The Separated Breath

Introduction

Ask several Christians their view of the Holy Spirit and you’ll likely get an array of different answers. Most aren’t very confident in what they know and believe about this subject. Some say that it’s a force or a power while others maintain that it’s a personal being. The primary cause for the confusion is the Trinitarian teaching that the Holy Spirit is a person and the mistranslation of the Hebrew word ruwach and Greek word pneuma as “spirit” implying that it’s a person.

I was a Trinitarian the first 25 years of my Christian life, believing that the one God exists in three co-equal Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I didn’t reach this view of God through my own study of the Scriptures. Rather, it was imposed upon me by the teaching of my local church and theological books. Although it’s illogical that one God could exist as three Persons, I learned to just swallow that bitter pill and move on.

Eventually, I began studying the Scriptures concerning the Holy Spirit and concluded that it isn’t a person but God’s breath. The Hebrew “ruwach of God” in the Old Testament and Greek “pneuma of God” in the New Testament is the breath of God. It isn’t a personal being—a living, self-conscious, rational, and moral agent. It’s simply the breath of God or God’s breath from His mouth.

Concluding that the Holy Spirit isn’t a person is where my journey of learning the truth about God began. Once I came to that knowledge, then the entire doctrine of the Trinity was suspect. If Trinitarian teachers—scholars, theologians, and pastors—are wrong about one of the “persons” of the Trinity, then everything else they teach about God is on the table. In fact, everything else they teach about anything else is open for discussion. The doctrine of God is the most important subject of all. If highly intelligent and educated Trinitarian teachers are wrong about what’s most important, how can they be trusted to be right about anything else?

Introducing God’s breath

The first mention of God’s breath in the Scriptures is within the very first words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit [ruwach] of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:1-2). In its initial introduction through God’s revelation, the ruwach of God is identified as something belonging to Him as His possession. It’s “the breath of God” or His breath. In the beginning, there wasn’t a person flying over the water like superman! God was blowing from His mouth, His breath across the surface of the water.

The next occurrence of ruwach in Scripture, it’s the wind, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool [ruwach] of the day” (Gen 3:8). Other Bible versions render it, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing” (NLT), “at the time of the evening breeze” (CSB), “at the breezy time of the day” (NET), “at the breeze of the day” (YLT). There’s no mistaking from the context that ruwach is simply air, wind, or breath.

The third time ruwach appears, God Himself is speaking about His breath, “And the LORD said, My spirit [ruwach] shall not always strive with man” (Gen 6:3). In its introduction it was “the breath of God” and now it’s Himself calling it “My breath.” Therefore, ruwach is of Himself, not an entirely separate being from Himself.

The fourth, fifth, and sixth occurrences of ruwach are about the breath of life from God in the nostrils of all living beings, “wherein is the breath [ruwach] of life” (Gen 6:17, 7:15), “All in whose nostrils was the breath [ruwach] of life” (Gen 7:22). This is referring back to the creation of man to life by God breathing into his nostrils, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). This is how God imparted life to man. We’re even told later in Scripture that the ruwach into man’s nostrils is simply God’s breath from His mouth, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth” (Psa 33:6). It’s not a Person. It’s His breath from His mouth!

The ruwach and pneuma of God

In the Old Testament, the translators rendered ruwach as “breath,” “blast,” or “wind” when the immediate context forced it upon them: “And with the blast [ruwach] of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together” (Exo 15:8); “at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils” (2Sa 22:16); “By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils are they consumed” (Job 4:9); “by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth shall he go away” (Job 15:30); “all the host of them by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth” (Psa 33:6); “he causeth his wind [ruwach] to blow” (Psa 147:18); “with the breath [ruwach] of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isa 11:4). However, when various contexts allowed the translators a degree of freedom to render ruwach as “spirit” to imply a person, they always took that liberty. It’s simply translator bias—rendering statements to comport with their beliefs and what they wanted communicated.

In the New Testament, the Greek pneuma translated consistently as “spirit” is the noun form of the verb pneo which means “to blow.” The contexts of all seven occurrences of this word agree: “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew [pneo] … And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew [pneo]” (Mat 7:25, 27); “And when ye see the south wind blow [pneo]” (Luk 12:55); “The wind bloweth [pneo] where it listeth” (Jhn 3:8); “And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew [pneo]” (Jhn 6:18); “and hoised up the mainsail to the wind [pneo]” (Act 27:40); “that the wind should not blow [pneo] on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree” (Rev 7:1). There’s nothing inherent in the word pneuma that implies a conscious personal being. It’s simply breath or wind as its verb counterpart attests. Also, pneuma is neuter in gender, not masculine or feminine which would be required if referring to a person.

Furthermore, the Greek pneuma is where the English word “pneumonia”—a respiratory infection in the air sacs of the lungs that causes difficulty in breathing and can be life-threatening—is derived. Also, “pneumology” which is the medical study of the lungs and respiratory organs. And “pneumatics” which is a branch of engineering using systems of compressed air.

Lastly, Jesus Christ Himself is the highest authority with the final word and He defined pneuma as breath by literally blowing from His mouth onto His disciples, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [pneuma]” (Jhn 20:22). He also likened the new birth, “that which is born of the Spirit [pneuma] is spirit [pneuma]” (Jhn 3:6), to the wind blowing, “The wind [pneuma] bloweth [pneo] where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit [pneuma]” (Jhn 3:8). Jesus Christ Himself said that pneuma is like the wind blowing.

God’s Breath is our life

Man isn’t an autonomous immortal spirit being that can live outside the body. That’s simply Roman Catholic Church doctrine rooted in Greek philosophy and appropriated by the Protestant reformation. Man is simply a physical being formed from the earth and brought to life by God breathing into his nostrils, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed [naphach] into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7).

The Hebrew verb naphach simply means “to breathe” or “to blow” as it’s used in all eleven of its other occurrences in Scripture: “a fire not blown [naphach] shall consume him” (Job 20:26); “I have caused to breathe out [naphach]” (Job 31:39 YLT); “Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething [naphach] pot or caldron” (Job 41:20); “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth [naphach] the coals in the fire” (Isa 54:16); “I see a seething [naphach] pot” (Jer 1:13); “She hath breathed out [naphach] her spirit” (Jer 15:9 YLT); “to blow [naphach] the fire upon it … I will gather you, and blow [naphach] upon you in the fire of my wrath” (Eze 22:20-21); “O breath, and breathe [naphach] upon these slain, that they may live” (Eze 37:9); “I did blow [naphach] upon it” (Hag 1:9); “ye have snuffed [naphach] at it” (Mal 1:13).

The Hebrew noun neshamah in “the breath [neshamah] of life” is used synonymously with ruwach in several other places of Scripture: “All in whose nostrils was the breath [neshamah] [ruwach] of life, of all that was in the dry land, died” (Gen 7:22); “at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast [neshamah] of the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils” (2Sa 22:16); “By the blast [neshamah] of God they perish, and by the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils are they consumed” (Job 4:9); “All the while my breath [neshamah] is in me, and the spirit [ruwach] of God is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3); “But there is a spirit [ruwach] in man: and the inspiration [neshamah] of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (Job 32:8); “The Spirit [ruwach] of God hath made me, and the breath [neshamah] of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4); “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit [ruwach] and his breath [neshamah]” (Job 34:14); “O LORD, at the blast [neshamah] of the breath [ruwach] of thy nostrils” (Psa 18:15); “he that giveth breath [neshamah] unto the people upon it, and spirit [ruwach] to them that walk therein” (Isa 42:5); “for the spirit [ruwach] should fail before me, and the souls [neshamah] which I have made” (Isa 57:16).

Since man is from the earth and brought to life by God’s breath in his nostrils, then death is the departing of the breath and the returning of the body to the earth: “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit [breath] and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust” (Job 34:14-15); “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust” (Psa 104:29); “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psa 146:4); “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [breath] shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc 12:7).

Taking this further, since life and death consists of the imparting and departing of God’s breath in man’s nostrils, then resurrection from the dead to eternal life is consistent with this. God raises the dead by breathing life back into the body: “It is the spirit [breath] that quickeneth” (Jhn 6:63); “the Spirit [breath] of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2); “the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11); “a quickening spirit [breath]” (1Co 15:45); “quickened by the Spirit [breath]” (1Pe 3:18); “the Spirit [breath] of life from God entered into them” (Rev 11:11).

The Son of God became fully human just as we are—a physical being with God’s breath in His nostrils. He isn’t a dual-being but a human being. The breath in His nostrils returned to God when He died, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit [pneuma]: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost [exhaled]” (Luk 23:46). And God’s breath returned to Him when He was raised, “the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11), “quickened by the Spirit [breath]” (1Pe 3:18).

Our hope is eternal life

The hope of God’s people has always been bodily resurrection to eternal life: “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (Lev 18:5); “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26); “my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psa 16:9); “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psa 17:15); “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death” (Pro 14:32); “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isa 26:19); “And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them” (Eze 20:11); “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2); “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” (Hab 2:4); “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (Jhn 5:29); “of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question” (Act 23:6); “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Act 24:15); “the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers” (Act 26:6); “for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain” (Act 28:20); “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:17); “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1Co 15:21-22); “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phl 3:21);  “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1Th 4:13); “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Tit 1:2); “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit 3:7); “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power” (Rev 20:6).

The consequences of God’s breath as a person

God’s breath as a person isn’t the truth and isn’t reality. By making His breath into something it’s not, it encroaches upon His glory—that His breath is not only a person but even a person that is co-equal with Himself! Trinitarianism is somewhat analogous to the people of the United States affirming that the President’s son is co-equal with him and even the President’s breath from his mouth and nose is another person that’s also co-equal with him.

The primary ramification of misrepresenting God’s breath as a person is that it not only allows but also requires a different message of salvation. Because if ruwach and pneuma isn’t God’s breath, then it isn’t God’s breath in our nostrils that makes us alive—we’re inherently immortal spirit beings living inside a body. And if we’re inherently immortal spirit beings, then death isn’t the cessation of life and perishing isn’t annihilation. And if we’re inherently immortal spirit beings, then eternal life isn’t resurrection by God’s breath in our nostrils to never die again but an internal change of the immortal spirit being from spiritual death to spiritual life. Therefore, Christianity isn’t a life of faithful service to the Lord Jesus Christ in hope of eternal life at His return but a one-time faith confession to go to heaven after death. The consequence of a wrong view of God and a wrong view of man is a wrong message of salvation which is no salvation.

The Greater Light ruling the Day

A favorite saying of many is, “If it’s new, it’s not true!” Well, it doesn’t get any older than “In the beginning”! The gospel message of salvation was shown in a mystery from the very beginning to leave us without excuse.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided [badal] the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. (Genesis 1:1-5)

The Hebrew verb badal means “to divide,” “to separate,” or “to sever.” These very first words of God in the beginning were figurative and prophetic of what He would later perform by dividing, separating, or severing His people from all other people, “I am the LORD your God, which have separated [badal] you from other people … have severed [badal] you from other people, that ye should be mine” (Lev 20:24, 26). God’s people are light which He called “Day,” and all other people are darkness which He called “Night.” Then God proceeded to distinguish them both by a ruler over them.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide [badal] the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide [badal] the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:14-18)

This is what Paul meant by “in heavenly” at the beginning of Ephesians: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Eph 1:3-4). God’s chosen people were shown by the Greater Light in heaven ruling over them while all other people are ruled by the lesser light, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [epouranios] places” (Eph 6:12), “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8).

The Greater Light shown in the beginning is now sitting at the right hand of God, greater and far above all principalities and powers, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly [epouranios] places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:20-21). Paul earnestly wanted us to understand these things, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Eph 1:18), but those ruled by the lesser light don’t want these things to be understood.

God’s people are saved by God’s favor, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace [favor] ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:5-6). God divided His people from all other people, and extends favor to them by His Son Jesus Christ advocating for them at His right hand. Christ’s advocacy as our Mediator and Interceder is as if we’re sitting there ourselves! But the Greater Light only advocates for us when we’re being ruled by Him—we must obey His commandments.

John chapters 14-16 is Jesus Christ speaking figuratively of Himself in His future role as our Advocate at God’s right hand over all principality and power, “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (Jhn 16:10). Yet it’s being taught that this is an entirely different Person than Jesus Christ—another Person that doesn’t even exist! Is this just an honest mistake? Well, it doesn’t agree with the message from the beginning. If it’s new, it’s not true!

The separated people of God

The Hebrew adjective qadowsh translated primarily as “holy” or sometimes as “saint” in the Old Testament means “separated,” “divided,” or “set apart.” God chose His people Israel and separated them from all other people: “For thou art an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deu 7:6); “For thou art an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deu 14:2); “Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God” (Deu 14:21); “And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken” (Deu 26:19); “The LORD shall establish thee an holy [qadowsh] people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways” (Deu 28:9).

Throughout the New Testament, the Greek adjective hagios is translated as either “holy” or “saints” but means “separated” or “set apart.” The Hebrew qadowsh for “holy” is simply the adjective form of the verb qadash for “sanctify,” “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify [qadash] yourselves, and ye shall be holy [qadowsh]; for I am holy [qadowsh]” (Lev 11:44). God’s people were to be divided and separated from the sinful people around them because God is separate—He was not their God and He was not among them. Peter quoted this statement with its Greek counterpart hagios, “But as he which hath called you is holy [hagios], so be ye holy [hagios] in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy [hagios]; for I am holy [hagios]” (1Pe 1:15-16).

When used for God’s people in the New Testament, the translators rendered the adjective hagios as “saints” rather than “separated” which obscures the identity of the subjects. The “saints” are simply God’s people, separated or set apart from all other people in the world: “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints [hagios] which slept arose” (Mat 27:52); “thy saints [hagios] at Jerusalem” (Act 9:13); “the saints [hagios] which dwelt at Lydda” (Act 9:32); “Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints [hagios] did I shut up in prison” (Act 26:10); “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints [hagios]” (Rom 1:7); “Distributing to the necessity of saints [hagios]” (Rom 12:13); “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints [hagios]” (Rom 15:25); “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints [hagios]” (1Co 1:2); “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints [hagios]” (1Co 14:33); “Now concerning the collection for the saints [hagios]” (1Co 16:1); “unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints [hagios] which are in all Achaia” (2Co 1:1); “and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints [hagios]” (2Co 8:4); “For as touching the ministering to the saints [hagios], it is superfluous for me to write to you” (2Co 9:1); “All the saints [hagios] salute you” (2Co 13:13); “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints [hagios] which are at Ephesus” (Eph 1:1); “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints [hagios], and of the household of God” (Eph 2:19); “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints [hagios]” (Eph 5:3); “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints [hagios] in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi” (Phl 1:1); “All the saints [hagios] salute you” (Phl 4:22); “To the saints [hagios] and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse” (Col 1:2); “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints [hagios] in light” (Col 1:12); “Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints [hagios]” (Phm 1:5); “in that ye have ministered to the saints [hagios], and do minister” (Heb 6:10); “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints [hagios]” (Heb 13:24); “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints [hagios]” (Jde 1:3); “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints [hagios], and to overcome them” (Rev 13:7); “For they have shed the blood of saints [hagios] and prophets” (Rev 16:6).

Since hagios means “separated,” then hagios pneuma translated consistently as “Holy Spirit” should be “separated breath.” It’s not a holy spirit being or a reverent person. It’s God’s breath in the hearts of His people that separates or sets them apart from all other people.

The people of God have God’s breath dwelling in their hearts: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit [breath], if so be that the Spirit [breath] of God dwell in you” (Rom 8:9); “But if the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit [breath] that dwelleth in you” (Rom 8:11); “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit [breath] of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15); “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [breath] which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1Co 6:19); “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit [breath] in our hearts” (2Co 1:22); “God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit [breath]” (2Co 5:5); “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit [breath] of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6); “ye were sealed with that holy Spirit [breath] of promise” (Eph 1:13); “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit [breath]” (Eph 2:22); “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost [breath] which dwelleth in us” (2Ti 1:14); “And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit [breath] which he hath given us” (1Jo 3:24).

Jude urged God’s people in his days to “earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]” (Jde 1:3). They were to continue being faithful to God and distinct from all other people “having not the Spirit [breath]” (Jde 1:19). They were separated unto faithfulness by God’s breath, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy [separated] faith [faithfulness], praying in the Holy Ghost [separated breath]” (Jde 1:20).

The anointed one

Israel’s political structure became a Monarchy at the time that Samuel anointed Saul as their first King or Messiah by pouring oil upon his head, “Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed [mashach] thee to be captain over his inheritance?” (1Sa 10:1). Saul’s anointing was also the point when the breath of God came upon him, “And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit [ruwach] of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them” (1Sa 10:10). Saul was later rejected as King and David was anointed in his place with the breath of the Lord coming upon him, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed [mashach] him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit [ruwach] of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1Sa 16:13).

The Hebrew word mashach is the verb form of the noun mashiyach which is transliterated into English as messiah. Messiah is the man that was anointed as king as David was called, “Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed [mashiyach], to David, and to his seed for evermore” (Psa 18:50), “For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed [mashiyach]” (Psa 132:10)

Both the verb and noun forms were used by Daniel when prophesying of Jesus the Messiah:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint [mashach] the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah [mashiyach] the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah [mashiyach] be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:24-26)

The Son of God was anointed by God as the King or Messiah at His baptism when the breath of God came upon Him: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit [pneuma] of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mat 3:16-17); “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit [pneuma] like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mar 1:10-11); Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost [pneuma] descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luk 3:21-22).

Isaiah had prophesied that the breath of God would be upon Him: “And the spirit [ruwach] of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isa 11:2); “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit [ruwach] upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles” (Isa 42:1); “The Spirit [ruwach] of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed [mashach] me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isa 61:1).

The Spirit [pneuma] of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed [chrio] me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luk 4:18), “How God anointed [chrio] Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost [pneuma] and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Act 10:38).

Jesus Christ is our Advocate at the Father’s right hand

The Father has given all things to His Son: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father” (Mat 11:27), “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mat 28:18); “All things are delivered to me of my Father” (Luk 10:22); “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand” (Jhn 3:35); “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (Jhn 5:22); “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands” (Jhn 13:3); “As thou hast given him power over all flesh” (Jhn 17:2); “For he hath put all things under his feet” (1Co 15:27); “And hath put all things under his feet” (Eph 1:22); “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Phl 2:10); “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb 2:8); “angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1Pe 3:22).

Since all things have been given to the Son, the Son has been given full agency and proxy over God the Father’s breath. The Father will breathe life into whoever the Son confesses before Him: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 10:32); “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jhn 14:6); “I will confess his name before my Father” (Rev 3:5). Therefore, the Son makes the final decision of who will be raised to eternal life.

It’s because Jesus Christ has full agency and proxy over God’s breath that it’s His prerogative for God’s Breath to dwell in our hearts. Therefore, the presence of God’s Breath in our hearts is the equivalency of Jesus Christ Himself: “Now if any man have not the Spirit [breath] of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you” (Rom 8:9-10); “the Spirit [breath] itself maketh intercession for us … It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26, 34); “Now the Lord is that Spirit [breath]: and where the Spirit [breath] of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2Co 3:17); “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20); “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit [breath] of his Son into your hearts” (Gal 4:6); “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit [breath] in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Eph 3:17); “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).

An advocate is one that intercedes and pleads on behalf of another. Jesus Christ is our Advocate, Interceder, or Mediator at the right hand of the Father: “Sit thou at my right hand” (Psa 110:1); “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God” (Luk 22:69); “being by the right hand of God exalted” (Act 2:33); “the Spirit [breath] itself maketh intercession for us … who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26, 34); “set him at his own right hand” (Eph 1:20); “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Ti 2:5); “Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col 3:1); “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3); “he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb 8:1); “he is the mediator of a better covenant” (Heb 8:6); “he is the mediator of the new testament” (Heb 9:15); “sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb 10:12); “is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2); “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (Heb 12:24); “is on the right hand of God” (1Pe 3:22); “am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:21); “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:3).

Prior to His death, Jesus spoke of His advocacy at the Father’s right hand, but figuratively of Himself as the breath: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate [parakletos] to help you and be with you forever … But the Advocate [parakletos], the Holy Spirit [breath], whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (Jhn 14:16, 26 NIV); “When the Advocate [parakletos] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit [breath] of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me” (Jhn 15:26 NIV); “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [parakletos] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (Jhn 16:7 NIV); “Though I have been speaking figuratively” (Jhn 16:25 NIV). That He was speaking of Himself as our Advocate before the Father, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jhn 14:6), “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (Jhn 16:10), Paul and John would later write, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit [breath] unto the Father” (Eph 2:18), “And if any man sin, we have an advocate [parakletos] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1Jo 2:1).

After His seating at the right hand of God, Jesus gave seven messages to seven churches concluding each message with, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [breath] saith unto the churches” (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22). He was calling Himself “the breath.” Of course He was speaking metaphorically because He also called Himself the Son of God literally, “These things saith the Son of God” (Rev 2:18). His agency over the Father’s breath is likened to Him having “the keys of hell [the grave] and of death” (Rev 1:18). Therefore, His salutation at the end of each letter, “hear what the breath saith unto the churches,” was as if to say, “Hear what I’m telling you to do because I’m the one that makes the final decision whether or not the Father will raise you to eternal life by His breath!”

Conclusion

The very first words in Scripture attest to God’s breath, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit [ruwach] of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:1-2). And Scripture is consistent in teaching this view throughout. The only passage where a “person” can be construed is John chapters 14, 15 and 16 where Jesus spoke figuratively of Himself as God’s breath. However, He later defined it literally by blowing from His mouth onto His disciples, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [pneuma]” (Jhn 20:22).

God’s breath gave us life and will give us eternal life. Man isn’t an autonomous immortal spirit being that can live outside the body. He’s simply a physical being formed from the earth and brought to life by God breathing into his nostrils, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed [naphach] into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). And God raises the dead by breathing life back into the body: “It is the spirit [breath] that quickeneth” (Jhn 6:63); “the Spirit [breath] of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2); “the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11); “a quickening spirit [breath]” (1Co 15:45); “quickened by the Spirit [breath]” (1Pe 3:18); “the Spirit [breath] of life from God entered into them” (Rev 11:11).

The consequence of teaching that God’s breath is a person is that it compels a false view of man and the message of man’s salvation. Because if ruwach and pneuma isn’t God’s breath, then man isn’t alive by God’s breath in his nostrils but is an inherently immortal spirit being living inside a body. Therefore, death isn’t the cessation of life and perishing isn’t annihilation. And eternal life isn’t resurrection by God’s breath in the nostrils to never die again but an internal change of the immortal spirit being from spiritual death to spiritual life. It becomes something we already have now rather than what we’re hoping for at the return of the Lord. The message from the beginning is that God would have a people to Himself, separated from all other people by His breath in their hearts and submission to the Lordship of His Son. The hagios pneuma isn’t “Holy Spirit” but “separated breath.” It’s not a holy or reverent person. It’s God’s breath in the hearts of His people that separates or sets them apart from all other people.