Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Second Coming in Genesis

Reading my way through Genesis this last time, I was surprised to find seven places in it that seemed to symbolize the coming of the Lord. Here I must be careful, because there are many places in Scripture where we might think we find a type, but we cannot be sure unless the Scripture itself points them out. Then and only then can we be sure that we are looking at a type. Scofield, famous for finding types all throughout the Bible, himself notes somewhere that the only true types are those that have the warrant of Scripture on them. Please notice that I am not going so far as to suggest these are even the lesser types of Scofield; rather I have deliberately chosen the words “seemed to symbolize”. It makes a rather delicious study anyway, and so in that spirit, I offer them for your consideration. Some of them I think you will find to be surely true; others may be harder to see, but I present to you the seven places where the Rapture, the Bride, or the coming of the Lord might be seen.

First, there is the obvious one. Enoch walked with God and was not, Scripture says, for God took him. I believe this one, of all seven is perhaps the strongest, and has been suggested by many Bible scholars over the years. Do we not have a picture of the church here, where the church is walking before God, and then God suddenly took it? The faithfulness of Enoch in walking with his God is compared to the church, which Revelation says is going to be dressed in the righteous acts of the saints. A beautiful picture of God’s deliverance from a coming wrath, for remember that the seventieth week of Daniel is what we are escaping from. In Enoch’s day, the wickedness of men abounded so much that eventually God was to destroy all of mankind except for Noah, which brings us to the next place.

Noah, being rescued from the judgment of the earth, becomes a picture of the saint of the last days, being saved from the coming judgment. God, being merciful, isolates his salvation down to only his chosen, in the flood to Noah and his family, in the seventieth week of Daniel to all his chosen saints. It is illuminating to think of Noah spending all of those years building his salvation according to the plan of God. Surely it is no accident that God has told us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it God within you working to his own good purpose. Rather than working on an ark, we are working and building the body of Christ (by the power of the Holy Spirit), and when it is finally completed, God will take that body out of judgment just as Noah was taken. Which takes us to another man famously taken out of judgment, Lot.

Lot appears to be at least a lessor creature to me when he appears in the Old Testament. Abraham takes Lot with him on the journey that God has given him. Commentators have long pointed out that Abraham was told “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Note that Abraham chose to leave his father’s household behind, but he took Lot. And Lot caused Abraham lots of grief. The herders of Lot and Abraham could not get along, so Abraham divides the land, lets Lot choose, and Lot chose the fairest plain which happened to include Sodom. Not a wise choice. When I first read this passage, my thinking was that Lot was not spiritual, that he allowed his base motives to direct his actions. Not exactly an evil character, but certainly not a good one. That is what I thought until I came across this verse from Peter, “For that righteous man [Lot] dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.” God, through his apostle Peter, evidently weighed Lot in the balance scale a lot differently than I might have. He was a righteous soul, and not only a righteous soul, but a soul that was vexed day and night by the evil deeds of those around him.

God took Lot from that place. It corrupted his wife, who looked back and turned to a pillar of salt. It corrupted his children, who later got their father drunk to sire children. Thus were born the Moabites and the Ammonites, who later became no end of problem for Israel. But Lot himself was a righteous man, a picture of the church who will be taken out from the world before wrath is poured out upon it. More specifically, we see the Bride of Christ being taken home to be with the Lord, escaping the wrath that will be poured out on the earth.

The fourth place I see the Rapture is a bit harder to glimpse, yet I think if you ponder on it a bit, you will see the grace of God again showing that future age. Isaac was the child of promise, and very long in coming. Abraham was promised a child that would eventually make him to become the father of nations, yet at 99, still found himself without child. Sarah, at an anything but spry 86, no longer considered herself to be able to bear children. Yet the faithfulness of God was not yet complete, until the coming of the son, Isaac, the child of promise. With that coming, which can be compared not only the first coming of the Son, but also the Second Coming. It is a promised coming, just as the comings of our Savior are promised. It is much delayed, just as the comings of our Savior were delayed—the first coming not happening for almost 2,000 years after Isaac, and the second coming still being waited on.

Rebekah, the chosen bride of Isaac, can also be likened to the marriage of the church (the bride) to the Lord. The marriage supper of the Lamb is yet to take place, yet when it comes it will surely follow many of the same things that happened to Rebekah. The faithful servant of Abraham stands as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, something commentators have long noted. The servant goes out and finds the bride, just as the Holy Spirit finds us, convicting us both of our sin and the righteousness of God. The faithful servant puts a bracelet around the wrist of the bride, sealing her as the bride of Isaac. Similarly, the Holy Spirit seals us into the body of Christ, guaranteeing us to be part of the bride. The servant then removes her from her home, and she is taken to an exalted position as the bride of Isaac, the chosen seed. One day when the Spirit is taken out of the way, at the same time, He will remove us from the earth, and bring us at last to the place the Lord has prepared for us.

Sixth, the family of Jacob, and Jacob himself are taken out of the wrath which is to come, remarkably like we are promised in Thessalonians. They are removed from the danger of drought and starvation, and brought to an exalted position. Indeed, Joseph has been made second only to the Pharaoh in position. The Christian will be saved from the wrath to come in the coming seventieth week of Daniel when the world is judged, and exalted beyond all hope as we find our inheritance in heaven.

Lastly, I see the dream of Jacob as a sign of the faithfulness of God. Jacob dreams of a ladder going to heaven. Jacob is forced to be a sojourner in a foreign land, just as we Christians are sojourners in a foreign land. Yet, God gives to Jacob the promise that he will one day be brought back to the land of promise, and so we Christians look forward to the completion of God’s promises that he will, at long last, bring us to the home which he has prepared and promised us.

All seven are thus given, and certainly not all are equal. Some are more obviously hinting at the coming of our Lord, while others perhaps only become obvious as we willingly muse about them. But this we have as a certainty, that the Lord himself told us to search the Scriptures for they are they which testify of him (John 5:39). Is it any wonder, then, that we should find much of Christ and his comings in the very first book of Genesis?

No comments: