The Person of Christ
Gordon S. Beck, Belfast, N. Ireland [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
... as seen in the Song of Songs 5.
In this article we would like to bring before our hearts the Person of Christ as seen in God’s precious word. When we read the Bible we should ever see Christ, for He is the sum and substance of the scriptures, and in the written word we should see the incarnate Word. In the Pentateuch we have figures of Christ; in the historical books we have foreshadows of Christ; in the Psalms we have the feelings of Christ; in the Gospels we have the facts of Christ; in the Epistles we have the fullness of Christ; in the book of the Revelation we have the finality of Christ. Especially in the Song of Songs do we have the face of Christ.
‘The bride eyes not her garment,
but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory,
but on the King of grace.
Not at the crown he giveth,
but on his pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
- of Immanuel’s land’.
A. R. COUSINS
In the book of the songster the interrogators ask the bride a question, ‘What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women?’ She replies by giving a thrilling description of her beloved which typifies the wonderful Person of the Lord Jesus. She declares, ‘My beloved is white and ruddy’, S. of S. 5. 10. In this verse we have two views of the Saviour. Firstly, He is white and that brings before us His purity. The One who is ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens’, Heb. 7. 26. He is the sinless Son of God. ‘He . . . knew no sin’, 2 Cor. 5. 21; He ‘did no sin’, 1 Pet. 2. 22; ‘. . . in Him is no sin’, 1 John 3. 5. In all this we have the absolute perfection and holiness of the One of whom it is written, ‘He shall not fail’, Isa. 42. 4.
He is not only white, which speaks of His purity, but ‘ruddy’. This speaks of life in intense rigour. It is practically the same word which is used in speaking of ‘ram’s skins’ dyed red in the tabernacle. It conveys the thought of intense consecration to God. His ruddiness came out at the age of twelve, ‘Did ye not know that I ought to be occupied in My Father’s business?’ Luke 2. 42 JND’s New Translation. Also, when He purified the temple, His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘The zeal of Thine thine house hath eaten me up’, John 2. 17. They recognized how ruddy He was relative to God and His interests here. It was so through all His life on earth. He went to the garden and the cross that the world might know that He loved the Father. Truly we can say He is ruddy.
She then goes on to describe Him as ‘the chiefest among ten thousand’, S. of S. 5. 10. In this statement we have brought before us the supremacy of Christ in all the greatness and glory of His person. In Luke chapter 1 verse 32, we read of Jesus, ‘he shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David’. In Luke chapter 1 verse 32, we have a great SON; in Isaiah chapter 19 verse 20, we have a great SHEPHERD; in Hebrews chapter 4 verse 14, we have a great HIGH PRIEST; and in Titus chapter 2 verse 13, we have the great GOD. In these verses, truly, we have Christ supreme.
Another word which is found in scripture bringing before us the thought of Christ as ‘the chiefest among ten thousand’, this is the word ‘firstborn’. This brings before us the thought of first in rank. In Colossians 1 verse 15, He is the ‘firstborn of every creature’ and in verse 18, He is ‘the firstborn from the dead’. In Romans chapter 8 verse 29, He is the ‘firstborn among many brethren’, and in Psalm 89 verse 27, He is ‘my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth’. Before we leave the thought of Christ as ‘the chiefest among ten thousand’ let us consider His greatness as seen in Matthew. In chapter 12 verse 6, He is greater than the temple, in chapter 12 verse 8 He is greater than the Sabbath and in verse 24 He is greater than the devil. So it continues, and in verse 41 He is greater than Jonah and in verse 42 He is greater than Solomon.
Coming to the Hebrew epistle we see Him in all His greatness and His glory. In chapter 1 verse 13 He is greater than prophets; in verses 4 to 14 He is greater than angels. In chapter 2, He is greater than Adam; chapter 3, than Moses; in chapter 4, than Joshua; and in chapter 5 He is greater than Aaron. The thought continues to chapter 10, where He is seen as greater than the Old Testament sacrifices. Of a truth we can say, He is ‘the chiefest among ten thousand’.
The next part of the bridegroom brought before us is his head. ‘His head is as the most fine gold’, S. of S. 5. 11. Gold, in scripture, speaks to us of divine glory. In relation to the person of Christ it refers to His deity, which deity we would now consider as seen in John’s Gospel. This Gospel is absolutely full of evidence relating to the deity of Christ and His eternal being. Written so that we ‘might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name’, John 20. 31. In the name Jesus, is expressed His humanity; in the name Son of God, His deity; in the name Christ, His eternal glory. One of the main portions attesting the deity of Christ is John is chapter 1 verse 1, where we have Him as the eternal Word. The verse divides beautifully into three parts. ‘In the beginning’ – equality of duration; ‘with God’ – equality of position; ‘was God’ – equality of substance. This verse alone proves conclusively the absolute deity of Christ. Another evidence of His deity is seen in this Gospel at chapter 10 verse 30, where He Himself declares, ‘I and my Father are one’. Jesus is God manifest in flesh, as Paul confirmed to the Colossians, ‘For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily’, Col. 2. 9. A further passage in John supporting the deity of Christ is the Saviour’s words to Philip, ‘he that hath seen me hath seen the Father’, John 14. 9. He expressed God fully in all His attributes for He was, as John declared, ‘the Son of God’, 1. 34. Surely, we can exclaim, as the bride in the Song of Songs, ‘His head is as the most fine gold’!
We would mention here, one further truth which is precious to my heart. In the book of Daniel we have a colossal image which is described in chapter 2 verses 32 and 33. It begins at the head with gold but it ends with feet of clay, for man’s glory at its greatest, is temporal and fading. Note the contrast in the beloved in the Song of Songs. ‘His head is as the most fine gold’ and when we reach his feet they are described as ‘sockets of fine gold’. In contrast to the fading glory of man as seen in the image in the book of Daniel; we have the unfading, eternal glory of Christ as seen in the Beloved.
We now come to the lips of the beloved, ‘His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh’, S. of S. 5. 13. Here we have in beautiful illustration, the lips of Christ; ‘like lilies’ which suggests purity, for every word which He spoke was pure. ‘Never man spake like this man’, John 7. 46. His words were with power and authority and not as those of the scribes, see Mark 1. 22. His words were fragrant, final and full, marked with tenderness and compassion.
Then we consider His hands, ‘His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl’, S. of S. 5. 14. As we have seen, gold speaks of the deity of Christ; the ring, which is endless, speaks of His eternal being; truly the One who is from everlasting to everlasting. The beryl brings before us the impeccable humanity of Christ, in all His spotless, sinless life. When the beryl is placed among other precious stones it does not become affected by their colour, but keeps its own brilliance and shade of colour. Surely we can exclaim with regard to the hands of Christ, ‘set with the beryl’.
We now come to another metaphor used by the bride. ‘His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars’, v. 15. In three things the cedars of Lebanon are unrivalled – height, foliage, and fragrance. Surely, as we consider Christ in His greatness and glory, we see One marked by these three features. One who was unrivalled in height for He is above all, unrivalled in foliage for from His life bore a full harvest of fruit to the glory of God, and unrivalled in fragrance, because continually from His life arose a sweet smelling savour to His God and Father. Twice over, heaven opened to declare the Father’s pleasure in the life of the Son from which He derived total holy delight.
Now we come to the apex in the worship of the bride. Having viewed her beloved from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, she bursts forth in the acclamation of worship, ‘Yea, he is altogether lovely’, v. 16. Surely, we who are believers, as we view the glories of our Beloved Lord would echo the words of the bride, ‘Yea, He is altogether lovely’. ‘Yes’ – that is affirmation; ‘He’ – that is revelation; ‘is’ – that is consolation; ‘lovely’ – that is exclamation; but ‘altogether’ – that is qualification.
Having considered the glorious Person of Christ as seen typically in the Song of Songs, we would conclude with the words of the well known hymn:
‘O Christ! He is the fountain,
the deep, sweet well of love;
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
more deep I’ll drink above;
There, to an ocean’s fullness,
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
- in Immanuel’s land.’
A. R. COUSINS
And we all say, ‘Amen’!
AUTHOR PROFILE: Gordon S. Beck lived in Scotland and was associated with assemblies there before moving to N. Ireland some years ago. He is involved in education and fellowship in the assembly at Carrickfergus Gospel Hall.