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Bible verses about Water Symbolism
(From Forerunner Commentary)

John 5:17

The implication is, "My Father has been working from the beginning, and He's continuing to work." What is Their work? It is creating, creation. God is the Potter, we are the clay. He is the One doing the shaping, the molding, the creating. "It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves." He is the One who is continuing the creation that He began and revealed in Genesis 1. He is still working on us! Continuing the pottery metaphor, the Holy Spirit, then, can be compared to the water that the potter uses to bring the clay to the right consistency to enable him to shape it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Pentecost and the Holy Spirit


 

John 7:37-39

Christ spoke of the Holy Spirit during His proclamation on the Last Great Day. His words revealed that a day - the White Throne Judgment - would come when all humanity would have free access to the "living water" of God's Holy Spirit (John 4:13-14; Matthew 5:6; Revelation 22:17). Jesus is not only Judge of all, but also the One who dispenses the Holy Spirit to all of His disciples.

Martin G. Collins
Holy Days: Last Great Day


 

John 7:37-39

Giving meat in due season (II Timothy 4:2), Jesus preached about the meaning of the Last Great Day, and His subject was the Holy Spirit. Why? There is no doubt that some understood the meaning of the day because His audience had just witnessed the conclusion of a ceremony that involved water. God never commanded them to keep this ceremony, but nonetheless it contained a measure of true symbolism.

Each day during the Feast of Tabernacles, a priest drew an urn of water from the pool of Siloam and carried it through the Water Gate while the people recited Isaiah 12:3: "Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." Once inside the city, they paraded the urn of water to the altar accompanied by a choir singing Psalms 113—118. To conclude the ritual, the priest poured the water on the altar as an offering to God.

However, on the last day, the great day of the Feast, they marched seven times around the altar before pouring the water. What does pouring water upon an altar have to do with salvation? How many understood the symbolism that day when Jesus spoke concerning the Holy Spirit? Had the symbolism become obscured in people's minds by the passage of time? Jesus' comment should have revitalized their understanding of this wonderful truth.

Psalm 118:19-29 is a part of what the choir was singing as the procession approached and circled the altar. This psalm exalts the theme of the Last Great Day. It depicts the time when the whole world will go through the gates of righteousness, recognizing Christ as Savior, rejoicing in those God sends to teach them and praising God for His mercy in giving them salvation. Though not directly stated in these verses, the only reason mankind will respond like this is because God will pour out His Holy Spirit on all of humanity!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Final Harvest


 

Acts 5:3

This verse is unclear on the nature of the Holy Spirit, and it must stand in the light of verses from other parts of the Bible before it is correctly understood. For instance, nowhere in the Bible is the Holy Spirit shown to have manlike shape. The Father and the Son are revealed to have body parts like us—they even sit on thrones—but the Spirit is described to be like wind, oil, fire, and water.

The only shape it is ever given is that of a dove (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32), and some dispute that the Spirit looked like a dove but rather in a visible form descended like a dove. Nevertheless, the Spirit is never described to have a humanlike shape. Man was created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27), so man looks like God. If the Spirit were also a person in a "trinity," it too would look like a man just as the Father and Son do (John 14:9). Yet, at best, the Spirit had a dove's shape in one instance, and a man and a dove have never been mistaken for each other.

Other verses show the apostles giving praise, glory, and honor to the Father and Son without mentioning the Spirit (Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:1-4; Galatians 1:1-5; and so on through the epistles). If it were part of the Godhead, this would be a grave omission.

Many of the Spirit's attributes can be shown to originate in the Father or the Son. For example, the Spirit is named "Comforter" in John 14:26 (KJV), yet the Father is called "the God of all comfort" in II Corinthians 1:3-4. Other examples include making intercession: Romans 8:26I Timothy 2:5 and Hebrews 7:25; and enabling spiritual understanding: I Corinthians 2:10-16 and I John 5:20.

In addition, the Spirit has no familial relationship to Christians. God is our Father and Christ is our Elder Brother. Paul says "Jerusalem above . . . is the mother of us all" (Galatians 4:26). The Spirit, though, is not a person but a gift of God, the mind and power of God working in and through us (II Timothy 1:7).

Finally, the history of the trinity doctrine is open knowledge. The true church never accepted the idea, and even the false church did not embrace it until three centuries after Christ! Even then, it was only accepted as a political concession to the Roman emperor, Constantine. Add these facts to its absence in the Scripture, and it is no wonder the Catholics and Protestants call it a mystery!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Lying to the Holy Spirit


 

Acts 17:10-13

Hitchcock's Bible Name Dictionary mentions that the name "Berea" represents something that is heavy or weighty. Even the city's name hints at a vastly different nature than that described in Matthew 23:23, where Christ condemns the Pharisees for neglecting the weightier matters of God's law. The Berean's example was a balanced one in that they separated themselves from the world around them yet still influenced the conversion of others. The Pharisees' strictness, while perhaps technically correct, lacked the love and concern that the Bereans embraced as a way of life toward God and others.

The people of Berea certainly placed great importance on their belief system, but also strived to see the balance of things so that even those of other cultures and religions could see the fruit produced in their lives. Hypocrisy does not seem to be a problem that hindered this faithful but open-minded people.

The Bereans were a unique people with a strong desire to follow God's truth. They combined genuine character with zeal to lead and live by example and by the whole Word of God. Their search for the truth did not rely just on the accepted sources of their time but also on the words and actions of those shown to be credible leaders of God's people. Once this was evident, their lives became living examples that others around them could emulate. Their lives began to show fruitful "works" that centered on God and his truth.

A final intriguing factor unique to the city of Berea is that it was known for the many streams of water that flow through it. As we know, water symbolizes several Christian ideas, among them baptism and the Holy Spirit being most recognized. Water is critical to the survival of a town and its inhabitants, just as the Holy Spirit is to those within the body of Christ.

In John 4:13-14, Christ speaks of this to the Samaritan woman at the well. He tells her of the living waters, His Holy Spirit, that would soon become a part of a person's life if he believed. Once converted, God's elect soon understood this living water to be as important to spiritual survival as drinking water is to physical survival. Jesus says, "Whoever drinks of this water [from Jacob's well (verse 6)] will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life" (verses 13-14).

Not only Berea's name but also the city's physical attributes have spiritual connotations. That the city is well-watered symbolizes the relationship between the Berean's faith and flow of God's Holy Spirit through their lives on a daily basis. This, too, should be a good reminder to us to partake of a daily diet of God's Holy Spirit through study, meditation, and prayer.

Staff
The Berean Example


 

Revelation 13:1

Revelation is largely written in symbols. When used as a metaphor in the Bible, water can represent good or bad realities. Especially in large amounts, it can represent masses of people. Thus in this verse, the Beast is understood to be rising either from a heavily populated area or from the majority of all dwelling on earth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Flood Is Upon Us!


 

 




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