As a love poem, the Song of Solomon excels in extolling earthly marriage. The Song can be hard to follow, due to its poetic language and multiple voices speaking. But one need not fully understand the Song to understand its place in Scripture.
The Song, and the joyous earthly marriage of which it sings, points us ahead to a greater reality. This greater reality is expressed in the Old Testament but is more clearly expressed in the New Testament: the Lord has declared that in regards to the relationship with His people, He is the husband and His people are the bride.
“For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. For the LORD has called you, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God. Isaiah 54: 5 – 6
For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you. Isaiah 62: 5
“…I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 31: 32
The reality of this relationship, clearly seen in the Old Testament, is also affirmed in the New Testament.
And they said to Him, “The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.”
Luke 5: 33 – 35
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19: 7 – 9
The ultimate marriage is when Jesus returns and weds His purified bride. We are all awaiting this wedding, for it will be the start of life “happily ever after”, where sin and evil and pain are cast away and only shalom with God remains. Knowing that the ultimate marriage is between God and His church, and that earthly marriage is modeled after, and points ahead, to that ultimate marriage, these words of Christ should make more sense:
Now there came to Him some of the Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection), and they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he is childless, his brother should marry the wife and raise up children to his brother. Now there were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and died childless; and the second and the third married her; and in the same way all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died also. In the resurrection therefore, which one’s wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection…” Luke 20: 27 – 36
Jesus teaches that marriage is an earthly institution and it does not carry on into the next life. When Jesus returns to claim His bride, the ultimate marriage will occur and there is no longer a need for lesser marriages to point to His. Hopefully, as the church awaits her Groom and the age to come, the words of the bride in the Song of Solomon come to mind.
Listen! My beloved! Behold, he is coming. Climbing on the mountains, leaping on the hills! My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he is standing behind our wall. He is looking through the windows, he is peering through the lattice. My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along. For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land; the time has arrived for pruning the vines, and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along!’ Song of Solomon 2: 8 – 13
In the final words of the Song, the bride implores her husband to hurry.
Hurry, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.
As we wait for our Groom, what is His response to our plea to “hurry”?
“Yes, I am coming quickly.” Revelation 22: 20
Amen. Come Lord Jesus!