I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him, I am sick of love (Canticles 5.8).
The daughter of peace, who has been so enamored with her beloved and her spouse that she could think of nothing else but being with him and sharing their love, here gives a charge to her sisters. She feels and believes that she is in a place apart from her beloved. She feels so helpless and alone that she pleads with her family, her sisters of Jerusalem, for help. They alone can understand what she is experiencing for they have experienced it too, and they alone can help comfort her.
She has been through a very difficult ordeal. For the second time, she had an encounter with the watchmen of the city at night. In the first encounter, she was full of energy and love and said, “I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not (Canticles 3.1).” She had found neither rest nor comfort on her bed without him near, so she ventured into the night, seeking him in the city streets, and there engaged the night watchmen. She had a need for the comfort and a longing for the presence of her beloved and was led to seek after him. “I am sought of them that ask not for me; I am found of them that sought me not (Isaiah 65.1).” The only way that this one could seek her Lord was that he had led her to seek him and had drawn her out after him.
The watchmen find her in the streets of the city and she asks them, “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth (3.3)?” They apparently have no idea who she is speaking of, and there is no record of any response from them. They are of the world and, even though they are the watchmen upon the wall and are there to warn the inhabitants of danger, they have no understanding of the spiritual experience that this one was having. She has found, like her sisters and everyone else of the household of faith, that those around her do not understand, for the drawing of the spirit is concealed from the eyes of flesh and the carnal mind cannot comprehend the activity of the Spirit. The watchmen had no common ground, no point of reference, no like precious faith and no mutual experience from which to draw any comparisons or similarities. They do not and cannot know anything of what has transpired within this vessel, for they cannot know the things of the spirit.
She leaves the watchmen and finds her beloved. She finds him and ardently embraces him. She vows that she will never let him go (3.4), and when she had found him they went off together into her mother’s house and into the chamber of her that conceived her. Here she is at rest and she is enraptured to be with him. What a wonderfully peaceful picture of love without the cares or concerns for the world or the things of it. In the midst of this comfort and peace she charges her sisters not to stir him nor awake him until he pleases. She knows that he is the Lord of Hosts and the King of Kings and that nothing in heaven or on earth will cause him to move. He is governed only by the will of his Father and when he pleases, his work shall be done.
The second time she encounters the watchmen the circumstances are a bit different. She was again asleep in her bed but this time her heart woke her. Something had stirred her heart and caused her to awake from sleep. Her beloved had come to her. His head was filled with dew and his locks with the drops of the night (5.2). Even though he was the Lord of the house, he knocked on the door and called for her to open unto him. But she had a most peculiar response and an excuse for not opening the door. She invokes some good old fashion legalism and says, “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them (5.3)?” How absurd! What does she mean she can’t put her coat back on or get her feet dirty? This is the one whom her soul loves! This is the one who is hers, and she is his and the one with whom she pleads for him to remain with her (2.16). Where did such a statement as this come from?
“The Lord said in his revelation to John that he stood at the door and knocked and that he that opens to him the same would the Lord come in to and sup with. This one did not open the door and her Lord did not come in to her so she has lost out on a temporal blessing because of her disobedience. Of course she does not lose any eternal blessings or grace because she was secured from eternity in her eternal salvation but due to her inability to surrender to his will, she has abrogated this temporal blessing. She has been deprived of a communion with her master due to disobedience.”
This is the sentiment and teaching of the Conditionalist. Time salvation and the blessings, which accompany it, can be missed, forfeited or lost when one grieves the spirit through disobedience or rebellion.
This is another example, recorded in the truth of the gospel, of how the children, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1.2),” are forced to live by faith. To those whom he has loved with an everlasting love, the Spirit daily reveals the weaknesses of the flesh and the frailty of our existence. This one was going through the refiner’s fire and the fuller’s soap. The Lord God was causing her to walk this path, going through tribulation that patience might have her way. And, being compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, who themselves were tested after the same manner, they are forced to lay aside every weight, and the sin, which so easily besets them. All this is for their good and for their glory that they may run with patience the race that is set before them.
She was so moved by his irresistible grace and love that when he put his hand to the doorknob, her bowels moved within her and she forgot her reasons and excuses and opened the door. But he had withdrawn himself, so she went looking for him. Had he bid her thus to do? No! He had withdrawn himself and her soul failed. She sought him but could not find him and took it upon herself to venture into the night to seek him-and there she meets the watchmen. These watchmen did not care about her or why she was out and about. They did not ask nor could they understand what was going on in her heart and mind; but they fulfilled a purpose. They found her and smote her, and the keepers of the walls took away her veil from her.
“Oh what a sorrowful sight and a sad experience that she has had. Surely her beloved would not allow this to happen to her. Surely he would not leave her in such a vulnerable condition, exposed to the world, and helpless. There is no way a God of love would ever lead his children into such a devastating situation! I could never love a God who would punish someone like this or cause such hardships and trials.”
Have you ever heard that said? Rest assured that unless those who say such were blessed from eternity past to love our God, they are absolutely correct. They could never love such a God.
Have you ever considered this veil? How it not only hides the face of the wearer but also obscures the sight of the eyes it covers? Moses had to put a veil upon his face after coming down off the mount so the children of Israel could not steadfastly look upon him as the glory of the first covenant that faded away. His face shown as a testimony of his being in the presence of Almighty God but that glowing faded away signifying that the glory of the law would be done away with. The veil was so that the people did not see it fade away. But it also distorted the view that Moses had of his people until the effervescence was gone.
The veil also acted as or represented a division or a wall. The veil or curtains between the outer court and the Holy of Holies was to prevent those who were unauthorized to enter from coming in and to prevent any one from outside from seeing in. The mountain of God was veiled with the clouds and smoke to prevent the children of Israel from approaching unto His Holiness.
This veil she had on was something that had to be removed, and she was not of a mind to do it herself. It was of the flesh, an inhibitor, which must, for the health and welfare of the subject, be removed. Nowhere do we have a record of her beloved telling her to do away with it, but the fact that it was taken away indicates that it was unnecessary to her. It was harmful and encumbering to her.
Consider this also. The veil, or the fleshly attributes, was part of the body that had been prepared for her. When she became a partaker of flesh and blood, that body or vessel, being afore prepared unto glory, was equipped with this veil. She did not acquire it along the way, and it did not attach itself to her parasitically. Her vessel was prepared to travel through this world, before she was born, before her parents were born, and their parents, and their parents, all the way back to before the formation of Adam from the dust of the earth. Her preparation was according to the purpose of God, which is as eternal as He is. Therefore, God had afore ordained that she should be encumbered with this veil and that according to His mercy and His love for her, it should be removed in this fashion. “The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he hath made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together (Lamentations 2.8).”
When Paul asked the Corinthian brethren, “what hast thou that thou didst not receive (1 Corinthians 4.7)?” he indicates to them that what they had and what they received was from God, the Lord and giver of all things. And what they had not or what is taken from them was not needed, being withheld and/or removed by the same who gave, for the perfecting of the saints. Did not Christ teach His disciples that their Heavenly Father not only knew all of their needs but also richly supplied them? “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are numbered (Matthew 10.29).” “Consider the lilies of the field how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothed the grass, which is to day in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith (Luke 12.27)?” These and many other references give clear evidence that what one has is given for a purpose and need, and what is withheld or removed is done so for good, “And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8.28).”
What of the watchmen? Are they not the powers that be, which were ordained of God for good? Could they have smitten her if they had not found her? Could they have found her if she had not been out and about? Would she have been out and about if she had opened the door and her beloved had come in to her? Would she have opened the door if she did not hear him knock? If he did not knock would she have been awakened? Could she have been awakened if she had not been asleep? Where is the break in the chain of events ordained of old? Where is the free will of these barbarous guards who beat this poor helpless woman? Could they have taken the veil from her if she never had it or if she had removed it herself? Did not the Lord God Almighty raise up these men for that purpose? Did He not raise up the armies of the Philistines, the Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Romans, to do His bidding and fulfill His purpose? Is not the heart of the king, even evil king Cyrus and every other potentate the world has ever known and will ever know, in the hand of Almighty God and does He not turn it whatsoever way He desires? Does He not rule in the armies of heaven and perform whatsoever His heart desires upon the earth? Is not all His work honorable and glorious and his righteousness endures forever (Psalm 111.3)? Does He not clothe Himself with righteousness and justice? Is there one who would dare say that these watchmen have acted independent of the divine will of God? Can you not see that the Lord God Omnipotent ordained from before the foundation of the world, in full agreement with the Son and the Spirit, that these earthen vessels, which he outfitted for destruction, would be raised up, born at the proper time and in the exact place, and that they would be elevated to the position of authority and command? That they would be placed on duty this very night, having been dressed, fed and prepared of the Lord, and in this frame of mind and disposition so as to fulfill the purpose of a loving and merciful Father and remove this weight of sin, this veil, from the one he so dearly loves? That she would be led into this by His kind and caring hand for her good? Is the way of man in himself? Is it of him that walketh to direct his own steps? No! “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jeremiah 10.23).” Are the steps of the righteous man ordained by himself and dictated by his environment and surroundings? Or are they ordained of the Lord? “The steps of a good man are ordained by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way (Psalm 37.23).”
All praise to the Father and the Son and the Spirit for each and every step that a child of grace takes has been expressly ordered for his good by an all knowing, all seeing and all-powerful creator. He controls the rising up and the falling down. He alone ordained the times of plenty and time of want so that His children would not trust in the flesh but live by faith, and that not of themselves, but it is a gift from God. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul to the Roman brethren in chapter 9. Since these vessels were afore prepared unto glory, we must ask, before what? Before their birth? Before the birth of each of their parents? Or before the foundation of the world? Since God be God and there is no other, when He declared the end from the beginning, then all things must have been concluded in the beginning. When He declared that His Word would not return unto Him void but would accomplish all that He purposed for it to do, He must have purposed it before He sent His Word forth. Shall He not perform the intents of His heart (Jeremiah 31.24)? Since He is eternal and without beginning or end, His wisdom, foreknowledge, purpose, and intents are eternal. Even though events happen in time and space they have been eternally ordered and sure for the glory of His name and His Holy family.
“What is thy beloved more than another, O thou fairest of women? What is thy beloved more than another beloved that thou dost so charge us (5.9)?”
These daughters of Jerusalem have just been charged with a mission by this fairest among women, that if they find the one whom her soul seeks, they should tell him that she is sick with love. But first they need to know who it is that she is seeking. They need for her to tell them why he is any different from another. They want to know if he is the same one whom they seek. These two cannot walk together in looking for him unless they are agreed, and the confession from the heart as to his true identity is paramount to the search.
The whole family of the redeemed has a common lineage and a mutual faith that binds them together as one, and it is that they are born of incorruptible seed and stand firm on the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They do not care for those who would claim Abraham as their father. They have no kinship with those who have been secured by a covenant ritual performed by their parents when they were young and innocent. They were not born into this family by earthly means. They did not exercise some mysterious and mythical free will by asking Jesus into their hearts, surrendering their minds to his will, or making him lord and master of their lives. These are Egyptian carvings and Babylonian tapestries. These are the works of the flesh and the desires of the world. No, these frail wandering strangers desire to know only one thing, and that is Jesus the Christ and Him crucified. They seek those of like precious faith and a kindred spirit because they have been hewn from the same rock, and that rock is Christ. They know that they have all been dug from the same earthly pit, from the same lump of clay and that they are weak in the flesh. They know all too well, and are reminded every waking moment, that in them, that is, in their flesh, dwelleth no good thing. They groan because their frame is frail, for it is dust; and they are in constant conflict between the law in their members which wars against the law of their mind, so that they walk this temporal plain as strangers and sojourners, seeking a city not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. So, while wandering alone in this solitary, dry, thirsty land, when they meet one who is “after its kind” who charges them in the way that this sojourner has, they inquire, “Who is this one whom you seek? Why is he better than all the rest?”
If these sisters were the followers of today’s religious tenets, they would have quickly condemned this weak, whimpering, pathetic soul and in a very condescending manner instructed her to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” She would have been directed to a family conference seminar to learn about her problems. She would be presented with a step-by-step analysis of her wretched life and precarious situation. Learned doctors and most honorable reverends in their flowing robes and gaudy attire would bolster their egos and fuel their pride as they, willingly, showed her how weak she was and how impotent her faith was. Ritual prayers, intense Bile studies, protracted meetings, or a missionary excursion, all intending to “put on Christ,” would be the remedy for this melancholy soul. “Come to us, ye who have been taken in a fault, and we which are spiritual shall restore thee,” is inscribed on the shingle that hangs by the doorway. Just as the woman with the issue of blood, who for years had tried every remedy and every doctor, no comfort would this one find in the remedies of the world. Instead, the burdens would become heavier and the road more arduous.
“My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand (5.10).” He is white because he is clothed in fine linen, which is his righteousness. He is seen by John, coming out of heaven, riding a white horse. The translated word ‘white’ carries with it the idea of dazzling brilliance of pureness and holiness. This is the same garment that the saints who came out of great tribulation are arrayed in, made white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7.14). He is, ‘ADOM’, red, because that vesture has been dipped in his blood (Revelation 19). He has the authority and right to lead his army as the standard bearer, because his name is Faithful and True, and He has born the sins of his people as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
He is the chiefest among ten thousand, or standard-bearer, because, “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Revelation 19.13f).” He leads his army forward and she is his army. “Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners (6.4).” “Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners (6.10)?” The banners above this innumerable host are the ones spoke of in the first chapter, “He brought me into the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love (1.4).” This love is found in the midst of the chariot of Solomon where she reclines and it is guarded by men of valor, mighty men of war each having his sword upon his side (3.10). He describes her as: “Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men (4.4).” He is the Prince of Peace and she is the Shulamite. “What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it was the company of two armies (6.13).” Oh the grandeur and the regal splendor of this vast host and he is the chiefest of them all and the one who carries the banners. He has led the host. He has fought the battle. He has won the victory and He has put all things under His feet, and now He says, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28.18).”
He is the chiefest among ten thousand because He is the Captain of her faith. He is the first born from the dead. He is the standard bearer, and His banner over her is LOVE. He is the Author and Finisher of her faith. All that is has proceeded from Him and for Him. He began the work in righteousness and concluded it in peace when He set all things under His feet and is set down at the right hand of the Almighty and Everlasting Father. His faith is the faith of His children and they believe in Him because they are His sheep and they hear His voice. A stranger’s voice they will not follow, and their way will not be lost. They were the Father’s, and He gave them to the Son. The Son has been faithful to do the will of He that sent Him, and He has lost none save the one who was a devil from the beginning.
“His head is as the most fine gold.” The head signifies the chief, the captain, the principle and the ruler. That it appeared to her to be as most fine gold would indicate pure judgment and righteousness. No partiality or respect of person. No social status or favor-currying would influence this ruler. His rule is unlimited because on His head were many crowns (Revelation 19.12). He rules amongst the armies of heaven and performs His will here on earth. He commands the wind and the sea. He directs the course of the mighty sea and has set the limitation of the proud waves, saying, “Hitherto shalt thou come but no further (Job 38.11).” He ordained the hosts of heaven and set them in their courses. He has struck a line in the void of space and hung the world upon its axis. He performs the pleasure of His will upon the affairs of man and His fierce anger shall not be withheld until He performs all the intent of His heart (Jeremiah 30.24). He seeks the counsel of no one. He confers only with Himself, Father, Son and Spirit, these three being one, and His determinate counsel stands by His own power.
“ – his locks are bushy and black as a raven.” Amidst all the power and majesty of His kingship, she sees an almost hypnotic peace and tranquillity like a tree branch, full of leaves, swaying in the breeze as evening approaches and dusk falls.
“His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.” His eyes are a fountain by a mighty brook or a strong river. They are like doves’ eyes, warm, soothing, almost intoxicating. They are washed or bathed by Him in the finest and richest milk of the kine. These eyes are established, dwell, inhabit, and sit down, in plump sockets, full and satisfying. Such peace she experiences when she is given to gaze into and become lost in His eyes. Oh what love that He should fix His eyes upon her.
(To be continued, Lord willing)
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
Welsh Tract Church