Bible Study Series: The Beginning and the End - Genesis and Revelation
The Counterpart - The Bride of Christ, the Second Eve
by I Gordon
2Co 11:2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.
I want to start this study with a quiz question. Actually, two quiz questions. There is a lot riding on the first question because if you answer it correctly you can go straight on to the second question (which is known as 'the money round'). Answer the first question incorrectly and unfortunately... well, actually you go straight to the second question 'money round' as well. So scrub that earlier thought, there is not a lot of pressure on this first question! But here it is:
Q1: During the 6 days of creation, as recorded in Genesis chapters 1 & 2, there were many things that God said were 'good'. But what was the one thing that God said was 'not good'?
Q2: What theme connects the following sayings of Jesus?
"How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?"
"But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."
"I go to prepare a place for you"
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom"1
The two questions above are actually related, bound together by a theme and thought that was in the heart of God from before the creation of the world. This thought is seen in picture form from the earliest chapters of the Bible and plays out through history. It is also seen gloriously in the final chapters of the book of Revelation. What is this great theme and thought?
That the almighty, eternal, holy, all-powerful God... will have a counterpart... a bride. This study then is about that counterpart - His bride, the second Eve. In the last study we looked at the counterfeit woman, who is the false religious harlot that will play a prominent the in the last days. This time it is the far more glorious theme of God's true woman - the Church. With all the craziness going on in the world it is good to take a little time and look at what God is doing and His great plan. Let's start at the beginning and explore this divine romance... Oh, and along the way the two questions above will be answered!
That which is 'not good'
Gen 2:18-23 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (19) Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. (20) So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. (21) So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. (22) Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. (23) The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."
God made man from the dust of the ground and gave him a wonderful environment in which to dwell. Yet all was not initially well. Remember the first question above? What was the only thing said to be 'not good' in God's creation? Well here it is in verse 18. 'It is not good that man be alone.' You see the creatures that God made had a counterpart. God made them all come before Adam so that they could be named. Here comes Mr and Mrs Elephant. Here comes Mr and Mrs Badger. The Lion and the Lioness are there. Even the little sparrow flew in for the occasion with his female counterpart. And yet here was the pinnacle of God's creation - man - who had no counterpart, no helper and mate suitable for him. It was a situation, according to the Most High, that was NOT GOOD!
And so God set about to remedy this situation. He would make a 'woman'. Someone like Adam that could live with Adam and be a suitable partner. Someone that Adam could love and be loved in return. And yet how God chose to do that is very interesting. He put Adam into a deep sleep and opened up a whole in his side and, taking part of his very being, formed a woman. Now, does that not seem a little strange to you? When God wanted to make a man he simply formed him from the dust of the earth. Why not do something similar for a woman? Why does Adam have to be put into a deep sleep and have part of his very being used to create a counterpart for him? Strange indeed!
The divine romance
We have seen in previous studies that in Genesis, God presents many clues and pictures within the stories of that which is still to come. And there is no greater story that the one being presented to us here. When Paul quotes this account of Adam and Eve he notes that there is something far deeper and greater going on. He writes:
Eph 5:31-32 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Paul saw that in the marriage and union of a husband and wife, there was a 'profound mystery' - a picture of a far deeper and greater union between Christ and the church.
So I asked above 'why did God use such a strange method to make Eve?' The answer of course is that He desired to give us a picture of how a bride for the Lord Jesus, the second man, would come about. Look at the types and fulfillment:
|Adam / Eve
||Jesus / Church
|Adam put into a deep sleep
||In the New Testament the word 'sleep' can be used for the believer for death (1 Thes 4:14, 1 Cor 15:51). Jesus had to go into death itself for this new bride to be able to come forth.
|Adam had his side opened
||After He had died, Jesus had His side opened through a Roman spear (John 19:33-34) Blood and water flowed out representing the means of forgiveness and cleansing that would come to those that would be His.
|Eve was made from Adam's flesh and bone
||In like manner, the second Eve, the bride of Christ, will be of His very nature! Believers are a new creation when they are born again, of His life and at the rapture we shall be fully changed into His likeness! (Col 3:4, 11, 1 Cor 15:49, 1 John 3:2)
|Eve was taken out of man and then revealed
||The bride of Christ is currently 'hidden in Christ' (Col 3:3) but shall soon be revealed! All of creation is waiting and longing for this moment scripture tells us (Col 3:4, Rom 8:19)
|The Lord brought Eve to Adam and they were united in marriage
||What would Adam have thought when Eve was presented to him? Not sure if it is a biblical word but probably something like 'wowsers!' The Lord will present His beautiful bride to Himself in all her spotless glory at the marriage of the Lamb! (Eph 5:27, Jude 24, Rev 19:7)
The fact that the Lord Jesus would take a bride, and largely from the Gentile world, is also pictured in other types in Genesis and the early books of the Bible. For example, who would you say is a strong type of Jesus in the Old Testament? This is not a complete list but let me name four:
- Issac - He was the promised son, whom God asked his father Abraham to sacrifice. This was a clear picture of the promised son, the Lord Jesus, who was sacrificed on our behalf.
- Joseph - Rejected by his brothers he rose to the right hand of Pharaoh and ruled. And during a time of great difficulty his Jewish brothers were reconciled to him. All a picture of Jesus and His relationship to His Jewish brothers (of things past and still to come).
- Moses - The great prophet and deliverer. Moses desired to deliver his Jewish brethren from their slavery but was initially rejected and so left for Midian. Later he returned to free his fellow Israelites through a series of judgements upon Egypt. This again pictures Jesus in His first and second coming.
- Boaz - The man of great wealth and grace from the tribe of Judah that would act as a kinsman - redeemer and marry our lovely widow, Ruth. Boaz speaks directly of our redeemer, the Lord Jesus.
So four great examples, from the line of Abraham, that stand as types of the Lord Jesus... So here is a question for you...
What else, as a type of Jesus, did all four of these men have in common?2
When we get to the gospels this theme of the bride and marriage ramps right up! But the thing is, we often miss it. Ok... we do see the obvious ones like when John the Baptist says that he (representing the last of the Old Testament prophets) is not the bride but a friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29). Or when Jesus says He is the bridegroom (Matt 9:15). It is also clear when Jesus says that the whole kingdom of heaven is likened to a King sending out invites and preparing a wedding feast for his son (Matt 22:2). We get that!
But what about other more obscure, yet important passages like when Jesus said that He would go and prepare a place for us... or when He said that no one but the Father knows the day of His return... or when He instigated the new covenant but said that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom... Did you know that all these references are connected and make sense within the framework of a 1st century Jewish marriage? I want to quote, quite extensively, from Zola Levitt's 'A Christian Love Story.'3 He was a Jewish believer and well loved Bible teacher who understood the Jewish background to the Gospels. He writes:
When the young man of Israel in Jesus’ time saw the girl he wanted (or the girl his father said he wanted), he would approach her with a marriage contract. He would come to her house with a covenant — a true legal agreement — giving the terms by which he would propose marriage. The most important consideration in the contract was the price the bridegroom would be willing to pay to marry this particular bride... The bridegroom would present himself to the bride with this agreement, offering to pay a suitable price for her, and she and her father would consider his contract. If the terms were suitable, the bride and groom would drink a cup of wine together and this would seal the bargain. This cup was most significant. It signified the bridegroom’s willingness to sacrifice in order to have this bride. It was offered as a toast to the bride, and of course, it showed the bride’s willingness to enter into this marriage...
Then the groom would pay the price. It should be said that this price was no modest token but was set so that the new bride would be a costly item — that was the idea. The young man had no delusions that he was getting something for nothing. He would pay dearly to marry the girl of his choice. When that matter was settled the groom would depart. He would make a little speech to his bride, saying, “I go to prepare a place for you,” and he would return to his father’s house. Back at his father’s house, he would build her a bridal chamber, a little mansion, in which they would have their future honeymoon... But the father of the groom, who had been through this previously and was less excited, would be the final judge on when the chamber was ready and when the young man would go to claim his bride. The bride, for her part, was obliged to do a lot of waiting. Custom provided that she had to have an oil lamp ready in case he came late at night in the darkness, because she had to be ready to travel at a moment’s notice. During this long period of waiting, she was referred to as “consecrated,” “set apart,” “bought with a price.” She was truly a lady-in-waiting, but there was no doubt that her groom would return.
Meanwhile, the bridegroom would be building and decorating with all that he had. His father would inspect the chamber from time to time to see if it were ready. If we came along the road at this point and saw the young man working on his bridal chamber, we might well ask, “When’s the big day?” But the bridegroom would answer, “Only my father knows that.” Finally, the chamber would be ready and the bridegroom would assemble his young friends to accompany him on the exciting trip to claim his bride...The groom’s father, meanwhile, would have assembled the wedding guests — his friends — and they would be ready to celebrate the new marriage. Since the wedding was actually going to take seven days (until the appearance of the bride and groom out of the chamber), it was hard to plan for. Occasionally, the host would run out of wine, as we can well imagine. The Lord Himself graced a wedding at Cana with His presence and replenished the wine for the celebrants as told in John 2...At the end of the week, the bride and groom would make their long awaited appearance to the cheers of the crowd. There would then be a joyous meal — a marriage supper, which we might refer to as the wedding reception — to honor the new couple. At this point, the bride would have discarded her veil, since she was now a married woman, and all would see exactly who it was the bridegroom had chosen. The new couple and the guests would enjoy a magnificent feast to conclude the entire matrimonial week.
What an amazing picture this is. Do you see how the Gospels present this whole wedding story to us through what Jesus did (and is doing?) The bride is selected and the price for her has to be paid. Jesus was willing to do this! The contract was initiated and was sealed by drinking the wine together just as Jesus did at the last supper. The groom would return to his Father's house to prepare a place for his bride just as Jesus said He would do (John 14:1-3). The groom would come again but only when the Father of the groom said the time was right - just as Jesus said (Matt 24:36). For the bride, she was now set apart and consecrated (as the church is) and would wait and watch eagerly for her groom to return. When Jesus returns He will take us to the place He has prepared for the seven year tribulation period just as the Jewish groom and bride spent 7 days together. And then, they were both revealed to all at the wedding feast. This is the promise of blessing to those invited in Revelation 19:9. It is an amazing theme being played out that all of creation watches. The divine romance. Jesus our Lord is taking a bride for Himself.
Possible general timing...
Now before seeing how this ends in Revelation, we'll just do a wee detour... but a related detour. It revolves around one more question. Here it is - What was the first miracle of Jesus?
Joh 2:1-11 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; (2) and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. (3) When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus *said to Him, "They have no wine." (4) And Jesus *said to her, "Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come." (5) His mother *said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." (6) Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. (7) Jesus *said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." So they filled them up to the brim. (8) And He *said to them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it to him. (9) When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter *called the bridegroom, (10) and *said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now." (11) This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
Yes! It was turning the water into wine at the wedding at Cana in John 2:1-11. But note that the Bible says in John 2:1 that this occurred 'on the third day'. So that got me thinking - why mention the third day? And what happened on the previous two days? Reading in John chapter 1 we find what happened on the previous two days. Firstly there was testimony that Jesus is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29,36). Secondly new disciples were made (John 1:37) and it records that people found the Messiah (John 1:41). And then on the third day there was the wedding. And at the wedding it was said of the Bridegroom that he had kept the best wine till the end (John 2:10). It seems to me that there could well be here a picture here of the glorious wedding to come. The Bible says that 'with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day'.4 So we see that on days 1 and 2 (potentially representing the 2000 year church age) the Gospel goes out declaring that Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. During this 2000 year period disciples are made. People find the Messiah and are saved. What comes after that? The wedding! And in that wedding we will find that the real bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, has definitely saved the best for last!
Hallelujah, the bride is ready!
To conclude this study I just want to look again at how the book of Revelation pictures this theme ending. And that, not surprisingly, is with the wedding ceremony and the wedding supper.
Rev 19:1-9 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants." And again they shouted: "Hallelujah!... The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: "Amen, Hallelujah!"... Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' " And he added, "These are the true words of God."
As we read Revelation chapter 19 we see first of all that there are a lot of 'Hallelujah's' going down! Four in fact. The Hebrew word 'Hallelujah' means "Praise the Lord' and Revelation 19 is actually the only place in the New Testament where it is used. But there is good reason for that. This is the perfect time to say it! The first three 'hallelujah's are actually around the fall of Babylon - the false harlot woman. We looked at her in the last study and thankfully her days are numbered! She must fall before the true bride and the wedding of the Lamb takes place. The last hallelujah in this passage however, is for the real thing - the bride of Christ.
As a side note, the Hallejuah Chorus in Handel's Messiah was based on this passage and others in the book of Revelation. Handel wrote the entire 260 page composition in just 24 days starting August 22, 1741. It is said that "Handel composed Messiah without getting much sleep or even eating much food. When his assistants brought him his meals, they were often left uneaten. His servants would often find him in tears as he composed. When he completed “Hallelujah,” he reportedly told his servant, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself seated on His throne, with His company of Angels.” "5
As incredible as this masterpiece is, imagine the music, praise and worship in the real heavenly scene! Imagine what it will be like as the bride is finally present to the Lord is total perfection and glory! If Adam was amazed at the sight of Eve, how much more so will the heavenly wedding be! William Newell in Revelation - A complete commentary writes;
"The bliss of the marriage of the Lamb is without limit. It is the Personal Delight of Him who created all things! No other love has the person-toward-person character of marital love. Parents love their children because they are their children. Brothers and sisters alike have a love of natural relationship. Friendships are based on common interests. But the love of bridegroom and bride is a delight each in the person of the other. This is why marital love is so often so wholly unexplainable! We say, “What did he see in her?” or, “Why did she choose him?” There is no answer but one-love. This love of Christ’s for His Bride is the love that is “strong as death … a very flame of Jah,” that “many waters cannot quench,” of the Song of Songs (Son_8:6-7)."
Earlier it was mentioned that Isaac is a type of Christ who took Rebekah as his wife. It was said of Rebekah, a type of Jesus' bride, the church, that she was 'very beautiful' (Gen24:16).
Gen 24:67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her...'
Again, this is all a picture of the heavenly reality. I just don't think we can even begin to imagine the love that will shown by the Lord Jesus towards His church, His bride, on that day. He is looking and longing for His counterpart.
May that be you! May you be like Rebekah, who left what she knew to marry this one she had never seen! May you be dedicated to Him who paid the price for you. There is a divine romance going one which is picture right from the earliest days in the garden. And it will have its fitting conclusion soon. Again, may you be part of that and may you live your days now devoted to this One who paid the price for you. In this crazy age where the birth pains of the world are increasing in timing and intensity, keep looking up. Keep your eyes on the One who is preparing a Heavenly home for all His believers and will return soon to take His bride unto Himself.
Alright... if you can't control yourself... if you can't wait and handle the suspense here are the answers.
1. The first 'not good' in the Bible (and the only 'not good' of the seven days of creation come in Genesis 2:18 where God said that it is not good that man be alone. This, as we shall see, is a pointer to the fact that He also desires to have a bride and wife. Someone that He can pour His love upon!
2. All of those statement that Jesus said concern the Jewish marriage system. More on that later! ↩
Ok, let's see if you can go 3 from 3... All four of these men, in the line of Abraham, took a Gentile bride/wife. Even early on God was showing what He would do with Jesus and His bride! Rebekah was from Aram Nahariam. Joseph married the Egyptian Asenath. Moses married Zipporah from Midian. And Boaz married the lovely Ruth, the Moabite. What does this tell us? The Jesus is taking a bride from every language, nation and tongue! ↩
Levitt, Zola. A Christian Love Story - I recommend reading the whole booklet. It is available on Amazon as a Kindle download if interested. There is a lot more information than quoted above. I would also recommend the movie/documentary 'Before the wrath' which has Jack Hibbs, J.D Farag, Jan Markell, Amir Tsarfati and others - It is based on the Galilean Wedding and has some great insights. ↩
Another common use of the 2 days and then glory in the third day see"
Hos 5:15-6:2 Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me." (6:1) Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. (2) After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
See also Luke 13:31-32 Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, "Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You." (32) And He said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.' ↩
I enjoyed this 'food court flash mob' singing the Hallelujah Chorus. Apparently so did 53 million others! https://youtu.be/SXh7JR9oKVE ↩