What Does A Pigeon Symbolize In The Bible?

What does a pigeon symbolize in the Bible? Almost all mentions of pigeons in the Bible are in regards to sacrifices. The first mention is in Genesis 15:9 where Abraham makes a sacrifice. 

So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”

Pigeons, and doves, are also mentioned several times in the laws regarding sacrifices. Pigeons and doves are typically presented as alternatives for Israelites who couldn’t afford a lamb or other animals for a burnt or sin offering. 

Take Leviticus 5:7 for example. 

Anyone who cannot afford a lamb is to bring two doves or two young pigeons to the Lord as a penalty for their sin—one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.

Even Joseph and Mary, in Luke 2:24 brought two doves or pigeons to the temple to consecrate Jesus.   

What Do Pigeons Symbolize in the Bible?

what do pigeons symbolize in the bible

In almost all instances where pigeons are mentioned in the bible, they symbolize sacrifice, atonement, and devotion to God. 

Pigeons were used in two main types of offerings:

  • Burnt offerings, and
  • Sin offerings.  

Burnt offerings symbolized devotion to God and were also used for general atonement. Sin offerings were mostly for purification from sin. 

Notably, God provided pigeons (and doves), as cheaper options for Israelites who could not afford to bring a lamb to the temple for sacrifice. This ensured that atonement and devotion was available to all, rich or poor. 

What do Pigeons Represent Spiritually 

Most believers see pigeons as representations of peace, kindness, healing, divine blessings, and happiness.  

In this regard, people see pigeons and doves as the same thing. In fact, some bible translations use pigeon instead of dove in some instances. 

Scientifically, pigeons and doves belong to the same species. Their similarity is probably why pigeons were an acceptable alternative to doves in sacrifices. 

Because of this association, many Catholics also take pigeons to represent the Holy Spirit. This comes from Matthew 3:16 where the Spirit of God descends on Jesus after he is baptized. 

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

Is the Holy Spirit a Pigeon

Is The Holy Spirit A Pigeon

No, the Holy Spirit is neither a pigeon nor a dove. When the Spirit appeared as a dove, it was a physical representation. God probably chose that form because people associated doves or pigeons with peace and holiness. 

Remember that the Holy Spirit appeared in form of tongues of fire to the disciples after Jesus ascended. So the Spirit can take any form it wishes. 

Is a Pigeon a Sign of Good Luck?

This depends a lot on your culture. But generally in most cultures, pigeons are associated with good things. 

Catholics might not use the term ‘good luck’ so much as they would blessings, peace, and love. The sight of a pigeon or dove reminds us of God’s love and sacrifice. 

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