In his Notes on the Apocalypse (in Apocalyptic Writings (The Works of Jonathan Edwards Series, Volume 5) (v. 5) , 131-2), Edwards offers this lovely typological meditation on the marriage of Isaac, into which he weaves a meditation on the role of the ministry in adorning Christ’s bride:

“The marriage of Isaac and Rebecca is a very remarkable type of the marriage of Christ and the church [Genesis 24]. Isaac is a known type of Christ. He was Abraham’s only son, in whom his seed, that is, spiritual seed, was to be called; [he] was offered up a sacrifice to God, from whence Abraham received Christ in a figure. Abraham gave all he had to Isaac; so God the Father has made Christ heir over all things. Abraham’s steward is the ministry, which Christ employs to bring home his spouse to himself. Rebecca was ‘very fair to look upon,’ and how beautiful is the church set forth in the Scripture to be in the eyes of Christ. And [she was] a pure virgin (Genesis 24:16); so the spouse of Christ is as a garden enclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. True believers are virgins that follow the Lamb, whithersoever he goeth. Abraham’s steward presented her a chaste virgin to Isaac; so are ministers, the stewards of God’s house, to labor, that they may present the church a chaste virgin to Christ . . . .

“Abraham’s servant adorned Rebecca with jewels of silver and gold and raiment (Genesis 24:22 and Genesis 24:53); so the bride, the Lamb’s wife, shall be arrayed in fine linen, white and clean. The New Jerusalem shall be as a bride adorned for her husband. The king’s daughter is all glorious within. She stands in gold of Ophir: her clothing is of wrought gold, and she shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework. And God makes use of his ministers to adorn and beautify souls, that they may be fit to be the spouse of Christ; that is their work. Rebecca was willing to leave her father’s house and her kindred and her country, never to return more, for the sake of Isaac, whom she had not seen. So believers forsake sin and their lusts, that are natural to ‘em, that they are born with, and are naturally dear to them (See Psalms 45:10 note), all for the sake of Christ; [they] remove their affections forever from the world, and hate father and mother and all, for the sake of him on whom they believe, having not seen. The spouse, in the Psalms 45, forgets her own people and father’s house. There is something very significative in the blessing wherewith they blessed Rebecca. ‘Thou art our sister. Be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those that hate them’ [Genesis 24:60]; which is gloriously fulfilled in the church, and no otherwise fulfilled to Rebecca, than in her spiritual seed. Isaac greatly loved Rebecca, as Christ loves the church, with a transcendent love.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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