(The Positive Type Before the Fall – Part 1 (The Present))
To see the parallels between Genesis 2 and Ephesians 5 is revolutionizing. When the type and the reality are juxtaposed, they provide an excellent window into God’s eternal purpose. God’s purpose is constant, never changing from eternity to eternity. Problems however arise when Christians view God’s purpose solely from an ex-imputation perspective. The divine revelation in Genesis 1 and 2, ante-imputation, reveals God’s intention and desire apart from the stain of sin.
The last article in this series covered, although too briefly, Adam as a type of Christ in laying down his life for the producing of Eve, and the reality of this type in Christ Himself laying down his life for the producing of the church. But just as the rib alone was not the finished work of Adam’s sacrifice, God’s purpose was not finished on Calvary[i]. The rib, the “produced” Eve still needed to be built into a woman. In like manner, while the church was produced on Calvary, it still needs to be built. A child is “produced” at conception[ii] and yet still needs to grow and be “built” into a full-grown person. . The church also has these two aspects of its “development”: producing and building. The last article covered producing, now we come to building.
Genesis 2:22 And Jehovah God built the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man.
After Adam’s rib was removed from his side a building work needed to transpire before this woman could be presented to the man. It does not say that Eve was created; it says that she was built. Building in fact is the central focus of the entire Bible. The beginning of the Bible has the building of Eve as its focus, the period between Genesis 2 and Revelation 21 can be summarized by the Lord’s word in Matthew 16:18 “I will build my church”, and ultimately the Bible concludes with a building, a city, the New Jerusalem which is the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 21:9). Adam and Eve are the types, the pictures, of an awesome reality transpiring presently. Let’s examine the reality of Genesis 2:22:
Ephesians 5:26 That He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.
Verse 25 described that in the past the church-loving Christ gave Himself up for the church and verse 26 gives us the first reason why. As Adam gave Himself for Eve so that she could be built into something that matched him (bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh), Christ gave Himself for the church that he might, “sanctify her” and cleanse her by “the washing of the water in the word”.
“Sanctify her…by the washing”
When Jesus’ side was pierced on the cross two substances came out: blood and water. The blood that flowed out signifies His redeeming blood, the blood that washes away our sins (1 John 1:7; Rev 7:14). His blood is critical and indeed is the bedrock of Christian salvation, but it is not the conclusion. Another substance also came from the Lord’s side: water. Whereas blood washes away the stain of sin, water washes away the blemishes of the natural life and old man (the spots and wrinkles mentioned in v. 27). Eve had no need of this kind of washing because she had not yet been imputed with Satan’s sin nature, but we, products of the fall, are in desperate need of Christ’s sanctifying work.
Sanctifying here has two important aspects: separating and saturating. Consider the children of Israel. They were purchased by the Lord’s blood (the blood of the Lamb) which enabled them to leave Egypt and cross the Red Sea. By this action, they were clearly separated from Egypt (which typologically signifies the world), but their salvation was far from complete. Even though they were out of Egypt, Egypt was not out of them. Because they had been partaking of the Egyptian diet their entire lives, they were constitutionally Egyptian; they were saturated with everything of Egypt. Therefore, Jehovah needed to reconstitute them and thus sent manna for 40 years so that at a molecular level, they would be a different kind of people.
The same is true today. The Lord produced the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28) but His people still need a saturating, cleansing work to be done in them. The children of Israel had the manna, but what do we have? Thankfully we have the Lord as the word applied by Him as the life-giving Spirit to separate, saturation, transform, grow, and build us up.
“Of the Water in the word”
On this verse Augustine provides a key insight, “take away the word, and what his water but water?” The word means everything. But it is at times like these where the English language unfortunately fails us, because here the Greek word denotes not the constant written word (logos), but he instant inner speaking of the indwelling Christ (rhema). Of course we need the logos to be in us in order for the life-giving Spirit to draw upon and make that constant word His instant speaking. This instant speaking is a real watering that washes away all that we are in our old natural life and replaces it with a new element, thus changing us metabolically from the inside out. The Scriptures refer to this process as transformation (μεταμορφούμεθα).
“Transformation is the inward, metabolic process in which God works to spread His divine life and nature throughout every part of our being, particularly our soul, bringing Christ and His riches into our being as our new element and causing our old, natural element to be gradually discharged. As a result, we will be transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18), that is, conformed to the image of the firstborn Son of God as His many brothers (8:29). Thus we will be suitable for the building up of His Body.[iii]”
Just as Eve was produced and built from Adam, so the church is produced and is being built of and with Christ. Eve was only that which came out of Adam. Likewise the church is only that which comes out of Christ. The church is not a building on the corner or even a group of Christians that come together; it is only the Christ in you, me, and so many genuine redeemed, regenerated sons of God. Eve was Adam’s increase and the church is Christ’s. Christ (the bridegroom) in the present is building His church (His bride) with Himself. In the future, once this process is complete, as we will see in the next article, there is a glorious meeting of bride and bridegroom, or Christ and His glorious church.
[i] In a sense His purpose was completed on Calvary, after all the Lord said, “It is finished”. The accomplished, completed purpose needs to be carried out however which is being done in the period from the cross to His parousia.
[ii] Don’t let this statement distract you from the main point of the article. I’ve expressed it this way because this is my belief, but I’m using it to help illustrate the glorious mystery of Christ and His being built church.
[iii] New Testament Recovery Version Biblical Study Notes on Romans 12:2