1. WATER AS A SYMBOL
a. How does water symbolize the nature and work of the Holy Spirit? John 3:5; Titus 3:5.
“The washing was the burial with Christ in the water in the likeness of His death, representing that all who repent of the transgression of the law of God receive purification, cleansing, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Baptism represents true conversion by the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 143.
b. What does Jesus invite those who are spiritually thirsty to do? John 7:37–39; 4:14.
“He who seeks to quench his thirst at the fountains of this world will drink only to thirst again. Everywhere men are unsatisfied. They long for something to supply the need of the soul. Only One can meet that want. The need of the world, ‘The Desire of all nations,’ is Christ. The divine grace which He alone can impart, is as living water, purifying, refreshing, and invigorating the soul.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 187.
2. WIND AS A SYMBOL
a. In what ways does the wind represent the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion? John 3:8.
“Christ used the wind as a symbol of the Spirit of God.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, p. 155.
“The wind is heard among the branches of the trees, rustling the leaves and flowers; yet it is invisible, and no man knows whence it comes or whither it goes. So with the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. It can no more be explained than can the movements of the wind. A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted. By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,—a patient, protracted process.
“While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 172, 173.
b. In what way is the Spirit of God used to emphasize the frailty of proud human beings? Isaiah 40:7, 8.
3. OIL AS A SYMBOL
a. How was oil used as a fitting symbol of the Holy Spirit in relation to Christ? Psalms 45:7; 23:5; Isaiah 61:1.
“Christ, preaching at Nazareth, announced Himself as the Anointed One. The Spirit of God accompanied His utterances, and convicted hearts of their truth. All bore witness to the gracious words that fell from His lips.”—The Bible Echo, August 19, 1895.
b. How does oil represent the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the consecrated believer? Zechariah 4:6, 12, 14.
“From the two olive trees the golden oil was emptied through the golden pipes into the bowl of the candlestick, and thence into the golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. So from the holy ones that stand in God’s presence His Spirit is imparted to the human instrumentalities who are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to communicate to God’s people that heavenly grace which alone can make His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.’ Zechariah 4:6.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 408.
“Our hearts cannot reflect light until there is a vital connection with heaven. This alone can make them burn steadily with holy, unselfish love for Jesus and for all who are the purchase of His blood. And unless we are constantly replenished with the golden oil, the flame will die out.”—The Home Missionary, July 1, 1897.
“The oil is received into vessels prepared for the oil. It is the Holy Spirit in the heart which works by love and purifies the soul. . . . Were it not that this holy oil is poured from heaven in the messages of God’s Spirit, the agencies of evil would have entire control over men.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, pp. 1179, 1180.
“As the olive trees empty themselves into the golden pipes, so the heavenly messengers seek to communicate all that they receive from God. The whole heavenly treasure awaits our demand and reception; and as we receive the blessing, we in our turn are to impart it. Thus it is that the holy lamps are fed, and the church becomes a light bearer in the world.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 510.
4. AS A DOVE
a. What made the dove a fitting, visible symbol of the bestowal of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus Christ? Matthew 3:16.
“The emblem in the form of a dove that hovered over Jesus at His baptism represents His gentleness of character.”—Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 238.
b. How will the gentleness of the dove manifest itself in those who receive the Holy Spirit? Matthew 10:16; Galatians 5:22.
“When a man is converted to God, a new moral taste is supplied, a new motive power is given, and he loves the things that God loves. . . . Love, joy, peace, and inexpressible gratitude will pervade the soul, and the language of him who is blessed will be, ‘Thy gentleness hath made me great’ (Psalm 18:35).”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 302.
“As the light of Christ is received into the soul, the spirit is softened. The gentleness of Christ is expressed in the life. The personal influence of the humble, consecrated soul, like the fragrance of a flower, extends far beyond himself. There is something about him that does not consist in display. It is a spiritual power which he receives from the two anointed ones that stand before the Lord of the whole earth. The Holy Spirit, coming from God to the instrumentality He employs, flows forth into other lives, making others labourers together with God.”—Australasian Union Conference Record, June 1, 1900.
c. What other lessons can we learn from the symbol of the dove? Psalm 55:6.
“A life in Christ is a life of restfulness. There may be no ecstasy of feeling, but there should be an abiding, peaceful trust. Your hope is not in yourself; it is in Christ. Your weakness is united to His strength, your ignorance to His wisdom, your frailty to His enduring might. So you are not to look to yourself, not to let the mind dwell upon self, but look to Christ. Let the mind dwell upon His love, upon the beauty, the perfection, of His character. . . . It is by loving Him, copying Him, depending wholly upon Him, that you are to be transformed into His likeness.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 70, 71.
5. FIRE AS A SYMBOL
a. In what ways does fire symbolize the Holy Spirit? Matthew 3:11; Revelation 4:5.
“The gift of His Holy Spirit, rich, full, and abundant, is to be to His church as an encompassing wall of fire, which the powers of hell shall not prevail against. In their untainted purity and spotless perfection, Christ looks upon His people as the reward of all His suffering, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory—Christ, the great center from which radiates all glory.”—Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 18, 19.
b. What appeared unto the disciples that looked like fire but was not? Acts 2:3–8.
“The Holy Spirit, assuming the form of tongues of fire, rested upon those assembled. This was an emblem of the gift then bestowed on the disciples, which enabled them to speak with fluency languages with which they had heretofore been unacquainted. The appearance of fire signified the fervent zeal with which the apostles would labor and the power that would attend their work.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 39.
“Under this heavenly illumination, the scriptures which Christ had explained to them, stood forth in their minds with the vivid luster and loveliness of clear and powerful truth. The vail which had prevented them from seeing the end of that which was abolished was now removed, and the object of Christ’s mission and the nature of his kingdom were comprehended with perfect clearness.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 266.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What does water baptism represent in relation to the Holy Spirit?
2. How is wind used to represent the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart?
3. What must happen in order for our spiritual light to burn constantly?
4. What does the dove teach us about the Christian life?
5. How does the symbol of fire represent the Holy Spirit?