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A Fire that Will Not Die
Now while staying with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised—which, He said, “you heard from Me. For John immersed with water, but you will be immersed in the Ruach ha-Kodesh not many days from now…But you will receive power when the Ruach ha-Kodesh has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:4-5, 8)
The Resurrected Lord spent forty days with His disciples, preparing them to set the world on fire and carry out the Great Commission. However, He did not immediately send them out. Instead, He told them that they needed to wait and pray. While they knew the Father and spent years getting to know Yeshua, they would now need to receive and get to know the Ruach (the Hebrew word for “Spirit”).
The problem that the disciples experienced then remains common today. Unfortunately, many don’t understand who the Ruach is, how we receive Him, or what He does in and through us. Each of these topics can take a great deal more space than we have here. I’d suggest that you check out Aligning with God’s Appointed Times—it is a helpful resource providing further elaboration on many of these topics.
Having a life empowered by the Ruach is essential to living our lives as God intended, a life of rich communion with Him. In the first article in this series, we spoke about God’s intention for a “habitational” culture. Throughout Scripture, we can see His desire to dwell with us: starting with creation, once again at Sinai, and now with each believer’s immersion in the Ruach during Shavuot (the Hebrew word for Pentecost) in Acts 2. One of Yeshua’s last prayers expressed His Father’s desire for connection, “I pray not on behalf of these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their message, that they all may be one. Just as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, so also may they be one in Us, so the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory that You have given to Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one— I in them and You in Me” (John 17:20-23a).
God had a plan for a relational and habitational fellowship with humanity. Adam and Eve enjoyed this intimate fellowship in the Garden of Eden, but they lost that deep fellowship in the Fall. The Rabbis teach that God was renewing that broken creation at Sinai, only to be disrupted by the sin of the Golden Calf. But God is faithful! He is relentlessly committed to fellowship with us. And so, once again, God was renewing His creation as He poured out His Spirit ten days after Yeshua’s Ascension. The indwelling Presence of God by immersion in His Ruach inaugurates this creational renewal in each believer.
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:22-23 NKJV)
Certain elements are crucial to the experience of immersion in the Ruach HaKodesh. One must authentically believe in and follow Yeshua; God’s sent One. The Rabbis teach that only one in five Israelites believed in Moses and received redemption from Egypt. If believing in Moses was essential for physical redemption, how much more must we believe in Yeshua for our total salvation?
Secondly, immersion in water is a vital expression of that belief in and devotion to the Messiah. It’s no accident that cleansing with water featured prominently in the original Shavuot (i.e., Pentecost). Consider the Rabbi and Apostle Paul’s teaching on the power and significance of water immersion:
Or do you not know that all of us who were immersed into Messiah Yeshua were immersed into His death? Therefore we were buried together with Him through immersion into death—in order that just as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4)
The experience of the Ruach’s indwelling presence should be one of our deepest cravings. But, as many have noted, God is a gentleman. He will never force more of Himself on us than we desire. And consequently, we are only as close to Him as we want to be.
Yeshua promised that the Ruach would be our helper, specifically that He “will teach you everything and remind you of everything that I said to you” (John 14:26). But God’s personal indwelling Presence not only instructs—He empowers: “In the same way, the Ruach helps in our weakness. For we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Ruach Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)
While it is understandable to focus on how the Ruach empowers us to further the Gospel, we should keep in mind that He comforts us in our times of most profound need. When the circumstances of life have rocked us to the point of despair, we must remind ourselves that Yeshua referred to the coming Ruach as the “Comforter” (see John 14:16). Indeed, the words from David’s psalm apply to Him:
You are my hiding place—
You will protect me from distress.
You surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7)
From Creation to Sinai to the Upper Room, Scripture testifies that what God has done before, He will be faithful to do again. Therefore, let the celebration of Shavuot rekindle our desire for an intimate and transformational relationship with the Ruach HaKodesh. And may we never forget that each day can also be our “personal Pentecost.” It doesn’t matter if we’ve never had an immersion experience, allowed our relationship with the Ruach to grow cold, or now realize how much more is available to us. There is no better time to open ourselves to a fresh immersion in the Ruach than now.
Genesis Rabbah 32:1
See Aligning with God’s Appointed Times pp. 73-75.
Rashi on Exodus 13:18
See Aligning with God’s Appointed Times p.65.
See Aligning with God’s Appointed Times pp. 73-77.
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