THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
DR. W. A. CRISWELL
5-02-65 8:15 a.m.
You are sharing with us the early morning services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the morning message entitled The Bride of Christ. There are four brides who are mentioned in the Book of Genesis. All four of them were won through suffering, and all of them are pictures of the bride of Christ our Savior. So this morning, we are going to open our Bibles to the Book of Genesis, and we are going to look at these four brides in the Book of Genesis which are pictures of, types, of the bride of Christ; His people, His church.
Now the first bride is in the second chapter of Genesis, the last part of it, Genesis 2:21; and Paul himself is the one who interprets for us the meaning, the deeper and spiritual meaning of this story. So when you turn to the second chapter of the Book of Genesis, turn to the fifth chapter of the Book of Ephesians, and we are going to compare them. Paul is going to speak of this second chapter in Genesis in the fifth chapter of the Book of Ephesians; Ephesians 5. Ephesians is almost toward the end of your Bible; the fifth chapter of Ephesians. All right, now we read in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis:
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Now over here in the Book of Ephesians, in the twenty-fifth verse, Ephesians 5:25:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;
That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies…
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Now you have heard that all your life, but did it ever occur to you what Paul was speaking of when he said, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church”? [Ephesians 5:32]. Well, he has a very definite meaning in that, very definite. And the meaning, when we look at it, is very obvious and very clear. It is no mystery, like you use the word, that a boy should fall in love with a girl, that a man should marry a woman. It’s no mystery, like you use the word, about Christ and loving His church.
Our misunderstanding, our lack of comprehension of what Paul is describing lies in our use of the word “mystery.” To us a mystery is an enigma, it’s a riddle. It’s an unfathomable secret. It’s a mystery. I cannot understand it; a mystery. That’s what it is to us. A mystery story is a story you can’t unravel. It’s a deep detective story on who did the murder. It’s stuff like that; a mystery, a riddle, an enigma.
Now the word “mystery” used in the Bible in the Greek language had no connotation like that at all. It’s a Greek word. You pronounce it in Greek mustērion; and you take it exactly into English, “mystery,” mustērion. Now the Greek word mustērion refers to a thing that is known only to the initiated. It is hidden, like the Masonic Lodge. The Masonic Lodge has rites and initiations that you don’t know unless you are initiated into the lodge.
Now in Paul’s day the whole Greek world––and that was the civilized world––the whole Greek world knew and was acquainted with what we call mystery religions. That is, they were religions into which neophytes were initiated. And all of those mystery religions had secrets that were known only to the initiated. If you didn’t belong to the religion, you didn’t know what the mystery was; that is, the secret initiations, all of those impartations that the religion was able to give to its devotees.
Just like the Masonic lodge today, if you’re not in the Masonic lodge you do not know the rites and the rituals, the mysteries, the secrets in the lodge. They are disclosed to those who are initiated. Now Paul takes that word mustērion, which was just an ordinary Greek word replying to all those mystery religions, and he applies that word to things that were hidden in the heart of God and which were revealed in their time to these, you, and the followers of Christ in their day [Ephesians 3:1-12]. But it wasn’t known until the Lord revealed it. It is a mustērion. That is, it is something that was hidden in the mind and the plan and the heart of God, and was not revealed until God’s time.
All right, Paul takes that word mustērion and he applies it to Adam and Eve [Genesis 2:23; Ephesians 5:30]. Paul says that back there in the story of the creation of Adam and Eve there was a mustērion; that is, there was a secret meaning that God knew, and it was not revealed fully what it typified, what it illustrated, until it came to be known in Christ and His church. “This is a great mustērion: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” [Ephesians 5:32]. All right, Paul says then that back there in the story of the creation of Adam and Eve [Genesis 2:23], there is an illustration, there is a type, there is a figure of Christ and His church [Ephesians 5:30]. And nobody saw it. Nobody knew it except God, until God revealed it to His holy apostles and prophets [Ephesians 3:4-5].
All right, now let’s turn back to that story, and see what it is. And it is very patent after you look at it. Now we’re going to look at Genesis 2:21 and following, and we’re going to look at the great mustērion that Paul says is hidden here in the heart of God in the meaning of this story. Now let’s look at it. Genesis 2:21, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.” That is a picture, a figure, an illustration of, a type of the deeper sleep of death that fell upon the greater Adam, the second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ [1 Corinthians 15:45-47].
“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep”; the deep sleep of death, in the darkness and in the tomb of the second Adam, Jesus Christ [John 19:41-42]. “And out of that deep sleep, in that deep sleep, his side was riven” [Genesis 2:21]. Why in the world these translators wanted to translate that “rib” I do not know. I’ve tried to find out, and I cannot find out. There is no place in the Bible where tsalah is translated “rib” except right there. That is the funniest thing to me that I have come across. Everywhere else in the Bible, tsalah is translated “side,” like the side of the ark, the side of the tabernacle, the side of the house; everywhere else in the Bible it is translated side. But here it is translated rib [Genesis 2:21]. I cannot explain it. I do not know it. I say, I can’t find out why they did that. So we just take it; but remember, the Hebrew says side, not rib. In the deep sleep that came upon Adam, the Lord opened his side; a riven side [Genesis 2:21-23]. “And he that saw it bare record, and we know that his record is true” [John 19:35]; “I saw out of that riven side, I saw flow blood and water” [John 19:34]; blood for redemption [Ephesians 1:7], and water for cleansing [Ephesians 5:26].
“And the Lord opened his side, and out of that side the Lord made,” now there’s another word banah in Hebrew which means “build.” “And out of that side the Lord built a woman” [Genesis 2:22]. And out of that cross, and out of that suffering and death of the Son of God, the Lord is building His church [Ephesians 5:25-32]. The church is the fruit of the love, and grace, and tears, and blood, and suffering of the Son of God [1 Peter 1:18-19].
If there is not any cross, we are yet in our sins [1 Corinthians 15:16]. We are still lost and undone. The birth of the church is in the blood and the sufferings and the cross of Jesus Christ [Ephesians 5:25]. “And the Lord opened his side, and out of that riven side He builded a woman [Genesis 2:21-22]. And Adam said,” now look at it, it’s word for word, “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” [Genesis 2:23]. “Even as the Lord nourisheth and cherisheth the church: “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” [Ephesians 5:29-30].
Paul is quoting there what Adam said here about woman. Paul puts into the mouth of our Lord, and of these who love the Lord [Ephesians 5:30], the same thing Adam said about the woman when he saw her. “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” [Genesis 2:23]; and Jesus says that about us. We are members of His body. We are bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh [Ephesians 50]. You see, to mustērion; it has a meaning.
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother,” Genesis 2:24, “and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” All right now look over here in Ephesians, in the next verse, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great ta mustērion: but I speak concerning Christ and His church” [Ephesians 5:31-32].
So Paul says—and in this thing that we’re doing Sunday morning by Sunday morning, looking at the Bible, we are doing exactly what Paul the apostle and these holy men of God did. They are taking the Old Testament and they are saying that these things that God did, God did not do them adventitiously, God did not do them accidentally, fortuitously; but each one of these things that God did had a great meaning and a great purpose. And the way God did it was because of this great meaning, a mustērion. He knew it. God had it in His mind and in his heart, and it was revealed to us only in Christ and His church [Ephesians 5:32].
Well, we mustn’t elaborate any longer. We’ve got three more. Adam and Eve [Genesis 2:21-24], a picture of Christ and His bride, the Lord and His church [Ephesians 5:25-32].
All right, now the second one. Turn to Genesis 29. Another bride in the Book of Genesis is Jacob and Rachel. This is the second one we shall take; Genesis 29, Jacob and Rachel, a man and his bride, a picture of our Lord and His church. Now in the seventeenth verse of the book, of the twenty-ninth chapter of Genesis:
Rachel was beautiful and well-favored.
And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
In other words, Laban says, “I will agree.” “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her” [Genesis 29:20].
Now that is a picture of, a type of, our Lord’s love for His bride. And He waits and He works. And He waits, and we wait, and we are waiting now. You know, if I’d have thought of it, I’d have memorized for this morning that beautiful song, “And the toils of the road will seem nothing, when we get to the end of the way” [Harriet Cole Nickerson, 1878].
“And they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love that he had to her” [Genesis 29:20]. Oh, that beautiful, glad, happy wedding day; by, and by, and by. But now we work and we wait, and our Lord waits. But some day “The toils of the road will seem nothing, when we get to the end of the way.”
At the great nuptial morning, the marriage supper of the Lamb, oh, oh, how wonderful it will be! [Revelation 19:7-9]. “And it was unto him as nothing” [Genesis 29:20], those seven years are typical of the full years known but to God of that waiting, seven years, rounded, full, a mystic number to God, those seven years. But it is very definite. It is a time, and it is known to God. And at that time known to God, that great day of Christ does come, and the Lamb and His wife shall be together [Revelation 19:7-8], God and His children. Oh, what a day, what a rejoicing, what a gladness, what a victory, what a triumph! No more death, no more sorrow, no more pain, no more sickness, no more sighing, no more bereavement, no more separation; all of these former first things are all passed away [Revelation 21:4]. “And they seemed to him but a few days, as nothing, for the love he had to her” [Genesis 29:20].
All right, now the third bride. Turn to the forty-first chapter of Genesis; the forty-first chapter of Genesis; Genesis 41. Now the third bride in the book is Joseph and Asenath, Joseph and Asenath [Genesis 41:45], in the forty-first chapter of the Book of Genesis, a picture of Christ and His church. All right, now let’s read it, Genesis 41:39:
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:
Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.
And our Lord sits in His Father’s throne [Revelation 3:21].
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.
And Pharaoh took of his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee:
“Every tongue shall confess” [Philippians 2:11] and “every knee shall bow” [Philippians 2:10].
And he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt, the whole world. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.
“There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” [Acts 4:12].
Without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot . . . and Pharaoh called Joseph’s name . . .
And there is a long name that has a beautiful meaning; and it means “the one who furnishes the nourishment of life.” Zaphnath-paa-neah. Zaphnath-paa-neah, “the one who furnishes the nourishment of life.”
And he gave him to wife Asenath—
belonging to Neith, who was an Egyptian goddess—
And he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt.
All right, now let’s see here the beautiful picture, and we will come to Joseph in a little while. There’s nobody in the Bible that prefigures, typifies our Savior more than Joseph does. Joseph is one of the impeccable characters in the Bible. No fault or flaw or stain in him except those indiscreet things he did as a child when he boasted to his brothers about how he had seen visions of his exaltation [Genesis 37:5-11]. Well, that was childish indiscretion. But his life is pure and impeccable and without fault or stain, and in so many ways is a type, a figure, of the life of our Lord.
Now we’re going to take him and his bride. All right, now follow the life of Joseph just for this moment; now look at it. He is the beloved of his father, no doubt about that; so much so that the others were jealous [Genesis 37:3-4, 11]. He was the beloved of his father; and a loving father sent this beloved son to his brethren with a loving message [Genesis 37:12-17]. “He came unto His own, but His own received Him not” [John 1:11].
And the brethren, when this beloved son from the father, came, bearing a loving message, they took him and they sold him to the Gentiles [Genesis 37:26-28], who took him down into Egypt and put him in prison [Genesis 39:1, 20]. Turned over to the Gentiles who put him in prison and in prison there were two malefactors with him. One of them was saved, and the other one was lost [Genesis 40:1-23].
And in the third year he stood before Pharaoh. “And on the third day he was raised out of the depths of the dungeon of death, and stood before the great king” [Genesis 41:14]. And, standing before Pharaoh, he was given a Gentile bride. And there he reigns, with a Gentile bride, Joseph and Asenath [Genesis 41:39-45].
There is a great famine over the earth, a great dearth [Genesis 41:54-57]. There is a great darkness and tribulation over the whole earth. And the brethren of Joseph come to Egypt seeking bread. And there they see their brother with his Gentile bride, reigning over Egypt; and Joseph is made known unto his brethren, and they are reconciled, and they weep in loving remembrance and reconciliation [Genesis 42:1-45:15].
And Joseph and his Gentile bride and his brethren, and Jacob, Israel, are received back into one another’s heart and love [Genesis 45:16-46:34]. And the brethren are given the finest in the land, and Joseph reigns over them [Genesis 47:1-12]. Why, I can just see that, and you can just see it; every step of it, every part of it, every piece of it; Joseph and his Gentile bride, Asenath; Jesus and His church, the bride of Christ; and his brethren coming to him, reconciled; and Joseph reigning over them. Oh, for these things, they just amaze you! They overwhelm you, when you begin to see how the purposes of God were wrought through them [Genesis 50:15-21].
Now we take our fourth one, which is the one that we have come to in these early morning sermons. Now I just say a little word of addition, because the fourth one is in Genesis 24. The fourth one I began to discuss last Sunday morning. The fourth one is of all of them the most beautiful picture of our Lord and His bride, and the Holy Spirit seeking out a bride for Isaac [Genesis 24:1-4], for Jesus.
The twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis is one of the longest chapters in the Bible; just shows you how God pays attention to these types. The twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis is the servant who is sent out, sent forth, to receive a bride for Isaac [Genesis 24:1-4]. Now I have just a few comments to add.
In the twenty-second chapter of the Book of Genesis, Isaac is the son laid on the altar, with the father’s hand raised to slay him. Now in the story, God intervened [Genesis 22:1-2, 9-12]. But in the type that was the anti-type, the type of which it is a figure of, God’s hand was not stayed and the Son was killed [Matthew 27:45-50]. And Hebrews 11 says that to all intents and purposes Isaac was killed, he was slain. It had been decided in the heart of Abraham his father [Hebrews 11:17].
“But,” says the author in Hebrews 11, “Abraham believed God could raise him from the dead, from whence,” it says, “he received him in a figure, in a type, in a parable, in a simile, in a likeness” [Hebrews 11:19]. So in the twenty-second chapter of Genesis, Isaac is slain and is resurrected; the son, the seed, the promised one is slain and resurrected, gone through death and resurrection [Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13; Hebrews 11:17-19].
Now in the twenty-third chapter of Genesis Sarah dies [Genesis 23:1-2]. Sarah is a picture and a type of Israel. Sarah dies. Israel is put aside. Israel is set away. Israel has rejected her Lord and is dead. Israel, according to the flesh, is put aside, put over here [Romans 11:11-15]. Sarah is dead. Now in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis, the next one, the servant is seeking a bride for Isaac [Genesis 24:1-4]. Sarah is dead, Israel is put aside, and there is a bride to be sought now for Isaac, this son.
So the servant goes out––the Holy Spirit of God goes out, and He is seeking a bride for Isaac, seeking the making-up of the church [Ephesians 4:3-13]. Now in the fifth verse, “And the servant said unto Abraham, “Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me …” [Genesis 24:5]. Now in the eighth verse, “And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee” [Genesis 24:8]; the Holy Spirit can only add to the fold those who are willing.
If you’re not willing, if you’re not willing; harden my heart, no to the preacher, no. No to the invitation, no. No to the wooing and the calling of the Spirit of God, no. “Peradventure the woman will not be willing. If the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from the oath” [Genesis 24:5, 8]. It’s all done. There’s no other hope. There’s no other way. That’s it. That ends it.
It ends the church. It ends the kingdom of God. It ends the great marriage supper of the Lamb. It ends heaven. It ends everything. When you say no, that’s it. There’s nothing left but death and the grave, and to die in our sins, and judgment, and perdition, and hell, to be lost in the dark and the night. No, no, no. That ends it. There’s nothing more to be said. “Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow thee, if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, that ends it” [Genesis 24:5, 8]. Oh for a beautiful and willing spirit!
“The Spirit and the bride say, Come. Let him that heareth say, Come. Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will…” [Revelation 22:17].
All right, now look in the fifty-third verse, and with this we have to quit. The fifty-third verse: “And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah” [Genesis 24:53]. I want to show you what the Holy Spirit does for us; what God does for us when we come, when we say, “Yes, yes I will.”
“And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment.” Now look at this in this beautiful, beautiful thing. What does Jesus do for us? What does God, what does the Holy Spirit do for us when we consent? “I will belong to Jesus, I will be His. I will give my life. I will be a member of His people. I’ll be in His church, in His bride.” “And the servant brought forth jewels of silver” [Genesis 24:53]. Silver is redemption money [Exodus 30:16; Numbers 18:16]. “And jewels of gold” [Genesis 24:53], that’s an unusual thing. In the ninth chapter of the Book of Hebrews, the author calls the cherubim of gold that overarch the mercy seat, he calls them the cherubim of glory [Hebrews 9:5]. “And He gives us the riches of His glory, and raiment” [Genesis 24:53]. And He clothes us with His own goodness, and righteousness, and blessedness, and forgiveness [Isaiah 61:10].
Listen, I have often thought, I don’t know whether he knew it or not—but I have often thought that the man who could have had the best idea of what it was to be clothed with the righteousness of Jesus, the new garments, was that soldier who, as he gambled at the foot of the cross, won the seamless robe [John 19:23-24]. And when he put it on, and wore it away, and maybe turned back and looked at the nakedness of the One that died on the cross, the seamless robe was his because of the death of that One on the cross [John 19:30-34].
I don’t know whether he thought of it. I guess he didn’t. He’s just a crude soldier, rude and rough. But, I say, he could have had the best idea of any man in this earth what it was to be clothed with the garments of the crucified One. Giving raiment to Rebekah [Genesis 24:53]; the robes of righteousness, clean and white, that God hath provided for those who love Him, for His bride [Revelation 19:8].
Well, God bless you for listening so attentively and wonderfully. And the Lord open our hearts as Sunday by Sunday we open the Book, and look on the page thereof, and see in it these rich, rich treasures of God.
Now while we sing our song, someone this hour to give his heart to the Lord [Romans 10:8-13]; someone to put his life in the church [Hebrews [10:24-25]; while we sing the song, would you come and stand by me? “Today, pastor, I give my heart to the Lord.” The wooing of the servant; or, “Today, I put my life in the fellowship of the church,” a family you, or one somebody you, while we stand and sing.