Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #18 of Genesis, chapter 8 and we are going to read Genesis 8:11-12:
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. In our last study we saw that the dove, representing the Holy Spirit, came in to Noah and in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off. We went to a couple of Scriptures that tied the olive tree to the Promised Land and that was in keeping with the spiritual dimension of this passage and the Holy Spirit looking for the new heaven and new earth, the place of God’s eternal dwelling where He will rest the sole of His feet for evermore.
We discussed the fact that the olive leaf was evidence of the Promised Land, a land of olive trees and olive oil. The olive leaf being in the dove’s mouth is a figure of the mouth of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will produce evidence through its mouth, the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will open up the Scriptures revealing truths regarding the coming Promised Land to the people that have found safety and deliverance in Christ, as typified by the ark. The Holy Spirit will, as it were, return to them and show them the evidence: “Here is the olive leaf.” In other words, here is something substantial brought forth from the Word of God to encourage God’s elect that the Promised Land is close at hand. It is very near. It will not be Judgment Day forever without end, but it will come to a close. God’s wrath will be satisfied. God’s testing of His people will be completed. The tableau of the elect appearing before the judgment seat of Christ will also be completed and there will come the time when the door opens.
We spent a good amount of time looking in the Bible regarding the shutting of the door of heaven which had provided entry into that safe chamber of salvation that was granted to God’s elect. The door shut on May 21, 2011 and we have been so focused on the shutting of the door that we have not spent much time considering the time when the door will open once again. The way the Bible looks at this event is that the ark will sail the seas in the Day of Judgment until the waters are no more. The waters go down and reveal the “new earth” and, finally, we get near the point when the door of the ark will be opened and all within the ark will come out and they will step onto a new earth, the Promised Land that God spoke of throughout the Bible for thousands of years. It will come to pass, so the Lord is giving us encouragement that these things are not far away at all.
Historically, the olive leaf provided that encouragement for Noah and his family and, spiritually, it provides encouragement for us today. We know the door (to heaven) did shut and we know we are “those days after that tribulation,” and we see the spiritual picture the Bible presents of a world under the judgment of God. We also see this illustration from the Bible of the formation of the new heaven and new earth.
It says in Genesis 8:11 when Noah saw the olive leaf pluckt off, “Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.” But before we look at this last sentence of verse 11, let us look at Revelation, chapter 22 where the word “leaf” or “leaves” are mentioned. It says in Revelation 22:1-4:
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 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.
It refers to the leaves of the tree and, of course, this tree points to Christ. God says that the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations and then the next verse says, “And there shall be no more curse.” In the context of our verse in Genesis, chapter 8 Noah saw the leaf that was pluckt off the tree from the land that was taking shape and which they will soon inhabit. He saw the leaf and, immediately, “Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.” Remember that the Hebrew word translated as “abated” is translated several times in other places as “curse.” This word was used back in verse 8, where it said, “Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground.” We have to be careful because if we go back to verse 3 it spoke of the 150 days when the waters were “abated,” but that Hebrew word is a word that means “decreased.” The Hebrew word that is translated as “abated” in verse 8 and in verse 11 are not the same word. This is a word that is translated as “cursed” in Deuteronomy 23:4:
Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
It would not make sense if it said that they hired Balaam to “abate” thee.
It is also the word used in 2Samuel 16:7:
And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:
It is also used in 2Samuel 16:10:
And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because JEHOVAH hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?
In both verses this is our word that is translated as “abated” in our verse. It is even translated as “curse” in our chapter, 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 we are on safe ground in translating this word as “cursed” in our verse and it does fit the context when we read it correctly: “So Noah knew that the waters of the curse were from off the earth.” Noah knew that the cursed waters had brought death and destruction to the “old earth” and killed all the other inhabitants of the earth with the breath of life. Yes, they were cursed waters. And Noah knew that the “curse” was off the earth. Do you see how that fits with Revelation 22 in regard to the leaf for the healing of the nations and it says, “And there shall be no more curse”?
I do not know what else could be in view. It must be that Noah understood, as a result of receiving the leaf from the dove, that this earth that was taking shape and becoming more evident was an earth that had no curse upon it. We are not to verse 21 yet, but when we get there we are going to look at that statement: “JEHOVAH said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake.” This statement does not seem to apply to our present earth. The earth that appeared after the flood is, in reality, our present earth today, but that statement does not seem to apply to this earth. However, it does apply to the “new earth” or the new creation that God will create at the end of this world. That is exactly what is in view, spiritually. The “waters of the curse” or the Word of God had brought destruction to this creation and to sinful mankind that had transgressed God’s commandments. They have been destroyed and they are gone forever, so the picture is that now there is a new creation and new creatures, as it were. That is the image God is giving us with the people and animals on the ark, as these are the creatures that will now inhabit the “new earth.”
God could only do so much with the “old earth” in using the people created in His image and the animals. He could not make new creatures to illustrate His point, so He used the existing creatures to draw the picture for us. Actually, the picture is very clear and very direct. We do see the wonderful teaching of Genesis, chapter 8, especially in this passage. There is a strong emphasis on the coming “new world” and the fulfillment of all that God had promised to His people in this world, as recorded in the Bible. It is all taking shape and it is happening right before our eyes, as we go from verse to verse.
Let us go on to Genesis 8:12:
And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
The dove came back with that evidence of an olive leaf pluckt off. Noah could have sent her right back out but he waited and it says, “And he stayed yet other seven days.” This Hebrew word translated as “stayed” is a different word than we saw in verse 10, where the word “stayed” had to do with being in “pain” or “travail.” But in verse 12 the Hebrew word translated as “stayed” is Strong’s #3176.
By the way, this chapter does help to show us how important it is to look at the original Hebrew or Greek because in the English you would not get the truest sense of what God is saying here. We saw that with the word “abate” and now we are seeing it with the word “stayed.”
This word translated as “stayed” is, again, Strong’s #3176 and it is translated as “wait” in Job 14:14:
If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
The word “wait” is used and we can understand that he “stayed” or “waited” another seven days. He did not send the dove right back out, but he waited another seven-day period.
This word is also translated as “hope” several times in Psalm 119:49:
…Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
Then it says in Psalm 119:74:
They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.
Also, it says in Psalm 119:81:
My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.
It says in Psalm 119:114:
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.
It says in Psalm 119:147:
I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
There are many other verses we can go to, but I am just going to go to a couple more verses in the Old Testament. It says in Psalm 42:5:
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
It is repeated in Psalm 43:5:
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Carrying through this particular translation of this word back to our word in Genesis, chapter 8, our verse would read, “And he hoped yet other seven days.” The dove returned with an olive leaf in its mouth and this was encouraging, so Noah began to hope. “Could it be that we are almost there? Is it almost time to come off the ark and to enter into the Promised Land, the land of the kingdom of heaven?”
It would be a land where there would be no wicked. When they do come out of the ark, all the evil people that populated the earth would be gone. They would enter into a world where there were no evil people. Of course, if all eight souls were not saved, it is possible that one (or more) of them would be evil, but it is very possible that all eight were saved. If so, then all their sins were forgiven and, at least for a short time, the eight people that came out of the ark to live in the world were righteous people. There would be no human being for at least a time that would have their sins upon them until more children were born. But at least for a time no human being would be offending God because all their sins had been washed away.
We can see they are hoping. Their figurehead, Noah, is hoping it is soon finished and that this awful and grievous period of time would be over in which they lost everything they ever had – their home, their city, their society. They lost whatever they had built in the old world. They had given it all up for what they believed and only their own souls had been delivered from the deluge, but all else was wiped away. They had hope they could come out of the ark and begin working to reestablish the earth and to make it a righteous and good earth where God would be honored and praised. Again, if all eight souls were saved that would have been the character of the “new earth” for a short while until children were born. Of course, we know what happens in the world is that the unsaved will multiply, but just for a short time this would have been the case after they came out of the ark, historically. But this is really describing the spiritual situation that will endure and continue for evermore into eternity future when God’s elect have endured to the end and are lifted up and exalted into the new heaven and the new earth. There will come that time. It absolutely will happen, without question. This is the Bible’s guarantee. This is the promise of God who cannot lie. God has declared that He will bring His people into that Promised Land and they will receive it for an everlasting habitation. He will dwell with them and be their God and there will be no more curse. There will be no more death, sorrow or pain. All these things that are such a part of this cursed creation and our cursed bodies will no longer afflict us. They will be part of the past that will never come to mind nor be remembered.
What awaits the children of God is a glorious future that is indescribable. It is beyond our wildest imagination because we are so used to all the sorrows that sin brings. We are used to death. We are used to vanity and emptiness and futility. We are used to loss and, yet, God’s people can hope. We can hope right now because the Bible has locked in May 21, 2011 and it has not budged an iota. The Scriptures will not move away from that date, but the Word of God has locked it in. As the people of God continue to search the Bible, the Lord is unmoveable concerning the beginning of Judgment Day and, therefore, we understand we are in the midst of the final judgment of this world. We can see the similarity to the time after the flood when they were sailing along within the ark and waiting for the waters to go down. Since one is locked in by the Bible, so is the other and the coming out of the ark is just as certain as what the Bible has declared about Judgment Day, May 21, 2011, with an exclamation mark! Also, with an exclamation mark, we know there is an eternal future of living in eternal bliss and happiness with God in the new earth.