The Song of Solomon in this context should not highlight any truths not already found in the book of Romans or New Testament. It is the theology of Romans and Matthew 25 set to poetry.
Jesus is referred to as a bridegroom (old word for newly married man) 27 times in the bible, and as savior 36 times. A lot of times He is talked about as a bridegroom in the context of His return to the earth for His bride, the church. So it makes sense that as we get close to His return, there starts to come more revelation about Him as a Bridegroom. Many forerunning Pastors and teachers are bringing the church into this paradigm.
There is no book of the bible which does not testify of Jesus. Jesus is revealed as Bridegroom especially in the Song of Solomon. The natural interpretation is valid, but all Scripture testifies of Jesus, there is also a meaning speaking of Christ and the Church. Eph 5:23-36 says Jesus nourishes and cherishes His bride by the washing of the Water of the Word.
In the Song the bride asks for the Kisses of the Word, which is the revelation and experience of the affections of the love of God on her heart. It is not gender specific, but it is a possition of privillage. Men are the bride of Christ just as women are sons of God. Men retain their full masculinity as it is not romantic, but it is like David who lived to gaze on the beauty of God (psa 27:4) or John the Apostle who rested on Jesus and called himself ‘the one who Jesus loved.’
This is not romantic, but it is the revelation and experience of the affections of Jesus, the Bridegroom for the Bride. The Bride will experience them in heaven, the bride can experience them now. This is not sensual but holy, and relates to the experience of the love of God in the inner man by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in our innermost man, but we only experience Him in the innerman, in prayer and worship.
The Bible is a menu, we can read it and starve spiritually. It must become prayer for us to experience it. We must ‘order the food and eat.’ as for revelation on it or power to obey it, or ask for the experience of it. He wants to awaken love in our heart for Him, by revealing His love for us. It helps to be rooted and grounded in the love of the Father.
First why is the church called a bride?
The church is called a bride first because Rev 19:7-9 details the Marriage supper of the Lamb. The verse “The Spirit and the Bride say Come” (Rev 22:17) shows that the church will have the revelation of intercession and also a bridal identity in the end times. It could have said the Spirit and the Church there. This is foreign to a lot, but old news to many; it is in the bible. The Old Testament prophets liken Israel/the church to a bride all the time. Men are technically the bride of Christ just as women are technically ‘sons of God.’ It speaks more of a posture of the heart that enables us to receive His love to us than an actuality. Rev 19:7 details where every Christian who has ever lived receives a holy heavenly body like the angels (Mat 22:30) and the church is ‘married’ to Jesus. Here the reality/concept of marriage changes but what it stands for and represents (union/communion/partnership) stays the same.
In the same way that women are sons of God, so men are the Bride of Christ. It’s bigger than gender. It’s not talking about being male and female, it’s a position of privilege; it’s a position in our inheritance. Most women that I know in the Body of Christ understand the message of the sons of God and power. They don’t struggle with being sons of God, because they don’t see it as a call to be less feminine. They see it as a call to experience God’s power, His throne. The sons inherit the throne. However, men really struggle with the “Bride of Christ” message. They automatically conclude, in a wrong way, that it’s a call to be less masculine.
Some of the greatest men of God in history experienced the reality of the bridal identity and the bridal relationship, even though they didn’t use the word bride. John the Baptist and John the apostle used the word bride. With King David, it was the same experience. Here is the great warrior-king of Israel. I mean, we’re talking about the man’s man—the greatest warrior in Israel’s history, but he was a lovesick worshipper, gazing on God’s beauty. He was lovesick; he was fascinated with God’s beauty and God’s tenderness and God’s emotion. There is more about God’s emotion revealed through David than through any other person in the Old Testament. David was the person God chose to reveal His emotions to the planet. David wrote them in Psalms. He was a student of God’s emotions, which is the bridal reality—to experience God’s heart.
John the apostle was the “Son of Thunder.” That’s what Jesus called him. He was called a son of thunder in the natural because of his personality. He was a thunderous guy. I saw a study on the personality of John. I don’t want to go into it right now, but my point is, John was a fiery dude. He was a troublesome guy. He was the one who said, in Luke 9, “Jesus, they won’t join our group. Can we call fire down on them from heaven and burn them?” Jesus came back from the city in Samaria, and John said, “How did it go?” Jesus says “Well, they didn’t show up, they didn’t come.” John replies “Can we burn them? Can we nuke them? Can we blow the city up?”
Jesus said, “Well, John, no.” He says, “Yeah, John, you can send fire on them” —again, I’m making up this conversation—“however, it won’t be until Acts 8” —when John and Peter went to Samaria and called the fire of the Spirit down on that city. They did call fire down, but in the right way, a couple of years later. Anyway, Jesus looked at him and said, “You and your brother are sons of thunder.” That wasn’t entirely positive. It had a promise in it; the name had a redemptive promise, but they had to get there first.
We’re talking about this rough, tough guy. But when he writes the gospel of John in the nineties, is what most scholars think, at the end of his life, he describes himself five times as the one who laid his head on the Lord’s breast and the one whom God loved. His identity was so changed. He was thunderous in the natural, and over decades he became thunderous in his spirit before God in love. He didn’t say, “And John did this…” He said, “The disciple whom God loved ran.” So strong was his identity as one who God loved, that he didn’t say I, but ‘the one who Jesus loved.’
Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest man ever born of a woman. John spoke in John 3:29 and said, “I heard the voice of Jesus as the Bridegroom. I have heard His voice, and my heart is ravished with joy. It is filled with joy” (Jn. 3:29, paraphrased). So I tell the men, “Experiencing the reality of being the bride doesn’t undermine your masculinity. It will establish it and strengthen it. You don’t need to be afraid of what these fiery men encountered in God, anymore than the women need to be afraid of being sons of God. It’s the calling to experience His heart and to lay your head upon His breast, to hear His heartbeat.” For more on the bride subject see my post above on the “Pure and Spotless Bride.”
I believe in committing to focus on intercession and Isa 61 Kingdom ministry. But I believe the intimacy of the love relationship of the Song of Solomon is the key to greater effectiveness in both. I’m sure many see some of the stuff on Song of Solomon here and are puzzled because we as a church tend to focus so much on the view made popular in the last 100 years of church history, the ‘marriage view’ of the Song. (I’m also aware of the Jesus “as a boyfriend’ distortion. I don’t mean anything other than holy biblical love as backed up by the rest of Scripture, and as traditionally taught through the ages.)
The Song of Solomon is where we base a lot of our theology though its backed it all up within the confines of Scripture. The natural interpretation about love between man and wife is valid, but Paul says marriage is given to give us a picture of Christ and believers. In heaven we will no longer be married (Matt 22:30).
There are many, many passages which compare the relationship between God and His people to a marriage. “Your Maker is your Husband,” He says. (Isaiah 54:5) “I am married to you.” (Jeremiah 3:14) “I will betroth you to Me forever.” (Hosea 2:19)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. (Eph 5). [For this cause shall a man(Jesus) leave his father(God) and mother(natural Israel), and shall be joined unto his wife(Bride), and they two shall be one flesh.]
This mystery is obviously based around the concept that marriage is supposed to testify to our hearts of Christ the similar love of Christ and the church. This love relationship is completely Holy and within the holy boundrylines of Scripture. The Kisses of the Word (Son 1:1) are spiritual embraces by the Holy Spirit, and the revelation of God’s love as revealed through the Word, Scripture.
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7)
There is no marriage in heaven, from the wedding supper on we are married to Jesus (Gal 3:28).
The language of Jesus as Bridegroom and the believer as Bride is all over the bible as that is who we from the marriage supper on, His bride.
The Spirit and the Bride say return! (Rev 22:17): Through this prophesy we see that the church at the end of the age will have a bridal identity. The Lord is currently beginning to really highlight this reality to the church!
The kingdom of the heavens has become like a king who made a wedding feast (Mat 22:2). see also Matthew 25, Matthew 9:13.
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. (2 Cor 11:2)
The spiritual interpretation that says it’s an allegory meaning Christ and the believer was far more popular until about 100 years ago.
King Solomon: in the spiritual interpretation he is a picture of the triumphant resurrected Jesus Christ who is King of Kings.
Shulamite maiden: in the spiritual interpretation she is a picture of the Bride of Christ. She is introduced as a young maiden who grows up to become a Bride in mature partnership with King Jesus.
This allegorical interpretation has been the most common interpretation for the 1900 years of church history and the 2800 years since Solomon first wrote it (this includes the rabbinical tradition). This view says Solomon was writing a love song to describe spiritual truth about the love relationship with the coming Messiah.
The relationship between God as the Bridegroom, and natural Israel as the Bride is clearly taught in the Old Testament (Jer. 2:2; Hos. 2:16-20; Ez. 16:8-14, 20-21, 32, 38; Is. 54:5-6). This is how Old Testament believers interpreted this book, finding encouragement in knowing God’s deep bridal love for Israel.
Some Jewish rabbis, even to this day, interpret the Song in an allegorical way. Some rabbis interpret it from a messianic point of view without understanding the person of Jesus.
Jesus said in John 5:38 that all Scripture is to take you to Him. The Song is a part of Scripture and therefore reveals Him. This book is especially directed at us as believers who have a revelation of the Messiah that folks before Jesus did not. How much more should we focus on it, now that His return is near, and the foolish virgins of Matthew 25 were shut out for lack of the oil of relationship, of the Spirit, with Him.
When Jesus was asked by John’s disciples why they didn’t fast, He responded that we fast to be closer to the Bridegroom, I’m here with them now, they do not fast but rejoice!” (Mat 9:13) He then said that if there would come a time when the Bridegroom out be taken from them. Then they would fast. The time is now!
C.S. Lewis has said that God is so masculine that we are all feminine in relationship to Him. Thus in the Song of Solomon, taking the approach outlined above, the King is a picture of Christ our Lord and the Shulamite maiden pictures the believer who is seeking a closer, more intimate relationship with Jesus.
I liken the book of the Song of Songs to love letters written from a soldier away at war to his wife. It’s the love letters from Jesus to us as He is on the throne and we are on the earth. They connect us with His heart and the embrace of His love through the Spirit. To be a man and just write off the book as too flowery is to miss out on the deepest part of relationship with God, intimacy, deep friendship and facination. It’s all about going deeper in love with God.
The love of God is crucial. Paul said that he was compelled by the Love of Christ to do things like go return a city that rejected and stoned him nearly to death to have it happen again. To the degree that we embrace and pursuit the knowledge of the Love of God burning on our heart, is the degree that we will be compelled by it to lay down ones life for the gospel.
Basically I look at it like this, it’s just words. Words that happen to be flowery, but also happen to be amazingly powerful for experiencing the affections and embrace of the Holy Spirit. Each phrase, through prayer and the Spirit, is concentrate firey love of God.
It is the experience we were made for and the experience that we will embrace forever, as from the wedding supper of the Lamb on our main identity is the Bride of Christ.
This is a brief outline I’ve done and instructions on how to benefit from it.
Song of Songs worship