“And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took from his side, and filled in the flesh in place of it: and Jehovah God formed that which He had taken from Adam into a woman, and He brought her to Adam. And Adam said, This is now bone out of my bones, and flesh out of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of her husband” (Genesis 2:21-23).
The picture painted in this story has prophetic significance; the bride of Adam came out of him and was formed from him so that they were truly of one flesh; it is as if God cloned Adam, with the exception that He made a woman from the man’s genetic material. While such a relationship cannot be envisaged today since, with the progressive deterioration and corruption of the human condition, the children of such a union would be deformed, it was possible in the days that the first Adam walked the earth and, indeed, was the way that the human race was propagated. The prophetic significance of this story, however, is the fact that the bride of the first Adam was taken from a wound in his side.
John tells us;
“..….but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water” (John 19:34).
Here we see that the Roman spear released the blood and the water from the side of Christ, fulfilling the Old Testament ceremonies which pointed to the crucifixion of the Messiah. The blood speaks of the blood of the sacrificed Lamb of God as foreshadowed in the lambs without spot or blemish that had been sacrificed at every Passover since the Law was handed down. The water flowing from the side of the dying Christ fulfills the Old Testament water of ceremonial cleansing which came from the bronze laver located immediately after the altar of sacrifice; and this water of cleansing speaks of the Holy Spirit, whose work is that of cleansing and sanctification of believers.
But something else is happening here apart from Christ fulfilling the prophetic types and ceremonies of the Old Covenant. What we are witnessing in these events is that out of a wound in the side of the second Adam, His Bride is being formed, thus fulfilling the prophetic pattern laid down by the first Adam; and just as Adam and his bride were of one flesh, so too is the Bride of Christ meant to be of one substance with Him; one nature and one character.
Paul said of this relationship between Christ and the ecclesia; “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the ecclesia” (Ephesians 5:32). The “ecclesia” is the gathering together of believers of which Christ is the Head, not nominally, but demonstrably. The word is routinely translated as “Church” but the ecclesia doesn’t exist except where the saints are gathered together under the Headship of Christ and the presence and direction of the Holy Spirit; whereas the “Church” has a continuing existence irrespective of the presence of Christ or, indeed, anyone.
In writing of the parallels between the relationship of man and wife and the relationship of Christ and the ecclesia, Paul said;
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the ecclesia and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, purifying her in the washing of the water by the proceeding word (rhema), that He might present to Himself the glorious ecclesia, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; rather that she should be holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25-27). (Note: The definite article is there in the Greek text).