The Nature and Person of Ruach haKodesh

A Study by John of AllFaith Sept 2000


I'd like to begin by saying that I often inclusify the language used in my writings and teachings, avoiding irrelevant personal pronouns which have traditionally denied or compromised gender equity. In this study however I will employ the standard pronouns in order to maintain the clarity of the points I'll be making. The use of personal pronouns for the Holy Spirit is an essential aspect of understanding the Scriptural presentation of the Third person of the Holy Trinity. To date there are no standard neutral pronouns in the English language. This weakness of the language compounds the confusion of this important topic. What we are doing with this study is demonstrating the traditional Christian doctrine that the Holy Spirit is an individual Personality rather than an impersonal force of energy as Secular Humanism and the Media usually depict Him. No offense or doctrinal statement on gender equity is intended in the use of male pronouns herein. I use them simply because of this weakness of the English language.

As followers of Jesus we confess our acceptance and belief that there is but one true God who is eternally known or manifested in three distinct Persons: Father -- Whose Name is YHVW [Yahveh] -- Son -- Whose Name is Yeshua, which is commonly translated into English as Jesus -- and Ruach haKodesh or the Holy Spirit. This doctrine is generally known as the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity. This doctrine has been considered an essential tenet of the Christian faith since the earliest days of the Church.

THE APOSTLE'S CREED

The Apostle's Creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries A.D. By the third it existed basically in its present form. It remains the most popular creed used in worship by the Western Church.

According to Church tradition, the Apostles wrote this creed on the tenth day after Jesus' ascension into heaven. The earliest written version of the creed is probably the Creed of Hippolytus which dates to 215 A.D. The current version is first found in the writings of Caesarius of Arles in 542. A.D. It appears that the Creed was originally designed as a baptismal declaration of beliefs among the Believers in Rome.

Here's the standard, modern English version:

Now, what does it mean "I believe in the Holy Spirit?" What is it that we as Believers are to believe about the Holy Spirit?

THE NICENE CREED

The Nicene Creed, written in 325 C.E. (its English version dates from 1549) says, in part:

Note the use of personal pronouns. "... by the power of the Holy Spirit he [Jesus] became incarnate from the Virgin Mary..."

Note that the Holy Spirit is not referred to here as the "power" or "energy" of the Father -- an heretical doctrine which is becoming more and more popular today -- but that Jesus' conception was by the power OF the Holy Spirit. The earlier section quoted above specifically says that Jesus was begotten BY THE FATHER. Now, we know that the Holy Spirit is the one who "overshadowed" Mary so that she conceived Yeshua. The power of this conception belonged to and came from the Holy Spirit. In the next line we read: "We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son."

Scripture says repeatedly that there is only one Lord and yet YHVH, Yeshua and Ruach haKodesh are called "the Lord." The Holy Trinity is indeed a mystery: There is but One God and yet this one Being is eternally manifested or known as three distinct co-equal, co-eternal Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

The Holy Spirit therefore is a "He," the Holy Spirit is "The Lord." In other words, Ruach haKodesh is a Person in the same sense that YHVH and Yeshua are. The three in unison are known as Elohim. Elohim is the "Let Us ..." referred directly to in verses like Genesis 1:26.

The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal energy or power. He is a sovereign Person. He is God, Elohim, just as surely as Yeshua and YHVH are.

There is a popular move to equate the Holy Spirit with the idea of "The Force" as in Star Wars or as the "Tao" of Eastern thought, as though the Holy Spirit had no individual Personhood as YHVH, God the Father and Yeshua, God the Son has.

The Nicene Creed further informs us that HE, the Holy Spirit, is worshipped and that it was HE who spoke through the Prophets.

Therefore when the ancient Hebrew prophets said: "Thus says the God of Israel" they were quoting the Words of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is therefore called "the Lord," not an impersonal Force or Energy.

Throughout the Sacred Scriptures the Holy Spirit is referred to as a Person.

Romans 8:26, 27 says: "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."

Ruach haKodesh has intelligence, knowledge & thought. He prays for us, thinks about us, helps us, comforts us. These are not things that an impersonal Force could do.

He has a mind. He thinks and knows, He interacts with us, He leads and guides us. He is not just an inner power, He is a Person, someone that we can communicate with, someone who has compassion for us, who understands our hurts and sorrows and who cares.

I Corinthians 12:11 tells us that the Holy Spirit gives us gifts as He wills, indicating that there are specific purposes and intents to what He does and wills. Furthermore, He purposes that we do certain things. We were not placed upon this earth to frantically consume its resources and seek personal enjoyment; we are here to be the caretakers of Elohim's creation, to the glory of God. In short, we are here to do the Will of Elohim, God the Father. Part of the Holy Spirit's purpose is to aid us in our service to the Father.

Jesus explained that the reason the Holy Spirit would be sent after his death was to empower us to do Jesus' will. Concerning that mission the Apostle John tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us and help us to understand what we should and should not do. Paul assured us that when we are hauled before judges for sharing God's truth that He, the Holy Spirit, will be with us, instructing us what we should say just as He used to tell the holy prophets what they were to say! These are acts of volition and intention, not the flow of an impersonal energy.

Our savior Yeshua called The Holy Spirit The Comforter or Helper at John 14:16. These terms depict a conscious person who can assist us. Jesus would have chosen other terms had the Spirit been a force or impersonal power. No, the Holy Spirit is clearly a Person who can comfort and help us in times of trouble, not just an impersonal force or power that enables us.

Yeshua repeatedly employed personal pronouns when referring to Ruach haKodesh. The sixteenth chapter of John alone refers to the Holy Spirit as Him (7 times), He (8 times), He, himself (13 times) and He (15 times).

Ruach haKodesh is referred to with personal pronouns throughout the Scriptures.

Rene Pache, author of "The Person And Work Of The Holy Spirit" (Chicago: Moody Press, 1954, p 13) goes into some depth about the significance of the use of personal pronouns for the Holy Spirit. As far as I'm concerned, there is no question that the biblical presentation of Ruach haKodesh, the Holy Spirit, is as an individual Person and the use personal pronouns make this very clear. He is a Person in the same sense that YHVH and Yeshua are Persons. He is an individual conscious Being, not an impersonal Force.

Now, as I said before, I often try to use inclusive language. Our English language is not good at conveying deeply spiritual concepts; it is a very utilitarian language, but this doctrine is clearly, both from Church history and from Scripture, the correct understanding. Not that Ruach haKodesh is a male, but that "He" is an individual Person. It would be illogical to deny the personality of Ruach haKodesh, when the Biblical scribes repeatedly employed personal pronouns to speak of Him.

Just as surely as YHVH and Yeshua are distinct Persons, so too is Ruach haKodesh. That this is an essential historic Christian doctrine is seen by the command of our Savior to undergo the Rite of Baptism "In the Name of the Parent, the Child and the Holy Spirit" -- Matthew 18:19.

The Apostle Paul understood this essential connection when he bid his readers farewell well with the words:

"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" -- 2 Corinthians 13:14

"Fellowship" with an impersonal force is not possible.

Both Scripturally and grammatically it makes no sense to deny personality for Ruach haKodesh and yet acknowledge it for YHVH and Yeshua.

Please consider the following:

THE SPIRIT HAS THE ACTIONS OF A PERSON

He Speaks:

He Prays: He Guides: He calls and commissions: He Commands: He Dwells In Believers: He Teaches: Likewise: Ruach haKodesh can be vexed: He can be grieved: The Spirit can be resisted: Ruach haKodesh can be called upon: The Spirit is to be obeyed: Likewise,

THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM:

In conclusion, Ruach haKodesh is a person and He is indwelling us, thus He should be our Personal Friend.

If He is less than that, then we need to spend more time with Him!

He is very active and most of His activities are performed for our benefit. If we are wise we will follow His leadership and accept His Lordship.

My friends, we should all spend more time with Ruach haKodesh! As we draw closer to Him He will lead us ever closer to Yeshua who leads us to and intercedes for us with YHVH so that we may walk with Elohim, even as Adam and Eve did before the Fall. This is the will of Elohim our God.


Go to: The Nature and Person of YHVH Elohim

Go to: The Nature and Person of Yeshua

Go to: The Trinity Home Page

Go to: Our Christianity Home Page

Blessings to all in the Name of YHVW, Yeshua and Ruach haKodesh!