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Bridal Paradigm

The Song of Songs is the loveliest and best known of all the 1005 songs written by Solomon (1 Kings 4:32).

Within this lyrical poem, there are five different cast members. Most biblical translations do not have the identification of these characters to assist the reader to follow the narrative. But the NKJV (New King James Version) is superb. It identifies the persons before their lines. This helps us greatly to gain a clearer understanding of this ravishing song of endless love.

Historical Allegorical
The Bridegroom: King Solomon

Most of his marriages were political arrangements, designed to seal treaties and trade agreements with other nations.

True love could not be bought and sold like commodities on the open market.

Solomon had many wives, but the Shulamite was the only one with whom he enjoyed a warm and enriching relationship.

The Bridegroom: : King of Kings Jesus

Most of His creation are objects of beauty. They are created for His pleasure.

But man was created in the image of God - to have fellowship with Him. Man is being loved, and is to love God in return.

This awesome choice to love or not to love God resides in the heart. Pure love cannot be bought or sold. We love Him because He first loved us.

The Bride: The Shulamite Woman

Not a cultured princess but a lowly vineyard keeper whose skin had been darkened by her long exposure to the sun.

In the first section of the book, the Shulamite recalled the many happy experiences of their courtship when she visited Solomon in his palace in Jerusalem (2:4-7).

She fondly remembered Solomon's visit to her home in the country during springtime (2:8-17). She sang about the painful separations from his love (3:1-5), as well as the joyous wedding procession to Jerusalem to become the king's bride (3:6-11). Solomon praised her in a beautiful poem about the enchanting wonder of love in Chapter 4.

In the second section of the book, the love of the Shulamite and Solomon for each other continued to grow and deepen after their marriage.

But their love was tested. She had a troubled dream when he seemed distant and unconcerned (5:2-8). But Solomon assured her of his love and praised her beauty (6:4--7:9).

Longing to visit her country home (7:10--8:4), she finally made the trip with Solomon. Their love grew even stronger (8:5-7).

The song closed with a blessed assurance of each to the other that they would always remain true to their love.

The Bride: The Church & Israel

We are undeserving of His love and yet He chose us. While we were yet sinners, He died for us. Paying the ransom price for our sins, He redeemed us and forgave all our trespasses.

He daily sanctifies us with His Holy Spirit. He loves us with an everlasting love. He desires that none should perish but that all should be saved by returning to Him in true repentance.

We are changed in His presence by the power of His love. We are deeply rooted in love so that others will be able to see and understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is the love of Christ in our lives.

We are His Bride being filled completely with godliness, holiness and love. We are the Body of Christ through which God reveals and manifests His glory to all men. By our love, others will know that we are His.

Our love for God have already begun but God is broadening our love to include others also. Falling in love with God needs us to be united with Him in His kingdom plans and purposes.

Initially we may be struggling as we begin to do His will. In seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, there will be a lot of self-denials needed. But as we grow in His love, taking our cross daily will become a delight. It will be no longer burdensome.

It is in the Cross that we bear the marks of Christ, the Lover of our souls.

The Daughters of Jerusalem: Preparing The Bride

They were the unmarried friends of the bride who attended to her, grooming and beautifying her. Before a girl was being taken to the king's chamber, she would be given six months of beauty treatments with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments (Esther 2:12).

These women of Jerusalem were also royal servants who served as personal attendants and maids to Solomon's Shulamite bride. These ladies provided the light for the bridegroom who came at night, as illustrated in the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).

In this love song, they also served as chorus girls echoing the sentiments of the Shulamite, accentuating her love and affection for Solomon.

The Daughters of Jerusalem: Preparing The Church & Israel

These are the five-fold ministers who prepare God's people for the Lord's service. They are building up the Body of Christ, grooming her in holiness and righteousness, and also in the love of Christ.

They prepare the Bride in their equipping and empowering ministry. They love the Church, Israel and all the peoples of the earth.

At times they weep and empathize with the Church and Israel over sin and the results of sin. They comfort the Bride with their words of comfort, praying with her for the soon return of her Bridegroom!

Their hearts are burning zealously for Jesus with His Holy Fire till He returns, never running empty nor dry.

The Friends of The Bridegroom: Preparing The Way For The Bridegroom

They were the unmarried friends of the bridegroom who attended to him, preparing the way for him.

They would run ahead of the bridegroom, shouting and declaring his coming.

One of them was the best man in the wedding ceremony. He was the one who assisted in planning and arranging the marriage. He was a close companion of the bridegroom whom the bridegroom loved and entrusted the awesome task of coordinating this significant event.

The Friends of The Bridegroom: Preparing The Way For The LORD

These are the forerunners of the Lord.

Like John the Baptist was the Friend of the Bridegroom for His First Coming, there will be many Friends of the Bridegroom preparing the way of the LORD for His Second Coming.

They are the ones who are not afraid to confront the sins of the Church, Israel and the nations. But they will not do it harshly or self-righteously. Their hearts too are broken over sin!

They understand the heart of the Bridegroom. They dare not take matters into their own hands without consulting Him.

The Brothers of The Bride: The Task Masters

These brothers of the Shulamite bride might be her step-brothers.

The poem indicated she worked under their command as the keeper of their vineyards (1:6). They were the ones who made her work until she had no time for herself. They were also the ones who caused her to be blackened by the sun.

They despised the Shulamite (8:8-9), always saying that she was not ready for marriage, and that she was not able to take good care of herself.

The Brothers of The Bride: The Burnt Out Ones

These people are part of the leadership in the Church. Beyond their hollow eyes are weary hearts already being worn out over many years of ministry. They may be still doing all the things that ministers are supposed to be doing. But they are just going through the motions.

The hopes they once had are now laid aside. There is no longer passion for the Lord or the Lord's! They are no longer feeding the lambs and the sheep. Instead they are exploiting the lambs and sheep to work non-stop, turning these helpless ones to become like them - overworked and fatigued burn-outs in the work of the ministry.

For the Bride of Christ to be ready for the Second Coming of Jesus, the Daughters of Jerusalem and the Friends of the Bridegroom must cooperate with one another so that each can do their jobs well. There are no room for finger pointing or accusing each other. There is no need to pull and shove. God will make all things beautiful in His time! The Friends of the Bridegroom are often found hurrying the Daughters of Jerusalem to finish beautifying the Bride so that she will be holy and righteous, ready to receive her Bridegroom. On the other hand, the Daughters of Jerusalem often accuse the Friends of the Bridegroom for their self-righteous and judgmental attitudes. At the same time, the Brothers of the Bride must realize and acknowledge their wrongdoings, and start doing things right. They need to renew their love for Christ - be restored, refreshed and revitalized. Eventually all of them and all of us will emerge to become the holy Bride of Christ, and then the Wife of Christ (Rev 21:9).

Through it all, the Bride of Christ will ultimately arise and shine gloriously. She will have gone through the process of refining, thoroughly tested! She overcomes by her faith in Christ, and is shining purest white, full of the glory and grace of God!

She is not love-sick! She is love-healthy. Her love for the Lord is balanced by her love for the Lord's. She has both passion for God and His people! The depth and height of her love is well-balanced by the length and breadth of her love. Her vertical relationship with God is certified by her horizontal relationship with His people. She is not a burnt-out! Her love for God and others is burning stronger and brighter everyday!

She is the prudent and capable wife in Proverbs 31. Worth far more than precious jewels, her Bridegroom has full confidence in her that she will not put Him to shame! She has no time to gossip. She is not proud, ill-mannered, selfish or irritable. She does not keep a record of wrongs. She does not rejoice when others are suffering. She rejoices in truth! She bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things!

She does her earthly works with a touch of heaven. Whenever and wherever she ministers, she touches the hearts of those on earth, and also the heart of the One in heaven! She is not lazy. She is busy doing her Husband's business. She is diligent, hardworking and strong. Respected by all, she knows the true value of everything she does. She looks after the needs of her family. She is also generous to the poor and needy.

Her people have no fear of winter as she has their warm clothings and blankets made and ready for use. She speaks with a gentle wisdom, being humble and meek. Her Husband and His people praise her! One infallible sign of her continual presence of God is the jubilant joy that radiates out of a heart full of gratitude and thanksgiving. Her inner beauty also radiates out captivating everyone!

The Bride of Christ is full, not impoverished and lacking! Full of the grace and glory of her Husband, Christ Jesus! Everywhere she goes, she bears the presence and power of her Husband. Every single act is painted with His love, grace and mercy. Whether in a bustling kitchen, a busy marketplace or a quiet room of prayer, she bears her Husband's name bringing Him honour! Her prayers are fervent because she is in constant touch with those she prays for. Her prayers have hands and feet that tangibly reach out - touching lives and transforming communities!

As written in the Peace Prayer of St. Francis, may we pray as we become the holy and ready Bride of Christ:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.

Note: This Peace Prayer of St. Francis was found in Normandy in the year of 1915. Its author is unknown. The prayer was written on the back of a card of St. Francis, from which the name was derived. Some believed Francis wrote it while others believed otherwise. The last line was both quoted with and without the wordings "to ourselves". There is no conclusive evidence to which is the true historical edition. In both cases, the same message remains.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary