The Ruach HaKodesh: What can we know about “It?” (Part I)
Today I want us to explore the Ruach HaKodesh from different perspectives including Judaism and Christian theology. Going deeper into the whole concept of the Ruach HaKodesh will help us develop a better, well-grounded understanding of it.
The first question we need to ask is “what is it?” Christianity teaches it is a person. The third “person” of the G-dhead. But is it a person? One of the criteria I was taught in seminary is that a person is one who has intelligence, awareness, emotion, and self-awareness or personality. But this does not describe the Ruach HaKodesh accurately. If you look up the word “person” in the dictionary or on Google, you will find this definition applied to the Ruach HaKodesh that makes it a person misleading. Webster’s Dictionary has several definitions:
Person n. 1. A human being; a man, woman, or child. 2. A human being as distinguished from an animal or thing. 3. The actual self or individual personality of a human being. 4. The body of a living human being, sometimes including the clothes being worn: he had no money on his person. 5. The body in its external aspect. 6. A human being or other entity, as a partnership or corporation, recognized by law as having rights and duties. 7. A grammatical category applied esp. to pronouns and verbs, used to distinguish between the speaker of an utterance, the person addressed, and other people or things spoken about. Compare First person, second person, third person. 8. Any of the three modes of being in the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Idiom.
If the Ruach were a person, “it” would be a female because the Ruach is feminine. That would certainly be a revelation to most believers who use scripture to demean or subjugate women. Nor is the Ruach simply a “power” given to us by G-d to manipulate for our own purposes or self-edification. No one has a “patent” on the Ruach. I submit we should define the Ruach HaKodesh as an intense experience of the middle level of the soul (to be explained) to “tap into” an intimate connection with G-d. Being in the presence of His K’vod is powerful and personal and a time when we are drawn closer to YHVH than at any other time. This may be compared to being in the Holy of Holies for that short period of time as was the Cohen Gadol as he communed with G-d, or when Moshe was able to communicate with G-d in the tent of meeting or on the Mountain. I like to call times like these as “in G-d’s pocket” moments. The Ruach HaKodesh is the conduit or vehicle of our ascent into the spiritual realm, to the highest levels, where we can feel the Divine Presence; where we can align our will with His and gain a better understanding of prophecy as it applied to the past; how it applies to the present, and future. This acquisition of deeper knowledge, understanding and wisdom provides the foundation for our values and beliefs; our theology that will serve us well as the world becomes more evil and rebellious toward G-d and His people. Experience with the Ruach HaKodesh is what Adam and Eve had; the prophets and apostles experienced at different times in their mission to inform, warn, and even encourage the target audiences chosen by G-d. This is to be as Yahshua instructed us to become one with Him as He is one with the Father. This is accomplished through the Ruach.
Simple definitions do not always suffice in any context, simply because humans tend to base their understanding on their previous experience and knowledge. This is a problem in Christianity also in attempting to define what it means to be “filled with the spirit.” It often depends on who you ask. If you believe in or practice some of the various manifestations of what is spoken of as emanating from the Holy Spirit or know someone who does things like speaking in tongues (babbling), so-called “words of knowledge” and such, you will answer the question very differently than a true believer defined by Yahshua in John 14; Romans 2-3, and in the Seven -Fold Witness in the Book of Revelation. Some charismatic Christians even break out into uncontrolled laughter and barking, claiming they are “in the spirit.” I would agree they are in a spirit, but not G-d’s; not the Ruach HaKodesh!
So, let us now explore the answer from the perspective of Scripture, Jewish tradition and the experiences recorded in Acts concerning early believers. Then we will explore what it really means to have or experience the Ruach HaKodesh.
First, we must realize that the Ruach was not limited to Acts chapter 2 and the Messianic Scriptures. We also know that Adam, Enoch, Avraham, Moshe, and others had this kind of relationship with G-d. Interestingly, YHVH distributed some of the Ruach HaKodesh that He had originally bestowed on Moshe to the elders so they might assist him in the administration of justice. Again, we see this heavenly wisdom and knowledge being selectively given as the need arose to fulfill G-d’s plan for man. G-d took some away from Moshe and gave to others. Likewise, Yahshua said that “the comforter” could not be sent until He was with the Father. This is another very interesting aspect of the Ruach because it sounds as if the Ruach is a finite resource. This is definitely a subject that is worth your time and prayer to possibly be given more knowledge and wisdom in this area. We can also see that the prophets had the Ruach. Saul and David had it and in the Messianic Scriptures the Ruach was received by all who received Yahshua. It is very important to understand that the Ruach HaKodesh is available to believers because YHVH wants to fellowship with us on an intense level at times.
We find that it was a special “experience” that was part of Jewish life in the first Temple period. Before that it also birthed some unfortunate results. It brought about the prevalence of idolatry due to people taking all kinds of short-cuts offered by pagan practices that afforded “spiritual experiences.” Unfortunately, today we see the same kind of rituals employed by religious institutions in relation to the Ruach and most for selfish, soulish, unwholesome purposes. Voodoo trances and practices worshipping foreign gods are occurring and being promoted in many Christian churches today under the guise if being a “spirit-filled” church. Unfortunately, clergy who allow and promote such antics and idolatry and people who follow them are in for a rude awakening.
Next month we will take up the Kabbalistic teachings on the levels of the soul, where the Ruach fits in, and how resonance can be applied to our understanding of becoming “one with the Father.”
Shalom v’ brachas,
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart