Calvary Road Baptist Church

“A TYPE OF THE TRIUNE GODHEAD”

Genesis 24.1-67

 

This morning’s message is drawn from the 24th chapter of the book of Genesis, a passage that is 67 verses long, making it impossible for us to read at this time. However, I call upon you who are heads of household to read the chapter aloud to the youngsters in your home, and to urge upon your mature children the reading of the passage. There is a tremendous amount of devotional material in this portion of scripture that we will have time to make no mention of. The title of this morning’s message is “A Type Of The Triune Godhead.” Of late I have been bringing to your attention this matter of types that are found in God’s Word. To quickly review from several weeks ago, I rehearsed to you that Patrick Fairbairn explained that there are two things which, by general consent, are held to enter into the constitution of a type. First, it must resemble in form or in spirit its counterpart in the gospel. Second, it must be something that is obviously the intentional doing of God. That is, “The former must not only resemble the latter, but must have been designed to resemble the latter.”[1]

Let me at this time provide a bit more for your understanding of types in the Bible, again from Fairbairn:

 

If the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the blessings of His great salvation, was the object mainly contemplated by God from the beginning of the world, and with which the Church was ever travailing as in birth, - if, consequently, the previous dispensations were chiefly designed to lead to, and terminate upon, Christ and the things of His salvation, - what can be more natural than to suppose that the evolutions of Providence throughout the period during which the salvation was in prospect, should have concurred with the symbols of worship in imaging and preparing for what was to come? It is possible, indeed, that the connection here between the past and the future might be somewhat more varied and fluctuating and in several respects less close and exact, than in the case of a regulated system of symbolical instruction and worship, appointed to last till it was superseded by the better things of the New dispensation. This is only what might be expected from the respective natures of the subjects compared. But that a connection, similar in kind, had a place in the one as well as in the other, we hold to be not only in itself probable, but also capable of being satisfactorily established. And for the purpose of showing this we lay down the following positions: - First, That the historical relations and circumstances recorded in the Old Testament, and typically applied in the New, had very much both the same resemblances and defects in respect to the realities of the Gospel, which we have found to belong to the ancient symbolical institutions of worship; secondly, that such historical types were absolutely necessary, in considerable number and variety, to render the earlier dispensations thoroughly preparative in respect to the coming dispensation of the Gospel; and, thirdly, that Old Testament Scripture itself contains undoubted indications that much of its historical matter stood related to some higher ideal, in which the truths and relations exemplified in them were again to meet and receive a new but more perfect development.[2]

 

Fairbairn is telling his readers that there is a connection between the Old Testament and the New, that what is a shadow in the Old Testament (including types) can be seen more fully developed in the New, and that what is often seen in the New Testament is the higher ideal to which that found in the Old Testament pointed.

My friends, there is a reason why Judaism has an underdeveloped concept of sin, an immature recognition of the afterlife, and most of all a very limited grasp of the nature of the one true and living God. The Old Testament scriptures only began to address such important issues and details as are found in fully fleshed out form as doctrinal truths in the New Testament. Perhaps you have heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Actually, that nice sounding phrase is ridiculous, as history clearly shows. If pictures were worth a thousand words then pictures would be superior to words in communicating facts and information, which they are not. That is why Egyptian hieroglyphics did not survive, why Mesopotamian cuneiform as a form of communication did not survive, and why the written word by means of the alphabet dominates and will continue to dominate all forms of communication among the educated classes. So too with typology, in which types are much like pictures drawn with words in the Old Testament that depict what will be explained as abstract concepts in the New Testament. In the text we have before us, Genesis 24, we are given in the form of a story a word picture of God as a Trinity, God as a being who exists in the form of three persons. But we have a bit more than that. We also in this typology have pictured for us what our Triune God is doing.

Again, I must beg your indulgence. We need to recognize that the usefulness of types is limited, and we must not expect or demand more of this literary device than it is capable of providing. One tool cannot perform every desired task. Therefore, let us practice to be content with what types are able to do for us.

Three main points to this sermon:

 

First, THE FULFILLMENT OF THE TYPE, GOD AS A TRIUNE BEING

 

Consider what the New Testament clearly sets forth concerning the nature of our God:

First, we are clearly shown in the New Testament that He is one. In his first Corinthian letter the Apostle Paul wrote in 8.4,

 

“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.”

 

Two verses later, in 8.6, he wrote,

 

“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

 

In his first letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul starts 2.5 by writing,

 

“For there is one God. . . .”

 

And the pastor of the church in Jerusalem, James, writes in his letter, 2.19,

 

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well. . . .”

 

Through the entire Bible, then, the Hebrew scriptures[3] (which we already know without pointing out the fact) as well as the Greek scriptures, testimony and insistence is uniform; there is only one God. Therefore, Christians do not believe in three gods.

However, what the New Testament fully reveals that the Old Testament only hints at and alludes to, in addition to showing by typology, is that the one true and living God exists in the form of three Persons, Who are co-equal in every way, co-eternal, co-omniscient, co-omnipotent, etc. Let me demonstrate from the New Testament, first, that the Father is revealed to be God.

 

John 17.1-3:  1      These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

2      As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

3      And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

 

This is the Lord Jesus Christ allowing in prayer that His Father is God.

 

Ephesians 1.2: “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Here the Apostle Paul acknowledges our heavenly Father to be God. Enough said about the Father, I think. Do you not agree that the New Testament reveals that our heavenly Father is God? That the Son of God is also God is also seen in the New Testament.

 

John 1.1, 14:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

14   And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

 

Verse 1 is all mutilated in the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, but these two verses really do, especially in the Greek text, point out that Jesus Christ is God. In John 10.30-33, we read what the Lord Jesus says about Himself:

 

30    I and my Father are one.

31    Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

32    Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

33    The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

 

Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses admit that Christ was sinless, yet He makes Himself God, if the reaction of the Jews is any indication. Wasn’t that Satan’s great sin, trying to be like God?[4] It would be a sin for Jesus Christ, too, . . . unless, of course, He is God.

 

John 20.28: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”

 

Does God allow anyone besides Himself to receive worship? We know from the Old Testament that the answer to that question is “No.”[5] But the Lord Jesus Christ did not refuse or hinder Thomas’ worship of Him in any way, did He? Why not? Because the Lord Jesus Christ actually is God, that’s why. So, we have seen that the New Testament reveals that the Father is God. We have also seen that the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son,[6] is shown to be God. That the Holy Spirit is God can also be seen in the New Testament.

 

Acts 5.3-4:  3    But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

4    Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

 

If you lie to the Holy Ghost you have lied to God, says the Apostle Peter. Amazing.

 

Romans 8.9: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

 

To indwell every believer requires that the Holy Spirit be omnipresent, or everywhere present. That is an attribute that only God has. As well, the Lord Jesus Christ taught that regeneration, being born again, giving spiritual life to those born spiritually dead, is something the Spirit of God does, John 3.8. However, this is a miracle only God can perform. So, it is clear to an open-minded person that the Holy Spirit of God is, in fact, shown in the New Testament and was accepted by believers in the New Testament to be God. We have seen Three Who are persons. We have seen Three Who are God. But there is only one God. Impossible? Or is it just impossible for human beings to understand?

A third observation has to do with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit being distinct persons of the Godhead.

 

John 14.16: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

 

The three Persons of the Godhead are here distinguished from each other by Christ.

 

John 15.26: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”

 

Here the Lord Jesus, again speaking, clearly distinguishes the Father from the Spirit and both of them from Himself. Notice, thirdly, that the Father is distinguished from the Son by the Son, in John 20.21:

 

“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

 

The Father is the sender while Jesus Christ is the sent One. They are clearly distinguished. Our observations are made to show that when Christ determined to pray and actually did pray to His Father He really was doing what He appeared to be doing, and was neither acting nor committing fraud by only pretending to pray to another distinct Person. The New Testament clearly shows the one God, Creator and Sustainer of all things, to exist in the form of three divine Persons, an incomprehensible mystery to all of us, but it is a mystery the Bible certainly teaches. Choose to disbelieve the Bible if you want to bear the burden of that folly, but do not be so dishonest as to deny what the Bible teaches; that there is one God, and that the one God exists in the form of three divine Persons, a truth hinted at in the Old Testament but fully revealed in the New Testament.

 

Next, THE TYPE OF THE TRINITY FOUND IN GENESIS CHAPTER 24

 

A quick summary of Genesis chapter 24 shows the chapter consists of twelve parts. I list the parts for your consideration at another time:[7]

 

·         First, there is Abraham’s prosperity, verse 1.

·         Next, Abraham commissions his unnamed servant to find a bride, verses 2-9.

·         Third, the unnamed servant’s journey to seek a bride for his master’s son, verses 10-11.

·         Fourth, the unnamed servant’s prayer, verses 12-14.

·         Fifth, the unnamed servant’s prayer is answered, verses 15-21.

·         Sixth, the unnamed servant is introduced to the future bride of the beloved son, verses 22-25.

·         Seventh, the unnamed servant’s worship of the LORD, verses 26-27.

·         Eighth, the unnamed servant’s reception, verses 28-32.

·         Ninth, the unnamed servant articulates his mission, verses 33-49.

·         Tenth, the unnamed servant succeeds in securing a bride for his master’s son, verses 50-58.

·         Eleventh, the unnamed servant returns with his master’s son’s bride, verses 59-61.

·         Finally, the beloved bridegroom meets and marries his bride, verses 62-67.

 

How is the Triune Godhead typified in Genesis chapter 24? First, Abraham is portrayed as a type of God the Father who seeks a bride for his only and beloved son, Isaac.[8] Abraham’s son Isaac is typified as the Son of God, the beloved of his father who sends his unnamed servant to find for him a bride among the Gentiles. The unnamed servant is portrayed as a type of the Third Person of the Triune Godhead, the unnamed Holy Spirit of God, who has been dispatched into this world to seek out the bride of Christ.

As perhaps you already surmised yourself, the chaste virgin found in answer to prayer by the unnamed servant, Rebekah, is herself a wonderful type, a type of the bride of Christ.

Let me read to you the note found in an early dispensational study Bible:

 

The entire chapter is highly typical: (I) Abraham, type of a certain king who would make a marriage for his son (Mt. xxii.2; John vi.44 ); (2) the unnamed servant, type of the Holy Spirit, who does not “speak of himself,” but takes of the things of the Bridegroom with which to win the bride (John xvi.13, 14); (3) the servant, type of the Spirit as enriching the bride with the Bridegroom’s gifts (v. 22; I Cor. xii.7-11); (4) the servant, type of the Spirit as bringing the bride to the meeting with the Bridegroom (Acts xiii.4; xvi.6, 7; Rom. viii.11; I Thes. iv.14-16); (5) Rebekah, type of the Church, the ecclesia, the “called outvirgin bride of Christ (Gen. xxiv.16; 2 Cor. xi.2; Eph. v.25-32); (6) Isaac, type of the Bridegroom, “whom not having seen,” the bride loves through the testimony of the unnamed Servant (I Pet. i.8); (7) Isaac, type of the Bridegroom who goes out to meet and receive His bride (Gen. xxiv.63; I Thes. iv.14-16).[9]

 

Finally, THE APPLICATION OF THIS TYPOLOGY

 

We are told in Second Timothy 3.16 that this passage, as with everywhere else in God’s Word, should benefit us with respect to doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Therefore, let us briefly consider several applicable points from this wonderful chapter in God’s Word:

First, the desire of our heavenly Father. Our heavenly Father has a Son, His only begotten Son, who He loves and would do anything for Him to express His love to Him. Therefore, He seeks for His beloved Son a bride, the bride of Christ. Since John the Baptist speaks of Christ as the bridegroom and makes mention of the bride, and also excludes himself from that company that comprises the bride of Christ but identifies himself as a friend of the bridegroom, John 3.29, our Lord’s testimony of his greatness suggests the bride of Christ is comprised of those believers since Christ’s resurrection.[10] No wonder, then, that Paul compares in Ephesians chapter 5 the Savior’s relationship with the church to a husband’s loving and sacrificial relationship with his wife. This is what God the Father sought for His beloved Son, portrayed in type in Genesis 24.

Next, the description of God’s only begotten Son. Go back and read every comment the unnamed servant uttered to Rebekah to persuade her to embrace as her beloved husband a man she had never seen. Is this not the same activity we see the Holy Spirit accomplishing through those He leads and guides, seeking to persuade people to embrace a Savior no one alive today has ever seen? No wonder the Apostle Peter writes in First Peter 1.8, “Whom having not seen, ye love.” This thing we refer to as conversion takes place when the unnamed Servant of God, the Holy Spirit, so persuades the object of His attention through Christian witness that the unsaved individual is thereby persuaded to embrace as his own a Savior he is has never seen, trusting this One of whom the Spirit speaks to save him from his sins.

Third, the diligence of the Holy Spirit. We understand from elsewhere in the Bible that the unnamed servant in Genesis 24 was likely Eleazar of Damascus, who stood to inherit Abraham’s fortune if he died without a legitimate heir. Therefore, everything he did on his long journey to find a bride for Isaac was against his own immediate self interest. What faithfulness to his charge he showed. What a beautiful type of the Holy Spirit this servant is, Who is never named in God’s Word, and who only minimally draws attention to Himself; seeking always and only to glorify God and to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.[11] As the unnamed servant’s journey was long, so the Spirit of God sometimes deals with individuals at great length. As the unnamed servant spoke highly of his master and told of his master’s son, so the Spirit of God points those He is dealing with to the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, working to persuade individuals to embrace a Savior they will never see without properly responding to the wooing of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, we see the detachment of the bride of Christ. Just a few observations and comments before we conclude: In Genesis 24.54-58 we learn that Rebekah complied with the unnamed servant’s urging that she accompany him back to Isaac to be his wife, that they slept one night before beginning the return journey, and then when the unnamed servant desired to leave the very next day Rebekah’s family wanted her to delay her departure ten days. The unnamed servant implored her to depart with him immediately. Let me say that it would not conform with the rest of God’s Word for us to assume that the lesson here is for a wife to remove herself a great distance from her family when she marries, though Rebekah certainly did. The lesson in this chapter is a spiritual one and not a geographical one, and speaks to the matter of conversion. Rebekah is a type of the believer who exercises saving faith in Christ without ever having seen Him, and only afterwards is she taken by the unnamed servant on a long journey to be presented to her bridegroom. Thus, the Christian is taken on a long spiritual journey that must begin immediately, and which culminates when the Spirit of God presents the Christian to the Lord Jesus Christ in glory.[12] Thus, a right understanding of Rebekah’s typology is not that a wife should be far removed from her family when she marries, but that the journey of the Christian’s life should begin immediately following conversion and should under no circumstances be delayed. The separation shown in Rebekah’s life characterizes spiritual separation in the Christian’s life, not being geographically removed from family and loved ones. Thus, though you continue to live near and love your friends and family when you come to Christ, you immediately separate from the ungodliness and the sinful practices they continue to engage in and perhaps you used to engage in as soon as you come to Christ.

 

To conclude, then, we are left with significant word pictures found in Genesis 24, imagery in the persons of Abraham, Isaac, the unnamed servant, and Rebekah. From this type of the Triunity of God and the gracious selection of Rebekah to be Isaac’s bride, we have several implications for your consideration:

First, this type that is found in the first book of the Old Testament and is confirmed by the fulfillment of the type in the New Testament shows that not only is the Bible not merely the product of human authorship, but that God revealing Himself in type in Genesis 24 and in fulfillment in the New Testament is a being outside and superior to the expanse of time. This type and antitype shows the handiwork of God reaching into His creation to make history in His Providence and its miraculous fulfillment serving His purpose.

Second, in this type is revealed God’s plan and pleasure in finding a bride for His Son, with that selection process on one hand taking place without Rebekah’s knowledge, but on the other hand being fulfilled by means of Rebekah’s faith, her acceptance of the description of her bridegroom without having seen him. My friends, this is what happens when a sinner is approached with the gospel message.

This must be the case with you for you to become a part of Christ’s bride, for you to become a believer in Christ, for you to be born again, for your sins to be forgiven. You must form an opinion about this One you have never seen and respond in faith believing that He truly is as He has been described to you, or you will forever remain in your sins.



[1] Patrick Fairbairn, The Typology Of Scripture: Two Volumes in One Complete and Unabridged, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House), page 46.

[2] Ibid., page 63.

[3] Genesis 1.1; Deuteronomy 6.4

[4] Isaiah 14.14

[5] Isaiah 42.8; 48.11

[6] Matthew 3.17; 17.5; Mark 1.11; 9.7; Luke 3.22; 9.35

[7] Suggested by Finis Jennings Dake, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc., 1991), pages 20-22.

[8] Identified as his only son by the LORD in Genesis 22.2, 12, 16

[9]See footnote for Genesis 24.1 from C. I. Scofield, Editor, The First Scofield Reference Bible, (Iowa Falls, Iowa: Barbour and Company, Inc., 1986), page 34.

[10] Matthew 11.11; Luke 7.28

[11] John 16.13

[12] 1 Peter 1.8; 1 John 3.2; Jude 24


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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org