The Spirit came with what seemed like wind – the Hebrew word is Ruach (Ruark) a word which means an invisible, mysterious, and powerful force. The same Ruach that drove back the Red Sea and blew the plague of locusts over the land of Egypt and away again. It can also be used to describe some form of empowering from outside. A force beyond human experience takes possession of the person. – And this wind, this Ruach, was accompanied by fire, symbol of God’s presence – remember the burning bush?
Question: “What is the meaning of the Hebrew name Mikha’el?”
Answer: From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha’el) meaning “who is like God?”. This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven’s armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint of soldiers in Christianity.The popularity of the saint led to the name being used by nine Byzantine emperors, including Michael VIII Palaeologus who restored the empire in the 13th century. It has been common in Western Europe since the Middle Ages, and in England since the 12th century. It has been borne (in various spellings) by rulers of Russia (spelled Михаил), Romania (Mihai), Poland (Michał), and Portugal (Miguel). Other bearers of this name include the British chemist/physicist Michael Faraday (1791-1867), musician Michael Jackson (1958-2009), and basketball player Michael Jordan (1963-).
Question: “What is the meaning of the Hebrew word ruach?”
Answer: The Hebrew ruach means “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit.” The corresponding Greek word is pneuma. Both words are commonly used in passages referring to the Holy Spirit. The word’s first use in the Bible appears in the second verse: “The Spirit of God [Ruach Elohim] was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2). In Genesis 6:17 ruach is translated “breath of life.” Genesis 8:1 uses ruach to describe the “wind” God sent over the earth to recede the Flood waters.
Altogether, the word ruach is found almost 400 times in the Old Testament.
Often, when the Old Testament talks about the “Spirit of the Lord” or the “Spirit of God,” the word for “Spirit” is Ruach. Use of ruach as “spirit” when not linked with God usually is in reference to the human spirit. This can mean the actual spirit of a human (the immaterial part of humans akin to the soul) or to one’s mood, emotional state, or general disposition. Ruach as “breath” or “wind” can be a reference to literal breath or wind, or it can take on a figurative meaning such as in the idiom “a mere breath.”
God’s Ruach is the source of life. The Ruach of God is the One who gives life to all creation. We could say that God’s Ruach has created every other (non-divine) ruach that exists. All living creatures owe the breath of life to the Creative Spirit of God. Moses states this truth explicitly: “God . . . gives breath [ruach] to all living things” (Numbers 27:16). Job understood this truth as well: “As long as I have life within me, the breath [ruach] of God in my nostrils” (Job 27:3). Later, Elihu tells Job, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).
God used the phrase Ruach Yahweh in His promise that the Messiah would be empowered by the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 42:1). This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus; at His baptism in the Jordan River, John saw “the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him” (Matthew 3:16).