“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.” – Isaiah 60:1-5
LIGHT FOR NOW: Carefulness in bible study shows diligence.
In the baptism of Jesus, something happened, and the rule of interpretation of literal and figurative expression can also be illustrated here. John says “And John bare record, saying, I saw the spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode on him” (John 1:32). Many in their minds after reading this text believe that a physical dove came on Jesus; even as some have made or bought pictures of Jesus with a dove on his head or shoulder, and have hung them in their houses.
They haven’t realized that John here was not speaking in literal terms, he was speaking figuratively. Notice the language structure, he did not say “a dove descending on Jesus” but “the spirit descended on him like a dove”. He did not call the Holy Spirit a dove, because the Holy Spirit is not a dove. He used the dove there figuratively; hence, the word “like”. By saying the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove, he employs a figure of speech called simile which is an indirect comparison between two things with the use of “as or like”.
The immediate audience of John would not have been thinking of a bird aboding on Jesus because they understood what this implies. Within the Hebrew bible, as well as in archaeological findings, it is clear that many Israelites believed that the feminine symbol of the dove represented the spirit of God since the word for “spirit” in Hebrew is “ruach” which is feminine in gender. Hence, in their culture, a dove has spiritual significance. By John using the “Holy Spirit”, then “like a dove”, it was to help their understanding. That’s why the dove symbolizes purity, peace and gentleness of which Jesus is all that to us. He is pure, he is the prince of peace; you could see the qualities of gentleness or meekness manifested in his earthly ministry. Jesus thus manifested these attributes after baptism; hence, the spirit aboding on him was being compared to a dove. A bird did not come on Jesus physically, a simile was used there. If many understood this, that image of Jesus with a dove on him which they hanged in their houses wouldn’t have been hanged. Hallelujah!!!
INSTRUCTION: Study the bible carefully.
PRAYER: I declare that my eyes of understanding are enlightened, in Jesus Name. Amen.
QUOTE: Be diligent in the place of study.
DAILY BIBLE READING: MORNING: JOHN CHAPTER 1; EVENING: MATTHEW CHAPTER 3