What are some of the symbols of the Holy Spirit used in the Bible?

What are some of the symbols of the Holy Spirit used in the Bible? from Compelling Truth

The Holy Spirit has a nature very unlike ours, so to help us understand His nature and character the Bible is filled with symbols of the Spirit. These are some of the symbols for the Holy Spirit in the Bible.

When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. This symbol of the Holy Spirit is especially important because it is recorded in all four Gospels (Matthew 3:13–17; Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–22; John 1:29–34). Matthew says, “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased'” (Matthew 3:16–17). A dove is associated with the pleasure of God and His blessing. The Holy spirit is pure, patient, and gentle. Jesus told His followers, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

Oil was used frequently in the Old Testament for anointing people to the roles that God had chosen for them. Anointing was often followed by the Holy Spirit resting upon that person, like He did with King David (1 Samuel 16:13). The anointing oil represents God’s favor, choice, and blessing, especially for the calling He has placed upon the individual (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38). In the New Testament, oil is still used to represent God’s blessing: “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge” (1 John 2:20).

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Fire represents the Holy Spirit’s power and presence, as well as purification. John the Baptist preached that Jesus would come, baptizing with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16–17). The Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire when He came upon the disciples and God’s power was displayed as thousands of people were saved on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3–4). Other places in the Bible use the metaphor of fire for the Spirit and for judgment (Exodus 3:2; Isaiah 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

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