BY: JOYCE PACE
FOR: DR. CALLIE CALLON
DUE: DECEMBER 12, 2017
COURSE: SMB 1501
COURSE TITLE: INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him . . . After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:16-30 NRSV)”
As Jesus, the Son of Man, completed his mission on earth for the salvation of the world, giving up his life for the sake of humankind, he made the ultimate sacrifice for all of creation. In his last hours, he agonized on the cross in pain and humiliation in order to fulfill the plan designed by him and his Father to secure a place for all of humanity in his Father’s house. In the synoptic Gospels the description of the death of Jesus is analogous, as he cried out in a loud voice and “breathed his last” (Mt 27:50; Mk 15:37; Lk 23:46). Luke includes that into the Father’s hands Jesus commended or gave up his spirit, just as in the Gospel of John. Amidst the darkness, the earth shook, as rocks were split, tombs were opened, and bodies of saints were raised from the dead (Matt 27:51, 52). AND the veil signifying his flesh (Heb 10:19-21) that was in the Temple was ripped in two from top to bottom (Lk 23:45 NKJV).”
However, while all this took place as Jesus hung in his mortal state, what did actually happen at the cross? Since Jesus was human as well as divine, did he merely die, like any man suffering the same fate, or was there more to the expression that “he gave up his spirit” with his final breath? Is there further insight that must be attributed to his dying moments up to and including his last words to his heavenly Father, as he hung on the cross?
According to scholars, such as David Crump, interpretations of John 19:30 have been historically divided into three categories, based on an understanding that hinges upon the unique Johannine expression παρέδωκεν το πνεύμα, translated as “handing over the spirit.” The first, interpretation, being the traditional view, maintains that Jesus surrendered his human spirit in death. E.C. Hoskyns presented the second view, having offered a fresh reading of John 19:30 in his commentary The Fourth Gospel, whereby he upholds that Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to his disciples at the cross. A third interpretation is a combination of the first two, which depicts Jesus’ death while indirectly symbolizing his impending gift of the Holy Spirit that was previously spoken of (John 7:39 ) and to come (John 20:22). Crump offers a fourth interpretation that “previous commentators have overlooked. Namely, Jesus is entrusting the Holy Spirit to his Father.” He further explains that a variety of thematic and textual elements in John’s Gospel strongly indicate that giving the Spirit to the Father is the action portrayed. More specifically, he states that interpreting John 19:30 as Jesus’ “surrender, entrusting” of the Spirit to the Father is not only consistent with the common usage of παραδίδωμι, which John’s Gospel employs, but is also consistent with the Johannine understanding of the relationships that exist between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that all four interpretations have validity based on the arguments presented, yet I also believe that there is something lacking in there explanation.
In order to grasp a better understanding of what took place at the cross, it is important to examine more closely this relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Trinity. The conventional view of the Trinity, which is based on the biblical patriarchal system, is all male. Alison Walker emphasizes that, “theological justification for traditional Judeo-Christian patriarchy is the belief of God as male.” In fact, William E. Phipps points out that, “Until recently it has generally been assumed in the Judeo-Christian tradition that the gender of deity has always been masculine. Embedded in the Western mind is a figure that resembles the bearded Creator which Michaelangelo painted in the Sistine Chapel.” However, he adds that now a closer examination of ancient texts reveals that there was a wealth of feminine as well as masculine imagery pertaining to God in the biblical culture. This statement is strongly endorsed by James A. Sanders, an American scholar of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and one of the Dead Sea Scrolls editors, who is quoted as having used “she” as a pronoun for the Holy Spirit in his article “The Bible as Canon” (in the December 2,1981, issue). Although Sanders explains that he decided simply as a matter of personal choice to use “she” for the Spirit of God, he expresses that his precedent is the fact that the Hebrew word for spirit, ruach, is of the feminine gender. While the neuter word pneuma is used for spirit in the Greek-language New Testament, the pronoun found in those texts is not “it,” since Christian theology regards the Holy Spirit as a person rather than an impersonal force; “he” was the pronoun selected for the enabling power and earthly agent of God the Father.
Amazingly enough, this idea of the Holy Spirit being the feminine entity of the Godhead seems to have gained widespread credence among theologians—mostly male academicians— who stay within canonical and church perimeters. To name a few, German theologian Jurgen Moltmann, Neill Q. Hamilton, professor of New Testament at Drew University School of Theology, Evangelical scholar Donald G. Bloesch, and Catholic scholar Franz Mayr of the University of Portland in Oregon, find the feminine image of the Holy Spirit to be appropriate. Mayr notes that a case could be made that a female Holy Spirit represents an important early teaching of Jesus’ followers. In this light, he also notes the remark of St. Augustine (354-430) that some Christians of his day were (wrongly) believing that the Holy Spirit was “mother of the Son of God and wife of the Father.”
This idea seems to have resurfaced during the mid 1970s and early 1980s, when legitimacy of female religious leadership was coming to the forefront. It was these theological trends as well as the trends in American culture that Lois I. Roden, leader and prophet of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas (1977 to 1984), used to support her views on God and women’s religious leadership.
In 1977, she recorded that at 2:00 a.m. one morning she had a vision of a female angel who revealed to her that the Holy Spirit was feminine. She declared that the Trinity was a family, in whose ranks the Holy Spirit was the Mother or female member. She added that we understand the Godhead by the things that are made, alluding to Romans 1:20:
Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are
She included that Gen 1:26, 27 allows us to understand this in the light made here on earth:
‘God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’ . . . Husband and wife bring forth children. It is not the children and the father but the mother and the father who bring forth children. God the Father and Jesus did not make man, male and FEMALE in THEIR image. Neither God nor Jesus look like a woman. Do They?
Roden further added that in scripture from Genesis, the Hebrew term used for God is Elohim – a plural form. She pointed out that in various Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible, feminine word endings are used in reference to God. This is also prefaced in the translations and parallelisms of verses in both Old and New Testament scriptures that apply feminine imagery in the description of God and the Holy Spirit, and are highlighted in the life and the very words of Jesus, the Word made flesh (Jn 1:14). Examples of this are found in Psalms 46:7; 61:4; 63:7; and 91:4 paralleled with Mt 23:27 where mother-hen imagery is used to describe God and Jesus when he speaks of himself. Mukti Barton emphasizes that we need to remember it is the mother bird, not the father bird, which shelters her chicks under her wings. Other examples are found in Wis 7:7-8, 22-26; Prov 8, 24; and Sir 24 paralleled with Lk 7:34-35 where Chokmah or Sophia both feminine words are essentially referring to Divine Wisdom or the Wisdom of God.
But what does all this feminine imagery have to do with Jesus at the cross? Well, let us delve a little deeper into these views by first reiterating some of the ideologies I have presented. If the Trinity is made up of God the Father (male), God the Holy Spirit (female – Mother), and God the Son (Jesus), the Trinity is a family of Father, Mother, and Son. Now, let us include Col 1:15 which states that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God” – the Father, and Heb 1:3 which affirms that Jesus “is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.” God’s glory is the visible manifestation of God’s Presence as seen in Old Testament scriptures (Ex 13:20-22; 14:24-25; 33). The Holy Spirit appears in Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 63), as he recognized the Holy Spirit as the Divine Presence, the Shekinah Glory (female), who dwelt in the midst of Israel. Therefore, the Holy Spirit – the Mother of the Son – is also the Wife of God the Father, as interpreted by Roden. To go one step further, since Jesus is the exact image of the Father (Col 1:15; Heb 1:3), then he too has his own Glory or his own Holy Spirit – he too has his Helpmate – the Bride of Christ. This is the interpretation of Charles J. Pace, a former Catholic who, even today, is among Roden’s most devoted students. Through biblical and prophetic studies, he gradually persuaded Roden of this truth: that the Godhead (YHVH) was not triune but yet quaternary, and that its fourth aspect was feminine, a Holy Spirit Daughter, sent to Earth at Pentecost to organize and lead the Church.
Subsequently, where does this leave us regarding Jesus at the cross, as he gave up his spirit? Pace asserts that, since Jesus, the image of the invisible God (the Self-Existent One), is the first born of every creature and that He created all things, we can plainly see then, that before the Creator created all creatures He was begotten of the Father and born by the Divine Mother.
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Col 1:15-17 KJV)
Likewise, Pace maintains that Adam was formed of the earth as a son of God (Elohiym), and was made male and female in one being, before he was given the task to speak forth the names of the animals that His Creator spoke into existence. Pace stresses that in order to understand exactly what took place at the cross, it is paramount to examine Christ’s role as the Second Adam (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor 15:22, 45) in every conceivable aspect, as well as explore thoroughly through prayerful inquiry the mysteries of his divine character. In his study, The Revelation of Jesus Christ as the Second Adam, Pace explains in detail the role of Christ as the Second Adam. Not until Adam was put into a deep sleep was Eve, his glory (1 Cor 11:7), brought forth from Adam’s side. Similarly, when Christ hung on the cross, “as his humanity became sinful flesh … the Son of God … felt the Presence of God, the Shekinah slipping away from His Person as the Life (the Ruach) within was being displaced by the weight of the sins of the world.” In like manner of the first Adam, Pace maintains that Christ, the Second Adam, also fell into a deep sleep, although for the Son of God, it was, “the deep sleep of physical and eternal death. But before He died, He set His Spirit free so that through His Shekinah Glory/His Second Self, She would breath into him the “breath of Life – the Ruach” so that he would become a living soul again and overcome Satan, sin, and death.”
It was His Spirit, His Shekinah Glory that dwelt within Jesus since his birth. However, he was not authorized to exercise this Power until his baptism. When Christ was baptized, the Father’s Presence/His Shekinah Glory rested upon his Son in the form of a dove (Mt 3:16-17). Hence, at his baptism, Jesus received heaven’s anointing and authorization to use the Power of the Shekinah Glory dwelling within him from birth to come against Satan and take back the kingdom that the adversary had stolen from the first Adam. According to Pace, the Son of man did not fully understand this wonderful plan to bring forth Salvation (Yahuwah) from His very Being. He only knew that He must die as the Lamb of God (Mt 26:1-2) and take on the sins of the world, so that humanity would be redeemed, recreated and glorified. In pure child-like faith He submitted Himself to fulfill His Father’s Great Plan, as Isaac did centuries before (Gen 22; Heb 11:17 -19).
As the Second Adam hung on His cross, He shared the loneliness of the first Adam (Tob 8:6; Wis 10:1). Both desired to be glorified and have a companion or helpmate that was a second self or soul mate; both desired to be fruitful and multiply their own image; both understood that this could only be accomplished through another who possessed the power to create and form life within their being. The Mother of all living was about to be manifested from the Creator’s side. He was about to be rent in twain as the veil in the Temple so that She, the Shekinah, the Presence of God, would come forth to overcome sin and death and restore what the first Eve forfeited to Satan – Her Glorious covering,. This indwelling Glory that was lost in Eden was to be restored to man and woman by their Creators and their Redeemers, Christ and His Holy Spirit – the Second Adam and the Second Eve.
During the six hours that Jesus hung on the cross, the whole Plan of Creation and the Plan of Salvation or Re-Creation met their fulfillment when these words, “It is finished,” came forth from Our Saviour’s lips with His last breath. The Creator, the Second Adam, set free His creative power from His own earthen vessel, that He might re-create and glorify mankind in His own image and likeness; humanity filled with His Father’s divinity. When He gave up His eternal Spirit to the Father, Yeshua the son of man died in the place of humankind. From His Body Temple the Creator and Redeemer freely gave up His creative power and eternal Life as His Shekhinah Glory came forth leaving Him in the deep sleep of eternal death. The Person of the Holy Ghost came forth as a separated Being, like Eve came forth from Adam’s side.
After Christ the Second Adam, died on the cross, His side was pierced from which flowed two distinct streams – one of blood and the other of water. Pace explains that the blood represents the atonement that the Saviour made for the guilt of our sins by his death. The water represents the washing and cleansing of the habitual sin behavior or the memory of sin by the Shekinah Glory who was separated from Christ’s Body Temple just before he died, since She was made of His living flesh and bone that had not yet taken on the sin of the world. The two distinct and copious streams are also what we were given by Christ Himself to partake of at the sacrament of communion. “This is my blood . . . shed for many for the remission of sins” (Mt. 26:28). This blood is mingled with water at the sacrifice of the Mass and together with his spilt blood and his broken body, that which came from him and of him, is the perfect remedy for eternal life for whomever partakes.
The symbolism of these two distinct streams can be more clearly understood when viewed in relation to the two turtle doves – a pair, male and female – found in Lev 14:4-7. Pace offers proof to substantiate the analysis of his interpretations from the writings of Ellen G. White, an American Christian and a prolific author of numerous Bible commentaries.
“The wonderful symbol of the living bird dipped in the blood of the slain bird and then set free to its joyous life, is to us the symbol of the atonement… a symbol of the ever flowing, ever cleansing efficacy of the blood of Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, the fountain that was open for Judah and Jerusalem, wherein they may wash and be clean from every stain of sin.”
Based on Pace’s line of reasoning and the scriptural evidence he has presented, I believe that his interpretation of John 19:30 is both convincing and valid. Not only does he answer the question of what happened at the cross, but he also provides well-founded and logical material to substantiate what scripture states and what scholars agree upon – that Christ is the Second Adam. In my opinion, it makes perfect sense that whatever took place on the cross should be the foundation of our faith and of supreme importance to our salvation, therefore realized, and valued. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). To the reader, this verse may be referring initially to the author’s personal view and how he feels compelled to preach about and share the concept of salvation / Christ’s death and resurrection with his readers. However, as I read this verse in context with the entire chapter, the imagery that is depicted is self evident, as Paul speaks of the “mystery of God” (1 Cor 2:1). Through his words, Paul expresses that what he has to share with the congregation /the church is not merely his believable (plausible) wisdom, but the wisdom and power of God – the power of the Spirit. A more detailed translation of this verse is found in the J. B. Phillips New Testament:
In the same way, my brothers, when I came to proclaim to you God’s secret purpose, I did not come equipped with any brilliance of speech or intellect. You may as well know now that it was my secret determination to concentrate entirely on Jesus Christ and the fact of his death upon the cross… What I said and preached had none of the attractiveness of the clever mind, but it was a demonstration of the power of the Spirit! Plainly, God’s purpose was that your faith should not rest upon man’s cleverness but upon the power of God.
Yes, it is true that in this verse the reader is aware of the plan of Salvation that Christ died and took on our sin. However, knowing that Christ is the Second Adam means that there must be more to this “mystery of God” that involves “a demonstration of the power of the Spirit!” I side with Pace in believing that since Christ is the Second Adam as the Redeemer of man from the vice of sin, he is the Second Adam in every way – that he too has his Eve that came forth from his side. To me the two copious streams of blood and water scream out as evidence and imagery of the Holy Spirit Daughter coming forth from Christ’s side at the hour of his death – his deep sleep of mortality. Furthermore, I find it convincing that she, the Holy Spirit Daughter, raised Christ from the dead, since “he gave up his spirit,” that was the Holy Spirit Daughter, in accordance with Christ’s words, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.” (Jn 10:17) This was done through his Holy Spirit.
I believe that Pace’s interpretation answers other questions regarding theories that have been raised by scholars and theologians about Jesus and his ministry on this earth, one of these being that Jesus may have had a wife. Although there has already been a good deal of doubt cast on the antiquity of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, Karen L. King argues that, in light of the Gospel of Philip, from the Gnostic Gospels, and the Gospel of Thomas, from the Apocrypha, there is a parallel for the reference to Jesus being married. In my opinion, Pace blows these theories out of the water, so to speak, with the two copious streams of blood and water, because in order for Christ to be evenly yoked or partnered (2 Cor 6:14), his mate must also be bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Gen 2:23) – she must be both human and divine. To me, this makes perfect sense that the Bride of Christ can only be the one that came from his side at the cross, just as Eve came from the side of Adam. Christ could never have been and would never have been in a marriage relationship with Mary Magdalene as these accounts suggest, nor could he have been with any other human being, no matter how reformed or faithful or faith-filled that person could have been. I reiterate – the Bride of Christ must be both human and divine, just as Christ is.
Rosemary Radford Ruether addresses another matter that has been expressed by feminist theologians regarding the Holy Spirit being viewed as the feminine entity of the Godhead. She maintains that considering the Holy Spirit as feminine makes the female “side” of God subordinate to the dominant image of male divine sovereignty. I believe that Pace’s interpretation of the Godhead as a quaternary not only provides a solution to this concern but also balances out or equalizes the Godhead with his understanding of two female entities – the Holy Spirit Mother and the Holy Spirit Daughter. One feminist, Joan Chamberlain Engelsman, in a study of repressed female deity images in antiquity, The Feminine Dimensions of the Divine, suggests three ways to restore the feminine dimension in Christianity. They are to: (1) develop the female nature of each member of the Trinity; (2) add a fourth member to the godhead in the person of the Virgin Mary (who is not divine);or (3) pick the Holy Spirit to describe as feminine. In my opinion, Pace has solved the dilemma. He has included a fourth member of the Godhead that is feminine to balance out the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – a female entity that is divine.
Something to Contemplate: What happened at the cross? In reflecting upon John 19:30 as Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit, I have presented several scholarly and theological interpretations in this paper to establish exactly what transpired. A recap of the views include: 1) Jesus surrenders his human spirit in death; 2) Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to his disciples at the cross; 3) Jesus surrenders his human spirit and gives his disciples the Holy Spirit at the cross; and 4) Jesus entrusts the Holy Spirit to his Father.
I believe that the fifth and final interpretation presented by Charles J. Pace is undeniably the most comprehensive and extensive view of John 19:30, as it covers several aspects of biblical study that cannot be explored in this paper alone. Jesus as the Second Adam surrenders his human spirit in death, entrusts his Holy Spirit – the fourth member of the Godhead – to his Father, and gives His Holy Spirit to all of humanity. Each section has a wealth of information to explore, investigate, and research. The material that I have presented and touched upon regarding the Revelation of Jesus Christ as the Second Adam is just the tip of the iceberg in this transcendent love story of creation and recreation. To some the information may seem farfetched regarding the gender of the Holy Spirit, and the suggestion that there is a Holy Spirit Mother and a Daughter, altering the Godhead from a trinity to a quaternary. However, it behooves us to investigate and examine the material, for to do so will enable humankind to gain insight and vision into the deepest and most profound mysteries of God.
Barton, Mukti. “Gender-Bender God: Masculine or Feminine?” Black Theology: An International Journal 7, no. 2 (2009): 142-166.
Conway, Robert. “The Spirit and the Shekinah Glory.” theholyspiritstudy.com. n.d.
Crump, David. “Who Gets What? God or Disciples, Human Spirit or Holy Spirit in John 19:30.” Novum Testamentum, 2009: 78-89.
Dart, John. “Balancing out the Trinity: the Genders of the Godhead.” The Christian Century, February 16, 1983: 147-150.
Faubion, James D. The Shadows and Lights of Waco: Millenialism Today. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001.
Gathercole, Simon. The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: Constructing a Context*, New Test. Stud. 61 (Cambridge: UK, Cambridge University Press, 2015), 292-293.
Pace, Charles J. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ as the Second Adam.” www.theshekinah.net. October 22, 1994.
—. “The Revelation: The Mystery of God is Finished.” the shekinah.net. 2016.
Phipps, William E. “The Sex of God.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 1979: 515-517.
Pitts, William L. “SHEkinah: Lois Roden’s Quest for Gender Equality.” Nova Religio, May 4, 2014: 37-60.
Reaves, Dick J. The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1998.
White, Ellen G. “Letters.” egwwritings.org. June 23, 1894.
This is another very strong piece of work! It is extremely well researched and written, and offers some very thoughtful and reflective discussion. I think perhaps contributing a bit more of why you find Pace’s argument superior would allow you to demonstrate even more of the strong critical and analytical skills that you have displayed throughout the term would add even greater strength to your position. It was a pleasure to have you in class, and thank you for all of your excellent contributions!!