Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.







Doves, Turtle Doves, Pigeons

Pigeon is a name for a very large number of species of birds. All doves are pigeons, but not all pigeons are doves. The turtledove is a type of Dove of which there are numerous types of doves. In the Old Testament there are two Hebrew words that are translated into pigeon, dove, and turtle dove. The Hebrew word, “yownah,” is translated into the English words, dove and pigeon. The Hebrew word, “towr,” is translated into the English words, turtledove and turtle. In the Old Testament, the word turtledove and turtle have reference to the same thing. From this, we can conclude that the dove and the pigeon in the Old Testament are the same species of bird. The turtledove is another species of bird to be distinguished from the dove and the pigeon.

In the New Testament, the Greek word, “peristera,” is translated into the English words, dove and pigeon. The Greek word, “trugon,” is translated into the English word, turtledove. We draw a similar conclusion concerning the dove and pigeon being the same species of bird and the turtledove being another species of bird distinguished from the dove and pigeon.

The turtledove is often referred to as the love bird as the male and female have been often observed paired in a nestled position. The words, turtledove or turtle appear twelve times in the scriptures. The number, twelve, is a representative number and is used to represent the whole of God’s elect covenant people. Thus, the turtledove is representative of God’s love for his covenant people.

The words, dove or pigeon, appear 42 times in the scripture. The number 42 is associated with God’s covenants. Thus, the dove or pigeon is representative of the Lord’s covenant people or church.


Animals in scripture are often closely associated with different bible subjects or principles. Often, the Lord uses the characteristics of the animal to teach us spiritual lessons from the scriptures. The eagle is known as flying high and making its nest in high places. The eagle also has excellent eye sight. It also is known to be very swift in flight and is able to swoop down on its prey almost before the prey even realizes it is in danger. The Lord used these characteristics to teach us spiritual lessons.
The eagle is designated in the Old Testament as one of the unclean animals that the children of Israel were forbidden to eat. The lessons on uncleanness and cleanness were to teach us about our own nature. We, by our fleshly nature, are all unclean with sin. Only by the blood of Jesus do we stand in judgment before God as being clean from sin. Pride can be defined as thinking highly of ourselves. This problem pervades the human condition and everywhere that pride is mentioned in the scriptures it is portrayed as being sinful. Since the eagle flies high and makes its nest on high it can easily be seen as an illustration of pride. The following scriptures show that the eagle was designated as an unclean animal and it was forbidden that the children of Israel eat of it:

1. Lev. 11:13 “And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,”
2. Lev. 11:18 “And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,”
3. Deu. 14:12 “But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,”
4. Deu. 14:17 “And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,”

The Lord used the speed of the eagle to warn the children of Israel that if they rebelled against him and continued in that rebellion that he would swiftly bring a nation against them that would bring them into great bondage. This is taught us in the 28th chapter of the book of Deuteronomy. A small part of this passage is presented here: Deu. 28:49 “The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; 50 A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favour to the young: 51 And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. 52 And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.” The things that the Lord told Israel would come to pass, came to pass exactly as the Lord had said in this chapter when the kingdom of Babylon came upon Israel in the days of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon.

In Deu. Chapter 32 the Lord compared himself to an eagle in his dealings with Israel in the early days of Israel as a nation: Deu. 32:11 “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: 12 So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. 13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;” Thus, the Lord compared his care and diligence to raising up Israel to that of an eagle who stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, and bears them on her wings. Likewise, I am convinced that the Lord takes such diligence with his people today.

In the book of Jeremiah, the Lord compares the kingdom of Babylon to an eagle that is flying over its prey preparing to swoop down upon it shortly:
1. Jer. 48:40 “For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.”
2. Jer. 49:22 “Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.”

Moreover, the Lord used the eagle to show that Babylon would also be judged: Jer. 49:16 “Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD.” Babylon would be brought down because of her pride. Consider the plight of Nebuchadnezzar who exalted himself and was brought down to eat grass as an oxen, etc.
The descriptions of the four faces in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 include the four living creatures as each having the face of an eagle. The types of the living creatures in Ezekiel spiritually point us to the gospel ministry. A true minister of the gospel should not exalt himself, but rather humble himself. However, the Spirit lifts the gospel minister up spiritually to see great spiritual things that he can teach to the Lord’s people. The following verses in Ezekiel show us the eagle as one of the four faces of the cherubims or living creatures:

1. Ezek. 1:10 “As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”
2. Ezek. 10:14 “And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.”

The following verses depict two great kingdoms about Judah in the days of her siege and ultimate deliverance into Babylonian captivity. These two kingdoms were Egypt and Babylon. The kingdoms are compared to eagles:

1. Ezek. 17:3 “And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar:”
2. Ezek. 17:7 “There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation.”

The lofty standing of these two kingdoms among the nations of the world is illustrated by the use of the eagle to depict them.

In the book of Obadiah, the Lord compares the self exalting of Israel (her pride) to that of an eagle setting his nest among the stars: Oba. 1:4 “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.”

Finally, in the book of Revelation, the Lord is compared to an eagle. The four beasts in the 4th chapter of this book are used to illustrate the themes of the four gospels. The 4th beast has the face of an eagle and this identifies the theme of the book of John as depicting to us the divinity of Christ: Rev. 4:7 “And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.” The book of John begins by depicting Christ to us as the Word of God who created the heavens and the earth. Christ is the high and lofty One. He is the Almighty. His ways are not our ways or his thoughts our thoughts. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so his ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. As the eagle makes its nest on high, so Christ throne is in heaven. As the eagle has great eye sight, so Christ can see and knows all things. As the eagle is swift to fly, so Christ is swift to accomplish his work. May God be praised in all things and our view of him be exalted.

Locust, Grasshopper, Palmerworm, and Cankerworm

Bible animals are often associated with particular bible subjects or principles taught in the scripture. The locust, grasshopper, palmerworm, and cankerworm are closely associated with God’s judgment of people’s and nations gross sins and rebellion against him. We read in Ez. 14:12: “The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, 13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:”

The first example of these insects mentioned in connection with God’s judgment against a nation’s rebellion against God is found in the book of Exodus when God sent judgment against Egypt for her rebellion in refusing to let the children of Israel go and worship him:

1. Ex. 10:4 “Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:”
2. Ex. 10:12 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.”
3. Ex. 10:13 “And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.”
4. Ex. 10:14 “And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.”

Next, the Lord warned Israel about what would happen if she rebelled against the commandments of God: Deu. 28:15 “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:” Two of the curses that would come upon Israel for rebelling against is word is set forth as follows:

1. Deu. 28:38 “Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.”
2. Deu. 28:42 “All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.”

The Lord also gives space for repentance and deliverance for sins against him: 2 Chr.7:13 “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

On more than one occasion the Lord warned Israel of impending judgment because of her rebellion and sins:

1. Is. 33:4 “And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpillar: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them. 5 The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.”