Aimee Semple McPherson
(From a sermon, Bethel Temple, Chicago, Ill.)
There are many beautiful types of Christ and His Bride in the Old Testament. One of the most precious and striking of these types is that of Isaac and Rebecca.
Just as in the Word of God, the whole story and plan of Redemption circles around a company of four—namely, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the Bride—so, in this type, the story is woven around the four central figures of
Abraham, who is a type of God, the Father,
Isaac, who is a type of Jesus, the Son,
Eliezer, the servant, who is a type of the Holy Spirit, sent from God to search for and bring the Bride, and
Rebecca, who is a type of the Bridal Body being called forth to meet the Bridegroom.
Isaac and Jesus, both long looked for, come as a fulfillment of promise.
For many long years Sarah had looked forward with intense longing for the coming of Isaac, the birth of the man-child who was to take away her shame. Sometimes hoping, sometimes despairing, she waited ’till finally God spoke out of the long silence, and Isaac came as a fulfillment of promise.
For centuries humanity had waited and looked for the coming of Jesus the Son, who was to redeem and bear away the shame of each sinner who put his trust in Him. Then God spoke, by His Spirit, to Mary, and Jesus came as a fulfillment of the promise of the Father, and a sacrificial offering to every one that believes.
Who can describe or fathom the flood of love that must have filled the heart of Abraham, as he looked upon his son, his only son, Isaac, the son of promise. As the lad grew, he was the pride of Abraham’s heart; he was the treasure of his house. But much as Abraham loved Isaac, he loved God more.
The greatest test of Love is Sacrifice, and to sound the depths of Abraham’s love God put him to the test, by saying to him:
“Take now thy son, thine only son, Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee unto the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering.” (Gen. 22:2.) How similar is this verse to John 3:16, which says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
Abraham stood the test, and rising up early in the morning, he saddled his ass, and taking with him two young men and his son, he clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place God had told him. Then came the long journey, but though his heart was bleeding with love for his only son, the steps of the father never faltered, but he went on and on, surmounting every hill of difficulty, till he saw the place afar off.
Bless His dear Name. How far God our Father journeyed to offer His Son Jesus! He surmounted every hill; He climbed the mount of Sinai; He never faltered; but though it meant giving the richest treasure of heaven, the Son of His bosom, He came on and on till at last He saw the place, and Calvary’s hill came into view. Still, without a moment’s hesitation, He journeyed on. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Isaac bears the wood to hill of Moriah, Jesus bears cross to top of Calvary’s hill.”
“And Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and the knife; and they went, both of them together.” It was Abraham’s own hand that placed the wood upon him whom he was to have offered, upon the shoulders of Isaac, as he ascended Mount Moriah. It was God’s own hand which willingly suffered the cross of wood to be laid upon the bleeding back of Jesus, as He bore it up Calvary’s hill.
“Then Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, ‘MY FATHER’ ” (O, the great heartfelt cry of Jesus—“MY FATHER, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Isaac said:
“My father, here is the fire; here is the wood; but where is the lamb for the offering?” And Abraham said:
“My son, God will provide Himself a Lamb” Ah! What a Lamb, what a bleeding, spotless Lamb God did provide when He gave Jesus as a propitiation for our sins!
A ram takes the place of Isaac, none could take the place of Jesus.
At last the top of the hill had been reached; the altar was completed; the wood had been laid in order, and Abraham had bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the wood on the altar. Then, just as Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son, the angel of the Lord called to him out of heaven (Why, I believe every angel in Heaven was looking down to see this wonderful exhibition of faith and obedient love to God), and the angel said:
“Lay not thine hand upon the child, for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.” (Gen. 22:12.)
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering INSTEAD OF HIS SON. A ram was able to substitute for Isaac, but none could ever substitute or fill the place of Jesus. He was led up Calvary’s hill, bearing His cross of wood. He was laid like Isaac upon the wood, the hand with the knife (the hand with the spear, in Jesus’ case) was raised for the blow, but even though the Father Himself had to turn away His face, no angel cried from heaven to stay the blow. It fell, and the blood of Jesus flowed forth with the healing of the nations in its crimson flood. Jesus, the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, had paid the price; by His sacrifice brought redemption to all who should come beneath the cleansing blood forever.
Abraham sends his eldest servant back into his country to search out a bride for his son Isaac.—God sends the Holy Spirit back to this world to search out and bring a bride for his son Jesus.
Skipping lightly over the intervening years, we come, in the 24th Chapter of Genesis, to the day when Abraham called his eldest servant to him and commissioned him solemnly to go back into his own country to choose a wife for his son Isaac. Abraham made the servant swear he would not choose a wife from amongst the Canaanites, where he then dwelt, but commanded him thus:
“Go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.”
How far beyond our feeble minds is this great love of God! How the magnitude of His abounding grace overwhelms us when we remember that He did not permit a bride to be chosen from amongst any of the angelic hosts of the heavenly Canaan, but sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, back into this world, which indeed is His country, to His kindred—brought nigh through the blood of His Son—to call out a people who would follow Him to the great marriage of the Lamb, not only as a guest, but as the Bride, without spot or blemish, Hallelujah!
“And the servant said unto him: ‘Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again into the land from whence thou camest?”
“And Abraham said unto him: ‘Beware that thou bring not my son thither again. If the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear of this my oath; only bring not my son thither again’.”
I can never read those words of the servant, “Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me,” without tears springing to my eyes. O the gentle, pleading, wooing drawings of the Holy Spirit, as He walks up and down these aisles tonight, enquiring: “Will you go?” There is no conscription in this Bridal procession—only free-will enlistment. But whether the woman says yes or no; whether she is willing to go to meet the Heavenly Isaac who shall soon appear, or chooses to remain where she now abides, the Son of God will never be brought here again to plead with her, or plead His cause other than by the Spirit sent down by the Father. Jesus has made the sacrifice; His dear feet trod this earth to be rewarded only by unbelief and spittings and death. He will never come again to be beaten, rejected, and nailed to the tree; the next time He comes it will be with power and great glory. His kingly robes will be upon Him; His sceptre will be in His hand. Whether you will be willing to follow the leadings of the Spirit who has come to guide you into all truth, or not, must rest with you tonight. What have you decided to reply to this invitation?
Each man, woman and child in the world, irrespective of earthly standing, color or creed, is invited to accept the leadings of the Spirit and follow Him to meet Jesus, the heavenly Bridegroom. If you would find this heavenly guide I will tell you where to find Him—at the well of Salvation.
Eleizer waits for Rebecca at the well of water.—the holy spirit meets and chooses the bride at the well of salvation.
As Abraham’s servant journeys he comes to the well, where the daughters were wont to bring their pitchers for water. There he prays, and waits for the coming of the bride, saying:
“Behold, I stand here by the well of water.” Dear child of God, you who have drawn with joy from the wells of Salvation, lift up your eyes tonight and behold the Spirit, open your ears and hear Him say:
“Behold, here I stand, waiting to baptize you and lead you on to meet your Jesus.”
“And it came to pass, before He had done speaking, that behold Rebecca came out.” How similar is this instance to that recorded in Acts 10:44. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the Word!” He is speaking to you now; will you receive Him?
“Behold, Rebecca came out” (He is calling a come out people these days, a called-out, separated people) “with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her; and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher and came up.”
As I look over your faces it seems I can almost pick out the Rebeccas who have come here tonight with their pitchers on their shoulders, empty pitchers, clean pitchers, ready to go down in humility to draw from this inexhaustible well of Salvation. If your pitchers—or heads—are filled with learning or earthly wisdom, you must empty them out in order to be filled at this well. No matter how big or great you may be you must all alike get down in humility to draw with joy from these waters. Rebecca went down and filled her pitcher, and came up! The way up is down, bless God.
We read that the servant ran to meet her, just as the Spirit is running to meet you tonight. At his invitation she gave him to drink, and all his camels did she draw for also. The Word says: “She hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water for his camels.” Dear ones, is your pitcher empty enough, are you down low enough, to have this abundant supply that not only satisfies the demand of your own soul, but hastens to draw and empty for others about you, knowing, with unbroken confidence, that you can run again to the well and draw again and again from the hidden source that never runs dry?
She was fair to look upon. Can the Lord look down into the depths of your soul and say: “Thou art fair, My love, there is no spot in thee?” Are you a virgin, pure in heart, that knows not the old man of sin and worldliness? Then the Spirit is calling you to be a member of the Bridal Body. Earrings, and bracelets and precious gifts were given to Rebecca, and she returned with the servant to her parents’ house, and there the servant brought forth jewels of silver (which represents Atonement), jewels of gold (or the Divine nature of Jesus), and raiment (which typifies the Righteousness of Jesus), and the marriage robe. These he gave to Rebecca. Then to the brother and the mother he also gave precious things. But though there are precious things to be given to those who do not go all the way through to the perfection of full sacrifice, the Bride receives the best and most beautiful gifts. There is no comparison to be made between the two.
Then before eating or drinking, the servant told his message, and of the wonderful master Isaac, and his beautiful home, far away, and of his desire to take Rebecca to this home to be the son’s Bride.
“And they said, ‘We will call the damsel and enquire at her mouth.’ And they called Rebecca, and said unto her:
“ ‘Wilt thou go with this man?’ and she said: “ ‘I will go’.”
This is the great question of today, the question now facing each one of you, “Wilt thou go with this man?” Each individual must answer it for himself and herself. Oh, can you say, as Rebecca of old, “ ‘I will go!’ Where He leads me I will follow”? Trust yourself in His hands, and He will never leave you till you are safe in the arms of Jesus.
As Rebecca journeyed through the wilderness she did not lose her way; she did not have to run about enquiring of every passer-by which road to take; the Servant had come to guide, lead, yea, and carry her, all the way to Isaac’s house. What tales he told her by the way, how her heart was gladdened and lifted above all earthly things, as she listened to his glowing description of her Bridegroom and his home awaiting her. I am sure she forgot the bumpy camels, and the dusty road, and the blazing sun, as she pressed on toward the longed-for moment when she should see him face to face.
Just so is the Holy Spirit leading and guiding all who will receive Him and follow Him, over every obstacle, surmounting every hill of difficulty, taking the things of Jesus and revealing them unto us as we journey, till we cry out in longing:
“O Lord Jesus, how long till we shall see Your blessed face?” Our hearts swell with love and gratitude, and unutterable longing, as the Spirit speaks, “not of Himself” but of Jesus, our Bridegroom, and lover divine.
At last, after long days of traveling we read of that wonderful meeting.
Isaac met Rebecca in the field.—Jesus to meet his bride in the air.
As Isaac went out to meditate in the field at eventide, he lifted up his eyes, and behold, the camels were coming! O Jesus! Jesus! He is lifting up His eyes just now, this very eventide, and He sees, and beholds the camels are coming. Are you amongst that little company that is swiftly coming up the road to meet Him? Steadily, surely, we are drawing near the glorious day, dear pilgrims, when the consummation of our journey will arrive and we, as Rebecca, will lift up our eyes and see our Bridegroom; and even now, as we see in faith our Bridegroom from afar, we should take the vail of greater separation, and cover ourselves, that we shall indeed be a separated people unto Him.
We read of Isaac that he brought her into his mother’s tent and took Rebecca, and she became his wife, and He loved her. Soon our Saviour shall come for His Bride who has set out to meet Him, come for those who have heard and answered the call:
“Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.” Soon the great song will resound. “Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb hath come, and the wife has made herself ready.” The tables are being spread, the marriage is at hand. Beloved, will you go, will you receive the Holy Spirit and let Him guide you to the wedding of the Lamb?
If you have not yet found the well of Salvation, empty that pitcher you carry upon your shoulder, and get you down in haste to the wells of Salvation, for it is there you will meet and receive the Holy Spirit, who, if you will follow Him, will lead you on over the hills and through the valleys till you meet your Bridegroom in the air.