Study 10 LOOKING FOR THE BRIDEGROOM’S RETURN
THE SONG OF SOLOMON
by Francis Dixon
Key-verse: “Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains” (Song of Songs 8:14)
It is surely a very significant thing that in the Song of Songs, which portrays Christ as the heavenly Bridegroom and the Church as His Bride, the closing verse links up with the glorious truth of the Second Advent. The Bible ends in exactly the same way (Revelation 22:20) - “He who testifies to these things says, ’Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” This is the cry of the waiting Bride for her Bridegroom. This is what the bride of old said, ”Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains.” The rendering of this in the Amplified Bible reads like this:-
”(Joyfully the radiant bride turned to him, the one altogether lovely, the chief among ten thousand to her soul, and with unconcealed eagerness to begin her life of sweet companionship with him, she answered), Make haste, my beloved, and come quickly, like a gazelle or a young hart (and take me to our waiting home) upon the mountains of spices!”
In this beautiful rendering we have a picture of the Bridegroom, the One who promised that He would come and receive us to Himself (John 14:1-3); whose coming the angels confirmed (Acts 1:9-11); and whose coming the apostle described (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18); and we have also a picture of the Bride, the Church, composed as it is of each individual believer. Let us look at these two pictures.
1. HOW THE BRIDEGROOM IS DESCRIBED
What are we told about the One to whom we belong?
- (1) He is Altogether Lovely. He is described as ”the One altogether lovely”, and of course these words can only refer to the Lord Jesus. Upon every human life there are the stains of sin, but He is “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26), and how altogether lovely He, our Blessed Lord, is! This is the One who is coming for us.
- (2) He is Outstanding among ten thousand. The bride joyfully acclaims Him as ”outstanding among ten thousand” to her soul. This is a figurative way of saying that if you compare Jesus with ten thousand others, or any number of others, He comes first (Colossians 1:18). Actually we should not compare Him with others, for He stands alone. He is unique. He is “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
- (3) He is the Lover. The bride describes him as ”my lover”, and repeatedly she speaks of him in this way in this Book. But this is not only the Church’s estimate of her Lord, it is what our Father in Heaven thinks of His well-beloved Son (Matthew 3:17, at His baptism; and Matthew 17:5, at His transfiguration). Do we really love our Lord Jesus like this? Is He our Lover?
- (4) He is preparing a Home for His Bride. She cries, ’Make haste… and come away… and take me to our waiting home.’ So there is a Home over there! Of course there is, for Jesus spoke about it (John 14:2). Our Lord is now on the ”spice-laden mountains”, and He is preparing the home for His beloved ones. He is there as our Advocate (1 John 2:1); as our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16); as our Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25); and all the time He is preparing our Heavenly Home.
- (5) He is soon coming to take us to His Home and ours. The bride cries, ‘Make haste… and take me to our waiting home on the spice-laden mountains!’ In John 14:3 we have our Lord’s promise that having prepared our home He will come again and receive us unto Himself, that we may dwell there with Him, and this coming may take place quite soon. Just think of it! - ‘A moment more, and I may be caught up in glory, Lord, with You!’
Here, then, is the picture of the Bridegroom. He is altogether lovely, He is the outstanding one among ten thousand, He is the Beloved One, He is preparing a home for all who love and belong to Him, and He is soon coming to take them to that heavenly Home. Now see the picture of the waiting bride.
2. HOW THE BRIDE IS DESCRIBED
What are we told about the bride? (and remember the Bride is the Church, which is composed of individual believers).
- (1) Her overflowing joy. First, we are told that as she waited for her lord she waited ”joyfully”, and this should be the experience of each one who is waiting for the Lord Jesus to come again. We should be filled with the joy that comes through sins forgiven (1 John 2:12); through humble obedience to our Lord (Acts 13:52); and through the knowledge that our names are written in Heaven (Luke 10:20). Are we joyful as we anticipate His return? - look up 1 Peter 1:8, and compare the prophetic word in Isaiah 35:10!
- (2) Her radiant character. We read, “Joyfully the radiant bride turned to him …” This radiance refers to the beauty of holiness which characterised her. Through faith in Christ, righteousness has been imputed to us, but it has also been imparted to us (Ephesians 5:25-27). As we wait for our Lord to come we should be living separated and holy lives (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
- (3) Her deep longing. We are told that she waited for her bridegroom “with unconcealed eagerness to begin her life of sweet companionship with him.” How she longed for him to return! How eager she was, and therefore how ready she made herself to meet with him! If we are filled with such eagerness we shall seek to be ready to meet our Bridegroom without shame (1 John 2:28).
- (4) Her personal testimony. She speaks of her bridegroom as “my lover”, and literally this should read “my best beloved”, for no-one else at all comes into the picture. He alone fills her heart. Do we acknowledge our Lord thus and speak of Him in this way? Is His name upon our lips as we go to others to testify? (Acts 8:4, and compare Acts 20:18-21).
- (5) Her earnest prayer. Her cry is, ”Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains.” She prayed for him to come quickly in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye; and that is how the Lord will come (Matthew 24:27, 36 and 44 and Hebrews 10:35-37). As she thought of the young gazelles swiftly moving across the hills, she prayed that her lord would come in the same way to claim his waiting bride.
What a tremendous moment that will be when He, our best Lover, comes and receives us to Himself! “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”