Sunday, February 19, 2017

Redeeming the Bride

“Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ “  Isaiah 46:9-10  NKJV

I would be the first to say that I am sure someone could write an entire book expounding these two verses from the prophet Isaiah.  This is my “go to” passage when someone tells me we don’t need to study the Old Testament anymore because we have the New Testament to rely on.  In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth for there is so much to be found in the stories of the Old Testament, especially as it relates to the future of this world in general, and the Church in particular.  Paul even discussed this in his letter to the Corinthian church when speaking about all that happened to the nation of Israel during their history.

“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”   1 Corinthians 10:11  NKJV

Typology is the term used to describe the study of past events as a picture revealing the truth of a future event.  In essence what this means is that many of the events in the Old Testament were actually pictures of what was to occur in the future.  Many scholars see the rapture of Enoch, which occurred just before the flood of Noah, as a type or pattern of the rapture of the Church, which will also happen just before the start of the final period of God’s judgment of an unbelieving world.  

Other examples would be the story of Abraham being told to sacrifice his only son Isaac, and God providing a lamb as a substitute. Or Joseph, sent by his father to visit his brothers and being “killed” in a sense by his imprisonment in Egypt only to reappear as second only to Pharaoh as ruler in Egypt. Also, there is Jonah, being thrown overboard allowing the others to survive while he suffers the punishment of God's wrath in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights. There are many more, but hopefully these are enough for you to begin to see what is meant by the study of typology.

The past few weeks I have been talking about the relationship between the Church and Jesus, especially as it has been described as a relationship between a bride and her groom. If we consider that picture, and apply the study of typology, what we would do is look for stories of weddings in the Old Testament and examine them closely to see if there might be an application to the future wedding of Jesus to His bride, the Church. Using that perspective, the story many have found most applicable is the one we find revealed in the book of Ruth.  Many believe that the story it tells, especially in light of typology and the Church, reveals some amazing truths that say much about our future, and quite possibly even the timing of the wedding.

Why is that?  Consider just a few of pictures we find in this little book.  Naomi, (as a picture of the nation Israel), Ruth, (as a picture of a Gentile bride, the Church), and Boaz, (the kinsman redeemer who restores Naomi’s land and then marries Ruth the Gentile bride).  If we look closer at the wedding between Boaz and Ruth, many believe we can also discover clues concerning the future rapture of the Church.  The wedding occurs after the harvest season, specifically the wheat harvest, which in Israel would usually be at the very beginning of summer.

“So she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest; and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.”  Ruth 2:23  NKJV

Coincidentally, one of the seven feasts of Israel occurs at this same time which is the Feast of Shavuot.  Shavuot means literally “weeks” and it is a celebration of the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai which according to the Torah, was a journey from Egypt that took exactly seven weeks.  It is one of the three “pilgrimage” festivals where travel to the temple in Jerusalem was required.  Shavuot is also considered to be a harvest festival as during the temple period this is when Jews would bring their firstfruits to the temple.  It is also a Jewish tradition that the book of Ruth be read on the Feast of Shavuot, the sixth of Sivan, as they stay up all night.  Is it any coincidence that the Church is admonished to wait and watch, using illustrations like the “thief in the night”?

Speaking of the Church, another name for this holiday is the Feast of Pentecost, the word for fifty being penta.  Many will recognize this holiday by that name, especially considering what occurred on this day, just fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead.

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Acts 2:1-4  NKJV

The sixth of Sivan, the Feast of Pentecost, is the day the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples, and also the day many consider being the birthday of the Church. Could this be significant?  Just as there always is when studying the scriptures, there is more to the story if we take the time to look a little deeper. There is a Jewish rabbinical tradition that Enoch was not only born on the sixth of Sivan, but was taken on his birthday as well.  Looking at Enoch as a type of the rapture, is it possible the Church could be raptured, taken to Heaven as a bride for her wedding, and the Holy Spirit (restrainer) removed on its birthday, the Feast of Pentecost, just as Enoch was?

Whether or not this proves to be true, the book of Ruth is not only a wonderful love story but also beautiful picture of Jesus redeeming His Gentile bride, the Church.  He is our kinsman redeemer who chose to give His own life as a sacrifice to pay for our sins. If you have never accepted this gift, I urge you to do it today. Jesus paid the price for His bride, and the Church could disappear at any time.  Simply pray this prayer or put it in your own words but tell God you believe He sent His Son to pay the price for your sin, and that you will turn control of your life to Him.

"Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen."

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