Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #15 of Genesis, chapter 8 and we are going to be reading Genesis 8:9-12:
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.
In our last study we were looking at verse 9, where it said, “But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot,” and we were looking at other places in the Bible where the language of the “sole of the foot.” We saw in Deuteronomy 11 and in Joshua, chapters 1 and 3, that it is used in association with crossing the river Jordan and entering into the Promised Lane or in association with the Promised Land of Canaan itself. That is significant because we are reading about judgment on the entire earth – the earth has been wiped out by the flood and it is just about time for the waters to decrease to the point where Noah, his family and all the animals can come out of the ark and enter into a “new world.”
Geographically, the boundaries that existed before the flood would not be the same as after the flood. The face of the earth would have been rearranged, so to speak. We know that geographic locations like the Grand Canyon were formed as a result of the flood and it did not exist before the flood came. Due to the enormous pressure of all that water and the catastrophic damage it caused across the face of the earth the entire landscape of the earth would have been greatly altered. Of course, it is the same world. We are not saying it is not, but the Bible speaks of the “first earth,” which implies a “second earth.” There is one earth that has existed since creation and it will exist until the destruction of all things, but it is broken up into two epochs of time. The one before the flood was 6,023 years and there is also one after the flood. If the pattern holds true and we go from 4990BC, the date of the flood, to 2033AD, how many years would transpire? It would be 7,023 calendar years. The first earth had 6,023 actual years and we have the same significant numbers. There is the 7,000 years that is also modified by a 23-year period.
It is interesting that when Jericho was destroyed, the Lord had the Israelites march around the city once a day for six days and on the seventh day they marched around the city seven times, for a total of 13. Then the walls came tumbling down. We can see the division. There was a distinction between the first six days being six times and that seventh day was seven times. We see the same division with the “first earth” and the “second earth.” The first earth existed for 6,023 years and then was destroyed. Then there is 7,000 years exactly to the year 2011 when Judgment Day began and evidence is mounting that 2033AD may be the final end, it would be 7,203 years. If it did work out that way, then that would be very appropriate and it would follow another pattern as we saw the pattern of Christ’s first coming and how it tied together with the pattern to 1988 and 1994, and so forth.
However, we are not really focusing on that at this point, but just to say that the flood was a destruction of the world that pictures the final destruction that is currently taking place right now, as God has brought spiritual judgment on the world and we are waiting for the conclusion of it. So it is very significant that the dove, which represents the Holy Spirit, could find no rest for the sole of her foot. It is significant that she is looking for rest for the sole of her foot because that phrase ties in with the Promised Land. Let me read, again, Joshua 1:3:
Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
This is in reference to the land of Canaan. It is a statement that goes hand in hand with the promise of God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of the eternal dwelling place or the new heaven and new earth, so the “dove” is looking for the new heaven and new earth.
God is also looking for that, as well as His people are looking. God has an interest in that eternal new creation as much as we do because we are going to dwell together with Him. That is what it says in Revelation 22:3-5:
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
It says, “The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.” It also says in Revelation 21:3-4:
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
This is describing the new heaven and the new earth or the new creation. It is the new kingdom of God that is going to come into being at the end of this present world. It is an actual new creation and it will happen as soon as this world is destroyed. All the elect will be raptured and resurrected and meet the Lord in the air. We are not going to just “fly around,” but God’s plan is to create the new heaven and new earth to fulfill the promise He gave to His people for thousands of years. We will have an everlasting possession and place to dwell. We do not have an everlasting dwelling place in this world. We only have a temporary place. If we die, we leave this world and our spirit goes to be with the Lord in heaven, as well as all the other spirits of God’s people that are waiting for the completion of all things. They are waiting for their new spiritual bodies, but it is more than that. The whole company of the elect want God to finalize our salvation by giving us our new spiritual bodies, but we also have been promised a place to live. We will not dwell alone, but we will dwell with God, as it said: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
The dove is onboard the ark. All on that ship are waiting. You know, it is not easy to take a long voyage at sea. At the point the dove was sent forth it was the eleventh month. They had entered the ark on the seventeenth day of the second month, so they had been on the ark for nine months. Sailors onboard aircraft carriers take extremely long cruises and that is why a lot of sailors do not want to be stationed onboard an aircraft carrier because they go out to sea for long periods of time without stopping at a port. They leave their families and they are gone for three months or six months at a time. Sometimes it can even “change” people through an experience such as this.
In the case of Noah’s family, it had been nine months of feeding the animals. I am sure they had daily prayer and they spoke of the Word of God and thought about what He had done and they would have been thanking God for His great deliverance, but it was still a long time. Certainly they would have been anxious and eager to get off the ark. If they would look out the window, they would just see water. When someone is confined they want to get out of confinement so they can “stretch their legs” and breathe fresh air and walk on dry ground. They were onboard a vessel that had “landed,” in a sense, on the top of the mountains, but before that happened they would have been rocking back and forth on the water. They would have been anxious to walk about in an area larger than the ark. There would have been a growing desire and an eagerness to come off the ark and set their feet on dry ground and to inspect the “new earth.” After all, they had to be wondering what God’s plan was for them. “Why did He spare us? We will be the only people alive in the whole world and these will be the only animals.” They would have been eager to get started on a new life, just like God’s elect that are living in a time after God has already brought all of His people into the safety of salvation and bringing us through the Day of Judgment. God is judging the world and we are making an appearance before His judgment seat in a demonstration and it is a very difficult time period. It is not easy to live as a child of God in these kinds of circumstances, just as it would not have been easy for Noah and his wife, their sons and their wives to live in their circumstances. Even though we have physical freedom and we can walk about, spiritually there are a lot of things going on and we have a desire for this period of time to end and we can go forth and leave the “ark” and enter into the new heaven and new earth and see this glorious new creation that God will create. Then we will find out what plan God has for us and what our tasks will be and we can experience the wonder of having entered into the Promised Land. It will not be another “type or figure,” but it will be the actual Promised Land the Bible had in mind.
Likewise, God Himself is looking, too, because it will also be His dwelling place and He will be with His people. We will be His people and He will be our God. We find this same sort of phrase about the “soles of the feet” used in connection with Ezekiel’s temple. When we think of Ezekiel’s temple, we have to understand that it is a spiritual temple. It was not Solomon’s temple and was not Zerubbabel’s rebuilt temple. Ezekiel’s temple was never physically built and there was never a time when the people of Israel worshipped in this temple because it is parabolic language that describes the “body of Christ,” the entire company of those God has saved. It says in Ezekiel 43:4-7:
And the glory of JEHOVAH came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. The spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of JEHOVAH filled the house. And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me. And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.
God is speaking and He is saying that the “place of His throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever.” It is not a coincidence that we read of the soles of the feet in Deuteronomy, chapter 11 in connection with the Promised Land of Canaan. In Joshua, chapter 1 and in Joshua chapter 3, it had to do with crossing the Jordan into the land of Canaan. In Ezekiel 43 we see it speaks of where God will dwell with His people forever, so there is no doubt that this phrase regarding the “soles of the feet” has to do with the new heaven and new earth, the eternal dwelling place for the people of God and for God Himself. In Ezekiel 43 we see it from the perspective of God’s feet. Of course, God is Spirit, but it is a figure to indicate that when we read about the “soles of the feet,” it involves possession of a land. It involves ownership of that which you are treading upon.
Again, it says in Genesis 8:9: “But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot,” so it is indicating that God is also looking for that dwelling place where He will “rest,” just like when the ark was brought into Solomon’s temple and it was said that it “rested” there. God is looking for that rest for the “soles of His feet,” that eternal dwelling place.
This is an appropriate time because the whole world has been destroyed, so Noah (Christ) is sending forth the dove (Holy Spirit) to see if it is ready and prepared to be the dwelling place. But then it says in Genesis 8:9:
… 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.
It was Noah’s hand that pulled in the dove or spirit, which represents the will of God bringing back His Spirit because it is not yet the time, but it is very near. If Noah represents Christ and the dove represents the Holy Spirit, why the “trial run”? God knows everything. He knows precisely when the new heaven and new earth will be created. I am not sure of all the reasons for this, but, again, the tops of the mountains have appeared and the dove will be sent out a second time and return with an olive leaf pluckt off. This will give additional evidence that the earth is just about prepared for the inhabitants of the ark. In a sense, it is as though God the Holy Spirit is letting it be known that the ark will continue its voyage in the prolonged Day of Judgment. It started on the seventeenth day of the second month. We can also understand it to represent the prolonged period of Judgment Day that began on May 21, 2011 and the people of God are continuing on this journey. Noah and his family would have talked about seeing the tops of the mountains and about how the dove had not found rest for the sole of her feet “as yet.” So there would have been some encouragement because the waters are decreasing, so they would know it was just a matter of time and they would continue to wait on the Lord. They would have realized, perhaps, that it was a process and they were not quite there yet.
God may be encouraging us as we read this report. It is rather like a report being given by God Himself concerning the “readiness” or level of preparation for the new heaven and new earth. So, it goes on to say in Genesis 8:10:
And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
Noah pulled the dove back into the ark the first time and he waited another seven days. Noah was a very patient man. If it were me, the dove would have been flying out the next day, but Noah waited: “And he stayed yet other seven days,” and then he sent forth the dove once more.
This brings up some more questions, especially in regard to the word the Lord used for the word translated as “stayed.” This word that is translated as “stayed” is a word that is used in regard to childbirth. It is a word that is translated as “pain,” “travail” and “brought forth,” and we wonder if it is describing the situation with Noah and those onboard the ark. Maybe they were much more anxious than they appeared to be. We could read it this way: “And he was in pain yet other seven days,” or “And he was in travail yet other seven days.”
Lord willing, when we get together in our next Bible study, we will look at why God used this particular word to describe waiting another seven days as Noah and his family waited for the (next) report by the dove.