SHEKINAH GLORY

 

Several months earlier I had posted installments of my Christian adventure novel “Buddy”, which is available in ebook and paperback versions at Amazon and Signalman Press. Above the surface layer in that book of adventures, mishaps and romance is a theological treatise wherein I claim with abundant Scriptural support that the Holy Spirit, while being of the same substance as the fully male Father, is functionally fully female. The most important issue in viewing the Holy Spirit as functionally female is the family factor, the merging of two into one in love. Observe below how Scripture itself supports this idea:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

  • Genesis 1:26, 27

From this passage we get the idea that the gender separation is intrinsic to the Godhead itself. Are we reading too much into this? If this passage stood alone as supportive of that idea, we might be. But there are other passages like the following that dovetail well with that same interpretation:

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.

  • Genesis 2:23, 24

This passage is repeated in Ephesians 5:31,32 in the context of Christ and the Church, which identifies the Church as female. Here again we get the idea that in the family context two individuals merge in love into one, which is also the case between Jesus and His Church. As noted in the Scriptural passage below, this unity in love has an implication with respect to the name of the female partner.

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

  • Genesis 5:1, 2

The significance of this passage to the view of the Holy Spirit as a Complementary Other to the Father is that it justifies the use of a male pronoun in referring to a basically female Holy Spirit. It implies that the bond between Father and Holy Spirit, representing the image upon which the bond between Adam and Eve was based, is so perfectly close that they can truly considered to be one. In that context, the male pronoun applied to the Holy Spirit would represent the perfection of that bond.

Numerous additional Scriptural texts in support of my stance are cited in my novel “Buddy”. As I continue to research this subject, I continue to acquire more Scriptural reinforcement. I’d like to share with you here yet further Scriptural backup, this being profoundly supportive of the position that the Holy Spirit is functionally female. In 1 Corinthians 3:16 and Ephesians 2:19-22 Paul asserts that the Church is a temple indwelt by the Holy Spirit:

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The facts embedded in these passages are no surprise to Christians, who generally accept without question that believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and comprise, as the Church, a holy temple. What some of us may not be aware of is that this temple and its indwelling by the Holy Spirit was represented numerous times as the Glory of God in the Old Testament. An example taken from 1 Kings 8:6-11 is given below:

And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto ists place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread forth their two wings of the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and its staves above. And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the inner sanctuary, but they were not seen outside; and there they are unto this day. There was nothing in the ark except the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.

A passage of the same flavor can be found in Exodus 40 regarding the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

Interesting as this passage and others like it may be in their apparent correlation with Paul’s understanding of the Church as constituting a temple and of its being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they’re still not all that surprising. It’s not a difficult reach in this context, to view Solomon’s temple as a type representing the Church and the Glory of God descending upon it as representing the indwelling Holy Spirit. Nor does it conflict in any way with our conventional understanding of Scripture.

This situation changes rapidly when we investigate the meaning of the phrase “Glory of God”. In the original Hebrew this Glory that Paul understands to be the Holy Spirit is named “Shekinah”.

Still no problem so far, because in the English language nouns lack gender attributes. Not so, however, for the Hebrew language. The noun “Shekina” does possess a gender attribute, which is female. Turning to the Internet, the Wikipedia entry for “Shekinah” begins as follows:

Hebrew [Shekinah] is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew ancient blessing. The original word means the dwelling or settling, and denotes the dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God, especially in the temple in Jerusalem.” An accompanying figure shows the Shekinah, or the Glory of God, indwelling the temple as described in 1 Kings 8.

Noting the feminine gender of this indwelling Shekinah, we find here by comparing the indwelling presence of the Glory in Solomon’s temple with the description in Ephesians 2 of the Holy Spirit indwelling the human temple that Scripture itself, by furnishing this direct comparison, supports an interpretation of the Holy Spirit as a female Entity. This does appear to conflict with conventional Christian thought, as driven by the use in Scripture of the male pronoun in reference to the Holy Spirit. I fully explain in the novel “Buddy” why that viewpoint of conflict is actually a misperception.

This gender attribute in 1 Kings 8 was simply lost in the translation from Hebrew to English, which could have been a result of the lack of gender precision in the English language. But there is an associated gender misrepresentation in Isaiah 51:9, 10 that appears to be more deliberate. What the translators did in that passage was to substitute the grammatically incorrect ‘it’ for the gender-correct ‘she’ in reference to Shekinah. In their desire to maintain a fully masculine Godhead, they neutered the female. In the process, they inadvertently managed also to castrate their masculine God.

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