In the beginning, the Ruach of God hovered over the Earth.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
The word Spirit here is the Hebrew word ruach (ר֫וּחַ) which means breath, wind or spirit. Having to pick one of these when translating into English loses meaning. So we should read:
In the beginning … the [breath, wind or spirit] of God was hovering over the waters.
At the moment, I’m recording a song that reminds me of Ezekiel 37‘s valley of dry bones. This prophesies Israel’s restoration after World War II’s holocaust. As they returned to Israel, they looked at each other and remembered their nation being an distant memory of dry bones – dryer than an Egyptian mummy. They themselves had been reduced to skin and bone with no life in them, but God had brought them back to Israel and breathed life into them.
Although Israel are restored to their land as a thriving nation, they do not yet have the spirit of God in them. Most are non-religious – just holiday observers, schooled in the Torah (The first five books of the Bible). Some are deeply religious, but in rejection of Jesus, their Messiah – they burden their people with man-made traditions just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time.
In the beginning, the Ruach of God was over the Earth. Our words are carried by breath. I imagine God has just created the Earth – a sphere covered with water. The Earth was formless and empty. It had no mountains or ocean trenches – just flat and without form or life, suspended in emptiness and covered in water. But God breathed over the Earth. God’s breath was a wind over the Earth. God’s Spirit went out across the Earth like a breath. And that breath begat life.
Prophecy is God speaking. This breath/wind/spirit was God breathing before he spoke the world into form with the word “Hayah”.
The Hebrew word Hayah (הָיָה) is translated here as “let there be” means
to fall out, come to pass, become or be.
God prophesied creation into existence, just as Ezekiel prophesied Israel back into existence so long ago.
Then God created Adam (man) and God put his Ruach into him.
And as Moses led Israel out of Egypt, God’s Ruach parted the Red Sea. As Israel passed through those waters of baptism, God’s Ruach was over them. God created a nation that would carry his Ruach.
When Jesus arose from his baptism, God’s Ruach descended on him as a dove. Baptism symbolizes death, burial (under the waters) and resurrection. As Jesus was resurrected, God’s Ruach was upon him.
At Pentecost, God’s Ruach blew through the room and filled the Church, fulfilling Joel 2:28 I will pour out my [Ruach] on all people.
Today, God’s Ruach is over all the Earth as his Church is spreading over all the Earth, carrying God’s Ruach to all people.
God’s Ruach carries God’s Word.