Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #11 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.
We are continuing to look at the spiritual significance of what is happening at this point in the flood account after the 150 days was past and everyone was dead on the earth. God is really taking the time to give us many details concerning the voyage of Noah and his seven family members and all the animals. He is giving us information that might otherwise appear insignificant. What does it matter that Noah opened the window of the ark and sent forth a raven and then he sent forth a dove that could not find rest for the sole of her foot? Then he sent her forth a second time and she returned with an olive leaf in her mouth. Then he sent forth the dove the third time.
What significance are these things to people that do not understand how God wrote the Bible? They do not realize that you have to look at the deeper, spiritual meaning. They would see minor details about the flood that would be forgotten in a moment until you understand that Christ spoke in parables, and “without a parable” He did not speak. That means that every statement in the Bible is parabolic in form – every statement in the Bible hides truth. Some are statements that appear more plainly as parables, like when Christ would say, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” Other statements are hidden declarations, like, “For God so loved the world,” and so forth. But all Scripture is a mystery; it is a parable that must be revealed or interpreted by God Himself. God has given us the method of interpretation: we are to compare Scripture with Scripture, harmonizing all Scriptures and, above all, the Holy Spirit must direct us into all truth. We need the Holy Spirit to open our understanding in order that we might understand the Scriptures.
It is tragic and sad that there are so many professed Christians that do not understand what they are reading. They hear a teaching that really digs into the Word of God as for buried treasure and they say, “Oh, you are spiritualizing it.” They would reject it and go back to their superficial understanding of the things the Bible says, as far as the historical aspects and the grammatical aspects and the literal, direct statements. They miss so much that we cannot help but feel sorry for people that study the Bible in that manner. They miss the abundant riches and they miss the treasures. They are content with the “fool’s gold” that is lying on the top of the ground. The gold miners used to talk about that. It was basically worthless. It was what you could find very easily, but to find the gold you had to go to work with pickax and shovel and you had to put in the effort to find the real gold.
It is the same thing when it comes to the Bible. God has hidden truth. We can only pity and feel sorry for people that cannot see it and they do not know how to go about finding it. They are blinded. As Jesus said when the disciples asked Him why He spoke in parables, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Yes, the understanding is given to us, but it is not given to us without effort. We must study to show ourselves approved, as workmen that needeth not to be ashamed. But to the merely professed Christians, “it is not given.” They miss out when they read, “One day is as a thousand years,” and they read, “And yet seven days,” and they do not get the spiritual connection and how it relates to the timeline of history. They miss out on the shutting of the door to heaven: “What are you talking about when you say God has ended His salvation program? Are you out of your mind? You are basing that on the statement that God shut Noah in on the seventeenth day of the second month. God just shut the door, so what does that have to do with anything in our day?” They do not see the connection, even though Jesus said, “I am the door.” They do not see that God wrote the Bible with the Bible as its own dictionary and in order to understand a word, you have to search the rest of the Bible to define it. The “door” identifies with salvation and entry into the kingdom of heaven, and so forth. They do not understand the “dove,” except as an animal that was on board the ark, like so many other animals. “Why blow that out of proportion? How can you possibly assign so much meaning to the sending forth of a dove?” And, yet, it is not me that assigned that meaning – I did not write the Bible. God wrote the Bible and God is the one that made these kinds of identification.
God is the one that in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote that the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ “like a dove.” God selected the “dove.” He did not indicate it was like an eagle or any other type of bird, but the Holy Spirit descended like a dove at the point Jesus came up out of the water and His baptism was completed. As He ascended up, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and the Father made the declaration, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” It all relates to God’s Gospel program, as baptism is tied to death and the ascension out of the water is tied to resurrection, and Christ being declared the Son of God through the resurrection from the dead. We see all those things in view and the connection to the “dove” and the Holy Spirit. So, what are we to do when we come to Genesis, chapter 8 and we find a “dove” is mentioned five times? Yes, the raven was also mentioned and we have discussed that, but now a dove takes center stage and is being brought into sharp focus and we cannot help but notice the relationship between what is happening historically with the flood and Christ coming up out of the water, being baptized, and then the dove making an appearance.
Here in Genesis, the flood had covered the earth to 15 cubits above the highest mountain, but then the 15 cubits went down until the tops of the mountains were seen. Then 40 days passed before the window was opened and then the raven and the dove were sent forth, so the “new earth” is beginning to appear and in a real way the ark is starting to come up out of the water because it will eventually be completely out of the water. God is the one that has tied these historical events closely to a “dove,” just as the dove made an appearance after Christ came up out of the water after His baptism.
We saw that in Matthew, chapter 3, before the baptism of Christ, it said in Matthew 3:11:
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
We saw how that related to verse 12 where God made another connection with the wheat being gathered into the barn and the chaff being bound for burning, because it is Judgment Day and that is the time that the Holy Ghost will baptize the elect “with fire.”
Let us go another place in Matthew, chapter 20 where we read of James and John. It says in Matthew 20:20:
Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
James and John, Zebedee’s children are also spoken of in Mark 3:17:
And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
James and John had a surname given to them by the Lord that means, “the son of thunder.”
Then if we go to the Book of Job, we read in Job 40:9:
Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
God speaks and it is as “thunder.” Where has God spoken? The Bible is the Word of God and it came forth from the mouth of God and, therefore, the Bible is like “thunder.” God speaks through His Word and it is as “thunder” that is sounding all across the earth, especially in the day of salvation when the Word of God impacted the hearts of God’s elect that had been predestinated to salvation and the great multitude became saved and “sons of God” or “sons of thunder.” These were sons of the Word of God because God’s word quickened them and brought life to them.
So, the Lord Jesus surnamed James and John the “sons of thunder” and they represent all the elect because we are all “sons of thunder.” We have been made born again through the Word of God, the thunder of His voice.
Again, it says in Matthew 20:20-23:
Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with : but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
For whom is it prepared? It is the elect. When you search out the word “prepared” it leads right back to the elect, just as James and John, the sons of thunder, are pictures of the elect. So all the elect will be seated with Christ, but the important thing we want to look at is Jesus’ assurance to them in verse 23: “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup.” I would encourage everyone to do a search of the Bible for the word “cup” and you will find in Jeremiah, chapter 25 that God speaks of giving the “cup” first to the city called by His name and then giving the same cup to the nations; it is the “cup of the wrath of God.” Or, we find in the Gospel accounts when Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and He is in agony as He pleads with God that the “cup” might pass from Him, the cup has to do with the wrath of God. It says in Revelation 14:10:
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Here, it speaks of the cup of the wrath of God. Again, let us read what Jesus said to James and John, the sons of thunder: “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.” We spent some time discussing how “baptism” is the washing away of sin. We saw how Christ was “baptized” at the foundation of the world when He died bearing the sins of His people. We, the elect, were baptized with Him through His death; we were buried and died in Him. The Bible is clear about that because in order to be “baptized” or “washed,” you have to bear sin and Jesus had the sins of His people upon Him and He was cleansed of those sins in death. At the same time, we had our sins washed away in Him, so we were “baptized.” That is the point of Christ’s baptism and of our baptism.
The question remains: “Why is the future tense being used?” Christ said, “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.” Someone might say, “You are all wrong about this happening at the foundation of the world. It took place at the cross.” However, when Jesus was drinking of the cup and beseeching the Father that the cup might pass from Him, were any of the disciples with Him? Where were they? They were off a distance, sleeping. They could not watch “one hour.” Christ came back to them and He said, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” When Jesus was drinking of the cup the disciples were not with Him; they did not watch with Him. Do you see the emphasis? They did not drink of the cup at that time. Christ drank of the cup because that was the time of His demonstration. In Hebrews 9, God speaks of the one offering for payment of sin at the foundation of the world and then God lays a trap and He speaks of the one time He “appears” for sin and that was in 33AD, in time. That was Christ’s “appearance” or manifestation. We were with Him when He paid for sin at the foundation of the world, but we were not with Him in the garden or when He went to the cross in 33AD. That was the time of Christ’s “tableau” or demonstration, but not the time for our demonstration. That was not the time for the people of God to likewise demonstrate by following in His steps, as it says in Matthew 3 where it speaks in the future tense of drinking of the cup and being baptized with the baptism He was baptized with. Then it spoke of the gathering of the wheat and the burning of the chaff and that takes place during Judgment Day and that is the future time Christ is referring to when He says to James and John, “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.” It was not at the cross in 33AD but way into the future in our day.
We can prove it was not at the cross if we turn to Acts, chapter 1. It says in Acts 1:5:
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
This proves that the baptism of the Holy Ghost referred to in Matthew, chapter 3 when Jesus said they would be baptized with did not occur at the cross because Acts, chapter 1 is after Christ went to the cross and rose from the dead. Actually, Acts 1 takes place during the point of 40 days that He showed Himself with many infallible proofs and He is about to go back to Heaven, so here He is saying that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is still future: “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Now some people that were mistaken about the baptism of God’s elect occurring with Christ on the cross are led off on another “wild goose chase” because in the next chapter of Acts there is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They make the wrong association and they say, “This is referring to the Holy Ghost being poured out on the Day of Pentecost, in Acts, chapter 2.” However, the outpouring of the Holy Ghost is not the baptism that Jesus was baptized with. Where is the “cup of God’s wrath” in Acts, chapter 2? Christ told James and John that they would both 1) drink of the cup He drank; and 2) be baptized with the baptism He was baptized with. If they identify baptism with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts, chapter 2, where is the “cup of wrath?” One can see why people would try to relate it to the cross because there was a “cup of wrath” and a demonstration of “baptism” or “death” by Christ, but those same elements are not in view on the Day of Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
God does say in Acts 8:1:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…
This is referring to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and it is the official beginning of the church age. From Christ’s coming in 7BC, it was all related to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 33AD, so all of those things would get under way. The official outpouring of the Holy Spirit as it came upon the disciples in Acts, chapter 2 signaled the beginning of the church age and the first Jubilee period, but it was not the “baptism” or the drinking of the cup of wrath. That would not qualify and it does not fit the description of baptism. Again, was there any gathering of the wheat into the barn or the burning of chaff when the Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts, chapter 2? No – it is still in the future, about 2,000 years later when Judgment Day came. That is when there would be the baptism of the Holy Ghost “with fire.”
Now let us turn to 1Peter and I think we are going to see something that leads us right back to the flood account and why the “dove” making an appearance is so significant. Speaking of the Spirit and Christ in the Spirit, it says in 1Peter 3:19-21:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us…
We have run out of time in this study, but this is a good place to stop. Just think about it. God just tied together the water that destroyed the earth in the days of Noah to baptism.
Here in our verse we see the “dove” when the water is going down (the baptism) and up out of the water comes the people of God and the new earth.