Redeemed for a Purpose
Arlen L. Chitwood
1. I Will Bring You Out . . . To
2. From the Sea to the Mountain
3. Then Came Amalek
4. Moses’ Charge
5. The Elders’ Search
6. The Elders’ Report
7. The People’s Response
8. Encouragement, Discouragement
9. Overcoming, Being Overcome
1. If God Permit
2. If They Shall Fall Away
3. The Willful Sin
Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.” (Genesis 24:58)
The question that Rebekah was asked in Genesis 24:58 (“Will you go with this man?”) and her response (“I will go”) form the heart of the most important matter that will ever confront any Christian at any time throughout the present dispensation. The question and corresponding answer have to do with the very reason for a Christian’s salvation.
A person has been saved for a purpose, and Genesis 24:58 has to do with that purpose.
Genesis chapter twenty-four forms an integral part of a larger type covering five chapters — chapters twenty-one through twenty-five. And these five chapters together, in a type-antitype framework, set forth a chronological sequence of events relative to Christ, Israel, and the Church, beginning with Christ’s birth and ending with realized blessings for man during the coming Messianic Era.
In these chapters, “Abraham,” the father of Isaac, typifies God, the Father of Jesus; “Sarah,” Abraham’s wife, typifies Israel, the wife of God; “Abraham’s servant,” sent into the far country to obtain a bride for Isaac, typifies the Holy Spirit, sent into the far country to obtain a bride for Jesus; “Rebekah,” the bride for Isaac, whom Abraham’s servant procured, typifies the bride for God’s Son, for whom the Holy Spirit is presently searching; and “Abraham’s subsequent remarriage” typifies God subsequently restoring Israel to her prior place as His wife (a divorce has occurred, necessitating a remarriage).
In this respect,
Chapter twenty-one has to do with “the birth of Isaac,” typifying the birth of Christ;
Chapter twenty-two has to do with “the offering of Isaac,” typifying the offering of Christ;
Chapter twenty-three has to do with “the death of Sarah,” typifying the setting aside of Israel;
Chapter twenty-four has to do with “Abraham’s servant searching for a bride for Isaac in the far country,” typifying the Holy Spirit in the world today searching for a bride for Christ;
Chapter twenty-five has to do with “the remarriage of Abraham,” to Keturah, typifying the future restoration of Israel (with remarriage occurring).
Note the context of chapter twenty-four. Events in this chapter occur between Sarah’s death (chapter 23) and Abraham’s remarriage (chapter 25); and, in the antitype, they foreshadow events occurring during the present dispensation, between the past setting aside and the future restoration of Israel.
The Holy Spirit is in the world today seeking a bride for God’s Son. That’s what Genesis chapter twenty-four is about. This chapter is not about salvation per se. Rather, it is about the purpose for salvation.
Abraham sent his servant into the far country to procure a bride for his son. And before the servant ever left Abraham’s home to fulfill his mission, Abraham made him swear that the search would be carried out solely among his own people, among those referred to as “my family” (vv. 3, 4, 9).
Then the servant took “all his master goods” on ten camels (a number signifying completion) and departed into the far country to search for and procure a bride for Isaac — a bride that must come from Abraham’s own people (v. 10).
Finding the prospective bride, Rebekah, Abraham’s servant then began to give to Rebekah “jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and clothing” (v. 53). These were from Abraham’s goods, in the servant’s possession, which Abraham had given to His son, Isaac (v. 36; cf. 25:5). And all these goods would equally belong to the son’s bride, whom the servant had been sent into the far country to search for and procure.
And, in the antitype, the preceding is exactly what has been occurring in the world during the past 2,000 years. God sent the Spirit into the world 2,000 years ago to search for and procure a bride for His Son (Acts 2:1ff); and the Spirit, in perfect accord with the type, has been searching for the bride, since that time, from among the people of God.
The primary task of the Holy Spirit throughout the dispensation, again, in perfect accord with the type, is to call attention to the offer being made — as the Spirit gives to and displays before the prospective bride all of the Father’s goods that He has given to His Son, showing the prospective bride that which could be hers, as well, during the Son’s coming reign (cf. John 16:13-15; Romans 8:17-23).
And the search is almost over. The dispensation has almost run its course. The time when the Spirit will have completed His work, subsequently removing the bride, is almost upon us (vv. 60ff).
Acceptance or Refusal
The Holy Spirit’s search for a bride for God’s Son is a work subsequent to His work pertaining to man’s eternal salvation.
Bringing the former to pass (a work effecting man’s removal from his dead, alienated state, through the birth from above) allows the Spirit to bring the latter to pass (a work involving the search for and procurement of the bride). And this subsequent work of the Spirit has to do with the central purpose for His former work.
The question, “Will you go with this man,” brought over into the antitype, is a question directed solely to those within the family of God, to Christians. It is a question that involves following the present leadership of the Spirit, with a view to that which lies out ahead. It is a question that involves allowing the Spirit to open the Word to a person’s understanding, allowing the Spirit to lead that person “into all truth.” And this truth, textually, can only center on the things of the Father that He has given to the Son, something that Christians alone can fully grasp and understand (1 Corinthians 2:9-14).
And through the Spirit opening the Word in this manner, Christians are being extended an invitation to have a part in this future glory; and Christians, relative to this invitation, can do one of two things: They can either accept the invitation or they can refuse the invitation.
Acceptance is associated with one day becoming part of the bride of Christ (and realizing the Son’s inheritance with Him), as Rebekah’s acceptance had to do with her one day becoming the bride of Isaac (and realizing the son’s inheritance with him).
But a Christian’s refusal will leave the person in a position where he cannot realize any of these things, as a refusal on Rebekah’s part, had she done so, would have left her in exactly the same position relative to Isaac and his inheritance.
Either way though, acceptance or refusal, the family relationship remains unchanged. Rebekah’s acceptance wrought no change in her position within Abraham’s family; nor would there have been a change had she refused. And so it is with Christians today.
A Christian’s presently possessed eternal salvation was wrought through a past, completed work of the Spirit based on the past, completed work of God’s Son at Calvary.
Thus, eternal salvation is a finished work, wrought entirely through and on the basis of divine intervention; and no change can ever occur.
Salvation by grace through faith — the good news pertaining to the grace of God — is one thing; but “so great a salvation,” “the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 2:3; 10:39) — the good news pertaining to the coming glory of Christ — is something else entirely. And it is the latter, not the former, which the Spirit’s ministry to Christians centers on throughout the dispensation.
Christians have been saved for a revealed purpose, the central mission of the Spirit in the world today is to bring that purpose to pass, and the decision concerning having a part in that purpose is left entirely to each individual Christian. A Christian can “go with this Man” — the Spirit sent into the world to procure a bride for the Son, the One through whom the offer is being extended — or he can refuse to go.
This decision is the Christian’s alone to make. And the decision that he makes will have far-reaching ramifications.
The goal, of course, is that set forth in the latter part of Genesis chapter twenty-four, leading into the things set forth in chapter twenty-five. It is a successful completion of the search, followed by a removal of the bride, followed by marriage. And this will, in turn, be followed by Israel’s restoration and future blessings, exactly as seen in the type in Genesis.
(All Christians will be removed from the earth at the same time, shown by Rebekah and the damsels accompanying her going forth on ten camels to meet Isaac [signifying completion, i.e., they all went forth (cf. vv. 10, 61)].
However, Rebekah alone is seen taking a veil and covering herself when meeting Isaac [a type of the wedding garment to be worn by the bride alone when meeting Christ (vv. 64, 65; cf. Revelation 19:7, 8)].)
After Abraham’s servant had procured the bride for Isaac, he removed the bride from the far country. And, at the same time, Isaac came forth from his home to meet Rebekah.
They met at a place between her home and his home; and they then went to his home, where she became his wife (24:61-67).
And so will it be with Christ and His bride.
After the Holy Spirit has procured the bride, He will remove the bride from the earth. And, at the same time, Christ will come forth from heaven to meet His bride. They will meet at a place between the bride’s home and His home; and they will then go to His home, where the bride will become His wife (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; Revelation 1:10; 4:1, 2; 19:7).
Then, that which is revealed in Genesis chapter twenty-five can be brought to pass. Messianic blessings will be ushered in; and the glories of the Son, with His consort queen, will be manifested for all of creation to behold (Psalm 24:1-10; Isaiah 2:1-4; Revelation 20:1-3a).
The present search for and the future glory awaiting the bride of Christ centers on the greatest thing that God has ever designed for redeemed man — to co-inherit with His Son, occupying positions on the throne with Him in that day when He is revealed in all His power and glory.
And it is this glory and co-heirship that the Spirit has been sent into the world to reveal to Christians.
Until the search for the bride has been completed, the revelation of the Son’s coming glory will continue, and the invitation will remain open. But when the search has been completed . . . have dominion [Hebrews radah, ‘rule’; ‘…let them rule’]” (Genesis 1:26, 28).