The Unnamed Servant and the Bride

26 Oct

At first I didn’t want to admit the calling of the bride for Isaac was a type of calling out the Bride of Christ, the Church, from the world. I thought it might be a bit too spiritually minded, perhaps a little too religious to be practical, especially as the analogy applies to the Holy Spirit, but I am unable to deny the symbolism I see here in Genesis 24. All types, if carried too far, will fail, but this does not negate the fact that the type is real. For example, all animal sacrifices point to the sacrifice of Christ, yet none of the animal sacrifices or all of them considered together could take away anyone’s sinfulness, as the sacrifice of Christ has done. Therefore, the type is real even if it is not equal in every way.

In the first place Abraham is pictured in the position (or type) of God who arranges a marriage for his son (Genesis 24:1-3; cp. Matthew 22:2). He does this by taking his chief servant and causing him to swear he would perform Abraham’s will (Genesis 24:3-4). The unnamed servant is often believed to be the Holy Spirit,[1] and there is some support for this approach, but I have to wonder about such references as servant (Genesis 24:2), the questions the servant has for Abraham (Genesis 24:5) and the fact that the angel of God will go before him to guide him (Genesis 24:7). These things don’t seem to fit our understanding of who the Holy Spirit is. Certainly types will fail if carried out too far, but I believe a better point can be made for those who preach the Gospel, that they are individually the unnamed servant.

Certainly, servants such as Paul, are sent out by God and Christ (Romans 1:1; Titus 1:1) to preach the Gospel and thereby draw out from among men a bride for Christ, the Son of God (2Corinthians 11:2; Colossians 1:28; Ephesians 5:27). Abraham’s unnamed servant gave gifts to Isaac’s prospective bride (Genesis 24:22, 47, 53), and this is thought to indicate the Holy Spirit giving spiritual gifts to believers in the Church (1Corinthians 12:7-11). However, Paul tells us that it was through his ministry (and by application also the ministry of anyone who brings the Gospel to others) that gifts were bestowed upon believers (cp. Romans 1:11), sometimes through the laying on of hands (Acts 8:18; 1Timothy 4:14). So, even though spiritual gifts come ultimately from God (i.e. the Holy Spirit), they are bestowed upon believers through the ministry of the one preaching the Gospel.

The unnamed servant also brought Rebecca to Isaac and presented her to him as a chaste virgin (Genesis 24:16), just as Paul and any pastor of any church is commissioned by God to preserve the Bride of Christ (the Church, whether local or universal) and present her to her husband who is Christ (2Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-32), which makes Isaac a type of Christ who comes out to meet her (Genesis 24:63-66; cp. Matthew 25:1, 5-6). Rebecca is a type of the Church who believed the unnamed servant, accepted her husband’s gifts and went forth to meet him without ever seeking him (Genesis 24:53, 58-61; cp. Matthew 25:1; 1Peter 1:8).

Herein, therefore, we have a picture of the Gospel in the Old Covenant. God (seen in Abraham) has prepared a marriage feast for his Son (seen in Isaac). Those who preach the Gospel are the unnamed servant, the bearer of the Good News (the Gospel – Isaiah 52:7; cp. Romans 10:12-15; Acts 10:36-38; Matthew 28:18-19), and the Church, the Bride of Christ, is found in Rebecca who, having not seen her husband (1Peter 1:8), believed the Good News about him and went forth to meet him on the word of the unnamed servant (Genesis 24:58-61; Matthew 25:1).

[1] Biblical teachers C. I. Scofield and John Darby taught that this servant was a type of the Holy Spirit and this teaching can also be found HERE, HERE and HERE, among other places on the web.

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Posted by on October 26, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God


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