SONG OF THE BRIDE
BY: ELAINE COOK
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Newsletter No. 174 – June 2001
When the Lord wants me to write on a certain topic, He usually speaks to me personally about it. Recently, He dropped these words into my heart, “Stay me with flagons…” I recognized them as being in the Song of Solomon 2:5, “Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love.”
I asked the Lord why He spoke these words to me and His answer was, “It is time for the Song of the Bride to come forth.” I don’t know exactly what that means, but I do know that the Song of Solomon is a song about the Bride’s love for her heavenly Bridegroom. A few days later I heard this word also, “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth” so I felt I would share from the Song of the Bride in the newsletter.
There has been much controversy about this particular book, many thinking that it is in some respects obscene, looking at it in the natural rather than after the spirit. It has been “left on the shelf” and has been little used, probably because the time had not come when the reality of it would appear. But now that the Bride has come into a union with her Bridegroom, it is time for her to sing this Song and to know what it means, for her heart is singing it.
There are five Canticles, or Cantos (songs). The first two are represented by Night because of the absence of the Bridegroom. This first night was just before the first advent of Jesus Christ. The third Canticle is Day because of the Bride- groom’s presence. At last He came and is with the virgins of the bride for one brief day. The last two Canticles are represented as Night because He has withdrawn again. The second night will be ended by the Kingdom of God, and the return of Jesus in His people. This is the dawning of the New Day!
CANTICLE ONE: CH. 1:1 TO 2:7
CHRIST’S INEFFABLE LOVE
CHRIST’S INEFFABLE LOVE
1:1 “The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.” The name “Solomon” means “peaceful” or “prince of peace.” God ordained that Solomon’s reign of peace and plenty should foreshadow the reign of Him who is the true Prince of peace. It was through Christ and His death on the cross that peace was brought to the earth. His name is called prince of Peace because He is our Peace; for He came and preached peace to them that were afar off, and peace to them that were nigh. This Song tells of the slain Lamb and portrays His slain Bride. If we have the language of heaven and are putting away the language of the earth and of our flesh; if we are taking up our cross daily to walk after Him, our hearts will open up to the Song of Solomon: we shall know that it is the Song of our Beloved.
1:2 “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.” It is precious to have received the kiss of reconciliation, but there is another longing in the hearts of those who are girding up their loins and pressing into the Spirit. This longing is for the kiss of betrothal, which brings us nigh unto Him in a deeper way, in a closer relationship. In a kiss, we are exchanging breath for breath—our soulish breath for the breath of the Spirit.
With certain foreign nations it is customary to kiss their own hands when they meet intimate friends instead of kissing one another upon the lips, as is the custom with us. How many of God’s people are following after manifestations, and new sensations that are of the flesh in the place of longing for a greater revelation of Christ and His love. This attitude can be symbolized by “kissing their own hands.” The “kisses of the mouth” is the symbol of the intimate relation that is between a bride and a bridegroom. It is a token of the highest, closest communion that one can have with the Lord.
“For thy love is better than wine.” The word “love” means the continual proofs and tokens of His love. Wine is a figure of prosperity and of all good and desirable things. It exhilarates and gives strength, but only for a time. The love of Christ is better than all earthly good, and gives divine strength that abides. Wine makes the heart warm, makes one bold, and merry, but how much more does the Lord do for those who partake of the New Wine, which is found in His Love.
1:3 “Thine oils have a goodly fragrance;” “Christ” means the “Anointed One.” The Wise Men brought to Him gold, which symbolizes His divinity; frankincense, an emblem of His glory and fragrance; and the fragrant but bitter myrrh which is a symbol of His fragrance and the bitterness and suffering through which He would pass.
Twice during His life the virgins of the bride anointed Him with costly oils—the first was near the beginning of His ministry by one to whom He had forgiven much because she had sinned much. The other was Mary of Bethany who sat at His feet and listened to His words: this was an anointing for His burial. It is when we cling to a place low at His feet and hearken unto His words that we gather His fragrant oils in our alabaster boxes. It is when he has broken the alabaster box that the oil is poured out upon His feet. Broken and contrite means broken and powdered made so small it can never again come together in its first shape. The more broken and contrite the heart and spirit become, the more abundantly are the fragrant oils spilled at His feet. It is when we smell the goodly fragrance of His humility that we begin to detect the offensive odor of our pride. It is when the sweetness of His purity and holiness, His submission to God’s will, breaks in upon us, that we smell the vile odors of our flesh, our stiffneckedness and our willfulness, our lack of love and our short-suffering.
“Thy name is as oil poured forth.” Mary broke the alabaster box and poured the precious oil upon the Lord’s feet and the fragrance filled the whole house. Thus it was when the alabaster box of His body, which contained this precious perfume, was broken; the oil and fragrance flowed out, filling Heaven and earth. It was when His body was broken, when His flesh was rent, that Heaven’s perfume came down to earth. When He said, “It is finished,” the perfume ascended unto God: and there commenced to ascend from Calvary the continual incense, symbolized by the continual incense that was burned before God in the temple.
His “name” signifies His nature. As we walk close to our Beloved, others will sense the fragrance of His oils upon us and He will be glorified! They will be drawn to the altogether-lovely One.
“Therefore do the virgins love Thee.” The word “virgins” means the pure in heart, and the same word is translated in Psalm 83:3 as “Thy hidden ones.” It is when our robes are spotless that we can draw close to Him; for none but the “Virgins” follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, and the “Virgins” are they who love the Bridegroom.
When the high priest, who, with the holy anointing oil upon him, had been ministering before God in the Holy of holies, came out and passed among the congregation of Israel, the fragrance of that holy oil enveloped him. No oil like unto this could be made by any man or be put upon any flesh: it could be only upon those who ministered before God, and only upon them did this holy perfume linger and ascend before God. So with those who draw close to their Mercy seat, Christ, and minister before Him; His oils are upon them, His likeness and fragrance surround and emanate from them; and all who come near know that they have been abiding in His presence.
1:4 “Draw me and we will run after Thee.” The drawing of God is upon each virgin who makes up the Bride. His hand is cutting and shaping each living stone for a habitation of the Spirit. The hunger in our hearts is but the drawing of God. He draws us individually, but collectively, we all run after Him. Even though we may feel the chastening rod, it causes us to press closer to His side to be comforted. A wayward sheep that has been chastened by the shepherd always presses closer to the shepherd’s side.
“The King hath brought me into His chambers.” The King must bring us in! The first of His chambers is the chamber of Salvation. The second is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then, (Rom. 8:29), the chamber of Humility, through which we must pass before we can put on the attributes of our Lord, or go from chamber to chamber. His supreme purpose is that we might be conformed to the image of His Son and the Spirit gently points out to us the lack in our resemblance to our Solomon, the prince of peace. He is taking us on unto perfection. Before every onward step, there is a hidden place of meeting with the Lord (Matt. 6 “inner chamber”). The chamber of Humility is really the High and Holy place of God. Isa. 57:15: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” This chamber leads into the clearer revelation of our Lord into all the experiences that He holds out to those who will pay the price.
“We will be glad and rejoice in Thee; we will make mention of Thy love more than of wine: rightly do they love Thee.” The bride says this when the King is drawing her into His chambers. At one time she rejoiced in what He was doing for her, when she sought the experiences, rejoicing and looking upon them. But when she has passed a little further into the chambers of the King, love for Him fills her heart and she rejoices in Him, regardless of the loaves and fishes or the moving of the Spirit upon the outward man. His Love is more to her than any of His manifestations!
At the time of writing this, Sharon Houck, a new friend, shared this word with me: “It is almost a year now since I had the following dream. The prophetic word about the Refiner’s Fire in your last newsletter brought this dream back to mind.
It was dark out. I was standing looking out over a large body of water. The moon shimmered and danced on the waves before me. In front of me, and close enough for me to touch, was a steel rail like that on a ship or at a dock.
A man walked up behind me and wrapped a purple robe around me. The robe went from my neck to my ankles. As He was wrapping it around me, He continued to fold His arms around me and pulled me back against Himself
He whispered in my ear, “I would love to hear you sing the Refiner’s Fire.”
Quite some time later, the Father spoke to my heart that the Refiner’s Fire is a love song between the Groom and the Bride. He said that it is such a hot love that it consumes any dross (sin) that would come between them. It was so hot that it melts and molds the two into one!
Newsletter No. 175 – July 200
THE BRIDE’S BEAUTY IN CHRIST
LONGING FOR THE BRIDEGROOM
THE NUPITIAL CROW
THE BRIDE’S BEAUTY IN CHRIST
Song of Sol. 1:5,6 “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am swarthy, because the sun hath scorched me. My mother’s sons were incensed against me; they made me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.”
This is not the sinner, but the Bride who has become aware of her self-life. The Baptism of the Spirit is given, not simply for power to do miracles, but for power to bring the self-life to death. We are called to be witnesses unto Him, and this word is from the word “martyr.” That is exactly what the Spirit wants to do—bring us to a place of dying to old ways, the old nature, to let the Lord arise and rule in us.
The beauty, which the bride thought, she had, withers up and drops off. She sees her own blackness and unworthiness and she knows that those who behold her must see how unfit she is, as yet, to be His Bride. God makes her to know that she must live and walk in the Spirit and all the unworthy motives, desires, words and actions must be put away if she would be a living epistle read by all men.
Conscious of her own unworthiness, she declares that she is as black as the tents of Kedar. The dark skinned Arabs of the desert covered their tents with black goatskins, a figure of the blackness of sin, an expression of the feeling of unworthiness of every soul who is drawing nearer to God. These black tents are a striking contrast to the princely white tent of Solomon the Bridegroom. God shows her that she will never be anything but black in herself; He calls her to die daily that the life of Christ may be manifested in her mortal body.
She remembers that God sees her in His Son, and in Him she is white and in His worthiness she is worthy. Then she exclaims, “I am comely as the curtains of Solomon.” This refers to the curtains of the Tabernacle, made of pure white linen, which speaks of Christ’s spotless humanity. Inwrought into the curtains were purple (His royalty); blue (His heavenly character); scarlet (a symbol of His suffering); and gold (His divine nature). These are emblems of Christ in His different aspects and attributes. Rev. 19:8 shows that this same spotless raiment has been given to the wife of the Lamb. Rotherham: “And it hath been given unto her, that she should be arrayed in fine linen, bright, pure, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
The literal meaning of “bright and pure” is “radiant and pure.” “Bright” is from a word meaning “flaming torch.” The Bride’s wedding garment is not only pure and holy it is glorious, shining, and radiant. It is through faith in His work on the cross that little by little she puts it on. Through being identified with Him she has power to put off all that is not of Him. She must do this day by day. When she is clothed in Him she will appear in His likeness!
The “daughters of Jerusalem” represent those who are not among the virgins, yet are not enemies; they may be won for Solomon if they do not see our blackness too plainly. The bride entreats them not to look upon her blackness, nor to see her apart from Solomon.
I would share a word of caution here. It only discourages us if we see our failures and do not behold the beauty of Christ and know our sufficiency in Him. On the other hand, if we see only what we are in Him and do not discern what must be put off, we may become self-satisfied and puffed up.
“The sun has scorched me.” This is the darkness that remains from the effects of exposure to the sun. The defects, (tan and wrinkles) which have been left upon our human nature through being controlled by sin and through tending the vineyards of the world, do not disappear as soon as we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. If this were so, we would be faultless at once and would have no need of going on unto perfection. (That would be nice!) No, it is a process. Many today are denying that, and saying “It is all finished”, but even nature will show you that, after a seed germinates, it must receive water, sunshine, and be “dunged about.” It doesn’t automatically come to fullness until it goes through the process! Its growth is a picture of our spiritual life.
‘My mother’s sons were incensed against me.” The mother of the bride is Humanity, represented by Eve. It is the mother’s sons, natural men, who have enticed, tempted and made her keeper of the vineyards of the world. As she kept the vineyards of the world, the flesh, and the devil, the sun of the world and sin beat down upon her. She forgot the vineyard of her own soul and beauty and it was neglected, and overgrown with thorns, thistles and weeds. It remained rocky and unfertile. A believer can be so taken up with caring for her little part of the vineyard that she neglects her own life. When the Lord shows us something, it is to be written upon our hearts! If it is not, we need to confess: “Lord, I was so busy tending the vineyard of the world, (or even His Vineyard) that my own vineyard I have not kept.”
LONGING FOR THE BRIDEGROOM
1:7 “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where Thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.” As she remembers the scorching sun and her former bondage, and how He has broken the bars of the yoke that she may walk upright, she longs to find that rest beside still waters provided for those who believe and obey. She desires to join that company, which is close to Him and by faith, behold Him all the time, and are constantly fed by Him. Jesus revealed Himself first to Mary Magdalene because she had loved most.
“Where do these feed at noon? (the highest point of light and spiritual understanding) is now her cry. She wants to know where these are fed so that she may keep in step with them and not linger over food that is dry and withered. “Why should I be as one that is veiled beside the flocks of Thy companions?” She doesn’t want to be led by the under shepherds any longer, and when she doesn’t yield to them it appears as though she were a stranger—as though there were something between her and the Lord.
No longer does she speak of “the virgins” that love Him. No longer can she speak of Him impersonally. She feels as though she were the only one who loves Him. Her cry now is, “O Thou, whom my soul loveth.” His Name has truly become as oil poured forth. Her hunger for divine fellowship has increased and she longs to be fed by Him alone and to join that company which is close to Him.
Another bride of the early church cried out: “I have suffered the loss of all things that I may know Christ . . that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed unto His death.” As this virgin neared the end, he cried: “I have fought a good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith.”
The Bride might pray: “Guide me so that I may walk in every ray of light and feed upon You who are the Bread of life—that I may feed in trial and perplexity, in temptation and in difficulty—that from You I may get the uplifting power for everything that comes into my life. Teach me to feed upon Your Hidden Manna so that the heat cannot make me faint, nor storms dismay and make me afraid.”
THE NUPTIAL CROWN
1:9 “I have compared thee, O my love, to a steed in Pharoah’s chariots.” As Pharaoh’s horses were famous for their speed and beauty, and bore the pomp and grandeur of the kings, so the bride’s speed and beauty are becoming marked and she bears the glory of the King. He has been teaching her that to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams. So fervently does she obey His voice and pursue after Him that He compares her to a steed in Pharaoh’s chariots.
1:10 “Thy cheeks are comely with plaits of hair, thy neck with strings of jewels.” Eastern women wear strings of jewels hanging down upon their cheeks, giving their faces the appearance of being framed in jewels. The jewels are symbolic of the comeliness of Christ—His attributes and graces. As God reveals to us the beauty of Christ’s attributes, our rejoicing may be so great that we will mistake revelation for possession, but if we have really put them on, we shall not know it. It is when the jewel of humility “Which is in the sight of God of great price”, is appearing upon her, that she is the least conscious of it.
1:11 “We will make thee plaits (circles, a crown) of gold with studs of silver.” This crown will be made of the divine nature (gold) of the Heavenly Bridegroom, who died that she might partake of His nature and become a fit bride for such a Bridegroom. “Silver” is the symbol of the atonement. The silver that was used in the Tabernacle was from the half shekel that the Israelites gave “to make atonement for their souls.” The crown that she must wear if she would sit with Him upon His throne is His own nature in the place of her sinful nature. She becomes bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.
“Those that are faithful unto death shall have a crown of life.” “Hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown.”
Again, Sharon Houck has blessed us with some insight the Lord has given her. “Father began calling me his Bride in 1995. I didn’t think I deserved to be called His Bride. Prior to a Festival of Worship which was to begin with a Bridal March, the Holy Spirit began to drop scripture into my Spirit. First, II Tim. Chap. 3; then He took me back to verses 2-5. He said these are those who are trying to put on a wedding dress but they have on dirty underwear! He said that the stench was reaching his nostrils! Father began to show me that the undergarments of the Bride are the fruits of the Spirit. ”
Newsletter No. 176 – August 2001
CHRIST’S TABLE AND PRECIOUSNESS
MUTUAL LOVE: THE ETERNAL HABITATION
PREIMINENCE OF CHRIST AND HIS BRIDE
CHRIST’S TABLE AND PRECIOUSNESS
Song of Sol. 1:12 “While the king sat at His table, my spikenard sent forth its fragrance.”
He invites us to come and sit at His table. He does not offer to sit at ours. The first taste that we have of the Lord’s table is when we have communion with Him through the emblems of bread and wine, which represent His death and resurrection.
The next taste is when we enter into our secret closet and commune with the Lord. There, we taste the heavenly manna and drink of the living waters flowing within us. We are not waiting for Him to come down from heaven to speak from some place in the celestial sphere. We learn to look to the One within us to arise and speak, to teach, to comfort, and to warn.
What manner of dainty dishes shall we eat at the King’s table? Jesus tells us in twelve short words what the “meat” is that our Father feeds us at His table. “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me.” As we feed upon Him Who is the Living Bread, we too are filled with an intense desire to do only His will, no matter what the cost.
Spikenard, that most fragrant and costly perfume, was sealed in an alabaster box which had to be broken before the fragrance could come forth. It is a figure of humility. As we dine at His table and learn to do His will, our fleshly man who formerly lived to promote self, begins to be broken and the fragrance of the perfume of His indwelling presence begins to come forth. In our love for Him, we are prompted to say:
1:13, “My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh, that lieth betwixt my breasts.” Women of the East conceal in their bosoms little bags of aromatic herbs, or a small cruise of oil. This figure of speech refers to the Beloved who lies in the heart of the Bride.
“Lieth” means “to abide permanently, to remain overnight.” “Night” signifies the absence of the Bridegroom (in His physical form). He is hidden in our hearts and assures us, “And lo! I am with you all the days till the conclusion of the eon!” (Concordant Literal) The only time we may experience “night” is when we are going through the fires of testing (to make us more like our Beloved), we may imagine that He is not with us and has left us to struggle all alone. Ah, never! He is as a bundle of myrrh, fragrant but bitter—a fit emblem of suffering, abiding in our hearts. Only as myrrh is crushed and pierced does its fragrance go forth. (The servant is not above the Lord in the respect of “learning obedience through the things that He suffered.”)
1:14 “My Beloved is unto me as a cluster of Henna-flowers in the vineyards of Engedi.” The Henna-flowers are heavy with fragrance and hang in creamy white clusters against their bright green leaves. They were used by oriental women to outwardly adorn themselves. “Henna” in Hebrew means “the ransom price.” The fragrance of the myrrh is perceptible to others, but they neither see nor know what it is nor where it is hidden. But the Henna-flowers are not only smelled, but seen and admired by all. He, as the cluster of Henna-flowers, is that decking and ornamenting ourselves with His attributes in our daily walk, which is seen, recognized and enjoyed by all about us. But, before we can be adorned with this outward adorning, He must become to us as the little bundle of Myrrh. This adorning is done, blossom by blossom, as we put off our old dead leaves of covering and our vile-smelling attributes.
MUTUAL LOVE: THE ETERNAL HABITATION
1:15 ‘Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves.” God has provided that, as we behold the glory of the Lord, we shall be transfigured into the same image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). The dove’s constancy to one mate is an emblem of the Christian whose eye is single to Christ (no wandering eyes). The dove is also an emblem of repentance. The bride is most miserable when there is something between her and her Lord.
1:16 “Behold, Thou art fair, my Beloved, yea, pleasant: also our couch is green.” She is encouraged by His words of love to call Him Beloved (we love Him because He first loved us!) She says, “Thou art fair!” She realizes that she has no beauty in herself, but has only the reflection of His beauty. This causes her to glory in having no beauty of her own, for she desires only to be seen in Him.
She calls Him “pleasant” which means “delightful, sweet, and restful.” The place of their rest is green. They “lie down in green pastures” and their bed is green. Green is the color of new life. This color never appeared in any of the garments of the Levitical priesthood. It is not until we read in the book of Esther where the King was celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles that we see coverings of green. The green comes in with the Melchizedek priesthood!
“Our couch is green”—speaks of a bed, signifying rest, completeness, perfection, marriage union, a couch with a canopy. A canopy, or covering of green, speaks of being clothed with His Life! The Bride acknowledges that she is resting in Him and He is bringing her into a new place of rest and resurrection life.
1:17 “The beams of our house are cedars, and our rafters are fir.” The cedar tree is a figure of the manhood of Jesus. It is the hardest, most durable wood and no worm will work in it, neither will rot destroy it. The beams, which form the foundation of this heavenly habitation, and which uphold the rafters, are the pure humanity of Jesus (Heb. 2:14-17). Not until He became a man and laid these beams of His pure humanity, could He go up to the cross and die, thus laying the rafters which cover the whole building. Hard, durable, red fir shows forth Christ’s redemptive work. The atoning work of Jesus is over us all the time, supported by the beams of His spotless human nature.
PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST AND HIS BRIDE
2:1 “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” “Sharon” and the “Valleys” were the most fertile districts of the land of Israel and all that grew there was in great luxuriance and perfection. He is portraying Himself as the source of all joy and delight, of all beauty and fragrance to his bride. The white, spotless lily, so humble and yet so stately, so full of perfume and yet hidden away, came forth as He learned obedience through the things that He suffered.
We want always to be upon the mountain tops in our experiences, but the place of greatest growth is always in the valleys. Jane Leade speaks of putting on a bright Lily Body. Larry Hodges comments that, “This can be none other than the new spiritual body with which we are to be clothed upon from above. Such a body is becoming to those who are risen from the dead as only this spiritual body is fit for ascension and union with the Father. It is the change of raiment known only to the Melchizedek Priesthood (Ezek. 44:15, 19). Only such a body as the bright Lily-Body can bear the awful glory that shall rest upon it in the mighty acting power of the Holy Ghost that shall be given without measure. It is known also as the Tabernacle Body of the Holy Ghost.”
The Lord is “a lily of the valleys.” A lily-life is one of faith, trusting in the life of Christ for everything. I’m in touch with a number who are being exercised in this “Lily-life.” Larry Hodges says, “This has to do with leaving those legitimate things which, by their very nature, act as a twisting briar about the Lily-life of Christ in us. It is a leaving of the life of care for that Lily-life that is without toil or care, being taken care of by Him who feeds the sparrow and clothes the lily. Jane Leade says, “This is a considerable mountain to move but Faith will move even it.” Jesus never looked to the moneybag that Judas carried, but only to His heavenly Father and He knew no lack.
Larry continues, “Jesus appeared the first time in the humility of the vile body and being so clothed over with it, was not recognized by the very ones whose religious claims implied they should have been the first to know Him. He is now about to make what He terms His “second appearance,” in His saints. If His first appearance was in the humility of this vile body, His second appearance will not be after that order. He appears this time without sin unto that salvation which shall include the redemption of the body and shall involve the swallowing up of the mortality of that body of death by the life-giving Spirit of Christ within, putting under foot the last enemy that shall be destroyed.”
This state is said by Jane Leade to be “very rare and seen in only a few at first.” She refers to it as a “fixed body.” It is as the overcomer being like a pillar in the temple of God and going no more out. It is the putting on of incorruption by the corruptible, or the act of that life within swallowing up that death which is without. This is the goal and ultimate outcome of those who are being made into His likeness and image. It is the putting on of immortality.
The Lord spoke to her very clearly that this new Sharon state shall be seen only in a few at first, but that it shall quickly go on to multiply itself in others of like mind and heart, eventually reaching past the outer court to the nations of the world, turning this outward fading rose into the Lily-life of Christ. Therefore, as we await “the breakthrough”, it is not to be thought that a grand entrance shall be gained by all who understand these things and embrace them. The “break- through” for which we expectantly look, is the beginning of that which will gradually build and multiply in and through those who are earnestly pursuing after God.
Newsletter No. 177 – Sept/Oct. 2001
THE BANQUETING HOUSE
STIR HIM NOT UP TILL HE PLEASE
CANTICLE TWO-APPROACH THE BRIDEGROOM
Song of Sol. 2:2 “As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” All the daughters of men are compared to prickly thorns, for they still walk in their self-life, which causes pain and tearing to those around them. His Bride, as a beautiful lily, has no sharp thorns growing upon her, for she has yielded up her own way unto her heavenly Bridegroom. It may be said of her, “As I am, so are ye in this world. He that saith he abideth in Me ought himself to walk even as I walked.”
A dear friend has been having a dreadful time at his work for the past two years. His manager is “full of thorns” but won’t acknowledge it. Whatever goes wrong is, in his eyes, always someone else’s fault. My friend is a “lily,” with no prickles, no offense, and always one to go the extra mile. He has refused to pray about the situation for he had seen the Lord “take” a man who was a great thorn in his side. He didn’t want that to happen again, so he suffered under this man and refused even to talk to the Lord about it.
One day he said to the Lord, “Lord I want to be like You.”
The Lord answered, “There is a part of My nature that you are afraid of: My disciplines.”
2:3 “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons.” Wood speaks of our humanity and trees represent men in the scriptures. The Bride had searched everywhere among men, looking for life, food and fruit but she found nothing but leaves. If you walk through the woods, you will see many green trees but they do not bear fruit. The Lord is likened to an apple tree whose boughs are laden with juicy, red fruit for the joy of all to behold and to eat. He is the only fruitful one among the sons. If we bear any fruit, it is only that which He is bringing forth by His spirit. All that we have is what we have been given—we could bare no fruit in ourselves, but only as we come into union with Him.
“I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.” The Bride is sitting (resting), dwelling in the secret place of the Most High where she abides under the shadow of the Almighty. To “shade” is “to cover, to overshadow.” He is her refuge, her safe retreat, her Rock in a weary land, her High Tower and Fortress where she can claim all the promises of God and become partakers of the divine nature.
THE BANQUETING HOUSE
2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.” All who are redeemed must enter into some of the King’s chambers. Only those virgins who go all the way with Him and abandon themselves to Him, does He take into His Banqueting house. This is the espousal banquet, which He gives to her as his spouse. It is a banquet of wine, where she drinks to the full of the new Wine of the Kingdom One virgin of the bride (Paul) was caught up to the third heaven! The bride sees His banner floating over her, which is His own Name, “Love.” His banner shows that we have become His through His great love and the work that He has wrought and also the protection of His banner is ours. It is the banner of the country of which we are citizens and the King of that country will avenge all those who are under His banner.
2:5 “Stay ye me with flagons (or raisins), refresh me with apples; for I am sick from love.” “Stay” means “to stand firm, to have powers of endurance, to quiet the hunger of, temporarily.” And raisins speak of the grapes that are made into wine. The Bride is saying, “Uphold and strengthen me with the wine of Your Spirit; satisfy My desire for You.” It is when we are drinking deep of the Wine of the Kingdom and feeding upon Him that the yearnings increase unto real soul-sickness for our Beloved. She asks to be refreshed with the fruit of His Spirit. She does not ask Him to withdraw the revelation of Himself and His love, but to strengthen her that she may endure, not only these, but greater revelations.
2:6 “His left hand is under my head, and His right hand doth embrace me.” We, who have been under the dealings of the Lord, understand that the left hand of the Lord is His Hand of judgment and the right hand, the hand of blessing. Both are needed to do the work in us as He molds and shapes us, as He perfects that which concerneth us and gets us ready to shine forth in His image.
STIR HIM NOT UP TILL HE PLEASE
2:7 “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes or by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love until He please.” No animal is as difficult to hunt as the roe or hind and only a trained, cautious hunter can capture one. It is with greater care and quietness that the bride must take each step if she would not disturb the quiet rest and abiding of her Beloved in her soul. So often His presence has been disturbed by a careless word, a heedless act, or anxious care or fleshly moving and before we know how it happened, He has withdrawn or hidden Himself. We ought always to watch our thoughts and our works that we keep our minds stayed upon Him.
We find that we are now being greatly exercised in this “awake not my love until He please.” I confess that I used to be a great one for barging into the “throne room” demanding answers for some present situation. I find that I cannot do that any longer. I may present the burden or need before Him in prayer, but I await until He arises—until He pleases to answer. I am not insisting upon an immediate answer. When I rest in Him in this way, I find that He will drop the answer softly into my spirit when I am not even thinking about it—in His time, not mine. (And, the time is always right!)
And, too, in our worship, we are learning to be silent when His Spirit settles down upon us, instead of thinking we have to “fill up the space” with some spiritual exercise of our own devising. The Lord works wonders in the quietness if we will let Him do so!
All anxious care will disturb Him and attract your attention so that your eyes will wander from Him. All self-seeking and self-assertion will arouse and grieve Him. All complainings, questionings, doubts and fears will disturb His rest. Sometimes your devotions are distracted by the cares of life; and sometimes your devotions themselves, because they are full of fleshly energy and fervor, will waken your beloved; and He will withdraw leaving you dry and barren. Let Him move when He pleases. Keep in touch with Him; not with anxious strain and effort, but in rest and quiet, in submission and mediation. Listen for His Voice, and worship Him with your whole being.
APPROACH OF THE BRIDEGROOM
2:8 “The voice of my Beloved! behold, He cometh, leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.” How sweetly He comes to us when, for any cause, He has hidden His face. Though there are many obstacles, which appear to us as mountains, He treads them all down and leaps from one obstacle to another. He comes skipping upon the hills as the roe or the hind. All inaccessible heights, all bottomless chasms are nothing to him and he draws nearer until He stands behind our wall.
2:9 “My beloved is like a roe or a young hart; behold He standeth behind our wall; He looketh in at the windows; He glanceth through the lattice.” The first wall behind which Jesus stood was “the middle wall of partition” which He broke down. (Ephesians 2:12-18). Jesus stood upon the wall of our sins and when we believed upon Him and humbled our hearts, this wall of sin and unbelief was torn down.
After we are saved, we may build a wall through unbelief, carelessness or slackness, but it is always our wall, one of our own building. I have found that we may build a wall when we have certain expectations of the Lord and He does not fulfill them just the way we thought He should. We can be offended with Him and a wall of distrust starts to go up. We need to let Him be God, and order our life as He only knows how to do!
He may hide Himself for a time in order to quicken our faith, to make us want Him rather than His blessings, but when there is a wall, we are the builder of it. He has never left us or forsaken us, as He promised.
“He looketh in at the windows; He glanceth in at the lattice.” First we see the Lord at a distance, then behind the wall and now in front of the window and glancing through the lattice. The little squares of glass in a lattice window break the vision of all without, so that nothing is clearly discerned. We see Him through the lattice of His Word and when we come to His table and partake of the emblems of His broken body and shed blood. Let us behold him more clearly through His acts, His Word, His ordinances and through the windows of prayer and communion. Like Moses, let us learn God’s ways. We are told that Israel knew the Lord’s acts, but Moses knew His ways!
Newsletter No. 178 – November 2001
Song of Solomon 2:10 “My Beloved spake, and said unto me, rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” The Lord is calling His Bride to shake off every touch of slumber, to put away all indolence and all vain confidence in her past experiences. She may have, in the past, had great prophetic words in which she is trusting, but the call of the Bridegroom is for her to take up her cross daily and follow on to know Him.
It is when we first hear His Voice that we must respond by rising up and coming away to meet Him where He abides in Spirit. God does not stand still. He is ever moving on. If we delay, His Voice will grow fainter so that when we do arise to go to Him, we may not find Him right away, for He has moved on. Every drawing upon our heart is the voice of Jesus calling us to “rise up and come away.” It is easier to settle down and rest upon past experiences or words we have had, than to run harder, that we may enter into a higher realm.
There is a time for abiding and there is a time for arising and we need to be sensitive and obedient to obey the Voice of the Lord in each time. Remember when it was time for the children of Israel to enter the Promised Land? They were fearful at the negative report of the spies and chose to believe their evil report than to believe the Voice of the Lord who promised to give them the victory. They refused to “arise and come away” from their unbelief and from their fear, so they turned on Moses and purposed to return to Egypt. When God spoke to Moses, telling them what the result of their rebellion would be, they had a change of mind and decided to go up the very next day.
They went not up in obedience, but in presumption, and the Lord was not with them. They were defeated by their enemies. They had not heeded the Lord’s call to “arise and come away” so it was evident that they needed a further time of processing in the wilderness, which was what the Lord gave them—forty years of it!
2:11, 12 “For lo, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing (of birds) is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.”
There are several levels at which this verse may be understood. One is that it is a picture of the soul who is dead in unbelief, whose life is bleak and cold like midwinter. It is the rain that comes when winter begins to break up that prepares the ground for the seed. It is conviction and repentance that prepare a man to receive Jesus Christ, but they do not save a man—they just break up the soil. When the breaking-up comes, the rays of the sun begin to fall upon the winter of death and unbelief, the rains and mists of doubts and fears begin to roll away and the warmth of the “Sun of righteousness” brings light and warmth to the soul.
On another level, it is the “winter” of the harsh dealings of the wilderness that are sent “to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no.” (Deut. 8:2) Sometimes we feel that this “winter” will never cease, but when the work has been done, we will feel the balmy spring breezes blowing upon us with the promise of spring—with summer (the highest time of light, warmth, and blessing) not far behind.
Then shall we discover that we are no longer barren and unfruitful. Flowers of His beauty are appearing in our “earth.” And, the flowers foretell of fruit that shall come forth. The warmth of grace woos the buds to burst forth into flowers, which give place to the tiny fruit, and the immature fruit goes on unto perfection.
“The time of the singing of birds” is historically a figure of Christ’s coming that heralded the springing into life of that which was dead through the fall of man. It is also symbolic of the music that should fill the heart of every believer, for the Lord has put a new song in our mouths. This is also translated “The time of the pruning of the vines is come.” This is also a time of pruning so that when the Master comes, He shall find fruit and not leaves only. The Husbandman never prunes a dead branch. Heb. 12:8 says that if we are without chastening, we are not sons, but bastards. The vine is pruned that the branches may bear more fruit, for herein is our Father glorified, that we bear much fruit.
The word “of birds” has been inserted by the translators, so it should read, “the time of the singing is come.” Oh yes, when we see His nature beginning to show forth within us and see that obedience to Him has been inworked in us during the cold hard winter, we have reason to sing. Our trials and suffering have not been in vain, but have accomplished His purposes and a good work has been wrought in us. Perhaps we are not even aware of it, for the pain of our processing may still be upon us, but others will see that “we have been with Jesus” and the smell of His anointing oils are upon us. It is time to sing!
“The voice of the turtledove” is an emblem of peace, and we know that John the Baptist came as a fore-runner of the One who is our Peace, even the Heavenly Solomon, the Prince of Peace. The turtledove is also an emblem of love, and of the Holy Spirit, and he is the first of the birds to return in the springtime as John the Baptist was the first to proclaim the approach of the Spring of grace, the Summer of God’s presence, the dispensation of the grace of God.
In Jeremiah, God uses the turtledove to reprove His people because the dove knows the time of His coming, but God’s people know not the law of Jehovah.
The dove is also an emblem of repentance and of the Holy Spirit. John was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb, and came preaching repentance. The sound of the dove went forth in the land at the time our Lord was upon the earth, and is still going forth by the Spirit. Jesus would have us sing as He prunes in our vineyard, stripping us that we might bear much fruit.
I am very much aware that the winter has past away for many and they are entering into a blessed time of fruitfulness. I wish you could read our mail! It used to be that people would ask, “What is the Lord saying to you?” but now they are sharing what the Lord is saying to them! Years ago we had few contributions to share from the Body whereas now we have many more than we can use. Surely, the voice of the turtledove is being heard in our land!
Newsletter No. 179 – December 2001
Song of Solomon 2:13, “The fig tree ripeneth her green figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth their fragrance. Arise, my love, My fair one, and come away.”
Mount Olivet was famous for its fig trees in ancient times, and they are still found there. To “sit under one’s own vine and one’s own fig tree” became an expression among the Jews to denote peace and prosperity. The fruit always appears before the leaves; so that when Christ saw leaves on the fig tree by the wayside (Mark 11:13), He had a right to expect fruit. The fruitage of the fig tree has been preparing during the winter and the young green figs “make red” in May or June when other fruit trees are just beginning to blossom. But, in the sunny ravines of Olivet, fig trees could have ripe fruit some weeks earlier. It was near the time of Christ’s passion when He looked to find fruit on the fig tree and found none. It was not strange to find young eatable figs ready at that time.
Would it have been just of Jesus to have cursed the fig tree if it was not capable of bearing fruit at that time? Let us look a little deeper. The Lord was performing a prophetic act here. The fig tree always speaks of the Jews. He had sent His prophets to speak to them and now the Son had come, yet those who had killed the prophets, despised the Son also. Jesus said: “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever.” His words prophesied that the Jews would produce no fruit for “the age” (the correct rendering of ‘forever”). We have certainly seen this prophecy come to pass, for in this whole Age, the Jews have been an unfruitful tree and have brought forth only leaves to cover their nakedness. They have not received of the divine life that Jesus brought—which is the only way in which anyone can be fruitful!
His “chosen people” had walked through a long time of winter—of trying to keep the Law and finding in themselves no ability to do so! And, if they broke one law, it was counted as if they had broken them all! They were vainly trying to keep those precepts that reveal God’s perfectness, when they were meant only to reveal their need of a Savior, One who could change their nature so that they could walk righteously before their God. The Law made them know what sin was in God’s eyes but it could never make them perfect.
So, the Son came, looking for ripening fruit from this people unto whom He had chosen to reveal Himself that they might show His nature unto the other nations. He found “the vines in blossom”. The Jews had a “look of beauty” upon them. They had the majesty and richness of the ceremonies of the temple, and the temple itself showed a “promise” of fruitfulness. Yet, when the blossoms would fall, there would be no fruit to nourish and strengthen.
I recall a friend who was being drawn by the Spirit to leave her dead, dry church and walk with Him in the Spirit. She wanted to obey the Lord in this, but she told me plaintively, “But I’ll miss that beautiful pipe organ. It has such a majestic tone! I don’t know how I can worship without it!” She saw the blossoms but didn’t realize that the Lord wanted to prune her so that she could bear more fruit and not just look for “a good show in the flesh.”
There must be the blossoms and the flowers before the fruit appears. If the pure, fragrant life of our Lord upon earth were all, then there would be no fruit; and His life would have profited nothing in the redemption of the human race. But, our Lord’s life was perfected, the fruit was perfected and was gathered, and the juice of the fruit flowed out when He hung upon Calvary. It was only as He died that fruit appeared on the true Vine. Those who do not accept the Atonement and the Blood of Jesus Christ, really exalt the blossoms of His perfect human life above the eternal fruit which comes forth and is perfected through His death alone. (Almost every religion in the world acknowledges that Jesus was a good man, but that is not enough! He is the Saviour who died to reconcile mankind back to God).
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved [daily delivered from sins’ dominion] through His [resurrection] life.” Rom. 5:10 Amplified.
When Jesus found no fruit upon the “fig tree” when He came, He made some changes, which many have not realized unto this day. Until this time, the Jewish people all knew that to be a Jew, you had to be circumcised and keep the law committed unto them by Moses. This was man’s definition of a Jew. A new Day was being ushered in and the definitions of things were changing. Temple worship ceased. In fact, the temple ceased to be, so animal sacrifices could no longer be held. Things that were understood in an outward sense were now being brought forth in a spiritual sense. Murder was no longer classified simply as taking a man’s life, but if you hated another, it was counted as murder!
The Lord redefined what a “Jew” really is, in His eyes. It seems, though, that few really believed what He said. Paul tells us by the Spirit, in Romans 2:28, 29, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh.” Oh! All the outward earmarks of a Jew were wiped out and didn’t count for anything!
In God’s eyes, “…he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
In a few words, Paul was telling us that the rules had changed. Those who trusted in their lineage from Abraham and in the circumcision of their flesh were no longer qualified to be called Jews. Only as their heart was circumcised could they be counted a Jew. And, they could not have heart circumcision until they received Jesus as Savior, for it is only He Who can change our hearts and cut off the old Adamic nature.
If these words are true, then the people who show only “outward” signs of being a Jew, are not a Jew at all, but are in the same class as any other people who do not know the Lord! The only way the Lord would consider them as a true Jew would be if they received Jesus Christ through faith and have an inner work done in their hearts. For only such are called “Jews” in the new definition given in the dispensation of grace.
Our Lord here, in the Song of Solomon, is calling them “to arise and come away with Him;” to know Him as that “Root sprout come forth” (Isa. 53:2) Out of the stock of Jesse, a Shoot has come forth, and a Branch out of his roots shall bear much fruit. Jesus is this fruitful Branch who is leading many sons unto glory.
(Stephen Jones shared about “What is a Jew” in his recent tape series. My spirit was greatly quickened by it and when I prayed about sharing on this topic, the Spirit spoke to my heart, “Many of My people have given their spiritual inheritance over to a people who have said, “We will not have this Man to rule over us!”
“Yes, I have quickened this word to your heart and would have you to share it with My Own so they would be more firmly established in their spiritual place in Me. Make a striking distinction between the people of the Old Temple and those of the New, for My people have not seen this, to their detriment.”
Newsletter No. 180 – January 2002
Song of Solomon 2:14 “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs (or the “inaccessible places”)
When Moses asked to see the glory of the Lord, the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock… and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen” Ex. 33:21, 22. He also told Moses that no man could see His face and live!
In that dispensation, only His “back parts” could be seen. I wondered what that could mean, and I felt the Lord dropped into my heart the thought that his “back parts” were the types, symbols, shadows and similitudes that represent the Lord, who is the Spirit. We cannot really tell who a person is by looking at their back—but, once we look into their face, we know their identity and their nature. So it was that in the Old Testament, Christ was concealed, and in the New Testament, He was revealed.
Israel saw the back parts of God when they beheld the pillar of fire and the cloud that led them in the wilderness. When He gave them the pattern of the temple, He revealed Himself in detail in all the shadowy types, from the Brazen Altar to the Mercy Seat. He revealed His plan and purpose to them and the way they would need to walk, yet they were “dull of hearing” until they would see Him in the face of Jesus Christ.
But, God told Moses that he would see His glory (nature) when he would be hidden “in the clift of the rock.” I Cor. 10:4 says, All our fathers… did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ.”
To see the face and the nature of God, we must understand that He is “…the Messiah, Who is the image and likeness of God. For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ, the Messiah” 2 Cor. 4:4, 6.
In another version, Heb. 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.”
The shadows all point us to the reality, which is Jesus the Christ. When we see His Face—His nature and character as revealed as He walked among men, we know these words are true: that we will surely die– for who could live any longer in the nature of Adam once they have beheld the beauty of His Face? All their carnal ways and self-effort are cast at His feet and a new nature begins to be inworked in those who have seen His Face.
It is in this Rock that was cleft at Calvary, that the bride is hidden away from “the plottings of man and kept secretly “from the strife of tongues.” We are in the Rock because God has put us there. If we abide in this place we shall prove that He is a wall of fire round about us and the glory within. Her Beloved keeps her in perfect peace because her mind is stayed on Him, for she has taken refuge in Him.
In this hiding-place, the bride of the Lamb does not fear though a host encamps against her; though battles and persecution arise against her, her heart is confident. Though the waters of the sea (nations) roar and are troubled, her heart is fixed, trusting in her God; though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof, she has set the Lord always before her; because He is at her right hand, she shall not be moved.
The bride journeys ever upward, walking in Christ. No vulture or proud beasts of the flesh nature can find this path, for the hidden stairs are built in the clefts of the Rock. This stair that Jacob beheld, reaches from earth to heaven, from sinful humanity to God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. This stair leads to the throne of God.
It is not an easy way, but all hardness and suffering are forgotten as we hide deeper in Him. As we look upon His Face, we begin to see more clearly what has been provided for us and we begin to cling to the Rock in abandonment, in closer fellowship and communion. As our eyes are fixed on the recompense of the reward, unseen arms bear us over the hardest places and plant our feet upon the next higher step, which to us appeared so inaccessible. We feel the everlasting arms carrying us upward while we can only cling to the Rock. As we cling, we drink of the living waters that flow out of the Rock and we are sustained.
This shining way is not an easy one, but it becomes more blessed as we understand that we are upon the stairway that will bring us from the earthly to the heavenly realm and from weakness and humiliation to strength and glorification. Oh, to see His Face and to follow the Rock is “exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.”
Newsletter No. 181 – February 2002
CARE OF THE VINEYAR
Song of Solomon 2: 14, “…let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.”
I think we can relate to these precious words even in a natural sense. When we are apart from a loved one, how we long to see their dear faces and to hear their voices. Our hearts are encouraged and uplifted. Friends call me and say, “I just needed to hear your voice today” and I feel the same way about them!
Somehow, we can’t imagine the Lord longing to see and hear us. Surely, He has no need of us! Oh, but to the contrary! That is like saying you have no desire to the children that you have brought forth—that they are not important to you. Job said, “Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.” I have, numerous times, had the Lord call me to come aside and spend time with Him. In retrospect, I see that it was always so that He could minister to me and bless me in some way. We are hardly aware of how He longs to give Himself fully unto us. To Him, we are sweet and comely because he sees His image coming forth in us and He rejoices over that.
The Lord would have the Bride’s face ever turned to Him, for her face is beautiful only when it is turned toward him. If her face is turned toward Him, she shall never walk in darkness but she shall walk in the light as He is in the light. She shall never stumble, for she will walk in Him Who is the light.
CARE OF THE VINEYARD
Vs. 15, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” “Take” means “to seize and hold fast, to catch”, and the world “little” means the very smallest and least important thing in our lives. At pruning time, if the dead twigs or branches—the rubbish that is cut from the vines—are left on the ground, the old fox will hide away her young at the roots of the vine. The little foxes will eat the tender shoots and the bark until the vine is girdled, loses its sap, and dies. All that has fallen and withered away, all the flesh and the unfruitful things must not only be cut off, but be carried outside the vineyard. We must keep ourselves “far from a false matter” (Ex. 23:6) and from all that is unworthy of the Lord.
Although the foxes are hidden away in the vineyard in the winter, it is when spring comes with its showers and warm sunshine and the tender shoots spring forth on the vines, that they come out of their hiding-places. When God begins to work, that is when the little foxes come out and He tells us to catch them lest they destroy the vines.
What are these little foxes? They are habits, words, weaknesses, which may appear as nothing in themselves, but they sap away our spiritual strength. I’ve seen this happen when believers speak negative words all the time. Soon, faith is eroded and they are defeated Christians.
Errors in doctrine and lack of firmness in standing for the Truth as it is in Jesus, are among the first foxes that appear when the sun grows warmer and the blossoms come out. How many times God’s children do not endorse error, but they compromise and ignore it. They affiliate with those who have embraced error and before they realize it, their own vines are nearly destroyed by their lax attitude toward the Truth of God.
We must keep our vineyard. We all know what happened when Adam did not keep the garden entrusted to him! Let us not be neglectful by letting the fences of God’s Word and obedience fall down, which will permit the little fox of error to come and eat the vines. We must watch that the weeds, nettles and thistles, which represent sharp unchristlike words and actions, do not overrun the ground. The foxes hide among them and choke the vine until the blossoms wither and all promise of fruit fades away. The sap, which is the life, will run out, and the vines will die. Only leaves and weeds remain. Many lives have shown blossoms of promise but the owner of the vineyard did not keep it. We are given this responsibility and He gives the power of His Spirit and His grace to seize the little foxes and remove them from our vineyard permanently.
Newsletter No. 182 – March 2002
Song of Solomon 2:16, “My beloved is mine, and I am his...”
The Bride is His because He created her, redeemed her, and loved her with an everlasting love. She is His love slave by her free and joyful choice; she is His to protect and defend, to fight her battles, to correct and chasten, to mold and to shape. She is His that He may perfect that which concerneth her and make her more than conqueror.
Although the redeemed are: “A great multitude which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes and peoples and tongues,” Christ belongs to every redeemed soul. He belongs as wholly to each virgin as though only she had been redeemed. His love and care for each of us is as perfect and undivided as though there were not thousands of others calling upon His Name and drawing upon His care and love.
I remember, as a young Christian, wanting to pray for my landlady who had diabetes. I was sure the Lord would heal her and she wouldn’t have to take those needles any more. When I asked if I could pray for her, I was taken aback by her answer. “Oh, my dear, I’m doing alright. I’m sure there are many much worse off that I am. I don’t want to take up the Lord’s time when He has so much to look after.”
I went to my room disappointed and pondered these words that didn’t ring true to my heart. I looked to the Lord and He impressed upon me the thought that He was at my disposal every moment of every day for my whole life, for He dwelt within me. The portion of His Spirit that I had was available to deal with anything that concerned me and those with whom I had to do. I never forgot that! He is never too busy! By His Spirit, He is able to be as fully ours as though He loved and died for each one of us alone! This is how it is when we know Him after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh!
“…he feedeth among the lilies.” The Lord is always found among His people, and it is the pure in heart that shall see God. At first thought, we might think the Lord is feeding His lilies, but it says that the Lord is feeding! Upon what does He feed in the midst of His purified ones? Does He feed upon their shared experiences, or their grand attainments (what they have done for Him?) No. He has communion with them—talks intimately with them about what brings satisfaction to Him, namely, His perfect offering. This is the true meat of the altar, the food of God. The offering represents “the body of Jesus”—including His walk, His thoughts, His strength, His affections. He can share with His lilies every aspect of that spotless offering which satisfied Him.
The “lilies” are the pure in heart, those who have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb, the virgins who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. The 45th Psalm, which describes the Bride of the Lamb, is entitled “The Lilies.”
2:17, “Until the day breaks, and the shadows flee away, turn my Beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.” This sentence is full of symbolic language. I love to share the types and shadows of the Old Testament, which point to and reveal Christ. One day, as I was reading this verse, the Lord opened up my spiritual understanding to see that the reality of the new day—the dispensation of the kingdom of God, was even now coming into view. The shadows that pointed to that day were fleeing away. No one cares to look at a shadow when he can behold the reality in all its life and beauty!
With the coming of the reality of this great Day of the Lord, the Bride says, “…turn my Beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.” We all understand that a roe or a young deer is able to leap lightly from one high place to another. But why should they leap upon these particular mountains of Bether?
“Bether” means “separation.” When Jesus brought salvation to the world, He spanned the chasms of the separation between God and man. Was the separation, as some teach, because of God’s wrath? I think not. The estrangement was all on man’ side, for he was alienated from God—not God from him! As a result, man alone needs to be reconciled. The word “reconcile” means “to change completely.” Who, then, must be changed? Certainly not God—but man! To say that the atonement was to reconcile God to man, is to say that God must be changed! This is blasphemous. The Bible says that Christ’s death was to reconcile man to God. It was to change man from an enemy to a son and thus “to set him at one” with the Father.
Mountains of separation are many times raised by indifference or unfaithfulness. Even at times our zeal “to serve Him” takes our eyes from His Face. (I personally have to be careful of this mountain!) Why do we not hear His voice oftener and more clearly? Mountains of Separation were made by our own thoughts and opinions, by the voice of man. Why do we not get guidance more easily? Perhaps we have been disobedient to guidance we have received, or desire to have our own will and to go our own way. Possibly we have no patience to wait until He speaks and run ahead of Him. Mountains of Separation are built out of our love for flesh and the natural, rather than love for Christ and the spiritual.
As we enter this New Day, we entreat our Beloved to turn and leap over all the mountains in our lives that would separate us from Him in any way!
We want to share a letter we received recently concerning this series on the Bride: “Your latest writing on The Song of the Bride has so spoken to my heart. Father has been speaking to my heart that He has turned His face to His Bride. He longs and loves to look upon her beauty, to look upon her face, and to look into her eyes. He has promised in Hosea 2:19 & 20 to betroth her unto Himself even in faithfulness. Therefore she will turn her face to Him and see Him and all that He is. She will be faithful to Him and look at none other!
“Father told me some time back that the days ahead would be difficult, but not dark. He said that we walk in darkness when we have a lack of understanding. As we walk in His light (understanding) there is no darkness (lack of understanding).”
Newsletter No. 183 – Apr., 2002
Song of Solomon 3:1, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.”
“By night” speaks of the darkness, a time of waiting for the light of dawn to come to reveal the Lord’s presence. If we are still “in bed” we are not actively seeking Him. We may be languishing in some passivity until we say: “I will arise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek Him whom my soul loveth:…” How much time have we spent seeking “the perfect church”, but after much searching we have to admit, “but I found Him not.”
Oh, He is there in a measure wherever His people meet in His Name, but the Bride is seeking a close, intimate union with her Bridegroom. She is seeking to be married to Him even though she doesn’t know what that means. She will not find a perfect church, but she will find a perfect Saviour if she continues to search for Him.
I will share a portion of a dream given to an anointed brother (“Escape from Christendom). “A man is following a road (the broad way) when a city comes into view. Spires and crosses pierce the skyline. It appears to be a large group of churches. He inquires, “Is this the City of God?”
“No, this is Christian City,” he is told.
But I thought this road led to the City of God!” he explained in great disappointment.
“That’s what we all thought when we arrived,” the lady answered.
The traveler stayed in the city overnight and in the morning saw a road that continued up a mountain. At a Christian restaurant, he asked a man, “Does that path up the mountain lead to the City of God?”
He saw fear cross the man’s face as he answered, “Don’t be a fool! Beyond the mountain there is nothing but dry, desert sand. Everyone who has ever taken that path has been lost, swallowed up by the desert! If you want God, there are plenty of good churches in this town. You should pick one and settle down.”
Confused, the traveler went out and sat under a shade tree to pray. An ancient man approached and pleaded with him, “If you stay here in Christian City, you will wither away. You must take the path! I am sent to encourage you to press on. You will travel many miles. You will be hot and thirsty and misunderstood, but angels will walk with you and you will find springs of water along the way. At the end, you will reach the City of God.”
“I’m afraid I’d never survive the desert. I’m probably safer here in Christian City.”
The ancient one smiled, “Christian City is the place for those who want religion but don’t want to lose their lives. The desert is the territory of those whose hearts are so thirsty for God that they are willing to be lost in Him. When Peter brought his boat to land, forsook all and followed Jesus, he was being swallowed by the desert. When Matthew left his tax collecting and Paul his Pharasaism, they too were leaving a city much like this to pursue Jesus out over the dunes, to become lost in God. On this way, there are four wildernesses through which you will have to pass: the Wilderness of Forgiveness, the Wilderness of Prayer, the Harvest, and the City itself.”
“At the end of the dream it was clear to me that two revivals are in progress on the earth. One is the revival of the Spirit of God by which dead men are freed from their sins by the Blood of the Lamb and raised to a life which is the life of the sons of God, a life which bears God’s nature and manifests God’s mercy. The other revival is the revival of religious flesh, which is very appealing and gathers multitudes because it offers all the comfort of religion while allowing you to keep your ego and all rights to yourself. This is a choice each person must make—whether to follow after the works of Christian City or to lose your life in the pursuit of God’s will and way in your life.”
I conclude with a song sent from Sandy Gunnels:
“Say to my soul, rise up my love
My fair one, come away.
Give me the grace, Lord,
To rise up and follow Thee
From the lowlands where
I have stayed.”
(If you would like the handout called “Escape from Christendom” by Robert Burnell, just ask).
Newsletter No. 184 – May 2002
Song of Solomon 3:2 “I will arise now, and go about the city, in the streets and in the broad ways; I will seek Him whom my soul loveth.”
When we are longing for a greater manifestation of the presence of our Beloved, He will lead us to people and put us in situations where we will be further instructed and taught the ways of our God. At first, we go about the city and seek Him in the broad ways. Literally, this refers to the city of Jerusalem and the broad places at the gates of the city where the citizens gathered to transact business. In a real sense, it is the assembly, or the spacious places of blessing and vision. She not only seeks Him in the broad ways, but also in the paths, or literally: “Alleys.” In every likely and unlikely place she seeks Him.
This member of the Bride found herself, in 1959, seeking her Beloved for her very life as she was suffering from leukemia for which there was no cure. As I “remembered Him upon my bed and meditated on Him in the night watches,” my spirit made diligent search. Faced with this mountain of testing in my body, I found Him on this lonely path. At the darkest hour, He revealed what was hindering my being healed, and upon repentance, granted me His faith and healed me.
After my healing I had a consuming desire to live a fruitful life for Him—to know Him more intimately. No longer was I satisfied with what I had received in the “broad place.”
The Lord sent along a missionary couple from northern Canada who invited us to come and help them. I knew it was the Lord’s “path.” But, “The watchmen that go about the city found me; to whom I said, saw ye Him whom my soul loveth?” Two pastors, armed with large Bibles under their arms, came to convince me that it was definitely not the Lord’s will for me to go away. They implied that I had not heard correctly, and must remember, that “…in the multitude of counselors there is safety” Proverbs 11:14.
I didn’t want to contradict them, but I was sure that the Lord was speaking to my heart. If I didn’t believe His Voice, I could make myself always dependent upon running to the watchmen to discern if I had heard His Voice or not. Jesus had said, “My sheep hear My Voice and they follow Me.” There was no way I could deny what the Lord had put upon my heart although I had no idea what was in store for me. All I knew was that I must leave the broad place and take this humble path. Although we must esteem every servant of God “exceeding highly in love for their work’s sake,” we must never permit them to usurp the Lord’s place in our lives and affections.
“It was but a little that I passed from them, when I found Him whom my soul loveth…” The path, or dark alley upon which I had placed my feet in faith led to the Garden of Gethsemane where, with my Lord, I cried from the depths of my heart, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
He had taken me into the wilderness as He did Israel of old, and for the same reasons: “..to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” Deut. 8:2.
There, He showed me my heart and opened His Heart to me. I didn’t much like what I saw in my heart, but I greatly loved what I saw in His. He showed me that my focus in life had been “on getting ahead financially,” so He had to teach me a life of faith where I truly learned to trust Him for my daily bread. My self-sufficiency was torn down until I learned to find my sufficiency in Him and found His Word more precious than mine, and His desires more desirable and holy than mine.
In that lonely place He taught me how to hear His Voice within, and dealt consistently with my self-life. After 31/2 years, He sent us back to civilization again and His last words to us as we were leaving this “path” were: “I have stripped you.” We knew that was true, for we had an abundance of goods when we came and we were leaving almost empty. I didn’t realize we needed to be stripped, but I understood and praised Him for it, for we returned richer in Spirit than when we came. (I hear these same words about “stripping” from ones new to the wilderness and I know well what the Lord means by that!)
God’s plan for my life and for the ages was beginning to dawn upon my soul and nothing else really mattered. Even though I left behind a little grave under a pine tree where my baby was buried, I had peace about that. All was well with my soul. He had done a good work in me and I was grateful.
I could say to those still residing in the broad places of the city, “I found Him whom my soul loveth: I held Him, and would not let Him go…” One of the watchmen (who had warned me not to go down this path), met me some time later and reviled me, “I hear you are believing things that I didn’t teach you.” I acknowledged that was so but I did not strive with him because he had not yet been called to leave the broad places to learn the lessons of the wilderness.
The account of Jacob demonstrates clearly the two natures in the believer. The same two natures are in every child of God today, the spiritual and the carnal, the one, which believes God and the other which disbelieves. It is because of this we need to cry daily, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” (I quote from Gleanings in Genesis):
“When he heard that Esau was on his way to meet him, Jacob took all that he had over the brook Jabbok (“emptying”). “And Jacob was left alone.” To be left alone with God is the only true way of arriving at a just knowledge of ourselves and our ways. We can never get a true estimate of nature and all its actings until we have weighed them in the balances of the sanctuary. No matter what we may think about ourselves, nor yet what man may think about us, the great question is: What does God think about us? And the answer to this question can only be learned when we are ‘left alone.’ Away from the world, away from self, away from all the thoughts, reasoning, imaginings, and emotions of mere nature, thus only can we get a correct judgment about ourselves.
“The lessons Jacob learned are our lessons also: (1) It is natural to the “flesh” to plan and scheme and to desire the ordering of our lives. (2) The mind of the flesh deems itself fully competent to order our life. (3) But God, in His faithfulness and love, determines to correct this habit in His child. (4) Long does He bear with our self-confidence and self-sufficiency, but He must and will bring us to the end of ourselves. (5) To accomplish this He lays His hand on us, and makes us conscious of our utter helplessness. (6) This He does by “withering” us in the seat of our natural strength, and by writing the sentence of death on our flesh. (7) As a result, we learn to cling to Him in our weakness, and seek His “blessing.” (8) What a lesson is this! The “flesh” cannot be subdued, but must be “withered” in the very sinew of its power—“because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (9) That which hinders us in our growth in grace is not so much our spiritual weakness as it is confidence in our natural strength! (10) Not until these truths are apprehended shall we cease to be “contenders,’ and gladly take our place as clay in the hands of the Potter, happy for Him to “command” and order our lives for us. (11) Then will it be with us, as with Jacob—“And He blessed him there.”(12) And so will the sequel, too, prove true of us—“The sun rose upon him,” for “The path of the just shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
“What is the significance of Jacob’s new name? “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Gen. 32:28. “As a prince” –as a deposer, order, ruler—words used not to dignify but to reproach. “Hast thou power” – hast contended (rebellion, revolt). Jacob had contended with Esau in the womb and thus got his name “Jacob.” And long had Jacob, “the orderer” of his life contended “with God and with men.” “And hast prevailed” or succeeded. He had contended for the birthright and had succeeded. He had contended for the blessing and succeeded. He had contended with Laban and succeeded. He had contended with ‘men’ and succeeded. Now he contended with God (the Wrestler) and fails. Hence his new name was changed to Israel, God commands, to teach him the greatly needed lesson of dependence upon God. Jacob had arranged everything for appeasing his brother Esau. Now, God is going to take him in hand and order all things for him.” (Unquote)
To learn this lesson, and to take this low place before God, Jacob must be humbled. He must be lamed as to his own strength, and made to limp. Jacob’s new name was to be a constant reminder to him that he had learned that it was not he who was to order and arrange his affairs, but God; and his new name, Israel, henceforth to be, him that “God commandeth.” As Jacob he had prevailed, but now as Israel, God would command and prevail.
These are the lessons that we learn when we pass from the broad places and leave the watchmen behind and follow our Lord into the wilderness to permit Him to do what needs to be done in our lives-—to teach us how to let Him command and prevail!
Newsletter No. 185 – June 2002
Song of Solomon 3:4 “It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go…”
When the watchmen (or shepherds) found the bride, if she had rejoiced and sat down content to sit at their feet—if she had admired the watchmen and been satisfied, she would never have found her Lord in a deeper way. Though we ought to esteem every servant of God, we must never permit them to usurp the Lord’s place in our lives and affections.
On a personal note, I have seen the difference between those who esteem the watchmen and have not found their Lord in an intimate relationship. The names of men will be upon her lips—some great man or another, but the name of her Beloved is scarcely heard. The church and the shepherd are the most highly esteemed in her eyes.
But, the “choice one” of the Lord who has a burning love for the one Who purchased her with His Own precious Blood, courageously passes the watchmen to pursue after her Beloved. They call after her, “You don’t know the way you are going! You could perish if you don’t remain under our protection!” She stops her ears to their objections and continues on in her desperate search to find Him in a way she has never known Him before—in a deeper relationship from a heart that will not be denied.
At last, she finds Him and throws her arms about Him as she runs, clinging to Him. She has been seeking Him through the night, in the darkness; she has sought Him alone. She has sought Him in the midst of His people and inquired for Him of the watchmen who go about the city. At long last she finds Him and vows to never let Him go!
Her Beloved says to her weary heart, “You are one of My sweethearts.”
“Your sweetheart, Lord? That is so special! What does that mean?”
He confides, “You know how it is when two people are in love. People say they look through “rose-colored glasses” because they find no fault in each other and their eyes are always looking to see the loved one, and their ears are listening to hear his voice. Such are My sweethearts. I can speak to them at any time because their eyes are always looking for Me and their ears are attentive unto My Voice. These, I call “My sweethearts.”
“(I) would not let Him go, until I had brought Him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.” She brings Him into the chamber of her mother. The unsaved soul has but one mother, that is Humanity, represented by Eve, who is the mother of all mankind. She remembers when the sons of her mother, Humanity, set her to keep the vineyards of the world at the neglect of her own vineyard. Now, she would have those of her mother’s house receive Him also. How could they fail to love Him if they could but see Him living in her?
The saved soul has another mother, even that New Jerusalem that is above (Gal. 4:26). She desires also that her spiritual kinsmen would know the increasing revelation of Him that she has received in quiet paths in which He has led her “outside the camp, bearing his reproach.”
Every child of God should understand that he has two natures, the natural and spiritual; two births, the natural and spiritual; two mothers, Eve, the mother of all after the flesh, and the Jerusalem which is above, the mother of us all in the Spirit. By prayer, communion and obedience we put off the natural and learn to walk in the spiritual—clinging to Him, refusing to let Him go—being careful not to offend our Beloved in word or deed.
Before we had found Him in this intimate relationship, we were willing to acknowledge Him but went right on ordering our own lives—“doing our own thing.” But, this pursuit of the Lord prepares our heart for our own personal Gethsemane. In that spiritual place we are at last willing to cry out, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him! Not my will, but Thine, be done!”
How precious it has been, through the years, to be able to stand in that Garden with souls that are experiencing that depth of agony and relinquishment that leads to a cessation of walking in the soul life. Seldom do they have words to express what they are going through, but they need none, for this member of the Bride has been there, and knows.
Newsletter No. 186 – July-Aug. 2002
Song of Solomon 3:5, “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, or by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until He please.”
In Ch. 2:7, the bride adjures the daughters of Jerusalem for she is concerned that her own joy and repose shall not be interrupted; that nothing shall break the fellowship that she is having with her Beloved in His Banqueting House. Here, at a later stage, she is concerned that nothing will grieve her Beloved. There has been a subtle change in her heart. She is not now so much concerned for herself and her communion with Him, but is now concerned with His communion with her!
Until she arrived at this place, she had always insisted upon having things done according to her time, and now she begins to see that He has an appointed time for all that He does in her life. She has been hardly aware that He could not entrust certain things unto her, or answer her prayers, before the work had been done in her heart. Her sole thought was, “Get me out of here! If you love me, deliver me right now!” She couldn’t see the work that He was doing in her through the trials she was enduring, and she didn’t want anything but “smooth sailing” in her life. Isn’t that what the shepherds had told her? Once she gave her life to her Beloved, everything would from then on, be “a bed of roses.” They neglected to tell her that roses have thorns!
But now she is realizing her Beloved is not like “a puppet on a string” to come at her beck and call. Gradually, her frantic pleas die down and she comes into a place of rest, knowing that He loves her and will always do what is best for her. She has learned to “stir not up, nor awake my love, until He please.”
Instead of frantic petitions, she makes her needs or her heart known unto Him with the confidence that He will arise and speak “when He pleases.”
This bride used to rush into His presence with all of her questions and expected an immediate answer. After a time, she realized such a sense of His holiness that she spent her time “loving on Him” rather than enumerating all her petitions. Increasingly, she even forgot to mention the things for which she needed His counsel and direction. Then, to her delight, she found, as she went about her day, that He was “pleased to awake” and dropped into her heart those things that she needed to know, yet hadn’t even asked!
Thus began a new way of prayer—of letting Him arise and speak whenever he deemed it necessary. Her part was to have a receptive heart so that He could drop His Word into it any time He chose, as it pleased Him.
What a sense of peace this brought to her heart—a confidence that if there were something she needed to know at any time, He would be pleased to speak it unto her. The roles have now been reversed and she has come into a right relationship with her betrothed. She need not plead for His attention, nor assert herself to get it. He will offer it to her—on His terms—whenever He sees that it is needed. And should He remain silent? Then, she continues to rejoice in His Love, knowing that all is well.
What a wonderful place in the Spirit the Lord is bringing us into! He is taking His rightful place and we are learning to rest in that and cease our striving, knowing that He shall arise when He pleases and do or say that which is needful for us at the proper time.
Newsletter No. 187 – September 2002
THE CHARIOT OF SALVATION
THE CHARIOT OF SALVATION
Song of Solomon 3:6-8, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant? Behold, it is the litter of Solomon; threescore mighty men are about it, of the mighty men of Israel.”
To the Jew, the beginning of this canticle is the description of the hosts of Israel, coming up through the wilderness and journeying toward the Promised Land. The “Litter” is a symbol of the first Tabernacle, which was built in the wilderness in which Jehovah dwelt in the midst of the hosts of Israel. The “Chariot” is a figure of the permanent glorious temple of cedar wood, which Solomon built after their journeyings were over.
The “Litter” as applied to Jesus, is a symbol of His human body, which was the tent, or tabernacle, in which He walked when upon earth. It was in this despised tent that He came to His people. It was in this human “Litter” that he dwelt and learned obedience through the things that He suffered. Ever since he was crucified, He has been dwelling upon earth in His spiritual body, which is made up of redeemed souls that are vitally one with Him. They are members of His body, bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh, and through them, His life is continually flowing. They are traveling up through the wilderness with their Solomon in their midst. His glory is overshadowing them and legions of angels surround and protect His spiritual body. She appears neither glorious nor protected to those who behold her, but He is a wall of fire round about her, and the glory within.
Not only is she traveling home in this wonderful Chariot, but He has given her a commission to fulfil upon the journey. As He is, so is she in the world. As He brought home to His Father mountains of spices and fragrance, so has He appointed her to bring home a precious cargo of spices and incense, of perfumes, which, as a merchantman in a far country, she must gather in the wilderness of this world.
The drier and more barren the wilderness, the hotter the testings and harder the path over which she goes, the more precious are the spices she gathers and brings away with her. Not only must God bring us into the places where these precious spices grow, but we must gather all we find there. Often we are so distressed by the desert, that our eyes behold not its precious perfumes. These spices, which we gather as we journey along, are the graces and fruit of the Spirit, and the beauties of our Beloved, which are perfected within us only through the things we suffer.
The pure gums do not come forth from the tree until it is pierced; so with the saints of God—only as they are pierced and bruised, are the precious attributes of Jesus manifested. As the spices are not found in the fertile plains, neither are the graces and fruit of the Spirit perfected in the smooth places, but in the rough places. I Peter 4:12-14 says that we are to rejoice with exceeding joy when we come into fiery trials and are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. As we do this, we begin to gather from the bitter shrub, “Suffering”, the fragrant incense, “Joy”, to take up and present to our Lord.
How do we gather the precious spice of “Faith”? God brings us to a desert place where everybody and everything fails us. We can look nowhere but up to God, and He leaves us hanging there upon the thread of faith, clinging and looking to Him, believing Him. If we do this without wavering, we begin to add to our cargo the faith that calls the things that are not as though they were, and removes mountains.
How do we get the precious Spikenard of Humility? God lets us be pushed down a little lower by each one around us, until we appear to be misunderstood and deserted by all. This gum is found in the lowest, most barren places, and if we go far enough to gather it, on our way back to the Mount of God, we shall find all other spices and gums. The desert will not appear so grievous after having perfectly gathered Humility, for it is the foundation of all the attributes that our Lord would have us bring up to Him. It is through many tribulations that we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The word tribulation means, “affliction, threshing, beating out.” It is not joy alone that our Lord tells us to gather, but peace; peace when everything is in a tumult about us. Jesus can guard our hearts even when the threshing is going on.
Basilea Schlink, a notable believer, earnestly asked the Lord to let her experience the fellowship of His sufferings. She did not know that she would be required to gather the spice of Humility in the process. All the success that she knew in ministry was removed from her and she couldn’t understand what she had done wrong. Finally, the Lord told her He was answering her prayer! I am sure we can all relate to that. Whatever the Lord brings into our lives, He uses to work out His glory in us!
Newsletter No. 188 – October 2002
Song of Solomon 3:8, “…They all handle the sword, and are expert in war; every man hath his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night.”
One of the names of God reveals Him as “the Lord of Hosts” and this is as real today as it was in the time of God’s ancient people. The hosts of heaven are at His command as they are appointed to watch over the Bride of Christ. The angels encamp about those who fear the Lord. In the darkness of this world, we must know how to “handle the sword” and to be “expert” in it—not clumsy! When the enemy would lie to us, we need to say, as did our Lord, “Get behind me, Satan! Thou savorest the things that be of man, rather than the things that are of God!” Because there is fear on every hand, we have His word upon our thigh—the strongest muscle in the whole body. We are not putting our trust in our own strength, but, like our Father Jacob, we have had our thigh put out of joint, and our sword is trusting in the Word of He who gave it—He who was dead and is alive forevermore! Though there is darkness and fear on every hand, there is light in our vessels, because the Lord is the light thereof. By our God we are able to run through a troop, and leap over a wall and quench all the fiery darts of the enemy!
When I was on the mission field, there were many things that could have made me afraid but the Lord wrote this word upon my heart so that I walked in trust: “…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” Hebrews 13:5,6. I carried that sword (word of the Lord) upon my thigh and had victory over fear in the midst of that dark place.
3:9, 10 “King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom (or “seat”) thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for (or “from”) the daughters of Jerusalem.”
Before the foundation of the world, “God made the design according to His own purpose, after the counsel of His own will: Hear it! “Solomon (the Lord) made Himself a chariot!” He had a plan and is carrying it out according to His original intent. You will have peace if you know that!
The chariot is symbolic of Christ and the salvation that is in Him alone. This chariot consists also of the members of His Body upon earth whom He indwells. The “wood of Lebanon” is the cedar—the choicest wood of the forest, the most durable and fragrant, a fit symbol of the pure, spotless manhood of Jesus Christ.
When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that He might redeem them that were under the law. Jesus dwelt on earth in the human body that God prepared for Him, which is symbolized by the “Litter.”
Only as He partook of flesh and blood could He redeem mankind (as their kinsman-redeemer). This is why we are told that the foundation of this Chariot is built of the cedar of Lebanon—the sinless manhood of Jesus Christ.
As a cedar must be cut down before it can be used, so the divine Cedar, our Lord, was cut down before this Chariot of Salvation could be built.
3:10 “He made the pillars thereof of silver.” Pillars are a symbol of strength and steadfastness. They have power to uphold. To the overcomers spoken of in Revelation, He promises to make them pillars in His temple and to write upon them His name (nature) and assures them that they shall go no more out (they shall abide in the Spirit).
Four pillars supported the veil, which concealed the Holy of Holies; and four pillars are at each corner supporting the “Covering” of this chariot. Silver means “atonement” (Ex. 30:11-16). This great salvation, which covers all sin, is upheld by the mighty atonement of Jesus through His finished work upon the cross. The cover of this Chariot of Salvation is upheld by the silver pillars, which are the symbol of the strength and power in Christ’s atoning work. Silver abides though it is tried in the hottest fire, and the work of Jesus will abide forever. The overcomers, or mature sons, are upholding God’s great plan of salvation in this day and will see it stand sure! “For the gates of hell shall not prevail against His (true) church.”
Newsletter No. 189 – November 2002
Song of Solomon 3:9,10: “King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom (or seat) thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for (or “from”) the daughters of Jerusalem.”
In Canticle Three, the Bride’s complete union with her Bridegroom is expressed. Neither the Beloved or His loved maiden speak here, but the Holy Spirit speaks through some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem as they see a procession approaching.
One voices a question and three others reply. They see, in the distance, a cloud of dust rising like columns of smoke, approaching from the wilderness. As the litter (a covered couch carried by poles resting on men’s shoulders) comes closer, they realize that King Solomon is bringing up His loved maiden from the wilderness. She has learned many lessons in her time of wandering, but now she is ready to enter into the Lord’s rest and to live so that the heavenly life might be expressed through her.
They are traveling toward Jerusalem, the city of peace (Heb. 7:2). Their going is likened to pillars of smoke. Smoke is released through the action of fire (those fiery trials!) and shows that the Spirit has invested her with new strength. Her weakness and unreliability have been transformed into dependability and established strength as Rev. 3:12 says, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God.”
A close examination of the litter brings out many spiritual truths. The floor of the palanquin (litter) was of gold, which means that the ground of movement was in the divine character of God so that all His movements bore the distinctive features of the divine nature.
The covering, or seat, was purple, the color of royalty. This tells us the Lord is King and reigns with kingly authority. The government is upon His shoulders. It is likened to the Ark of the Covenant that was to be transported on the shoulders of the priests. This purple covering typifies the veil, which separated the Holiest of All from the Holy Place. When Israel journeyed, the veil was taken down and the Ark was covered with it. It was made of fine twined linen, symbolic of Christ’s pure, spotless manhood. Upon the linen appeared the blue, which showed Christ’s heavenly character; the scarlet showed Him as the suffering Saviour; the purple showed Him as the royal One, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. The Bride also must be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, which is the heavenly, or the blue. “If we suffer with Him (which is the scarlet) we shall also reign with Him” (which is the royal, or the purple).
“Bottom” or “seat” is also a figure of the mercy seat in the Tabernacle which covered the Ark of the Covenant and upon which the presence of Jehovah rested. The Mercy Seat was a symbol of Jesus Christ our Mercy Seat, and it was made of pure gold, symbolic of His divine nature. Only once a year at the Mercy Seat did the high priest make atonement for the sins of the people. But we can come to Jesus our Mercy Seat and there abide, and through Him we can continually have access to God. As the Mercy Seat covered and preserved the Word of God, so our Mercy Seat covers and fulfils the Word of God, preserving all His covenants and promises, giving access to God, and making atonement for those who are not able to keep the commandments of God perfectly. We find communion and fellowship with God only from above and through our Mercy Seat, Christ, even as He promised to commune with His ancient people from above the Mercy Seat. “He is the propitiation (or “mercy seat”) for our sins.”
The palanquin was curiously wrought within by the daughters of Jerusalem. This speaks of the love of all saints for their Lord and King. Their affections are the vehicle for His movements and goings forth. The midst of the Chariot of Salvation is paved or inlaid, with the love of God which planned this uttermost salvation, and constrained Him to give His only-begotten Son, that all who believed upon Him might not perish, but have everlasting life. The Chariot is not only inlaid with God’s love to us, but is inlaid with the love of the redeemed to Him: “For the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us.”
The complete palanquin with its pillars, floor, seat and work of love, was Solomon’s own chariot, and was also the vehicle of movement for His spouse. It represented what she had become and what the king had made her through His grace. He finds His place of movement in the mature affections of His Bride and is borne along to His purpose by them. The chariot represents what she had become and what the king had made her through His grace. This union with her heavenly Solomon gives support to His every movement. He could now be what He purposed to be in the earth because of what she had become. There were no longer any hindrances in the way of His moving in any way He desired in the lives of His Own who lived only to please Him! This is truly the Day of the Lord, and the Lord shall truly have His way in this, His day.
Newsletter No. 190 – Dec./Jan. 2003
Song of Solomon 3:11, “Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon, with the crown wherewith His mother hath crowned Him; in the day of His espousals, in the day of the gladness of his heart.”
King David dwelt on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, so Zion pictures the highest place in the spirit. The daughters of Zion are those who long to behold Him and gladly hear His voice. They are exhorted to “go forth” and view the Lord in the glory of His crowning. There are two crowns mentioned in the New Testament. One represents the glorious power of our Lord’s supreme rule and authority. The other is that of joyous happiness such as Paul speaks of in I Thess. 2:19, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown, or rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” As yet, the marriage had not yet been consummated, but this crowning was a crowning of joy in His chosen and elect one.
No one can see the many crowns with which He is crowned in the Book of Revelation until he has first seen upon Him the crown with which His mother, Humanity, crowned Him that day when the earth quaked and darkness covered the land as the veil of the temple was rent in twain. He must first see upon Him the crown of thorns and suffering. Christ never spoke of Himself as “the Son of Mary,” but always called Himself “the Son of Man.” His mother was Humanity through the seed of David, but His Father was God. It was the sin of the human race that brought Christ down to be a man, to wear that crown of thorns that pressed His brow when He poured out His life a ransom for many.
The Lord took out of the human race (His mother) those who are His Body and who are to be His bride—those who satisfy His heart. The day of His crucifixion was the day of His betrothal to those who would prepare themselves to go into the marriage supper of the Lamb. When we come to Him for salvation and first behold Him, we feel we leave all for Him, but at every onward step, He shows us that there are other things that we have not seen which must be left if we go forth and behold him more intimately. We must “go forth”, leaving the flesh and self-life behind, the desires and plans, the opinions and thoughts that were not of Him. As we leave all and go forth, as we abide with Him outside the city wall, He will give us His desires, plans, beliefs and thoughts in the place of ours.
For some years, the Lord has been showing some of us what the marriage of the Lamb is and what it is not. It is not some carnal celebration “when we get over glory.” It is when we come to a state where our will has been yielded to Him and we desire His Name (His nature) and receive the ring of constancy, of never-ending love. In the Israelite marriage customs, the betrothal was as binding as the marriage. After the betrothal agreement was made, the bride spent a year or two “making herself ready.” Yes, she was spoken for, but she had not experienced the intimacy of oneness that marriage would bring. When would this happen?
The answer is: When she was ready! And how will we know when that will be? How will we know when we are ready? Some have speculated whether this experience would come all at the same time to His prepared ones, or if it would come to each one personally and individually as they are “ready.”
This year I have talked to different ones who have experienced a confirmation of their marriage to the Lord. I was challenged by a friend to ask the Lord if He’d like to marry me, so I did. He told me He had done so some years back and brought to my remembrance the occasion of a period of unusual closeness with Him. He also said He withheld this knowledge from me until a certain proving of my love for others had been worked into my life.
That prompted me to ask some of my friends if they had ever thought of asking the Lord to marry them. It was then that I found that a number had experienced this in a very real way, but had kept it hidden in their hearts.
Jim Alspaugh shared, “The Holy Spirit told me some weeks ago that when I remitted sins, I should also remit the sin nature, and to also see them married to Jesus so that the door would be opened for the Holy Spirit to make it true in their experience. He said, “Eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive.” I like asking to be married; to sign the book; ask for the ring, and for children. He likes this and He wants us to want Him for Who He is. It is a love thing. Ask for Him to be our total life, then we will not be a disobedient spouse. These are new experiences, which we can have. The bridegroom is becoming a husband. We sure do need one! “
This verse about His espousals is at the end of the third chapter. We find the following chapter is, from beginning to end, full of the praise of the new creation, which has come into full union with Him. He describes each portion of her body and gives the spiritual parallel that delights Him because they are His attributes that are seen upon her. This is where carnal Christians have judged this book as unseemly, but when seen in the spirit with Christ’s eyes, it is altogether precious. The Lord’s praise of His Beloved is without restraint and is altogether pure and holy!
Newsletter No. 191 – February 2003
Song of Solomon 4:1, “Behold, thou art fair, My love; behold, thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves behind thy veil (or locks).”
He rejoices in the white robe of His own righteousness in which He sees her arrayed and which is becoming more manifested as she follows on to “know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto His death.”
The beauties of the bride of Christ are described by seven features of feminine beauty and seven comparisons drawn from nature. The perfect number “seven” symbolizes the perfection of the comeliness of the bride. This beauty can only come from transfiguration into the image of Christ.
The Bridegroom compares the bride’s eyes to that of a doves’. Steadfastly does the dove watch for the first rays of dawn; faithfully she returns at her appointed times, for she knows her seasons. Thus the bride can see the approach of the dawn of a new day in God’s plan when to others all is dark. She has a single eye. There are no double motives nor selfish designs with her as she has her eyes fixed steadfastly upon her Beloved. The “eye” is the figure of light and illumination, and it is as we know the Truth and walk in it that we are purified and see God, for only the pure in heart shall see Him.
The most prominent feature in those who go on to spiritual maturity is the ability to perceive the things of the Spirit. Why should the Bride’s eyes then be pictured as being hidden behind her veil, or her hair? The bride needs a covering for her spiritual perceptions. Unless this spiritual ability is kept behind a covering, she could babble forth what she sees. These things must be hidden from the world and the immature believers, lest they turn and rend her. Worldlings do not understand such a faculty and regard believers as having no other ability than they possess. Believers should be careful not to express the Lord’s treasures in a flippant manner or to those who are unable to receive them. Hide your dove’s eyes behind your locks! Let the Lord alone enjoy the beauty of your spiritual eyes.
4:1 “Thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from Mount Gilead.” Mount Gilead was shaped like the head and shoulders of a man, and large flocks of goats with long, fine, silken hair, could be seen grazing and lying down upon its steep sides, until it appeared to be crowned with hair. Long hair is the symbol of separation and subjection. Samson was one of the most notable of the Nazarites of the O.T. Upon his head grew seven locks of hair, which had never been cut. The long hair was a token of separation, and the number of locks, a symbol of perfection. It was not in the hair of Samson that his strength lay; his hair was only the outward sign of the secret relation and vow that bound him to God.
The bride is pictured here with her hair of separation hanging down and covering her from every gaze that would contaminate her. This separation begins in the heart, first working mightily within. It is not in the outward separation that the power lies, for many down through the ages have separated themselves from man, but it profited nothing if God were not in it. The power is in the inward separation, which does not require isolation; but is often perfected in great stress of circumstances and in a full, busy life. Some are perfected when mingling with sinners along the lines of duty or business. As we take the path of fidelity to the Lord, to stand for the Truth of the gospel, not to compromise or to follow error, our locks will grow, and we shall be beautiful in His eyes.
Have you thought that when you know the gospel, and it is operative in your life it will attract people to you, and they will rejoice with you? Paul said he was separated unto the gospel; and it is not only being separated unto the gospel, but the gospel separates. Those who are not following on with the Lord have no locks of separation, and they will never admire the bride’s long hair which makes her appear peculiar and unlike themselves. The world and worldly Christians do not know the meaning of this separation.
Every separation that is of God will bring persecution and misunderstanding. Many of God’s people, who were once in the race and had the glory of God resting upon them, went back or fell by the wayside because somebody could not understand why they should be peculiar and separated. They went back to people, but not to God.
Be encouraged to remember that Samson’s hair grew again, and he killed more in his death than he had killed in his life. All of us have had our locks shorn at one time or another by the blandishments of the world and the flesh. We have had our strength sapped away through infidelity to our Lord, through giving away to our own flesh or that of somebody else’s. Let us turn to our Lord with greater zeal and fidelity, and our locks will grow until all their beauty and strength are restored. Oh, that we may go forward with those seven locks of separation uncut! With not one strand uneven and disfigured through being cut and haggled by the shears of the world! Let us seek our Beloved and yield to Him, that this token of consecration may be beautiful, long, shiny, and crown us like a flock of goats upon Mount Gilead. As we fully partake in the death of Jesus Christ, the enemy will be destroyed with such slaughter and victory as we have never known before.
All the thoughts concerning hair point to a consecrated, dedicated offering of ourselves to the Lord, and in such a dedication lies the strength and obedience of the believer.
Newsletter No. 193 – May 2003
Song of Solomon 4:2, “Thy teeth are like a flock of ewes that are newly shorn, which are come up from the washing, whereof every one hath twins, and none is bereaved among them.”
The bride’s teeth are perfect and even, with none missing, like a flock of symmetrical, newly shorn sheep. Like the ewes that come up from the water after they have been washed, they are white, pure, and beautiful with no blemishes or uncleanness, and none lacking. When we remember that food must be chewed and prepared by our teeth before it can be swallowed and assimilated, we can see the place the teeth of the bride have. We are commanded to feed upon Christ, to eat His flesh and drink His blood.
The prophet said: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy words were unto me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by thy name.” Jesus said, “I am the bread of life,” and it only by faith that we can feed upon Him; it is only by faith that we can drink of the water of life. Every touch of unbelief has been cut away. All effort of human faith has been shorn, leaving only the perfectly shaped teeth. Many of God’s children have such irregular faith, such broken and decayed faith; many have lost some of their teeth of faith, and those remaining are so sensitive and loose, that they are of little use. When they come to the Word of God, they have no way of appropriating that which He has provided. They cannot understand, or masticate the Word of God and receive nourishment. They do not have life more abundant because they are not able to feed upon the Bread of life abundantly. If they swallow the Word of God intellectually and without mastication, it does not nourish them; and they have spiritual indigestion and become spiritually sick.
Only through perfect faith, which is compared to perfect natural teeth, can there be spiritual health. Such teeth can feed in the green pastures. As a flock of newly shorn ewes they eat and meditate; they lie down and rest in the pasture provided for them. Why is it that our spiritual teeth are in such a sad condition? Many times we have hardly faith for a little thing; we have only a few teeth, and most of them have lost their mates, so that they are all but useless. This faith refers to feeding upon the Son of God and taking things from Him.
“A flock of sheep” suggests their grazing together. When sheep graze on pasture they are able to distinguish what is good for them and what is not good. There is within the believer something, which is of Christ, and one must be in possession of that which is derived from Him before there is this skill to determine what is His pasture and the food of His provision.
David Wilkerson, a well-known pastor and prophet, says he has hundreds of pastors calling him to help them discern what is of God and what is not as so many pseudo-revivals are coming on the scene. They have not enough of Christ to tell the difference.
In my spiritual training, I found myself in the same condition. If a person said “Jesus” I believed what they said came from God. Then, the Lord sent me to a small commune to learn that some of my teeth of faith were broken and I couldn’t discern what was good pasture and what was not.
After nine months in that place, we had endured enough and the Lord gave us permission to leave. I asked the Lord, “Why did You send us there? It was so terrible!” His answer was, “I sent you there to learn what I am not!” How true a word that was! My teeth had been healed and from that point on I could discern between clean and unclean food, between that which honored God or exalted man. It was a hard lesson, but I appreciated it very much!
With the babe, cutting teeth is a painful, natural process, for they come through with pain and inflammation. So it is with the teeth of faith in the Christian. The only way in which faith can be perfected is through pain and suffering; it is when the impossible faces us that the pressure brings our teeth of faith through, and they are perfected by using them.
Wool, in the scriptures, indicates carnal life and natural zeal. The priests of old were forbidden to wear garments of wool in the holiest place. They were to wear linen which typifies the righteousness of Christ imparted through the Holy Spirit as our natural life is removed or reckoned inoperative by the cross. The sheep being shorn tells us that we are not to try to receive His grace or truth by natural ability or zeal. Following our own natural desires will not receive the approval of the Lord.
It is not only a flock of sheep, but a flock of “ewes” which is a symbol of fruitfulness. None is bereaved (loses no offspring), all are twin-bearing, and in this way the flock is increasing continually. As the ewes become stronger and bring forth twins, so each virgin in the bride of the Lamb is made stronger and more beautiful by the teeth of faith, which God has provided for her. There is not only abundant fruit in her own life, as she uses her faith and feeds upon the bread from heaven, but through her faith she is in travail for other souls which are born into the Kingdom of heaven through her ministry and prayers of faith.
Newsletter No. 194 – June/July 2003
Song of Solomon 4:3, “Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy mouth is comely.”
Lips signify expression. As our teeth receive and masticate food given by the Lord, so the lips express what has been received from Him. The Lord not only notes our spiritual perceptions, our dedication, and our food, but also our expression.
The bride’s lips are described as a thread of scarlet, a symbol of the Blood, which must ever be over the door of our lives and upon the door of our lips, so that not a word shall come forth that is not acceptable unto God. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one.” We should take heed to our words, in that God has provided a white fence to hold in the tongue and doors to keep closed and locked. “Set a watch, O God, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3.
Leprosy is always the symbol of sin. With the leper, there is no feature that is so disfigured as the lips, which become thick, white and scurfy. At all times must the leper keep his mouth covered, and as soon as he hears footsteps he must cry “Unclean!” When corrupt (rotten, worthless) or idle words come forth, if we had spiritual vision we would see upon each other’s lips the sign of leprosy. “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer.” If our hearts prayerfully studied to see whether every answer was from God or from ourselves, whether it could come through our lips and neither mar their scarlet beauty, nor leave a trace of leprosy behind, how many words would be cut off, and changed.
In James, we are told to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.” But many are quick to speak and teach others; quick to strive and defend themselves, even when they are in the wrong; quick to wrath or irritability. They are slow only when it comes to being taught and hearing instruction. Prov. 1:7 says, “By thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” We must take heed that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts are acceptable in the sight of our Beloved, and do not bring reproach upon His Name.
“A thread of scarlet” has two aspects of truth. The first indicates redemption, as when Rahab bound the scarlet thread in her window (Joshua 2:21). The other aspect is that of authority, as in Mat. 27:28-29, “And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying Hail, King of the Jews.”
In the verbal expression of the spouse there is evidence that her life has been cleansed (in redemption), and that her lips are under the authority of the King. How different is the speech from the lips of those who reject His authority and say, “With our tongue will we prevail: our lips are our own: who is lord over us? Psalm 12:4. Our lips need to experience the process of redemption by submission to the authority of the Lord. They must express the purity and virtue of the life of Christ.
I’m sure we all have experienced speaking forth words that originated from the Spirit. At times we’d ask ourselves, “Now, why did I say that?” The past while I have been in touch with a young man here who sometimes helps me with my computer. At the conclusion of our visits, I find myself saying, “You’re going to be a success in life. I just know it!” (Even though I knew he had dropped out of school before finishing Grade 12).
The last time I said that, I asked the Lord why I kept telling him that, and He told me it was because he had suffered in his life and the Lord was going to raise him up. The next time we talked on the phone, I felt to tell him this and it opened up a fountain of words from his heart. He said he’d been in deep depression, very close to insanity, but now he was almost all better and would go back to school in the fall.
I said, “That would draw you close to the Lord, wouldn’t it?” He agreed heartily and began sharing all that the Lord had done for him and for different members of his family. We had a precious time of sharing and he said he realized this suffering had changed his attitude toward people, and, yes, he felt he would be a success in his life! It was then I felt that my bride’s mouth was indeed “comely.”
Newsletter No. 195 – Aug./Sept. 2003
Song of Solomon 4:3, “thy temples are like a piece of pomegranate behind thy veil.”
The “temple” is defined as the flattened part on either side of the forehead. Do you not think it strange that some part of our body should be called a “temple”? A temple is broadly designated as “a building used for the service or worship of a god or gods.”
We surely are a temple “not made with hands” whose Maker and Builder is God! Our temples enclose the mind, the place of ruling. The red and white center of the pomegranate with its seeds, which give forth a red fluid, is a symbol of the blood. The pulp shows red mixed with white, a precious emblem of the modesty of the bride covered with His spotless garment.
“…behind the veil”: The face of the bride is more beautiful by being shaded and protected by the locks of her separation unto God. The colors of red and white are a sign of her modesty and chastity. It is this deep separation that clothes her within with the incorruptible apparel so desired by her Bridegroom. She does not expose her beauty to the world nor does she strive for its approval. She is content to have the Lord bring forth His mind in her in secret as He makes her His temple, a place fit for His habitation!
4:4 “Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armory, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all the shields of the mighty men.”
Why should our neck be compared to a storehouse of weapons? It is because the neck represents man’s will. If we are determined to have our own way, God calls us “stiff-necked.” The neck of the spouse represents a will in submission to the will of the Lord.
“Thy neck like a tower” tells us that her neck is now upright. She is no longer bound as the woman Jesus healed who was so bent over that all she could see was the earth, for Satan had bound her for 18 years. God’s spouse has been set free and made straight and is no longer fettered. She no longer looks to the world for her satisfaction.
A neck like a tower also symbolizes steadfastness and upwardness of outlook. It shows she has been established on solid spiritual ground and Satan can “find no place in her.” The bride’s neck is not compared to just any tower where weapons were kept. No, it was David’s tower to which she is compared. David was a man after God’s own heart, who did all God’s will (Acts 13:22). The will of the bride has been brought into such complete obedience that it has become a strong defense against enemy attack. Her will is fixed in God and is a strong tower in times of danger. In order that believers yield not to the enemy of their souls, they are made like the tower of David, a man whose purpose was always to do the will of God.
I heard of a young man, a main-line addict, who had come to the Lord and was learning to walk softly before Him. The day came when the temptation to find a pusher and buy some drugs was almost irresistible. A friend had given him $80.00 that day to deposit in the bank for him. As he walked toward the bank, he felt he would use that money and buy some cocaine—just this once!
Such a battle raged within him! He knew he had a new Master and Lord, but his will was not yet as strong as it needed to be to resist the wiles of the enemy. At last, he cried unto the Lord for help. He needed some spiritual weapon badly! The Lord took from David’s armory (within him) the gift of praying in the spirit and he found himself praying in tongues. The power of God seemed to literally propel him up the steps to the bank where he deposited his friend’s money, all the while praying in tongues.
The young man’s supply of spiritual weapons was not yet very large, but he used prayer and the Lord granted him the weapon that would support him at this crucial time. Prayer, praise, and the word of the Lord are strong weapons hanging upon the armory of David, ready for our use when we need help. Psalm 18:2 tells us, ”The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
The number of bucklers (shields) should be cause for rejoicing for us. There are one thousand bucklers) (which means “the glory of God; divine completeness.”) This tells us that there is a sufficiency of weapons in David’s spiritual armory so that believers are well covered and protected!
Newsletter No. 196 – October 2003
Song of Solomon 4:5, “Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.”
The seventh feature that the Lord admires in His Bride is her breasts. Many would look at this passage carnally, but when one understands what is meant in the Spirit, no offence could possibly be taken. In our day, a woman’s breast is a “secondary sex symbol” and is being displayed as much as possible. Women are even having surgical procedures to increase the size of their breasts. If only they knew that the breast is the seat of the emotions. As we embrace the Lord, our pure emotions are our faith and love. Only through these are we united to the Lord.
The breastplate of the Christian and the breasts of the bride are the same. In I Thess. 5:8 we are commanded to put on the breastplate of faith and love. The just live by their faith and their faith “worketh by love.”
“Like two young roes.” A young fawn is timid, shy, and easily frightened. It is also very nimble. The young roes are emblems of the spiritual affections, which we hold for the Lord. Because of their sensitive and tender nature, such affections are not for the general public. (I have seen the unsaved flee in the face of this tender love!) These two fawns are born of the same mother and are identical in size. Faith and love are set forth in Gal. 5:6 as of equal importance: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.” I Tim. 1:5 and Philemon 5 agree with this thought. No one could be considered fair if they had unequal breasts. There is no such thing as being great in love and small in faith, or great in faith and small in love. These virtues must always be equal, for they are twins.
The double breastplate of the Christian is symbolized by the breastplate of Judgment worn by the High Priest. It was double, and was made after the style of a pocket. In it were kept the Urim and Thummim, or the Lights and Perfections, stones through which the priests received guidance from Jehovah. I Thess. 5:8 confirms this: “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love….”
In the pocket of a Christian’s breastplate we have the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us by the rise and fall of the Spirit within. Just as the stones in the breastplate “brightened” when the Lord was saying “Yes”, so they remained “dull” when the answer was “No.” That’s how it is within us when we ask the Lord something! Either the “lights go on” or they “go off!”
Eph. 3:14-19 sets forth the meaning of the breasts of the bride. Paul prays that the Ephesians may be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. The purpose of this is that they may be rooted and grounded in love. This is the other part of the breastplate. Only when the bride’s breasts of faith and love are fully developed, is she in a place where she can “apprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ. His love is beyond knowledge, so she could never know His great love by her natural senses. It is through this breastplate that she is filled unto all the fullness of God.
Both breasts grow and develop, or neither grows. They must grow evenly. Why is this so? We could ask, “Why do we not have more faith?” Because we have not more love to God. Divine love to our fellow-man depends upon our love to God, for as we love Him whom we have not seen, we shall also love our brother whom we have seen.
He has provided for us to be perfectly filled out. He gives us hard things to be exercised in so that we may be driven to seek Him. Through seeking Him, we attain unto the love that joyfully loses all things for Christ’s sake, and develop the faith that worketh by love unto removing mountains!
Those who have on the breastplate of faith and love are to be found “feeding among the lilies.” The lilies grow in the richest valleys. They are a symbol of the virgins of the bride who feed in the pasture of the great Shepherd. They draw down the life of Christ and feed upon hidden manna and through faith and love, the life of their Bridegroom is manifested in them.
We sum up all of the things the Lord has admired in the body of the bride that show forth the beauty and graces that He has inworked in her. Each virgin of this company has been prepared and conformed to the will of God, and to the image of Jesus Christ. Each virgin has beautiful, uncut locks of separation protecting her dove-like eyes. By faith she feeds upon the Word and her lips are holy, ever covered with the blood of Jesus. Her speech is edifying to both God and man. She is humble before her Lord, but bold and fearless before the enemy. Her faith and love are being perfectly developed as she reaches out to her Beloved and feeds in His pasture.
Newsletter No. 197 – November 2003
Song of Solomon 4:6, “Until the day break and the shadows flee away, I will get Me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”
The historical meaning of these words point to the last hours that the Lord spent on earth, before He instituted the betrothal supper and just before the crucifixion. Shadows of approaching night were falling upon the day of the Bridegroom’s presence upon earth. These shadows took the form of a rugged cross outside the city walls.
Jesus was aware that His disciples did not discern that the hour was at hand when they would be left alone—yet, not alone, for the Comforter would come unto them. He spoke very plainly: “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.” The traditions of men still blinded their eyes, which yet looked for an earthly Deliverer, one who would set them free from the Roman yoke, when His plan was to set all men free from the yoke of sin.
Still today we see that same blindness upon the church system who look to be raptured and escape from this present evil world when the Lord came to deliver them from it by making them overcomers over it!
“The Mountain of Myrrh” is a symbol of the tomb in which the Lord lay. “The Hill of Frankincense” represents the cross of Calvary where He offered Himself. Myrrh shows forth the priceless value of Christ’s redemptive work. It is a fragrant, gummy substance with a bitter taste. The bride of Christ also knows bitterness as is shown by Esther, who was purified by “oil of myrrh” for six months, to prepare her to be the king’s bride. This tells us, though bitter things may be allowed to come into our lives, the Lord will use them to do a precious work in our hearts. When I hear the prevailing thought that “Jesus died so I won’t have to,” I know the truth of the matter is: “He died so that I might also have the power to die to my self-life and walk in the newness of His life.”
Shall our Lord suffer and all His children go free? When I hear of saints who have partaken of this bitter herb in their lives, I am horrified, but when I see what God has wrought though it, I am awed. I read of a young Chinese man who started evangelizing at the age of 16. He didn’t know how to “preach” so he just read from the bible to a crowd of listeners. Many wanted to know this Jesus of whom he spoke so lovingly. For years he was tried with “oil of myrrh” by being imprisoned and beaten but through it all, the Lord used him mightily until he became the leader of the large underground church in China.
I think also of Jeanne Guyon who spent the last ten years of her life in the Bastille. I read recently that at the last, the Lord sent a small group of loving sisters from the Netherlands to care for her until she was ushered into glory a year later. He is ever mindful of His Own!
Frankincense is an emblem of Christ’s perfect acceptability before God, and His abandonment to do His Father’s will. This was portrayed by the continual incense, which was offered before God in the temple. The High Priest took coals from off this altar with him into the Holiest of All. The smoke billowed about him and partially hid him before God’s presence above the Mercy Seat. He would not dare to go in unless he was enveloped by the fragrance of the finished work of Calvary.
The cross is a Hill of Frankincense—not just a small vessel, but an eternal hill of costly perfume. Its sweet, spicy odor is not released until it is put in the fire. As Jesus stood before Pilate, as a Lamb that had been slain, and carried his heavy cross through the Via Dolorosa, He was surrounded by clouds of frankincense ascending to the throne of God. Too, when we endure the various trials that “cross” our self-life, what is our attitude? Do we “offer our body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service?” Or do we go up reluctantly and grudgingly, convinced that the Lord has forsaken us and doesn’t care about us at all? Do we slump down in depression, and fall into the slough of despond?
Oh, my brethren, let us be “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” Heb. 12:2. Because Jesus set His eyes upon the outcome of His suffering, He was able to “despise” (“look down on, scorn”) the shame that He was enduring. “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Vs. 3 If we are ill-treated and misunderstood we feel we have a right to be bitter and to hold a grudge, yet we need to understand that the Lord is using all these “contradictions” to perfect us and the sooner we call upon the Lord “to create a right spirit in us,” the sooner the work will be done and the pressure relieved. I have proven this to be so!
All the fragrance of this precious hill of frankincense is lost when we carry our cross grudgingly. We shall lose sight of the shame and suffering if our only thought is to glorify Him. Let us rejoice that to us it has been granted to suffer and to follow in His footsteps!
He is going to have a bride without spot or wrinkle. Be sure that the hand of the Father will smooth out every wrinkle by the heat and pressure of His dealing hand until she appears in all His glory and beauty.
The remnant bride is today looking for the day of the Lord to break fully upon the horizon. She sees the “shadows fleeing away” (the in-part understanding of sign and symbol), until she now sees the reality of which they speak. Until that day fully breaks in her life, she will not despise the shame of the tomb and the cross—the finished work of Calvary that was her death, burial, and resurrection as it was Christ’s, for she was in Him as Levi was in the loins of Abraham and received tithes in Abraham. Her heart cries, “Only to Thy cross I cling,” as the mountains and hills of the fragrance of His nature come forth in her.
Newsletter No. 198 – Dec./Jan. 2004
Song of Solomon 4:7, “Thou art all fair, my love, and there is no spot in thee.”
By her fuller identification with the cross and the death of Christ the bride moves into a greater overcoming power, a higher degree of spiritual perception and a closer relationship with her Lord. Before this, the myrrh and frankincense were but small drops of perfume, but now she desires to enter into their fullness in her identification with Christ in His Cross and resurrection.
After she has made this further step, the King no longer tells her, “Thou art fair” (4:1), but now He sees her as: “Thou art all fair.” He is saying that she is altogether lovely because all her blemishes have been removed by the further application of the cross.
“Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon; look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards” (4:8).
The developing maturity of the bride calls forth a call to a heavenly elevation. Lebanon was a border mountain between the enemy’s country and the Promised Land, which was never conquered by the Israelites. It is symbolic of the spiritual borderland between the world and Heaven; between half-heartedness and abandonment to God.
Lebanon means “whiteness” which speaks of the purity and holiness into which God’s ancient people never came. In their day they had no indwelling Spirit of God to deal personally with them as we are privileged to have today. Yet, God has a remnant prepared who will conquer these border mountains with their fierce opponents of lions and leopards! They will experience the “whiteness” of Christ’s transfiguration, for it is their portion.
The Spirit is calling her to rise with Him to overcome these mountains that stand between her and her goal of possessing the fullness of God. From the top of these mountains she can view her spiritual possession and is encouraged to press on even through fierce opposition. These three peaks of Lebanon give the thought of enlargement.
Amana means “confirmation, truth, constancy, a settled provision.” From the vantage point of the divine provision of the Word of truth, we are to view all things through the eyes of the Lord and His divine purpose for our lives. On this solid rock we need not be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.
I found two meanings for Shenir. One is: “bear the lamp” and the other indicates “a flexible armor.” They do not seem contradictory when we consider that when we have on our full spiritual armor, we have spiritual perception and discernment which floods us with light so that we can view with certainty the movements of the enemy beneath. We need not walk in darkness or confusion.
Hermon denotes destruction and speaks of the victory of the cross and how the Lord Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.
These border mountains were infested with wild beasts (in carnal natures) ready to spring upon the unwary traveler. The lion is the symbol of the enemy as a roaring, open foe, going about seeking whom he may devour. The leopard is the symbol of the enemy as a subtle, fierce foe enraged against mankind. In Rev. 13:2 it is used as an emblem of the Antichrist. It is in the borderlands, overlooking our spiritual possession, where the enemy attacks those who are escaping “from the corruption that is in the world by lust.” Some who have come as far as the borderlands claim that the enemy has no more part in them; that he can no longer find anything in them. They lay off their spiritual armor because they feel there is no more need to resist the enemy.
One way in which he traps them is to convince them they already possess those spiritual places, which they behold from the top of these mountains. J. Preston Eby cautions us about this temptation: “I warn you that the height of sonship, the kingdom, and all the fullness of God are not attained by merely hearing about them. Neither are they inherently ours as a result of the “finished work” of Calvary. Calvary takes care of your past, but your future demands a heart-absorbing, soul consuming quest. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him. It is a vicious trait of man to want everything handed to him on a silver platter. The high calling of God is not a gift, but a prize, for which one must qualify. The “finished work” of Christ did not secure the throne for us!” (Unquote)
Many believers, both young and old, express to us their distress at how much “garbage” of false teaching has infiltrated the message of the kingdom of God. “How could the Lord allow that?” they ask. I have asked the same question but now I am understanding it is because we have come to the borderlands which we must cross to enter our spiritual possession. The enemy cannot pursue those who hasten beyond them to the place of security in Him, which He has prepared for us. It is those who abide yet in these mountains, who mistake “revelation” for “possession” who are open to the subtle attacks of the enemy. We know enough to run when a lion roars, but a leopard is so subtle that we’re not even aware when we are being pursued.
One discerning brother said to a sonship ministry, “I discern that you are being wooed by a New Age spirit.” It was true, and the temptation had been to leave Jesus out of the message. If you do that, you can be your own god, and wouldn’t that be great! It’s the same old seduction that the enemy used in the Garden of Eden. It worked then, and it still works today if the heart is not cleansed of that desire. It seems the Lord is permitting the presence of our adversary to dwell in these mountains overlooking our spiritual possession. Through them He will separate those who are seeking for self-exaltation from those who are truly yielded to God and want to follow Him alone.
Newsletter No. 200 – March 200
Song of Solomon 4:9 “Thou has ravished (taken away) my heart, my sister, my spouse; thus hast ravished my heart wh one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.”
I have proven these words to be true! Many times I have just prayerfully uttered that precious name “Jesus” in adoration, and the loving response of the Lord was immediate and intense. Bill would look at me as I wept and ask me what the Lord had said. I answered, “I just said His Name—I just glanced at Him, and His response melted me utterly.” It is not hard to enter the presence of the Lord. He is well able to hear the softest whisper and notice the slightest glance as we look toward Him.
When Anna Rountree stood before the Father (in The Priestly Bride), she felt completely safe and loved. She remarked that there must be millions of people speaking to Him at the same time as she was speaking to Him. He agreed that there were millions, but He assured her that each of His children has a personal relationship to Him. Each feels like an only child, receiving all of His attention.
Love like this is almost beyond our comprehension! We have to confirm it by the Lord’s actions. He foresaw the distress of His followers when they would behold Him scourged and spit upon, bearing His own cross, hanging there—pierced, dying, dead! This was He whom they had expected would redeem Israel! But, Jesus saw the dawning of the day of grace, which would merge into His glorious kingdom. He knew that all of His creation would one day rejoice that He left them and went up to the “Hill of Frankincense” and that His body lay for three days in the “Mountain of Myrrh.” He knew that he would rise from that mountain of fragrance to the “Mountain of Spices,” where all the fullness of the Godhead bodily would forever be manifest in Him.
For the first time, the King addresses the maiden as “my sister, my spouse” (bride). How can we be both sister and spouse? We need to recognize that the Lord has varied relations to us. He our King. We may be called “sister” because we are of a kindred nature with Him. “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.” Heb. 2:11
“Thou hast ravished My heart.” He is telling us that when He sees the spiritual features of a new creation taking form in us as we respond to the work of the Holy Spirit, we have become altogether lovely in His eyes. Thus, we ravish His heart. He now knows, by a mere glance, that we are willing to go all the way forward and onward with Him.
“With one chain of thy neck.” The chain on the neck stands for obedience to divine precepts, for the neck speaks of the will. His love is drawn to her when he sees her will yielded to His. Proverbs 1:8, 9 clarify this: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.”
This chain about her neck was not one of bondage as some might think. It simply signifies that her heart is bound to His so that her will is yielded to do those things that please Him. I know that my godly mother’s example many times brought my will into subjection to righteous principles out of a desire to please her. In our younger days, we had a bond to our parents, whereas today’s youth seem to have a stronger bond to their peers and desire to please them more than they do their parents. Yet, their peers can give them no godly counsel or guide them in righteousness, so their will is never bound and runs free to do its own thing. You can clearly see the difference in children who have been home-schooled and have received parental guidance and have yielded their will unto their parent’s principles. They are a delight to be around!
How precious it is to know that His heart is ravished by one glance of our eye, by the turning of our hearts and lives, our aims, purposes and desires, Christward.
Newsletter No. 201 – April 2004
Song of Solomon 4:10, “How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse: how much better is thy love than wine: and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!”
It is with tears that I share these heart-rending words from our Lord, “How fair is thy love.” Is that not an unusual word to describe our love for Him? We know that “fair” means “beautiful”, but its first meaning is “bright.” The word “love” here seems to speak, not so much of the emotion of love, but of the tokens that come from love. Some versions use the word “caresses” rather than love. “How bright and beautiful are thy tokens of love, thy caresses.’ The words imply that the pouring-out of our heart’s affection at His feet are as tokens of love that are changed into bright, costly jewels before Him.
Some years ago I attended a church where, during testimony time, so many were testifying fervently how they loved the Lord. I felt, “Oh, I don’t love Him as much as they do!” I knew I was incapable of declaring my love for Him like they did.
The Lord reproved me for such a thought and spoke to me words similar to these, “Your love is not shown in words, but in obedience and this is a greater love than simply declaring it.” I’ve never forgotten that! No words can ever express how bright and beautiful in the Lord’s eyes, are the expressions and tokens of love that we offer to Him. Praise and gratitude from our heart, the loss of friends and reputation for His dear sake, persecution that comes from walking intimately with Him, and our love and loyalty to His risen life within, is better than wine (the moving of the Spirit) to Him Who has suffered such pain for us.
Earlier, the maiden declared the King’s love to be “better than wine.” He returns now with the thought of how “much better” is her love than wine that maketh glad the heart. We hardly realize that His love for us is exceedingly deeper than our love for Him. This must be because we are always trying to merit His love rather than receive it. A precious example of this is found with David and Jonathan who were in blood covenant with each other even as we are with Jesus.
I Samuel 20:41 mentions how “They kissed one another, and wept with one another until David exceeded” (surpassed, to be more or greater). David was a type of our Lord, so it shows us that the expression of His Love far exceeds ours for Him!
“…and the smell of thine oils than all manner of spices.” In the first chapter, the bride rejoiced in the fragrance of His oils, but here the Bridegroom rejoices in the fragrance of her oils. The fruits of the spirit and the fragrance of the Christlife are starting to appear in her life and He rejoices to see this!
From the time of Jesus’ birth unto His death, people brought frankincense and myrrh, spices and aromatic gums to Him as gifts or to anoint Him. But at no time do we see Him give these gifts to another, or anoint anyone before His death. These anointings, perfumes and spices were emblems of the praise and adoration, which were due Him, that honored the fragrance that was resident in him.
The anointing oil is a symbol of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. With the Aaronic priesthood, none could minister before the Lord before the blood and the oil were applied. The holy anointing oil could not be put upon flesh, but only upon the priests, after the blood was applied. We see that it is God’s will for all who have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus, and desire to serve God in any way, to be filled with the Spirit. Jesus forbade His disciples to depart from Jerusalem until they had received the Holy Spirit. We must be careful not to despise the oil (the Holy Spirit), claiming that if we are saved ad trusting in the Blood of Christ, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not necessary. This is Christ’s gift to His bride whom He purchased with His own precious Blood.
It is the fragrance of His oil upon us that delights Him and fills Him with joy. (He counts it even greater than the fragrance of all manner of spices!) And, as we smell these odors upon one another, we are refreshed and uplifted in spirit by their fragrance.
Newsletter No. 202 – May 2004
Song of Solomon 4:11, “Thy lips, O my spouse, drop (as) the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.”
Honey stands for that which strengthens weakness, and milk builds up the young and tender. So plentiful is the bride’s store that she is ever ready to distribute to those in need. Her lips do not pour out the honey—they drop it, a little at a time, as a person is able to bear it. Her heart is full and her measure of nourishment is so great that she must guard herself against pouring overmuch into a needy vessel. She needs to observe the law for drinking wine given in Esther 1:8, “And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel… they should do according to every man’s pleasure.”
Standing in contrast to the lips of the bride are the lips of the wicked. “Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongue they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips.” We have seen that the only way the lips and tongue can be cleansed is to have the fountain cleansed. When a branch from the tree of Life is cast into this fountain, the heart is made clean and the words are also changed. This was how the bitter waters were healed in the wilderness—by cutting down the branch of a tree and putting it into the water (a type of Christ and His passion). When the Word of God enters the heart, the bitterness is changed to honey, and the poison to milk.
Under the bride’s tongue are words of comfort and sweetness that give grace to the hearer. They are hidden away to be brought forth as the occasion demands.
“And the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.” Garments speak of all that has to do with our external appearance, just as clothes are the covering of the body and are easily noticed by others. Our attitudes such as behavior, actions, social pleasures, and good manners are clearly seen by all. The bride’s outward appearance and attitudes indicate that she is walking in the spiritual elevation represented by Lebanon (whiteness). Because she walks with the Lord, she carries the fragrance of His presence. I’m sure you have experienced strangers smiling at you or greeting you because they smell this fragrance, even though they may not understand from whence it comes.
4:12, “A garden shut up, (is) My sister, My bride; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” In the Hebrew, the word “is” is omitted, making a distinction between the bride and the garden. After God created the universe and man, He planted a Garden. Its purpose was not for mere agricultural use, nor for commercial produce. Its only objective was for flowers and fruitfulness. It was not a public domain, but a private place of growth.
In this figurative language we see that the maiden has now come to a place where she is of delight and satisfaction to the Lord. She now realizes that she doesn’t exist simply for her own pleasure, to live her life as she sees fit, but she lives for the pleasure and satisfaction of her Bridegroom. “A garden enclosed”, or fenced in, signifies her high calling. She is not in a public garden; she is “the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” All her beauty of spiritual feature and comeliness are for no other person’s delight but her heavenly Lover.
In order to open the way into the great Garden of the Lord, or the Kingdom of God, our Lord went through two gardens. The first was the garden of Gethsemane where He chose concerning the last garden, which is the cross and the tomb, called the Hill of Frankincense and the Mountain of Myrrh.
God was always encouraging the children of Israel to press on to the Promised Land, describing to them its many beauties and blessings. Likewise, with the bride of this dispensation, the Lord continually sets forth the beauty of her spiritual inheritance, here spoken of as a Garden. In this garden is a spring that has been shut up, a fountain that has been sealed. We have thought that spoke of the bride, but when we see that she is distinct from the garden, we can see of whom it truly speaks.
Jesus Christ was the spring shut up, the fountain sealed. Though he was the great Fountain of Life, this Fountain was closed toward humanity until He died. It was not opened until He was raised from the dead For three days, the great Fountain of Life was sealed in the tomb by the foreordained plan of God. Now it is open to all to come and drink freely of that living water of which Jesus spoke. “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water.”
Newsletter No. 203 – June 2004
Song of Solomon 4:13-15 “Thy shoots are an orchard of pomegranates, with precious fruits; henna with spikenard plants, spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and flowing streams from Lebanon.”
The Kingdom of Heaven on earth is a Garden enclosed; Salvation is the walls thereof and Christ is the door. Only through Him can any one enter this garden that Christ has set up on earth and which He will bring to full fruition.
The dominant feature of the Garden is the Fountain that waters it. Without it, this wondrous fruitfulness would not be possible. There is both a well and a fountain from which to irrigate the Garden of the Lord. A well is a storage place for living water, while a fountain bubbles forth, flowing in streams. In John 4:11 the woman at the well declares to Jesus that “the well is deep” when He offered to give her living waters. A well speaks of depth, and a fountain tells of energetic and continuous outflow.
In the Garden of Eden we see a river divided into four heads, which watered all the garden. In the New Jerusalem (which we are!) we see “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” Rev.22:1. The waters did not originate in the garden, but flowed down from the heights of Lebanon.
Lebanon is referred to so often in this “Song” that we really need to understand its meaning. Its basic meaning of “whiteness” comes from the white crown of snow, which it wore all year round. Streams of pure, cold water flowed down its sides to the thirsty valleys below. These mountain streams never failed, and never became stale and tasteless, warm and unrefreshing. From a higher source than any earthly mountain comes the living water, which refreshes us when we are weary; though the channel through which it flowed appeared so lowly when upon earth. Lebanon always speaks of the heavenly source of the waters of life!
This Fountain of gardens was so uncomely in His human body, this Well of living water so weak and despised as He hung and died on the cross, that He appeared no greater than any other man as they laid His body in the tomb. In their hearts His followers were thinking: “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel…” They didn’t know that this Fountain had its source in the Holy Mountain of God; it issued from the very throne of God. It came from the everlasting hills and flowed down to earth, bringing life wherever it flowed, watering the wilderness and making man’s desert places to blossom as a rose. Even death could not stop this Fountain from flowing. In fact, it released its waters in such a way that it became available to every man!
In every place where this living water has flowed, it has brought forth much fruit, eternal fruit unto His glory. It is an emblem of the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer. The “pomegranate” is a symbol of fruitfulness as it is full of seeds. Its likeness was embroidered on the hem of the robe of the High Priest. This fruit is a direct result of Christ living out his life in us!
When He plants His pleasant plants in His garden, He plants the myrrh of the cross, the frankincense of death and acceptability to God, the spikenard of humility, the henna of Christ’s attributes manifested in our lives. The breaking up of fallow ground and digging about us can be quite dismaying when we don’t yet understand that He must cleanse our “land” and root out every noxious weed to make room for all that is of His nature.
Closely connected with Christ’s life, death and burial, are the precious oils and costly, fragrant spices. The anointings He received from the women who loved him so purely, appear to be more precious to Him than all else that was done for Him while He was on earth. Mary “anointed Him for burial” with costly spikenard. The anointing perfume must have been heavy upon His person when He stood before Pilate and the priests who were too blind to perceive that before them stood the Heavenly Incense of God. As He stood among the soldiers of Rome, they must also have smelled this strange perfume. As He took up His cross and went outside the city, the air about Him must have been heavy with the odor of that anointing for His burial.
Nothing can ever be added to Christ’s work on Calvary, for there were not only some trees of frankincense, and some chief spices, but all trees of frankincense, and all the chief spices! Not one thing can be added to the preciousness of the Father that was in Christ.
Newsletter No. 204 – July/Aug. 2004
Song of Solomon 4:16, ”Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
A friend once told me of when the Lord first began to deal with her self-life. She was so much under conviction that she asked Him to do a quick work in her. She said, “I lived to regret asking that because He answered my prayer and sent the north wind to bring discipline and cleansing into my life which I had not expected.” When she complained to the Lord about the things that were happening in her life, He reminded her of her prayer!
I used to wonder when I would see a believer consecrate themselves to the Lord in a deeper way, why hard things came into their lives when I would have expected there to be blessings. It is needful that the north wind (or spirit) come first to teach us and stir us up to press on; to show us where we are slack and where we must put off the flesh, that we may put on Christ. Out of the north (the place of God’s throne), He moves upon all that hides the truth of the gospel from our vision.
As He clears the spiritual atmosphere about us, the golden splendor of the light of God shines into our lives, with the revelation of His terrible majesty. Job 37:22 says, “Out of the north cometh golden splendor; God hath upon Him terrible majesty.” “Come, thou south” brings calm, peace and comforting movings of the Spirit. His spouse has been tested as the Apostle Paul. “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” Phil. 4:12. Through these opposing movings of the Spirit she has come into a state of spiritual “balance.”
Now, no matter whether her circumstances are favorable or not, she will not be adversely affected. She recognizes, at last, that the crux of spiritual prosperity depends upon the inner man of the heart and not upon external circumstances. She has finally seen that if there is fruit and fragrance within, either wind—north or south, will only waft her inner fragrance farther afield when the wind blows. She knows His grace is sufficient for all that He brings into her life. The pleasant south wind and the fearful north wind represent the different circumstances appointed by the sovereign choice of the Holy Spirit to develop the fragrance of her garden. She acknowledges the right of God’s Spirit to choose which wind she needs at any given time. To one who lives in the heavenlies, both winds are of equal value.
Many of God’s precious ones go into depression and feel that God no longer loves them, if they experience the north wind. They have expected that if you are God’s child, everything should always be rosy and they should never have to suffer. The Lord tells us that disciplines and “child-training” are necessary lest we be bastards and not sons. (And a bastard knows not his father!)
The Lord wants us to love and trust Him, no matter what our outer circumstances are like! I have dear friends who are facing a fierce north wind with health issues resulting in mounting debts. The sister has purposed in her heart not to revile or question God, but to continually praise and thank Him. I’m so proud of her! I see the Lord moving in from time to time to “make a way when there is no way.” The north wind hasn’t ceased blowing yet, but we can already smell the odor of fragrant spices being borne upon the wind!
Are we able to look into our Beloved’s face with confidence and say, “Awake, O north wind and blow upon my garden? Lord, send the testings and trials that you see I need. Send the hard things that are needed to try my life that it would bear fruit for thy glory. Blow upon my blossoms and prove whether they will abide or if they fall off because they are all show and can’t stand the test.
Many of God’s dealings and revelations, and many calls to higher ground have been greatly rejoiced over yet they never bore fruit. They never became possessions and remained but dealings and revelations, which never bore fruit. Some “live” upon a prophetic utterance that spoke of great things for them, yet it remained unfulfilled as long as that one was not willing to let the north wind blow upon their lives.
We have to bear in mind that the blossom is not the fruit! How many times do we see a vineyard of fruit trees, beautiful with fragrant blossoms, and we look for an abundant harvest of fruit. When the blossoms fall off, and it is time for the fruit to appear, we are disappointed to see only a few, small, weakly apples or pears, or whatever. All the lovely blossoms now lie, decaying and unsightly, upon the ground beneath the tree.
It is thus in our lives. How often does our Father deal with us, showing us the riches and power of the gospel and the high privileges we have in Him? He shows us the necessity of letting Him be our all and in all, and letting Him control every area of our lives. As we ascend the Mount of Revelation with God, he shows us part of the land of our inheritance. Soon the blossoms appear upon our lives. But when He calls us to count all things but dross that we might gain Him, we do not yield to His call. We may draw back. The very dealing or testing that would establish the fertile blossoms will wither and kill the barren ones and we will be unfruitful, for all our revelation. What a thought! The possibility of putting forth fruit is choked and killed by self-esteem and false hopes. Let us “Rejoice always, and in everything give thanks!”
Newsletter No. 205 – September 2004
Song of Solomon 5:1: “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
This is talking about the Lord’s garden. To His garden, within us, He comes in response to our spiritual entreaty. We make many dedications to the Lord in our spiritual walk, but our earliest dedication to Him is one of committal into the hands of the Lord to allow Him to have His way with us. He is given the opportunity to cultivate, till and plant the ground of our hearts and to do His work within us.
A later, more fuller dedication results from His full work within us. It is an offering to Him of life filled with His own work and labor of love .It gives Him an opportunity to enjoy all which has grown up with us. It is a dedication of all the sweet spices and fruits of the garden unto the Lord. It is God alone who receives the fruit of a believer’s life.
This garden, of chapter five, is the garden of spices. That which has been planted is coming to the fullness of maturity. There is nothing here that is green and immature. He receives it all as His: “my sister, my spouse, my myrrh, my spice, my honeycomb, my honey, my wine, my milk.” These emblems are symbolic of the finished work of Calvary.
The mother of Jesus Christ was Humanity through Eve, but she was born of the Holy Spirit, and His father is God. The bride’s mother is also Humanity, but at the new birth she is born of the Holy Spirit, and her Father is God. Because this is so, He calls His people His brethren, for they have been brought nigh through His blood, and have been placed into His Father’s family.
Though His disciples heard His words, they could not understand that He must go to the cross and die. They didn’t know that, unless He gathered His myrrh and His spice, He had come in vain. They knew not that He must drink His wine, the cup His Father gave Him to drink.
It is the same with those who follow Him closely. The Lord is still reaping from their lives a precious harvest of perfume and incense as they yield to Him, and enter into fellowship with Him in His sufferings.
“I have eaten My honeycomb with My honey.” Honey is a symbol of the pure, perfect humanity of Jesus Christ. The symbol is similar to Isa. 7:14, 15 “Butter (or curds) and honey shall He eat till He knoweth to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” In those days, the first food given babes was honey; and after that they were given milk.
Today mothers are warned not to give a baby honey during its first year (strange!) Honey is also a symbol of the Word of God: “There’s honey in the Rock.” When Jesus yielded His will to the plan and purpose of God, becoming a man that He might redeem man, He ate His honeycomb and honey. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…” Not only did He eat the Word of God when He partook of flesh and blood, but He who thus humbled Himself was “The Word of God.”
He drank His wine (or cup) when He drank the cup of our sin and guilt imputed to Him, and we drink the cup of His righteousness imputed to us. As He was about to drink that cup, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified.” Do we realize that the Son of man is glorified in us when God’s dealing comes into our lives and brings something dear to us, to death?
All God had commanded Him to do, He had done. All that God had planned for Him to suffer, to bear, to say, had been done. He had drunk His milk and His wine to the last drop! And, when He tells us that he has fulfilled all that God required of Him, He exhorts us to “Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” He encourages us to feed upon the bread of Life which He is.
Do not eat only a little, or feed upon Him now and then. Do not be satisfied with only a taste of what He has done for you. Do not shrink from the cross, and yield to it only occasionally and reluctantly. Drink until you are full, until rivers of living water flow out from your innermost being to water the dry, thirsty ground around you
Newsletter No. 206 – Oct./Nov. 2004
Song of Solomon 5:2, “I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.”
The Lord is here calling the bride to a place of more intimate communion with Him, to suffer the reproach of the cross and to enter into the fellowship of his suffering. He is calling her to leave her place of ease and meet Him outside the gate, at the foot of the cross.
In the early part of the Song, the Lord made Himself known to her as King and looked for a throne of authority in the heart of His loved one. Then, He came to deliver her from the wall that she had erected in her heart. At last, He revealed himself as her Bridegroom and developed the love relationship between them.
But now the call is quite different. He describes Himself as, “My head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” He is portraying to her His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
His precious head was filled with the night dew as He wrestled in prayer. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” Luke 22:44. He was manifest there as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Isa. 53:3
Up until now we have seen the cross in its first effect—for the remission of sins. Then we saw the cross uniting the believer to Christ in an intimate love relationship. Not only that, but we have witnessed the Cross delivering the believer from the pull of the world and from the corruption of the self-life. One would think, after all this that nothing would remain but a few steps to physical resurrection and eternal glory.
There is yet to be a further identifying with the cross of Christ. Some feel this is the place Jesus suffered the most—being despised by His Father, and that, as His sons, we also shall experience this. I have a hard time with that concept, for how could God despise or scorn Himself, for He abode in Christ in His fullness. No, I feel that Jesus was despised and rejected of men, yet we know that “we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” When we enter into “the fellowship of his sufferings,” into His “chastenings,” it is the Hand of Love that is bruising us, not out of contempt, ill-will, or despising, but a looking forward to the glory that shall come forth when “He has tried us as gold is tried in the fire.”
As I sought the Lord, I felt He spoke to my heart, “He was despised and rejected of men. He was bereft of My comfort, for He had to yield His will fully to me as Man for man, entering into the state of His brethren, as one of them. Only one closely related to them had power to redeem them. It was not in the power of His divinity that He went to the cross, but in the full yieldedness of His will as a man—a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
In the Book of Ruth, Naomi tells Ruth about Boaz, “The man is near of kin to us, one of our next kinsmen.” This kinsman is related by blood. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil…” Heb. 2:14. He had to come into our place, into our state, in order to bring us into His state. I have often wondered why, in some serious trial, the Lord withheld His comfort until we had overcome in that trial. I see now that we had entered into the fellowship of Christ’s suffering.
In this aspect of His dealing there is no pressure against our will. He but knocks at our door and entreats us until we are willing to leave our beds of ease and arouse ourselves to press into a deeper inworking of the cross than we have known. Consider the life of Mme. Jeanne Guyon. Her walk with the Lord was such that it shook kingdoms and put fear upon the most powerful figures in the land. Finally, they could not stand her godly influence upon men in high places of the Catholic Church, so the King banished her to the Bastille, to spend the rest of her days in prison.
What she was in Christ was indeed “despised by men” for it threatened their very foundations of earth! So, she opened her heart to receive even this, and from that lonely prison came forth wonderful, anointed words.
Faith Williams once inquired at a gospel Book Store why they didn’t keep any of the books by Richard Wurmbrand (a living martyr). Their answer was that people did not want to read of such total yieldedness to God. It was disturbing to them. This place surely shakes up both the believer and also those who behold Him. The love that is formed in the heat of the furnace is a love that men can scarcely look upon! “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove. I have a deeper place for you to experience than you have ever known!”
Canticle Four: Ch. 5:3 to 8:5
THE BRIDE AWAKENED
Newsletter No. 209 – Mar/Apr 2005
Song of Solomon 5:3, “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?”
Many have received a deeper call to fellowship and have considered the cost. If they respond to this call, it will bring them to a place of shame and contempt. They would likely lose their position of and influence in His service. This could explain the hesitancy the bride shows in answer to the call that would rouse her from her complacency and near-slumber where she has been dull and not discerning.
She delays His call with excuses. Her outward life and behavior—her walk—has been cleansed and purified by the inworking of the Cross. Was it not sufficient to have put off the old creation?” She did not understand that the Cross has both a negative and a positive side. All she had known was the negative side—of being stripped of the old ways and life. She had become self-complacent in her walk and was not reaching out “to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.“ Phil. 3:10
The application of the cross as a means of bringing her into Christ’s triumphant life, had not been opened to her. She was recognized as having a position of leadership and authority in spiritual matters. Her hesitancy to arise and open to Him revealed her unwillingness to go further lest He shake up her settled spiritual state. To rest in spiritual complacency, always means a refusal to be motivated to a still higher calling. This refusal to go on when He draws us, puts our dear Lord out in the cold and wet of the night.
5:4, 5 “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.” Oh, who could resist that Hand that had embraced her, the Hand, which had been so tenderly placed under her head, the Hand that was nail-scarred! Putting His Hand by the door’s window was to remind her of what was in His heart — of all that the Cross meant in her life. The Bride cannot resist this loving expression and becomes willing to abandon every excuse she had, and fully embrace every shame the Cross might bring her way.
The myrrh upon her hands, even dripping upon the lock, tells us that the bride has broken “the bolt of the door” of her will that has been keeping him out. Myrrh, though fragrant, is also bitter and is ever an emblem of suffering. It signifies that there was upon her person the fragrance of the Lord’s death. The life of Christ moved within her and stirred her to open the door of her will and make a deeper commitment to go all the way with Him.
I’m sure that each one of us can look back at our spiritual journey and see the times when our Beloved came and drew us out of our settled state. Often we had to leave behind loved ones who discerned not the hand of the Lord who drew us further. I remember meetings former pastor who upbraided me because he had heard that I was believing things that he had not taught me! Like, “How dare you?” This touched me not at all, for I so rejoiced at the place where I had been taken that I felt sorry for this one who had not opened unto the Beloved and followed Him into life more abundant than he had ever known!
Newsletter No.210 – May 2005
Song of Solomon 5:6, “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.”
To “open the door” is to yield to and obey the Spirit through faith so that Christ may be our all in all. Let us now fill our alabaster boxes with the precious myrrh of repentance, of communion and prayer, yielding to the Holy Spirit. Let us search for every bolt that has barred the door to our Beloved. No bolt can stand before our deeper adoration, obedience and prayer, lying at His feet in utter humility.
He had continued knocking at the door of her heart until He roused her from slumber. She loved Him alone and knew His voice, but He was not content to let her remain in a place of satisfaction of answered prayers, spiritual experiences, and prophetic words. He was calling her to come apart with Him, to leave everything to come into a higher place of revelation and separation unto Himself.
The Bride may not intentionally refuse Him. She feels she must finish what she is doing, and fulfill her commitment to her fellow man or to her family. There may be some “Christian work” that is demanding her attention. Or, she may continue resting and enjoying the admiration of those about her. We are happy to be called but often we let some small thing hinder us from obeying His Voice. Sometimes we are lulled to sleep by good resolutions. We can see ourselves, by the eye of the Spirit, possessing all He has shown us. This is so deceptive that we settle down to sleep, dreaming this delightful dream, and fail to gird up our loins and follow after Him.
When the true Bride awakens and opens the door and does not find Him there, her heart bleeds for Him. She feels she must find Him even though it means intense suffering. She will not return to her passive state and wait for Him to come and seek her. She steps out into the darkness, not understanding why He went on, and plunges into the night to seek Him whom her soul loveth. This intense seeking after her Beloved presents new problems from unexpected sources!
Vs. 5:7 “The watchmen that went about the city found me; they smote me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.” The shepherds in the third chapter had pointed out the way to her so that she was able to find her Be- loved. But, in this passage, the watchmen are backslidden and resent the hunger and the repentance of the Bride. They are embarrassed that anyone should seek Him more diligently than they. Nothing will stir up persecution faster than to have a poor, hungry soul run ahead of the shepherd. This brings conviction to the shepherds who, unless they pursue after Him also, must revile the one who has thus shamed them.
We are all aware of watchmen who had lulled us to slumber by their soothing words, and who warned us of fanaticism—of “going too far” in our search for Him. They wanted us to sleep and be satisfied like the rest of the sheep who lie docile in their stalls. ‘Don’t rock the boat,” seems to be the watchword. Don’t bestir the others and cause them o be discontented. Leave well enough alone! They hinder, rather than assist the bride in her search for a deeper walk with her Lord.
When she found He had gone on and left her behind, she no longer had any arguments about soiling her feet, or getting up to open the door. No—she heeded not the remonstrance of the watchmen who tried to silence her voice with thinly-veiled threats. They accused her of emotionalism, and a desire to be seen, of disturbing the peace of the flock. With such words they beat her and took away her veil.
To an eastern woman, to take away her veil meant she was a harlot, for only harlots go unveiled. The watchmen taking her veil is a symbol of persecution, misrepresentation, and slurs upon her zeal for the Lord. These are echoed by the sheep, who always follow the shepherds, no matter where they lead, not discerning the Voice of the True Shepherd and Bishop of their souls who calls every hungry heart to a closer walk with Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
Newsletter No. 212 – Aug./Sept. 2005
Song of Solomon 5:8 “I charge you, O daughter of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of (with) love.” (Faint with desire).
How our love for Him grows by stages! When she was in the Banqueting House she was sick with love because she felt she could not bear any greater joy than she was experiencing. But now she is sick with love because of His absence. Her recent neglect to follow swiftly His tender call has torn away her self-confidence at hearing His voice. She even goes so far as to ask others, who are as babes, to tell her Beloved, if they find Him first, that she is sick with love for Him. It seems that we love Him the most fervently when our names are cast out as evil for His name’s sake. Our heart cry becomes: “Let Christ be magnified in our bodies, whether by life, or by death.”
Verse 5:9 “What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? What is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?” Those around us will find a new hunger in their hearts when they see the zeal with which we seek after our Lord. Their desire is aroused to know why the bride is consumed with this great love. How does He differ from others? Many religions recognize Jesus as a good man, perhaps even a prophet or one of the “Masters” but see Him not as “God’s only begotten son who takes away the sin of the world.” He is put in the same class as any other good man.
They have never seen “His visage that was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” They knew not that “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities…and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.” They never knew that He was altogether lovely, the fairest of ten thousand, whom to know is to love!
While the bones of the gods of the heathen have turned to dust, our God lives! His shed Blood gives life unto all who put their trust in Him. For this great love, we would not even consider our “light afflictions” that are sent to try us, nor the beatings and indignities that we have suffered. They are not worthy to be compared to the glory that His Spirit is imparting unto us
Verse 5:10 “My beloved is white (radiant) and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand/” The daughters of Jerusalem did not ask for a description of her Beloved. They wanted to know in what way He differed from, or was more than, another beloved. What features belonged to Him alone? From their question we know that “white and ruddy” does not have the significance of “health.” It is much more than that!
These two colors make Him the only fruitful Tree, the only Apple Tree in all the forest of the sons of men. “White” means “dazzling, bright, illuminated by the sun.” “Ruddy” means “red; to show blood, to dye or make red.”
The name above all other names by which the Christ of God is known, is “the Lamb.” This is the name by which He is known as the Sacrifice of God. The word “Lamb” is always applied to Jesus in connection with His sacrifice and with His marriage. Revelation does not tell us that Christ is in the midst of the throne, but we are told that a Lamb stood there as though it had been slain. It is “The Lamb” who is the light of the Heavenly city! His sacrifice alone made the marriage possible, for only through this could He have a wife.
“White” is the symbol of Christ’s pure humanity. At the transfiguration, “His garments became glistering, which means “To lighten forth, flash forth like lightning.” As He prayed. He opened a little way the robe of humanity with which He had covered Himself when He came down to earth, and some of His majesty and glory burst forth!
One virgin of the Bride on his way to Damascus saw “...a light from Heaven, above the brightness of the sun..” Not only is He white, but He is also red. This color sets forth the work that He did as the spotless Lamb of God. We read, “Knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible: things, with silver or gold, but with the precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (the white) even the blood of Christ” (the red). “*
“Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was no man with me.” Jesus alone is marked out by these two colors “white and ruddy.” The red upon Him is His own blood, which was shed for many, through which He redeemed fallen humanity and provided for the perfecting of those who should be in the bride. In heaven or in earth, none other wears these colors.
I heard one kingdom minister say (to my sorrow), “The blood of Jesus is the same as any other man’s.” (I realized later that he taught a mixture of kingdom and New Age which always wants to make less of Jesus and more of man!) Not so! His Blood was that of the spotless Lamb of God who alone had power to redeem! No man, how ever good, was without spot before God. Nor could His blood have power to redeem! Only He, Who has the prints of the nails in His hands and feet, (which are a sign of the red), has the right to redeem. There was no sin in Him, yet were His garments dyed, and His blood shed.
Then, there was the white of His sinless human nature, and the dazzling white of His divinity. What makes the white so precious is the red that appears upon Him alone—the color showing forth His sacrifice and shed blood!
SONG OF THE BRIDE, Parts 1–34 [Elaine Cook] ~ BIBLE STUDY 1