Ravens vs Doves
In Genesis, “at the end of forty days” when Noah was on the ark, he sent out a dove “from him” (Gen. 8:6-8 NKJV). As we read this passage you might notice that Noah first sent out a raven (Gen. 8:7 NJKV). The raven did not come back but went “to and fro.” Perhaps this was because ravens are carnivorous, and there was a lot to eat after the water receded. Then we know from Scripture Noah chose a dove to send out. He sent out the dove three times. The second time the dove came back, it came back “and in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf” (Gen8:11 NKJV). This has been an enduring image in world culture, hasn’t it? As we know, a dove with an olive branch in its beak is the world’s emblem for peace. Finally, the third time Noah sent out the dove, it did not return because it found a resting place.
A Prophetic Picture of Things to Come
This account can be seen as a prophetic picture of the Holy Spirit being sent out into the earth. It represents His presence coming and going throughout the Old Testament until it finally rests on a “man.” This man whom He was finally able to fully rest upon and live in was Jesus. The account of the dove descending on Jesus during His baptism in the river Jordan is an acknowledgment of how Jesus fulfilled all Scripture, “all righteousness:”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:13-17 (NJKV)
Jesus Gave His All So We Could Receive All
And since the time that He was publically baptized, Jesus’ public ministry began! We can also see from this Scripture a public demonstration of heaven being released on earth through Jesus. He was given the fullness of the Holy Spirit (both an indwelling within and the anointing upon). In addition, His Father’s full identity and authority was acknowledged (Mark 1:11). Like Jesus, when we receive Christ, we also become the children of God and partake of the same blessings! (John 1:12; Rom 8:14; Gal 3:26).
In the comings weeks, we will explore how Jesus taught His own disciples of the promise of the Comforter who was to come and Who would never leave them or forsake them. He gave them this promise shortly before His crucifixion:
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
John 14:16-18 (KJV)
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
We will see how this promise was to them and to all who believe on Jesus through their word (John 17:20 NIV). That’s exciting because this promise applies to us today. We are meant to host and have His presence in us continually. This promise is also to those who will believe on Him through our word and message of the Gospel.
We will continue to explore this next time……