Behold the Bridegroom
In what varied ways Christ, as the Bridegroom, is set before us in type in the Old Testament. In each we get foreshadowed the satisfaction of His heart in His bride; the place she has in His affections, as well as her share in His glories and distinctions.
ADAM, set as head over all things, having universal supremacy, is, in type, the Son of Man in Psalm 8, crowned with glory and honour, and clearly points to Christ as the one universal Lord, into whose hand the Father has committed “all things.”
Exalted above the beast of the field, the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, with a dominion stretching from pole to pole, he is unsatisfied; he has no companion to share his honours and dignities or satisfy his affections. Awaking from his deep sleep, Eve is brought to him, bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, suited in nature and being; in her he finds one who can not only share his supremacy, but reciprocate his affections, and respond to the love of his heart.
Ephesians 5:32 is the antitype. Christ loved the Church, slept the deep sleep of death, and in resurrection owns her as of His body, His flesh, and His bones: loves her now, nourishes and cherishes her, and waits to present her to Himself, all glorious. He will not take His kingdom rights and royal glories alone; His bride is to share with Him in all that is comprehended in the term “Head over all things.”
JOSEPH made lord over Pharaoh’s house, raised from the dungeon to the right hand of power, invested with royal authority, ruler of all his substance, besides princes at his pleasure, and teaches senators wisdom. Every knee is bent as his chariot rolls by, and the Gentiles own the once despised prisoner as worthy of all honour. But royal ring, golden chain, purple vesture, Egypt’s submission and subjection satisfies him not. He, like Adam, never utters one word of satisfaction until, united to Asenath, he enjoys reciprocal affection. Then he utters the deep joy of his heart, and “forgets all his toil and all his father’s house,” and, though separated from his brethren, finds in bridal affections complete and entire satisfaction. Absorbed with her, as Adam with Eve, he finds more complacency in her than in his courtly surroundings and the plaudits of Egypt.
Adam and Joseph were publicly invested with rule and authority; both held distinguished positions; both had dominion put into their hands; both wielded the sceptre, as, indeed, did Solomon in his day, when there was neither enemy nor evil occurrent; Sheba’s queen did homage to Israel’s king, but though he exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and wisdom, and was accorded universal homage, none of these filled or satisfied him.
Ecclesiastes shows a vain search for happiness in material things; depicts a man who had every source of gratification placed at his disposal, and yet turns away from it all with disappointment.
How different his feelings expressed in the song of songs, which is Solomon’s. There he is telling out his delight in one who is all fair, no spot, comely and beautiful in his eyes; the joy of his heart. For her he prepares a house of costly stones, near to the court where he sat to judge Israel; he occupied the throne of glory, but she occupied the throne of his heart.
Solomon, Joseph, Adam, all tell the same story. All rehearse the heart as having the first claim, and tell us that affections are more than distinctions; that bridal joys are more to Israel’s king or the head of the Gentiles than all their displayed glories. The queen is set on the right hand adorned in gold of Ophir, and the king greatly desires her beauty; she is all glorious within and without, with the beauty He has put upon her.
ISAAC is another bridegroom, but he had no royal place, neither honours, glories, or distinctions were his. His fame had not travelled to distant lands like Solomon’s, nor did his chariot roll along in state like Joseph’s. His virtues and excellencies were of another order; he dwelt in the Father’s house, and moved in a circle of family affections daily with his father. All his joys were joys of home and kindred; he knew no distinctions, and desired none outside the circle of love in which he dwelt.
Genesis 24 introduces us to the home of the father, and that well-known story unfolds a father’s interest in the son of his love, and the marriage consummated there is a marriage for the son. All here emanates from the father. It is the father who gives all he has to his son, his only son, and the long journey of the servant across the desert sands was the outcome of a love which sought the supreme happiness of the one who ever dwelt with the father.
Rebekah, wooed and won by the story of one who awaited her in that distant land, traverses the distance with pleasure; and as she approaches the long-looked-for home, Isaac welcomes her, loves her, and is comforted; his home is occupied; his heart satisfied.
On her part she finds neither crowns nor dominions awaiting her, but she does find a father and a son, and if the son had his joy, the father had his also, and who shall measure the father’s joy as he welcomed one who henceforth was to share with his son the children’s place.
Just so; when Jesus comes He will first of all welcome us to the Father’s house; introduce us to the many sons “whom He has brought to glory,” and set us where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore; set us in the home of the Father as He has already set us in the heart of the Father. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God . . . Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” What is the hope set before us? Is it not to see Him “as He is,” where He now is in the Father’s house, pure as He is pure, like Him and with Him for ever?
He went back to the Father before He took the kingdom; we also shall go to the Father ere the kingdom dawns; days, months, and years will roll by as our souls bask in the warm rays of the Father’s love, participate in the bridal affections of the Son, and learn there, as never before, all the infinitude of His love.
BOAZ is another bridegroom with another story to unfold. If Rebekah is introduced to a home circle to enjoy the love of the father and the son, Ruth reminds us we are there on the ground of redemption: her husband was her redeemer. She had returned from Moab, and ere she could be united to Boaz he had to do the part of a kinsman-redeemer, for the redemption of the inheritance involved Moab’s outcasts being redeemed.
This gives their union a character all its own. It reminds us that it is those purchased and ransomed who are at the marriage of the Lamb; it tells of One who sold all He had, gave Himself, shed His precious blood to purchase the one pearl of great price on which Christ’s love was set.
“To Him that loved us, gave Himself,
And died to do us good,
Hath washed us from our scarlet sins,
In His own precious blood.”
The wonders and glories of redemption shall be celebrated in one long, loud, universal anthem to the slain Lamb, who has redeemed us to God by His Blood. This note, struck in heaven, will widen out to the utmost bounds of earth, but the Church, whilst sharing in the redemption, will be united in the closest and holiest intimacy, fruition of that love which gave Himself; cleansed, nurtured, cherished her during her earthly sojourn, but has now presented her to Himself all glorious.
His love and her nearness to Him will distinguish her from every other created intelligence, and she will never forget the depth of anguish He passed through to secure her for Himself.
The Son of the Father, our kinsman Redeemer, our glorious Lord is the Bridegroom we are to behold; the One whom we are to go out to meet; the Antitype of Adam, Joseph, Isaac and Boaz. We are to rejoice, as we contemplate the beneficence of His reign; rejoice that His throne and sceptre will be held in universal honour. Kings will come to the brightness of His rising; the Gentiles blessed, and Israel’s once-rejected King shall reign in royal state, wield the rod of iron, and rule in righteousness. We are to rejoice that under the figure of the New Jerusalem the Church will minister those graces which once shone in her Head when here, and will express His goodness to the citizens of the earth in the ministry of the healing leaves, and refreshment of the river which flows to vivify the redeemed earth. But above and beyond all this, she will find herself in a relationship expressive of abiding intimacy; an affection outside and beyond all dispensations; a deathless love which will be her joy and solace throughout an endless eternity.
Kingdom glories will come to an end, the world to come will run its course, the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll, and a new heaven and a new earth will displace the old, but the Church never grows old, no wrinkle shall ever be on her brow. As a bride adorned for her husband in all the freshness and beauty of the day of her espousals, she descends from God out of heaven, and still her Redeemer is her husband; His deep affection, proven on Calvary, is her eternal portion throughout the nightless day of eternal glory: the changeless love of Christ for His bride will be her known and enjoyed portion, a love peculiar and distinct from that shared by any other created beings.
Let us, then, “Behold” the “Bridegroom”; contemplate His worth, His person, His perfections, until, in true bridal affection, we say, “Come!” and “Go out to meet Him.”
“Children when far away may long
For home and kindred dear,
And she who loves her absent Lord
Must grieve till He appear.”
Words of Grace and Encouragement 1909