Spiritual meaning of birds in the Bible
You will find the birds in the ancient mythologies of almost all cultures. They are everywhere in the Bible – from beginning to end.
But it is true – if you look, you will find them. God looms over the face of the waters in Genesis, the Talmud suggests, like a dove. Birds chirp in the flesh of the “beast” defeated in the Apocalypse. They are the currency of mercy – the birds of sacrifice. They bring bread to the prophets.
Abraham has to scare them away from his offering, and a dove goes with Jesus on his first visit to the temple. God is a bird that carries the children of Israel on their wings – a bird under whose feathers we will find refuge.
He asks his listeners to “consider the birds.” I love that about him. He says this can prevent us from being anxious. Maybe we don’t need medication, after all, perhaps we could slow down, pay attention and watch the birds.
In Matthew, Jesus says: “Consider the birds of heaven.”
So, do not fear; You are better than many little birds. Matthew 10:31
Birds have always caught my attention: their beautiful colours and variety; its fragility and, at the same time, its strength. After every storm in my life, I always remember the peace I find in birdsong. Five years ago, when I lived in Washington, United States, our family was going through deep pain.
Birds have always inspired the imagination of man. Its flight suggests freedom and detachment from earthly things.
Among the birds that appear as a symbol in the Bible, the oldest is the dove. In the Old Testament it appears as a symbol of peace because it brought Noah an olive shoot as a sign that the flood had ended. It also represents rest (cf. Psalm 53: 7) and love (cf. Sing 5: 2)
In the New Testament the dove represents the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity (cf. Baptism of Jesus, Luke, 3:22). Jesus mentions the dove as a symbol of simplicity and love: Cf. Matthew 10:16.
In the art of the early Church, the dove represented the Apostles because they were instruments of the Holy Spirit and also the faithful because in baptism they received the gifts of the Spirit and entered the new Ark that is the Church.
The eagle has different meanings in Biblical symbology. Deuteronomy 11:13 lists it as an unclean bird, but Psalm 102: 5 has another perspective: “Your youth will be renewed like that of the eagle.” The first Christians knew an ancient legend in which the eagle renewed its youth by throwing itself three times into a source of pure water. Christians took the eagle as a symbol of baptism, source of regeneration and salvation, in which the neophyte dives three times (for the Trinity) to obtain new life. The eagle is also a symbol of Christ and His divine nature.
The eagle is the emblem of Saint John the Evangelist >>> because his writings are so high that they contemplate very high truths and that clearly manifest the divinity of the Lord.
Represents greed, interest in passing things. It appears in the Bible several times.
Job 28: 7 “A path that the bird of prey does not know, nor does the vulture’s eye see it.”
Luke 17:36 “And they said to him, ‘Where, Lord?’ He replied: “Wherever the body is, there the vultures will also gather.”
The raven is a symbol for the Jews of confession and penance. It appears in the Bible in different contexts:
Genesis 8: 7 “and he released the raven, which kept going up and back until the waters were dried up on the earth.”
Job 38:41 “Who prepares his provision for the raven, when its young cry out to God, when they stretch out short of food?
Isaiah 34:11 “The pelican and the hedgehog will inherit it, the ibis and the raven will reside in it. Yahveh will lay over her the plumb line of chaos and the level of emptiness. “
Zephaniah 2:14 “The owl will sing at the window, and the raven at the threshold, because the cedar was uprooted.”
Far from being a coward as it is popularly represented, the hen is brave to defend her chicks and even gives her life for them. Jesus Christ is like the hen that wants to gather us all and gives his life. But not everyone wants to accept salvation. That is why he laments: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How many times have I wanted to gather your children, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you have not wanted to! ” Matthew 23:37.
The rooster is a symbol of vigilance and also the emblem of Saint Peter who denied Jesus three times …
John 18:27 “Peter again denied, and immediately a rooster crowed.”
Job 38:36 “Who put wisdom in the ibis? Who gave the rooster intelligence?
In Byzantine and Romanesque art, the peacock is a symbol of resurrection and incorruptibility (Saint Augustine, City of God, xxi, c, iv.). It was also a symbol of pride.
According to mythology, the pelican brought his dead children back to life by wounding himself and sprinkling them with his blood. (Cf. SAN ISIDORO DE SEVILLA, Etymologies, 12, 7, 26, BAC, Madrid 1982, p. 111). Christ, like the pelican, opened his side to save us by feeding us with his blood. That is why the pelican appears in Christian art, in tabernacles, altars, columns, etc.
Along with many, many other birds, the pelican is seen as unclean in Lev 11:18. Jesus was also considered unclean. The first Christians took the pelican as a symbol of atonement and redemption.
Other birds were used as symbols, especially in the Middle Ages.
The bird’s flight is fantastic
A new pen can grow in two weeks – which can also be easily removed. Many birds are on the verge of extinction. Without human influence (habitat destruction, climate change), the expected rate of bird extinction would be around one species per century.
Some reports say we are losing ten species a year.
Given that birds could motivate us to press for more responsible human behaviour. If, as Emily Dickinson wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers,” you might think we would be passionate about keeping them alive.