Christ - Our Heavenly Bridegroom
By Brian Anderson
Genesis 2:18-25: "Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed."
In this passage we have a description of the union of our first parents. Bible commentators have long seen in this passage a picture of the union between Christ and His church. Before you brush aside that suggestion as the product of a fertile imagination, consider how the apostle Paul viewed Adam's marriage to Eve. In Ephesians 5:22-25 Paul tells the wives to be subject to their own husbands, as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church. He goes on to tell the husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Then in verse 31 Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 and says, "For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh." Paul's commentary on the union of Adam and Eve and the fact that the two of them became "one flesh" is, "This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church" (Eph.5:32). The apostle is indicating that the marriage of Adam and Eve was only a shadow - the reality is found in the union between Christ and His bride, the church.
The truth that Christ is the Church's Bridegroom is found in many places in Scripture. The Song of Solomon describes the intimate and passionate love between Solomon, the king of Israel and his Shulamite wife. Most commentators have seen this book as a typical representation of the loving relationship between Christ and His people. In Matthew 22:1-14, Christ gives the parable of the King who gave a wedding feast for His Son, an obvious reference to the union between Christ and His believing people. In Matthew 25:1-13 Christ gives another parable of the ten virgins who went to meet the bridegroom, typifying the church going out to meet Christ when He returns. In John 3:29, John the Baptist said of Christ, "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice." In 2 Corinthians 11:2 the apostle Paul wrote, "For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin." Finally, Revelation 19:7-9 describes the marriage supper of the Lamb, "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he said to me, 'Write, Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These are true words of God.'"
Therefore, it should come as no surprise to us that the very first marriage in Scripture typifies the marriage of Christ and His beloved people. In this message, I will show ten different points of comparison between the marriage of Adam and Eve, and the union of Christ and His church.
1. God Knew It Was Not Good For The Man To Be Alone
"Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him'" (Gen.2:18). God knew that Adam needed another human being to share his life with. God had created man with built in needs for human love and affection. Even though God created all the various animals, and birds, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them (Gen.2:19), Adam realized none of these creatures were "suitable" for him. Adam needed someone to share his burdens, sorrows, and joys with. One of the most terrible burdens a person can bear is loneliness.
Likewise, God thought it was not proper for Christ to be alone. In order to manifest His glory, He needed a bride. We ought never think that God gave Christ a bride because He was lonely and needed people to minister to Him. Jesus Christ is God of very God, and dwells in perfect intimacy and fellowship with the three persons of the Blessed Trinity. He doesn't need feeble and failing human beings; rather we need Him. Yet, in order to manifest His love, grace, mercy, and truth, He needed to take a bride, and thus put His glory on display! The Father purposed that Christ would be the first-born among many brethren, all of whom would be conformed to His image. Thus, the Father planned that Christ would be the divine prototype; all of His brethren would be fashioned after His likeness (Rom.8:29). In this way, His glory will resound throughout eternity as His image is reflected in His bride. Further, Christ is the Lamb who was slain to purchase men for God from every tribe, tongue, people and nation (Rev.5:9). Thus, the whole company of Christ's elect bride shall dwell in glory only because of His sufferings and merits. He will be forever loved and worshipped by an innumerable multitude saved by His blood and righteousness. It was fitting that Christ should have a bride to exalt His glorious grace!
2. God Put Adam To Sleep
"So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept" (Gen.2:21). God administered divine anesthesia in order to perform this delicate operation. He put the man to sleep, in order to draw out a rib from his side from which He would create the woman.
Similarly, the Church could not be formed unless Christ was put into the sleep of death. The Church is built on the foundation of Christ crucified. Just as God put Adam to sleep, it is important to note that God put Christ to death. Yes, it is true that Judas, the Jewish leaders, and Romans were all responsible for their part in the death of Jesus Christ. However, the Scripture reveals that Christ was delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23); that the Lord was pleased to crush Him [Jesus], putting Him to grief (Is.53:10); and that the Father would strike down the Shepherd, and the sheep would be scattered (Mt.26:31). It was God who was ultimately responsible in His sovereign plan for the death of Jesus Christ!
3. God Formed Eve From Adam's Rib
". . . then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man" (Gen.2:21-22). Here we are told that God opened up Adam's side, took one of his ribs, and fashioned that rib into the woman. God used the very flesh and bone of man to create the woman.
Likewise, God created the church out of Christ and His finished work. God is fashioning a bride for His Son out of the raw material found in His Son! There would be no church at all if it were not for Jesus' life, death, burial, and resurrection. If not for those historic verities, we would have no gospel to preach, and none to believe. There would be no atoning blood to sprinkle on our evil conscience, no outpoured Holy Spirit, no pardon, life, reconciliation, justification or redemption. All these spiritual blessings flow from the work of Christ at Calvary. God is forming His church from the Person and Work of Jesus Christ!
4. God Created Eve
"And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man" (Gen.2:22). Eve didn't come into the world the way every other woman has - through the birth of a woman. She was God's immediate workmanship.
In like manner, the Bible tells us that the members of the church "are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Eph.2:10). Paul emphatically asserts, "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature" (2Cor.5:17). The Bible describes regeneration as a creative act of God. Just as in our first birth something was brought into existence which did not exist before, so it is in our second birth. If you are a Christian, you have God to thank for creating you in Christ Jesus!
5. God Brought Eve To Adam
"And the Lord God . . . brought her to the man" (Gen.2:22). After God created Eve, he personally escorted her to the man from which she had been formed.
Likewise, God is in the process of bring every one of His elect to Jesus Christ. Christ is in heaven, but God is bringing the church there to dwell with Him forever. In this world the members of Christ's church are pilgrims and strangers. Just like Christian in Bunyan's immortal "Pilgrim's Progress," we are traveling toward the Celestial City. We face many dangers, enemies, and temptations along the way. The unseen God, however, is holding us by the hand, and leading us every step of the way until we reach our Heavenly Bridegroom. The Scriptures declare that we are espoused to Christ now (2Cor.11:2), but one day will meet Him face to face, and our marriage with Him will be consummated. On that day, at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the bride will gaze lovingly into the face of Him who loved her and gave Himself for her, and she shall be His for all eternity. Her heart now is fixed upon the lover of her soul. She shall persevere in faith through all the trials and difficulties of this life because God is the One who is bringing her to Christ. If God is the One ultimately responsible to make sure she is brought to Christ, she will be preserved unto the end!
6. God Created Eve With The Same Nature As Adam
"And the man said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man'" (Gen.2:23). When Adam saw Eve, he instantly recognized that she alone was of the same nature as he. Adam had named all the animals, but in so doing, had recognized that none of them shared his nature. In none of them, was there a suitable helper for him. But now he excitedly exclaims, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh!" Adam didn't regard Eve as a creature of a different species, but of the very same race.
Similarly, God created the church with the same nature as Jesus. Peter, in his second epistle declares that believers are "partakers of the divine nature" (2Pet.1:4). Eve's union with Adam stemmed from the fact that she was formed from the same substance as her husband. Our union with Christ stems from the fact that we are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit that dwelt in Him. When the Holy Spirit enters a man, He brings God's nature with Him. As one who has been created in Christ, we have the mind of Christ. Our old nature was in perpetual conflict with the commands of Christ. It was hostile to God and could not subject itself to the law of God. Our new nature, however loves God and eagerly seeks to obey His commands. Without this change of heart effected by the blessed Spirit, we would be completely unfit to dwell with Christ in heaven. In fact, we would abhor heaven, as it would be completely contrary to our nature. But now, having been regenerated by the Spirit, and granted the divine nature, we long to be with Christ forever in heaven!
7. God Created Eve As A Gift For Adam
"Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him'" (Gen.2:18). God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Thus, He determined that He would make him a helper suitable for him. But before He did, he brought all the animals to Adam to show him that none of them were "suitable" for him. This awakened an even deeper longing in Adam for a human companion. Then, in pure grace, God put Adam to sleep, formed Eve, and brought her to him as his wife.
Likewise, the church is God's gift to Christ. Thus, Christ could say, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me"; "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day"; "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand"; "that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life"; "I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world"; "I do not ask on behalf of the world but of those whom Thou hast given Me"; and "Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory" (Jn.6:37,39; 10:29; 17:2,6,9,24). The teaching of Scripture is that before the foundation of the world, the Father gave the Son a great host of men and women. Christ came to the earth to represent them, save them, and make sure they are brought to heaven. That's why Jesus could say that of those the Father gave Him, he would not lose any, but raise them up on the last day. That's why all that the Father gives Christ will come to Christ. That's why Christ will give eternal life to all those given Him. That's why Christ will manifest the Father's name to them. That's why He prays for them. That's why He will raise them up on the last day to behold His glory. Those that are given to Christ are the Father's reward to Him for His obedience and sufferings. They are the "joy set before Him" for which He endured the cross. Think about it - if you are a Christian, you are a gift of the Father to His own Son!
8. Adam Joyfully Received Eve As His Wife
The Living Bible paraphrases Genesis 2:23 in this way, "This is it! She is part of my own bone and flesh!" In this modern paraphrase we catch some of the excitement and joy Adam must have felt when he first beheld Eve. After looking at nothing but animals, Eve must have been a beautiful sight to behold!
Can you imagine the heavenly joy with which Christ will receive His bride in glory? Weddings and feasts are occasions of great joy. Our heavenly wedding with Christ is called "The Marriage Supper of the Lamb." On this festive occasion Christ will say to His church, "Well done, good and faithful servants. Enter into the joy of your Master!"; and "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!" (Mt.25:21; 25:34). Further, the Scripture describes that happy occasion thusly, "The righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father"; "our faith will be found to result in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ"; and "wait until the Lord comes, and then each man's praise will come to him from God" (Mt.13:43; 1Pet.1:7; 1Cor.4:5).
On that glorious day, Christ will warmly and readily receive all His blood bought host. You don't need to worry about whether He will reject you when you get there. He has loved His bride from all eternity. He was born for her, lived for her, suffered for her, died for her, was buried for her, rose from the dead for her, ascended for her, intercedes for her, and is coming again for her. She is the object of His sovereign, eternal, and efficacious love!
9. A Married Couple Must Forsake All Others And Cleave To Each Other
"For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (Gen.2:24). Here God has given us His ideal plan for marriage - one man and one woman for one lifetime. Adam was never to give himself to another woman in the same way that he had given himself to Eve. They were to love each other supremely. It was a jealous love. It would not admit of any competitors.
Likewise, Christ has a special love for His bride. Yes, there is a sense in which Jesus loves the entire world, but there is another sense in which He has a special, discriminating love for His church. Christ loves all mankind with a general love of benevolence, compassion, and kindness (Jn.3:16; Titus 3:4). However, His love for His chosen bride is an eternal, saving, effectual, sovereign, and omnipotent love. Just as Christ has a special love for His bride, so must His bride have a special love for her groom! God declared in Exodus 34:14 "for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." God is calling the church to love Christ supremely above all others, because He is a jealous God. In return, we must love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. That's why the apostle John concludes his brief first epistle with the sobering words, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1Jn.5:21). To love the things of this world more than our lovely Bridegroom is idolatry of the worst kind. We, like Adam and Eve, must forsake all other loves and cleave to Christ alone!
10. Adam And Eve Were Naked And Not Ashamed
"And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed" (Gen.2:25). Before sin came in, it appears that Adam and Eve were not self-conscious in the least. They were both naked, yet were completely unashamed. It was only after the Fall, that they were ashamed of their nakedness and sought to cover it with fig leaves.
In our future eternal home in heaven, we will also be naked and not ashamed, in the presence of Christ. The Scriptures declare that all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. In heaven, when we are brought to Christ, we will stand absolutely naked spiritually before Him. There will be nothing to hide, nothing to cover up. He will know all about us, and yet we will not be ashamed. How can that be? Our lack of shame will stem from the fact that all our sins have been pardoned and now stand absolutely righteous on that day! There will no longer be any indwelling sin, no devil, and no temptations to trip us up. Our new nature will have complete sway over our lives. We shall have nothing to be ashamed of! As we are justified by faith now, Christ's righteousness is imputed to our account, and God declares that we are legally righteous in His sight. When we are glorified on that future day, we will not just be declared righteous, we will be made absolutely righteous. On that day, Christ will see us completely as we are, and love us perfectly. Oh, glory! Lord Jesus, hasten that day!
I hope our study this morning has solidified one thing firmly in your minds - Biblical Christianity is a relationship! It is a loving, intimate, lasting relationship between the believer and His Savior. Thus, I exhort you to cultivate your relationship with Jesus Christ. Expend your efforts there. Don't think of your faith as a list of duties to perform, but a Person to get to know and love! Give yourself to prayer, fasting, and meditation on God's Word, for the purposing of deepening your knowledge of Christ. An engaged woman thinks about her future husband a great deal. She spends as much time as she possibly can with him. So too, as the espoused bride of Christ, give yourselves to this great, wonderful, adventure of getting to know Christ. After all, we shall be married to Him for all eternity! May Christ be all in all to you!