A Bride For Christ


A Bride For Christ

January 4th, 1989 @ 7:30 PM

Genesis 24

And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter. And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not. And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in? And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor. She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. And the man bowed down his head, and worshiped the LORD. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren. And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother's house these things. And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well. And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men's feet that were with him. And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on. And he said, 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. And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son. And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me. And he said unto me, The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house: Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath. And I came this day unto the well, and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink; And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master's son. And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also. And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands. And I bowed down my head, and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son. And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left. Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken. And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshiped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth. And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master. And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go. And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them. And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 24

1-4-89    7:30 p.m.


Once again we welcome the great throngs of you who share this hour on radio.  You are now a part of our wonderful and precious communion, the First Baptist Church in Dallas; and this is the pastor bringing a message entitled A Bride for Christ.  In our preaching through the first book of Holy Scripture, the Book of Genesis, we are in chapter 24.  This is one of the beautiful, beautiful stories to be found in all the Word of the Lord.  It describes a servant named Eliezer who is sent to find a bride for Isaac.  And God must have thought much of the process of the programming of it, because it is one of the largest, longest chapters to be found in this part of the Bible, and is certainly one of the most moving and interesting [Genesis 24:1-67].  A bride for Christ: there are four brides named in the Book of Genesis, and each one is a figure of another bride, the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And we are going to look at each one of those four, and see in it a marvelously interesting, moving type of the bride of our blessed Savior, which is His church.  Each one of them was one or connected with suffering.  So let us begin.

The first will be Adam and his bride, his wife Eve.  In Genesis 2:21, God placed a deep sleep upon Adam.  That is a type and a figure of the deeper sleep that came upon our Savior, the Lord Christ, when He was laid in the tomb [Matthew 27:57-60]. Then in the next verse, verse 22, Genesis 2:22, it says that the Lord God made a woman, made her for Adam.  He placed Adam into a deep sleep, and while Adam was in that sleep God took from his body—why under high heaven they wanted to put a rib there I have no idea, the Bible doesn’t say anything about a rib, doesn’t even approach a rib; it was somebody’s idea to put a rib there, and so for all the centuries and millennia since, why, a wife has been called a rib.  That’s crazy!  Here’s what the Bible says, and I want you to look at that:  it says that when Adam was in that deep sleep God took from his body and [banah], He built a woman.  Now I think that’s eloquent.  Did you ever hear it said, “Boy, is she built?”  Well, instead of looking upon that as being something facetious or extraneous, that’s biblical; that’s quoting the Word of God.  “Man, is she built!”  That’s exactly what the Bible says.  God banah, He built a woman out of the body of Adam [Genesis 2:21-22].

Now that is a common word, “build.”  For example in 1 Kings 16:24 it says Omri, who was the leader of those, the king of those northern ten tribes, he bought a hill, and he built a city on it and called it Samaria.  Just a common word, banah, “built.”  God built a woman, and brought her to Adam [Genesis 2:22].

Now in the passage that you just read out of the Book of Ephesians, Paul describes that scene back there when God took out of the body of Adam and built a woman and brought her to him; and Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” [Genesis 2:23].  So the apostle Paul in the passage, beautiful passage you just read, the apostle Paul says that this is a picture and a type of the Lord’s church:  we are taken out of His body; we are part of Him, of His flesh and of His bones [Ephesians 5:29-30].

Then he says, “This is a great mustērion” [Ephesians 5:32].  Mustērion, you take that word and spell it out in English, and we pronounce it “mystery,” mustērion.  Now a mustērion, a mystery, to us is an unfathomable riddle, a mystery, you know.  It has no connotation like that in the Bible.  A mustērion is a secret that a man could never know of himself; it is a secret that God kept in His heart until the day that He presented it, and elucidated it, and named it, and made it known to the man of the human family.  So, this Paul says, is one of the mysteries of God, how that the Lord out of the body of our Savior created the church! [Ephesians 5:32]. Who would ever have thought in ten thousand lifetimes, who would ever have thought that out of the tragedy of the crucifixion of the Savior, out of His sufferings [Matthew 27:32-50], that out of that would come our redemption, our salvation [1 Peter 1:18-19]—the bride of Christ that was brought together in the love and grace poured out upon us through the sufferings of our Savior [John 15:13; Romans 5:7-8].  No one would ever in this earth have thought of such a thing.  It was a mustērion, it was a secret God kept in His heart until it became revealed to us, known to us in God’s providential grace [Ephesians 3:1-12].

It’s a wonderful thing.  Every one of you here in divine presence, every one of you is a trophy of God’s love and grace [Ephesians 2:8], taken out of His love and sufferings on the cross [Matthew 27:26-50].  We wouldn’t be here without that cross.  And we wouldn’t be saved without those sufferings.  It was a beautiful thing that God hath done for us in giving us Jesus as an atonement for our sins [Romans 5:11].  Well, that’s the first bride:  Eve, who was taken out of the body of Adam [Genesis 2:21-23], as we are taken out of the body of our Lord when He poured forth His blood and His life for us [Ephesians 5:30].

Now the second bride is Jacob and his Rachel.  In Genesis 29:18-30, it says that Jacob worked seven years for Rachel [Genesis 29:18].  Then when he went to the bride’s bed that night, and woke up the next morning, he didn’t have Rachel, he had Leah [Genesis 29:22-25].  Now that’s the beatenest thing I ever heard of in my life.  Can you imagine going to the marriage bed and spending a whole night with a woman thinking she’s somebody else, and not know it until the daylight came and he looked on her face, and there she was, Leah and not Rachel?  I think the guy was overly responsive or emotional or something; he was overtaken in some kind of a responsive mood.  I don’t know; he was swept away by something.  Anyway, when he woke up the next morning, he had another woman in bed with him.  So he went to Laban, the father of the two girls, and said, “What have you done?” [Genesis 29:25].  And then he gave the lame excuse, did Laban, he gave the lame excuse, “Now in our country and in our custom you can’t have a younger daughter until the older daughter is married, so you’ve got the older daughter, you’ve got Leah” [Genesis 29:26].  So Jacob said, “I will work seven more years for Rachel” [Genesis 29:27].  And he worked seven years and got Leah [Genesis 29:20]; he worked seven more years and got Rachel [Genesis 29:27].

Now I say that is a picture of Christ waiting until the time appointed of the Father.  Jacob works fourteen years for the girl that he loved, for Rachel.  And this, I say, is a type and a figure of the Lord waiting for the years and the years until the consummation of His marriage with the bride, His church.  And that is described in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation:  “The bride hath made herself ready; she is adorned for her husband” [Revelation 19:7-8].  And in the next verse they sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb [Revelation 19:9].  And that’s where we’re going to be one day.  Oh, I cannot think it!

Lord, could it be, could it be that these dull eyes and this frame made out of dust will be resurrected and changed and glorified, and I’ll be seated with You at the marriage supper of the Lamb, when we’re joined together to be with Him forever and ever? [Revelation 19:7-9].  O God, no wonder Paul exclaimed, “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor has it even entered the heart of man, those wonderful things God hath prepared for those who love Him” [1 Corinthians 2:9].  And that’s one of them: when we are there at the marriage supper of the Lamb [Revelation 19:9].

Now the third bride is Joseph and his wife Asenath.  In Genesis 41:45, Pharaoh gives to Joseph, Asenath.  And in Genesis 41:51-52, she is described as the mother of Manasseh and Ephraim, two of the leading tribes of Israel.  Now as you know—and every syllable of this is a type of what is happening to us today—Joseph was the best loved of his father [Genesis 37:3], and he was sent by his father Jacob, Israel, to his brethren with a loving message; Joseph, the delighted son, the beloved son, the favorite son of the father.  He’s sent with a message of love and grace to his brethren.  But he was despised by them [Genesis 37:4], and he was sold to and turned over to the Gentiles [Genesis 37:12-28].  Now the Bible speaks of that in John 1:11:  “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.”  The loving Father sent His Son that He loved so greatly to His brethren, and the brethren refused Him and despised Him, rejected Him [John 1:11].

Now in that continuing story in Egypt, Joseph became a prisoner of the Gentiles.  And with him in prison were two malefactors:  one was saved and the other was lost [Genesis 40:1-23].  Now in the third year, a type of the third day of our Lord, Joseph stands before the king and receives a Gentile bride, a Gentile bride [Genesis 41:45].

There is a famine in the whole world [Genesis 41:54-57].  That’s a picture of the great tribulation [Matthew 24:21-22].  The whole world is plunged into agony and need.  And it forces the brothers of Joseph into Egypt [Genesis 42:1-3].  In that great tribulation, the brothers of our Lord are forced into His presence.  And in Egypt they stand in the presence of their rejected brother [Genesis 42:6], with his Gentile bride [Genesis 41:45], on the throne:  a picture of what is going to happen in the great tribulation.  Our Lord is there at its consummation, with His Gentile bride, and His brethren, the Jews, Israel, comes, and there He reigns [Revelation 19:7-9].  And they’re going to be converted [Jeremiah 31:1], and they’re going to be a nation born in a day, one day [Isaiah 66:8].  They are going to look upon Him whom they pierced and whom they rejected, and they are going to weep for Him, and they are going to turn and receive their Lord and be saved [Zechariah 12:10-11].   But the brother, Joseph, a type of Christ, is going to be there on his throne, and his Gentile bride by his side [2 Timothy 2:12].  That’s one of the most amazing things:  that in the goodness of God, as wonderful as it was to have been a child of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we are going to be by the side of our Lord, even though we are Gentiles, and not of the seed of Israel.

Now one other, the fourth bride in this Book of Genesis is this one here in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis:  Isaac and Rebekah.  Abraham sends Eliezer to his family in Mesopotamia, up there in Haran.  And he is sent there to get a  bride for his son Isaac [Genesis  24:1-10].  Now in Genesis chapter 22, you have the offering up of Isaac [Genesis 22:2,9-10], which Hebrews 11:19 says is a type of the death and the resurrection of Jesus our Lord [Matthew 27:32-28:7].  When Abraham raised that knife to plunge it into the heart of his son Isaac, God stayed it [Genesis 22:10-12], and gave him a ram caught in a thicket as a substitute [Genesis 22:13]; there was no substitute for our Lord, it was a picture of the death of our Savior [Genesis 22: 1-14].

Now in the next chapter—chapter 22 describing the offering up of Isaac on Mt. Moriah, type of the death and resurrection of our Lord as Hebrews 11 says—in chapter 23, you have the death and the burial of Sarah, Isaac’s mother.  And she represents Israel.  Isaac’s mother, Sarah, is dead and is buried [Genesis 23:1-2, 19], and she represents Israel in the setting aside, in the putting away of the relationship of the flesh to make room for the calling of the bride.  Sarah is put aside, Sarah is buried; the old relationship of the flesh is set aside, and there is a new relationship making way for a Gentile bride.

So in Genesis chapter 24, you have that story of the wooing of the bride.  The servant represents the Holy Spirit, sent by the father to bring a bride for Isaac [Genesis 24:1-4].  Now it begins in Genesis 24, verses 5 and 8, when Eliezer says, “If the woman be not willing to come, what shall I do?”  And Abraham replies, “If the woman is not willing, you are free from this assignment” [Genesis 24:5-8].  The Holy Spirit never coerces, never forces; we make an appeal, we invite, but whether that somebody you comes or not depends upon your free choice.  “If she be not willing, you are free of this assignment” [Genesis 5:8].

But, O Lord, that she be willing and eager!

So in verses 11 and 13 of Genesis 24, Eliezer is by the well of water, and he prays [Genesis 24:11-14].  That’s a picture of the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Word, through the Word.  Now let me tell you something.  One of the strangest things I have ever witnessed in all of my life is simply this:  you can take the poorest preacher in the world, and if he’ll preach the Word of God, the Lord will give him souls.  But you can take the most brilliant preacher that was ever educated in our finest seminaries, and he can stand in that pulpit all of his life and preach all of those high philosophical approaches of the truths of God, or the truths of the world, or the truths of history, or whatever it is, and there won’t be anybody saved.  That’s the strangest thing in this earth.

I wonder if I could be bold enough to give you a brilliant illustration of that.  I don’t suppose there is a more imposing church in this earth than the one on the Hudson River called the Riverside, used to be, the Riverside Baptist Church.  If you’ve ever been in New York City and ever been around, you couldn’t help but be impressed by that church.  It is by Grant’s tomb.  The tower is twenty stories high, just the tower.  And the tower is so made that it has twenty stories of educational space in it.  And of course, the sanctuary is beautiful, as only the millions and millions and millions of the Rockefeller’s could make it.  Well, I went to church there, and I imagine many of you have.  I went to church there.  They’ve had a liberal pulpit there for the years and the years and the years and the years.  Is anybody saved?  No!  Is the church dead?  Yes!  Does it have any attendance?  No!  Is it empty?   Yes!  Are they looking for somebody now?  Yes!  It is a picture of destitution and drought and death.  Why?  Because it has no gospel to preach, none at all.  And you can, you’re going to hear Sunday night, you’re going to hear a black man who’s a graduate of our school across the street, you’re going to hear him, and you’re going to be thrilled, and you’re going to be blessed.  He’ll preach the gospel.  He’ll preach this Book.  That’s one of the strangest things in this earth:  the Riverside church has had the most brilliantly educated men in the world there in those pulpits, to no effect.  Great God!

So this servant is by the well, and he’s praying there [Genesis 24:12-14]: the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Word; God uses His Word.  And when he sees Rebekah, when he sees Rebekah, in verse 53, he gives her gifts of silver [Genesis 24:53].  That’s ransom money; that’s redemption money.  And he gives her gifts of gold:  thus does God enrich His bride.  We are the richest people in the world, whether we’ve got a dime or not, doesn’t make any difference.  Our hearts and our souls are laden with God’s richest and heavenly gifts.  And he gives her a gift of raiment [Genesis 24:53].  In Isaiah 61:10, that’s one of the prettiest verses you’ll find in the Bible:  Isaiah 61:10, “God clothes us with the garments of glory.”

So—now I don’t think this is far-fetched or out of the way—talking about the garments that we are clothed with in the grace of God [Isaiah 61:10]; did you ever think, did you ever think, when the Lord was crucified, He had four pieces of garment?  Here, some kind of a turban, a girdle, an outer garment, and an inner garment.  Sometimes when you think through that, they took off His garments and gambled, you know, to see which one would have which.   And one of those men went away from the cross clothed with that seamless robe [John 19:23-24].  Dear me, think of that:  going away from the cross wearing the seamless robe of our Savior!  Well, my sweet people, that is a picture of all of us, every one of us:  clothed with the garments of our Lord, the seamless robe of Jesus [John 19:23].  He died that we might be thus clothed.

And the chapter ends, of course, with Isaac waiting patiently for the bride brought to him by Eliezer, the Holy Spirit; and thereafter joined, and it says, “and he loved her” [Genesis 24:67], beautiful story and a type of our relationship with our marvelous Savior.

I tell you, it’s wonderful to love Jesus.  It is glorious to be a member of His church, to be a part of the bones and flesh and body of our Lord Jesus [Ephesians 5:30].  God bless us as we love Him the more with each passing day.

Now we want to stand and sing us a song.  And while we sing the hymn I’ll be standing right here.  If there’s a family present, if there’s a couple, if there is one somebody you to whom the Lord in Spirit makes appeal tonight, welcome.  Beautiful thing to give your heart to the Lord Jesus [Romans 10:9-10], or to be numbered with the family of God; while we sing this song, you come, and welcome, while we stand and while we sing.


Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 24


Four brides in the Bible

1.    Adam and Eve;
Genesis 2:21-24, picture of Christ and the church

2.    Jacob and
Rachel; Genesis 29:18-20; picture of Christ waiting until the time appointed by
the Father

3.    Joseph and Asenath;
Genesis 41:39-46 – best loved by his father, despised by his brothers; given a
gentile bride

4.    Isaac and
Rebekah – Genesis 22 – death and resurrection of the son, Abraham’s servant is
a picture of the Holy Spirit

Genesis 24

1.    Abraham; the

2.    Isaac; the Son

3.    Eliezer; Holy
Spirit, soul winner