The animals used in the purification offering were ranked according to the religious and socio-economic status of the offerer. Priests offered bulls, leaders goats, the poor offered doves. Reflecting on this, James Jordan suggests that this gives us a clue to God’s way of building His kingdom:

“The Spirit comes as a dove. This indicates to me that the Kingdom of God begins among the ‘poor’ of the earth, not usually among the mighty. It grows to embrace goats and bulls, but in the New Testament we do not find many priests (bulls) or the leaders of Israel and Rome (goats) forming the foundation of the kingdom. Perhaps the larger meaning of this is that it is the poor in spirit, the doves and pigeons of God, who have the kingdom of heaven, as the first beatitude says (Mt. 5:3). Only those who see themselves as poor doves will look up to the Lamb. The bulls and goats of this world must assume the posture of poor doves and pigeons in order to recognize Him.”

 

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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