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Ruach HaKodesh

Ruach HaKodesh is the Hebrew name for "Holy Spirit". The term appears in the Tanakh (Isaiah 51:13, 63:10-11) and is equivalent to the "Spirit of God" (Ruach-Elohim), first seen in Genesis 1:2 as having "moved on the face of the waters" before God said, "let there be light". From this verse, Isaiah 48:16 and other places in the Bible it can be learned that the Holy Spirit is divine, not less or other than God.

Under the terms of the New Covenant, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in any person who trusts God through the Messiah. The Holy Spirit gives such a person power for service, guidance for God's truth, gifts to facilitate holy living, and fruits of righteous behaviour. The King James Version of the English Bible uses the term "holy ghost", which has nothing to do with spooks but is seventeenth-century English for "Holy Spirit".

"Therefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come" (Matthew 12:31-32).

Blaspheming (that is, insulting) the Ruach HaKodesh consists in either:

  • wilfully continuing to deny the Gospel when the Holy Spirit has made clear to you that it is true,

  • or attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the Adversary (Satan).

In the present context these amount to about the same thing (other interpretations have been offered).

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" (Luke 11:13).

The Ruach HaKodesh first came upon believers after they had been praying persistently (Acts 1:4 and Acts 2:4) in response to Jesus' own promise (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8). Those filled with the Holy Spirit may expect to receive gifts (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 et Ephesians 4:11-12), display fruits of righteousness (Galatians 5:22-23), and have the desire, love and power to communicate effectively the Good News of Jesus by word and deed to those who have not yet believed it (the entire book of Acts centres on this theme). Moreover, "anyone who doesn't have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn't belong to him" (Romans 8:9).