EDITOR’S NOTE: This groundbreaking series is being offered in celebration of a previously top-secret project and now unprecedented new 3-Volume book series (over 10-years in the making) from best-selling scholar Dr. Thomas Horn and acclaimed biblical history and theology majors Donna Howell and Allie Anderson: THE MYSTERY OF JESUS FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION—YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW
Song of Songs is the last of the books traditionally accredited to Solomon. Having reviewed the hill of arguments regarding his authorship, it does appear likely to these authors that Solomon did in fact write it; though, even if he didn’t, the evidence shows it to be a near certainty that it was at least dedicated to him, written with him in mind, or written in the Solomonic tradition that he began. “The title associates Song of Songs with the name of Solomon and literally reads, ‘The Song of Songs which is to Solomon.’”[i] For ease and brevity, we will simply refer to this book as “Songs.”
Songs is a collection of love songs that tell the story of the beautiful and tender love between an unnamed man and woman. Its passages are poetic and include words of affection, reflecting the sort of romance that fits within the context of the order God created in the beginning, when He noted that everything He had established was “good” (Genesis 1:31). In this regard, we know what the book talks about and understand that we should view it as a wonderful expression of love the Creator ordained.
However, to get the elephant in the room out of the way: The book also appears to be heavily entrenched with euphemisms, many of which are sexual. This was not an accident, and it, like Ecclesiastes, was following a poetic style of literature at the time. That’s why we’ll here part interpretational ways from one of the most popular approaches to Songs in the Western theological world. We will discuss that interpretation now.
For those who may not be familiar with the concept of a marriage between God and His followers as a biblical symbol, it may help to read the first three chapters of Hosea. Not only was God spoken of in spousal terms by the prophets as a way of illustrating the covenantal love He had for Israel and the spiritual fidelity required of His people, but the prophet Hosea’s marriage to an unfaithful wife was arranged by God to illustrate how Israel had committed infidelity against Him through the sin of idolatry. So, this symbolization is not new, making many believe it must be the spirit behind Songs.
This makes interpreting this book somewhat of a conundrum for many scholars, who still argue to this day whether Songs should be read: 1) as only a description of God’s order of love that serves as a good pattern for couples to follow, or, 2) as many modern sources claim, as an allegory of the relationship between Christ and His Church as Bride. The overwhelming majority of academics fall into one of these two categories.
If the former interpretation is correct: The blush that rises to our cheeks is like that of a chaste, young, virgin bride: a product of God’s willingness to candidly address matters of intimacy in marriage without considering such a thing to be profane, blasphemous, or irreverent. It carries a “we’re all adults here” approach that handles sexual matters maturely and unashamedly. We can celebrate physical love with innocence and delight, knowing that nothing is sinful about it within the margins of marriage between a husband and wife and that this God-designed act certainly can and should apply toward more than the goal of procreation.
If the latter interpretation is correct: The blush that rises to our cheeks is a product of awkward discomfort naturally drawn from the inference that the symbol of Christ and His Bride would be described with sensual terminology. This, too, requires us to handle the subject with maturity, but to many readers, it yields the question: Why couldn’t God have chosen to represent Christ and the Church in another way, one that doesn’t associate the Savior with such sensitive imagery?
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Either way, once some of the language is fully understood, Songs may cause a lot of readers to blush. In fact, in the Jewish world, “Because of its erotic content, some rabbis forbid the reading of Song of Songs by anyone under 30.”[ii] As an example of its often explicit imagery: “This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes. I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine” (Songs 7:7–8a). If this expression relates to something physical, the man in this verse is looking upon his beautiful wife and lover, appreciating her curves (and other characteristics, obviously) and comparing her to a “tree” he wants to “climb.” You can then imagine the allegorical interpreter’s challenge: What does a verse like this specify about Christ and the Church?
There are also Hebraic euphemisms in Songs relating certain fruits, fruit juices, spices, and other elements that were considered, according to the innuendo of the day, to be intensely erotic (you can relax, we won’t go into that here). Not to be crude, but today, if we hear that two people have “knocked boots” over the weekend, we generally know the phrase doesn’t refer to a couple putting on their boots and kicking each other. There are such expressions in every age and culture, and Songs is no exception, having been written with far more explicit inferences than anything having to do with “boots,” even though we may not be familiar with those “colorful” references in our modern world.
Not surprisingly, because of the sensual nature of its language and tone, Songs’ inclusion in the canon was highly debated. Eventually, it was approved for inclusion, and these authors believe that decision was guided by the Designer of love, who inspired the writer of Hebrews to document: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4a; ESV). Regardless of interpretational variance, we find the value of this book not in asking whether we need it in the canon or what purpose it serves among the other sixty-five books, but in asking what we would possibly do without it. Songs forces us to reexamine what love and sex look like in every era as the secular world and society modifies those subjects, allowing them to become more and more defiled, in opposition to such teachings as this Hebrews verse. We can’t ignore that God designed intimacy to be an act shared by man and wife in the sanctity of a thing called “marriage.” (Pardon our sarcasm, but, at this rate, “marriage” is on its way to becoming an obsolete word, and it’s clear from biblical teaching that sex was never supposed to be experienced outside the sanctity of a marital relationship.)
Just as importantly, we cannot ignore that the physical is inseparable from the spiritual when marital intimacy occurs. This is a sweet and lovely thing, as Songs repeatedly shows. However, when practiced outside of marriage, the spiritual element remains, but, without repentance, it can be a major stain on one’s life. For instance:
But the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.… Do you not know that your bodies are parts of Christ? Shall I then take away the parts of Christ and make them parts of a prostitute? Far from it! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He [God] says, “The two shall become one flesh.” (1 Corinthians 6:13, 15–16; NASB)
So, whether the Songs is about a man and wife or is a symbol of the bond between human and Divine, the sacredness and chastity of the relationship it describes cannot be supplanted with “casual sex” or a violation of that sacred union ordained by God. To put it more simply: If Songs is “Christ and Bride,” it is pure, holy, and undefiled; if Songs is “man and wife,” it is pure, holy, and undefiled. Either way, the modern, Western idea that intimacy can be treated casually—or as a physical encounter that takes place outside of marriage in any way—is to soil, profane, and defile God’s intent. This is at least one area where scholars unanimously agree: “The love the couple shared was exclusive and binding ([Songs] 7:10). By implication this ideal portrait excludes extramarital sex as well as all perversions and abuses of sexuality, such as promiscuity.”[iii]
Despite this, “as of October 2020, the latest large-scale research and statistics report [on religion] reflects that…premarital sex is agreeable to half of all evangelicals.”[iv] The Body of Christ would have no biblical grounds for handling this travesty if Songs wasn’t included in the canon of Scripture. Through euphemisms and imagery, it paint the portrait of innocence and goodness that is God’s plan for the order of His Creation. There’s no doubt about it: Songs belongs in the Word of God.
As to how the content should be received, it isn’t incorrect by any means to say the book is about Christ and His Bride; however, this kind of sexual language to describe the relationship isn’t used anywhere else in Scripture. Faithfulness to God as represented by nuptial imagery (like that of Hosea)—imagery that’s decidedly absent the sensual connotations—continues in the New Testament (in application to Christ and His Bride). This is why, awkwardness notwithstanding, we can’t discount the importance of giving that interpretational method our attention. However, the glaring problem with this approach is when Songs must be compared to that image in absolutely every single verse, as countless scholars have persisted. In order to reach a healthy conclusion about proper interpretation that remains accountable to a reverent, worshipful attitude about Jesus, but also allows for matrimonial metaphors, we will start by looking at a few examples of how this subject has been mishandled in history. From there, we will swing back to the original thoughts of Jesus and His Church in more sensitive terms than may have been applied in the past.
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Helpful theologians who have broken down the two main interpretational approaches admit that if Songs wasn’t in the canon of Holy Scripture, there wouldn’t even be a question about whether it is allegory; it would be read literally, from the perspective of man and wife, without having anything to do with God. As stated earlier, the writer was following a known style of literature at the time. Extrabiblical writings from Solomon’s era have been found to be quite similar to Songs. These other works are universally accepted “as a collection of love poems that revel in a man and woman’s physical passion and lovemaking,” and the Greeks, after the close of the Hebrew canon, gave Songs this precise treatment.[v] The allegorical interpretation is, therefore, a late idea possibly magnified in part by Rabbi Aqiba and fellow second-century rabbis who were angered by the irreverent conduct of local Jews found singing the book’s material “while wining and dining.”[vi]
However, another contributing development goes even further back: Around three hundred years before Christ’s birth, teachers of Greek philosophy—Plato being a major contributor—taught there are two realities humans need to be concerned with: the physical and the spiritual. This was known as “dualism.” Though it’s not quite as easy as saying “the physical reality is evil, and the spiritual reality is sacred,” that’s the general idea. The Church rejected dualism in the early councils, but not until the grip of its influence was wound tightly around Greco-Roman culture, which proved to be a tough enemy to kill. St. Augustine, likely the most influential Christian theologian in Western history, also held to dualism, insisting that the only sexual act permissible for the true believer was in the interest of producing offspring. In his view, sexual desire or gratification for both males and females originated from the Fall account, because Adam and Eve were, like any members of the animal kingdom, unapologetically open about both the exhibition and function of their naked bodies in the beginning. After they sinned, they became ashamed of their nudity (and/or sexuality), and God’s response was to make them clothes to cover themselves (Genesis 3:7, 21). Thus, God’s response, in the opinion of Augustine and his contemporaries, was to limit sexual interaction to only what He saw as “good,” which was to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28, 31). (Please note that such a theological conclusion does not align with the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 4:3–5 and 1 Corinthians 7:3–5. It also happens to contradict Adam’s excited response to Eve—“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh”—followed by the order God designed and approved of: “and they shall be one flesh” [Genesis 2:23a—24]. The congruency between Adam and God here is clear: “One flesh,” by itself, celebrates the joining of man and wife, period. It does not require the intent of procreation to be holy or pure.) The sway of dualism, then, no doubt placed a great weight upon the shift from the natural, physical, and instructional interpretation of Songs to the allegorical/metaphorical.
Though we would never insinuate that earlier readings of Songs are more correct just because they are early, there is some merit to listening to the antique rabbinical analyses before dualism or irreverent “wining and dining” Jews entered the picture. It’s more than a “whoever gets there first wins” race to a permanently indisputable finish line. As we showed in our context study of Ecclesiastes and its connection to the pessimism-literature tradition of ancient rulers, the gold mines of interpretation can be hidden from present-day culture and are very well worth digging for and paying attention to once found.
In addition to all of this is a well-known and respected principle of biblical interpretation (hermeneutics), which states: The interpreter should always assume that a biblical passage is communicating something literal to the reader, “unless this assumption creates an absurdity.”[vii] While this is true, we must still allow for euphemisms and figurative language to convey messages poetically and respectfully, even from a literal-interpretation approach. As one example: We know the woman of Songs would not really be a “tree” with “grapes” (a literal translation that “creates an absurdity”). The literal application in this moment does not cancel the figurative language (“tree” and “grapes” are her body), but it does identify the woman as a real, historical female.
If this sounds like inconsistent application—to those who would say “literal must stay literal, and allegorical must stay allegorical, therefore the woman is either a tree with grapes or she’s the Bride, but she can’t be merely an attractive love interest in Songs”—consider the book of Revelation. We know Satan is not bound to the physical body of a red dragon that has multiple heads and horns. His persuasion has been invisible since the beginning, yet we don’t have billions of “Satan-dragon sightings” throughout history every time there has been a clear invasion of his influence. Yet, Revelation specifically self-interprets that this “dragon was…that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). Therefore, the Bible must allow for figurative language (dragon with horns) to help describe a literal and historic place, thing, event, or person (Satan). What we have found extremely odd on our end is the number of mainstream, celebrated scholars who allow for the literal-but-figurative interpretation of Revelation, but insist upon the allegorical-only interpretation of Songs. That is inconsistent application of interpretational methods, and the scholars who maintain this don’t explain how they justify tweaking the rules on this one book. The only reasons we can think of for this inconsistency is that either they’ve been trained to consider Songs the exception to that rule of interpretation, or they, too, feel uncomfortable allowing Songs to mean precisely what it sounds like while it upholds its position in the canon.
Certainly, again, it’s an understatement to say that Songs is packed with figurative language. However, the “man and wife” interpretation does not “create an absurdity” like the metaphorical method (Christ having anything to do with the Bride’s “grapes”), so it isn’t irresponsible to maintain that the book depicts a literal couple in history. This is true even if its author chose to avoid vulgarity in his descriptions of the love scenes by using very clear, familiar (at the time) metaphors of physical romance instead of detailing intimate moments in an explicit way.
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The greatest injustice of a strictly allegorical interpretation of Songs is that it forces one side to either accept or explain away a sensual image of Christ or His message when it doesn’t need to! Those who stick to this position claim that, because the man in Songs is Jesus and the woman is the Church, when we read, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” (Songs 1:2), we must see the “kisses” as the Word of God. Further, we must believe that the woman’s dark skin in “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem” (1:5), refers to sin; when “Jesus” says to the “Bride,” “thy breasts to clusters of grapes” (7:7), He is referring to the Church’s “nurturing doctrine”; and the “Bride’s” lips, which “drop sweetness as the honeycomb” (4:11), are the Law and the Gospel.[viii] These examples are quite a leap from the otherwise clear, natural, and romantic reading. What stops us from then deciding these euphemisms mean whatever we think they do in the spiritual realm? If we allow for this treatment of interpretation, in very little time, Songs could become a subjective book that bows to individual interpretation, and that could get ugly—fast—with a subject like this. We therefore agree with theologian Dr. Duane Garrett, in his contribution to “The Poetic and Wisdom Books” section of the Holman Concise Bible Commentary, when he says:
The New Testament never gives the Song an allegorical interpretation. New Testament passages that do speak of the bride of Christ do not refer to Song of Songs. [The allegorical interpretation] of Song of Songs is grossly inappropriate for worship. It is impossible to imagine a Christian praising Christ in the terms of 1:2 [kissing], 16 [“our bed is green”]; or 5:10–16 [the woman’s description of her “beloved”]. It is equally bizarre to think of Jesus Christ describing His church in the terms of 7:1–9 [addressed in next paragraph];. This [strictly allegorical] interpretation has rightly been abandoned.[ix]
The last passage Garrett mentions, Songs 7:1–9, involves the man’s description of his lover, including feet, “thighs like jewels,” belly button, “two breasts like two young roes [gazelles] that are twins,” neck, eyes, nose, head, hair, posture, “breasts like grapes,” breasts again “like the vine,” and nose, followed by “the roof of [her] mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.” It’s no wonder Garrett approves of abandoning this approach. And he’s not the only one. Another source, The Song of Songs: An Introduction and Commentary, states that “when the woman describes her lover lying between her two breasts like a sachet of myrrh, [it is interpreted as] Jesus standing between the Old and New Testaments.”[x] While this author understands the draw of the “Christ and Bride” method, as it releases teachers from having to “descend to the embarrassing matter of talking about sex from the pulpit,” he acknowledges that many scholars find the method to be “a profound mistake” for the same reasons we do.[xi] He goes on to discuss Songs 6:11: “I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded.” Humorously, he illustrates how many verses in Songs mean simply what they say:
Notice that the text of the Song doesn’t say that the church is like a nut, or even that Israel is like a nut; merely that the lover went down to a garden of nuts… There seems no obvious reason why [we] should be connected with hard shells and sweet kernels, or with believers being “hidden with Christ in God.” In fact, I can think of some churches that might aptly be described as “a garden of nuts,” while using the image in an entirely different sense![xii]
If the interpretation of Songs is improperly handled, Christ becomes sexualized. We don’t need to say just how obsessed and immoral the world is right now with carnal thoughts, especially in the West, so sexualizing the Savior is the last thing any of us needs when He otherwise stands so far apart from the subject. The Word of God is a pure and holy book. Associating its Grand Hero with language intended to describe the event of a wedding bed (as opposed to the benign concept of spiritual fidelity to God represented in nuptial language elsewhere) no doubt gives a very wrong impression to believers who are young in the faith. If they have just come from the secular world into a saving trust in Christ, they won’t know any better than to allow their mind to be imprinted (perhaps permanently) with some terrible, muddied portrayals of the Messiah via the allegorical interpretational method of this book. The topic of healthy, undefiled sexuality is confusing enough as it is without adding these kinds of problems to current Christian teaching. It’s best to allow for the interpretation of Songs as it was originally intended.
Thus, we believe, in the interest of remaining closest to the author’s intent toward his first audience (which is the very definition of trustworthy exegesis), Songs is a collection of ballads “sung” from a human male to his human wife, and the suggestive bits mean precisely what they sound like. Not only does this approach cling to the rules of proper biblical analysis, taking context and history into consideration, it also negates the awkwardness that arises from placing our relationship with the Savior in the same frame as a man appreciating his wife’s “curves” (and more).
Now that we’ve established some groundwork, let’s bring back some of the balance that can and should be present in its teaching. It’s not that there is no room for appreciating the theme of Songs in any other way; the baby doesn’t need to be thrown out with the bathwater on this. Accepting the “man and wife” literal approach does not discount the concept of covenantal love between God and Israel or Christ and His Bride as represented in other Scriptures and as reflected in Songs. And this can be done without contradicting what we’ve discussed: All along we’ve been showing that, although Christ “appears” in every book of the Word, He doesn’t necessarily show up in every verse. If He did, we would have quite a bit of explaining to do in such verses as “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up [with her idols].” This verse is from 1 Kings (21:25)—the same book that typifies Jesus as King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
Likewise, Christ is the Kindred Redeemer or “Boaz” of Ruth, but He never approached Ruth and said, “It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law” (Ruth 2:11) like Boaz did. Job was a type of Christ also, in that he: a) always trusted in the sovereignty of God; b) treasured the words of God more than food; c) faced taunting and betrayal from his closest friends; d) suffered even while he was innocent; and e) was fully lifted up and restored by the Father. When we make those connections, they are met with a corporate nod of approval by believers who see the same beautiful picture we do. Yet, we would not claim that Job typified Christ when he sat scraping his sores with broken pottery or when Yahweh appeared to him in a whirlwind to explain how Creation worked. David is a type of Christ as a great ruler and king, but nobody in their right minds would say that applied to the moments of weakness he had with Bathsheba.
The problem with taking a hard stance on one side or the other of the interpretational fence with Songs in the same way the Church has throughout history is that it places us in a restrictive box: We must either concede that all verses in the Songs describe man and wife or all verses describe Christ and Bride.
Please, for once and for all, can we agree to be free of those redundant and superfluous shackles?! We don’t “see Christ” in “all” verses of any other book, so why does this have to be the approach with Songs? Balance is needed here, and balance is absolutely what is missing from traditional examinations of Songs: There is no room to see the beauty in the possibility of both interpretations having value when we’re expected to choose a side or else be seen as indecisive and wavering like the “double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). This has led to far more disputes among scholars than is necessary.
Then is Jesus reflected at all in Songs?
With the keyword “balance” in mind, yes.
In the study of Proverbs, we went against the grain by refusing to agree to the popularized ideal that Jesus is Sophia. As we stated then, that positions us in the unpopular minority. Likewise, we will again refuse to allow God’s Son to be observed as the husband in Songs, because the overt sexuality simply doesn’t connect with how our relationship with Christ works theologically. But with a view that distinctly separates the eroticism of Songs from the nonthreatening nuptial imagery in Israel’s history from Genesis and all the way through the New Testament, we can still see that the tender love between a man and woman has always been a universal portrait of the loving relationship between God and man.
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Remember, Songs is categorized as a Wisdom book. It fits in perfectly with its comrades Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. So, it’s not surprising that, just as Jesus appears in those books viewed as a whole work, He shows up in the whole work of Songs in a similar way. He doesn’t have to be one of the characters for that to be true. In Psalms, He is the Answer to the cries of Israel (and now Gentiles); in Proverbs, He is Wisdom personified (but not Sophia); in Ecclesiastes, He is the Reason we draw breath and the Answer to every pessimistic thought.
In Songs, He is Love—not to be confused with anything physical.
His Kingdom is—
Removing His physicality in Songs “lifts Him above” the story (like the Father) as an observer from heaven—His current Kingdom until the millennial reign and His residence at the right hand of the Father, with whom He is “one” (John 17). Through that lens, He shares the same relationship with us as His Father has from the beginning (with the obvious difference of His humanity almost a thousand years after Songs was penned). From His heavenly seat and equality with the Father, He will always understand and acknowledge the nuptial imagery throughout Israel’s history, which now (because of His First Advent) includes Gentiles.
Therefore, starting with the relationship of Yahweh over Israel, we read that sin is compared to prostitution (Isaiah 57:3; Jeremiah 3:2; 13:27; Micah 1:7); Israel’s idolatry and the breaking of the Covenant is likened to a shattered, dysfunctional marriage (Hosea 1–2; Jeremiah 2–3; Isaiah 50; Ezekiel 16; 23); the coming Messianic Age is prophesied to be as a marriage and marriage feast (Isaiah 25:6; 54:1–8; 62:4–5; Hosea 2:7), as well as an “everlasting covenant” (Ezekiel 16:60; Isaiah 55:3). (By the way, the subject of the “everlasting covenant” is absent in Songs—one last argument supporting why the Messiah is not the “husband of Songs.”)
Moving into the New Testament, this covenantal language continues. The Church, or the Body of Christ, is referred to as the Bride (Matthew 9:14–17; Mark 2:19–20; John 3:27–30; 2 Corinthians 11:2). Regarding fidelity and faithfulness, the meaning is kept intact throughout…along with the responsibility of righteous devotion on our part that this implies. We read in Ephesians 5:27 that the Bride of Christ should be a virtuous virgin, undefiled by spiritual adultery, “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” We, the Church, “are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9), when we will be dressed in “fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (19:8). This magnificent feast near the end of time is an event Jesus looks forward to sharing with those who have maintained loyalty to Him, as He shared while He lived among humanity (Matthew 22:1–14; 25:1–13; 26:29; Luke 14:15–24). There is a final call for sinners to join us with Christ on this unfathomable day of celebration: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him that heareth say, ‘Come.’ And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
This picture offers a reminder of two things: First, we have an intense duty during our time on earth to fulfill the Great Commission, telling the lost that there is Good News (Matthew 28:16–20)! Second, we don’t keep the covenant with Jesus out of fear that we will lose some part of our end-times inheritance, or even out of being terrified by thoughts of hell, but because there is joy and only the deepest-felt fulfilment for our souls in sharing innocent, clean, wholesome intimacy in our relationship with Jesus.
Songs may not describe in every detail the relationship the Church has to its Savior, but it does reflect the heavenly ideal of love Yahweh always had for Israel and the Son will always have for the world. If the lines between these concepts are kept sharp, clean, and free of blurry, clumsy scribbles that contribute to the merging of eroticism and theology, we are left with a crystal-clear image—not of sex, but of the highest form of mutual closeness, affection, friendship, tenderness, adoration, and devotion between us and our Best Friend, precious Yeshua.
Every human knows what it’s like to feel lonely. Every person who has been happily married for many years knows what it’s like to have found a companion to share life with. Though there is, on this earth, a built-in expression of that companionship that remains to be physical while we live in mortal bodies—and it should be seen as good and embraced with gratitude to the One who designed it that way—it’s the nonphysical and spiritual component of that marital bond that remains in view when we direct our thoughts to those members of the Trinity whose Kingdom is also spiritual.
The purest, most fulfilling love we will ever experience is from Jesus, who took upon Himself the worst physical suffering imaginable so that we can enjoy His love on even a more profound level when we transcend into spiritual beings and join Him for the feast of the consummation of this life as the Bride.
Tell us…is that glorious? Or is that glorious?
Conclusion to the Wisdom Literature
The books categorized as Wisdom Literature all address ways of promoting this current life on a day-to-day basis: how to live in a way that glorifies God with wisdom, prudence, and self-control. But the purpose of shaping this human experience into something that pleases our Lord is ultimately to inherit the afterlife promised after we expire—and to take as many souls as we can along with us. There, in eternity with Christ, we will finally feel the weight of this world lifted. This world, will in fact, be replaced with a new one, where there will be no tears, “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Behold, He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5)!
Jesus is the Mediator of Justice Job couldn’t see, the Hope and Answer the psalmists looked forward to, the Perfected Wisdom that Proverbs anticipated, the Meaning of Life that Ecclesiastes projected, and the Love of God that the Songs reflected. In all of these books put together, Jesus is the Redeemer, our Blessed Go’el, who far surpassed and fulfilled every expectation…
…While He also fulfilled every prophecy.
UP NEXT: Jesus in Old Testament Prophecy Literature
[i] Schwab, G., “Song of Songs 1: Book Of.” In T. Longman III & P. Enns (Eds.), Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity, 2008), 739.
[ii] Barry, J. D., Mailhot, J., Bomar, D., Ritzema, E., & Sinclair-Wolcott, C. (Eds.). (2014). DIY Bible Study (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press; 2014), under “How the Song of Songs Will Transform Your Life.”
[iii] Garrett, D. A., “The Poetic and Wisdom Books.” In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman Concise Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1998), 255.
[iv] “American Worldview Inventory 2020—At a Glance…Release #11: Churches and Worldview,” October 6, 2020, Cultural Research Center, Arizona Christian University, last accessed February 25, 2022, https://www.arizonachristian.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/CRC_AWVI2020_Release11_Digital_04_20201006.pdf, as quoted in: Howell, Donna, and Allie Anderson, Dark Covenant: How the Masses Are Being Groomed to Embrace the Unthinkable While the Leaders of Organized Religion Make a Deal with the Devil (Crane, MO: Defender Publishing; 2021), 284–285.
[v] Schwab, G., “Song of Songs.” Dictionary of the Old Testament, 739–740.
[vii] Gibbs, Carl, Principles of Biblical Interpretation: An Independent-Study Textbook (4th ed. Springfield, MO: Global University, 2016), 295.
[viii] Garrett, D. A., “The Poetic.” Holman Concise Bible Commentary, 253–254.
[ix] Ibid., 254.
[x] Duguid, I. M., The Song of Songs: An Introduction and Commentary: Volume 19 (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity, 2015), 25.
[xi] Ibid., 26.
[xii] Ibid., 29.