The Bride, the Lamb's Wife

 •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 7
It is most interesting to notice the divine groupings in Scripture, such as the 22nd, 23rd and 24th Psalms where we have the cross, the crook and the crown of Jesus. The New Testament makes answer to these in the "Good Shepherd" giving His life for the sheep (John 10), the "Great Shepherd" brought again from the dead (Heb. 13), and the "Chief Shepherd" coming in glory (1 Peter 5). As furnishing a starting point and contributing to what we have before us, we have the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of Genesis. It is remarkable that in the 24th chapter, where it is a simple question of procuring for Isaac a bride, we have 67 verses; but in Gen. 1 only 27 verses (less than half the number) are allotted to the question of creation. To be able to dismiss so vast a theme, and yet to do it justice in so few words, suggests the thought that the One describing these wonders, does so as superior to them and as perfectly familiar with the scenes He describes.
But the Author of Gen. 1 is also the Author of Gen. 24, and has made no mistake in devoting twice as much to this sweet bridal story as to the bringing of the universe into being, and setting the earth in order for man's habitation. We see in Gen. 24 another father, another son and another servant, and reach back to Gen. 22, where we find in figure the death and resurrection of this only son. (Heb. 11:1919Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. (Hebrews 11:19).) Passing on to Gen. 23, we find the death of Sarah (answering to the setting aside of Israel) to make way for Rebekah as the wife of Isaac. In this foreshadowing we have disclosed to us that sweet and wondrous mystery that from counsel to conclusion, reaches from eternity to eternity, the glad story of "the bride, the Lamb's wife." It is then we begin to realize the divine consistency of allowing such a lengthy presentation of what on the surface, in point of magnitude, seems entirely inferior to that of creation. Oh, this holy subject, how can one touch it without spoiling it—"the bride, the Lamb's wife"!
In the New Testament, we find the same order of events as in these chapters in Genesis; the death of Christ recorded in the Gospels, the setting aside of Israel in The Acts, followed by the bringing in of the new thing the Church, the body and bride of Christ, in Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians. It is true there was an intimation of this in Matt. 13:44-4644Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:44‑46), in the "treasure hid in a field" and in the "one pearl of great price." The former sets forth the value, the latter the surpassing beauty of the Church to Christ. He sold all that He had and bought the field (the field is the world), in order to possess Himself of the "treasure." In the other case, He sold all that He had and bought the one pearl. This precious jewel He would secure for Himself at the cost of everything. Amazing grace! "Christ... loved the church and gave Himself for it." Eph. 5:2525Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Ephesians 5:25). He not only gave up all His Messianic claims and glories, but He "gave Himself." Forever adored be His name!
For ages Gen. 24 held its secret so well, but now it is revealed for the Old Testament is the New concealed, while the New Testament is the Old revealed. Throughout this portion, the one absorbing subject is, "a wife" for the son. Seven times this expression is found in this chapter. How this thought super abounds in those portions of the New Testament where the mystery is found. Redemption being accomplished, it pervades the writings of Paul through whom this blessed secret was made known. (Eph. 3:2121Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:21).)
This question of a bride for Isaac was a matter of counsel and purpose, carried into effect by the servant who bore the testimony of the father concerning his son to Rebekah, as now, the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father, testifies of Christ. (John 15:2626But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26).) Jesus said, "He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you." John 16:14, 1514He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:14‑15). So the servant in Genesis pours into the ears of Rebekah the sweetest story concerning Isaac. He says, "I am Abraham's servant. And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly, and he is become great: and He hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. And Sarah my master's wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath." Gen. 24:34-3634And he said, I am Abraham's servant. 35And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. 36And Sarah my master's wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath. (Genesis 24:34‑36). How like "He shall take of Mine and show it unto you." The Spirit of God engages us with Christ and His glories, quite in contrast to much of the pretentious teaching in the present day, which engages us with ourselves and the work of the Spirit in us rather than with Christ and His work for us.
The servant woos and wins her and presents to Rebekah's heart an object so surpassingly lovely and fair that when the question is put, "Wilt thou go with this man?" she said, "I will go." Have our hearts thus been won and "espoused to Him as a chaste virgin"? Are we leaving all behind, counting all but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord?
In pursuance of the happy task committed to him, we find the servant not only pouring this sweet, glad and wonderful story into the ears of Rebekah, but we find him spreading before her, and placing upon her jewels of silver and gold and raiment. So now the Spirit of God engages us with His manifold grace and shows us the preciousness of Christ. "Unto you therefore which believe He is precious." 1 Peter 2:77Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (1 Peter 2:7). As in another day, He said, "Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God." Ezek. 16:1414And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God. (Ezekiel 16:14). Not that we are now discerned, for he that is spiritual is discerned of no man and the Church is a nondescript. Later, He is to be admired in us. (2 Thess. 1:7-107And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (2 Thessalonians 1:7‑10).) And later we shall appear with Him in glory. If she is not attractive to others, He can say, "Thou art all fair. My love. Thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks. The King's daughter is all glorious within." She has a beauty, if concealed to others, discerned and valued by Him, and the fruit of His own love and grace. It is a principle of the present order of things that it "cometh not with observation." (Luke 17:2020And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: (Luke 17:20).) This is not the time of our display and splendor; later, and sooner than the brightest hope dares to think, the glory shines, for Jesus is coming to receive to Himself His purchased possession a descending Christ, an ascending bride, bodies of glory and eternal rapture.
Closing her pilgrimage, and at the end of the long and lonely way, Rebekah exclaims, "What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us?" Isaac has his hope, his desire and expectation, indeed, he had preceded her for he had already "lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold, the camels were coming." The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, and we shall be caught up together with those fallen asleep, "to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thess. 4:16, 1716For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16‑17).) He will then present us to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish. Nothing shall thwart Him in His purpose. God's Son shall have a bride and she shall be in every way suited to Him. Then it shall be seen in its fullness that the woman is the glory of the man... the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
As Rebekah sees him, the nearing one, she takes a veil and covers herself. This the Church should be doing now, in view of the imminence of His return. In 1 Cor. 11:1515But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. (1 Corinthians 11:15), it is said, "If a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering." Notice that which covers her and puts her out of sight is her glory, so that only He may be seen. The Church should not be seeking a place and portion where He accepted the cross and the grave; much less should she be ambitious of the world's glory which is as the dust of the moth's wing, or the flower of grass. Eternal glory is her portion. "And Isaac... took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her." Oh, the words of greeting He will speak at last!
What is the occasion of that burst of praise in Rev. 19? "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready." How unspeakably precious, "the marriage of the Lamb." It is Christ in His victim character to whom we are joined, we, the purchase of His blood. "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." This is her wedding gown—"the righteousness of saints." So now we are making our bridal dress, stitch by stitch, the fruit of the energy of His Spirit in us during the "little while"!
As Rebekah had her damsels, her attendants, so here there are those who "are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb" and these are blessed. There are two classes here: the bride and those called to the marriage supper. The latter refers to the Old Testament saints. It was John the Baptist who said, "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled." John 3:2929He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. (John 3:29). This indicates that there are saints who rejoice in the Bridegroom's voice who are not of the bride. But how sweet is our portion as being of that people whom God is taking out from among the Gentiles for His name. (Acts 15:1414Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. (Acts 15:14).)
The bride is seen again under the symbol of a city in Rev. 21:99And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (Revelation 21:9). She is holy and descends "out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious." This is not heaven, but the bride, the Lamb's wife descending from it. Perhaps she is called a city because she is seen in governmental splendor in relation to the millennial earth. Once she came short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:2323For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23).) Now, through an open heaven, she sees Jesus there and rejoices in hope of it. Here she is in possession of the glory shining like a stone most precious, the nations walking in her light, and there is "no night there." Rev. 21:23-2523And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. 25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. (Revelation 21:23‑25). Out of the ashes of man's failure God will bring that holy city, fair and new, in the light of which the nations shall walk.
Man's day begins and ends in darkness. Scripture begins by "Darkness was upon the face of the deep." It ends with, "There shall be no night there." With God it was the evening and the morning. His last thought for us is "morning," a morning without an evening, a day without a night. "The Spirit and the bride say come" in response to the announcement "I am...the bright and morning star." It is Himself as the returning One. So with the first streaks of morning shed in her heart, with the blessed Spirit, and filled with rapturous longing for the bridal day, she cries, "Come." She asks those who hear to cry, "Come." Then she turns to the lost one, not even these wedding joys causing her to forget the perishing, saying, "Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22:1717And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17). Poor lost one stoop, drink, and live!
If in sin you longer wait
You may find no open gate
And your cry be just too late,
Be in time.
Finally, the bride is seen in eternity. (Rev. 21:22And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2).) One thousand years have passed since that nuptial day, but she is still as a bride adorned for her husband. She is as fresh and fair as when He presented her to Himself without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, as when in the language of that song of loves, The King greatly desired her beauty, the beauty He had place upon her.
Thus, now and then, in time and eternity, we may repeat "I am my Beloved's, and His desire is toward me." Sol. 7:1010I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. (Song of Solomon 7:10). May the deep, sweet sense of this be kept fresh in our hearts until we see His face.
F.C. Blount