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ISAAC AND REBECCA
We have already seen that many of the narratives of the old testament aside from being historical, have a special interest to us from the fact that the persons and acts described are often used as types of spiritual truths now due to us.
The Apostles, especially Paul, often referred to these types. In Romans 9:7-8, and Gal. 4:22-31, he shows that Abraham was a type of God; that his wife Sarah, was a type of the Gospel Covenant; that Jesus Christ (and we in him) is the offspring of that covenant, which “is the mother of us all.” Hagar the bond-maid typified the Law covenant and her offspring, the fleshly Israel, and all whose relationship to God comes not of grace, but by keeping the law, are the offspring of that covenant. [There are people to-day whose claim is that they are God’s children through keeping the law—the seventh day, Sabbath, etc.] Abraham had “a seed” by Sarah in whom centered the promises of blessing to all the families of earth. So in the antitype God has “a seed” through the gospel or grace covenant in which seed all promises of blessings center; “which seed is Christ” “and if ye be Christ’s [body, bride] then are ye Abraham’s seed [God’s seed] and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29.)
We have heretofore looked at some of the typical features of the getting of Isaac’s bride—Rebecca, believing it to be a picture of the taking of Jesus’ bride, but a closer examination reveals some points not heretofore noticed. Let us therefore re-examine it. Isaac chose not his own bride, but Abraham chose for him through his servant, illustrative of the fact that God the Father, through his spirit (the servant) is choosing the bride of Christ. (Jno. 17:2-24.) As the servant represents the Spirit, so we understand that the camels upon which he came to Rebecca (which also carried the presents) represented The Word of God. When the servant arrived he sought the virgin who when asked to entertain him, would voluntarily offer respect to his camels. Just so, we must “gladly receive the word” if we would be accepted as the bride. As the servant kept secret the account of the riches of Abraham, and Isaac’s being the only heir, and his errand being to select a bride for him, until Rebecca had received the camels, so the Spirit does not communicate to us the news of “our high calling in Christ, until we entertain the word as well as the Spirit. When Rebecca had thus received the camels, etc., the servant gave her a face ornament of gold and gold bracelets for her hands, so when we receive the spirit and word of God our faces show it, and our hands also, (Gold symbolizes Grace.) We cannot be blessed of the Spirit without its affecting our lives and in whatever our hands find to do we will be constantly showing the graces (presents) of the Spirit.
Rebecca “ran and told them of her mother’s house these things.” So, when the bride of Jesus has received even a few of the gifts of the Spirit she “loves to tell the story.” Rebecca’s brother when he saw the adornments entertained the servant and camels. So many of the bride’s moral friends rejoice at her adornments of a meek and quiet spirit, &c., and because of these receive the Spirit and word as a visitor, but not as she receives them, viz.: as guide and helper on to Isaac.
When entertained, the servant declares his mission; Rebecca accepts the invitation to go and receives further presents, this time both silver and gold (knowledge and grace), and to her friends who did not hinder her going, he gave “precious things.” So with us, it is not when we first receive the Spirit and Word but when they are lodged with us as our guests, that the wonderful news of our high calling is declared to us. When we accept of it and its conditions—leaving our “Father’s house, etc.”—we receive further blessings of the heretofore hidden treasures, both knowledge and grace and come to possess and learn some of “the deep things of God.”
Rebecca starts at once on her journey, so must we; the Spirit has a work to do and will not delay; if we are the bride we will want to start at once for our new heavenly home—and joyfully forsake the earthly; its attractions do not for a moment compare with those of our heavenly Father’s house. Rebecca followed the guidance of the servant and rode on the camels. So we are led of the Spirit, and supported and carried forward by the word of God. Rebecca’s “damsels rode upon camels” also, and followed her, consequently they were also under the guidance of the servant. So we are told of a “great company” following the bride of Christ. “The virgins, her companions that follow her,” (Ps. 45:14). All are bound for the same Spiritual heavenly condition, but only the bride is to be joint heir, inheriting all things. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things.”
Now they near the end of the journey. Soon Isaac and Rebecca will meet and our interest increases as we realize that what has so far been so clearly a picture should give us an idea of how we shall meet our Lord. Isaac comes out and meets Rebecca on the way and himself leads her into the mother Sarah’s tent. So our Lord is to come to get His Bride and will lead her into the full possession of things pertaining to the Sarah covenant. For us to enter into and possess all things pertaining to our covenant will include our “blessing all the families of the earth,” and though we expect very soon to be united to our Lord, yet we expect to journey with him until A.D. 1914 (End of “Gentile time”) before we can share with him all the blessings promised us, by our covenant—fully enter in to the mother’s tent.
We read that Isaac “came by the way of the well, Lahai-roi.” Has
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the name of this well anything of special significance, or why is it so particularly mentioned? Hagar gave the well this name, “For she said: Have I also here looked after Him that seeth me. Wherefore the well was called Beer (well) Lahai-roi.” (Gen. 16:13,14.) She realized that the Lord had been present, seen and talked with her, yet she had not seen Him, though she had “looked after [for] Him.” The mentioning in this type that Isaac came by this well may have a significance, if so, we should suppose it meant to teach that our Lord, when coming to meet us, comes by way of the unseen presence.
The servant informs Rebecca as to the presence of Isaac, and immediately she leaves her virgin companions, putting on a vail which hides her from their sight. She alights from the camel, and is with Isaac.
“Forever with the Lord! amen, so let it be.” Now, what does this feature of the type teach us? We believe that we are still going forward on the word. The Spirit is still our leader and instructor. He is now telling us of Him who comes by way of unseen presence that He is here present. Some members of “the bride” have already heard, others are hearing daily. When all have been instructed, the next step in order will be our leaving the second company—disappearing from their sight—going beyond the vail of the flesh—entering the perfect spiritual condition; changed in a moment from mortal to immortal; from natural to spiritual; made like unto Christ’s glorious body. Then “we shall see Him as He is,” for
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“we shall be like Him.” Glorious hope, joyous moment. Soon the new nature will be freed entirely from the restraints of the fleshly body and have “a body as it hath pleased Him.” Soon we shall alight from the camels, and leave the servant’s guidance when we pass under the vail. When that which is perfect is come, we will have no further need of the sustaining and helping promises of the word, nor of the guidance of the comforter, for “we shall know as we are known,” and “see as we are seen.”
We seem to be very near the time of our change. Seek to keep it ever in mind. It will help you over the hard places of life, cheer your heart, and help you “to keep your body under.” See, also, to be as much as possible used as the mouthpiece of the Spirit to inform the “espoused virgin” church of the Lord’s presence.
— November, 1880 —