“Come with me to paradise” — receiving the inheritance

VoiceNarrative
Groom4:8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
4:9 Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
4:10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
4:11 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
4:12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
4:13 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
4:14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
4:15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
4:16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.
Bride4:16 Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
Groom5:1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved..

It is not surprising to realise that this song leads us to a climax; after all it is the final cycle of songs relating to the Jewish bride. The marriage celebrations were described in the fifth song where we witnessed the groom giving his wedding speech. We could therefore refer to the fifth song as the Marriage of the Lamb and the sixth as the Marriage Supper.

The climactic nature and uniqueness of this song is indicated by the change in the title of the bride. She is now addressed six times as “my spouse” and in most cases prefixed with the term, “my sister” (4:8,9,10,11,12; 5:1). The word “spouse” is used to describe one’s wife and is only used in this sixth song and in no other. The Hebrew word for spouse is kallah and comes from a root word which means ‘to be made perfect or complete.’ It describes perfectly her new relationship with her groom. This sixth song is the glorious fulfilment of the invitation given by the groom to his “fair one” when he asks her to “come away” (2:10 – third song).

The song commences with the groom saying, “come with me…” The invitation is to come to Lebanon and look from the top of Mount Hermon, which is the highest peak in the range. Lebanon means “white” (a reference to its snow-capped peaks) and this is the colour of the bride’s raiment (Rev 19:8). We can imagine the scene where the groom takes his wife to a high mountain to show her all the beauty of a magnificent garden bursting with fragrance and life-giving springs. Ezekiel was brought to “a very high mountain” and was told “to set (his) heart upon all that he was shown and declare it to the house of Israel”. This he did and in the process gave us the vision of a majestic temple (Ezek 40:2-4). John similarly was “carried away… to a great and high mountain, to be shown the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven” (Rev 21:10).

They saw paradise; here translated as “orchard” in 4:13. The Hebrew word for orchard is pardee which is transliterated into the Greek as paradeisos from which we get our English word ‘paradise’ (cp Eureka Vol 1 Page 209).

From Lebanon the bride and groom witness a glorious vista before them. The mount itself is a place of fruitfulness and glory and is linked with the garden of Eden in Ezekiel 31:9. It represents that new and restored garden (Isa 60:13) and speaks of a time when “they will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain” (Isa 11:6,9; Song 4:8).

The bride is invited by the groom to look from the top of Shenir and Hermon. Hermon means “a sanctuary”, whilst Shenir is the Amorite name for Hermon, allowing us to visualise both the Jewish and Gentile components joining together on the one mountain. The “top” of Hermon highlighted in the song is also the source of the river Amana (this is the same as the river Abana to which Naaman referred in 2 Kings 5:12) and the root word of this river is “amen,” which Strong’s Concordance says is “a most remarkable word.” In fact “amen” is simply transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and then into English as well as into many other languages. It could be regarded as a universal word, perhaps one of the best known words in human speech. So this wonderful depiction is just like Revelation 5:13-14 when every creature in heaven and earth and from all nations join in song giving praise to the Lamb with the four Living Ones saying, “Amen”—a word that needs no translation.

Strong further states that the word “amen” is directly related, in fact, is almost identical to the Hebrew word (amam) which is translated “believe” and “faithful” in a number of passages. By extension the word came to mean “sure” or “truly” and was used to express absolute trust and confidence. This describes the groom’s view of his wife as he depicts her love as better than wine (4:10). These echo the same sentiments of the bride towards the groom in the very beginning (1:2). The bride’s period of self-sacrifice is completely driven by her love for him.

From the beauty of this elevated place the groom once again confesses to his new bride his love for her. He describes her captivating beauty as “fair” using the word yaphah for the first time; a word meaning “to be exceeding beautiful” (cp Ezek 16:13 where it is so rendered). One look from her and he finds himself ravished by her countenance. “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace” (1:10 RSV ). Her love is better than wine, her perfume, her lips, even the smell of her garments are all metaphors for her wonderful character which causes him to be overwhelmed by her presence. Such is his love for her.

The “garden inclosed” belongs to him and that garden represents his bride (4:12). It was originally hers in verse 16 but now it becomes his and he is now able to enjoy the fruitfulness of that inheritance with her.

This is the climax of the song; the moment where the groom fulfils his heart’s desire; the time when he achieves that unity of purpose with his bride. The Father’s desire was for a creation that would reflect His glory and the Son has now finished that work. He pleased his Father through his perfect obedience and in so doing took to himself a multitudinous bride and by doing so, they could reflect the accomplishment of God’s purpose together. No greater love could be shown than that which he revealed in his submission to his Father’s will. This is the conclusion of the song, describing in a few words the achievement of that goal and allowing us to share the very focal point of that purpose. Can we see it from his viewpoint? What would his perfection be without his bride? “It is not good that man should be alone.” We are a part of him, the rib taken from his side. And if that is how he feels about us, how well do we reciprocate this love? Do we really appreciate what he has done for us? Is he a living reality to us or just an interesting character described in a book? We must endeavour to make our hope real and personal.

This scene is reflected in the Apocalypse where we see the heavenly Jerusalem of Revelation 19:7-9; 21:1-4; 21:9–22:6 manifested as a bride. As the angel carried John away to “a great and high mountain, and shewed him the great city, the holy Jerusalem” he showed him the perfected bride in all her beauty. She is “the garden inclosed”. She is also the living water, the trees, the fruit, the aromatic spices. And this is what John saw as well. He was shown walls and gates; a pure river of water and trees of lives with all manner of fruit.

As the groom enters his garden in 5:1 he is fully satisfied with the fruits of his labour. His final words extend an invitation to his friends to eat and drink new; “Eat, O friends” he declares, “drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” John concludes his scene of glory by issuing a similar invitation; “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17). “These sayings are faithful and true” saith the Amen, (Rev 3:14; 22:6). Our challenge is to make them a reality so that we may join our Lord in that day and experience pure joy with pleasures for evermore.

(to be continued)