Jesus in the Song of Songs

The Old Testament and the New Covenant   Part 24

The Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs as it is often called, is a beautiful love ballad between a bridegroom and his bride.  In a rapturous display of romance, the bride and her groom share a back and forth portraying their love for each other.

Reading this portrayal through the lens of the new covenant, we see a beautiful foretelling of the powerful love between Christ, our bridegroom, and the church, His bride.  The unconditional love expressed in this book is a vibrant picture of Christ’s love for us.  I encourage you to read this Old Testament book as a love letter from your bridegroom, Christ Himself.

We will look at three examples of this preview of Christ and His church in the Song of Solomon.

First, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling, and there is no blemish in you” (Song of Songs 4:7).

How is this a picture of us under the new covenant?  How did we become clean with no blemish?  “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:18-19).  The unblemished blood of Christ has washed us clean and made us without blemish, “holy and blameless and beyond reproach” (Colossians 1:22).

We are reminded of this in a beautiful song by our friend, Honeytree, from the early days of the Jesus music movement.  “Clean before my Lord I stand, and in me not one blemish does He see.”  It is a powerful expression of His complete cleansing.

Second, “How beautiful and how delightful you are, my love, with all your charms!” (Song of Songs 7:6).

Did you know that in Christ you live a charmed life?  Not “charmed” in the sense of no problems, living on easy street.  No, the charms that make you beautiful are your new heart, your new Spirit, your new nature, your new purity, your new self, your new power, your new love for your Savior, and so much more.  You are altogether charming.

Finally, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine, he who pastures his flock among the lilies” (Song of Songs 6:3).

Does our Beloved as a shepherd to his flock sound familiar?  “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15).  We are the sheep of His pasture.  We know the voice of the shepherd.  Jesus is the good shepherd.  And He does not only pasture His flock, He lays down His life for His sheep.

Three snippets of who we are.  Life without blemish, delightful and charming, belonging to our Beloved.

The Song of Solomon is painting a love story that has now come true for us.  The Song of Songs is a visual of Jesus taking delight in you.  You are deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and absolutely complete in Christ.  You are completely beautiful in His eyes!

Jesus is our love in the Song of Solomon, because Jesus was there from the beginning!

The Glory of the Lord

The Old Testament and the New Covenant   Part 23

“Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house.  The priests could not enter into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house.  All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, ‘Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting’ “ (II Chronicles 7:1-3).

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16).

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one” (John 17:22).

On the day that Solomon dedicated the newly constructed temple, the glory of the Lord came with power and filled the temple with His presence.  Fast forward 1000 years.  On the day of Pentecost, following Jesus’ ascension, the Holy Spirit came with power and filled God’s new temple, His believers.

In the Old Testament, God dwelt in holy places; the holy land, the holy city, the holy temple, the Holy of Holies in the temple.  God dwelt in holy places.

Under the new covenant, God continues to dwell in holy places.  But they are no longer geographic locations.  They are holy people; you and me, children of God.  You are now God’s temple.  If you have studied the New Testament, you are aware of this picture that we are now God’s temple.

But did you know that God is still filling His temple with His glory?  The dedication by Solomon of God’s earthly temple was accompanied by an incredible display of God’s glory.  And as God’s temple today, you are an incredible display of God’s glory.  Jesus said it, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them” (John 17:22).

It is a false humility to call yourself anything less than glorious.  To do so is to make Jesus a liar.  You are glorious based on the promise of Jesus.  Believe it.  You and I, by the declaration of Jesus, are glorious.  And there is no room for pride in that statement; only gratitude.

The glory of Jesus, now present in you, was present in His holy temple, because Jesus was there from the beginning!

From the East to the West

The Old Testament and the New Covenant   Part 22

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

“But as it is, Jesus has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

Forgiveness of sin is at the heart of the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  Or to put it more personally, the forgiveness of your sin, the forgiveness of my sin, is at the heart of the gospel message.  Or to flesh it out even further, the COMPLETE forgiveness of our sin is at the heart of the gospel message.

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us ALL our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).

“And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us, saying, … ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more’ “ (Hebrews 10:15,17).

When we first believe the gospel message of Jesus Christ, our sins – past, present, and future – are completely and eternally forgiven.  Folks often have a difficult time believing that our forgiveness is this complete.  Because it flies in the face of the common teaching that we need to confess and be forgiven over and over.  But this is just not true.  Repeated confession and forgiveness is not found in the message of the New Testament.  Your forgiveness is a once-and-done complete cleansing.

I absolutely love the visual in Psalm chapter 103 that previews the complete forgiveness coming in the new covenant.  If you start at the north pole and travel south as far as you can, you will eventually reach the south pole, the final destination of your southward journey.  How far of a distance must you travel?  Google says 12,436 miles.  It is a distance that can be measured.

But let’s start our journey at the equator in Quito Ecuador, and travel east.  How far must we go to reach the “west”?  Various places along the trip may be called “west”, but there is no distinct final destination indicating arriving at the “west”.  There is no “west pole” to be reached when traveling around the globe in an easterly direction.  There are no east or west endpoints on our journey along the equator.

You could say that the distance from the east to the west is infinite.  You see where I am going?  That is how far your sins have been removed.  To infinity and beyond.  So far gone, that your heavenly Father is not remembering them anymore.  And it wells up within us a gratitude for the incredible grace we have received.  Thank you Jesus!

Jesus is the author of your complete forgiveness foretold in Psalm 103, because Jesus was there from the beginning!

The Crucified Savior

The Old Testament and the New Covenant   Part 21

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ “ (Mark 15:34).

We have been taught that Jesus spoke these words on the cross because God the Father turned His back on His Son.  While the weight of the world’s sin was upon Jesus’ shoulders, God the Father abandoned the Son.  Is this really true?  I don’t think so.

The bond between the Father and the Son is unbreakable.  I don’t believe that there was ever any separation between them.  We have no support in Scripture that “The Father and I are one” was ever broken.  I don’t believe there is any reason to think that God abandoned the Son even as He became sin for us on the cross.

So what was Jesus saying from the cross?  Jesus was speaking line one from Psalm 22, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1).  The rest of this Psalm is a stunning prophecy of what His death would be like with passages like, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.  My heart is like wax; it is melted within me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws.  You lay me in the dust of death.  For dogs have surrounded me.  A band of evildoers has encompassed me.  They pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones.  They look, they stare at me.  They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:14-18).  Wow, does that sound like a description of the death of Jesus?

It has been suggested that in first century Israel, it was a common practice for a rabbi to speak the first line of a Psalm and expect his students to recite the rest.  Could this be happening here?  Could Jesus be saying from the cross, “For those with ears to hear, I am pointing you to the prophecy of Psalm 22; and in My death, I am its fulfillment”?

Just as the Psalmist in Psalm 22 felt that God had abandoned him, so Jesus, in the dying of His human form, likely felt that God had turned His back on Him in that moment.  However, by the end of Psalm 22, we find that God had been protecting the writer all along.  “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard” (Psalm 22:24).  I especially like the phrase that God has NOT hidden His face from the afflicted.  God did not turn His back on the Son.  I believe God the Father was there with the Son at the cross.

The final verse of the Psalm says it well, “They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has performed it” (Psalm 22:31).  Jesus “performed it”; secured our salvation through His death in our place.  A death described a thousand years before in Psalm 22.

Jesus is in the prophecy of Psalm 22, because Jesus was there from the beginning!