Have you ever wondered why a Raven is black, or why a Dove is white? This natural process of coloring gives us a hint of the beauty within every creature. Today, when we face drastic and dramatic changes in our world due to human influence, it might be time to employ the same reasoning and approach to soften our hearts.
It is not just the voice of a man that hears the voice of God. The spirit of God also dwells within the heart and mind of animals, like ravens and doves. At least, according to Isaiah. Why would God speak to birds? Because he uses birds to foretell future times. Repetitive sermons on the importance of getting salvation would bore the public after a while, especially if it is always the same scripture that is being preached from. And what better way to attract attention and make sure people listen by reducing your sermon to only a few words! Getting back with your previous message, here’s a sermon for you today—“The raven knows[…]”
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The raven and the dove sermon
And after seven days, the waters of the flood were on the earth.
“And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, in this same day were all fountains of the great deep broken up and the windows of heaven were opened up. And wrath was upon all flesh. All flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. And God looked upon all this which he had made and behold it was very good.”
After seven days, both sides released their secret weapons. On one side, we have darkness and corruption overtaking everything. On God’s side we have water pouring from above and below that lasts for 150 days until it covers even Mt Everest by 20 cubits (about 30 feet). After 150 days a dove is sent out three times to see where she might land because there was no place for her to rest her feet. After all, water covered everything on Earth. She just keeps flying around and does not come back to Noah so God knows there is still a lot more cleansing that needs to go on before things are ready for new life again.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.
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I am delighted that you have chosen to worship with us today. I hope your soul will be fed here and that we will see you again soon!
And they went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life.
But why did Noah send forth these two birds? Why not a pheasant, or a parrot, or another bird of prey? Why was it necessary to send out both a raven and then a dove instead of just one or the other? The answer can be found in their symbolism. In the Bible, the raven is often associated with sin and judgment while the dove is often associated with peace and grace. It’s believed that Noah sent out only these two birds because they are symbolic of our fallen state before God (the raven) and our intended state as children of God (the dove).
The symbolism lies in each bird’s actions. As you may know from your reading, the raven never returned to the ark. It simply went off into oblivion on its own accord. Because it symbolizes sin, we can conclude that no matter how much God loved this sinful world he created—with all its people and animals—He had concluded that humans were unworthy of His love.
And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.
And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse amid the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
A couple of weeks ago, we started a mini-series on the beginning chapters of Genesis. We’ve been talking about God’s plan to redeem His people from sin, and how that plan entered history through one single person: Noah. Noah was chosen by God to be the father of all humanity after the flood. In the years leading up to that event, Noah faithfully built an ark for his family and two of all living creatures. The flood came and wiped out every living thing, not in the ark—including mankind. But thankfully God provided a way for humanity to be saved (Genesis 6:8). And today, we come to chapter 8 where some crucial events take place as God begins executing His post-flood plan for redemption…
Thus God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under THE EXPANSE from THE WATERS that were above THE EXPANSE. And it was so.
Thus God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under THE EXPANSE from THE WATERS that were above THE EXPANSE. And it was so.
The waters below (the water on earth) are called tehom, but they are often called Sea in English Bibles because of the KJV translation of Gen 1:10. The waters above are not named in Genesis or any other place in Scripture. They are generally called sky or heaven in most Bible translations. There is no Hebrew word for sky or heaven, therefore we don’t know what the original writers would have called this area that is occupied by clouds and birds, etc.
The ancient near-easterner would have seen a dome over their heads that contained all the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, stars). This dome was solid because it contained a great deal of water which was separated from the earth by some kind of firmament or expanse that we do not know exactly how to visualize today. Some consider it to be atmospheric moisture while others think it may have been crystalline with heavenly bodies interspersed throughout.
Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if THE WATERS had subsided from THE FACE OF THE GROUND.
Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from
the ark. And THE DOVE came back to him in THE EVENING, AND BEHOLD, IN HER MOUTH WAS A RAVEN’S BLOOD-COVERED HEAD! SO NOAH KNEW THAT THE WATERS HAD SUBSIDED FROM THE EARTH. THEN HE WAITED ANOTHER SEVEN DAYS AND SENT OUT THE DOVE, BUT SHE DID NOT RETURN TO HIM ANYMORE – GENESIS 8:8-12
He waited another seven days and again sent forth THE DOVE out of THE ARK.
>He waited another seven days and again sent forth THE DOVE out of THE ARK. Now 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. Then he waited another seven days and sent out THE DOVE, which did not return to him anymore.
He waited another seven days and sent forth THE RAVEN; it did not return to him anymore.
The raven was sent out and did not return. The dove was sent out and did not return. And then the third time, the dove was sent out and it returned, but with an olive leaf in its beak.
The first two times God sends the birds out, he doesn’t provide any information about what happened to them or what they found. We don’t know if they just returned to Noah a couple of hours after being released or whether they came back years later—all we know is that they didn’t come back to Noah when he was expecting them to.
And that’s often how it is with us—God sends us out into the world when we are ready, but he doesn’t always hold our hand while we are doing so. Sometimes it seems like God has forgotten about us—like we have been lost at sea for months or years on end with no sign of land in sight….
dove and raven symbolism
As we walk through the Torah, I will be reviewing certain principles over and over again because they are absolutely essential to a proper understanding of the Bible.
One of these principles is the one I have titled the “As-in-Heaven-So-on-Earth“ principle.
Again, this principle simply means that certain objects and events depicted in Scripture are the physical manifestations of spiritual truths in the heavens.
And Yeshua was the perfect example: “He who has seen me has seen the Father (in heaven).”
In Genesis chapter 8, which we are studying now, we also encounter a few interesting examples of this “As-in-Heaven-So-on-Earth” principle in action.
God’s Spirit manifesting as wind:
In verse one, it says that God sent a wind over the earth to push back the waters. Now the Hebrew word for wind here is “Ruach” and it actually means “spirit”. Maybe you are familiar with the term the “Ruach Ha-Kodesh”, which means the Holy Spirit. So here is another demonstration of the “As-in-heaven-so-on-earth” principle.
God’s spirit is manifesting Himself physically as wind.
The Raven and the Dove:
After 40 days pass, Noah opens the door of the ark and sends out a raven. The raven is a scavenger that feeds off the flesh of the dead However, the raven does not return. So Noah lets seven days pass and then sends out a dove that soon returns. Noah lets another seven days pass and sends out the dove a second time. It returns again but this time with an olive tree leaf in its beak. Noah sends out the dove a third time and this time the dove does not return. The time to leave the ark and begin a new life on earth had arrived.
There is some interesting symbolism expressed through the raven and the dove.
The raven is an unclean bird and is considered to be a symbol of evil.
In contrast, the dove is a clean bird and in Scripture is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Notice the characteristics portrayed of the raven. The Scripture says that the raven went forth “to and fro” and never returned. Who else in Scripture is described as roaming the earth to and fro? None other than Satan himself. Second, the raven is a bird that feeds on the flesh of the dead. In similar manner, the unbeliever who knows not God nor the things of the Lord goes through life aimlessly, deriving futile pleasures from things that have no life in them.
Now, whereas the raven was only sent out once, the dove was sent out three times. Although, I don’t quite agree with their interpretation, Christians point out that that the dove being sent out three times is a reflection of the triune nature of God. That point aside, there is no doubt however that the number 3 holds a special Godly significance in the Scriptures. For example, Noah had three sons, Yeshua Himself was raised on the third day, and the ark of the covenant contained 3 sacred objects and there are many other examples.
In comparing the raven with the dove, it should be noted that while the raven was able to derive satisfaction from the dead fleshly things of the world, the dove wasn’t able to and thus returned. When the dove came back a second time, it had an olive tree leaf in it’s beak.
Christianity and Judaism both agree that the olive tree symbolizes peace.
Let us consider some interesting facts about the olive tree.
First, olives themselves have been known throughout the ages for their nutritional and healing value.
In the Bible, olive oil has played a significant role in anointing kings and high-priests and was used to light the menorah in the Holy Temple.
The national emblem of the State of Israel is olive leaves cradled around a menorah.
The symbol for the Israel Defense Forces is a sword wrapped by an olive branch. The meaning being-“we seek peace but we are prepared to defend against our enemies”.
why did noah send a raven and a dove
Following the Genesis flood, as the ark was resting on Mount Ararat, Noah released a raven and dove from the ark at different times. The goal in sending these birds was to determine if the flood waters had abated enough for Noah and his family to exit the ark.
In Genesis 8:6-7 we read, “At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.” The “40 days” here is after the tops of the mountains were visible (verse 5), over seven months after the flood began. A raven was released and apparently never returned. No reason is provided regarding why a raven was selected rather than another bird. However, a raven can eat carrion and would feed off dead animals in the water. A dove, on the other hand, would return to its point of origin if no land was found.
Noah sent a dove in Genesis 8:8-9: “Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him.” The dove returned with no indication that a place had been found to alight.
A week later, in Genesis 8:10-11, Noah sent the dove again: “He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.” Things had begun to grow once again; the earth was becoming more habitable.
Another week passed. Then, in Genesis 8:12, Noah sends out the dove one more time: “Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.” The dove had no need to return to the ark, since it had found a home on land. The ark could soon be emptied, and humanity could begin to establish itself again in the world.
From Genesis 7:11 to 8:14, we know that the flood lasted a total of one year and ten days. The raven and the dove were released over a period of 21 days after the mountaintops became visible (Genesis 8:10-12). The raven served as a first attempt to discover dry land, and the dove became Noah’s way of determining when to leave the ark.