Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #17 of Genesis, chapter 8 and we are going to read Genesis 8:10-12:
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 10. We saw that the word “stayed” has to do with being in pain or travailing in childbirth. Also, when it said, “And he stayed yet other seven days,” we saw that the “other seven days” relates to the seven-day warning that God gave Noah before shutting the door of the ark, when God said, “And yet seven days,” and then He brought the flood. God could have said in verse 10 “And he stayed yet seven days,” but He did not. The prior time period mentioned was 40 days, not seven days, so why did God say, “And he stayed yet other seven days”? The word “other” can be understood to mean another period of the same time span, just as it says in Genesis 8:12: “And he stayed yet other seven days.” We understand verse 12 because verse 10 mentioned a seven-day period. But, again, the only way to understand verse 10 is to recognize that it points back to Genesis 7, verse 4.
As we mentioned, God waited and was longsuffering for seven days before shutting the door of the ark or we could say He also waited for seven thousand years before shutting the door to heaven. In these days after the Tribulation in this time of the prolonged period of Judgment Day, the Lord is saying that it is necessary for the people of God to wait “yet other seven days,” and it would not mean another seven thousand years, but it is just a statement that identifies with the time period after the Tribulation in the Day of Judgment until the new heaven and new earth is prepared and created. The people of God are waiting for the transformation and the deliverance of their physical bodies. The first seven days identifies with the deliverance of our souls and this other seven-day period identifies with the deliverance of our bodies.
Then Noah sent forth the dove again out of the ark. As the Bible teaches, the dove represents the Holy Spirit, so we should ask the question: If the dove represents the Spirit and it was sent out of the ark, does this mean that those inside the ark no longer had the Holy Spirit? No, it does not mean that because there is still at least one dove on board the ark. God had brought all the animals into the ark, both male and female. So even though God’s Holy Spirit is going forth, as typified by the dove, another dove remains in the ark with Noah and his family and all the other living creatures.
After sending forth the dove again out of the ark, it says in Genesis 8:11:
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.
The dove has returned once again, as she did the first time when she found no rest for the sole of her foot. Noah “stayed” or was in “travail” for another seven-day period and then he sent out the dove the second time and this time she returned with some evidence. It is an “olive leaf pluckt off.” Obviously, if the olive trees were still under water, the dove would not have been able to find the leaf. God not only tells us that the dove found a leaf, but that she pluckt off a leaf, so she did not find a leaf that was floating on the surface of the water. Very specifically, God says, “in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off,” so the language indicates that the dove went to an olive tree and took a leaf off the tree. She found an entire olive tree that was somewhere outside the ark. Remember the ark was now sitting upon Mount Ararat and the tops of the mountains had been seen and then there was the 40-day period before the dove was sent out and then there was another seven-day period, so it had been a month and a half since the tops of the mountains were seen.
When we think of the waters rising 15 cubits above the highest mountains and we think of the grasslands and forests that are down in the valley, there must have been tremendous pressure upon the lower elevations. It is hard to imagine that so soon after the flood you could find an intact tree, but on a higher mountain range the trees there would have also been under water, but they would not have had the pressure upon them and it is possible that some trees survived the flood. They may have been severely damaged. We do not have to think that this olive tree was in excellent condition, but it was still an olive tree that had branches and leaves. The dove saw it, landed upon it and pluckt off an olive leaf and flew back to the ark. How convenient! [Laughter] God was directing the dove. The dove is not physically the Holy Spirit. It is just a creature and God can move His creatures to accomplish His will. We saw that with the great fish in the Book of Jonah, where God arranged for the great fish to be in the spot it needed to be when Jonah was cast overboard and to swallow Jonah. Then God caused the fish to retain Jonah for the amount of time the holy Word of God required (three days and three nights) and then the fish vomited him out on land. So any creature can be caused to perform the will of the Creator because God is in control of the creation and He was certainly in control of the dove and its movements.
The dove flew about, noticed the tree and landed upon it and pluckt off a leaf and then flew back and came into Noah “in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off.” Perhaps, Noah took the leaf out of the dove’s mouth and showed it to his wife, his sons and their wives and he said, “Look! An olive leaf! The dove found an olive tree and pluckt off this leaf, so the water has gone down tremendously.” They could have been encouraged because it was tangible evidence. It was something they could see and hold and, as a result, they would know it was a good indication. That is why it says at the end of the verse, “so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.” The window was fairly small and that was all they had to view the outside world and it would have limited the area they could see, but the dove was not limited to where it could fly and it came back with proof of something that existed on dry land. You do not find olive trees in the ocean and, therefore, it was proof of the “second earth,” typifying the new heaven and new earth or the Promised Land the Bible had spoken of for thousands of years. The olive leaf was genuine evidence.
We should take a closer look at this historical detail. We know the dove came back with an olive leaf in her mouth. God is in control of what happened and He directed the dove to the olive tree to take the leaf, but why did God direct the dove to an olive tree? There could have been a fig tree or palm tree or some other kind of tree, but why did the Lord direct the dove to fly to an olive tree and to return with an olive leaf? Of course, we can find the answer to that question when we follow the Bible’s methodology. God defines His own words and terms through the comparison of Scriptures and we find this same word translated as “olive leaf” in Deuteronomy 6:10-11:
And it shall be, when JEHOVAH thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
We see that verse 10 speaks of the time when JEHOVAH has “brought thee into the land which he sware unto they fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,” and at that time you will find “olive tree, which thou plantedst not.” And in our verse, the context is after the flood and the water is receding and the dove went forth and returned with an olive leaf and it was an olive tree that Noah and his family did not plant – it was already established in the land that they will very shortly inhabit. They will come out of the ark and they will set foot on dry ground and they will inhabit the land. The first indicator that God gives is this olive leaf. Well, actually, that is not true because we know the tops of the mountains were seen and that was an early indicator that a “new earth” was taking shape. As Noah “stayed yet other seven days,” and we saw that the word “stayed” can mean “pained” or “travailed” or “brought forth,” and we saw in Psalm 90 how the mountains were “brought forth.” So as the mountains began to appear, it was as though a “new earth” or the new kingdom of God is emerging and coming into existence. So that was evidence, but the olive leaf was the first bit of physical evidence that was provided to those onboard the ark. It was a leaf from an olive tree and the olive tree is the kind of tree that you will find when JEHOVAH brings you into the land. In Deuteronomy, chapter 6 vineyards are mentioned, but only the olive tree is singled out to identify with the Promised Land.
Also, we see it says in Deuteronomy 8:7-8:
For JEHOVAH thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
Oil of olive comes from the olive tree and in the bible “oil” identifies with the Holy Spirit. It also relates to the light that was to be kept ever burning in the temple. It was fueled with “oil” that came from the olive tree, so the olive tree is very significant. It represents the kingdom of God. It identifies with the Promised Land, so it is not surprising at all because as we have been looking at the spiritual meaning of this passage in Genesis, chapter 8. The dove went out at first and went upon the face of the waters. It had to do that just as early in the creation the Holy Spirit moved upon the face of the waters. We also saw that it relates to “baptism” and the coming up out of the water and as the earth is coming up out of the water it is figuring the new creation and it is typifying the fulfillment of the promise that God gave long ago. It was the promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of an eternal dwelling place for them and their seed, representing Christ and those that are in Christ. It is really a beautiful spiritual picture God is drawing for us as He gives us the illustration of the new heaven and new earth.
I do not know if there is another chapter in the Bible quite like this chapter. Yes, there are the accounts in Revelation, chapter 21 and 22 that describe the glorious holy city as a place where there is no more death and pain, and so forth. But, as far as I am aware, there is nowhere else in the Bible where God describes the actual transformation, as He goes into detail regarding the movement from the old earth to the new earth or from Judgment Day to eternity future and that is what we are actually seeing in Genesis, chapter 8.
Noah and his family have gone through the flood waters and through that “baptism,” according to 1Peter 3, verses 20 and 21 that spoke of them being “saved by water,” as “the like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” They passed through the water to rise up, just as Christ came up out of the water after being baptized by John the Baptist, and then the Father said, “Behold, my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” All the elect are following His pattern and we will soon come forth. On board the ark are “not clean” creatures that typify the creation and they are going to come forth into the new earth, so the creation that has been groaning and travailing together in pain until now looking for deliverance is also in view. God has a certain love for His creation, so He is giving us a glimpse into its glorious transformation from the “old” to the “new.” It is really an incredible chapter.
I think I mentioned this earlier, but to be honest, I was not looking forward to going through Genesis, chapter 8 because of this passage. I want to understand what I am teaching, so I had a bit of anxiety. I had looked at this for a long time, actually since May 21, 2011, and I still did not understand why all these various time periods were given and why the dove went forth. What was it all picturing? Yet, now I have to say that I am starting to like this chapter so much that it is becoming one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because it is one of the most encouraging chapters for God’s people at this time. We can clearly relate and identify with the “seventeenth day of the second month” as the start of Judgment Day, so we also know that what follows also has to do with what comes after the start of Judgment Day. Here, in chapter 8, the Lord is carefully encouraging us in the same way that He encouraged Noah and his family, historically. Of course, they were encouraged in the same way and, yet, much differently. They were encouraged that they would finally leave the ark and start over in the “new” world, but we are being encouraged that God’s judgment will not last forever. It will be completed soon and God is very mindful of His promises and He will fulfill them. He is, as it were, making ready this new creation and we are on the right road. We are “in Christ” and it is as though we are hidden in the ark and we are continuing in the proper way that will shortly lead to the door opening and our coming forth into the new heaven and new earth. Just as the olive leaf encouraged Noah and his family, the olive leaf is also an encouragement to us. Notice what it says, again, in Genesis 8:11:
And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off…
Why does it note the olive leaf was “in her mouth”? God could have said that the dove came in with an olive leaf, but He made a point to tell us it was in her mouth. The Hebrew word translated as “mouth” is also translated as “word” or “commandment” or “speech,” which identifies with the Word of God because the Word of God comes forth from the mouth of God. The dove represents the Holy Spirit. And what is the “mouth” of the Holy Spirit? The mouth of the Holy Spirit is the Word of God, the Bible. God is indicating that “in those days after that tribulation,” in our present time when the people of God are all hidden in Christ and it is Judgment Day and the people of God are waiting for entry into the new creation, the Holy Spirit will reveal through the Word of God, the Bible, that we are leaving the Day of Judgment and headed for that glorious eternal future the Bible has foretold. The Bible or the Scriptures are presenting the evidence that we are about to enter the Promised Land of the kingdom of God.