Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #8 of Genesis, chapter 8 and we are going to read Genesis 8:6-12:
And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
I will stop reading there. We have spent some time on verse 6 discussing the window. We saw how it identifies with the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Noah is also a type and figure of Christ. He is the one that built the ark, like Christ built the (spiritual) house of God. Noah’s family was delivered and brought into the ark, like Christ brought all the people whose names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life into salvation.
It was Noah that sent forth the raven. God stressed that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made, pointing to the fact that Noah is being used as a type of Christ, so Christ is being pictured as sending forth the raven, which went out the window. Since the ark and the window and everything alive identifies with the kingdom of heaven at this point in time (after the 150 days), it tells us that the raven is going forth to accomplish the will and purpose of God. God is the one that is sending forth the raven. This is important for us to understand because when we look up the word “raven,” it is often not used in a positive way. It says in Isaiah 34:8:
For it is the day of JEHOVAH'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.
The context is Judgment Day and God is judging the kingdom of Satan after having allowed Satan to overcome and destroy the corporate churches (earthly Zion). That is why it refers to “the controversy of Zion.”
Then it says in Isaiah 34:9-10:
And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever…
Again, we have a time reference of “night and day” and the Lord’s people understand that it is a spiritual judgment and we are now living on the earth in the days of that judgment, so we see why there is a reference to JEHOVAH’S vengeance and fire and brimstone and, yet, it is being poured out during “night and day,” or in time. We fully understand because God has shown us that spiritual judgment began on May 21, 2011. These verses do not stand alone; there are numerous verses that speak of the wrath of God being poured out over what appears to be a period of time. In past church history, this period was explained as an “eternity in hell,” but we have learned that “hell” is actually death or complete annihilation. How do people that reject May 21, 2011 explain that? Of course, they recognize that God will come in judgment one day. So, let us say it is one day, but then what? What about “in those days after that tribulation”, according to Mark 13, verse 24? What about the reference to punishment “day and night” that we find in several verses? If these people continue to believe the erroneous doctrine of an eternal hell, how can they explain it? The only way to explain it properly is to understand that once Judgment Day comes, there will still be time on earth – there will be “day and night” or “night and day” in which God is pouring out His wrath. You know, the problem with people that reject that spiritual judgment began on May 21, 2011 is that it appears they are satisfied to be ignorant in regard to verses like these and there are all kinds of verses like this. It appears they are not even investigating it or trying to answer these things and that is troubling. That is not the character of God’s elect. God’s elect search the Bible. We look for and haste unto the coming day of God. We are not afraid to dig into Isaiah 34 or any chapter in the Bible that speaks of the end of the world; we do not avoid or shun these things. When we look into it, we do not avoid certain verses because we do not like what they teach. It is really perplexing why some people are not trying to resolve the information concerning the Great Tribulation and Judgment Day. Instead, like the corporate church, they have “settled on their laurels,” and they are saying, “We are not going to get into that area. We are content with Jesus Christ and Him crucified – just Christ and the cross.”
Of course, God’s people go far deeper than that and the Book of Hebrews warns against those that are content with the “milk of the word” and not the “meat of the word.” The Bible has nothing good to say about those that simply want the “milk.” If you truly born again and you have been nourished by the milk of the Word, then you grow in knowledge and you want “meat” after a while. It is just like earthly birth, where there must be development and progression and, yet, we have seen people go back “to the milk” and they avoid all those things: “Let us just say ‘amen’ and ‘hallelujah’ and turn our eyes away.” They do not look at Ezekiel, Revelation, Matthew 24 or Isaiah 34 or Isaiah 13, and so forth. They are not left with much of a Bible when they intentionally and willfully avoid investigating such a huge number of Scriptures. You have to wonder, “How could a true child of God do such a thing?”
Anyway, that is not our focus, so let us go back to Isaiah 34:10-11:
It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.
Then it says in Isaiah 34:13-15:
And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.
God is speaking of the final judgment on the world and God is speaking of all these various birds. I do not know what the cormorant or bittern are, but I do know that in Isaiah, chapter 14 the Lord speaks of fallen Babylon in a similar way. That is the chapter that says to take up a parable against the king of Babylon and then we read of the King of Babylon and his fall and it points to Satan being put down from all official rule in the Day of Judgment. Then it says in Isaiah 14:22-23:
For I will rise up against them, saith JEHOVAH of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith JEHOVAH. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith JEHOVAH of hosts.
This word “bittern” is only found in three places. We will not go to the other place, but it is in Zephaniah, chapter 2, also in the context of judgment. Here in Isaiah 34 is further evidence that Babylon’s fall is equal to the fall of the world in Judgment Day because the chapter is clearly describing the end of all things and the final judgment of mankind. We find that it says, “But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it,” and then God mentioned all the other birds or animals including the dragons, the screech owl, the great owl, and the vulture. It relates to Revelation, chapter 18 that also tells us about the fall of Babylon. It says in Revelation 18:2:
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
The “raven” is an unclean bird. It is classified that way by God in Leviticus and in Deuteronomy. It says in Leviticus 11:13-17:
And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
Here, we see some of the birds that were mentioned in Isaiah 34. They are unclean animals and it is being used by God in a figure in Isaiah, chapter 34 to indicate that when He brings judgment on the world the world will become desolate and “a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” The habitation is not suitable except for these vultures, owls and ravens. It is not suitable for the people of God – it is a desolate place. Something becomes desolate, as the Bible defines it, when the Spirit of God leaves it. The corporate church was vibrant and alive for 1,955 years of the church age, but the moment the Holy Spirit came out of the midst in 1988 the entire corporate body became a desolation. The abomination of desolation was set up (Satan) and the “daily” was taken away (Christ). The moment the Holy Spirit departed it became a wasteland and dry wilderness. That is how God views it and, spiritually, that is the condition the churches of the world are in.
Likewise, when God the Holy Spirit left the world insofar as His work of salvation and evangelization was concerned, the Holy Spirit would no longer enter into an individual in salvation. The Holy Spirit would not be carried upon the “wings of the wind” as a person heard the Scriptures and faith was imparted when the Holy Spirit entered into that person. That no longer would happen once the Great Tribulation concluded on May 21, 2011 and Judgment Day began – it was as though the Holy Spirit left the world, in that sense. Of course, the Holy Spirit is still indwelling all His elect. God had saved the great multitude and the Person of God knows everything about everyone and everything, so He is still present in that sense. However, as far as salvation was concerned, the world became a desolation, only fit for “unclean birds” to occupy it.
That is the picture I think God is painting, spiritually, back in Genesis, chapter 8 when Noah opened the window and he sent forth a raven. The world is destroyed; the world is desolate. The waters had destroyed everything – every creature, every animal and man with the breath of life. So the raven goes out and then notice it said, “And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro.” The raven went and returned and went and returned and it would have done so continually “until the waters were dried up from off the earth.” The word translated as “dried up” is Strong’s #3001 and it is a word that identifies with the Red Sea. When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea they went through the Red Sea as on dry ground. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan, it was also on a dry riverbed. The waters of the Red Sea that drowned Pharaoh and the Egyptian army or the waters of Jordan are a type and figure of the wrath of God, just as the waters of the flood. It is the Word of God bringing judgment, the outpouring of God’s furious anger. Therefore, the raven would go to and fro until the waters are dried up from off the earth. That is really a picture of the world being a desolate place, as we saw how God described it in Isaiah 34:10:
It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste…
Actually, the word “waste” is also found in Genesis, chapter 8. It is Strong’s #2717 and it is also translated as “dried,” as it says in Genesis 8:13:
And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth…
So, that is the focus. “It shall lie waste.” The wrath of God has wasted the world, as it goes on to say in Isaiah 34:10-11:
… none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it…
When Noah sent the raven out of the ark, we could say that the raven dwells in the world. Does anyone else dwell in the world outside of the ark? No, not at that time. There is nothing else that had the breath of life above the waters. Yes, there were sea creatures, but that was not God’s focus. Only the raven is flying about in that world because it “possesses” it, just like the bittern and cormorant and the unclean birds that God mentions would possess the earth in the Day of Judgment. Babylon has become a cage for every unclean and hateful bird. The world is only fit for unclean birds because it is not fit for anything else – everything else is dead because the world is desolate. It is a barren wasteland and that seems to be the emphasis here in Genesis 8, verse 7. God does not want us to forget and lose sight of the fact that this present earth is under judgment. It is the final judgment of mankind and the creation and until judgment is completed, the world will only be suitable for “every unclean and hateful bird.”
Next we are going to read a completely different picture. It says in Genesis 8:8:
Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
Before we begin discussing the dove, what the Bible has to say about it is something that I think is very interesting. It really has sort of taught me a lesson that when there is a difficult passage, it means that God is really hiding something there. I looked at this for months and I did not understand it and, to tell you the truth, in a way I was not wanting to reach this section. I had felt so comfortable in Genesis, chapter 6 and 7 and then when I would look ahead to chapter 8, especially from verse 6 to 12, I was really troubled and concerned that I did not understand it. What do we do when we do not understand something? We pray. We ask God for help and for wisdom, so I was praying, but I did not understand it. At one point, I was thinking it might be just a quick Bible study of these verses, admitting I did not have much understanding of it, but then the Lord began to open up my understanding, I think, to what is going on here to some degree with the dove.
The key to understanding this is that the dove does represent the Holy Spirit. Before we talk more about that, let us notice in verse 8: “Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;” This word translated as “abated” is not the same Hebrew word we found in verse 3, where it said the waters were “abated.” In that verse, it meant the water decreased, but in verse 8 this particular word that is translated as “abated” is also translated as “defiled,” “despised,” “reviled,” “lightly esteemed,” “swifter” and “cursed.” Obviously, God is using this word to help us understand something concerning the “waters” and I think the best way of understanding it is to translate this word as “cursed” or “curse.” To understand it this way, the dove was sent forth from him to see if the waters “of the curse” or the “cursed waters” from off the face of the ground. I think that is a good translation because the same Hebrew word, Strong’s #7093, is translated as “cursed” in Genesis 8:21:
And JEHOVAH smelled a sweet savour; and JEHOVAH said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake…
So, the Holy Spirit or dove was sent forth to see if the waters that brought the curse are from off the face of the ground, so you can see why they translated as “abated.” It is to see if the curse of God that was upon the earth and man has yet to accomplished.