The Dove Found No Rest

W. Terry Varner
April 10, 2016

After 150 days of flood waters on the earth, God caused the water to begin to recede. The ark, on the 17th day of the seventh month, came “to rest on the mountains of Ararat” (Gen. 8:4, ESV). After 40 days of the water receding, Noah opened the window of the ark and released a raven. After nine months of being confined to the ark, the raven “went to and fro until the waters dried from the earth” (Gen. 8:7). The “raven returned not again; probably he found carcasses floating on the water, upon which he both fed and rested” (Fisher, Spiritual Animals 228).

The raven is similar to those who cast off their restraints and reject God, the Bible, and His Son. The raven can be likened to those who leave home and who throw off their religious restraints never to return. Perhaps, the Psalmist catches the picture when writing: “So I said, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wonder afar off, And remain in this wilderness’” (Ps. 55:6-7).

After the raven, Noah sent out a dove. “But the dove found no resting place for the sole of 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” (Gen. 8:9, ESV, emp. added). We infer from the above that the dove could find no rest away from Noah and the ark.

Noah’s name means “rest.” His name was given to him by his father Lamech. Lamech named and spoke of his son, prophetically. “This one [Noah] will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands because of the ground which the Lord has cursed” (Gen. 5:29, NKJV). When first released, the dove returned to find safety, love, and rest in Noah’s outstretched arms.

Noah is a type of Christ. The ark is a type of the church. In the dove’s maiden flight, it found no resting place, no food, and no safety; whereas, when it returned to Noah and the ark, the dove found all her needs until she was sent out the third time (Gen. 8:10-12).

With Jesus as “the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18) and “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7), we find safety. More importantly, we “obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 1:10). In other words, salvation is in Christ. At the same time, Jesus is “the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1; 18) and “He is the Savior of the body” (Eph. 5:23).

Man must believe to be saved, but belief only does not save. The demons believe but tremble (James 2:19). Our obedient faith must be followed by repentance or we perish (Luke 13:3). Confession that Jesus is the Son of God is necessary (Rom. 1:9-10). These texts do not state how we enter “into Christ.” However, there are two texts telling us how we enter into Jesus. We are “baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3, emp. added) and “as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27, emp. added).

Jesus stands “at the door” of man’s heart (Rev. 3:20) with the message to all, “Come to Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). Isaiah reminds us: “Return to Me, for I have redeemed you” (44:22).