Read Acts 2:2
The Hebrew word that is often translated in the Old Testament portion of the Bible (the TaNaKh) as spirit is the word ruach, and it can mean breath, wind, and spirit.
In Job 19:17, ruach refers to the breath expelled from the mouth when a human being speaks. In Psalm 33:6, it is used in the same way to anthropomorphize God. Exodus 15:8, also using an anthropomorphism, uses it to refer to the air exhaled through God’s nose.
It is not surprising, therefore, that when the Spirit of God (or Holy Spirit) manifests Himself in the Bible, He sometimes manifests Himself as a wind.
Elisha, for example, asked Elijah for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (an expression that means Elisha wanted to be Elijah’s sole successor as a prophet). Elijah was eventually caught by a whilwind (2 Kings 2:9-11). According to the sons of the prophets, this whirlwind was a manifestation of the Spirit of the LORD (2 Kings 2:16).
In Ezekiel 3:12-14, Ezekiel is taken up, lifted up, by the Spirit. Though Ezekiel hears the voice of the Spirit along with the sound of an earthquake, the sound of wheels, and the sound of wings, his experience seems to be similar to Elijah’s in that he is lifted up from the ground by a manifestation of wind.
Therefore, it is not surprising that on the day of the Pentecost following the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection, the Apostles heard the sound of a powerful wind, and the room itself was filled with the wind: this was the manifestation of the Holy Spirit to fill them, empowering them to proclam the Gospel of Christ (Acts 2:1-4).
In his conversation with Nicodemus, the Lord also made reference to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as wind (John 3:6-8). His point was that those who are regenerated by the Spirit of God are influenced by the Him and therefore behave in a spiritual manner.
Questions for Reflection
- Does this lesson propose the idea that the Spirit of God is made of wind?
- Does this lesson support the view that the Spirit of God is inanimate like the wind?
- According to the Lord’s words in John 3:6-8, how is the Spirit like wind?
- Do you believe you have received the Holy Spirit? How would you know whether you did receive Him or not?
- Why do you think the Spirit of God would choose to manifest Himself as wind? What effect did this manifestation have on the prophets and the apostles? What effect does it have on us as we read about it?
Lord, I am filled wonder and awe when I read your words and think about you. How great and incomprehensible you are! How holy! How awesome! My desire is to draw closer to you. Make me a new man, a man like Christ. Teach me, lead me, and make me aware of your wonderful presence. Amen.
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©2018, Marcelo E. Carcach. All rights reserved.