The Ruach HaKodesh: What can we know of “It?”
This section of the study may be difficult for some to understand as it requires exploring spiritual and physical concepts that are not in our everyday learning or practice. However, to understand more of the Ruach HaKodesh, we must necessarily climb out of our traditional and experiential “box” and explore some of these deeper concepts; connections between the various levels of our soul and our relationship and ability to communicate with G-d on a more intimate level. If you find that this teaching is difficult to understand, worry not for diligent study and prayer will open the door for the Ruach to bless you with understanding and wisdom from above.
In Jewish antiquity, and we are speaking in Kabbalistic concepts and teachings, there are 10 steps corresponding to the Ten Divine Emanations (Sefirot) that one must ascend before he reaches the highest level of the soul which is the Neshamah. These 10 steps are:
9. Fear of Sin
According to this paradigm, one begins with the constant study and observance of Scripture. This does not mean 24-hour non-stop study. Rather, it means we need to integrate time for Torah study into our daily lives to the point where we think, speak, and act within G-d’s Torah. Just as immersion in a foreign language results in fluency of that language, we can become consistent in our lifestyle as we immerse ourselves in G-d’s Torah; reading, internalizing, and practicing its concepts.
The next step is constant diligence to obey the commands of G-d, then to live a clean life, in thought and deed. We can see how these first two steps overlap and intensify each other. One reaches the second level when he avoids even permissible things if the situation can possibly be misinterpreted as sin. An example is a married woman or man who is in the company of the opposite sex such as a café or other venue where other may interpret the situation as improper. Another example is participating in pagan rituals with friends and/or family such as Easter and Christmas. One may have an innocent heart at that particular time in their spiritual growth, but others cannot discern that fact. We must avoid situations that may cause others to stumble (Rom. 14:13-23). Incidentally, we are not to judge one another either!
Once we achieve step 2 which is ongoing, we can purge ourselves of evil, past and present. Remember, this was before Yahshua came to Earth. This paradigm is based on the thinking of Jewish scholars of old. We cannot save ourselves of our own accord. Since Yahshua provided the way back to G-d and took away our past sins (Rom. 3:25), it in only through Him that we are not condemned to spiritual death IF we follow His commands. This condition is very clearly stated throughout the Old and “New” Testaments. Furthermore, only true remorseful repentance is honored by G-d through forgiveness of our present sins.
Now an individual is ready to live a life of piety (not perfection), dedicating himself to G-d far beyond far beyond the call of G-d’s Torah, which leads to humility, the negation of ego. This is a tall order! This is a daily battle rather than a once achieved, no more conflicts idea. Various parts of our soul battle within us on a daily basis. The Nefesh (lowest level of the soul which equates to our animalistic and selfish desires)fights with the Ruach which/Who is the next level of the soul that strives to mitigate our thoughts, behaviors and speech towards G-d’s standards/Torah. This is not easy by any means, but it is not impossible to achieve. It means going against the majority in this world and choosing the path less travelled over human nature or the path of least resistance. An individual at this point who continues “hearing” the Word of G-d, internalizing and acting upon it is now able to clearly understand what is good and right to the point of hating or dreading sin, being aware of its evil. Sha’ul alluded to this idea in Romans 7:14-20 when he states “ For we know that the Torah is of the Spirit: but as for me, I am bound to the old nature, sold to sin as a slave. I don’t understand my own behavior- I don’t do what I want to do; instead I do the very thing I hate! Now if I am doing what I don’t want to do, I am agreeing that the Torah is good. But now it is no longer ‘the real me’ doing it, but the sin housed inside me. For I know that there is nothing good housed inside me- that is, inside my old nature. I can want what is good, but I can’t do it! For I don’t do the good I want; instead, the evil that I don’t want is what I do! But if I am doing what ‘the real me” doesn’t want, it is no longer the ‘real me’ doing it but the sin housed inside me. So I find it to be the rule, a kind of perverse ‘torah’ that although I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me! For in my inner self I completely agree with G-d’s Torah; but in my various parts, I see a different ‘torah,’ one that battles with the Torah in my mind and makes me a prisoner of sin’s ‘torah,’ which is operating in my various parts. What a miserable creature I am! Wo will rescue me from this body bound for death? Thanks be to G-d [He will]!- through Yahshua the Messiah, our L-rd!”
This passage says volumes about the battle within us between the various levels of the soul. Sha’ul was spiritually mature to the point that he was acquainted with the idea that there is a constant battle between our nefeshim (basic animal part of our souls) and the Ruach who enables us to overcome that part of our humanity if we humbly and diligently seek Him and follow Him. Sha’ul addresses the fact that Yahshua is the Way to his salvation and ascension to G-d. This is to say that while we must face a daily battle between our nefeshim and the Ruach on a daily basis, it can be done successfully as the Ruach is far above and beyond our nefeshim (human nature aspect; animal soul).
Now the individual is ready for the final step; holiness that results from total negation of the physical. A side note is that the Ruach may “visit” or descend upon anyone IF, his deeds are worthy. This is contrary to what some charismatic clergy teach their people about calling down the spirit upon themselves; babbling or running up and down the aisles of a church or being “slain in the spirit.” Those are all occult practices that are not of the Spirit of G-d or the Ruach HaKodesh.
Some of you may be thinking that I am teaching contrary to scripture as evidenced in the Messianic Scriptures where the Ruach came immediately. Let me remind you that there are three levels of soul enlightenment. G-d ordained that man should naturally be able to teach himself, understand, and reason with his intellect, gaining knowledge from his natural observation of things and their properties. On the basis of this knowledge, man is able to infer and deduce things that are not immediately apparent. He can gain a deeper understanding of things if he chooses to study and observe. This is a natural process of human reason. Remember I spoke of the two hemispheres of the brain that should be used to mitigate the other; one hemisphere is the “logic” side and the other is the “aesthetic or creative” side. This correlated to G-d’s law and grace. He mitigates the two along with His other eight attributes as only G-d can do.
G-d and the prophets agreed that there is a much higher means of gaining knowledge and that is known as “bestowed enlightenment.” This level consists of an influence bestowed on men and women by G-d. When such an influence enteres a person’s mind, certain information becomes fixed in his intellect. The information is perceived clearly, without doubt or error, as well its place in the general scheme of things. This enlightenment is called the Ruach HaKodesh
Given to every believer at the time of his personal commitment/reconciliation to G-d through the agency of Yahshua who is the way, the conduit, the path back to G-d and the ultimate level of the soul; the Neshamah. Yahshua provides that second level of the soul necessary to advance the Nefesh to the Neshamah.
Now, stick with me here as I explain this next concept. The Ruach HaKodesh is often something others can see. Our animal aspect/soul/Nefesh should begin to decrease in its expression as we accept and draw on the Ruach to override it. In I Samuel 10, Sha’ul , after meeting Samuel and being anointed king, met with a band of men who were making music and prophesying. When he met them, he too received the “Spirit (Ruach) of YHVH.” He became a different man, changed though the Ruach, not unlike that described in the Messianic Scriptures. We have similar examples among the elders in Moshe’s time ( Numbers 11). Moshe wished that all of the people could prophesy, that they could all have the same intimate experience with YHVH that he and the elders did when they sat in the presence of G-d. But we need to consider this word “prophesy” because it has different connotations when we read in context.
May times it simply means to preach the Word of G-d. This parallels the experience of the Ruach in Acts, where everyone could see something was going on in Acts 2 and that the “receiving” of the Ruach was something that could be seen by those present.
Second. And perhaps most important to consider is that it can be taught, trained for, and ‘induced’ even against one’s will on occasion (I Samuel 19:18-24).The issue is motive which can be counterfeited by Satan. How do we know that the spirit we receive is of G-d? Let’s go to the text:
18 So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.
19 And it was told Saul, saying behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.
20 And Saul standing as appointed over them, the spirit of G-d was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
21 And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.
22 Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah.
23 And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the spirit of G-d was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.
24 And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?
We know that prophets, Elijah for example, had disciples who learned the prophetic way. As previously mentioned, there were “schools of the prophets’ and some of them were quite large, even in Israel’s idolatrous times (II Kings 2). These men and women were told/learned how to invite the Ruach ha Kodesh upon themselves. Ultimately, we need to keep this in mind as we continue; especially since the majority of those attending this class came out of some form of Christianity which is fraught with soulish behavioral teachings and even voodoo practices which have infiltrated the churches, labeled as “spirit filled” behaviors. Indeed, these soulish behaviors are “spirit filled” but not with the spirit of G-d.
The presence of G-d in one’s life through the Ruach HaKodesh is G-d’s prerogative and the training or process of learning enables one to achieve a position to receive not induce the Ruach HaKodesh. Indeed, one of the meanings of the word “kabbalah” is receiving. We are to spiritually prepare our hearts and minds to receive the Light (YHVH/Yahshua), enjoy the blessings of what He has for us and pass the light from His Torah forward. This encompasses the 10 steps discussed at the beginning of this lesson. If we do not stick to the process previously discussed, this effort becomes an occult system with a formula of cause and effect devoid of truth and righteousness; practices prevalent in the first Temple period. This is one reason Kabbalah is not taught to the layperson but was traditionally held for those over 40 years old who were spiritually grounded. There is a very fine line that must be followed when we seek to receive the Ruach HaKodesh.
What the schools of the prophets taught were aids to the Ruach experience. First it was taught that the experience is based on a life of piety, blameless in matters of Torah. This is why the counterfeits were and are so prevalent then and now. Few are willing to make the “sacrifices” to live life so in line with G-d’s Torah, which is the primary training tool by which we strengthen our faith and relationship with G-d, so that he imparts the Ruach unto us. So, if one tries to attain the Ruach simply by a rote process without a consistent, holy, pious life, one cannot come into the presence of G-d and the presence of G-d will not come to that individual.
Next month we will focus on how to move from the disharmony of the human condition and universe and synchronize our physical and spiritual state described through the phenomenon of resonance.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart