Last year, I had a dream that my entire right arm was covered in a giant peacock tattoo. When I woke up I felt strongly that this dream was from the Lord. Feeling prompted to do research on the symbolism of peacocks, I found some very interesting information about the use of peacocks in ancient Christian imagery. Surprisingly, there are only 3 mentions of this bird in Scripture:
1 Kings 10:22
For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks
2 Chronicles 9:21
For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? (The use of the word “peacock” as seen here depends upon translation)
Famous 15th century Italian painting Adoration of the Magi
Cubicle of the Velata, Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome from the second half of the third century. Source
Mosaic Panel from Crimea dated 6th century. Source
Medieval graffiti in St. Peter’s Church, Sudbury Enland Source
Other imagery Source
The influence of peacock’s on the early church stemmed from ancient Greek beliefs. The ancient Greeks believed that the flesh of the peacock did not decay after death. They also believed that the bird could eat poison and live. Thus, the peacock became a symbol of immortality. Later, Christians would use the image of this bird to represent both Christ and the Resurrection because it loses and then regrows its beautiful tail each year. When the image of the peacock was coupled with a chalice – as seen in the mosaic panel above – it symbolized drinking the waters of eternal life. Peacocks were often drawn on the walls of tombs and catacombs of early Christians to represent that the believer will one day be resurrected. It was also believed that the “eyes” of the feathers correlated to Revelation 4:6 “Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.” Due to this belief, the feathers were often used to portray the omnipotence of God in that He sees all. (It is also important to note that peacocks have a dislike of snakes and will attack and eat them.) In many instances not only was immortality, resurrection and omnipotence symbolized, but Christ Himself was depicted as a peacock among ancient Christians. The image was used in much the same way that we represent Christ as the Lion of Judah today.
It is interesting to note the following prophetic word that was given in December of 2016:
As I’ve been listening to the Lord recently regarding the coming year He spoke to me saying that next year will be the “Year of THE PEACOCK.” I read that the peacock symbolizes vision, awakening, watchfulness and royalty. As I’ve been pondering these things and thinking about peacocks, the Holy Spirit continued to speak to me regarding the display of the peacock feathers. If you have ever watched a peacock displaying its beautiful feathers there is something wonderfully beautiful and elegant about its display. In the same way, the display of God’s glory will be so on display that we will see an ever increasing/enlargement of territory, abundance, goodness, and righteousness with an overwhelming abundance of God’s love that most of us haven’t even seen yet. Source
I think it’s awesome that after all this time God is bringing back the symbol of the peacock to the modern church. He is bringing back the ancient things. Elohim is called the “Ancient of Days” in the book of Daniel so He is the God of the ancient Christians. Likewise, He is also the God of the Benjamin generation – our generation. He is tying the two epochs together. He is tying the new to the old because He is the God of yesterday, today and forever.
For the purposes of study I have also listed the following ancient Christian symbols:
“This symbol can often be found in altars around the world and even in some chalices. The reason for this is the pelican was seen as a Eucharistic symbol, but again because of a mistake about the pelican itself. Although now we know that pelicans do not do this, it used to be believed that if the mother pelican did not have enough food for her chicks she would pierce the side of her body with her own beak and feed her chicks with her own blood. We now know that the pelican will regurgitate food for her chicks and this often has a red color, but the symbolism of the belief about the pelican is quite obvious. The pierced side with life-giving blood flowing from it as nourishment is a powerful symbol for the salvation in Christ’s Passion and Death. ” Source
“This symbol, although an animal, is different from the other two animal symbols and comes from how the word fish is spelled in Greek. The Greek word for fish is Ichthys. Using the Greek alphabet to spell the word the letters are also the initials of each word for the Greek phrase “Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter” which means “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”. This central tenet of Christian belief about Jesus Christ was often used as a code in the form of the symbol of the fish, or even the word fish, for Christians to let each other know that they were fellow believers in times of persecution. It also strengthens the symbol that many of Jesus’ first followers were fishermen and that Jesus said that Peter would become a “Fisher of Men.”” Source