The Biblical Account of The Story of Noah
So the story of Noah continues in its final stages. When we last heard from Noah and his family, they were floating in the ark while the waters above and below poured onto the Earth. The water level rose for 150 days and now it’s reached the pinnacle of the flood waters.
Genesis 8:1-4 (NKJV)
8 Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. 4 Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.
The chapter opens with the statement that God remembered Noah and those who were with him on the Ark. Don’t think God forgot Noah. The phrase used by Moses here simply means that God turned again to attend to Noah. God was finished with bringing His wrath upon the Earth, and now it was time to turn His attention back to Noah’s family and the animals on the Ark. And now it has been 150 days, or half a year according to the Jewish calendar.
The waters prevailed for 150 days, and then God began to reduce the waters. And after 150 days, the Ark rests on the mountains of Ararat in present day Turkey. This is now the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the year. The Jewish people have had two different calendars in their history, but both are based on the moon rather than the sun. There have been two calendars because God altered the Jewish calendar during the Exodus. The calendar was shifted six months, so that the seventh month of the civil calendar became the first month in the new religious calendar. So notice here that the Ark rested on the seventeenth day of the seventh month – probably according to the civil
calendar, since the religious (Jewish) calendar hadn’t been given yet. This is also the first month under the religious (Jewish) calendar. And according to the religious calendar, the Ark rested on the same day that Jesus was resurrected after His Crucifixion. Knowing that the Ark pictures Christ, here we see the Ark resting on the mountain. Resting from the work of saving Noah and his family from God’s judgment.
Just as Jesus rested from His works to save believers from the coming judgment.
The actual process of drying up the water is interesting as well. It begins we’re told with a wind that God causes to blow. The word for wind in Hebrew is ruach, which is the same Hebrew word for Spirit. We see that same word used in Genesis 1:2 when the earth was also a formless deep of water. And the Spirit (ruach) was moving over the surface of the waters.
Genesis 1:2 (NKJV)
2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit (ruach) of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
There is a deliberate parallel between the creation account and this story of Noah as in a sense, God is “recreating” the world. But the word ruach probably means wind in this case. Indicating that the new climate has emerged, producing winds, clouds, evaporation and the new water cycle that produces rain. In part 6 we looked at how God accomplished the removal of so much water and according to Psalm 104, the mountains were raised and the ocean floors were lowered. And the water ran down into the trenches as the land rose above the water. Naturally, as this great run off happened, gorges are cut into the land and a few pockets of water were left behind which created many of the lakes we see today, including the Great Salt Lake. Interestingly, we have proof today that many very tall mountains were once under water. Scientists today can find fossilized sea creatures deposited on the highest mountains around the world.
Many mountains are volcanic, indicating they were created by volcanic eruptions, as would have occurred during the upheaval of the continents moving. Mt. Ararat is a volcanic mountain, but the volcanic rock itself is an unique form of volcanic rock – pillow lava. Pillow lava is bulbous form of lava rock that can only be formed when hot lava emerges from the Earth’s crust while under water. In other words, Mt. Ararat was formed by an underwater volcano.
Genesis 8:5-12 (NKJV)
5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.
6 So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. 7 Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. 8 He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. 9 But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. 10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11 Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. 12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.
Now we are at the point in the story of Noah that the Ark is resting on land, there is still water in the distance as far as the eye can see. Noah can tell he isn’t floating any longer, but he is still waiting for a sign he can leave the ark. After 2 1/2 months, the tops of mountains become visible and then after another 40 days pass, Noah releases a raven and it flies back and forth, as Noah observes, but it never returns to the ark. Ravens are unclean animals, so Noah had only two of these birds. So why did he risk releasing one and what was the purpose? Ravens feed on the carcasses of dead animals, so if the bird is moving back and forth over the waters, it’s an indication to Noah that there is still rotting flesh floating. The bird is moving from carcass to carcass and if the bird had a lack of food, it would have returned to the Ark to be fed. When the bird needed to rest, it would have landed on the mountain tops. It stayed away from the ark entirely until the land was dry.
We are told that after seven days, Noah begins to send out doves. We know Noah waited seven days between birds, because when he releases the second dove in verse 10, the text says “another” seven days. Thus, indicating that Noah waited seven days between each bird. Why did Noah release the dove and why did it return? Doves are clean animals, and they are particular about where they land. They will only land on dry, clean ground or trees and they do not eat meat. Doves prefer valleys and low areas to mountains, so if the dove found nowhere to land but returned to the boat, then as verse 9 says, the ground was not yet dry enough at this point. When Noah releases the dove a second time, it returns with an olive twig. An interesting fact about olive trees are they are unique in that they will grow while submerged under water. The trees also prefer mountain sides, so this dove found an olive tree growing on the mountain side that was dry and growing. Therefore, the olive branch tells Noah that the waters have receded more and plant life is returning to the world. But since the dove returns, it indicates that the water is still too high, as the dove didn’t want to remain away from the ark yet. Finally, after another seven days, the dove is released a third time and doesn’t return, indicating that the valleys are appearing and have dried up. The water is moving very quickly, hundreds of miles of land are being exposed each day it would seem.
There have been numerous ideas proposed for what God is picturing or symbolizing through the release of the raven and the dove three times. The idea I prefer sees the birds as having meaning in relationship to the ark itself. The ark is Christ, as we’ve already established earlier. It is still holding the believers who are waiting for the
period of God’s judgment to end on Earth. And these birds are sent forth from the Ark during this time of judgment. Looking at the raven, this bird is closely associated with Elijah in the Old Testament. In 1 Kings 17, Elijah is fed by ravens during a famine
brought about by the Lord.
1 Kings 17: 2-4 (NKJV)
2 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”
That connection seems to be present here, where we know that before the second half of Tribulation, we should expect to see a visit from Elijah.
Malachi 4:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
The reference to the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” is a reference to the last half of Tribulation. So the raven flying around the world crowing is a picture of Elijah appearing to the world in those last days and announcing the Second Coming of Christ. In the day the Lord returns, we will appear with him, just as the moment the flood is over, the family of Noah will emerge from the ark. Next we have the three releases of the dove. The dove is often a picture of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, as when the Spirit came upon Christ at His baptism. In the case of the first dove, it leaves the world and returns to the ark. This could picture the way the Holy Spirit is removed from the world for a time at the rapture. When the Spirit is only present in Heaven with the raptured Church. The second dove returns with an olive twig, indicating that an olive tree is growing in the world. Since the olive tree is a picture of Israel, this could be a picture of how the Spirit begins again to bring faith into the world starting with Israel. The first fruits of evangelism during Tribulation will be 144,000 Jewish men. And the final dove leaves the ark and remains in the world. This release might picture the Spirit going back into the Gentile world to bring many tribes and nations and tongues to faith. Just as Revelation 7 describes happening during Tribulation. These are interesting parallels, and though they might be accurate, we shouldn’t be too sure about drawing such connections.
In the next Part of the Story of Noah we will learn what follows as the flood waters dry up.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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