A Powerfully Important Law of Biblical Interpretation Given By Jesus, Himself!

The First is Physical and the Second is Always Spiritual.

Lorraine Day, M.D.

When Jesus received a nighttime visit from Nicodemus, a Pharisee - a prestigious leader of the Organized Church of the day, Jesus revealed an immensely important truth about the interpretation of Scripture.  (John, Chapter 3)

Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be “born again”, more properly translated “born from above.”  Nicodemus was confused and responded:

“How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”  John 3:4

Nicodemus only understood the first birth, the physical birth of a child, a birth that can be detected with the five senses, particularly in this instance, sight, sound, and touch.  Nicodemus, even though a Pharisee, a respected leader of the Organized Church of the time, only understood through his five senses.  He could not understand spiritual things.

The Bible describes the type of man Nicodemus was, an unfortunate model mirrored by most Christians today.  1 Corinthians 2:14 says:

“The natural (soulish) man receives not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they (spiritual things) are spiritually discerned.”

Those who are “soulish” gain all their information through their five senses rather than having revelation knowledge, which is the ability to understand spiritual things, the ability to understand things from God’s point of view.

Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about a spiritual re-birth, a second birth that is totally spiritual, a birth that cannot be detected with the five senses.  Jesus said this spiritual re-birth is like the wind - a process that cannot be detected by the five senses.  Only the result can be detected.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you can hear the sound of it, but you cannot tell from where it comes or where it goes.  So is everyone that is born of the Spirit (literal translation = breath).  John 3:8

In this conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus revealed an immensely important rule for interpretation of Scripture, a rule that has been virtually completely missed by the Christian Church.  He said that the first birth is a physical birth - but the second birth, being born again (or, more properly, being born from above) is a spiritual re-birth.

The first is physical.  The second is spiritual.

This rule for Biblical interpretation is given again by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:44-49:

“There is a natural (soulish - physical) body, and there is a spiritual body (This does NOT mean a “ghost.”  This means a person who can understand spiritual things.)

“However, that was NOT first which is spiritual, but that which is natural (soulish or physical); and AFTERWARD that which is spiritual.”

(Rule:  The FIRST is ALWAYS physical (natural or “soulish).  The SECOND is ALWAYS spiritual)

“The first man is of the earth, earthy (made of dust): the second man is the Lord from heaven (spiritual).”  (Jesus was a physical human being.  He was NOT a wafting ghost, but He is called “Spiritual” because He understood Spiritual things, even in His human form.)

God wants to take us from being soulish - understanding ONLY what we perceive with our five senses - to being spiritual, understanding revelation knowledge, understanding God’s word from HIS point of view.

“As is the earthy (those made from dust), such are they also that are earthy (soulish): and as is the heavenly (Spiritual), such are they also that are heavenly (able to understand spiritual - heavenly - things).

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy (the man of dust - Adam - who was a living “soul” - “soulish”), we SHALL ALSO bear the image of the heavenly  (we will become able to understand spiritual things - we will have the spirit and mind of Christ living in us).” 

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood (the “soulish” man) cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:48-50 

The object of sanctification is to be transformed by Christ from being a “soulish” man or woman to a man or woman who can understand spiritual things, one who has the “mind of Christ.”  Only those who have had their hearts and minds transformed by receiving the disposition of Christ, those who have become able to understand spiritual things, can inherit the kingdom of God.  

Old and New Testaments

The Bible is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament.  How much better it would be if we referred to them as the FIRST Testament and the SECOND Testament, then it would be much easier to perceive this truth.

The First (or Old) Testament portrays God’s Plan of Salvation in physical terms, such as a physical lamb sacrificed for the Israelite’s sin, symbolizing the future sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God, for the sins of the world in the second (New) Testament.

In the First (Old)Testament, there was a physical temple, a building, where God’s presence dwelt - in the Most Holy Place.  In the Second (New) Testament, the “temple” is no longer a physical building, instead, it is our body - where God’s presence now dwells.  God says:

“Know ye not that your BODY is the temple of the Holy Spirit (Breath), which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”  1 Corinthians 6:19

In the First (Old) Testament, the Israelites, in the wilderness, were fed manna, a light bread, looking forward to Jesus as the “Bread from Heaven,” in the Second (New) Testament.   John 6:48,40,41

In the First (Old) Testament, the lampstand shedding light in the Sanctuary looks forward to Jesus  as the Light of the World, in the Second (New) Testament.

The Laver of water in the Sanctuary in the First (Old) Testament looks forward to Jesus  as the Living Water, in the Second (New) Testament.

The Early (or First) Rain (Day of Pentecost) had physical manifestations.  Christ’s apostles spoke in many different known languages of the time.  The Latter (or Second) Rain, that will occur right before Jesus comes again, will not have physical manifestations.  Instead, it will be like Jesus’ description of being “born again.”  It will be a spiritual outpouring, a change in the hearts of the people.  It will not be possible to detect the Latter Rain by physical manifestations.  What occurs will occur silently.  Only the results of the Latter Rain will be apparent.  (Please see the study on the Latter Rain)

In the First (Old) Testament, literal fire physically devoured Sodom and Gomorrah.  In the Second (New) Testament, the city of Sodom symbolizes “Sin,” and “fire: represents God’s plan to spiritually “burn” the sin out of our lives by His “fiery law.”  The Second type of fire is spiritual fire, NOT physical, fire.

Sodom symbolizes sin:

“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city (Babylon - Symbolizing Sin) which spiritually is called Sodom. . . Revelation 11:8

God refers to His law as a “fiery law.” 

“The Lord came from Sinai. . . and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them. Deuteronomy 33:2

Coals of Fire:  This fire is NOT literal.  It is symbolic or spiritual fire.

“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:20

Refiner’s “Fire”

“But who may abide the day of His coming?  And who shall stand when He appears?  For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap.

And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord and offering in righteousness.  Malachi 3:2,3

This obviously is not literal fire.  God is talking about spiritual purification.  This also explains the next chapter in Malachi, chapter 4, that has routinely been misinterpreted as literal “burning.”

“For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. Malachi 4:1

We know that the Bible was written as continuous prose, and was not broken up into chapters until many centuries after it was written.  The Bible writers were inspired, but the chapter break-points were not inspired.  The fourth chapter of Malachi should follow directly after chapter 3, without a break. 

The “burning” described in Malachi 4:1, is the result of the refining and purifying in the Refiner’s (spiritual) fire.  It is God “burning” the sin out of the sinner’s life by His “fiery” law.

The Second Death:  Is it Physical?  Is it Permanent?  See Study on “Second Death.”                         

Old Testament 
(First Testament) 
New Testament
(Second Testament)
Physical Temple
“Your BODY is the Temple”
First Birth (Physical)
Second Birth (Spiritual)
(Being Born Again)
Manna - Bread from heaven
(Physical bread)
Jesus is the Bread from heaven
(Spiritual Bread - Bread of Life)
  Bread on the Table of Showbread
in the Sanctuary
Jesus is the Bread from heaven
in the Sanctuary
The Lampstand shedding light
in the Sanctuary
Jesus, the Light of the World
The Laver of water
in the Sanctuary
Jesus, the Living Water
Early Rain
(Day of Pentecost)
  Physical Manifestations
Latter Rain
Spiritual changes in
undetected with the five senses
Water at the well
(Physical water)
Jesus - the Living Water
(Spiritual Water)
Fire (Physical purification)
Fire (Spiritual - purification from sin)
First man - Adam (Physical)
Second “Man” - Christ - Spiritual
First Death (Physical)
Second Death (Spiritual - dying to sin)
First Breath (Physical Breath)
gives physical life
Second Breath (Spiritual - Holy Breath)
gives Eonian (Spiritual) Life
the Life of God living in us
(mistranslated - Holy “Spirit”)
Life (psuche) = Physical life 
Life (zoe) Spiritual - Eonian Life
(mistranslated - “Eternal” Life)
Destruction (Physical)
as in Sodom and Gomorrah
Destruction (Spiritual)
as in Sodom and Gomorrah
as Paul so often talks about
Israel (Literal)
Israel (Spiritual)
the true followers of Christ
Egypt (Literal)
Egypt symbolizes sin
Circumcision (Literal)
cutting off the (physical) flesh
Circumcision of the heart
Ten Commandments on Stone
Ten Commandments in the Heart
Jesus in the flesh
exhibiting His character 
Jesus spiritually living in our hearts -
exhibiting HIS character through us

Breath:  Physical Breath vs. Spiritual (Holy) Breath

In Genesis 2:7, the Bible says:

“The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

You will notice that God breathed BREATH into Adam’s nose.  God did NOT blow a “ghost” up Adam’s nose!  And yet this same word, “breath”, is mistranslated “Spirit” and even “Ghost” numerous times by the translators.

You will also notice that man (Adam) BECAME a living soul.  Adam was NOT GIVEN a soul, he BECAME a living soul.  This means that Adam’s body, which God made from the dirt, combined with God’s breath breathed into Adam’s nostrils, allowed Adam to become a living being with five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.  In the Bible, a being that has the five senses is called a “soul.”  It is “soulish” or “natural” - physical. 

The Bible refers to fish, animals, birds and human beings as “souls.”  They all have the five senses and gain their information from these five senses. They do not have souls.  They ARE “souls.”  They are “soulish” as opposed to “spiritual.”

This is the physical breath that everyone has who is alive.  When that breath no longer is present, the person dies a physical death.

But the Bible speaks of another type of “breath”, a “holy breath.”

“(God) neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath (#4157 in Strong’s Concordance), and all things.”  (Acts 17:25)

The word “life” here is zoe in the Greek, #2222 in Strong’s Concordance, and is the word always used with “eternal” life, or more properly translated “eonian” life.  This refers to the life that God “breathes” into us as He transforms us into His likeness.

The word “breath” in this text is pnoe in the Greek, (#4157 in Strong’s Concordance) and is a derivation of the Greek word pneuma (#4151 in Strong’s Concordance) and means a current of air, a breath, a breeze, or a respiration.

The Greek word pneuma is consistently MISTRANSLATED in the Scriptures as “Spirit” as in “Holy Spirit” or even “Ghost” as in “Holy Ghost”, suggesting a wafting being that floats around without a body, but it is nothing of the sort!

The word pneuma means BREATH and should in all cases be translated that way.  It refers to the spiritual breath that God breathes into us to give us “Eonian Life.  That’s the way He transforms us, by giving us His life - by breathing His Spiritual Breath into us, symbolized by the physical breath He breathed into Adam to give Adam and the whole human race physical life.

By MISTRANSLATING the word pneuma (Breath) as “Spirit” or “Ghost”, the translators have erroneously infused a lethal false doctrine into the Bible and into the entire Christian world, the false doctrine that the “Holy Spirit” is a being, a member of the “Trinity.”

A belief in the (false) doctrine of the “Trinity” is held to be the gold standard for Christianity.  If a denomination does NOT believe in the false doctrine of the “Trinity”, they are branded by Orthodox Christianity (by “man,” of course - NOT God) as a cult!

The doctrine of virtually all Christianity proclaiming that the Holy Spirit is a person - a being - equal to the Father and the Son, is based on a total MISTRANSLATION of the word pneuma, which actually means BREATH - Holy BREATH!

There is NO trinity.  There is just ONE God!

“Behold, O Israel, the Lord your God is ONE God!”  (text)

God is God - in whatever form He is. And Jesus is God in human form. (See John 1:1,14)

God is ONE God - NOT three!