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Greater Things > Books > A New Testament: A Mighty Change for a New World

by Sterling D. Allan

> Alphabetics > "Dove"

Words Around "DOVE" in the Hebrew, Greek, and English

Further still can be learned about this event of Jesus' baptism by looking at the Hebrew, Greek and English words for "dove." The definitions of these words alone shed further light; but even more can be gleaned by looking at the words before and after them in their alphabetically listing. 

bullet Words Around "Dove" in English

The definition of "dove" in the English language includes the following:

dove: (2) one regarded as pure, gentle; -- used esp. as a word of endearment for a woman or child. (p. 777)

This mention of "child" brings to mind the Savior's commandment:

"...Ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name...." (3 Ne. 11:37.)

Several pertinent words before and after "dove" are as follows (in bold). Editorial comments are indicated in [brackets].

do-up: A repairing or renovation [revival of rebirth]; a putting in order.

dour: (1)(a) Hard; (b) Inflexible; obstinate; difficult to teach; (c) Severe; (d) Of soil, barren. [A state of soul which must be broken and yielded to God, as it is the opposite of a broken heart, contrite spirit.]

douse: (6) To plunge suddenly into water; to immerse." [Certainly an interesting reply to the much disputed question of the mode of baptism, while also reflecting on the nature of the baptism of fire being an immersion too -- since the word "dove" is related more to the latter than the former.]

dout: To extinguish [the old is extinguished, completely, allowing for the emergence of the new heart].

do ut des: (a) See commutative contract. (b) Hence, an agreement based upon reciprocal grants and concessions [making one think in this context of the everlasting covenant].

douzaine: A body of twelve men representing a parish. ["The number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize" (3 Ne. 12:1).]

douzepers: (1) A body of twelve paladins (knights of the round table); in France: twelve great feudatories, six spiritual and six temporal lords. [The broken heart could be related to the temporal, while the contrite spirit applies to the spiritual. Both must be submitted in absolute humility before God.]

--> dove: (5) In Christian symbolism, the emblem of the Holy Spirit.

dove: Past tense of dive: `(1) To thrust the body under water. (2) Specif., to submerge.'" [e.g. Emmersion; See comment after "douse," above.]

dove: (deaf) To slumber; doze. ["Awake, and arise from the dust" (Isa. 52:1; 2 Ne. 1:14,23; 8:24; 3 Ne. 20:36). "The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles." (D&C 113:10.)]

dove-eyed: meek-eyed. [humble]

dove-like: Mild as a dove; gentle; pure and lovable.

dovetail: (2) To fit in or connect nicely to form a harmonious whole. [The body of Christ; the church of Christ = those who repent and come unto him.]

dow: (1) To have worth, value, validity, availability, or suitableness; to avail; befit; behoove [ -- once endowed by the Holy Spirit and given a new heart, so that the righteousness of God might be made manifest in you]; (2) To be able [through the grace of God]; (3)(a) To prosper; thrive [in Christ]; (b) To mend in health; ["these signs shall follow"]; (c) To be willing; to care. ["Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort...." (Mosiah 18:8,9.)]

dow: To endow or give as an endowment [it is a gift].

dowdy: Dressed in a manner neither neat nor becoming [the "cloak of humility" in Rick Joyner's vision (The Final Quest {ref})]; untidily shabby. ["Sackcloth." Considering the curse of God that is upon the remnant of Jacob in their scattered condition among the Gentiles (D&C 113:10), a valuable parallel is found in the cursed state of the Nephites of King Noah's monarch, of whom the Lord said, "And except they repent in sackcloth and ashes, and cry mightily to the Lord their God, I will not hear their prayers, neither will I deliver them out of their afflictions"? (Mosiah 11:25.)]

dowel: To fasten (a part with reference to another part). [Securing one's foundation on the Rock of Jesus Christ.]

dower: (to give) (2) The property which a woman brings to a husband in marriage; (3) Property given by a man for his bride; (4) That with which one is endowed. [Marriage supper of the Lamb. "Ho, every one that thirsteth [yearning because of lack], come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money [sackcloth]; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." (Isa. 55:1,3.)]

down: I. (flowing, running); II. (1) Descending; (2) Assuming the lowest position [river Jordan]; on the ground, or any surface considered as a basis on which a thing rests [rock of Christ]; (3) In a condition of humility, subjection. III. To cause to come down, as by overturning ["high made low;" meek shall inherit the earth].

bullet Words Around "Dove" in NT Greek Lexicon

The words before and after the Greek word for dove (4058 peristerah) likewise corroborate the doctrine of the baptism of fire. Consider the following.

4044 pereepiro: "to penetrate entirely, i.e. transfix: -- to pierce through." 4045 pereepipto: "light upon, be surrounded with."

4046 (4047 similar) pereepoyehomahee: "acquire (buy): -- purchase" ["...and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat" (Isa. 55:1)].

4049 pereespaho: "to distract (with care): -- cumber" ["Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28)].

4048 perirhraygnoomee: "rend off, completely away."

As for cumbering and rending, Zenos' allegory comes to mind: "...Until the good shall overcome the bad, and the bad be hewn down and cast into the fire, that they cumber not the ground of my vineyard." (Jacob 5:66.) Indeed, it is in the Spirit's furnace that the bad is consumed from our hearts. The next eight [i.e. baptism] words 4050 - 4057, with the root, periss..., all contain the same definition:


What a fitting word to depict the glory manifest in the baptism of fire, as well as the fullness that comes in the daily walk with the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. Some of the other descriptions in these words include:

"(4051) abundance, that was left, over and above; (4052) exceed, excel, increase, redound; (4053) preeminence, exceeding, abundantly above, very highly, beyond measure, more; (4054) a great deal, far more; (4055) greater; (4056) exceedingly; (4057) out of measure."

The very next word (4058), also with the peris... prefix, is ---> peristerah: "dove."

Word 4060, pereetithay, means "to present: -- bestow upon."

Whether intended or not, this series of words here in the alphabetical sequence portray the bestowal of the Holy Ghost and the fullness it brings.

Words 4059 pereetemno and 4061 peritomay both refer to "circumcision." Consider the circumstances of when circumcision was instituted:

"And when Abram was ninety and nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said..., I will make my covenant between me and thee.... And God talked with him, saying, My people have gone astray from my precepts, and have not kept mine ordinances, which I gave unto their fathers [Isa. 24:5; D&C 1:15]; and they have not observed mine anointing, and the burial, or baptism [of the water and of the spirit] wherewith I commanded them. And I will establish a covenant of circumcision with thee, and it shall be my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee; that thou mayest know for ever that children are not accountable before me until they are eight years old." (JST-Gen. 17:1,2,4,5,11.) [With the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the law of circumcision was fulfilled and done away. (Moro. 8:8; D&C 74:6; Acts 15:24.)]

There is a distinct link between the covenant of circumcision, pointing to the circumcision of the heart toward God, and the covenantal ordinance of baptism, pointing to the changed heart through the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit.   "Circumcision" and "dove" both relate metaphorically to the baptism of the Spirit.  That these two words in Greek are adjoining, one after the other, cannot be dismissed as insignificant.

bullet "Dove" in OT Hebrew

Spelling Definition of "Dove" in Hebrew
(letter definitions come from Sampson)

The Hebrew word for "dove" is YVNH (3123) is very close in spelling to YHVH (3068) Jehovah.

The main difference is that the first (YVNH: "dove") includes the letter N (nun), which signifies "a winged messenger;" or in this case, "The winged messenger of Jehovah." That certainly fits the idea of a dove.

The V (vav) signifies "covenant." Y (yod), usually masculine, can signify "the Word;" and H (heh), feminine, often signifies the gentle attributes so typified in women and children (become as a child).

A distilled definition for YVNH ("dove") in this case, based on the letters that make it up, might therefore be: "The Word made flesh (Y) makes a covenant through baptism (V), receives the heavenly witness of the Winged Messenger (N), and is endowed from on high with charity, meekness, gentleness, mercy (H)."

Definition of Hebrew Word for "Dove"

Gesenius, in his Lexicon of the Hebraic Old Testament, includes the following under his explanation of YVNH (3123: "dove"):

3123 YVNH (1) a dove, a gentle term of endearment. Some derive it... to be weak, gentle, feeble.

This brings to mind the scripture:

"And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost." (3 Ne. 9:20.)

The Savior himself, the greatest of all, was not exempt from the humility prerequisite. As Nephi testified,

"But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father." (2 Ne. 31:7.)

Confirming this, two words down (3126,7 YVNQ) from "dove," refer to Isaiah 53:2, which speaks Messianically:

"For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."

In defining the meaning of this word (3126,7 YVNQ), Gesenius refers to the Greek moskhos (3448), which means

"(a shoot)"(3) [tender plant].

The word after this, mokhthos (3449), means

"toil, sadness: -- painfulness, travail;"

and the next word, moo (3450), means

"of me: -- I, me, mine."

Christ characterized meekness throughout his earthly ministry, epitomizing this strength by his willingness to submit to crucifixion. This attribute continues to distinguish him as the glorified, resurrected Lord. Moroni said the Lord spoke with him "in plain humility" when talking with him face to face (Ether 12:39); even in all his glory (ref. Moses 1:2).

The same letters that spell YVNH, "dove," in Hebrew, also spell YVNH, "Jonah" (3124), the prophet. How appropriate that the name of this prophet, whose experience with the whale was cited by Christ as a sign of his death when he would be "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:39,40), is spelled the same as the word which means dove, which was the sign in connection with Christ's "birth" as it were.

An unused root (YVM), seven words prior to YVNH (3123 "dove") signifies "heat," which brings to mind the idea of the baptism of fire.

Using the same three letters (YVM), word 3117 carries the meaning of day or time, such as "the day of the Lord," which is sometimes referred to as the latter-day furnace in which "the righteous need not fear; for...they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire" (1 Ne. 22:17).

Word 3118, also with the same spelling (YVM), has the same meaning of day and time, but includes the usage, "the ancient of Days" spoken of in Daniel 7:22.   This is a reference to God the Father, whose presence was signified by his own voice at the baptism of Jesus in conjunction with the appearance of the dove.

Word #3120 (YVN) is

"(1) Ionia, (or better known as) the whole of Greece."

We might say, "gentile," which in this context implies non-believer or heathen (Isa. 66:19; Ezek. 27:13) -- symbolic of the natural man which must yield to the Spirit of God through a broken heart and contrite spirit, recognizing that carnal man is "less than the dust of the earth" (Msh. 4:2; 2:25).

Appropriately, the next word, #3121 (also YVN, with different vowel points) means: "mire, clay," or, we might say, "dust."

The next word, 3122 (YVNDB), just prior to 3123 ("dove"), refers to 3082, which means,

"Whom Jehovah impels."

Impel means

"To urge forward; to incite to action; to impart motion to."

Without such divine coaxing, we would remain impeded by our impenetrable hearts and their imperceptive nature. Not heeding his imperatives we would succumb to the impending doom that would be our lot because of our innate imperfection.

Hebrew word 3125 (two after "dove") and 3129 (Jonathan) have related meanings: "whom Jehovah bestowed" and "whom Jehovah gave," respectively. The bestowal of the Holy Ghost and the grace under which we then come are indeed gifts from God, through his mercy.

The next word is 3130 (YVSP), "Joseph," which is given to mean "(a) he takes away, and (b) he shall add." How appropriate that the name of Joseph would be in such close vicinity to the word dove and its tie to the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost! The offspring of Joseph are they who will gather Israel from the four winds of the earth. (Deut. 33:17.) And the baptism of water and of the spirit is the only gate through which Israel may be gathered to Christ. Additionally, this link to birthright Joseph certainly brings to mind his birthright son, Ephraim, whose modern lineage is under the curses of God (having become as salt that has lost its savor -- "he takes away") in their scattered condition among the Gentiles (D&C 113:10; 64:36), but who will finally put on strength, returning to the Lord from whence they have fallen ("he shall add"), and bring again Zion (113:7,8; 64:41). The crux of this transformation will be the revival of the baptism of fire in glory and the pressing forward in meekness, through which the power of God will be manifest to all the earth.


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H.W.F. Gesenius; Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament; Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 49516; 1979. ISBN: 0-8010-3736-0 (softcover)

Joe Sampson; Written by the Finger of God: Decoding Ancient Languages: A Testimony of Joseph Smith's Translations; Wellspring Publishing and Distributing, P.O. Box 1113, Sandy, UT 84091; 1993; ISBN 1-884312-05-5.

James Strong; Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; together with Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words of the Original; Hendrickson Publishers, ISBN 0-917006-01-1.

Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd edition, unabridged; G.& C. Merriam Company, Publishers, Springfield, Mass., USA, 1960.


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