There are three prominent brides in Genesis that picture the relationship between Christ and the Church. In Genesis 2:21-24, Eve is provided for Adam as a result of God removing a rib from Adam’s side. This pictures the cost of providing a bride for Christ. In Genesis 24, Abraham’s servant is sent to find a bride for Isaac. Rebekah is faced with a choice: “Wilt thou go with this man?” Finally, in Genesis 41:45, Pharaoh provides Joseph with a bride, Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah. She shared his glory. Thus, ch.2 takes us back to the death of Christ, ch.24 brings us to the present time in which we must make a choice if we are to be part of the bride of Christ, while ch.41 takes us to the future when we shall be linked with Christ in His glorious reign.
Ch.24 does not give us the first reference to Rebekah. Her birth is mentioned in 22:23, following the offering of Isaac by Abraham. While Abraham did not actually offer up Isaac, he is credited for having done so: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac … accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Heb 11:17-19 KJV). This event on Mount Moriah is to be viewed as a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is in this context that the birth of Rebekah is mentioned. So ch.22 is paving the way for ch.24.
The chapter begins with Abraham commissioning his eldest servant to go to Nahor’s city to “take a wife” for Isaac. He is assured of divine guidance (v7), and arriving at the well outside the city he prays that the Lord will lead him to the damsel whom the Lord Himself had appointed for Isaac (vv12-14). The sign that the servant requested is most interesting. He will request of the damsel to whom he would speak that she give him a refreshing drink of water, and she would not only grant his request, but would offer to give drink to the camels also. Rebekah did exactly what the servant had prayed, and in doing so, not only confirmed that she was the one whom God had appointed for Isaac, but also that she would be a worthy bride for Isaac.
Upon hearing from the servant his purpose in coming, and the substance of his prayer request, Laban and Bethuel recognized that this was of God. But the next day, when the servant requested that he might return to his master with Rebekah, the family sought for a delay (v55). Since the servant was determined to leave, the decision was left with Rebekah herself: “Wilt thou go with this man?” (v58). Although she had never seen Isaac, her immediate response was “I will go.” Two conditions had to be fulfilled before she could become Isaac’s bride. She had to be the one whom God had appointed (v14), and she had to be willing to go. The rest is history. In summary, Rebekah was forechosen for Isaac by God (v14), proved to be a suitable bride (vv18-20), confirmed God’s choice by her decision to go (v58), became Isaac’s wife (v67) and was loved by Isaac. In 22:2 we have the first reference to love in Genesis, presenting to us the Father’s love for the Son. In 24:67 we have the second reference to love, presenting the Son’s love for His Bride.
Ch.22 beautifully pictures for us the willingness of God the Father to give His beloved Son in order to provide a bride for His Son. In ch.24 we see the bride sought out and found, and willingly taking the long journey to be married to the man she has never seen. Peter says, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1Pe 1:8 KJV). Christ will present His bride to Himself “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27 KJV). What a glorious future awaits those who have, in effect, said, “I will go.”
When Rebekah had made her choice, the family blessed her, saying, “Thou art our sister; mayest thou become thousands of tens of thousands; and may thy seed possess the gate of their enemies!” (v60 JND). Doubtless, this will have a fulfillment in Israel in the coming millennial reign of Christ. According to this blessing, Israel will be blessed with fruitfulness and dominion. Then these words will be fulfilled: “the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail” (Deu 28:13 KJV). Israel will be given administrative authority over the nations.
However, it also has an application to “the bride the Lamb’s wife.” Acts 2 presents to us the beginning of the Church era. On that day alone about three thousand souls were added to the Church. By Acts 4:4 that number had swollen to about five thousand. Since then, the gospel has spread to the four corners of the earth. It has been claimed that there are more believers in the world today than at any time in history. Revelation 4 and 5 present to us a preview of events in heaven following the rapture of the Church. In that context, we read the song of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open its seals; because thou hast been slain, and hast redeemed to God, by thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev 5:9-10 JND). We have no idea how vast a crowd of believers will form the Church in the day of manifestation.
Meanwhile, “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Act 14:22 KJV). Persecution and tribulation are the expected lot of believers. While in North America we know little, if any, of such, in other parts of the world Christians are suffering for their faith in Christ. However, Paul tells us “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2Co 4:17 KJV). In the coming kingdom, we will not have administrative authority over cities, as will Israel, but we will sit with Christ on His throne (Rev 3:21). More importantly, we will be with Him and be like Him forever. Two very special events we will never forget, and which have brought untold blessing to us, are the day Christ died for us upon the cross and the day each one of us said, in effect, “I will go.”