I have discovered 18 different descriptions of what the Holy Spirit is likened to throughout the Bible. My hope is that they encourage you as much as they do me.
The Holy Spirit Is:
- “And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony.” – 1 Jn 5:6
- “He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.“ – Jn 14:17
- “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.“ – Jn 15:26
- “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.“ – Jn 16:13
2. Our Advocate/Comforter
“But when the Father sends the Advocate [Comforter] as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” – Jn 14:26
3. The Eternal Spirit
“For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.” – Heb 9:14
4. A Witness
“We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit…” – Acts 5:32
5. Like a Dove
The Bible never says the Holy Spirit is a dove. It says the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove. A dove is gentle and peaceful. The dove depicts the gentleness of the Holy Spirit.
- “After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.” – Mat 3:16
6. The power of the Most-High
Even though the Holy Spirit is as gentle as a dove, He has great power. This power lives inside of the followers of Christ ready to assist in our times of need and to empower us like the apostles to share the Word of the Lord with others.
- “The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most-High will overshadow you…” – Lk 1:35
- “This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Mat 1:18
- “...just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.” – Gal 4:29
The Holy Spirit Is Described As:
Like the wind, the Holy Spirit comes in suddenly and from seemingly nowhere – He whirls about the atmosphere and changes everything. The Holy Spirit is unpredictable, invisible but powerful. He brings refreshing. and He brings life. He is the Wind of Heaven, the Breath of God.
- “The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” – Jn 3:8
- “Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.” – Acts 2:2
8. Breath of God
- “At the blast of your breath, the waters piled up! The surging waters stood straight like a wall; in the heart of the sea the deep waters became hard.” – Ex 15:8
- “A breath from God destroys them. They vanish in a blast of his anger.“ – Job 4:9
- “If God were to take back his spirit and withdraw his breath,“ – Job 34:14
- “Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.” – 2 Thes 2:8
The Spirit comes into our lives to transform us, cleansing and purifying us to become more like Christ in our daily living. Moreover, He often burns up the things in our lives that are not like Jesus, but sets powerfully ablaze the things that are like Him. Likewise, our Heavenly Father who gave his only Son and poured out his Spirit at Pentecost wants to make us holy, just as he is holy.
- “John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”- Lk 3:16
- “All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire.“ – Ex 19:18
10. A Cloud
The presence of the Holy Spirit manifests in the form of a cloud many times throughout the Bible. I think of clouds as protection from intense heat. Other times low clouds seem to engulf us. This shows me the Holy Spirit protects and surrounds me with his love and protection.
- “And the glory of the Lord settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from inside the cloud.” – Ex 24:16
- “And the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Then he gave the seventy elders the same Spirit that was upon Moses. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But this never happened again.“ –Num 11:25
- The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God.” – 2 Ch 5:14
Rain has a dual implication. First, as refreshing where there has been dryness and barrenness. Second, as restoration where there has been loss. The Holy Spirit, as rain, comes to bring refreshing and restoration. Like a farmers crops that begin to wilt under a long hot days, it needs the refreshing rain to restore its fruitfulness.
- “In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.” – Acts 2:17
Dew appears in the morning, and when it appears it covers everything. Likewise, when the Holy Spirit is described as dew, it signifies the corporate anointing that is on an entire unified congregation or group. This “dew” of the Holy Spirit is a manifestation of the Spirit suddenly showing up — everywhere, on everything.
- “I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven.” – Ho 14:5-7
13. Living Water
When you go without water your body gets thirsty and you could die if not rehydrated. Likewise, our soul when it goes without God gets thirsty. Our soul was made to live on God. Therefore, “rehydration” from the Spirit of God is needed to revive our soul.
- “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.” – Jn 7:37-39
- But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” – Jn 4:14
- “For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children.” – Isa 44:3
Down Payment of Things to Come
14. God’s Guarantee
The Holy Spirit is God’s down payment guaranteeing that Heaven is in our future. The Bible teaches us that through the Spirit’s work, we have already begun to participate in the reality of heaven. Just as a father might choose to give a piece of the inheritance to his child beforehand, so our heavenly Father has chosen to give us a portion of our inheritance before the great day of the consummation of our hope.
- “While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.” – 2 Cor 5:4-6
- “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” – Eph 1:18
15. A Seal
A seal refers to an official mark of identification that was placed on a letter, contract, or other important document. The seal usually was made from hot wax, which was placed on the document and then impressed with a signet ring.
The document was thereby officially identified with and under the authority of the person to whom the signet belonged. This is the idea behind our being sealed in Him [Christ] with the Holy Spirit of promise.
- “Who also has sealed us and established the guarantee with the Spirit in our hearts.” – 2 Cor 1:22 (MEV)
- “In Him you also, after hearing the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and after believing in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” – Eph 1:13 (MEV)
- “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you are sealed for the day of redemption.“ – Eph 4:30 (MEV)
16. A Foretaste of Future Glory
“And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory …” – Rom 8:23
The Holy Spirit is Like:
Oil is a widely understood symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, when an individual was being anointed, oil was poured upon their head. This ceremonious applying of oil was known as “being anointed.” When someone was anointed, they were understood to be set apart for a specific purpose.
- “Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on.” – 1 Samuel 16:13
- “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.”- Lk 4:18
The Holy Spirit is compared with wine, not because He brings foolishness and chaos, but because He brings boldness and joy. Just as people receive wine in celebration, so are we to receive the Holy Spirit with gladness. His presence, like wine, marks the occasion. Wine represents the joy, prosperity, and boldness brought about by the Holy Spirit.
- “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,” – Eph 5:18
When you’re filled with and rely on the Holy Spirit, He changes your perspective in which you see things. What seemed impossible and too difficult, becomes easy. He makes a way where there seems to be no way.
Let Jesus minister the richness of the Holy Spirit to you. The Bible states it is Jesus who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8), you only need to ask.
If you are not yet a follower of Christ, know that God loves you and is longing for a RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU! It is not a coincidence that you have come across this website and especially this article. God has an awesome plan for your life!