Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
CANTICLES, or The Song of Songs, is the most highly symbolic book of the Bible, and is, therefore, its most difficult book to interpret. Its theme in general is fairly apparent, and for centuries has among the Lord's real and nominal people been understood as picturing, under the symbology of the experiences of lovers in courtship days, the mutual experiences of Christ and the Church during their espoused times, i.e., the mutual experiences of Jesus and the Church while the latter has been in the flesh. Since the middle of the Parousia, progressively it is being seen to touch also on the latter's contacts with Israelites, crown losers, the nominal church, its clergy, the justified and the Youthful Worthies. But these things are presented amid such a mass of symbolisms as nowhere else is equaled in the Bible; and, so far as the writer knows, no other literary product in so small a compass sets forth such an abundant array of figures as does this book. This makes it hard to interpret and easy to misunderstand. What makes it all the harder to understand is the fact that some of its symbology occurs nowhere else in the Bible. Believing that the Lord has graciously blessed the writer's study of this book with its opening up to his eyes of understanding, the writer takes pleasure in setting before the brethren the results of his pertinent study. It will be set forth more detailedly than his usual paraphrases of Scriptural books, but not with great details of elaboration. It is hoped that what will be given will make the general details of the book clear to the eyes of understanding of God's people. To clarify the interpretation usually the word or words explained will be put after the
interpretation and parallel texts will often be cited to help to a clearer understanding, which things we do not usually do when merely paraphrasing a Bible book. With these introductory remarks we are ready to begin our exposition of Canticles.
The following are the divisions of this book: 1: 1—2: 7 treats of the Church's experiences during the Jewish Harvest; 2: 8-17 treats of certain Parousia experiences of the Church; 3: 1-11 treats of the Church's experiences during the Dark Ages (1) and then from 1691 to 1914; 4: 1—5: 1 treats of the Parousia experiences of the Church doctrinally and ethically; 5: 2—6: 3 treats of the foolish virgins in the nominal church during the Parousia and Epiphany; 6: 4—8: 14 treats of the Epiphany Church in herself, in her contacts with Jesus and in her contacts with the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies, and incidentally of certain things as to the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies.
In Hebrew the adjective has only the positive degree; hence, unlike most languages, it does not have the comparative and the superlative degrees. If, e.g., in Hebrew one desires to give the equivalent of the comparative degree of the word good, he would say of one whom he considered better than another, He is good from him. If he would wish to express the equivalent of the superlative, he would repeat the adjective in plural noun form, e.g., holy of holies, i.e., the most holy. Here in v. 1 we have an occurrence of this usage: The song of songs (v. 1), the greatest, or best, song (i.e., the Song of the Lamb, the message of the high calling, the best of all symbolic songs), whose inspired writer was Solomon (peaceable), here a type of Jesus. The Church longs for Christ to show her His affection (kiss, 2) by giving her as expressions of His affection the loving messages of the Bible, by which He speaks to her (mouth), because His affection (love) for her is more precious (better) to her than even doctrine (wine). Because of the fragrance
(savor, 3) of His graces (ointments; Ex. 30: 23; 31: 3; Is. 11: 2) His character (name) is one expressing itself (poured forth) in the graces of the Holy Spirit, for which reason the consecrated (virgins; Matt. 25: 1-12) delight in Him. The Church collectively prays Him to attract her to Himself (Draw me, 4), and then she will individually run the race for the prize after Him (run after thee, 4; Heb. 6: 20). Christ (king) brought her into His office works (chambers), as her wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and deliverance (1 Cor. 1: 30). Individually the Church will have her delight and repeated joy in Him (glad … thee), keeping in mind that His love is more precious to her than doctrine (we … wine). The saintly exercise charity toward Him (love). In her humanity she has lacks, faults and weaknesses (black, 5); but in her new-creatureship she is beautiful in holiness (comely). This in the Jewish Harvest she declared to the accusing Jews (daughters of Jerusalem): Her imperfections are like those of the ten-tribed kingdom's people, whom Kedar (dark), Ishmael's second born (Is. 60: 7) represents; but in her new-creatureship she is sinless and spotless (curtains of Solomon). She asked them not to regard her according to her fleshly imperfections (Look not … black, 6), which was due to the experience with evil and hard temptations (sun … me; Matt. 13: 5, 6, 20, 21). Crown-lost new creatures as sectarian leaders were displeased with her (mother's children … me, Ps. 50: 16-22), and made her minister in their denominations (made … vineyards), to the neglect of herself and her true brethren (mine … not kept). Amid denominational errors and people she longed from the beloved of her being to learn in what condition He gave the Truth to His own (Tell … where thou feedest, 7), sheltered and thrown into temptation (rest at noon), and wondered why she should be regarded as wholly fleshly ("heretics") in connection
with those that His supposed coworkers taught (as one that wrappeth a veil about her,—Rotherham).
His answer was that if the Church, faithful above all, knew not these things (know not, 8), let her follow the footsteps of the faithful (flock), and minister faithfully to her undeveloped ones (feed thy kids) near, but outside of the clergy's sects (tents). In her teachings Jesus by contrast has compared her to the teachings (horses, 9) in the organizations of Satan's evil world (Pharaoh's chariots). Her attractions (cheeks, 10) are beautiful with spiritual graces (rows) and her new will (neck) balanced with attributes of character (chains). She individually develops her Divine graces (borders of gold, 11) set in the Truth (studs of silver). When Christ shall have caused her individually to partake of His table (king … table, 12), her graces will send forth the fragrance of His viands (spikenard … smell). He lovingly gives her an all-rounded view of the Truth (bundle of myrrh, 13). All during the night (night) of the Gospel Age it, the Truth [not He, here a mistranslation] was amid the Old and New Testaments (breasts). Christ, her Lover, gives to her humanity everlasting life in justification (cluster of cypress [see margin], an evergreen tree, 14), even while she was in the sects of the Jewish Church (vineyards of En-gedi [fountain of the kid]). He greatly appreciates in His Love (my love, 15) the beauty of holiness that she has (fair); yea (behold), she is thus beautiful (fair). She has the Holy Spirit's knowledge (doves' eyes). She emphatically (Behold, 16) expresses her appreciation of the beauty of holiness in Him, her Lover (fair, my beloved), who is most delightsome to her (pleasant) and the Truth on which they rest is lifegiving and energetic (bed is green). His humanity (house, 17) is actually perfect, and thus is the support of her humanity (beams); and her humanity is resultantly strengthened (rafters) in justification (fir).
She is righteous by 'her faith-justification (rose
of Sharon [plain], the white sweet-scented narcissus, 2: 1) and is a humble royal priesthood (lily of the valleys [a dark purple and white flower]). Jesus recognizes her as a humble royal priesthood, active amid controversial crown-losers (lily among thorns daughters, 2; 2 Cor. 6: 18). As superior as the apple tree by its fruits is to the forest trees (trees of the wood, 3), so superior does she consider her lover in the fruits of the Spirit to the Little Flock brethren (among the sons, 2 Cor. 6: 18). Under Him as her Protector amid temptation does she enjoy to rest (sat … shadow … delight), and His graces are by her much appreciated (fruit … taste). He brought her to collective feasting on the Truth (brought … banqueting, 4) and set before her the mark of perfect love as her ideal of character and her battle equipment (banner … love). She desired to have an abundance of doctrine as her support (stay me with flagons, 5) and the fruits of the Spirit as her comforting portion (comfort me with apples); for her love for Christ moved her to sickness-producing labors (sick of [by] love). He demonstrates and expresses His great love for her by ministering to her head (left hand … head, 6) and to her heart (right hand doth embrace me). She taught (charge, 7) that the Christ-rejecting Jews (daughters of Jerusalem) on account of their worldly leaders and teachers (roes … hinds of the field) would not begin and continue to love Jesus until Christ, when it was due, i.e., in the Millennium, wills it (stir not … my [my is interpolated; their love is meant] … he please (Rom. 11: 25, 26).
She hears the message declaring the Lord's second presence to have set in (voice of my beloved, 8). He is making His presence (cometh) known by His rapid activities from autocratic kingdom to autocratic kingdom (leaping upon the mountains) and from democracy to democracy (skipping upon the hills). Her Lover is doing His Second-Advent work with great rapidity (roe … hart, 9). He is doing this work outside the
powers of the denominations, in which His return found her (standeth behind our wall); He is watching covertly what is going on there (looketh forth [in] at the windows), secretly observing all things and persons there (showing [peeping in at] … lattice). Her Lover by the prophetic Word (spake, 10) called on her to rouse herself as His Love to study the Truth (rise up), and by its voice to come out of Babylon (come away). Emphatically (lo, 11) He proved to her that the time of her great tribulation, from 539 to 1799, was over (winter is past), and her great discomfort has ceased to be (rain … gone), that Millennial fore gleams are active in society (flowers … earth, 12), that the song of Moses and the Lamb was being sung (singing … come), and that the voice of the Harvest messengers (turtle [dove]) was everywhere heard in the sphere of the Truth and its Spirit (our land). Yea, Jewish national hopes were beginning to fructify (fig tree … green figs, 13), and the foolish virgins were beginning to turn to Millennial hopes (tender grapes) and were developing graces (good smell). Therefore He repeated His call to His Love (my love), beautiful in holiness (my fair one), to arouse herself to leave Babylon. He addresses her as His tenderly loved one (my dove, 14) as safe in the cleft Rock of Ages, covered by His righteousness (clefts of the rock) and safe in the hidden steps of the way of salvation: sanctification and deliverance (secret … stairs). He greatly desires to see her beauty of holiness (see thy countenance) and hear her Truth-witnessing, because the latter was delightful (sweet) and the former beautiful (comely). Individually she desired to make their faults, great and small, captives (Take … foxes, 15), which not only injure her, but ruin the foolish virgins in the denominations (spoil the vines); for these virgins (vines) are producing feeble fruits of the Spirit (tender grapes). Her Lover belongs to her (beloved is mine, 16); and she belongs to Him (I am his). He ministers
spiritual food among the humble royal priesthood (feedeth among the lilies). She asks that until the Kingdom comes (day break, 17) and the curse begins to flee (shadows flee), He continues rapidly to complete His work amid the kingdoms that separate from the true Kingdom (roe … Bether, separation).
During the Dark Ages (By night, 3: 1), while resting upon the Truth that she had (on my bed), she longed for the return of her most loved Lord (sought … loveth), but despite earnest search (sought), she did not find Him in His Second Advent (found Him not). So earnest was she that she did not confine herself to her own unaided resources, but determined (I will rise, 2) to investigate the teachings (streets) of the nominal church as the religious government (city); and in the public views (broad ways), she was determined to search (seek) for Him, her dearly beloved Lover (my soul loveth). This began under the lead of Bro. Spener, in 1691, was continued under Bro. Bengel, 1740-1752, and was brought to a climax under Bro. Miller, 1829-1844. But she found Him not in His Second Advent in any of their teachings (I sought … found Him not). The nominal-church clergy (watchmen, 3) in their pertinent activities (go about the city) came into contact with her (found me). Of them she inquired as to their knowledge (saw) of the Lord's Return (ye him). They had nothing to give her; hence she passed beyond them (passed from them, 4) in and out of the cleansed and separated sanctuary, when, in 1874 and onward, the Truth on the invisibility of the Second Advent and of its time as having set in became known to her. Therein and with other harvest truths she found her returned Lover (found him … loveth). Overjoyed, she clung unbreakably to Him (held … not let him go) as her invisible present Lover for Gospel-Age purposes, until all the household of the Sarah Covenant, by the Fall of 1956, will have been gathered into one (brought … mother's house) into the office work of that Sarah
Covenant that developed her (chamber … conceived me). During the Parousia and the Epiphany she still taught (charge, 5) the Jews (daughters of Jerusalem) that on account of their worldly (field) leaders (roes) and teachers (hinds) they would not evoke (stir) nor arouse (wake) their love for Jesus (love [my is in italics]), until He in due time will it (till he please).
Brethren not yet enlightened questioned as to who (Who is this [woman; the pronoun for this is here feminine in the Hebrew], 6) the Church was, as from 1799 she was coming out of the 1260 years' stay in the state of isolation into marked public notice (coming … wilderness). She had upright and strong teachings (pillars of smoke), and was fragrant with the Truth (perfumed with myrrh) and overflowing with disinterested love to God, Christ, the brethren, the world and enemies (frankincense), additionally having all the graces developed by oppression exercised by those who made merchandise of her (all [aromatic] powders of the merchant). She was strongly attracted (Behold, 7) by restful Truth (bed), which was in Jesus' possession (Solomon's). The 60 courageous groups of the Gospel-Age Levites took their station about it as its guards and defenders (threescore … about it), the brave ones of God's justified people (valiant of Israel). They held God's truths as controversial weapons (hold swords, 8), being able in polemics (expert in war); every one of these 60 groups stood prepared to battle for God's truths as they saw these (sword upon his thigh), and that because during the Gospel Age's night time Truth opponents caused the fear of attack to be felt by their habitual onslaughts on the Truth (fear in the night). Christ as King (King Solomon, 9) made for His use a symbolic palanquin, His Church, to beat, especially by her four classes of servants: Apostles, prophets, evangelists and elders (Eph. 4: 11), Him about in the Truth in His royal works (a chariot [this is a mistranslation, for during the Gospel Age the Church
is not an organization; palanquin is the proper translation; it is an oriental conveyance carried by its two rods on the shoulders of at least four strong men]). The substratum of the Church is her justified humanity (wood of Lebanon, white). The two rods by which it was carried were the truths of the Old and New Testaments (pillars [or supports] thereof of silver, 10); her new-creatureship as her essential being was Divine (bottom thereof gold); her protection is Christ's royalty (covering … purple) and her inmost heart was permeated by love for Christ (midst … love). She had her start as this symbolic palanquin from Israelites indeed in the Jewish Harvest (for [literally, from] the daughters of Jerusalem). In the Jewish Harvest after Pentecost the Israelites indeed (daughters of Zion, sunny, 11) were by the brethren exhorted to leave rabbinism (Go forth) and attentively study Christ as King (behold King Solomon) as God's authorized King (crowned) made such by the Sarah Covenant (mother crowned him) at Pentecost, when His espousal with the Church as His bride to be began (day of his espousals), which was indeed a day of greatest and heartiest joy for Him in His glory (gladness of heart).
Emphatically (Behold, 4: 1) does the loved one's beauty of holiness prove to be Jesus' theme (fair, my love). He continues to emphasize (behold) this theme (fair). Her Truth knowledge is the Holy Spirit in the mind (doves' eyes [literally, eyes are doves]; 1 John 5: 6, literally, the truth). He admiringly contemplates it as being held in the strength of her powers (locks; Judg. 16: 13, 17, 19). Her strength (hair) is very great, like that of many strong humans in a constitutional kingdom (goats … Gilead, heap of witness). Her mental faculties (teeth, 2), whereby she masticates spiritual food, are freed from superabundant earthly growths (flock … shorn) and have been cleansed from earth's errors and sins by the washing of the water in the Word (came … washing;
Eph. 5: 26). Individually she is very fruitful in the study, spread and practice of the Word (twins); and individually she is not barren of fruits (none is barren). Her Truth proclamations (lips, 3) flow out of, are based upon, are in harmony with and are permeated by the ransom (thread of scarlet). Her teachings (speech) are beautiful as to truth, harmony, utility, fulness, perfection, nobility and strength. Her thoughts (temples) are a part (piece) of Christ's redemption fruits (pomegranate) as they are held within her powers and strength (locks). Her new will (neck, 4) is strong, as a fortress of Christ (tower of David) fitted for spiritual warfare (armory), holding a full equipment of the breastplate of righteousness (bucklers; Eph. 6: 14) and all the shields of faith for her strong heroes (shields of mighty men; Eph. 6: 16). The Old and New Testaments, from which are drawn the milk of the Word (two breasts, 5; 1 Pet. 2: 2), rapidly progress equally together to fulfill their teachings (roes that are twins) and give their nourishment among the humble royal priesthood (feed among the lilies). Until the Millennial day is fully come (day break, 6) and the woes of the curse have ceased (shadows flee) she will have recourse to the embryo kingdom of truth (get … mountain of myrrh) and the embryo Church (hill), where disinterested love to God and to His free moral agents abound (frankincense). Christ continues to express His appreciation of her beauty of holiness (fair, 7) and her spotless robe of His righteousness (no spot). He repeatedly calls her, as His very own (spouse, 8), to come with Him away from the contemplation of the glorified Divine beings, typed by the Western Lebanon range (Come … Lebanon … Lebanon), so that for her present needs she may see such matters from the viewpoint of the height of the faithful Apostles (Amana [faith, firmness. Amana is one of the middle mountains of the Anti-Lebanons, which in their entire length represent the Christ in embryonic condition, and whose
southernmost mountain is the three-peaked Hermon, typing the embryonic Christ, the Head, these three peaks standing for Him as Ransomer, Teacher and High Priest, one of which peaks is named in the next clause]). This view will be given her from the height of the embryonic Head as Teacher (Shenir, peak of light), yea, from the viewpoint of the embryonic Christ in all His offices (Hermon, sacred mountain), seen in contrast with the viewpoint of the denominational bodies (lions' dens) and that of the kingdoms where state and church are united, which union is symbolized in the leopard feature of the beast of Rev. 13: 2 (mountains of the leopards).
Both as Jehovah's daughter (sister, 9; Ps. 45: 10) and as Jesus' bride (spouse) she mightily drew out His deep love for her (ravished my heart). This she did with but one main feature of her knowledge—that of the high calling (one of thine eyes), and with one feature of her new will—taking God's will as her own (one chain [literally, ornament] of thy neck). Beautiful in His eyes is her love of Him (fair is thy love, 10), both as Jehovah's daughter (my sister) and as His bride (spouse). As a grace of the Spirit her love of Him is better than doctrine (better is thy love than wine), and the fragrance of her anointing of the Spirit (smell of thine ointments) than the symbolic spices: truth, knowledge, understanding and counsel and might, since it includes these plus the rest that go to make up the anointing, duty love and disinterested love as the ingredients of reverence (Is. 11: 3), (all spices). Her preachings (lips, 11) as His bride (spouse) set forth the sweetest message (drop as the honeycomb). Blessed hope and tender nourishment her teachings give (honey and milk … tongue); and the fragrance of her graces and powers is like the fragrance of the Divine beings (smell … Lebanon). Jehovah's daughter and His espoused (sister, my spouse, 12) is a bearer of the fruits of the Spirit, shut off from outsiders (garden enclosed), a giver-forth
of truth that withholds its thoughts from those foreign to her (spring shut up), a source of the water of life, denied those who are alien to her (fountain sealed). She causes growths (plants, 13) to come forth that become trees of righteousness in a field of the fruits of Christ's redemptive works (orchard of pomegranates), joyous fruits of the Spirit: eternal life (camphor [literally, cypress, an evergreen tree]), with justifying faith (spikenard), yea, sanctifying faith (spikenard, 14), hope (saffron), knowledge (calamus) and understanding (cinnamon) and disinterested love to God, Christ, brethren, world and enemy as praise (frankincense), truth (myrrh) and reverence, consisting of duty and disinterested love toward God (aloes; Ps. 45: 8; Is. 11: 3) and all the rest of the antitypical spices: antitypical cassia, counsel and might (Ex. 30: 23; 31: 3; Is. 11: 2); antitypical stacte, wisdom; antitypical onycha, power; antitypical galbanum, justice; antitypical pure frankincense, love as praise (all the chief spices), the Holy Spirit as the source of fruitfulness (fountain of gardens, 15), the Bible as the source of life-giving Truth (well of living waters) and teachings that flow out from the heavenly Father and His Son (streams from Lebanon).
Let adversity (north wind, 16) come upon her sphere of fruitfulness (garden), and let prosperity come thereupon (south wind). This will but result in her graces all the more manifesting themselves (spices thereof may flow out). This will make her Lover all the more desirous to inspect the sphere of her heart and mind (beloved … garden) and accept their fruits of the Sprit (eat his [its] pleasant fruits). Vs. 9-16 are the Parousia messages on character development in the graces and fruits of the Spirit, as a consideration of the writings and preaching of that time makes evident. Jesus came to the sphere of her fruitfulness—to her individually and collectively, even to her mind, heart and will, which are His sphere of fruitfulness (came into my garden, 5: 1), to her as
the daughter of Jehovah (sister) and as His bride (spouse). He collected in a logical system the Truth as due (gathered my myrrh) and the graces as due (my spice). He had partaken of the restitution message (honey comb) and the high calling message (honey); He had appropriated doctrine (wine), together with the A B C's of the Truth (milk). This being done, while He gave her these things to appropriate, which she did, she in turn invites the people of good will (O friends) to partake of the deeper things (eat) and of the surface things (drink). She invites her Lover to sup with her (Rev. 3: 20).
Keeping in mind that up to 1917 both crown-retainers and crown-losers were in the Holy as parts of the Christ, and therefore constituting the bride, we can see how the foolish virgins, who as such have remained and will remain in Babylon until it goes to pieces in Armageddon, are the subject of Cant. 5: 2—6: 3. These slept from shortly after 1846 to 1877, and thereafter at intervals, here one and there one, began to awaken to the subject of the Second Advent (I sleep, 2; Matt. 25: 5-7), though in intention they sought to be awake to that subject (my heart waketh). These from April 1877, the midnight of Matt. 25: 6, began to hear the message (voice of my beloved) of the Lord's invisible presence as having set in. By the prophetic word He appealed (knocketh) to them to give Him entrance, with the Truth, into their minds, hearts and wills (Open to me; Rev. 3: 20), addressing them as Jehovah's daughter (sister), His espoused (love), His Spirit-begotten (dove) and pure one, whom, because of His merit, He so considered (undefiled). He, in them, had accepted the errors prevalent in the night time of the Gospel Age—the Interim (head filled with dew), and in them His powers (locks) were beset with the weaknesses of that period (drops of the night). But they are not in a condition to receive Him; by reason of their double mind they had shed themselves of the spirit of
understanding as their truth authority, which left them without enough Truth to receive Him (I have put off my coat, 3; Matt. 25: 3). Furthermore, they considered that the Truth people, mainly the ignoble of the world (1 Cor. 1: 26-29) were in conduct so much below them that their own conduct was clean by the Word in comparison with that of the Truth people (washed my feet; Eph. 5: 26), which conduct they claimed, there was no reason to defile (how shall I defile them) by association with such.
Jesus as their beloved presented the harvest Truth as His power (put his hand, 4), in a way calculated to effect an entrance by their spirit of consecration into their hearts and minds (by the hole); and their hearts went out to Him in love and confidence (my bowels … him). Certain features of His harvest message, e.g., signs of the times, certain prophecies, the Millennial reign, Christ's pre-Millennial Advent, the Church's brideship, etc., appealed to them (I rose … beloved, 5); and their services were given to tell these out (hands dropped with myrrh), even their lesser activities (fingers) occupied themselves with the more pleasant features of these teachings, like the Church's brideship, deliverance, the Millennium, etc. (sweet smelling myrrh), which had the effect of somewhat disposing their hearts' attitudes toward accepting the Truth, particularly on His second presence as having set in (handles of the lock). During the first phase of the World War, on account of the harvest Truth's forecastings of it and its time having been fulfilled, they became much disposed toward accepting it (I opened to my beloved, 6); but the door of entrance into the high calling being closed, the Lord using His faithful no more to do reaping, nor even gleaning work, but to smite Jordan, to confess the sins over Azazel's Goat, to fight antitypical Gideon's first battle, to bind the kings and princes and to declare the punishment of the nations, He ceased temporarily from giving them further harvest light (withdrawn himself)
and hid Himself from them, so far as offering them more harvest Truth was concerned, through the priestly work being directed toward the Truth Levites, and the latter, so far as public work is concerned, giving the false message of millions no more dying after 1925 (was gone). His speech through His priesthood's proclamations as to Azazel's Goat had a discouraging effect on them (my soul failed when he spake.) Diligently they searched to find the Truth as to Him (sought him; Matt. 25: 10), but He withheld it from them, because their hearts were not yet ripe for it (not find him). Their prayers for it (I called him) for the same reason were not at once answered by Him (no answer). In their searching for it, the clergy, who watched over the nominal church (watchmen … city, 7), came upon them as alleged busybodies (found me). These preached and wrote against their studying such subjects (smote me), and injured their hearts and minds by their errors (wounded me); and those who guarded the powers of the nominal church (keepers of the walls) destroyed their fleshly minds (took away my veil from me; 1 Cor. 5: 5).
Then they became active in missionary and Zionistic work among the Jews (daughters of Jerusalem, 8), whom they taught that if they came to see the Truth as to Jesus as their returned Messiah (if ye find my beloved), they should tell Him (tell him) of their distress on account of their devotion to Him (sick of [from] love). The Jews, unbelieving, demanded to know as to why Christ was any more than Moses, Mohammed, Confucius, Buddha, Zoroaster, etc. (What … more than another beloved, 9), addressing them as the best of church members (fairest among women). They repeated their question in a debating manner (What … more than another beloved), which, they argued, disproved their right to teach them as they had done (that thou dost so charge us). They then will give lo the Jews a description of Jesus' character, nature, office and work, saying that
in His character is full justice (white, 10) and love (ruddy), and that He was above all natures lower than the Divine (chiefest among [above] ten thousand [a multiple of ten, the number of natures lower than the Divine]). His mind, heart and will are supremely Divine (head … most fine gold, 11). His office powers (locks) are abundant (bushy), with unfaded and unfading stability (black as a raven). His knowledge is of the Holy Spirit (eyes … doves, 12), full of abundant truths (rivers of waters), even containing the rudiments for babes in grace (washed with milk) and all in perfect harmony with one another (fitly set). His character (cheeks, 13); is a depository of all graces (bed of spices), fragrant in the beauty of holiness (sweet flowers). His teachings center in the humble royal priesthood, of which He is chief (lips like lilies), distilling very fragrant Truth (dropping sweet smelling myrrh). His activities' (hands, 14) are Divinely perfect (gold rings) and are fixed in love's faithfulness (set with the beryl). His nature (belly [body;— Rotherham]) is perfect Divinity (bright ivory), an expression of Divine hopes (overlaid with sapphires). His two forms of love (legs, 15) are (1) duty and disinterested love to God and (2) duty and disinterested love to God's free moral agents, which are strongly upright (pillars), as is proper for a Spirit being (marble), and that fixed in a Divine being (sockets of fine gold). His Truth and grace are purely crystalline Divinity (countenance is as Lebanon; 2 Cor. 4: 6; Rev. 1: 16), excellent to confer everlasting life (excellent as the cedars). The Bible as that through which He speaks is most precious as the message of great hopefulness (mouth is most sweet, 16). From every standpoint He is delightful (altogether lovely). No less than such an one is their thus Loved One (beloved) and Trusted One (friend), they would have the unconverted Jews to understand (Jerusalem).
Their description of the Messiah as their beloved will have the effect of arousing the Jews' interest in
Jesus' position in God's arrangements (Whither is thy beloved gone, 6: 1). Hence as of the one that they then will have come to believe is the most beautiful in character among Christians they will ask this as a question (fairest among women). Recognizing that He had turned away from them, they ask these into what attitude and standing He has turned away from them (whither is thy beloved turned aside?). They ask this for the expressed purpose of seeking Him as their long rejected Messiah-Savior (seek him with thee). Their answer to the Jews is to the effect that Jesus, having left them, is occupying Himself with His sphere where the Truth and its Spirit work (gone … garden, 2), where all of the graces and fruits of the Spirit have each its assigned position of growth (beds of spices), there to appropriate the products of that sphere of the Truth's and its Spirit's work (to feed in the gardens) and to gather unto the glorified Kingdom His humble royal priesthood (to gather lilies). This answer shows that they will not yet have learned that they have failed of the high calling, which they will still be hoping to attain. Hence they still claim to be of the Bride of Christ (I am my beloved's, 3) and claim Him to be their Bridegroom (my beloved is mine), declaring that He is still occupied with winning and then developing new aspirants for the humble royal priesthood (feedeth among the lilies).
With chapter 5: 2 Epiphany conditions are brought to our view. This we can see from the subject matter of chapter 5: 2-16 and vs. 1-3 of chapter 6. And the rest of the book treats of things belonging to the Epiphany; for during the Epiphany, so far as the true Church is concerned, there is a repetition of the Parousia messages and experiences, which will account for the repetition, often in the same words, of things belonging to the Parousia, which repetition is partly for the sake of the Church and partly for the sake of the Great Company and Youthful Worthies, who from here on are their Truth representatives, not their
nominal-church representatives described from 5: 2 to 6: 3. In the Truth movements as of their Truth representatives the Great Company are in the foreground and the Youthful Worthies are in the background, both of them however believing themselves to be the Bride. Our Lord is delighted with the beauty of holiness in the Epiphany Bride (Thou art beautiful, O my love, 4) and in the Epiphany addresses the Bride as consisting of two sections, both delightsome to Him: (1) those mingling among the revolutionary Levite groups (Tirzah [delight,]one of the capitals of the revolutionary northern ten-tribed kingdom) and (2) its Epiphany-enlightened saints (as Jerusalem), striking terror into the hearts of the Levites (terrible) by her defenses of the Truth against Levite attacks and by her refutations of Levite errors by the standards of the Truth (army with banners). Jesus is enraptured by her Truth insights (eyes, 5) presented by her in exposition, defense and attack (they have overcome me), which at times were too strongly put, for which He asked that they be turned away from Him (Turn away … me). He recognizes that her strength (thy hair) is very great, like that of many strong humans in a constitutional kingdom (goats … Gilead, heap -of witness; 4: 1). Her mental faculties (teeth, 6), whereby she masticates spiritual food, have been cleansed from earth's sins and errors by the washing of the water in the Word (go up from washing; Eph. 5: 26). Individually she is very fruitful in the study, spread and practice of the Truth (twins) and individually none of them are unable to be fruitful therein (not one barren among them). Her thoughts (temples, 7) exercised by her powers (locks) are a part (piece) of Christ's redemption fruits (pomegranate). As one of her spheres of work there are 60 Great Company groups (threescore queens, 8) and 80 Youthful Worthy groups (fourscore concubines) and consecrated ones in both classes, whom to count no one is able (without number; Rev. 7: 9).
Jesus knows that she as His Spirit-filled (dove, 9) and undefiled Bride (undefiled) is but one, in the sense that the Father and the Son are one (is but one; John 17: 11, 21-23; 1 Cor. 3: 3; 10: 17; 12: 12), the only daughter of God developed by the Sarah Covenant (only one; Ps. 45: 10), the apple of the eye of that covenant (choice … bare her). The Great Company as individuals and as God's daughters (2 Cor. 6: 18) came to an understanding of her (daughters saw her) and spoke highly of her (blessed her), as also did the 60 Great Company groups (queens) as such and the 80 Youthful Worthy groups as such (concubines); and they spoke very highly of her (praised her). She viewed matters as due in the Millennial morning (she looketh … morning, 10), in the beauty of the Old Testament (fair as the moon) and bright as the New Testament (clear as the sun), which made her in controversy fill her opponents with terror (terrible) by her Truth standards (with banners). Jesus resorted to His Epiphany sphere of the Truth's and its Spirit's fruitfulness (I went … garden of nuts, 11) to examine the Spirit's fruits that grow in her while humiliated by the Levite groups (see the fruits of the valley) and to see whether she as a spiritual vine was prospering (see whether the vine flourished) and whether the fruits of Christ's redemptive works were promising mature fruits (pomegranates budded). Without its belonging to His approved knowledge, as to Little Flock powers (aware, 12), He arranged for organizations for certain willing Great Company groups for His use (made chariots of Ammi-nadib [my willing people; not Bride!]). Through His Epiphany-enlightened saints He repeatedly exhorted the two classes of revolutionary Levites—the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies—who were asleep as to the priestly Epiphany work and their own real work (O Shulamite, inhabitant of a double sleeping place, 13) to return to the Parousia Truth that they had, some more, some less, given up
(Return, return). This call was repeated as often as THE PRESENT TRUTH'S messages as written and spoken went forth to them, which was very often (return, return). If this were done, the Bride individually would carefully study them (we may look upon thee). They expected to find, according to the Bible, that the returned antitypical Shulamite would consist of two classes—Great Company and Youthful Worthies—who would war as two armies for the Lord (company of two armies; Rev. 19: 6).
Jesus admires the holy conduct (How beautiful are thy feet, 7: 1), shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (with shoes; Eph. 6: 15), of her whom He addresses as a noble daughter, which as Jehovah's daughter she certainly is (prince's [better, noble] daughter). The blendings in harmony of her duty and disinterested love to God and her fellows are most beautiful graces (joints … like jewels), skillfully developed by Christ, her Sanctifier (work … cunning workman; 1 Cor. 1: 30). The potion that she appropriates, poured out by God for her to drink, is in its fulness a balance of blissful and woeful experiences (navel … round goblet … liquor, 2). Her nature (belly [better, body]) is that of the entire wheat class, Divine (heap of wheat; Matt. 13: 38), each one surrounded by the humble royal priesthood (set about with lilies). The Old and New Testaments (breasts, 3), whereby she nourishes the babes in Christ, in full likeness and harmony rapidly advance in progressive dueness (roes that are twins). Her new will is a Divine fortress (neck … tower of ivory, 4). Her total knowledge (eyes) supply a living sphere of Truth for the Lord's people as symbolic fish who are still in the nominal church, which is now rendering up her account (fishpools in Heshbon, account; Matt. 4: 19), as it is publicly used by the Levites toward Babylon (gate of Bath-rabbim [daughter of multitudes, a description of a populous city]). Her sense of anger (nose) at sin and error is a righteous fortress
(tower of Lebanon) that exercises itself against the seat of radicalism (looketh toward Damascus, [heathenish] activity [in allusion to the activity of radicals]). Her intellect, not speculative, is fertile in good and practical plans (head … Carmel, fruitful, 5).
The teaching of her intellect is befitting her royalty and explains the Kingdom (hair … purple). Christ is greatly charmed by these harmonious teachings (king is held in the galleries [better, by the curls, or ringlets]). Christ is delighted by her beauty of holiness and by her delightfulness as His beloved in her joy-giving ability (fair … delights, 6). She is full grown in righteousness (stature … palm tree, 7), and the Old and New Testaments are growing on unto complete ripeness in dueness, and will before the Epiphany's end be fully understood (breasts to clusters). Christ is determined to approach her as she is full grown in righteousness (go … palm tree, 8) and possess Himself (take hold) of every feature (boughs) of her righteous character (thereof), since during the Epiphany everything in the Old and New Testaments will be understood by her as the vine in its ripeness (now … clusters of the vine), and her indignation at evil is a fragrant grace to Him (smell … apples). The high calling as the highest feature of her Truth (roof of thy mouth, 9) is the finest of doctrines for Christ, her Lover (best wine for my beloved). Its drinkers relish it as sweetly appetizing (goeth down sweetly), causing the teachings (lips) of those even sleeping (asleep) to tell it forth (speak). She rejoices in belonging to her Lover (my beloved's, 10) and that He longs for her (his desire is toward me). She asks Him as her Lover to accompany her (Come, my beloved, 11) while she enters the sphere of the Levites' work toward the world (into the field) and takes up her sphere of activity among the Levite groups (lodge in the villages). Yea, early in the Epiphany (early, 12) let us busy ourselves with their spheres of work (vineyards), especially to see whether
the priests among them are prospering (see if the vine flourish) and the gentle graces are in them manifest (tender grapes appear), whether in their midst the fruits of Christ's redemptive work are giving promise of mature fruits (pomegranates bud forth); in such priestly Epiphany work will she be offering herself sacrificially in devotion to Him (there … loves). The Truth, as a veritable love potion (mandrakes [supposed to act as a love potion, Gen. 30: 14-16], 13), develops the Divine love as the most fragrant grace (give a smell). In the portals of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and deliverance are all sorts of graces (all manner of pleasant fruits), those just developed (new) and those long had (old). All of these she has treasured up for her Lover (laid up).
In 8: 1-4 the cleansed Great Company in the Truth speaks, whereas the uncleansed Great Company in the nominal church is described in 5: 2—6: 3. The former will late in the Epiphany have come to recognize with deepest regrets and unavailing wishes that it were otherwise, i.e., that Christ were a full, not a half, Brother to them (my brother, 8: 1) and that Christ and they had had the same mother to develop them—antitypical Sarah (mother), and that they could have been developed by the same Old and New Testaments' promises (sucked the breasts). In that case they would in public (find thee without) have expressed a lover's affection to Him (kiss thee) without the fear of being despised therefore (not be despised). In that case they would have brought Him as their Lover to the sphere of the Truth and its Spirit as these are in the Sarah Covenant (bring … mother's house, 2). There would they gladly learn from her teachings (instruct me). In that case they would have prepared doctrines filled with the graces for Him to appropriate (drink of spiced wine), derived from the distilled fruits of Christ's redemptive work (juice of my pomegranate). In that case Ire would demonstrate His love for them by His ministries to their head (left hand …
head, 3) and to their heart (right hand should embrace me). But these deep regrets and unavailing wishes are not only useless, but can never restore the lost high calling, once it is lost (Heb. 12: 16, 17). Recognizing this condition, they betake themselves to that part of their mission that has as its purpose to develop the Jewish part of the Epiphany camp, among other things teaching the Jews (daughters of Jerusalem, 4) that they as such would not be aroused (stir not up, nor awake) to the mission of converting, in zealous love (love [italicized my out of place here]) for Christ, the Gentile world to the Kingdom, until Christ would so will it in the Millennium (please).
In 3: 6 we saw how from 1799 onward the true Church came out of the state of isolation into marked public notice. Here in v. 5 the Church, which has been in isolation, partly in little Babylon and partly outside of little Babylon, i.e., in the Epiphany movement, is described as coming out of these two conditions of isolation into public notice, among all Levite groups (Who … cometh … wilderness, 5), leaning on the Epiphany messenger's ministry, as Christ's arm in supporting her (leaning upon her beloved). Christ as her Lover raised her up (raised thee up) under the protection of the holiness-bearing fruits of the Epiphany Truth (under the apple tree). All of these priests being in the Epiphany Truth were by it brought forth as Epiphany-enlightened saints (mother brought thee forth). The thought is repeated, because the Epiphany Truth brought them forth as two sections of the priesthood at two different times: (1) the first part as Epiphany-enlightened saints who labored long as such outside of little Babylon; and (2) the second part as Epiphany-enlightened saints who remained in little Babylon until the Levites, recognizing the Epiphany messenger as such, will make known to them his place as such, typed by Joseph's brethren announcing to Jacob Joseph's position (she brought … bear thee). She prays that she might become the means
of His validating His love (seal upon thine heart, 6) and the means of validating His power expressions (seal upon thine arm); thus through her He would give force to His love power expressions; for their mutual love cannot be overcome by death (love is as strong as death). The envy of the Great Company leaders against the little Flock leaders was in its persecution of the latter so cruel as to put them into a symbolic hadean condition, so far as concerns fellowship (jealousy is as cruel as the grave [sheol]). Its wrath is destructive, so far as concerns that fellowship (coals of fire). The flash of Jehovah overcomes it (a most vehement flame [This is a false reading, perverted by the scribes, because they objected to Jehovah's name being mentioned, especially in connection with death and sheol. Ginsburg's notes show that the proper reading of this clause, omitting the italicized words, "which hath," is the flash [or fame] of Jehovah, i.e., Jehovah Himself will arise and by His destroying power end the destructive envy of the Great Company leaders against the Little Flock leaders, so far as concerns fellowship; Job 42: 7-10]). Much woe cannot destroy the Church's love for Christ (waters cannot quench love, 7; Is. 43: 2); nor can it be suffocated by the floods of persecution (floods drown it; Rom. 8: 38, 39). If one should offer to give up all he has as the purchase price of this love (all substance … for love), he would be held in contempt for wanting to drive an unbalanced bargain, to get much for little (utterly be contemned).
The Church individually declares that she has a fellow class of young consecrators (a little sister, 8), i.e., the Youthful Worthies. When in the Parousia mention was made of these, no Old Testament nor New Testament passages (hath no breasts) were quoted to prove their existence, which was then inferred from the fact that the close of the general call was followed by more consecrators than there were available crowns, and from the attitude of the Divine
attributes toward the faith classes. But there came in the Epiphany, at whose start in 1914 the door of entrance into the high calling closed for new aspirants (Luke 13: 24-27), the time when it was due that this class begin to come to the front, be recognized as such and as such be sought for by figurative suitors—Great Company groups who desired it to become one with them (in the day when she shall be spoken for). Then the problem arose as to what should be done about her. Some denied the existence of such a class; some were in doubt or indifference thereover; and some accepted it as such, but only temporarily. But the priesthood individually stood firm in its faith that there was such a class, which it set forth expositorily, probatively and refutatively against attacks. And this was their answer to the question (What shall we do for our sister). They taught the following things with reference to the Youthful Worthies: If this class is strongly founded on Scripture (a wall, 9), we will erect for it a Truth sphere of official work (palace of silver). If it becomes a means of bringing people into the Truth (a door), we will give it the work of dealing with justified humans (cedars), to bring them forward to consecration in the antitypical court (enclose her with boards). Encouraged, the Youthful Worthies proved themselves to be strongly founded, not only on Scriptural principles, but also on many Scriptural passages (I am a wall, 10). These Scripture passages are found in the Old and New Testaments, e.g., the Gershonites (Num. 1; 3; 4), the five daughters of Zelophehad (Num. 27: 1-11), Ruth (Ruth 1-4). See also passages in the E IV, 317-358 (breasts). These are a veritable fortress in proof of the existence of this class from various standpoints (towers). These considerations demonstrate that they are a Divinely-provided class; and as such they found favor with our Lord, because of His Biblical knowledge as to them (in his eyes … favor).
Christ (Solomon, 11) had the nominal church
(Baal-hamon, lord of a multitude) during the Gospel age as a figurative vineyard, where He sought to develop the graces of the Spirit (vineyard). He committed its care to crown-retainers, crown-losers and justified leaders (let out … keepers). All of these were for its fruitage (fruit thereof) to yield Him truly their justified human all (thousand pieces of silver [1,000 is a multiple of 10, the number of perfect natures lower than the Divine, hence here the reckonedly perfect humanity of many individuals]). That vineyard was given up, because, like the Jewish keepers of the Jewish vineyard, they were in their great bulk unfaithful and, like them, they persecuted the faithful keepers. The true Church during the Parousia and Epiphany has had a symbolic vineyard, the sphere of the Truth and its Spirit among Truth people (my vineyard, which is mine, 12), as the place where she works (is before me). She has agreed to give Christ the reckonedly perfect human all of all its keepers, the Truth servants. And she saw to it that the faithful did this faithfully and that the Great Company, later becoming faithful, as well as the Youthful Worthies, will do it faithfully (a thousand). She also taught that these keepers may have for their own use whatever of their reckonedly perfect human all they needed to meet their human obligations to self and others (two hundred … fruit). Christ will address her as the worker in the spheres of the Truth and its Spirit, where grow the fruits of the Spirit (dwellest in the gardens, 13), assuring her that the virgins that follow her as companions (companions, Ps. 45: 14) toward the end of the Epiphany are attentive to her teachings (hearken to thy voice), which He also desires to hear, by her proclaiming the Word (cause -me to hear it). Just before she leaves the world she is seized with most intense longing for her Lover (beloved, 14) to hasten her deliverance (haste … roe … hart) from the kingdoms of this world, after they have served His purpose of perfecting her graces through the sufferings that they have brought upon her.