The Dove and the New World

“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)

When the terrible Flood covered the whole earth in the days of Noah, the record says that “all flesh died that moved upon the earth. . . . all that was in the dry land, died. . . . and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark” (Genesis 7:21-23). And of those that were with Noah in the Ark, the very first occupant to touch down on the new land surface was the little dove which Noah sent out from the Ark to see if the face of the ground was dry. The dove, so to speak, had “discovered” the new world.

By an interesting circumstance, Columbus was the man God used to cross the vast waters of the ocean to “discover” the new world of the Americas, and the name “Columbus” comes from the Latin word for “dove.” Indeed, Columbus was himself a man of prayer and great faith, and he truly believed that he was on a God-ordained mission.

Whatever questions can be raised about his later relations with the natives and his other exploits, it does seem clear God must have protected and directed his voyage from Spain to America. The subsequent history of the colonies and especially of our own nation, so greatly blessed and used of God to spread the gospel of Christ worldwide, surely is evidence enough of that fact.

In a sense, we ourselves are part of his legacy. Christians are still under Christ’s commission to “be witnesses unto me . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). And as we go, He says, as to His first disciples: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). As gentle doves, perhaps, we may be used to bring back an olive leaf, so to speak, to our Savior. HMM

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