Recently, while scrolling through Facebook I see people increasingly share posts and stories that have to do with birds and feathers being signs of spirits or angels. Here’s an example…
I’ve seen short videos about “the various ways to see signs from God in nature.” In the video, the speaker elaborates on the significance of feathers from different birds or color variations in feathers and how they tell your future or allow you to communicate with the dead.
Many times I see these posted by Christians so I wanted to take a moment to point out that this is not Christian in any manner, way, shape, or form. This is an attempt to read signs which is expressly forbidden in Scripture and asserts truth that is nowhere found in Scripture.
When I looked at some websites trying to figure out where this concept comes from I could only find stuff from spiritists and clairvoyants. That is to say, people who use crystals and other elements in the natural world to communicate with the dead and read the future…also expressly forbidden in Scripture. They are people who have hijacked the term angel and created a whole false religion that worships spirits and tries to find peace in signs and wonders of nature.
Let’s see what Scripture has to say about Angels. We’ll start with this video…
That was just for fun… It makes a good point but isn’t directly related to the topic at hand.
We have no Scripture that ever talks about angels using animals to communicate with humanity. We have nothing to suggest that angels make a bird pass a certain direction to get your attention or that spirits embody animals in order to communicate on a regular basis that should be watched for or we might miss a message from God.
We have many passages that talk about the angels delivering messages or protecting us and such, but we can’t say a whole lot on the nitty-gritty details of angelology. Scripture doesn’t tell us how big angels are or how all they work. We have some examples of human interaction with these spirits created by God, but not a lot of hardcore definitive answers. Scripture doesn’t tell us that angels regularly communicate with us to get our attention. Actually, we’re warned not to read signs in nature, but we’ll get to more of that in a moment.
I’ve heard a variety of ideas that suggest that birds or bird feathers can be a sign that your angel is watching over you, or that a bird can house the spirit of the dead. I guess that sounds really great IF YOU HAPPEN TO SEE A BIRD OR BIRD FEATHER while you’re in the midst of mourning!!! What about the moment when you feel terrible, you miss your loved one and no bird appears? What about the pain of losing a child, but there is no bird feather gently falling to your side? What if you live in an area without Robins in particular? What about those times? What if you’re walking to the grave of your loved one and you see a dead robin on the ground? What does that mean?
Most cemeteries have trees around them, so it makes sense that people would latch onto birds as a source of peace because there’s usually going to be a bird around. There’s no reason to find some supernatural peace in a bird or feather, especially as a Christian.
We don’t read nature and the stuff that is around us and then make assumptions about what God is trying to say to us. Christians have to be on guard and studying the Scriptures because this stuff far too often weaves its way into the church where it ought not to be and then people start looking for hope and peace in the wrong places. People start to worship the creation rather than the creator like we hear about in Romans 1.
Here’s what Paul says when people were trying to preach a false Gospel (a false good news/false doctrine of hope) in Galatia:
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
We’re also warned in Ephesians 4 to study the Scriptures so we’re not tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (teaching). So let’s do some looking.
Here are a ton of passages about not dealing with sorcery and witchcraft or necromancers (people who communicate with the dead). God’s people don’t look for signs in the sky, nor do they read fortunes. Instead, we listen to God and His Word for our guidance.
In particular, we can look at Deuteronomy 18:10-12 about this.
10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.
We can look at examples in Exodus 7-8, Acts 19:13-29 where this happens and is a problem.
We can also look to Leviticus 19:31
31 “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.
And then Ecclesiastes 7:14
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
We can’t tell the future, nor should we look for signs in nature to answer questions of the supernatural.
Might we look at a dove and remember the account of Jesus’ baptism and have peace in remembrance of our own baptism? Most certainly!
Might we look at a rainbow and remember God’s mercy and faithfulness to keep promises since he gave the rainbow to remind us of his faithfulness? Certainly! That’s what the Noahic covenant was all about…a visual reminder.
We can look at things and be reminded of God’s promises, but we don’t make up signs of peace. That only leads to despair. Throughout the Scriptures, God had his people set up markers as reminders of God’s faithfulness. God would tell the people to pass down the stories of God’s faithfulness and love so that they could always remember their good God, even in the midst of their most trying times. Just look at Joshua 4 where they set up the stones to remember passing through the Jordan. Or look at Deuteronomy 6 and 11 as the people are preparing to enter the promised land.
In the church, we have crosses, baptismal fonts, stained glass, and other visual aids that tell us the story of salvation and bring our minds back to God’s promises. Those things are not evil. If we worship them or make them more than they are, then it’s a problem, but as visual signs that draw our minds back to God’s promises, they’re a blessing. If your loved one loved a type of bird and when you see that bird it reminds you of good times with him or her, then that’s wonderful, but it shouldn’t be where our hope is found, nor should we start to look for eternal peace and messages through nature.
I don’t want to leave you with no peace, so let’s see the truth of where we should find our hope.
You already saw the link above with verses about angels, so we have that stuff covered. That is to say, we see how God watches over us and whether we see them or not promises that we have His host of angels protecting as well. What about when our loved one has passed? What does Scripture have to say about that to ease our pain? I’ll point out just a few.
First: Christ says this to his disciples in Matthew 28:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We don’t need a bird to fly past to let us know whether we are being watched over. Christ Himself tells us that he will be with us always, to the end of the age. So you are never alone.
Second: Paul says this in chapter 4 of his first letter to the church in Thessalonica:
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Again, peace in the fact that those who have died in Christ are asleep waiting for that last day when Christ returns and we are together again. Memorize these words rather than hoping to see some event in nature while you mourn.
Third: Paul says this to the Philippians while he’s in prison:
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.
Paul does not mean to suggest that we should want to die, but that for those in Christ, death is rest and peace apart from the suffering in this present age. Paul was in prison, he was suffering greatly and he’s telling them that the peace he has in Christ gives him such comfort that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Nothing can remove his joy and peace knowing that he is in Christ. That’s why we end sermons with the words that Paul uses to address the Philippians in chapter 4, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Peace is yours in Christ. Not in a bird. Not in a feather, but in Christ’s own Words of promise that you are His. We don’t face death like those who have no hope. Instead, we face death as those with the hope that we will rise again as Christ has risen and we will be together in eternal life.
Birds are cool and feathers are pretty, but they can never provide the peace that is given by God’s promises in Scripture.
Blessings on your day!
If you have questions or want to talk more about this please let me know!