emphasized that Christ was the Spirit “who was manifested in the flesh.”

The Epistle of Barnabas, (70–130 A.D.) used the expression “Who (Christ) was manifested (in the flesh)” seven times, and described Christ’s body as “the vessel of the Spirit.”20

In Chapter 6:14, we read:

“Behold,” says the Lord, “I will take away from these, that is, from those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, their stony hearts, and I will put hearts of flesh within them, because He was to be manifested in flesh, and to sojourn among us.”

The Shepherd of Hermas (85–145 A.D.) explained Jesus Christ as the Spirit of EL who made creation: “The Holy Pre-existent Spirit. Which created the whole creation, God made to dwell in flesh that He desired” (Parable 5: 6[5]).

Clement, the Bishop of Rome in 90 A.D., wrote, “If Christ the Lord who saved us, being first spirit, then became flesh, and so called us, in like manner also shall we in this flesh receive our reward” (2 Clement 9:5).

Besides these Books, we also have the later testimony of Justin Martyr in 150 A.D. In Chapter 33 of his First Apology, he wrote, “It is wrong, therefore, to understand the Spirit and the power of God as anything else than the Word, who is also the first-born of God.”

Justin Martyr was referring to Luke 1:35, which says, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and power of the Highest will overshadow you, therefore the one being born holy will be called the Son of God.”

The “Holy Spirit” in Luke 1:35 definitely refers to the Spirit of Christ.

However, the phrase “and power of the Highest” seems to be saying that Mary will also be conceived by the power of God, making this birth, a most holy birth. In fact, we can compare this birth to creation itself, which was by the Spirit of Christ and the breath of God.

Feminine and Masculine Verbs and Pronouns distinguish Christ from God

The Apostle Paul described the Spirit of Christ as “WHO” in 1 Timothy 3:16 and Philippians 2:6. This is because a spirit has no gender, and does not reproduce.

However, feminine verbs and pronouns clearly distinguished the Spirit of Christ in the Old Testament from the Spirit of God!

The word for Spirit, in Hebrew RUAH, can use either masculine or feminine verbs and pronouns. When used with the meaning of wind or human spirit, RUAH is quite often masculine (as in Ex 10:13, 19; Nu 11:31; Is 57:16; Jr 4:12; Ezk 27:26; Ps 51:12, 78:39; Job 4:15; 8:2, 20:3, 41:8).

When describing the Spirit of Christ, only feminine modifiers were always used, except when describing the Spirit of Christ as the Angel of God.

Job 33:4 literally reads:

The Spirit of God, SHE-made-me,
And the Breath of the Almighty, SHE-Gives-me-life.

The Spirit of Christ is one of the many Spirits of God. The Spirit of Christ was “the Word” who spoke creation into being. Job is not referring to the Spirit of God Himself, for God is always addressed in the masculine. The Breath of the Almighty is God’s breath, and breath is also feminine because RUAH is generally a feminine verb. Job 33:4 describes creation in Genesis 1 by “the Word” and the breath of God.

However, in verses that describe “the person” of God, only masculine verbs and pronouns were used. And God Himself is only called “the Spirit of YHVH:” These may be the only  examples:

Who has directed the Spirit of YHVH, to counsel-HIM, inform-HIM?

Isaiah 40:13, 1 Corinthians 2:16

The Spirit of YHVH, HE-spoke in me, and His Word was on my tongue.

2 Samuel 23:2

However, Isaiah 11:2 described the Spirit of God to be put on Christ, with feminine verbs, saying, “the Spirit of YHVH, SHE-shall rest on Him.”

But here, Isaiah was not describing God Himself, but the anointing of God, as in Isaiah 61:1, and 1 John 2:20, “you have an anointing from the Holy One.” Isaiah 11:2 continued to describe this anointing as “the spirit of wisdom, counsel, strength . . . and the spirit of fear of YHVH.”

You believe I “came out” of the Father

There are some who think Christ came into existence when He was “conceived of the Holy Spirit” as recorded in Matthew 1:20. But Christ’s real conception was in the beginning of creation. He was the firstborn.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus emphasized that He “came out” of the Father. He did not “come out” of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 1:20.

Jesus said, “For the Father Himself loves you because . . . you believe I came (out)  ἐξῆλθον ἐκ τοῦ from the Father and have come into the world” (John 16:27, 28).

The literal words Jesus spoke here were “you believe I came out of the Father.”

These are the same Greek words we find in John 8:59: “but Jesus hid Himself and went out ἐξῆλθον ἐκ τοῦ of the temple.”

The expression “went out” describes someone who comes from “the inside of something.” Jesus said that He “came out” of the Father and went into the world. He was the firstborn Spirit, who went out of the Father in the beginning of creation.

 


  1. The verb “blow” also suggests Wind as the proper translation. See footnotes in: The Targum Pseudo-Jonathan: Genesis, by Michael Maher.
  2. J.W. Wevers, Notes on the Greek Text of Genesis, 1993, p. 2
  3. https://archive.org/stream/MN41552ucmf_1/MN41552ucmf_1_djvu.txt
  4. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10618-memra
  5. Michael L. Klein, The Fragment-Targums of the Pentateuch According to their Extant Sources, 1980
  6. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14248-targum
  7. Shepherd, Michael B. “Targums, the New Testament, and Biblical Theology of the Messiah.” JETS. 51:1 (2008), 45–58.
  8. *Vide Succah, f. 28; Baba Bathra, f. 134; Zemach David I., f. 17; Col. 2–18; Col. 3 et 35; Shalsheleth Hakkabala, p. 20; Geschichte der Israeliten, Dr. J. M. Jost, 4. Theil, p. 114; Salomo Duitsch, 3. Deel, de Verlossing, p. 116.
  9. Tract Megilla, cap. iii. col. 1 (p. 6); Translated by Michael L. Rodkinson.
  10. Tract Succah, p. 28, f. 1. (p. 38).
  11. Targum Jonathan Ben Uzziel: The Chaldee Paraphrase on The Prophet Isaiah. C. W. H. Pauli (1871).
  12. Ibid.
  13. Tract Sabbath, Chapter XVI, p. 254.
  14.  Babylonian Talmud, Talmud, Sanhedrin 38b; see also Abodah Zarah 3b.
  15. The Jewish Encyclopedia, New York and London, 1904, p. 465.
  16. The last Adam is explained in Romans 5:12–15.
  17. We have omitted the expression “man” added to the NKJV, which is not in the original Greek text.
  18. 1 Timothy 3:16; this verse was corrupted after the seventh century to “God was manifest in the flesh”; see Appendix 2.
  19. The Shepherd was quoted as “Scripture” by Irenaeus in 190 A.D., in Against Heresies, 4.20.2: “Truly, then, the Scripture declared, which says, ‘First of all believe that there is one God, who has established all things’” (The Shepherd of Hermas, Book 2, Commandment 1). Origen, in 200 A.D., said The Shepherd of Hermas was written by Hermas, who is mentioned in Romans 16:14. However, since the Muratorian fragment was discovered, its authorship has been greatly disputed.
  20. The Epistle of Barnabas, Chapter 7:3. Ante-Nicene Fathers’ translation. Authorship also disputed.