A dove is often used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, but why? The olive leaf that the dove brought back became the symbol of peace. The dove is the most common symbol of the Holy Spirit. The term "Spirit" translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. During the last days of the great flood, which had covered the surface of the earth, it is written that Noah sent a dove to search for dry land (Genesis 8:8-9). In (Genesis 8:8-12), Noah sent a dove out of the ark three times. The Holy Spirit is represented as a seal or pledge expressing God’s ownership of the believer: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Yet there is a bird that carries sacred overtones, namely a type of pigeon we refer to as a “dove.” God the Holy Spirit has chosen the dove as the symbol for His presence. Luke 3:22 The Holy Spirit descending on Jesus and appearing in the bodily form of a dove is mentioned in the other two Gospels as well (see Mark 1:10 and John 1:32). It comes from the story of Jesus’ baptism, when Jesus saw “the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.” (Mark 1:10) The other three Gospel writers use similar wording to describe the … Even on the male and female servants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29). The Holy Spirit Comes as a Dove. Though no symbol can completely represent the Spirit, the dove and other earthly images are often used to represent aspects of God's Spirit instructive for our lives. On this occasion, however, the Spirit took on a visible appearance and was doubtless seen by the people. He makes it clear that the Holy Spirit took on the form of a dove bodily: and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on Him like a dove. In doing so, there were making it difficult for God-followers to buy sacrifices and come before the Lord (Matthew 21:12). How is the Holy Spirit active in our lives today? The Dove is a symbol for the Holy Spirit inspired by Jesus’s baptism. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, which had been promised and prophesied in the book of Joel, Christ’s followers would also have access to the same spiritual covering that had descended upon Jesus at His baptism and moved through Him throughout His earthly ministry. The dove is associated with God’s blessing and pleasure and expresses the Holy Spirit’s gentleness, innocence, purity, and patience (Matthew 10:16; Psalm 68:13). It completes the trinity of God, the Holy Spirit… It is one of the most ancient symbols of God, recognized by Jews even before Jesus’ baptism. In what ways is the Holy Spirit like a fire? The dove continued to be used for various church implements throughout the Byzantine and medieval period, including the form of oil lamps and this 13th-century altar piece for holding the Eucharistic bread. It goes on to tell us what happened next. What is the role of the Holy Spirit? There may be another impression … Therefore, God is not a dove, but the Spirit of God is beautiful like a dove. The Holy Spirit wants to come and rest upon you and me. God chose the symbol of the dove to represent the Holy Spirit. We are dealing with a question of interpreting a symbol that is not common in the Bible. columba).—In Christian antiquity the dove appears as a symbol and as a Eucharistic vessel. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. I would fly away and be at rest” (Psalms 55:6). He was: In John’s gospel, John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. It was then that Noah knew the waters had abated from the earth, and the ark would soon come to rest as on dry land. What the dove did is important as well—the dove came and rested on Jesus (Matt. “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! The dove as a symbol manifests itself in Jesus’ kindness toward his people, his purity, and finally his act of atonement for people’s sins. Does the Holy Spirit Speak Through the Bible? Illustration of dove, design, element - 122699915 3:16). Each time the dove went out, her actions illustrate truths about the Holy Spirit. Doves also have a hiding nature. When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him [see Matthew 3:16]. At the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove, so the dove is used at both baptisms and confirmation. We find that the dove was a peace symbol. The main aspect of the Holy Spirit is the new beginnings. Dove (Lat. There doesn't seem to be a generally accepted explanation for the use of the dove as representing the Holy Spirit. As a Christian symbol it is of very frequent occurrence in ancient ecclesiastical art. Luke says, “And the Holy Spirit came down in a bodily shape, like a dove on […] The Dove is a symbol for the Holy Spirit inspired by Jesus’s baptism. Why Is the Dove Often a Symbol for the Holy Spirit? Each of these is representative of the Holy Spirit, but even together cannot fully express who He is or His power. “When you lie down among the sheepfolds, You are like the wings of a dove covered with silver,And its pinions with glistening gold” (Psalms 68:13). The Holy Spirit, coming like fire, burns away any binding grip that the Enemy has imposed on us. Trump administration officially authorizes Biden transition. Today, the dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit, the fulfillment of Scripture through the life and ministry of Jesus, and the peace, power, purity, and propitiation for sin that comes in relationship with God. Why is a dove used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit? Christianity.com is a member of the Salem Web Network of sites including: Copyright © 2020, Christianity.com. In addition to its symbolism for the Holy Spirit, the dove was a popular Christian symbol before the cross rose to prominence in the fourth century. (Genesis 15:9, Leviticus 12:6, Luke 2:24). Even then, God had made provisions for everyone, regardless of their wealth or status, to bring their best offerings before the Lord (Leviticus 5:7). California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Jesus would fulfill much of the symbolism of the dove in early Scripture. Joel Ryan Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer. The colour white represents purity, innocence and righteousness, and the dove is a peace loving creature. It also symbolizes the Jewish people, longing for peace and rest, as well as love. Each reference to the dove in Scripture had symbolic meaning even then and would be eventually fulfilled in the greater context of Jesus’s life and ministry, beginning with His baptism and continuing through the movement of the Holy Spirit, which lives on today. It would seem that concepts of peace and purity and gentleness give us an accurate perception of not only who the Holy Spirit is, but also how He ministers to each of us as children of God. This occurs during Jesus’ baptism where it is written, “the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove” (Luke 3:22).Why a dove? FIRST time, the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark. The dove, with its pure white feathers, calls to mind the purity of God, and its swift flight in the air reminds us of the many movements of the Holy Spirit in our soul. As we search the Scripture we find that the dove represented a number of things to the people in the ancient world. All rights reserved. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is specifically mentioned as coming in the form of a dove. (CCC, 701) Some scholars suggest that the selection of the dove as a representative of the Holy Spirit is appropriate by virtue of its grace. "Holy Spirit" is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son. Joel Ryan is an LA-based children’s and young adult author who teaches writing and communications at Life Pacific University. Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon Him” (John 1:32). Article Images Copyright © 2020 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. When Jesus was being baptized and came up out of the water, the Bible says that "the Holy Spirit came to rest on him in the form of a dove” (Luke 3:22). The second piece of symbolism that would eventually find fulfillment in the life of Jesus can be seen in the sacrificial system of the Mosaic law, where doves and turtledoves were the only birds that could be offered as acceptable sacrifices because of their perceived purity. THE DOVE IN JUDAISM. One of the most common symbols of the Holy Spirit is a dove. The dove has been used among many Christian denominations as a symbol for the Holy Spirit as well as a general symbol for peace, purity, and new beginnings. In judaism the dove ( yonah) is a symbol of the Holy spirit referring to the spirit of God which hovered like a bird over creation, divine love, of deliverance and forgiveness. What Does it Mean That the Holy Spirit Is Our Paraclete? How the Women in the Bible Were Revered, Respected, and Diverse. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God's breath, the divine Spirit. 'You people need help': NFL player gets death threats Doves were stipulated as sacrifices for the poor in Israel. The Holy Spirit descending on Jesus was a symbolic fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and preface to the Day of Pentecost, in which the Holy Spirit would descend on the apostles and empower them with the gifts of the Spirit (Acts 2), promised by Jesus at His ascension (John 14:15-17). All four gospels describe the Holy Spirit as descending “like a dove” on Jesus at His baptism. For example, the dove can be a symbol of peace. This was something Jesus would not tolerate! These are some of the symbols for the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Cross and dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit. Both wind and fire can be symbols of power. 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. What are some of the symbols of the Holy Spirit used in the Bible? Illustration about Church logo. How Are Believers Empowered by the Holy Spirit? Because the Holy Spirit is just that—spirit—He is not visible to us. Finally, on a separate flight, the dove returned to the ark with a “freshly picked olive leaf” (Genesis 8:11) and then, after seven days, not at all (Genesis 8:12). For the Spirit to descend upon Jesus in the form of a dove at His baptism was a public display of Christ’s divinity, a confirmation of His anointing, and a connection between His ministry and previous symbols of the dove (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:32). the Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in the Baptism of her new children. Copyright 2011-2020 Got Questions Ministries - All Rights Reserved. Prior to Jesus’s baptism, the dove was seen sporadically throughout the Old Testament. Finally, Christian art often represents the Holy Spirit as a white dove, as based in Scripture. The dove. The Holy Spirit, coming as a dove, is gentle and a symbol of peace. Why did John the Baptist describe the Holy Spirit as a dove? This time the dove returns with an olive leaf — thus the symbol of peace. Upon releasing the dove seven days later, the dove does not return and Noah knew it was the right time to exit the ark. The Spirit of God brings peace and rest to … Two major events in the Bible involve a dove as a sign of God's Spirit that have led to this historical connection. (I) As a symbol of the Holy Spirit it appears especially in representations of the baptism of Our Lord (Matt., iii, 16) and of Pentecost. It is also worth mentioning that doves and turtledoves were often purchased and used by those who could not afford one of the more expensive offerings, such as a spotless lamb. Prior to His cleansing of the temple, the merchants and money changers had been taking advantage of the poor and overcharging for ritual sacrifices. The dove is an emblem of purity and harmlessness (Matthew 10:16), and the form of the dove at Jesus’ baptism signified that the Spirit with which Jesus was endowed was one of holiness and innocence. Should ‘Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone’ Be in the Bible? In the Old Testament, it was a dove that signaled the end of the flood (Gen 8:8-12). Your eyes are like doves” (Song of Solomon 1:15). The description “like a dove” is a simile for female beauty. The use of a dove and olive branch as a symbol of peace originated with the early Christians, who portrayed the act of baptism accompanied by a dove holding an olive branch in its beak and also used the image on their sepulchres . The dove has been used among many Christian denominations as a symbol for the Holy Spirit as well as a general symbol for peace, purity, and new beginnings. Dove When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. As Joel wrote, “it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind, and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. On several occasions, the dove returned to the ark, signifying that the waters had not yet receded. When Jesus was baptized, the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove (Mt 3:16; Mk 1:10; Lk 3:22; Jn 1:32). The Dove as a Symbol of the Holy Spirit -- as others have said above. Knowing the heart of God in this matter helps explain why Jesus was later so infuriated by the money changers in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-21). The dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. “A voice came from heaven. Trump's final act in office may be to veto the defense bill. Furthermore, in Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s gospel, it is written that immediately following Jesus’s emergence from the water and descendance of the Holy Spirit, the voice of God the Father came from the heavens saying, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased” (Luke 3:22). Taking all three of these examples into consideration, the Jewish people would have known and understood the symbolism of the dove from Old Testament stories and teachings. This figure is first implied in the creation accounts when the Holy Spirit “hovered” over the waters (Gen. 1:2). What names and titles does the Bible use for the Holy Spirit? Christian Truth. In the ancient Near East, doves sometimes represented pagan goddesses. As a context of worship, the continuity of doves in sacrifice and the Spirit-as-a-dove matches what Scripture elsewhere tells that we “worship in Spirit and truth” and “pray in the Spirit” since that is the Spirit’s role to … At the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove, so the dove is used at both baptisms and confirmation. Writers of the Old Testament also utilized the dove poetically as a symbol of purity, gentleness, and grace. From then on, the dove was regarded as a harbinger of peace and the symbol of hope and new life. “How beautiful you are, my darling,How beautiful you are! “He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:33-34). God sent the Holy Spirit as a dove to represent peace and purity. On the other hand, "Spirit" and "Holy" are divine attrib… Question: “Why is the dove often used as a symbol for the Holy Spirit?” Answer: All four Gospel accounts refer to the baptism of Jesus by John at the Jordan River (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32). Today, the dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit, the fulfillment of Scripture through the life and ministry of Jesus, and the peace, power, purity, and propitiation for sin that comes in relationship with God. Luke’s Gospel confirms the literal way in which the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus. I believe one of the reasons the Holy Spirit assumed the form of a dove is because a dove has characteristics similar to those of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament also utilized the dove can be a symbol and as a Christian it... Like fire, burns away any binding grip that the Enemy has imposed on us or His.! 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