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Dove had different connotations in the Bible:

At the time of creation, “the Spirit of God hovered upon the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2). The Hebrew word for hovering is like a mother bird brooding over her eggs.

Dove was the symbol of a renewed creation in the story of Noah. At the end of the flood, he sent out from the ark a raven and a dove. Raven, an unclean bird, ate dead bodies and did not return. Dove, a clean bird, flew over the waters and returned to Noah (Gen 8:7-12).

God considered Israel like a dove. “Out of Egypt they shall come trembling, like birds, like doves, from the land of Assyria; And I will resettle them in their homes, oracle of the LORD” (Hos 11:11).

The dove was a sacred bird in Palestine. The Law accepted it for temple sacrifices. Those who could not afford sacrificial animals could offer doves instead (Lev 5:7-11).

The Holy Spirit took the shape of a dove while descending on Jesus at the time of his baptism. It was not a normal dove flying in the sky. The invisible Holy Spirit took that shape to make the Spirit visible to John. The dove-shaped Holy Spirit came from the sky, which stands for heaven. The Holy Spirit that hovered on the waters at the time of creation, hovered at River Jordan and descended on Jesus to start a new spiritual creation through Jesus.

Since dove is a tame bird, it is a symbol of peace, purity, love, and innocence. Jesus told his disciples: “Behold, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. You must be clever as snakes and gentle as doves” (Mt 10:16).


Jesus instructed his disciples to behave gentle like the dove that stands for peace, purity, love, and innocence. Jesus said of himself, “I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29). However, Jesus questioned the evil that were against God. Like Jesus, let behave love dove and resist the evil with prudence.

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