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THE FLOOD, THE RAVEN, AND THE DOVE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, November 5, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark” (Genesis 8:9).


Make no mistake – I believe in the literal accuracy of the Biblical account of the Great Flood. I am in complete agreement with Dr. Henry M. Morris and Dr. John C. Whitcomb, the authors of a landmark book, The Genesis Flood, which argues that the earth’s geology bears marks of a global deluge. I am convinced that the Bible is literally true in all of its parts, including the Genesis account of the Flood in the time of Noah.

And yet one can hardly read the seventh and eighth chapters of Genesis without realizing that there is a great deal of typology involved. Webster’s Dictionary says that a type is “a person, thing, or event that represents or symbolizes another, especially another that is to come; a symbol; an emblem; a sign.”

One of our deacons, Dr. Kreighton L. Chan, read Genesis 8:1-9 a few moments ago. I am going to give you several types, as I see them, which are prominent in that passage of Scripture. Dr. Walter L. Wilson, in his Dictionary of Bible Types (Hendrickson Publishers, 1999 reprint, p. viii) said, “The study of types is illuminating, for the Spirit uses the things which are seen, to teach us concerning things which are unseen. The study of types equips us with a handy means and method of presenting the truth of God, for types are about us on every hand ready to be used” (ibid.). And that is especially true here in the eighth chapter of Genesis.

I. First, the Flood typifies world-wide judgment.

It represents, or symbolizes judgment on the world for sin. Dr. Wilson said that the Genesis Flood “Is emblematic of the great judgment of God upon those who are out of Christ, even as this flood came upon those who were out of the ark” (ibid., p. 170). An antitype or fulfillment of the type is found in Psalm 90:5,

“Thou carriest them away as with a flood” (Psalm 90:5).

The New Testament, in II Peter 3:6-7, gives the Flood as a prophetic type of the coming judgment of the world in fire.

“Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (II Peter 3:6-7).

The Flood points to the words of the Apostle John in his first epistle,

“The whole world lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19).

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:17).

The Flood of Noah’s day showed that the entire world had gone astray from God, and was under the fearful judgment of His wrath and anger against sin. The Flood declares to us that the entire world of sinful mankind is still under the wrath of God, and will be judged by Him in a future cataclysm of fire.

The unbelieving world is even now under the same fierce wrath of God as it was in Noah’s day.

“The whole world lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19)

awaiting judgment. The Flood typifies and symbolizes the judgment that hangs over our world this morning.

II. Second, Noah’s Ark typifies both Christ and the local church.

Christ and the local church are interchangeable emblems in Genesis seven and eight. In Genesis seven, the Ark is a type of Christ.

“And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood” (Genesis 7:7).

The Scofield Study Bible says, “Ark: type of Christ as the refuge of His people from judgment” (note on Genesis 6:14). And the Ark there is certainly a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ. When you are “in Christ” you will not experience God’s judgment. The New Testament says,

“Your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3),

just as Noah and his family were “hid with Christ” in the Ark.

“And the Lord shut him in” (Genesis 7:16),

just as the Lord “shuts in” those who come to Christ, who said,

“I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish” 
      (John 10:28).

As Noah and his family were perfectly safe in the Ark, so you are perfectly safe,

“through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

Come to Christ and you will be

“sealed with [the] holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13).

God Himself will “seal” you into Christ. As Genesis 7:16 says of Noah,

“And the Lord shut him in”

the Ark of salvation, so you will be “shut in,” so you will have eternal security in Christ Jesus.

But in chapter eight, as we come closer to our text, the typology seems to shift slightly, and the Ark now becomes more typical of the local church. This should be no surprise to Bible students. In the epistle to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul speaks of the complete union of a man and wife in marriage, so that

“they two shall be one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).

And then he gives us a remarkable insight:

“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32).

The Apostle Paul tells us that Christ and the church are as indivisible as a Christian husband and wife are inseparable in the bond of marriage.

Therefore it should be no surprise that the Ark typifies Christ in Genesis seven, and the local church in Genesis 8:9, in our text,

“But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark” (Genesis 8:9).

III. Third, the dove typifies the lost sinner who is brought to
Christ and into the local church.

The dove in our text does not represent the Holy Spirit, as in some other passages of Scripture. Here, in Genesis 8:9, the dove, says Matthew Henry, “Is an emblem [a type] of a gracious soul, which, finding no rest for its foot, no solid place or satisfaction in this world, this deluged defiling world, returns to Christ as to its ark, as to its Noah” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 reprint, volume I, p. 53).

Let’s stop right there and apply this to you. The dove was set loose out of the Ark by Noah,

“But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth…” (Genesis 8:9).

If God has grace upon you, and you are one of those who will be saved, you will have the same experience as that dove. When you go out of the church, to school or work, and you look at the ruined, sinful world around you, you will find no rest or peace there. If you are one of those that God has chosen to save, you will never find rest in this sinful world. The great preacher and theologian Augustine famously said to Christ,

Thou hast formed us for Thyself,
and our hearts are restless
till they find rest in Thee.

Is your heart restless and unsatisfied with this present world? Do you look around you and think, “There is nothing real, or important, or lasting for me out there in the world?” Have you ever thought like that? If you have never thought that way, Dr. A. W. Tozer said,

For such a man I have no message. My appeal is addressed [only] to those who have been taught in secret by the wisdom of God. I speak [only] to thirsty hearts whose longings have been wakened by the touch of God within them, such as need no reasoned proof. Their restless hearts furnish all the proof they need (A. W. Tozer, D.D., The Pursuit of God, Christian Publications, 1982 reprint, pp. 33-34).

Is your heart empty and restless? When you came into the church, did you feel lonely, for instance? Did you sense that you might find something here that would take away your deep loneliness? I doubt that any young person will hang around the church long enough to get saved who hasn’t felt that the world is a very lonely place, and only in the church, and in Christ, can he find help for his restless, lonely heart. Most young people don’t feel like that. They come to church a time or two, perhaps a few weeks. But when the “Holidays” come in December, they will fly away, never to return.

They are like the raven in our passage of Scripture, not like the dove. When Noah let the raven loose, it

“went forth to and fro [back and forth], until the waters were dried up from off the earth” (Genesis 8:7).

The raven in Scripture was an unclean bird. If you are like the raven, you will fly away and never come back when the December “Holidays” come. That happens to people like this raven every year because they are unclean birds! A few worldly parties and outside events are enough to pull them away from the church. They fly “to and fro” but somehow they never come back after the world celebrates its “Winter Holiday.”

How about you? Will you be like the raven and fly away from this church in a few weeks? Or will you be like that dove, which “found no rest” out there – in a world without real love, without real friends, without a real God?

If you are one of those sensitive, seeking souls of which Dr. Tozer spoke, then I call you, as did Noah to the dove! Please stand and read Genesis 8:9 out loud – good and loud.

“But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark” 
      (Genesis 8:9).

You may be seated.

IV. Fourth, Noah typifies God in this passage.

Noah, in this particular verse, symbolizes and shows the work of God in saving a lost and wandering soul. Noah stands there in the window of the Ark as a minister of God, and God worked through him to save the dove, just as He will save you.

Augustine of Hippo, in North Africa, was born in the latter part of the fourth century. As I quoted him earlier, Augustine said concerning Christ,

Thou hast formed us for Thyself,
and our hearts are restless
till they find rest in Thee.

But most people never feel the “restlessness” of which Augustine spoke. They are quite satisfied to fly away from Christ and the church like that raven. They are quite satisfied to eat the stinking, fetid carrion that the world offers them. They have no real interest in Christ and the church. And so, they soon fly away, never to return.

But if you are a more sensitive person, if your heart is restless and somewhat lonely, if, by God’s grace, you have been made more responsive to spiritual things, then God will do with you what Noah did with that poor, lonely, tired dove.

“He put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark” (Genesis 8:9).

God will put forth His hand and take ahold of your soul, and pull you in unto Christ – into the ark!

This sermon has not been taken from Spurgeon, but the great preacher did speak once on this text. And I will close this message with a paragraph from his sermon. Spurgeon said,

I have imagined that this dove might have fouled [and dirtied] its wings; certainly it was not the beauty that it was when Noah sent it out in the morning, but he did not therefore refuse to take it into the ark. It was very [tired] and just ready to drop into the waters; yet Noah did not refuse it, but there he stood, at the open window, to meet it when it came. And you feel very foul, very unworthy, very unfit, and very unsafe; nevertheless, Jesus Christ will not [turn you away. He will] not refuse you. Whatever your condition may be, he casts out none who come to him. Come as you are; come even though you feel that you cannot come; come any way, for he will not reject you (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Weary Dove’s Return,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1975 reprint, volume XL, p. 377).

Christ will put forth His hand, and take you, and pull you in unto Him, into the ark.

Do you wish for Christ to do that for you? He died on the Cross to make it possible. He shed His Blood to cleanse your sins. He rose from the dead, and is seated at God’s right hand in Heaven, reaching out to pull you in to safety. Do you want Him to do that? Will you fly to Christ by faith, as that dove flew down into the safety of Noah’s hands? May the Holy Spirit of God help you to do so now!

Let us stand and sing the last song on the song sheet. Stand and sing it with gusto.

Come, every soul by sin oppressed,
   There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
   By trusting in His word.
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
   Only trust Him now.
He will save you, He will save you,
   He will save you now.

For Jesus shed His precious blood,
   Rich blessings to bestow,
Plunge now into the crimson flood
   That washes white as snow.
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
   Only trust Him now.
He will save you, He will save you,
   He will save you now.
(“Only Trust Him” by John H. Stockton, 1813-1877).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 8:1-9.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: “Only Trust Him”
(by John H. Stockton, 1813-1877).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE FLOOD, THE RAVEN, AND THE DOVE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark” (Genesis 8:9).

I.   First, the Flood typifies world-wide judgment, Psalm 90:5;
II Peter 3:6-7; I John 5:19; 2:17.

II.  Second, Noah’s Ark typifies both Christ and the local church,
Genesis 7:7; Colossians 3:3; Genesis 7:16; John 10:28;
Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:13; 5:31, 32.

III. Third, the dove typifies the lost sinner who is brought to Christ
and into the local church, Genesis 8:9, 7.

V.   Fourth, Noah typifies God in this passage, Genesis 8:9.