Types Of The Church
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the twain shall become one flesh.
Eve was one and alone, and she was made absolutely for Adam. This makes her unusual, even unique, among the women of the Old Testament who may felt to be types of the Church. In each of them some aspect of the Church’s redemption is depicted. We see her presented to the bridegroom(Rebekah), chosen from among the Gentiles(Asenath), passing through the wilderness(Zipporah), receiving her inheritance in the land(Achsah), all-together dependent upon her kinsman-redeemer(Ruth), and militant for her lord(Abigail). Yet none is so instructive as Eve, for they all succeed the Fall, but she, in that blessed period before sin entered, shows us the Church fulfilling all God’s desire for her in union with his Son. Eve first came forth from Adam, to be then brought back to him as his helpmeet. From one there becomes two; from these two there was again one. This is the mystery of the Church, that in her, what is altogether from Christ returns once more to him.
One of the great mysteries of faith besides that of the Trinity is the union between the Church and her Groom, the Lord Jesus Christ. Eve, the first woman portrays at least a few clues to help us understand to some degree what God has been trying to get humanity to comprehend. It is worth noting that Christ and the apostles described the relationship between God and the Church as that of a husband and wife. In His parables, Jesus told of those who were waiting for the groom to come. There were five of the bridesmaids who were prepared for the delay. They made sure they had sufficient oil in their lamps. The other five were unprepared and as the groom lingered, they ran out of oil. In the story Christ is the groom and the Church is the bride.
The very first miracle that Christ did was at a wedding insuring that there was sufficient wine for the wedding party. I think He was no doubt thinking of that moment when the wine-His blood- would be poured out and would seal the union between Himself and the Church.
But back to Eve. We read that in Creation, God created Adam. Initially there was no Eve. In the same manner we read that Christ has always existed in eternity and the Church had its beginning only after the flesh of Christ was pierced on Calvary. Just as God did not want Adam to remain alone, neither was His Son to remain alone. In both cases God could have easily created a bride for both Adam and Christ. But He chose instead to bring them forth from the groom and interestingly enough both Adam and Christ’s sides were pierced. Eve was removed- the rib- from Adam’s side and the Church was born when Christ’s side was pierced. When Adam was presented with Eve, he said, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” When the Church is presented to Christ, He will say, “This is My Body.” Eve was the bone and flesh from Adam and the Church is nothing less than the Body of Christ.
Eve was “born” while Adam was in a “deep sleep” a form of death. The Church was “born” as Christ was “asleep” in the tomb.
Eve came from Adam just as the Church came from Christ.
In the second portrait, we find one day Eve was separated from Adam. We don’t know why that was and the why isn’t important. What is important is the lesson she provides. Separated from Adam she received a visit from Satan who deceived and persuaded her to break the single law. Don’t you think it interesting that Satan waited until the bride was apart from the groom? But, then, isn’t that what happens to us-the Church? Isn’t it true that when we stray from the Lord that we are visited, tempted, and often allow ourselves to be persuaded to sin by the devil?
We read that once Adam discovered that Eve had been seduced by Satan to sin and therefore was under the penalty of judgement and death, he willingly partook of the sin so that he would join her in punishment and death. Although the first Adam had no power to satisfy the death penalty, the second Adam also identified Himself with and took on the sin of the Bride-the Church. Instead of sharing her death, however, He died in her place and through His power captured death, hell, and the grave. Through His resurrection, He shared eternal life with His bride so that forevermore the Church would be with Him.
The final thing we know about Adam and Eve is that after their separation and after their redemption, they joined together again in the intimacy shared between a husband and wife and that union produced offspring. When the Bride- the Church joins itself in intimacy with the Groom-Christ, it too produces offspring. That offspring is nothing other than new believers born again into the family of God. Eve in a small way gives us a glimpse into the mystery of Christ and the Church.
One of the important takeaways is the importance of the Bride becoming intimate with the Groom. Should, for what ever reason, the Bride choose to distant herself from the Groom, she will find herself being deceived and persuaded to rebel against the Groom. Separation that impedes, hinders, or minimizes the intimacy between the Church and the Groom results in barren altars and empty buildings. I suppose there are thousands of books and seminars dealing with the subject of church growth. I suppose we could spend time to read them all. In the same way I suppose there are thousands of books and seminars on how to be a better husband or wife. The truth is there is no substitutes for intimacy. A couple may read a multitude of books on intimacy and each of them may be well educated in the subject, but none of that will bring about the birth of a child. Only intimacy between the couple will result in the birth of a child. That’s the story of Adam and Eve. In intimacy they gave birth to the first natural born child. Only when the Church chooses to become intimate with Christ will she give birth to new Christians. Knowledge about the subject is no substitute for the action.
What a lesson Eve has taught us. May we grasp it, hold it close, and live it out. And may our quiver be full of lots of new little Christians!
Dr. John Thompson