Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #9 of Genesis, chapter 8 and we are going to read Genesis 8:8-12:
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. God mentions a “dove.” It is Strong’s #3123 and it is translated as “dove” or “pigeon” in the Old Testament. The pigeon is often referred to as a sacrificial bird involved in sacrifices. We also know from studying the Book of Jonah that the “dove” is the same word translated as “Jonah.” Jonah really has the name of “dove.” When we studied the Book of Jonah, God gave him that name in order to teach a spiritual picture. The two times Jonah was sent to Nineveh point to the two outpourings of the Holy Spirit.
We equate the “dove” with the Holy Spirit because God gives us that association in the Bible. For instance, it says in Matthew 3:16-17:
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Let us look at some other places in the Gospel accounts where we read of Christ’s baptism and the Holy Spirit descending like a “dove.” It says in Mark 1:9-11:
And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Now let us go over to Luke 3:21-22:
Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
There is one more reference in John, chapter 1. It is not often that we find the same account in all four Gospels. Oftentimes, you can find something in Matthew, Mark and Luke, but not in John. But the account of the Lord’s baptism by John the Baptist is recorded in all four Gospels. It says in John 1:29-34:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
When we look at all four accounts in each of these Gospels, we find there are some consistent things. In the verses we just read in the Book of John, it is similar, but not the same, because John was bearing record when he said, “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” In the other three accounts it was God the Father bearing record by a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
But we have some consistencies in all four accounts. We find that Jesus is baptized in the water. He went into the water and He came up out of the water and then there is a declaration made by God in three of the four Gospels and there is a declaration made by John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so there is really no difference in the declaration: “This is my beloved Son,” the Son of God. We know that the baptism of Jesus Christ signaled the beginning of Christ’s ministry. After being baptized and the Holy Spirit descending upon Him, then in the Gospel of Luke, for instance, Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Then it gives us a record of the things that Jesus did for the next three and one half years that led to the cross. But in this historical event of John the Baptist baptizing the Lord Jesus, it was a sort of “ceremonial washing” because God had established a Law in the Old Testament that a priest must wash himself in the brazen sea before going into the temple to perform his priestly duties. Christ was about to begin His High Priest duties, since the Bible declares He was a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec, so God arranged for a ceremonial washing and that is what “baptism” really means. We have learned that the word “baptism” is often translated as “wash,” like where we read of the washing of pots and cups. It is the word “bap-tid-zo,” and it is the same Greek word translated as “baptize.” To be baptized is to be “washed.” We know that baptism points to the spiritual reality of the washing away of sin.
The actual “baptism” of Christ occurred at the foundation of the world when He was the Lamb slain as He was bearing the sins of His people. He died on our behalf and in that death He was making payment for sin. The wrath of God brought death to the Lord Jesus Christ at the foundation of the world and slew Him and by His death the Law was satisfied and for the sins He was bearing for those He had elected to save. Once the Law’s demand for death was satisfied, then Christ rose from the dead. At that point was when He was “declared to be the Son of God.” Lo, and behold, what do we find in Matthew, chapter 3? It says in Matthew 3:16:
And Jesus, when he was baptized…
This was an official ceremony; He is about to begin His earthly ministry. However, spiritually, it is pointing to the “washing away of sin” that Christ endured from the foundation of the world when He was our sin bearer. He bore all the iniquity of His people, so He was “baptized” or He died and washed away the sins of His people. Again, it says in Matthew 3:16:
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water…
Here, the water would be a figure of the wrath of God that slew Him at the foundation of the world. That was the wrath of God that punished and exacted vengeance upon Him until the payment was complete, which was His life, for all the sins of His people. But then He “went up straightway,” and that word translated as “straightway” means “immediately.” It is the same word that is used in Matthew 24:29, where it says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened,” and so forth. When Jesus was baptized and completed that payment for sin, He then went up “immediately.” The picture is similar to Jonah when he was swallowed by the great fish, which is another picture of the wrath of God. Jesus said, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Then what happened after three days and three nights in the whale’s belly? Jonah was vomited out upon dry land. And that is the idea. Once the payment for sin has been made and there has been satisfaction, God has no further requirement above and beyond what is due and, therefore, there was an immediate expulsion – the great fish vomited out Jonah. Again, Christ was baptized, signifying the death He died at the foundation of the world; He satisfied the Law and went up “immediately” out of the water or rose from the dead. That is the picture as He comes up out of the water. And then it says in Matthew 3:16:
… and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
The Spirit of God descended like a dove and that is another thing that is consistent in all four Gospel accounts. The Spirit descends like a dove at the point of Christ coming up out of the water. Consider this. We are not going back to Genesis, chapter 8 just yet, but this is something to consider and to check out. When we first find that the dove is sent forth out of the window of the ark, when is the dove making its appearance? It is first making an appearance when the tops of the mountains were seen, but then it was 40 days after that before the window was open. The waters were abating or decreasing and, in a sense, the ark is “rising.” That is to say that when the waters are decreasing, there will come a point when it will come up out of the water. So it is curious, is it not, that as soon as we see the waters going down, all of a sudden a dove makes an appearance. God actually stresses the appearance of the dove pretty heavily because it is mentioned five times in Genesis, chapter 8 and the number “5” points to atonement. In this case, it is atonement accomplished and the atoning work of Christ on behalf of His people is in view.
Just keep this in mind. We have water that is in view in Christ’s baptism and He comes up out of the water “immediately” and then the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descends like a “dove.”
Then it says in Matthew 3:17:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
We read very similar statements in Mark and Luke and in the Book of John, John the Baptist bear record of the same thing. We wonder, “Why at this point is there a voice from heaven making this declaration?” Someone might respond, “Well, is it not obvious. God is simply assuring everyone that Christ is the Messiah. He is confirming that the long wait for the coming Messiah has been fulfilled.” But what is being confirmed is that “This is my beloved Son.” Who is speaking? God the Father is speaking. If Jesus is His beloved Son, it means He is the Son of God. Again, the importance of this statement coming at this time should not be missed. Christ has gone into the water and been baptized. Remember what it says concerning baptism in Romans 6:3-4:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Here, baptism is identified with the death of Christ and Christ was “baptized.” He died and went up straightway out of the water; that is, He rose from His baptism. He rose from the dead and then the Father made the declaration, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Of course, this relates to what we read in Romans 1:3-4:
Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God…by the resurrection from the dead:
I left out the middle of verse 4 to help us understand when we see these two ideas flow together – Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by (or through) the resurrection from the dead. It was due to His rising from the dead. That is because it says in Colossians 1:18:
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead…
When Jesus died and rose from the dead at the foundation of the world, had anyone else yet risen from the dead? No, no one had ever died and risen from the dead. God is looking at coming back from the dead as if He had been born. Actually, we should be familiar with that idea because we were born dead in our soul existence and dead in trespasses and sins and then God resurrects us and makes us born again in our soul existence – that is how God saves people. We came forth from the dead, spiritually, in our souls and we became sons of God.
But this is looking at the resurrection and the entire Person of Christ. He died and then came back from the dead. He came up out of the water straightway and, at that point, the Father made the declaration in Matthew 3:17:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
He was declared to be the Son of God. He was not declared to be the Son of God for the first time in these Gospel accounts because this was merely a demonstration. Christ was already the Son of God. When Christ was baptized in water by John the Baptist Christ did not die. It was a ceremony. It was actual water that He went into and came up from, so that did not make Him the Son of God. There was no death or resurrection at that time, but God was illustrating what had already taken place at the foundation of the world as He showed how Jesus had become the Son of God.
This is important for us because of what we read in Romans 8:29:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…
Let me stop here before reading the rest of this verse. It says, “conformed to the image of his Son.” In what way? Let us go to Philippians, chapter 3 where the Apostle Paul was moved to write in Philippians 3:10:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
What was Christ’s death? It was “baptism.” He was baptized into death. He died at the foundation of the world. The Apostle Paul wants to know Him and the power of His resurrection and, therefore, there must be a fellowship involving Paul’s suffering so that he can be made conformable to Christ’s death.
You know, we all want to be resurrected, do we not? We all want to rise from the dead and we want to receive our new resurrected bodies and enter into the new heaven and new earth where there will be no pain, illness or death. Of course, anyone that is “sane” would want that and, yet, before Christ was resurrected He had to go through a period of suffering and He had to die. Then He was resurrected. We tend to “put the cart before the horse.” God’s plan is to resurrect His people, but first He must bring His people into a similar situation or like condition to what Christ experienced before He could rise from the dead. Before Christ could rise from His “baptism,” He had to suffer and die. That is the only way we can be in a “like place” for a “like resurrection,” as it says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Then it goes on to say in Philippians 3:11:
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Do you really want to rise from the dead and be resurrected in a new glorious body? Then it is “by any means,” and that means that you must first “suffer and die.” That is what Romans, chapter 8 is telling us in Romans 8:29:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Christ is the firstborn from the dead, declared to be the Son of God. We are sons of God, but in order to be a son of God, you must endure chastising and scourging and you must endure the Day of Judgment.