Sunday, March 27, 2011

THE CHURCH AS JESUS' BRIDE

A “TYPE” IN THE STORY OF ABRAHAM (BACKGROUND STUDY FOR THE CHURCH AS “THE BRIDE”).


We, the true Church, are not only CHRIST'S BODY--a very UNIQUE group of believers in the plans of God.  But, God has also sent the Holy Spirit into the world to GATHER TOGETHER the Church--the predominantly Gentile BRIDE for Jesus.

This Biblical FACT is reinforced by “TYPES.”  “Types” are “great Bible truths” ACTED OUT in history AHEAD of the FACT.

Some people may feel UNCOMFORTABLE with TYPES, saying that we read MORE into the scripture than what’s PLAINLY RECORDED.  But God has indeed INCORPORATED types, and types ALWAYS AGREE with what God has CLEARLY STATED elsewhere. 

Also, we need to remember that NOT a word that the Holy Spirit inspired is wasted.  EVERY Bible story is THERE for a reason!  To point to Jesus and His work!

We see in 1 Corinthians 2:11-14, that the Word of God is FOOLISHNESS to people who operate SOLELY by the REASONING of their FLESHLY minds.  God’s word is SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED, meaning that the Holy Spirit must OPEN the meanings of that Word to us.  TYPES are a HIGH DEGREE of SPIRITUAL DISCERNING! 

One of the most amazing TYPES is Abraham offering Isaac (Genesis 22) which becomes a FORESHADOWING of God offering Jesus for the sins of the world.  Included with that TYPE is a picture of Isaac being PRESENTED with his BRIDE, which offers us insight about Christ and His Church--the BRIDE who is presented to Jesus. 

(To fully develop this picture, I need to lay some background, so please bear with me.  I promise you, it will be worth it.)

God told Abraham to "take now your son, your ONLY son, Isaac, whom you love" and they were told to go to the land of Moriah to one of the mountains God would show them.

Already, something interesting is happening here.  In reality, Isaac was NOT Abraham's ONLY son.  The patriarch had ANOTHER son, Ishmael--born when Abraham attempted to fulfill God's promise by his OWN FLESHLY EFFORTS with the handmaiden, Hagar.

In the sacrifice portrayed here in Genesis, God refers to the SON OF PROMISE, who is Isaac. 

Likewise, God ALSO has a Son OF PROMISE--Jesus.  Pay attention to the phrases spoken to Abraham:  "your ONLY son"--"whom you love."  God has an ONLY Son Whom HE LOVES--Jesus.  We see the scene is SET UP to FORESHADOW a great gospel truth--Christ's death and resurrection.

Abraham, in TYPE, is God, the Father. Isaac, in TYPE, is Jesus Christ.

In Romans 4, Galatians 3 and Hebrews 11, we discover that Abraham KNEW IN ADVANCE that God would RESURRECT Isaac.  It was THIS FAITH that saved him.

How did Abraham’s FAITH affect this story?

He KNEW God’s promise, and BELIEVED it!  God told Abraham that, OUT OF ISAAC, would come His SEED.  At this point, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac HAD NO CHILDREN.  Yet Abraham KNEW God would KEEP His promise!

Operating in FAITH, Abraham approached the sacrifice like this--"So God wants me to offer MY SON of PROMISE?  Okay.  I will.  Since God said that THROUGH ISAAC, I’ll have children to bless the earth, I know IF I KILL HIM, God WILL RAISE him up."

In Abraham's mind, Isaac was ALREADY DEAD when God told him to offer his son.  After that, they traveled THREE DAYS to get to the mountain.  "And on THE THIRD DAY, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off."  Genesis 22:4.

How can we know this story is INDEED a “type” of Jesus’ work on the cross?  In 1 Corinthians 15:4, we see the gospel DEFINED.  “...and that He (Jesus) rose again THE THIRD DAY according to the scriptures."  Where in the scriptures does it say Jesus would rise on the THIRD DAY?  Genesis 22:4 is one place.  It’s there BY TYPE!

ON THE THIRD DAY, after Abraham had reckoned Isaac AS DEAD in his mind, they arrived at the mountain, and Isaac was returned to Abraham ALIVE.  To Abraham, it was AS IF Isaac had INDEED risen from the dead.  The Apostle Paul also tells us that the GOSPEL was preached BEFORE, UNTO ABRAHAM.  Abraham KNEW the Gospel, and he BELIEVED it.  That’s why he could so willingly offer his son.  Abraham KNEW He was ACTING out A PICTURE of the gospel!

When Abraham and Isaac reached the place of the offering, Abraham went away to worship.  When Abraham returned, he placed THE WOOD for the offering upon Isaac's back.  Genesis 22:6.  When JESUS went to the cross, He also carried the MEANS of His death upon His back--the WOODEN BEAM of the cross. 

JESUS DIED TWO THOUSAND YEARS AFTER ABRAHAM OFFERED ISAAC--ON THE VERY SAME SPOT WHERE ABRAHAM TOOK ISAAC.  Abraham named the spot "Jehovah-Jirah" which MEANS "God Provides."  Abraham UNDERSTOOD how God WOULD provide His OWN Son as an offering there.

When Isaac asked Abraham WHERE the lamb for the offering was, Abraham replied with some very interesting words.  Notice the arrangement of them--"My son, God will provide HIMSELF a lamb."  Genesis 22:8.  God, Himself, in the PERSON of Jesus, offered HIMSELF as THE LAMB!  Wow!

And indeed a ram was seen, caught by its horns--this RAM became the SUBSTITUTIONAL SACRIFICE.  Genesis 22:13.  That SHOWS how God will provide HIMSELF (in Jesus) as the SUBSTITUTIONAL sacrifice--meaning that Jesus TOOK OUR PLACE on the cross as He died for the sins of the world!


THE BACKGROUND IS LAID (concerning Abraham and Isaac who ACTED OUT God’s PROMISE to send His Son Who will DIE for the sins of the world)--LET’S TURN OUR ATTENTION TO “THE TYPE” WHICH SHOWS THE BRIDE OF JESUS, THE CHURCH.


After the sacrifice and “the raising” of Isaac, he’s NOT mentioned again in the story--UNTIL THE TIME OF HIS MARRIAGE.  Where is Isaac in chapters 23 to almost the end of chapter 24?  To find out, let’s follow the narrative.

"So Abraham returned to his young men (servants), and they rose up and went together to Beersheba..." Genesis 22:19.  Isaac is NOT MENTIONED here.  In fact, he’s NOT MENTIONED AGAIN until AFTER Abraham sends his UNNAMED servant into ANOTHER COUNTRY to select A BRIDE for his son. 

From the time of the sacrifice UNTIL Isaac MET HIS BRIDE, he’s NOT SEEN (or physically present) within the story.  So also, from the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection UNTIL He MEETS His BRIDE, the Church, He is NOT SEEN (or physically present) upon the earth.  

In Genesis 24:62-67, we see Isaac meet Rebekah.  THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE OFFERING OF ISAAC that he’s PHYSICALLY DESCRIBED “after the scene of the sacrifice.” (By the way, Abraham’s servant, Eliezer is NOT named in Genesis 24.  We discover his name from another passage, Genesis 15:2.  Eliezer means “comforter.”)  Eliezer’s NOT being NAMED in the TYPE in Genesis 22-24 is quite significant.

The UNNAMED servant is a TYPE of the Holy Spirit (who also has NO NAME and doesn’t draw attention to Himself--because His duty is to point to Jesus).  The Holy Spirit is also called "the comforter."

The UNNAMED servant (who is a “comforter”), told the bride, Rebekah, about Abraham’s son, Isaac. The Holy Spirit TELLS US, people of the Church (who is THE BRIDE) about God's Son, Jesus.

The UNNAMED servant gave gifts to Rebekah.  The Holy Spirit gives gifts to THE CHURCH.

The UNNAMED servant took the BRIDE (Rebekah) from HER HOMELAND IN A FAR COUNTRY, and from there, THEY JOURNEYED to the HOUSE of the GROOM’S FATHER (Abraham) to MEET Isaac, the son.  The Bride, the Church, will JOURNEY FROM HER HOMELAND on earth WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, and ARRIVE AT the HOUSE of the GROOM’S Father, God, which, of course, is in heaven.  There THE BRIDE will be presented to her Groom, Jesus Christ in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. 

How do we KNOW that the ARRIVAL of the Church in heaven, ACCOMPANIED by the Holy Spirit, will be Pre-Trib? 

Because the wedding ceremony MUST happen in THE HOUSE of the BRIDEGROOM’S (Jesus’) FATHER.  The WEDDING CELEBRATION itself, the UNITING of BRIDE and GROOM, lasts SEVEN DAYS (in the Jewish model--and, remember, Jesus was born of the Jews).  The seven day wedding ceremony, in TYPE, corresponds to the SEVEN YEARS of the Tribulation.  While that terrible time BEFALLS the earth, THE BRIDE, the Church, will be in the HOUSE OF THE FATHER, with her new BRIDEGROOM, Jesus. 

When Jesus returns to earth at THE END of the seven years of Tribulation, His BRIDE, the Church, will RETURN to the earth WITH HIM, following Him on white horses, to RULE and REIGN with Him in His Kingdom.  Revelation 19:7-8 and Revelation 19:14.

We see a PARALLEL in Jude 14 and 15--“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His SAINTS (in this case, the Church), to execute JUDGMENT upon ALL, and to CONVINCE all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’”

The last phrase in Zechariah 14:5, echoes the same concept.  The saints (Church) RETURNS to earth with Jesus at THE END of the seven year Tribulation.  “…and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.”

After the Second Coming of Jesus, when He sets His feet on the earth, the whole MILLENNIAL KINGDOM will be invited to THE MARRIAGE SUPPER of the LAMB (when the marriage, according to the Jewish model, is announced publicly).  And what a party that will be!  For a 1000 years!


AND THEN THERE’S THE STORY OF RUTH!


We see a similar TYPE in the book of Ruth (which, by the way, is ALWAYS read on Pentecost--a FEAST that RELATES to the Church). 

Ruth became a GENTILE BRIDE for Boaz, who AS a KINSMAN REDEEMER, is a TYPE of Jesus.  (To understand Revelation 5, we need to study Ruth, and the WORK of Ruth’s KINSMAN REDEEMER, who is Boaz.  The Jewish laws of REDEMPTION are put into practice in the story of Ruth.  While Boaz Redeemed Ruth--to be his Gentile bride--and to raise up kin to the family’s name, he also paid a price which restored the land unto Naomi.  Naomi, by the way becomes the TYPE for Israel in this story, while Ruth, as the Gentile bride is the TYPE for the Church.) 

Boaz offers us a TYPE for “the WORK of Jesus”--Who in the FLESH OF A MAN, became a member of “our FAMILY” (our KINSMAN--as a true Man) in His FLESH.  Furthermore, as OUR KINSMAN, He REDEEMED us! 

(In other words, Jesus TOTALLY identified Himself with mankind)--and in HIS FLESH, the FLESH of mankind, He became OUR KINSMAN REDEEMER!  In the flesh of a PERFECT and SINLESS MAN, Jesus GAVE His life to SAVE us!  As our REDEEMER, Jesus PURCHASED us with THE RANSOM of His own precious blood!

As Boaz REDEEMED Ruth, and purchased her to be part of his family, so also, Jesus purchased us, bringing us into the family of God.

And that’s NOT all!  At the throne of God right now, Jesus RETAINS His “human form” in His resurrected body.  He’s FOREVER identified with REDEEMED mankind in His GLORIFIED BODY, retaining the form of a Man throughout all eternity!

In the book of Ruth, at the scene of the THRESHING FLOOR (“threshing” being a consistent SYMBOL for JUDGMENT), Ruth found SHELTER “under the hem” of Boaz’s skirt, at HIS FEET.  Ruth 3:9 and Ruth 3:14.  Most assuredly this is A PICTURE of SAFETY for a Gentile Bride during a period of THRESHING JUDGMENT.

When the scene OF JUDGMENT occurs ON EARTH in the Tribulation, THE BRIDE (a PREDOMINANTLY GENTILE Church) will find safety and shelter at THE FEET of Jesus by means of a Pre-Trib Rapture (which is CERTAINLY revealed VERY CLEARLY elsewhere in Scripture.  The TYPE in the story of Ruth simply SHOWS a consistent PATTERN.)

I find it so interesting that even IN THE TYPES which are seen, they echo the same message.  God is so good--and His Word is so SPIRITUALLY RICH! 


HOW DOES OUR BEING “THE BRIDE” OF JESUS APPLY TO THE COMING TRIBULATION?


What would you think of a BRIDEGROOM, who PRIOR to his wedding ceremony, tossed HIS BRIDE into a JAIL full of angry criminals and rapists?  This BRIDEGROOM tells those wicked people to BEAT UP and TORTURE his BRIDE.  Why?  So she can be made truly WORTHY to marry him!  (The very IDEA is APPALLING!)

Will Jesus THROW His BRIDE into the “days of God’s vengeance” so that she can be under God’s anger, BEATEN and BLOODIED by wicked/rebellious people, the Antichrist and the devil?  Heaven forbid!

But--this is what mid-, post- and pre-wrath people think Jesus will do to HIS BRIDE!

It’s certainly NOT what the scripture says! 

Jesus LOVES His Church.  He NOURISHES and CHERISHES us.  We are ONE with Him, MEMBERS of His BODY, of His FLESH, and of His BONES.  He SANCTIFIES and CLEANSES us by the washing of water by the Word--a picture of an ONGOING FORGIVENESS and a SOLID RELATIONSHIP!  We RESPOND to Him in thankfulness, devotion and worship.  We desire to learn more about Him by studying His Word and His Ways.  As we do so, our RELATIONSHIP deepens.  Jesus will PRESENT to Himself A BRIDE without spot or wrinkle, who is holy and without blemish!  We are MADE that way in Jesus!

NOWHERE in scripture does God suggest that Jesus will cast HIS BRIDE into the Tribulation.   

We must rightly divide the scriptures!  (2 Timothy 2:15.)

Have a most blessed day.

And even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.  We long to see your wonderful face.

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