Depiction of Isaac running to meet Rebekah for the first time when Abraham’s servant returns to Canaan
From the Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us: Containing 400 Illustrations from the Old and New Testaments: With brief descriptions by Charles Foster, 1897
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
The above passage is the beginning portion of the Galatians narrative about the “son of promise”.
Now, this is not intended as a complete exposition of the passage. Certainly, it has been used and abused by far too many, as I hope we are all aware. However, it has a tie-in with the theme I’ve been building about Christ and His bride.
Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac upon Mount Moriah.
22 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
Hopefully, we are all familiar with this and what it represents. Scholars and the COG alike have long taught that Isaac, being the son of promise, was being sacrificed as a type foreshadowing the coming Messiah, Who was sacrificed for our sins. Notice that Isaac was called “thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest”. This is not a slam against Ishmael, as some would have it to be, for it is evident that Abraham loved Ishmael. However, Isaac was the legal heir, and Ishmael was the son of a concubine.
If Isaac was a type of Christ, then Abraham, as Isaac’s father, was a type for God the Father! This makes the whole question, “Who killed Jesus?” a lot more complicated, doesn’t it? Hopefully this will be something we all consider as spring eventually comes and Passover arrives. We have a tendency to answer this rather simplistically, and it should be realized that Jesus’ death was preordained before we were ever born. It was part of the plan. God Himself gave over Jesus to humanity to die, even though it was our individual and collective sins that thrust the knife (metaphorically) into the sacrifice.
So, if Abraham is a type of God the Father and Isaac is a type of Jesus Christ, what about Rebekah? Isn’t she a type for the bride of Christ? Notice:
- Isaac and Rebekah are married after the pseudo-sacrifice of Isaac. Christ marries His bride after His death.
- Abraham sets the example and is noted for his hospitality in treating strangers with kindness and food. Hospitality is a characteristic of God’s people through the ages. Rebekah is noted for treating strangers and even their animals with kindness by presenting both with water. Christ gives many parables about treating others as we would like to be treated, and Paul even says that sometimes angels appear as strangers and are treated hospitably by the Church at times without knowing their true identity (Heb 13:2).
- Rebekah was not forced to leave her family and go to a foreign land to marry Isaac. People are called into the Church, but I know of no one who was dragged into it. However, just as Rebekah’s family seemed reluctant to let her go (probably thought they could get more of a “dowry”, and we see the same evidence of this later with Laban, Rebekah’s brother), the world will hang onto us as hard and fast as we allow it to.
- We are explicitly told that Isaac loved Rebekah (Ge 24:67). Christ loved the Church and gave His life for her.
- Rebekah had two sons: Jacob and Esau. Neither of them were particularly godly men at first, but God chose one over the other and worked with the one who valued the birthright blessing. In the end, all human beings will have their hearts and minds opened, but there will only be two results: 1. The blessings of God and living with Him in His family for all eternity, or 2. The curses of God because the birthright through the sacrifices of their father Isaac (metaphorically Christ) was a despised thing.
- It is through Isaac and Rebekah that the Children of Israel become established. It is through Christ and the Church that the family of God is established.
This last point is the muddiest, and it is the most tangled in the minds of many, IMO. For now, I’m leaving it because it is a much larger topic to be explored later. However, I believe the typology as is presented so far is clear.
I would like everyone to really think about the second bullet, though, as it is one of the most important. We think of love within the Church, but our love and hospitality should extend to all areas of our lives. If you remember no other point here, I would suggest that this one outshines them all.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
~ Jn 13:35
This article is not a wall. It is merely a brick in the wall. More bricks and cement will come later.