by Frans Bakker
And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. —Genesis 8:11
For Noah, the olive leaf was on the border of two worlds. It was the first greeting of the new world, and this new world was built on the grave of the old world. In the light of the history of redemption, this leaf is a precursor of the new earth and New Jerusalem that will descend from heaven. This olive leaf of Noah is a sign of God’s favor and deliverance. It is like the grapes of Eshcol. The grapes and the leaf are foretastes of the blessed life in heaven. They are confirmations of the coming new earth where there will be no more tears. Olive leaves will no longer be necessary there. No comfort will be needed, for there will be another tree. Instead of an olive tree, there will be the Tree of Life. It will yield leaves that will be for an everlasting comfort for those who fought the good fight of faith on earth. The Tree of Life will give fruit to everlasting life. That everlasting life is communion with God, the Source of all life.
In the new earth, those who fought the good fight will be forever with God. That is what they longed and waited for during their lives on earth. They, like the deer of Psalm 42, panted for the water brooks. They cried for God and they will receive their desire. They will be with Him; this will be heaven for them. When they are with God they will be fully comforted. Olive leaves, as tokens of His favor, will no longer be needed.
Eternal comfort can lie hidden in little things, even in an olive leaf. By means of these little things, God leads His people to a new earth and a new heaven in which righteousness will dwell. But all this started with the words we find at the beginning of Genesis 8: “God remembered.” All salvation is because of God’s gracious initiative. “God remembered.”
From The Everlasting Word by Frans Bakker, compiled and translated by Gerald R. Procee. Reformation Heritage Books and Free Reformed Publications, 2007. Used by permission. For further information, click here.