Nathan Jones: To help us learn how seven Old Testament brides portray the Church, we are joined by Dawn and Dennis Morris (watch the episode of Christ in Prophecy). Dawn is a Christian novelist and Dennis is a successful businessman. Both share a passion for equipping the Church for the soon return of Jesus Christ.
In the first segment, we looked at how Eve is a pattern of the Church and how we relate to Jesus, the Bridegroom, followed by the brides Rebekah and Rachel. Now we will read the stories of Ruth and Abigail.
4. The Bride Ruth
Tim Moore: How does Ruth’s story represent how the Church includes both Jews and Gentiles?
Dawn Morris: The next bride is Ruth and she demonstrates the protocol for becoming a bride. Ruth is a Gentile who traveled to Israel with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Once in Israel, Ruth had to follow the protocols for her to be redeemed by the family’s Kinsman-Redeemer, who is also a picture of Christ. Actually, each of the grooms in this study is a picture of Jesus, too, but we’re just focusing on the brides.
And so, Ruth had to follow the processes of her day, and so we too have to follow a process. Romans 10:9 says, “If we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.” In the same way that Ruth left her false gods and her broken culture, so we too when we turn to Jesus Christ leave behind the idols that we worship. We leave behind our past culture to receive a new identity. And, just as Ruth gained a new identity as part of the covenant of marriage she made with Boaz, so we too gain a new identity in Jesus Christ.
Nathan Jones: Ruth would end up being the predecessor of the line of David, which would become the line of Jesus. Because of her marriage to the Kinsman-Redeemer, Ruth then partook in an even more important role. The fact that the Jewish line would contain Gentile blood shows that the Lord didn’t just favor the Jewish people.
Tim Moore: Ruth also gives an even better testimony than her first mother-in-law. Naomi was a Jew, and yet she for a season had become very despondent in her faith. And yet, Ruth said, “Your God will be my God and your people will be my people.” Ruth chose to be essentially grafted in, and for a season became more favored even than the Jewish woman, Naomi, that is until Naomi recognized the blessing that Ruth was receiving. I wouldn’t say that Naomi was jealous of Ruth, but she did come back to her senses and praise God.
Like Ruth, today so many Gentiles have embraced the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We pray that the Jewish people will also, like Naomi, return to their belief in Yahweh as well.
5. The Bride Abigail
Tim Moore: How is Abigail a picture of the promotion in rank given to the Bride of Christ?
Dawn Morris: David is a descendant of Ruth, and the next bride is one of David’s wives, Abigail. She represents the promotion we receive as the Bride of Christ once we accept Jesus as our Savior and become His “bride.”
In 1 Samuel 25, when Abigail meets David, she’s married to a man named Nabal, whose name means folly. He had insulted David, so David had sworn to leave no man of Nabal’s left alive. A servant runs to Abigail to beg her to intercede. She’s the first woman in Scripture that’s described as both beautiful and intelligent. She knows her husband would never apologize, so she gets together all of the food and provisions David had expected for his men who had been guarding Nabal’s flocks. She goes to David and bows before him and asks him for mercy. Struck by Abigail’s wisdom and graciousness, David grants her family mercy and thanks her for coming out to save her family.
Abigail then goes back home and tells her husband, who has woken from a drunken stupor, what she’s done. Interestingly, Nabal died by the Lord’s hand only a few days later. Once David had heard that Abigail had become a widow, he came back and asked her to marry him. In accepting, she’s promoted from being married to folly, who is now dead, to being married to the king. Henceforth, she attains a life of privilege and power. In the same way, before we were saved, we had also been “married” to folly. We were beholden to a life of sin which left us fallen and dead. Then Jesus came and He died so that we didn’t have to die eternally. Jesus died in our place, making it possible for Christians to be united with our Savior. That’s the picture of Abigail.
Tim Moore: Because of Nabal, maybe Abigail was thinking when David proposed, “I’m not worthy” and “You don’t know my past.” In Abigail’s case, “I was married to a complete reprobate, so I’m not worthy of being married to the king.” And yet, Jesus doesn’t look at us as we would with our human eyes. Jesus loves us, not because of any inherent value that we may have, but because He chooses to love us.
Dennis Morris: One other point that comes out when we examine Nabal’s role as a husband, he shows us that we have a responsibility as bridegrooms to our earthly wives. Nabal failed in that relationship that we should have in our role of representing Christ as a bridegroom to His bride. Being a husband requires a great deal of responsibility, and when you fail in that responsibility, what disastrous repercussions that can create for yourself and your family.
Nathan Jones: So true! We humans live such sinful lives full of desperation and folly, but through Christ, we can live life in victory despite our shortcomings. And, Christians are called the Children of God, heirs, and coheirs, during the Kingdom to come. That Christ sacrificed Himself to move us from a position of folly to heir-ship is just absolutely mind-blowing!
In the fourth and final segment of our study into the seven Old Testament brides who portray the Bride of Christ, we will read the stories of the Shulammite bride and the wayward but redeemed bride Gomer.