Glorious Bride 4.
Dear people of God, who are united as one body through one Spirit, and called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. May the grace of God be with you always.
Today, we continue our “Tale of Three Marriages and the Vine”, which if you remember is Act 1 of our story on the Glorious Woman, and how she becomes increasingly apparent through the course of human history. The first marriage we looked at was of Adam and Eve, and here we see the Creation Plan of God initiated which we can also call the Eternal Purpose of God. Before sin entered the world, Adam and Eve, who foreshadow the Second Adam and His Bride, were blessed to be fruitful and multiply to fill the earth and have dominion over it, here we introduced the picture of the Fruitful Vine, the result of the marriage union. But then came the Fall in Genesis 3, and from this point came the need for redemption, which would bring restoration, and so Father has a Redemption Plan, but this is temporal and remains in place in our current epoch or dispensation.
Then the second marriage in our story was of Abraham and Sarah, because through them, the Lord desired a nation through which He would fulfil His plans for Creation and Redemption. Though the Lord had promised to Abraham and Sarah that nations and kings would come from them, it took some time for the Vine to be planted. The principle of “God Enabled Fertility” had to be established, and that meant, the promise can only come through the Bride, and to ratify a new covenant between God and Abraham, came circumcision, which represents the cutting off the flesh from our fertility, that it’s God’s way or no way: absolute consecration and holiness. But the Vine was planted, and Isaac was born. This was the period of the Patriarchal Fathers and their wives, all of whom represent a picture of the Bride and “God Enabled Fertility” and all of which represent a picture of the Vine.
Like Rebekah. She enters the story when Abraham the father, sent his chief servant to find a wife for his only begotten son Isaac. (A picture of the Trinity). On seeing her at the well, the servant (a type of the Holy Spirit) gives gifts of gold, but doesn’t yet disclose the reason for his journey. This was an encounter at the well, and it’s where much of the church is today. Enjoying the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but not knowing the ultimate reason why He has come. But then later when Rebekah and Laban are told that Abraham has sent his servant to find a wife for his son, and they accept this message as “from the Lord” Gen 24:50, and upon acceptance of the Bridal message, the servant brings out more jewellery, but importantly he also brings out clothes for Rebekah to wear. Gen 24:53 What a revelation for us here. O that we might embrace the Bridal message, for there is more that the Holy Spirit has to give. There are clothes He has for us to wear upon our acceptance of who we are as the Bride.
Then from Isaac to Jacob and Leah and Rachel. Again we are without time, but they foreshadow the One New Man, and a key lesson here is that the older is not second to the younger. But for Jacob to be married to Rachel, he must first be married to Leah. The Jew is not second to the Gentile, and for the Gentile to be married, she must first accept the Jewish Bride. And it’s not one or the other, but together as One New Man.
Let’s keep moving. Next is Joseph, a picture of Christ, who was also betrayed by his brothers into slavery and taken to Egypt. But the Lord was with Joseph, and he prospered and Pharaoh give him Asenath, as his wife. Gen 41:45. Asenath was not Jewish, she was the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. So it is today, that the gentile church enjoy a relationship with Jesus, but Jesus has brothers who don’t yet know who he is. But the day will come as it did for Joseph, that He will reveal Himself to Israel, and assure them “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Gen 45:5
It was Joseph who caught a glimpse of the Glorious Woman in Heaven. But it was not yet the time for the wondrous sign of the Glorious Woman in Heaven Rev 12:1 to be fully revealed, for the story is only just beginning. But he did see eleven stars, the sun and the moon, and they all bowed down to him. Gen 37:9 This is a clear picture of Israel generally accepted today. But remember it is the Glorious Woman in Heaven who is the primary reality, that which is on earth is being fashioned in her likeness. And where is the Vine now in our story? Well, in Gen 49:22 it reads: “Joseph is a fruitful bough (or vine), a fruitful bough (vine) near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.” The word for bough or vine here is “ben” meaning male child or son. Another picture and foreshadow of Jesus who features later in our story.
So many things to say, but let’s keep to our story, and see that in Egypt, the nation Israel grew for 400 years whilst held in slavery, until the time had come for her deliverance, and God wrought mighty and dreadful works against Pharaoh and Egypt, and brought His people out and led them to Mt Sinai, and here is where the third marriage in our tale takes place. But this is a marriage like no other. Until now, the relationship has been entirely human on both parts, as with Adam and Eve, and Abraham and Sarah, and every other marriage. But now the Eternal Purpose introduces a new development necessary for the final eventuality. A marriage not between a man and a woman, but a marriage between God and His Bride: a collective, corporate body of those who are His.
In Ancient Israelite custom, there were two separate stages of marriage with a length of time in between. The first stage is called “kiddushin” which means “betrothal”, and this is binding and renders the bride and groom as husband and wife. Once betrothed a man and woman would require a divorce or “get” if they later wanted to separate. The second stage is called “nisu’in” and takes place under the “chupah” which is a canopy under which the marriage is solemnized. At the betrothal a marriage contract or “ketubah” is written out and witnessed. This “ketubah” or wedding covenant was written out and entered into on Mount Sinai between the Lord and Israel, so betrothal took place here and established the first part of the marriage process.
Next time, we’ll see how the second stage of the marriage took place. I’m sorry to move quickly through these things, but I pray you will catch a glimpse of God’s Eternal Purpose and like John to see the Glorious Woman in Heaven. Let’s close with a prayer.
“Our Father in Heaven, we fall at your feet to worship, honour and adore you. We are in awe of your majesty and your love. What is man that you are mindful of him, yet you have chosen us before the foundation of this world for your glory. Our Saviour and Redeemer, our hearts continue to flame with growing desire for your return. We love you Jesus, and we call upon you to come. Come as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as the Bright Morning Star. Holy Spirit, we thank you for all that you have done in us and for us. We are who we are because of you. Fill us afresh today, may we grow in our love, appreciation and awareness of your presence in our lives. Amen”