Asenath: A Bride in Glory

The life story of Joseph captivates the imagination. From the pit to the highest office in Egypt is a far greater story than “from log cabin to White House”, for here is the most perfect type of the Lord Jesus, even to there being no recorded sin in Joseph’s life. Morally he towers above all the Old Testament worthies, and in the hour of his triumph a bride is presented to him. She was no mean woman, but .an Egyptian of the highest family, Asenath, daughter of Poti-pherah, priest of On. To him she was perfection — a “help meet for him”. So in this last type in Genesis of the Bride of Christ, we note that she was chosen out of the world, and presented to him in beauty and glory, to share his honour and the years of blessing which followed.

Here, then, is a picture of the final glory of Christ and His Church. Genesis has been called “the seed-plot” of the Bible, and its story is written for us in the lives of these people as they became living parables of truth in the spheres where God had placed them. We have the ideal in Eden, so soon to become but a memory. We have a bride from among the Gentiles sought for a son, then one who trod a pilgrim path with her beloved, and now in Asenath the consummation of glory, and world-wide blessing. What would all this mean to Joseph, after being first hated of his brethren and rejected, then the years of prison, suffering and solitude, then suddenly to be exalted to the highest station, together with the bride presented to him? To meditate upon the future glories of Christ and His Church should stimulate our faith and love as we look forward to “the day of His espousals”, Song of Songs 3. 11.

Nor must we forget Asenath herself, suddenly transported to the position of supreme honour in Egypt. The story of Joseph must have been well known to the one called to share his exaltation. Her memory would be stored with his past history: of his childhood and his dreams; the pit and the twenty pieces of silver; Potiphar, the butler and the baker, and so to Pharaoh himself and the second chariot in the land. Is it not so with us?, for we not only look forward to our Lord’s triumph, but we remember with deepest gratitude the record of His life from the cradle to the crown, and treasure the deathless words which have become the heritage of the Church. “Remember me”, He said. The butler of old received the blessing but forgot Joseph. We also easily forget the love of Him who bought us with His blood. We accept the blessings, but forget the One through whom the blessings come. Yet:

When I stand before the throne
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart -
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe.

Marriage is the beginning of life as God ordained it for man and woman. The real life of the Church will begin when He presents it “to Himself a glorious Church”. In the normal course there follows home and family, and an ever-increasing sphere of usefulness and blessing. So what we know now by the Spirit will be realized in the fullest measure in millennial glory. We can only see dimly the glory of His reign when “the nations … shall walk in the light” of the city, and even creation itself “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God”, Rom. 8. 21. Two aspects of this are seen in the names given to the two sons born to Joseph in Egypt during the years of plentiful harvests.

Manasseh means “to forget”, and Ephraim “fruitful”. Picture this father holding the sons in his arms! Nothing lacked to fill his cup of happiness. He could forget the sufferings in the joy now realized. Moreover, not only Egypt but the surrounding countries were blessed under his rule. God had indeed made him fruitful in the land of his affliction.

All this, however, belongs to the vision of our faith as we travel the thorny road to Zion. The words of Song of Songs 8. 5 give us in a sentence the heart-satisfaction which will be ours when He comes to take us to an eternal home, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?”.

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