The Local, Visible Bride – 3


SHADOW 1: Rebekah

The story of Abraham finding a wife, or bride, for his son is a wonderful story. We are going to take a spiritual application: the bride and how this pictures the New Testament local, visible Baptist churches. The types are as follows: Abraham—the Father; Servant—the Spirit; Isaac—the Son; Rebekah—the “bride-to-be.”

         Gen 24:1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.

         Gen 24:2 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:

The servant symbolizes the Holy Ghost.

         Gen 24:3 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:

         Gen 24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

 Isaac’s wife is not to be a heathen but of Abraham’s country and kindred.

 Mat 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

They are of Christ’s kindred if they are saved. But, the bride is not just anyone in the family, which we will see…

Ephesians 2 demonstrates that they at Ephesus are fellow citizens and of the household of God, which means that they are part of God’s family. Because of the NT, there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek. They are not strangers like the daughters of the Canaanites, but they are fellow citizens—of the kindred of God the Father. But, the Bible equates a local, visible, Baptistic church to a bride in Ephesians 5. Therefore, the Bride of Christ must come from (1) the family of God, or the household of God [“my country…my kindred], and the Bride is (2) a local, visible, Scriptural, New Testament Church [fulfilling the Servant’s prayer].    

        Gen 24:5 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?

         Gen 24:6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.

         Gen 24:7 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.

It is a guarantee that Christ will have a Bride, for Jesus said, “…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18).

         Gen 24:8 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.

         Gen 24:9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.

         Gen 24:10 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.

         Gen 24:11 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.

         Gen 24:12 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.

         Gen 24:13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:

         Gen 24:14 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.

The servant—the Spirit—is now looking for a suitable woman to bring unto Isaac to wife. Remember, all the candidates are of Abraham’s household, but only the woman who lets down her pitcher for him and his camels will be worthy. This woman would be one who is obedient and faithful.

         Gen 24:15 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.

         Gen 24:16 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.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians about being espoused to Christ, the head of the church (2 Co 11:2. Here in Genesis 24, we have the Bridegroom awaiting his bride—a local church—expecting her to be a chaste virgin. This means that a local, visible church is betrothed to Christ (saved, baptized) and is waiting for that great wedding day (Rev 19); likewise, each believer is espoused the moment they are baptized into a local church. When the Bible says, “neither had any man known her” it means this woman has not been defiled. She is chaste and pure. This cannot be said of any Catholic, Protestant, or any other “ecumenical”/apostate monster, because they have been defiled. The unfaithful whore will be destroyed (Rev 17,18), and the Bride will be glorified (Rev 19).

        Gen 24:17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.

         Gen 24:18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.

         Gen 24:19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.

         Gen 24:20 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.

         Gen 24:21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.

         Gen 24:22 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;

These are rewards prepared for those who are faithful to Christ. These are what the Bride will be adorned with.1 Corinthians 3:11-15 pictures this well. Do we have wood, hay, and stubble, or gold, silver, precious stones? Notice, in 1 Cor. 3, believers are still saved if they have wood, hay, and stubble, but they do not get the precious stones.

(commentary continues at v. 62)

         Gen 24:62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.

         Gen 24:63 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.

         Gen 24:64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.

         Gen 24:65 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.

This could be a picture of the Bride being adorned in white raiment, the wedding garment. It is important to remember that all the redeemed have garments, but not all the redeemed keep them unspotted. This distinction can be found in Revelation 3:

         4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

         5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

         6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

In Revelation 3:4-6, there are two distinct types of clothing: garments and white raiment. Jesus is speaking unto seven local and visible churches, so these are saved, baptized people. They are already saved. The garments they have represent their salvation (Rev 3:4) but Christ makes it clear that there were some who have not defiled their garments. This means they have not ruined their testimony. They are chaste, not defiled. It is clear that only those who overcome are those who will receive white raiment (Rev 3:5). Not everyone will receive that garment. It is a specific article given to those who overcome. In this context, and all throughout Chapters 2 and 3, to overcome means to do exactly what Christ is commanding: to get right with God, to love him and keep his commandments, etc. The members of each of those seven churches that do that are counted worthy for specific blessings, of which include donning a wedding garment and being given in marriage to the Bridegroom. This does not mean the other members of the church are not saved; it just means they were not chaste and will not therefore be part of Christ’s future Bride. 

Peter tells us to add to our faith a number of things:

2Pe 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Peter is saying that by Jesus’ divine power, he has given us everything we need to live godly lives, and it is done through knowledge. It is by this that we have exceeding great and precious promises: that we would be partakers of the divine nature that is being glorified with Christ (Rom 8:16,17).

2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

         2Pe 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

         2Pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

         2Pe 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

         2Pe 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

         2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

         2Pe 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

         2Pe 1:12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

         2Pe 1:13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;

         2Pe 1:14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

         2Pe 1:15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

Look at what kind of entrance can be made into Heaven for those who add those things to their faith: an abundant entrance. It is sad that many Christians will make a normal entry and not experience an abundance of blessing throughout eternity with Christ. Therefore, it is reasonable to at least assume—if not be certain of—that there will be a group of Christians who are in Heaven, and then there will be an even smaller group who will share a special closeness with Jesus because they overcame…they are his Bride.

        Gen 24:66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.

         Gen 24:67 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.


Eve is a wonderful picture of the local visible church.

         Gen 2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

“An help meet for him” corresponds to the believer’s relationship, specifically the Local church’s, relationship to Jesus. When we are saved and baptized into a Local, True New Testament church, we become an help meet for Christ. The following examples bear this out:

         Col 4:11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.

         1Th 3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

         Phm 1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,

          Phm 1:2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:

         Phm 1:23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;

Notice how “fellowworker(s),” “fellow soldier,” “fellow prisoner,” and “fellowlabourer” refer to the gospel of Christ or church in some way. This is because Paul is establishing the fact that as ministers of the gospel, we are united to Christ as co-laborers. Jesus said these “laborers are few” (Mat 9:37,38). But, there is a greater connection made in 1 Cor 3:9 where the Bible reads, “For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Again, “ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” is referring to the local, visible church, and it is said of them they are “laborers” together with God. We are an help meet for him to accomplish his will of saving, baptizing, and teaching if we are planted in a local church.

Lastly, I want to point out something that has troubled me in the past about 1 Cor 3:9. Do not be bothered by the “we” in the verse—many will somehow say that means Paul is saying he is part of the church in a spiritual, invisible sense. No. In general, he is referring to the fact that a church is a co-laborer with Christ. It is his editorial way of conveying his point. The fact remains that a church is a called out assembly with the purpose of laboring for and with Christ. Paul knew he was not with the church when we wrote that letter, but that does not negate the fact that he too is a laborer (he was a laborer of the church at Antioch).

         Gen 2:21 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;

What a wonderful picture the LORD creates here for us: Jesus’ body was broken for us, his blood was shed for us—he rose from the grave for us. But, what most “Baptists” neglect or ignore, or even forget, is that Jesus’ body was broken for the church, and his blood was shed for the church.        

         Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

         Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

         Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

The greatest purchase made in history was that of the church. The Pope never loved anyone or anything enough to die for it. The Pope and any denominational president, founder, CEO, board, etc. is powerless to save. That is why the true church has Christ as the head—he died to save the body, so he has sole ownership. The Bible says Christ loved the CHURCH and GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT.

Yes, it is true that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life; but, I am here to tell you that Jesus suffered, and bled, and died to have local, visible churches.

         Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

         Gen 2:23 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.

Listen to what Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” Here, Adam is calling Eve to himself. This is sanctification. “Sanctification” is the “The act of making holy,” “The act of consecrating or of setting apart for a sacred purpose” (consecration). Adam set Eve apart from all else—every other creature—for a sacred purpose, marriage. There is no holier union on earth than marriage, and the very real equivalent is that of Christ and his church-Bride. When Adam said those words, it was done, which is just how a person is saved: by the word. But, again, keep in mind that it is more than personal salvation we are talking about. The church, likewise, is sanctified by the washing of water by the word:

         Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

         Eph 5:27 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.

The local church that holds to Christ and his doctrines is the church that is washed by water by the word. “With the washing of water by the word” refers to the command (word) to be “washed in water” or set apart, called out from the world, by Baptism. The “word” says to be washed, to be baptized. Paul says this in Romans 6, the “baptism chapter,” when he writes, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” That “form of doctrine” that has rescued us from the dominion of sin is not only salvation, but also baptism (“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”)

There is no person or church on this earth now that is presently without some degree of error, but if the doctrine is kept pure, the promise is that the church will be presented without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing as the Bride (please see the section on Rebekah for more doctrine concerning that point). This means that at that moment of the Marriage Supper, the Bride will be revealed, and she will comprise all those who were not defiled, who overcame, who were faithful. That is not all the saved. If it is, then you believe in a universal, invisible church.

         Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

The union between Christ and his Bride, a local, visible church, is like that of Adam and Eve: one body. Jesus literally gave himself for the church—God the Father caused a deep sleep to come upon him when he gave up the Ghost on Calvary; the Father caused a deep sleep to come upon him; but when he awoke, and the stone was rolled away, praise God it was for his church. And the Second Adam said, “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”

         Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

This verse reminds me of Luke 9:23-26: “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his father’s, and of the holy angels.”

Of “cast away,” we can refer to what Paul said in 1Co 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Paul did not want to be castaway. He did not say, “…I myself should lose my salvation.” Paul did not want his life to become vain and unprofitable to the point that God would not use him. Paul did not want to be ashamed of the words of Christ, of the doctrine of Christ. Instead, he kept under his body, he brought it into subjection, and the Bible says that he fought a good fight. The context of that verse speaks of receiving a prize, an incorruptible crown.

         Again, Gen 2:24 says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Speaking of leaving father and mother, Jesus said in Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” The verse did not say, “Cannot be saved,” it said, “cannot be my disciple.” I wonder how many born-again people stay home rather than go to a fired-up Baptist church? I wonder therefore how many people are Jesus’ disciple? I wonder therefore how many will hear that day, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I wonder how many will be ashamed at his coming? Do you think Jesus Christ is ashamed of his Bride? These are questions to consider as you study this topic.

         Gen 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

And so it will be for the Bride and Christ throughout all eternity: they will not be ashamed. Just as it was for Adam and Eve, husband and wife, bridegroom and bride—in the beginning—so will it be for Christ and his Bride, in the end. Yes, the guests will be there, but the glory is for Christ, and the Bride will rejoice.

         Now, let us go into the New Testament and examine a few other Scriptures.

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