And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
Did a literal dove descend from the sky and land on the head of Jesus when he was baptized by John in the Jordan?
If not, what really happened?
Here is my understanding of what the scripture says.
All four gospels use the phrase “like a dove”.
Nowhere does the Bible say that a literal bird appeared out of the blue and landed on Jesus’ head, even though most people think that is what happened.
Based on the repeated and consistent use of the word “like” in all four gospel accounts, I believe that it was NOT a literal dove!
Rather, it appears to have been the very same thing that happened at Pentecost at the initial (and only the initial) outpouring of the Holy Ghost.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Notice: “cloven tongues LIKE AS OF fire” sat upon each of them.
Just as in each of the four gospel accounts of the baptism of Jesus the word “like” is used (“like a dove”), the very same word “like” is used in this passage.
Not literal fire, but a visible fluttering disturbance of the air above and on their heads that would have sounded like the wings of a dove descending and lighting upon them.
What happened to Jesus when He was baptized is probably the same thing that happened to the 120 disciples in Acts 2 when they received the Holy Ghost.
At the Baptism of Jesus, He was anointed with the Holy Ghost, thereby inaugurating Him into His Public Ministry.
At Pentecost, when the 120 disciples received the Holy Ghost, the NT Church was born and inaugurated into Sacred Service.
This is the way I see it….
Pastor Tim D. Cormier
Apostolic Faith Tabernacle