Black Feather Meaning In The Bible: What Does A Black Feather Symbolize Biblically?

There is a fable that has oft been repeated about a black feather. If you have read other articles like this one about the spiritual/biblical meaning of a black feather, you have most assuredly, though probably unknowingly, already heard the mythical tale. The following is my own retelling of the “Fable of the Feather” in three acts:

Act I: A black feather floated gently in front of Rachel as she slowly walked down the sidewalk after a grueling day. She hardly noticed the bright rainbow, the pastel butterfly, or the yellow smiley face etched with chalk at her feet beckoning her to reclaim the joy in her heart. Thoughts of fear, dread, and worry hung like shrouds of death over Rachel’s spirit. Yet, this black feather kept wisping back and forth, dipping down, then up again in the breeze, dancing, no dangling, in front of her. She thought, “Was this feather a spirit guide sending her a message? Had an angel been watching over her?” She remembered hearing that many people believe that random feathers are the remnants of an angel’s wings, a visible manifestation sent from heaven to let them know of God’s protection.  

Act II: In another town and in another place, Jenny stood alone weeping at the grave of her mother. It had been one year ago when her mom had breathed her last and ascended from this earthly realm. Jenny had forced herself to come to the cemetery in honor of her mother’s death, and her life. Yet, the sorrow was overwhelming. Like so many others, Jenny’s mother had died alone in the hospital, her family unable to visit. There were no goodbyes or consoling hugs. Jenny didn’t understand why things had to be this way, and she wished for a spiritual sign that would ease her sorrow. When she finally wiped away the tears, there lying on the grey-speckled granite tombstone was a single black feather. At that moment, Jenny recalled a friend telling her that feathers were a sign that God was watching over her; and had felt like the presence of an angel or someone was comforting her even though she had been alone in the cemetery. She wondered, “Was this black feather really from an angel? Does the Bible ever refer to feathers as a sign of God’s presence?”

Act III: Jesse leaned his back against the damp tiles of his bathroom as he stared into the mirror. Red blood vessels etched a zigzag pattern across his eyes. He felt defeated and deflated. “How could things have gotten this bad?” he thought. He closed his eyes to pray; and as he mumbled the words, he felt something brush against his cheek. He flipped it away with the back of his hand only to feel the same sensation again seconds later on his nose. With a puff of air from his bottom lip, he blew upwards and opened his eyes to see a tiny black feather floating gently onto the sink. “Was this a sign from God that his prayer had been heard?” he wondered. He had just read an article that claimed the presence of a black feather was a sign of God’s protection.

More than likely, you can relate to the emotions felt in one or all of these tales; and perhaps, you have encountered a feather when you least expected it and wondered like Rachel, Jenny, and Jesse if it was a sign from God or a spiritual message.

So, what does a black feather actually mean in the bible? What is the true biblical meaning of a black feather? Is black feather a sign of presence of an angel around you? Let us see everything..

Black Feather Meaning in the Bible: What does a Black Feather mean Biblically?

If you try to search for articles on the internet about the biblical or spiritual meaning of a black feather, almost all of them will claim that the black feather represents the presence and protection of angels. However, if you read these articles closely, you will notice that none of them offer any biblical support for this claim connecting black feathers, or any other colored feather for that matter, with an angelic message. They cannot provide you with a chapter and verse that mentions black feathers as a sign from heaven or the spiritual world, because there are no passages that make that claim. 

In fact, there are only seven verses in the entire Bible that even mention the word feather/feathers (nine, if you include the two times the King James Version inserts the word feathers for clarity – Psalm 78:27 and Ezekiel 39:17, the NIV uses the word plumage), and only one includes a color, gold (Psalm 68:13). I’ll list all seven here so you can look them up for yourself: Leviticus 1:16; Job 39:13; Job 39:18; Psalm 68:13; Psalm 91:4; Ezekiel 17:3; and Daniel 4:33.

Some people claim that feathers are one of the most common biblical signs of God’s presence, but this is simply not true. There are no instances in the Bible in which a feather was sent by God or an angel as a visible manifestation of their presence. There are no “feather prophecies” or “feather signs.” There are no stories in the Bible of an angel leaving behind a feather from its wings. To say otherwise is the fable of the black feather.

Like so many of you, I wish that the invisible God would make Himself visible to us. Amazingly, He has! Colossians 1:15 (NLT) declares that “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.” When you are weary, discouraged, grieving, stressed, worried, defeated, and you are looking for a sign from God, look no further than Jesus who is the very manifestation of God’s glory.

Hebrews 1:3-4 says, “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.” Why look for the remnants of an angel’s feathers when we have One who is greater than the angels to help us?

The straightforward answer to the question, “Does the Bible claim that a black feather is a sign from God/angel?” is “No.” That is just a fable and a myth that is never even hinted at in the Bible. However, there is one passage of Scripture that mentions feathers in a symbolic way that should encourage us.

Psalm 91

 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
   from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;

   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
   and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
     no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
     to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
     so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
     you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
     I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
     I will be with him in trouble,
     I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
     and show him my salvation.”

Instead of looking for angel’s feathers or physical signs from God, look to Jesus who forgives us of our sins and heals our brokenness. While the black feather is a fable, the power and presence of God is not. May He cover you with His feathers, and under His wings may you find refuge and peace.

Dr. Richard Sams is a top Biblical and Religious educator, who holds a Doctor of Ministry degree (Evangelism and Church Growth emphasis) from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. He has two masters’ degrees (Master of Divinity and Master of the Arts of Religion) from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg and also serves on the Pastoral Leadership Advisory Board of Liberty University. Moreover, Richard Sams has been serving as a pastor (Pastoral Ministry) at Calhoun Baptist Church in Calhoun, KY, from the past Nineteen years. He loves practically imparting biblical truths to the next generation, while occasionally conduct spiritual challenges on his facebook page facebook.com/MakeItCountChallenge