Summary: The fifth message in this series, describing the role of the Holy Spirit in readying the Church (as a Bride) to meet her Bridegroom in the air. Explains the meaning of terms such as the Baptism of the Spirit, Filling of the Spirit and Fruit of the Spirit.
The Bible: A Love Story
Pt 5: The Spirit and the Bride
In the last few messages in this series, we've discussed the way in which the Church, as a Bride-to-be, will one day enter into a spiritual marriage relationship with Christ, the Lamb, as the nation of Israel did with Yahweh at Mount Sinai so long ago. The way in which the Bride is being prepared to meet her Lord, and the steps to be taken in our imminent wedding will be the subject of this and the next message - the last two in this series.
As we examine this area, we'll find that the Holy Spirit has a vital role to play in preparing and collecting the "Bride" - as well as in uniting the Bride with her beloved. As we do so, we'll discover the real meaning of the terms:
* Baptism of the Spirit
* Filling of the Spirit
* Fruit of the Spirit
Each of these functions of the Holy Spirit is fundamental and crucial in getting us, as a Bride, ready to join with our spiritual "Husband".
Now we know that the Holy Spirit is the person of the Godhead active on the earth since the time of Christ - and most believers are familiar with the individual aspects of His Person and work. But in this message I'd like to suggest one important aspect of His work on earth today that is often overlooked by many believers: the role of collecting a bride for Christ, her awaiting bridegroom.
We see, throughout the Old Testament, many events that we can use as interesting physical pictures or analogies to illustrate spiritual realities These follow the principle found in 1 Corinthians 15:46,
"The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual."
There is one particularly interesting sequence of events 'may' give us a clue as to at least one aspect of the Holy Spirit's work on earth today. Whether or not it does so, will depend on how closely it parallels events as set out in the New Testament!
One important point needs to be made at the onset. I am not here referring to "typology". A Biblical "type" is something in the Old Testament that is specifically mentioned in the New Testament as being a "figure" or "representation" of a spiritual reality. Types in the Old Testament range, for example, from people (Adam, David, Solomon) to events (the flood; the serpent in the wilderness) to objects (the Tabernacle, the offerings etc) and so forth! On the other hand, Joseph, whose life contained experiences closely parallel with those of Christ, is not regarded as a 'type' because he is nowhere described as such in the New Testament.
So, bearing this in mind, I'd like you to briefly overview the consecutive series of events in Genesis chapters 22-24. This is what we find:
Chapter 22 Abraham takes Isaac as a sacrifice.
Chapter 23 Sarah, Abraham's wife, dies.
Chapter 24 The father (Abraham) sends a
messenger to fetch a bride for his son.
I find this interesting and instructive inasmuch as this sequence of events appears to give (for me at least) an ‘illustration’ or ‘picture’ of the sequence of events that we recognize in the New Testament.
Certainly Abraham's intended sacrifice of Isaac represents (in some respects) the death of Christ (Genesis 22) and that is something most of us would agree upon. Now this is followed by the death of Sarah, Israel's matriarch (Genesis 23) and it would then seem reasonable to see this as an illustration of God's setting aside of Israel after its rejection of Christ. Not by itself, however, but because the following chapter (Genesis 24) then speaks of a messenger being sent by the father to collect a bride for the son – an event which appears to coincide with the sending of the Holy Spirit to collect a bride for Christ following Israel’s rejection by God.
I find this series of events to be compelling: a wonderful illustration of what we know to be the reality of events as set out in Scripture: the death of Christ, followed by Israel's rejection, followed by the age of the Lamb and his Bride.
Does this sound fanciful to you? It certainly fits in beautifully with the sequence of events in the New Testament - but do its details parallel with what we know of the Holy Spirit Himself? Do some of the details in this illustration reflect on certain aspects of the Spirit's work?
I believe that they do - but as I examine the account of the messenger in Genesis 24, I would invite you to judge for yourselves: we must all be like the Bereans of old, and examine for ourselves whether or not these things are so.