Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Bride of the Lamb by Hamilton Smith (Chapter 3, Part 1)

Genesis 24

The 24th chapter of Genesis is of the deepest interest to the Christian, for therein we have a divinely given picture of what is engaging every Person in the Godhead at the present moment.

Occupation with service, constant vigilance against the enemy, and conflict for the truth — entailed by the need of the world, the increasing corruption of Christendom, and the failure of God's people — may so thoroughly engross our thoughts that at times we may overlook what God is doing in spite of all the power of the enemy, the corruption, and the failure. Hence it is no small mercy that God has given us this beautiful picture which present a comprehensive view of the aims and activities of Divine Persons. Thus, losing sight of man and his failure, our souls may delight in God and His purpose, and be calmed and quieted as we realize that what God has purposed He will most surely bring to pass, in spite of failure and opposition.

To enter intelligently into the typical teaching of the chapter we must seize the connection of the passage with the chapters that precede and follow. Genesis 24 forms part of the last section of Abraham's history, beginning with Genesis 22 and ending with Genesis 25:10. The early part of his history illustrates the individual life of faith, but in this last section we have a comprehensive view of the dispensational ways of God. In Genesis 22 Isaac is offered up, and received from the dead in figure — a striking type of the death and resurrection of Christ. Following upon the offering up of Isaac, we have in Genesis 23 the death of Sarah, and Abraham, "a stranger and sojourner" (v. 4) in the promised land: all being typical of the setting aside, for the time being, of Israel as a nation on the ground of promise, consequent upon the death of Christ. In the call of Rebekah, Genesis 24, we have typically the call of the Church as the Bride of Christ during the time that Israel is set aside.Genesis 25 completes the picture by presenting the marriage of Abraham, and the sons of this second wife, typical of the restoration of Israel and the millennial blessing of the nations.

Confining our thoughts to Genesis 24 we have the unfolding in a picture of the great mystery of Christ and the Church. We see therein the purpose of God and the way He takes to fulfil that purpose.

Let us however keep in mind that it is God's purpose in connection with the Church viewed as the Bride of Christ. As we have seen, this aspect of the Church presents God's purpose to have an object entirely suited for Christ to love. Here then in picture we have the call of the Bride, the adornment of the Bride, and the presentation of the Bride to the Bridegroom in suitability to Himself. Moral suitability to the heart of Christ, and response to the love of Christ, are the outstanding thoughts in connection with the Church as the Bride.

We have seen that Eve, at the creation, speaks of the Bride of Christ. Isaac and Rebekah, eighteen centuries later, again take up the story of Christ and His Bride. There is however a difference, for in Scripture there is no mere repetition; in Eve we see the bride as wholly the result of a divine work which formed her and brought her to Adam: in Rebekah we see the exercise of affection in the bride — the outgoings of love that are called into activity by the servant. If Eve tells us of a divine work for the bride, Rebekah speaks of a divine work in the bride.

The chapter opens with Abraham giving his directions to his servant (vv. 1-9). Then the main portion of the chapter is occupied with the servant and his mission (vv. 10-61). Finally it closes with Isaac and his love for Rebekah (vv. 62-67). Thus in type we have in the first section the Father and His purpose; in the second the Holy Spirit and His work; and in the last, Christ and His affection. Hence in picture we have every Divine Person engaged in securing the Bride.

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