The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: S

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Song of songs, NT theme

"The Song of Songs is unique in Scripture. It portrays Christ's intense, overflowing love for the Ecclesia (and hers for him) expressed intimately in the first person. It is so different from Psalms, which are largely Christ's feelings toward God: his struggles, his overcomings. Some Psalms come close, like Psalm 45, but with far less detail and intimacy -- and expressed more distantly in the third person. The Song expresses Christ's need for the Ecclesia: the motivation that his great love for her gives him. Does Christ have need? Does God have need? Are they not perfectly satisfied and self-sufficient? God is love, and the fullness of love requires an object worthy of it.

"This is what God is creating, in infinite divine patience, through the travail of the ages. God loves all His creation. Not a sparrow falls unnoticed by Him Who lovingly oversees immensity and eternity. Ninety-nine percent of all the beauty of Creation -- even on earth, let alone the vast universe -- is for Him alone, and is never seen by human eye. Snowflakes fell in untold myriads of trillions for thousands of years before the microscope revealed to man that each one is a glorious treasure of delicate, intricate beauty. And a snowflake is but for a moment. But the pure and holy perfection of the Redeemed will be the crowning beauty of all the works of God. The multitudinous Christ will be the most beautiful of all the beauties of the universe: the richest of eternal beauties, formed out of common clay...

"This Song is for teaching and/or for comfort. It is to teach us that these two spiritual qualities are what we must devote our lives to developing -- 'Let us be glad and rejoice... the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his Bride hath made herself ready" (Rev 19:7). The true Bride will have made herself ready. She will conform to the Beauty and Love herein portrayed. There will be a ready and prepared Bride, perfect in beauty, without spot or blemish, waiting to welcome her Lord. We see her in this Song being greeted and praised and embraced by the Bridegroom, and invited to be with him for ever. If we fit into the picture; if we are in full harmony and compliance; if this is where all our heart and interest and labors and efforts center, then this Song is for our joy and comfort.

"If, however, this is not so, and our minds and time and interests and activities are turned elsewhere, then this Song is for warning and instruction, and not for comfort at all. There is no comfort to be taken unless we are faithfully laboring to the utmost of our ability. There will be a Bride of perfect Beauty and Love. Whether, in that great Day, we are part of that Bride, or part of the vast multitude turned weeping away, depends entirely upon what we devote our life to" (GVG).


"The two characters of this Song are Solomon, the Peace Giver, and Shulamith, the Peace-Receiver. Both names are related to Peace. Peace is of one fabric with Love and Beauty. He is the Prince of Peace: that 'peace of God' transcending comprehension (Phi 4:7); the 'great peace' that they alone enjoy who manifest in all their lives that they 'love His law' (Psa 119:165); the peace that none can take from them -- 'peace with God': life's ultimate consummation (Rom 5:1).

"The purpose of this Song is to develop the mind of the Spirit. This will not come naturally, however long we are just 'in the Truth'. It requires intense effort and study and meditation and practice -- just like anything worthwhile does. What time and labor and trouble and care people will so eagerly put into getting the things of this life! -- and then expect the infinitely greatest thing of all to be handed to them without effort. What blind and pitiful folly!" (GVG).


"Solomon": the name conjures up images of... the Temple of God; wisdom, a light for the Gentiles (eg, the queen of Sheba). The initial fulfillment of the promises to David, glory, majesty, wealth. All of this points to the One who said of himself that he was "greater than Solomon" (Mat 12:42). Solomon is an imperfect type -- but a great type nonetheless -- of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Names:

(1) The Bride refers to Christ throughout as her "Beloved" or "Lover". But she does not (often?) speak directly to him. Instead, she talks about him, because:
  1. she is separated from him,
  2. she yearns for him,
  3. she dreams of him,
  4. she looks for him, and
  5. she waits for him to return.
(2) But Christ speaks directly to the Bride, and refers to her in changing/expanding/deepening terms. She is:
  1. the fairest, the most beautiful of women (Song 1:8),
  2. his "love", his companion, his friend (Song 2),
  3. all fair, flawless, his spouse (Song 4),
  4. the "Shulamite" (feminine counterpart of Solomon/peace) (Song 6),
  5. and the prince's daughter (Song 7) -- suggesting royalty, majesty, and rulership.
The Song of Songs is perhaps the most unique book in the whole Bible. As in Esther, there is no direct mention of God, but God is to be found throughout the Book. In the Song, the chief character is the one who is the "greater than Solomon" -- God manifest in the flesh (Joh 1:14).

The purpose of this book of love is to create a certain frame of mind... a sweetness of character, disposed toward gentleness and kindness and affection. The spiritual is taught by means of the natural. Spiritual love is seen in -- and mirrored by -- the natural expressions of love. The eternal spiritual reality is more meaningful by far than the passing natural shadow that represents it (2Co 4:16-18).

The Song depicts the relationship between Christ and the ecclesia:

so that the contemplation of the one (Christ) may generate the development of the other (ie, a Christ-like character in those who will constitute the ecclesia).

The following Song of Christ and the Bride catches something of this New Testament theme -- couched in Song of Songs language:

Christ: Arise and come away, my love,
The winter now is past;
The singing of the birds is come;
The earth is green at last.

Bride: I rise and follow you, Belov'd,
At last the shadows flee:
The roses and the lilies grow
Under the apple tree.

Christ: Arise and come away, my love,
The air is sweet outside.
The scent of blossoms on the wind
Is carried far and wide.

Bride: For my Belov'd is young and fair,
And my Belov'd is mine,
The altogether lovely One,
Both human and divine.

Christ: How beautiful you are, and fair,
Your desire is all toward me;
A spring shut up, a fountain sealed,
Until your Lord you see.

Bride: Your lips are milk and honeycomb,
Your love is pure delight,
And I have waited much too long,
Alone, for you at night.

Christ: For love is stronger far than death;
And you, my precious dove,
Are set a seal upon my heart
And on my hands, my love.

Bride: I rise and follow you, Belov'd.
The winter now is past;
The singing of the birds is come;
The earth is green at last.

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