Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Dove was a Sign of the Holy Ghost

Matthew 3:13-17 

This is a beautiful account of the Baptism of Jesus Christ. 

When Jesus came to John to be baptized, John astonishingly said "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" Even from the womb, John recognized Jesus. I'm sure he recognized that he was a sinner and that Jesus was sinless. Think of if Jesus Christ coming to you and asking you to baptize him. I think most of us would have the same reaction as John. 

An important part of the baptism was when the Holy Ghost descended as a dove. I learned an important part of this concept and doctrine. 
On pages 28-29 in the New Testament Institute Manual, it states:

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that the Holy Ghost did not appear as a dove after the baptism of Jesus Christ. Rather, the descending dove signified that the Holy Ghost was present on that occasion: “The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage. It does not confine itself to the form of the dove, but in signof the dove. The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 81).

A reason Jesus Christ was baptized was to fulfill all righteousness. He did this to obey his father. Although sinless, it is a commandment to be baptized in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Christ loved his Father enough to follow his commandments, even when they didn't necessarily apply to him. 
Another reason was to literally show us the way. It would be hard to ask of my children to respect me if I did not respect them. I think this concept applies to Jesus when he was baptized. He can ask us to do as he did. 
Jesus cannot ask us to follow him, yet not do the things required of us to follow him.  

This baptism is also evidence that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are 3 separate beings. Jesus was on earth when he was baptized, God spoke from Heaven, expressing that he was well pleased of His Son. And finally, the Holy Ghost descended as the sign of a dove. Here we see that they are 3 separate beings. They were in 3 different forms and 3 different places.

I am grateful for the example of Jesus Christ so that I may know what to do to follow in his footsteps. 

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