Symbols of the Holy Spirit
Acts 2:2, Matthew 3:16
Sometimes, we focus so much attention on the ACTIVITY of the Holy Spirit, we tend to overlook the "Person" of the Holy Spirit.
Itís like receiving a birthday card. Do we quickly open the card to see if there is a check or some cash enclosed...then once you grab the money. You throw away the card without reading the note?
The moneyís nice...but you are really missing out on a blessing if you donít read the personal note written in the card!!
Letís read the note!
Throughout Scripture, we see different pictures or symbols of the Holy Spirit
These pictures or symbols are important.
They help us to have a better understanding of Who the Holy Spirit is.
And as we look at these symbols... we will be reading the note
Acts 2:2, Matthew 3:11, 16
The wind symbolizes the Spirit in a number of places. In Acts 2:2, Scripture tells us that the "blowing of a violent wind" accompanied the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
In John 3:8, Jesus told Nicodemus that "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit"
We canít see the wind, but it is real, and it has great power. The wind comes from the heavens, not earth, but it affects people on the earth, just like the Holy Spirit does. we donít see the Holy Spirit,but He has great power to move and change us. He comes from the heavens... but He greatly affects people here on earth.
Wind also has a "cleansing" element.
When we rake the lawn, ever notice how Ė on a windy day Ė your grass and leaves end up on the neighborís property? Thus saving me several hours of hard work. Because of the WIND.
The Wind of the Holy Spirit has a cleansing element too. When the Holy Spirit "blows" in and through us, it blows out the garbage of sin that has collected in our lives.
Another variation of the "wind" picture is, the Holy Spirit as "BREATH"
John 20:22 says, "And with that Jesus breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit"
In Ezekiel 37, Ezekiel prophesies to the dry bones in the valley and the bones begin to form into bodies, but they had no life. Ezekiel 37:9-10 says, "Prophesy to the breath; ... and say to it, íThis is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these ... that they may live.í" So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet--a vast army"
And then God says, in Ezekiel 37:14, "I will put my Spirit in you and you will live" So we see the Holy Spirit as breath.
It is our breath that shows life.
When you take a CPR class, they teach you about how to recussitate someone who had become unconsious.
The first thing we were to do was to put our cheek next to the personís mouth to see if we could feel breath going in and out... while we were doing that...we would look at the chest.... to see if it was moving to signify breathing.
If we could feel breath and see the chest moving... we werenít as concerned... because there was life.
Genesis 2:7 says, "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being".
The KJV says, "and man became a living soul"
In the same way, the Holy Spirit gives us life in the Spirit...spiritual life
Psalm 150:6 says, "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD"
Letís praise the Lord, not only for our physical breath, that gives us physical life, but letís also praise Him for the Breath of the Spirit; that breaths life into our spirit.
A worship song says, "Holy Spirit, breathe on me, until my heart is clean, let sunshine fill its inmost part, with not a cloud between. Breathe on me, breathe on me, Holy Spirit, breathe on me Take Thou my heart; cleanse every part. Holy Spirit, breathe on me.Ē
When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended as a Dove
This image is found in all four gospels. The very first reference to the Holy Spirit in all Scripture is found in Genesis 1:2 "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 KJV says, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters"
The word moved or hovered gives us the picture of a bird sitting on a nest of eggs to warm them and bring them to life like a brooding hen.
Doves are white...and have become the symbol of purity, sometimes used during wedding ceremonies.
In the Bible times, doves were often used for sacrifice, in fact, when Jesus was 8 days old, and it was time for Him to be consecrated to the Lord, like all Jewish young men...His parents brought 2 doves for the sacrifice, which I find interesting...since Jesus is also a symbol of purity and sacrifice.
The Holy Spirit as the Dove represents His purity, it represents His gentleness it represents His providing us with warmth and life
Godís Presence has been symbolized by Fire in the Bible. Godís Presence was in the burning bush, where Moses found himself standing on holy ground. God was also a "pillar of fire" to the Children of Israel.
But, the Holy Spirit is also symbolized by fire. On the Day of
Pentecost (Acts 2), the tongues of fire that sat on each of the disciples were
the evidence of the Presence of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 3:11, John says, "I
baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more
powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with
the Holy Spirit and with fire"
Fire has several qualities that relate to the Holy Spirit.
Fire Consumes... God Himself is called a "consuming fire".
One of the things we do when we gather up a large pile of branches, leaves, and trash, is burn it. And that huge pile of debris is reduced to ashes.
The consuming fire is a fire of judgment - burning and destroying sin.
Sometimes, in those old Westerns, when someone received a life threatening injury, they would cauterize the wound as a way to stop the bleeding and kill the infection. Fire is used to heat precious metals up to the melting point and then skimming off any dross.
In Isaiah 6:7, a seraph touched a live ember to Isaiahís lips and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for"
Fire softens... when candle wax is burned, it begins to soften... when gold or other precious metal is held to the fire...it softens. When the Holy Spirit holds our life to the fire the hard shell of our life begins to soften,
b. so we can be molded into a tool fit for His use.
Fire hardens... In metallurgy, they use the term "temper"... when
they heat certain metals and then cool them, they are much stronger than
before. On the space shuttle, they will use tempered screws and bolts, because
they are stronger and can withstand higher temperatures.
When the Holy Spirit tempers us, we become stronger spiritually, and we are better able to withstand the heat of temptation.
Fire warms and cheers... when we are camping or hiking, we like
to have a campfire. Thereís something about a campfire that not only provides
warmth, but it also cheers us up.
In the same way, the Holy Spirit encourages and warms and cheers.
5. WATER (John 4:14, 7:38-39)
Isaiah 44:3 says, "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
John 7:38-39 says, "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Water speaks to us of life and refreshment. Without water, we would soon die. Without water, the grass, plants and animals would suffer.
When our life becomes cracked and dry - we need the refreshing flow of Holy Spirit Water to run through our life bringing healing and restoration to our heart and soul.
The Holy Spirit is the 3rd Person of the Trinity.
He not only has the same qualities of God...He IS God.
He was there are creation. He was part of the birth of Jesus Christ, and He has continuing activity in our lives today.
Letís not just take the blessings we receive from the Holy Spirit... letís read the note.
Letís get to KNOW Him personally.