Ancient Brides and Bridegrooms
The history of the Book of Genesis revolves around seven great men; Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. In the measure that the image of Christ was formed in them, to that degree they are typical men. All these were married men. We are not told how three of them got their wives, but this we are told about the other four. Each of these four received his wife through suffering. Adam did not suffer actually, but typically, and he suffered in the capacity of a king. Jacob suffered as a servant, Isaac as the only begotten son of his father, and Joseph as a blameless man. How beautifully all this points to the four aspects of the sufferings of Christ, as presented in the Gospels. In Matthew we see our Lord suffer in the capacity of a King; in Mark, He suffers as a Servant; in Luke, as a perfectly sinless, and blameless man; and in John, He suffers as the Only Begotten Son of the Father. His own love dictated the path of toil and suffering, for willingly and lovingly He paid the price of our redemption, in His atoning death at Calvary. Christ loved the Church, and He gave Himself for her.
In the four brides of these four men, we have, typically, four progressive stages in the history of Christ’s beloved bride. “The path of the just is a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” In Eve, the bride is the object of electing love; in Rachel, the object of suffering love; in Rebecca, the object of sustaining love; and in Asenath was the object of honouring love. Every step in regard to the bride of Christ, from her election, until she reigns in millennial and eternal glory, is progressive, leading forward to her glorious destiny with her Beloved.
Let us look briefly at this lovely marriage scene in Eden, celebrated before sin had entered to mar its beauty. Adam had his ideal before him; in all creation there was not found a help meet for him, so God met and satisfied his longing, by the building of Eve out of a rib taken from his own side. On God’s part there was the conception, the construction, and the completion of this suitable help from Adam. How vividly this pictures the truth of the epistle to the Ephesians! In the first chapter, we have the conception of the Church; and in the second, we have her construction; while in the fifth, we have her completed as a glorious Church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
There are five blessings that accrue to Eve as the result of Adam’s typical sleep.
First, SHE SHARED THE BLESSING OF LIFE. Adam’s deep sleep was typical of the vicarious death of Christ, and Eve, builded out of that rib taken from near the heart of Adam (Gen. 2:22, Marg.), is typical of the Church, deriving her very existence from the death of her Lord.
There are three things that characterize the man, in this first marriage in Eden, which picture the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the man that does all the loving, all the leaving, and all the cleaving, three things which suggest affection, sacrifice, and care. Christ loved the Church, and for her, He left His home in glory, and stooped down into the depths of Calvary’s shame, in order to bear her sins in His own body on the tree; now, having redeemed her to God by His blood, He will not let her go until she is safe with Him, the sharer of His glory (John 19:28-29).
“Bright the prospect soon that greets us
Of that longed-for nuptial day,
When our heavenly Bridegroom meets us
On His kingly conquering way; In the glory,
Bride and Bridegroom reign for aye!”
Second, SHE SHARED HIS NATURE. “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh,” said Adam (Gen. 2:23). The very nature of Adam was in Eve, giving to her the same desires, and thus creating a mutual happiness. This same language is used concerning the Church in Ephesians, chapter five. The image of God, obliterated in man by the Fall, is regained through Christ, for the new man is said to be, “After the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:10). We are thus brought into harmony with the desires of our Lord, “We love Him because He first loved us.”
Third, SHE SHARED HIS NAME. The Lord decreed: “She shall be called woman” (Gen. 2:23). Even so, the name of the Lord is called upon His beloved people; that precious name which is associated with at least five great truths in the Word of God (Acts 11:26). It is first of all linked with our salvation (Acts 4:12), and then with our prayer life (John 16:24), our gathering together (Matt. 18:20), our unity (1 Cor. 1:10), and finally the subjection of the entire universe (Phil. 2:9-11). What an honour to be called by His name! Adam and Eve were together called Adam (Gen. 5:2); Christ and His Bride are together called “The Christ” (1 Cor. 12:12).
Fourth, SHE SHARED HIS AUTHORITY. When Adam was crowned in Eden as king over God’s earthly creation (Psa. 8), there, standing beside him in all his dignity, was Eve his wife; similarly, we too shall share the authority of our Lord (1 Cor. 6:2-3). As David’s mighty men shared in the authority of his throne, even so, we that have shared rejection with Christ during this present period, shall reign with Him hereafter. Paul uses this glorious truth in 1 Corinthians 6 as an argument against the going to law brother with brother. If such dignity shall belong to us in the future, surely, it is part of our present training, to judge now, by His grace and wisdom, the difficulties which arise among us.
Fifth, SHE SHARED HIS COMPANIONSHIP AND HOME. In that fair Edenic scene where sin had not yet entered, where the curse had not yet blasted its beauty, where everything bloomed and blossomed for God’s delight, Adam and Eve walked and talked in holy familiarity. She had been created for him and presented to him. Holy bliss definitely characterized that first marriage on earth, but, O, what bliss and joy when we, His Bride, created for Him, shall share His heavenly home in that fair land where sin will never enter to defile its holiness, nor will the curse ever blast its beauty, where everything will be in conformity to the holy character of God, and where, we shall walk and talk with our beloved Lord in holy familiarity, as the companion indeed meet for Him. Our Bible, as we have noticed, opens with a marriage, now let us remember that it also closes with a marriage. The first “I will” of our Bible is, “I will make him an help meet for him.” The last “I will” of our Bible is, “I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
“Home, oh, how soft and sweet it thrills upon the heart;
Home, where the brethren meet and never never part;
Home, where the Bridegroom takes the purchase of His love;
Home, where the Father waits to welcome us above.”