Christ Our King, Olives, Doves, and the New Creation

I never cease to be amazed at the various interconnected passages of scripture. God’s hand upon salvation history is like an unparalleled artist who paints or sculpts or a great composer of an unmatched symphony.

We start with Genesis 8:10-11 after the completion of the Flood and Noah sending out a dove from the ark. “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 a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth”. There’s two things here that warrant our attention. Let’s first look at the dove. Many would assume that the dove is a peace symbol, and it’s understandable why people would assume that. However, that dove’s purpose actually runs deeper. Where else does a dove appear in scripture ? It appears in the gospels after John the Baptist baptizes Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, and John 1:32). The dove’s appearance represents a ‘new creation’. After all, the earth had just been cleansed of the original creation. Saint Peter even in 1 Peter 3:20-21 Even makes reference to the ‘new creation’ motif when referencing baptism. “[W]hen God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”. When one is baptized, you indeed are a ‘new creation’.

Ok back to Genesis 8:11 – the dove is also carrying an olive leaf. If we consider the Jewish roots of our Christianity, we’ll discover that olives play a very important role. Olives have been associated with ‘anointing’ such as when you instituted a new king. In 1 Samuel 16:1, we observe the prophet Samuel removing oil from his horn which historically has been identified as olive oil to anoint the new king King David. Olives also represented great stability and incidentally take much time to mature and beat fruit. This statement is telling. This is a mere guess, but we notice there’s an olive leaf in Genesis 8:11 but no olive leaf in the gospels when Jesus is baptized. Obviously, there’s many years between the Flood and Jesus’ baptism. So perhaps it communicates the message that Jesus is that ‘new fruit’. After all, He is called the ‘fruit of the vine’. He is also the ‘New Corporate Israel’. His baptizing was not of course to remove sin but to anoint Him for His mission for the new and everlasting covenant.

Dominus vobiscum

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