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.
Words Around "Dove" in English
The definition of "dove" in the English language includes the following:
This mention of "child" brings to mind the Savior's commandment:
Several pertinent words before and after "dove" are as follows (in bold). Editorial comments are indicated in [brackets].
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.
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:
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:
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.
"Dove" in OT Hebrew
Spelling Definition of "Dove" in Hebrew
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"):
This brings to mind the scripture:
The Savior himself, the greatest of all, was not exempt from the humility prerequisite. As Nephi testified,
Confirming this, two words down (3126,7 YVNQ) from "dove," refer to Isaiah 53:2, which speaks Messianically:
In defining the meaning of this word (3126,7 YVNQ), Gesenius refers to the Greek moskhos (3448), which means
The word after this, mokhthos (3449), means
and the next word, moo (3450), means
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
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,
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.
BACK to "Following the Example of Our Savior"
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.
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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