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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Symbols Does the Bible Use to Describe the Holy Spirit?

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Don Stewart

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The Bible uses a number of symbols to describe the person and work of the Holy Spirit. These symbols show the nature, character and work of the Holy Spirit. They include:

1. Water

The Holy Spirit is symbolized by water. This speaks of refreshing, cleansing and washing the believer of his sins. Jesus said:

If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).

2. Wind Or Breath

The wind symbolizes the invisible yet powerful work of the Holy Spirit.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting (Acts 2:2).

3. Fire

Fire speaks of the holiness of God and the judging of sin in the life of the believer.

When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning (Isaiah 4:4).

4. Oil

Oil was involved in the anointing of the prophets, priests and kings for ministry to their offices. Oil symbolizes the soothing and healing presence of the Holy Spirit.

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38).

5. Dove

The dove represents the gentleness and peace which the Holy Spirit provides the believer
And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased" (Luke 3:22).

6. Still Small Voice

The Spirit is the voice of God that speaks to our innermost being.

Then He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain of the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And suddenly a voice came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:11-13).

7. Firstfruits

The firstfruits were a symbol of the coming harvest. The initial work of the Holy Spirit symbolizes the final salvation and glorification of each believer.

And not only they, 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 8:23).

8. Earnest

The earnest was the down payment, a pledge of more to come. The Spirit pledges that our salvation will be completed when we are glorified with Christ.

Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchase possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:14)

9. Enduement

Enduement speaks of the divine clothing of the believer with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to His disciples:

Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49).

10. Number Seven

Seven speaks of completion. When used of the Holy Spirit it symbolizes the Spirits fullness and perfection.

John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne (Revelation 1:4).

These different symbols that the Bible uses to describe the person and work of the Holy Spirit will begin to give us an idea of how He works in our life.

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