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The Person of Christ

April 2005 | by G. S. Beck

In the Pentateuch we have figuresof Christ; in the historical books we have the foreshadowingof Christ; in the Psalms we have the feelingsof Christ; in the Gospels we have the factsof Christ; in the epistles we have the fulnessof Christ; and in the book of the Revelation we have the finalityof Christ.

But especially, in the Song of Songs, we have the faceof Christ. In the words of the well-known hymn:

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.

The purity of Christ

In Solomon’s Song the interrogators ask the bride, ‘What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women?’ She replies with a description which typifies the wonderful person of Christ.

She declares, ‘My beloved is white and ruddy…’ (Song 5:10). Here are two views of the person of Christ. Firstly, he is white.This has nothing to do with race but speaks rather of his purity – he is ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens’ (Hebrews 7:26).

He is the sinless Son of God. ‘He … knew no sin’ (2 Corinthians 5:21); he ‘did no sin’ (1 Peter 2:22); and ‘in him there is no sin’ (1 John 3:5). All this testifies to the absolute perfection and holiness of the one of whom it is written, ‘He shall not fail’ (Isaiah 42:4).

The obedience of Christ

He is not only whitebut ruddy(red). Such a complexion testifies to a rigorous outdoor life. It conveys the idea of hard-working consecration to God. Christ’s devotion to duty 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; Darby’s translation).

Again, when he purified the temple, his disciples remembered that it was written, ‘The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up’ (John 2:17). They recognised how devoted he was to God and his interests here on earth – ‘for even Christ pleased not himself’ (Romans 15:3).

It was so throughout his life: ‘Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered’ (Hebrews 5:8). In obedience to the Father, he went as our Redeemer to the sufferings of the garden and the cross – that the world might know he loved his Father’s will.

The supremacy of Christ

The bride continues – her beloved is ‘the chief among ten thousand’ (5:10). This brings before us the supremacy of Christ, the greatness and glory of his person. 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’ (Luke 1:32).

Here we are told of a great Son; in Isaiah 19:20 we see a great shepherd; in Hebrews 4:14 we have a great highpriest;and in Titus 2:13 we are presented with the great God. Truly Christ is supreme – ‘he is before all things and by him all things consist’ (Colossians 1:17).

Another Bible word that highlights the supremacy of Christ is ‘firstborn’, signifying ‘first in rank’. In Colossians 1:15 he is ‘the firstborn of every creature’ (or ‘over all creation’). In verse18 he is ‘the firstborn from the dead’. In Romans 8:29 he is ‘the firstborn among many brethren’ and in Psalm 89:27: ‘My firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth’.

His greatness is portrayed by Matthew. In chapter 12:6, Christ is greater than the temple; in 12:8 he is greater than the Sabbath; in 12:23-24 he is greater than the devil; in 12:41 he is greater than Jonah; and in 12:42 he is greater than Solomon.

In the epistle to the Hebrews we see Christ in all his greatness and glory. In Hebrews 1:1-3 he is greater than prophets; in 1:4-14, he is greater than angels; in chapter 2 he is greater than Adam; in chapter 3 he is greater than Moses; in chapter 4 he is greater than Joshua; in chapter 5 he is greater than Aaron.

The theme continues to chapter 10, where he is seen as greater than the Old Testament sacrifices. Truly we can say, he is ‘the chief among ten thousand’.

The deity of Christ

Next, the bridegroom’s head is drawn to our attention. ‘His head is as the most fine gold …’ (Song 5:11). Gold in Scripture speaks of divine glory – and in relation to the person of Christ it refers to his deity.

John’s Gospel is full of evidence relating to the deity of Christ and his eternal being. This Gospel was written that we ‘might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing [we] might have life through his name’ (John 20:31).

The name ‘Jesus’ expresses his humanity and ‘Christ’ his mission to save. But the title ‘Son of God’ reflects his deity. John 1:1 attests his divine nature – he is the eternal Word, having equality with God.

The verse divides beautifully into three parts: ‘In the beginning’ (equality of duration); ‘with God’ (equality of position); ‘was God’ (equality of substance). This proves conclusively the absolute deity of Christ.

Further evidence of his deity is found in John 10:30, where he himself declares, ‘I and my Father are one’. Jesus was God manifest in flesh, ‘for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily’ (Colossians 2:9). Jesus said, ‘he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father’ (John 14:9).

Surely we can exclaim, with the bride in the Song of Songs, ‘His head is as the most fine gold’.

The words of Christ

Continuing her description, the bride declares, ‘His lips [are] like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh’ (Song 5:13). Every word which Jesus spoke was lily-like – that is, pure truth. ‘Never man spake like this man’ (John 7:46).

His words came with power and authority, and not as those of the scribes (Mark 1:22). His words were also fragrant, marked by tenderness, compassion and light. ‘The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life’ (John 6:63).

Then consider his hands. ‘His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl’ (Song 5:14). As we have seen, gold speaks of the deity of Christ. The ring, which is endless, speaks of his eternal being, the one who is from everlasting to everlasting.

The beryl brings before us the impeccable humanity of Christ – his spotless, sinless life. When a beryl is placed among other precious stones it is not affected by their colour, but keeps its own brilliance and hue. So Christ’s life shines unsullied and undimmed in a world of sin and degradation – ‘the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not’ (John 1:5).

The loveliness of Christ

The bride continues: ‘His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars’ (v.15). In three things the cedars of Lebanon are unrivalled – height, foliage and fragrance. Christ in his greatness and glory is marked by such features.

He is unrivalled in height, for he is above all. He was unrivalled in foliage, for his earthly life bore abundant fruit to the glory of God. He is unrivalled in fragrance, because from his life and atoning death there arose a sweet smelling savour to his God and Father.

Twice, heaven opened to declare the Father’s pleasure in that fragrant life – a life from which God still derives holy delight as Christ is preached among the nations (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).

Finally, having viewed her Beloved from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, the bride bursts forth in acclamation and worship. ‘Yea, he is altogether lovely’, she cries (v.16). Surely, as we view the glories of our Beloved, we who are believers should echo those words.

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 fulness, his mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth – in Immanuel’s land.