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Don’t Quench the Spirit

In 1Thessalonians 5:19, the apostle Shaul tells us not to quench the Spirit.

Thessaloniqim Aleph (1 Thessalonians) 5:16-22
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of Elohim in Messiah Yeshua for you.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not despise prophecies.
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
22 Abstain from every form of evil.

What does it mean, not to quench the Spirit?

Originally, Adam and Havvah (Eve) lived in Yahweh’s favor (grace). However, at first Yahweh did not give mankind His Set-apart Spirit; He only gave man the breath of life (נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים).

Genesis 2:7
7 And Yahweh Elohim formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
(7) וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים | וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה

Because they only had the breath of life, Adam and Havvah were not Spirit led beings. It would only be later that Yahweh would give the Still Small Voice to those who believed on His Son, to guide their footsteps day by day, letting them know which way to go.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 30:21
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand, or whenever you turn to the left.

Without the Spirit to guide them, the only thing Adam and Havvah could do was to try to live their lives by their limited human intellect. But since the intellect alone will not lead us to hear or obey Yahweh’s voice, Adam and Havvah were unable to stay in Yahweh’s favor (grace).

King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. He told us that there is a way that seems right to a man’s intellect, but its end is only the way of death.

Mishle (Proverbs) 14:12
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Without submitting to the leading and guiding of the Spirit, men cannot live together in peace with other men; for even if we do what seems right to us, and they do what seems right to them, no matter how we might try to fool ourselves, all that really happens is that we all follow after our own fleshly desires and lusts.

While the book of Genesis describes real events that actually occurred, it is also symbolic. Genesis 3 tells us how Havvah saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:6
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Rather than obey what Yahweh had said, she did what seemed right in her own eyes: she partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Her husband, who was with her, not only allowed it, but he did the same.

From our other study, “Tree of Knowledge, Tree of Life,” we know that the tree of knowledge is not a literal fruit tree. Rather, it is symbolic of our desire to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, rather than submitting to Yahweh’s opinion. But let us notice that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was “in the midst” of the garden.

B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:2-3
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Elohim has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'”

That the tree of knowledge was in the “middle” of the garden is symbolic of our fleshly human desire to do what seems good in our own eyes (rather than in Yahweh’s eyes). The desire to make up our own minds about what is right and wrong is central to our makeup.

The book of Genesis is prophetic, in that it describes patterns that repeat themselves throughout history. The things that appear in Genesis can be seen in later human history as well.

Lucifer is described as “the light bringer,” and we can see Lucifer’s influence in the Enlightenment (i.e., the “light bringing”). One of the founding “thinkers” of the Enlightenment was Rene Descartes, a French philosopher who had a series of disturbing dreams in which he felt he was “communicated with” (by Lucifer). After these dreams Descartes arrived at his famous saying, “I think, therefore I am.” While this phrase is celebrated throughout the West, let us understand the scriptural significance of the phrase, “I am.”

Shemote (Exodus) 3:13-14
13 Then Moshe said to Elohim, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The Elohim of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
14 And Elohim said to Moshe, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”

Yeshua also says, “I am.”

Yochanan (John) 8:58
58 Yeshua said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Therefore, when the philosopher Rene Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am,” is this not the same as to say, “I AM, because I think”? Indeed, it is.

In philosophy, those who believe on Yahweh are called “Yahwists,” and the world calls our belief “Yahwism.” We are called “Yahwists” because of our belief that Yahweh created us, and that only He can justify us.

However, if we believe we exist because we think, then in scriptural terms, we believe our thinking created us. Those who believe this way are called “rationalists,” and crazier still is their view that “Because I think, I am (an) elohim (a god).” That is basically what Descartes said. Ironically, this is the predominant school of thought that is taught in most mainstream universities and colleges throughout the “Christianized” West.

If Yahweh created us, then we owe our lives to Him, and only He can justify us. Furthermore, if we are justified by Yahweh, we should figure out who He is and what He wants, and we should do as He says. However, in contrast, if we exist simply because we think, then we do not owe any allegiance to Yahweh at all. We can do whatever seems good and right to us because we think of ourselves as our own elohim. This is, in actual fact, the way that most of the world thinks.

Yahweh manifested Himself in human form, and came to dwell among us. (We discuss Yeshua’s nature in the study, “Yeshua: Manifestation of Yahweh,” which is part of Nazarene Scripture Studies Volume One). To restore us to His favor, He took the punishment for our failures to live in obedience to Him. However, once we have accepted His sacrifice, then we do owe the rest of our lives to Him. Further, out of a deep sense of gratitude, we want to be like Him in all of our ways.

Yochanan (John) 13:15
15 “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

But in addition to using our intellect to try to be like Him, we also need to ask the Father to put His Spirit inside of us. That way, His Spirit can dwell within us, and guide us more easily along the right path.

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 30:21
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand, or whenever you turn to the left.

This is the same as to say that we maintain a deep, abiding, personal one-on-one relationship with Yeshua. When we abide in Him, His Spirit remains in us so that we can live in constant communion with Him. That way we can be led by the Spirit like never before.

Yochanan (John) 15:5
5 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; but without Me you can do nothing.”

Restoring communion between Yahweh and man is all about inviting Him to come take control of our lives, and let Him lead us, day by day; for if we do not let Him lead us, then right relationship is not restored, and we cannot help but fall out of His favor again. This is something that all believers in Yeshua should consider.

Scripture gives us many different ways in which we are to seek to be in communion with Yahweh Elohim. One is the Great Shema.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6:4-9
4 “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Elohim, Yahweh is One [United]!
5 You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

The word “hear” is the Hebrew word shema (שְׁמַע). In Hebrew this word means not just to hear the sounds, but to hear and then obey. Both are required concepts.

OT:8085 shama` (shaw-mah’); a primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell, etc.):

We are also told to seek Yahweh’s face, and the Psalmist was satisfied when he awoke in His likeness.

Tehillim (Psalms) 17:15
15 As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

We also need to keep our eyes on Yeshua, for it was only when Kepha (Peter) took his eyes off of Yeshua that he could no longer walk on water.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 14:29-31
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Kepha had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Yeshua.
30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Adon, save me!”
31 And immediately Yeshua stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

This is also allegorical, for it is when we stop focusing on Yeshua that we begin to sink. We fall from our restored place of favor. We are no longer “in the vine.”

Yochanan (John) 15:4-8
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

In closing his letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Shaul tells us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks. And then, curiously, Shaul also tells us not to “quench the Spirit.”

Thessaloniqim Aleph (1 Thessalonians) 5:16-19
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of Elohim in Messiah Yeshua for you.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.

In the Peshitta Aramaic, the word “Spirit” here is Rucha (רוחא), which is the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew Ruach (רוח).

PEH 1 Thessalonians 5:19
19 Do not quench the Spirit.

רוחא לא תדעכון׃

Interestingly, the word Ruach means not just “Spirit,” but also “wind” and “breath.” The root of the word means “to blow,” and anything that blows (including breath) can be described by this word.

OT:7306 ruwach (roo’-akh); a primitive root; properly, to blow, i.e. breathe; only (literally) to smell or (by implication, perceive (figuratively, to anticipate, enjoy)

In Scripture, when Yahweh wants to signify the breath in the lungs, sometimes He uses the word nishamat, as we saw at the beginning of this study (נִשְׁמַת). However, He also uses the word ruach (רוּחַ), and it has the exact same meaning, as in Genesis 6:17.

Genesis 6:17
17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.
(17) וַאֲנִי הִנְנִי מֵבִיא אֶת הַמַּבּוּל מַיִם עַל הָאָרֶץ לְשַׁחֵת כָּל בָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר בּוֹ רוּחַ חַיִּים מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם | כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ יִגְוָע

By not “quenching the Spirit,” could it be that the apostle Shaul is telling us not to hold our breath?

First Thessalonians 5:19 (possibility):
19 Do not hold the breath.

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of Yahweh.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 4:4
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Elohim.'”

And yet, of all the physical bodily needs, what is more immediate than the breath (the ruach)?

Scripture tells us that the life is in the blood.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 17:13-14
13 “Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust;
14 for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.’

What does the blood carry, but the exact same oxygen that the breath extracts from the air?

And why do we hold our breath, except for worry over worldly matters? Yeshua tells us that to worry over worldly cares (and even to worry over life and death) is anathema to the kingdom of Elohim.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 6:25-34
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Now if Elohim so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 But seek first the kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

There are many ways we can refine ourselves in this world of troubles and cares. To hold our breath in worry is not one of them. When we find ourselves holding our breath in worry, we can be honest about it, and ask Yahweh to help us cast that care upon Him, so that we can breathe freely again, being anxious for nothing.

Philippim (Philippians) 4:6-7
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to Elohim;
7 and the peace of Elohim, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Messiah Yeshua.

Though it is a simple discipline, it does not come easily to us. Yet in the model prayer, Yeshua implies that we should never worry, but just trust Yahweh to give us what He wants us to have (and be happy with that).

Luqa (Luke) 11:2-13
2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, set Your name apart. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

It is true that we are allowed to pray for our needs.

5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’?
8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

Yeshua is not talking about the things of the world here, but the Set-apart Breath. Yahweh knows what our needs are, and He is faithful to take care of us.

9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?
12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Set-apart Spirit to those who ask Him!”

May Yahweh our Elohim give all of us this Set-apart Breath, that we will trust Yahweh to provide everything we need, and not worry about the cares or the troubles of this life.

In Yeshua’s name, amein.

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