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What the Holy Spirit Cannot Be
by Michael Okyere Asante
08/28/11
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Some Christians have misconceptions about who the Holy Spirit is--a dove, sound, wind, cloven tongues, fire. The Holy Spirit can never be any of these things. Let's visit Scripture for insight.

"And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him." (Jn. 1:32 KJV, emphasis mine)

Note the use of the simile "like". Here, the writer likens how the Holy Spirit descended to how a dove descends. It wasn’t a dove that descended on Jesus Christ as have been portrayed in paintings and in Christian literature--it was the Holy Spirit who descended on Jesus Christ.

What if the Scriptures had read, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like an aeroplane," would that make the Holy Spirit an aeroplane? I think John was trying to describe in the best possible way the manner in which the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus Christ.

"And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:2-4 KJV, emphasis mine)

Here too, the writer employs another simile "... as of a rushing mighty wind ..." A sound from heaven filled the whole house in which the disciples had gathered (v. 2). Just as the sound of a rushing mighty wind, such was the sound that came from heaven (v. 2).

This sound filled the whole house and then cloven tongues like as of fire (note the simile employed--the cloven tongues were not fire; they looked like fire or resembled fire) and sat upon each of them (v. 3). It was after these events that the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues with the Holy Spirit's enabling.

The Holy Spirit is not a dove, sound, wind, cloven tongues nor fire, and can never be any of these things. The Holy Spirit is God (1 Cor. 2:10; Eph. 4:30).

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