Ephesians Study, Part 44: God's Design for the Family
More lessons from marriage types in Scripture


Last week I tried to get you to understand the concept of a Biblical type.  That is where God uses an event and its recording in the bible to teach us something, especially as a foreshadowing of something that will happen later, in the New Testament or in the end times.  By using the story of the offering of Isaac by Abraham and then the gathering of the gentile bride for Isaac by the trusted servant, and by the omission of Isaac's name from the time of the sacrifice until he meets his bride at the well of the living waters, I hope I convinced you that this is far more than coincidence, it is designed to teach us that God is in complete control.  It is also there to teach us about Jesus and the Church.

Today's Lesson -- More about types:

And we should not be surprised by God's use of this technique, because in Hosea 12:10 he said he would.

Also remember that the reason that we are studying this is my contention that God uses the human institution of marriage, which he designed, to teach us deeper understanding of our relationship with him.  That issue is inferred, if you look for it in Ephesians 5:32, which is how we took off on this course of study. Paul told us how God designed a marriage to work, and then says, "But really I am talking about Jesus and the Church", the relationship you and I as believers have with Jesus.

A very dramatic study is the book of Ruth, which has a similar model involving marriage and is a clear biblical type.  That little short four-chapter book is a fantastic prophetic model.  We find Ruth, a Gentile, and we find a person by the name of Naomi who has lost her lands.  We find the big hero of the story, Boaz who is the Kinsman Redeemer, and he and the plot of the story accomplished a number of things.  He is the Kinsman Redeemer, he returned the land to Naomi, and he takes a Gentile bride.  Every time you go through the book of Ruth you'll find that there are innumerable details in that story that are prophetic.  I do not think it is possible to understand the book of Revelation from Chapter five forward unless you have studied and understand the book of Ruth and its deeper meanings.  Again it is the marriage of the Gentile Ruth with the Kinsman Redeemer that the Holy Spirit uses to communicate the bridegroom and bride, which of course in the ultimate case is the joining of Jesus with the Church.

Let's mention one other example where God uses the marriage as a way to communicate his most intimate truth.  I would suggest that if you go through all of Scripture, God continually uses marriage to illustrate, to communicate to us, this mysterious relationship between the Messiah and his Bride.

Turn to Romans 5:14.  Paul makes a strange remark.

Paul describes Adam as a foreshadowing of Jesus.  That is a strange idea.  Adam was the bad guy, he did everything wrong.  Well yes but.  There is also somehow a symbolic or mystical sense whereby Adam is a figure or a foreshadowing of him who is to come.  In another place, First Corinthians 15, there is another idiom that Paul uses about Jesus, in verse 45. Of course, here Paul is referring to Jesus.  But it is a strange thing.  Paul is calling Jesus the last Adam.  There is some sense, then, that Adam is a prefiguring or a foreshadowing of Jesus.

Eve and the Serpent:

Paul tells us something very interesting in First Timothy, something you may have missed before:

In our study of the marriage, the women may think that Paul is being exceptionally tough on them, so let's look at this verse.  In the previous verse, verse 13, Paul recounts that Adam was first formed and then Eve but in verse 14 Paul points out something interesting.  You women might make note of this.  Paul says that Adam was not deceived but woman being deceived was in the transgression.  In other words, we all know the story in Genesis 3 where there was this forbidden fruit which Eve took.  But Paul tells us that she was deceived by the "shining one" who became the serpent.  But it is interesting that Paul tells us that the man who also came and ate of the forbidden fruit was not deceived.

Let's think that through.  I want you to imagine the situation.  Who knows where Adam was?  He apparently was away somewhere, maybe fishing, I don't know.  Eve has this conversation with the "shining one" and is deceived.  She violates the only rule that they had.  She takes of the forbidden fruit.  Now Adam comes home.  Don't be deceived here by our grade school coloring books.  We know nothing of the creation prior to Genesis 3.  Our coloring books have Adam and Eve running around with fig leaves in a garden.  We don't know much about that.  We only know about the creation, post-curse.  There are hints in the Psalms and elsewhere that Adam and Eve were clothed in light.  At the time they were sinless.  They walked with God.  I want you to picture this.  Adam comes home and sees that she is no longer clothed in light and realizes what she has done, she is no longer sinless.  You can make up the rest.  For you men here, if it were you and I, the conversation might have gone something like this:  "Boy Honey, are you in trouble.  I mean you really blew it.  Now I'm still okay.  Have I sinned yet?  No.  I am still clothed in light.  But wow, Honey, you're in trouble.  I'll pray for you but I don't know what I can do."

The Scripture says that Adam was not deceived.  Adam loved Eve so much that he knowingly chose to join her in her predicament rather than go on without her.  Don't misunderstand this.  That does not somehow condone Adam's sin.  That is not the point.  But Adam was not deceived.  He loved her so much that he chose to join her in her predicament knowingly.  Think about that with respect of the marriage of Jesus and us as believers.  He loved us so much, that although we had sinned, he was willing to take on our sin to be with us.  That is powerful.

Now because he did, there were offspring, and ultimately there was the seed of the woman who was to be the redeemer through whom they both were saved.  So in a sense, and in a rabbinical line of thinking, Adam gave himself for her so that she might be saved.  In that sense, in that elliptical sense Adam is a type or a foreshadowing of the one who would indeed give himself knowingly for his bride, the church.  Every place in the Scripture that you find marriage, you are likely to find that it is built around the Holy Spirit using that to communicate God's deeper meaning to us.  Not just things about how to make your marriage better, that's not the point.  The Holy Spirit uses it to communicate God's deepest mystical truths.

The challenge for every man is: did you, or do you, or will you love your wife that much?

Old Testament Marriage Types, Foreshadowing Jesus and his Bride:

It is interesting that there are a series of these marriages in Scripture.

There are a long series of Gentile brides in the Scripture.

With each of these Gentile brides there is something very peculiar.  Not one of them has her death recorded in the Scripture.  Don't misunderstand me, they obviously died, but their death is not recorded in the Scripture.  It is interesting how the Holy Spirit operates.  In a mystical sense, none of them have their death recorded:  the church is the Gentile bride of Jesus, and the church has no death.  It is an omission, kind of like the omission of Isaac's name, from the time of the offering, to the marriage that we discussed last week.

Now since we have spent this much time on the topic of marriage we would miss too good an opportunity to look at the Jewish marriage.  Of course, we're familiar with the classical Western Gentile marriage model.  But the ancient Jewish marriage is somewhat different it starts out with a first stage which is the engagement.  That was arranged by Father.  That resulted in stage two, which is referred to as the covenant, or the agreement.  Once the agreement was drawn the bridegroom then leaves, becomes absent, and goes to build a home.  Then as a part of the procedure he would return, unannounced, usually in secret and at night to claim his bride.  And that resulted in the wedding ceremony which was a seven-day celebration.  When you get into this and really study it, as Gentiles, we miss the depth of the allusions of the wedding ceremony as it applies to Jesus and the church and the wedding parables.

So let's wrap this up now with verse 33.

Here is the summary about husbands and wives and it is all really very simple. God gave us two rules. Just two rules. One for the guy and one for the girl. And if we keep these two rules, it works.  And yet if we don't, how stupid! So what's the first rule?

The Rule for the Wife:

The rule for the wife is very simple, let your husband be in charge. He is the God appointed head of the house. Most women are smart enough to understand how to make him think that he is really in charge. As a quotation from my big fat Greek wedding says, the husband is the head of the house but the wife is the neck. And the wife can turn the head in a direction she wants. The wife should let the husband think that he's really in charge. The secular European model has a lot to commend itself, that papa is the head of the house, he sits at the head of the table.

Nancy Missler's Applicatioin of Ephesians 5:

Chuck Missler, who as many of you know is a Bible teacher and lecturer that I appreciate very much, tells a story about this first rule and how it worked in his home.  At a certain point in his life his marriage was in some difficulty.  He was out busy on his career making deals and really not focused much on his marriage.  But one day he came home and noticed something very strange.  He opened the refrigerator and found that it was filled with all the foods that were his favorites.  Now that might make you laugh, but if you will think back to when your family was at home, the refrigerator was filled with not what you're favorites were or what you're husband's favorite foods were but it was filled with the favorite foods of your children.  Chuck's point is that he opened the icebox and he noticed it right away.  When he tells the story he says that people laugh but he noticed it immediately.  When he sat down at the dinner table that evening in front of him was the finest china in the house and the nicest silverware.  The wedding gift stuff was on the table in front of them.  This time he didn't have the fork that had been redesigned by the garbage disposal.  He said that he had not been home that evening very long before he turned to his wife Nan and asked, "What's going on?"  And his wife shared in all candor that she had been reading Ephesians and that she had read that she should be treating Chuck as the Church should be treating Jesus.    She said that she had also read in Colossians where Jesus is to be preeminent in all things.  So she decided on her own, not by mutual agreement with Chuck, but on her own, that she was going to make Chuck preeminent in their home.  According to Chuck, at the time, he was not a very nice person.  He says he was teaching Bible study but he was distracted, busy, out making deals, ignoring the family, too busy conquering the world.  At the time, according to Chuck, Nan had a long list of very justifiable complaints, but she kept that list to herself, well sort of.  She cheated.  She took that list to God.  And in Chuck's own words, when she and God ganged up on him, he didn't have a chance.

Nan Missler wrote a book entitled "Why should I be the first to change?".  In that book she tells her own story about how she realized that Chuck was God's problem, not hers.  That her problem was simply to put herself where God wanted her, which was subject to Chuck, just as the church is subject to Jesus.  And so she simply just started treating Chuck that way, whether he deserved it or not.

Chuck says that it wasn't very long before he felt the need to find out what was going on.  And he soon recognized that he had a problem.  Chuck says he recognized pretty quickly that he was cornered, between Nan and God.  He says that that was the beginning of a gradual process that moved them through a total marriage turnaround.  They had already been Christians for 20 years before that.  They had been teaching Bible studies for years.  Outside, they looked great, but inside it was a mess.  According to Chuck, God turned their marriage around through the unilateral action by Nan.  And that turnaround is the subject of Nan's book "Why Should I Change First?".  There are stories from all around the world where that book has had the same impact on other relationships.  It all came about by Nan's choice to do exactly what Paul says God intended.  You could ask, was Chuck walking in the way to God would have him walk?  Clearly not.  Did he deserve for Nan to be subject to him?  Clearly not.  So that's the one rule for the wife.

So what's the one rule for the husband?  It is even simpler.  Love your wives supremely.  How much does Christ love the church?  There is no limit to that love.  If we would could only realize this, I think we would find that it is God's will that a husband should spoil his wife rotten.  It is a husband's job to love his wife supremely.

Two Simple Rules:

So there are only two simple rules -- one for the guys, and one for the girls.

It is so simple.  Why don't we do it?

Next week:

...we will dive into Ephesians Chapter 6.  Please read through it.  It is only 24 verses, it will probably only take 2 minutes to read.  But it is packed with some important stuff.