Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;CHAPTER 8
1. Noah remembered (Genesis 8:1-3)
2. The ark resting (Genesis 8:4-5)
3. The raven sent forth (Genesis 8:6-7)
4. The sending forth of the dove (Genesis 8:8-12)
5. The waters dried up (Genesis 8:13-14)
6. The command to leave the ark (Genesis 8:15-17)
7. Noah’s obedience (Genesis 8:18-19)
8. The altar and the covenant (Genesis 8:20-22)
Especially instructive are Genesis 8:6-12 in our chapter. Noah opened the window at the end of forty days, and he sent forth a raven. This bird flew to and fro until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
Then he sent forth a dove three times. The first time she found no resting place, and Noah took her back into the ark. The second time she returned with an olive leaf in her mouth, and the third time she did not return at all, and finds her abiding place in the earth.
That the dove is the type of the Holy Spirit needs hardly to be stated. In this outward symbolic form He came upon our Lord. But what does the black raven represent? The raven is the type of evil, a representative of the god of this age and the flesh as well. We may see in the raven flying to and fro until the waters were dried up, a type of the prince of the power in the air, the devil. His work and activity; the devil describes himself as “going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7; Job 2:2). He is doing this still, but there is a time coming when the black raven will stop his restless flight. When this present age ends with divine wrath revealed once more, and the waves of divine judgment have rolled over the earth, then Satan, the devil, that old serpent, will be bound a thousand years.
The dove and her threefold departure is a type of the coming and presence of the Holy Spirit in the earth sent forth from the Lord.
First, she comes forth and finds no resting place. This represents the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, where he was not present in the earth to find a rest, to abide. The second departure of the dove may be taken as a type of the Holy Spirit’s presence in this age. The dove found a resting place and still she did not stay, but came back to the ark with an olive leaf. This olive leaf was the witness that the judgment waters had passed and that new life had developed. It also signifies peace. So the Holy Spirit is present in this age as the result of the finished work of Christ. The third time the dove did not return. So there is an age in the future when the Holy Spirit will be poured upon all flesh. During the first and second sending forth of the dove, the raven was also present. Both flew over the earth. When the dove went forth the third time the waters were gone and there was no more raven.
The word “altar” is mentioned here for the first time in the Bible. The altar is for worship. Here then worship is for the first time revealed. We worship, having passed from the old into the new, standing on the ground of resurrection. We know that death and judgment is passed, and therefore we worship in spirit and in truth. Christ is our altar; and in the sacrifices Noah brought, Christ is also typically represented. Only he is a true worshiper who knows Christ and the perfect work He has done. “Jehovah smelled the sweet savor.” This reminds us of John 4: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.” Not service is a sweet savor to God, but worship.