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. Gen 8:11-12
The greatest calamity to strike the earth has passed. All evil has been destroyed in the deluge and now eight souls and the living creatures on board the Ark will set about to re-populate the earth. The dove and the olive branch serve to tell Noah a time of peace and deliverance has come. Peace, calm, serenity—-a new start, a new creation, new expectations and new hope are now all generated by this beautiful symbol of peace—the dove and the olive branch.
Jesus began his ministry in the Jordan River in the presence of John the Baptist: And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Mat 3:16-17. The dove of Noah’s day has now descended upon the world’s Savior and the same message is concluded— peace, hope and a new creation: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid, Joh 14:27. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world, Joh 16:33.
As Jesus ends his ministry of 3 years, he is found with the olive branch in the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane means “olive press” and no other place on earth could have the same meaning and significance for God’s Son, the Prince of Peace. He prayed and wept, and cried with sweat as drops of blood in the middle of olive branches. He, anointed visually by a dove, but inwardly with the Holy Spirit of His Father to fulfill his mission to pay for the sins of the world and to offer his blood as the cleansing atonement for humanity—from the days of Noah to the end of time on earth: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom 5:1. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, Rom 14:17. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, Eph 2:14. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, Eph 6:15. And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven, Col 1:20.
“Prince of peace, control my will, Bid the struggling heart be still; Bid my fears and doubtings cease, Hush my spirit into peace. Thou hast bought me with Thy blood, Opened wide the gate to God; Peace I ask—but peace must be, Lord, in being one with Thee. May Thy will, not mine, be done, May Thy will and mine be one; Chase these doubtings from my heart, Now Thy perfect peace impart. Savior, at Thy feet I fall, Thou my life, my God, my all! Let Thy happy servant be One forevermore with Thee!” (Mary Barber—1838)
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]