The Wedding Banquet
The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his sonMatthew 22:2
In the first Century, the Jews had debated removing the Song of Songs from the holy books, until Rabbi Akiva called it, “the holiest of the holy (books).” Rabbi Akiva believed it to be a prophecy of God’s love for His people.
The Aramaic Targum of Song of Songs, begins in verse 1, to say, “Songs and praises which Solomon the prophet, king of Israel, spoke by the Spirit of Prophecy before the Lord of all the World.”
In the second Century, Christian writings called this a prophecy of Christ’s love for His Church. But this did not come from themselves, the Apostle John had already identified the Song of Songs as a prophecy of Christ’s love for His Church, as is clear from Revelation 12, and 18.
Relationship with Psalm 45
The sister passage to the Song of Songs, is Psalm 45.
A quick look that Chapter, should remove any doubt that the Song of Songs also describes Christ’s love for His Church.
Psalm 45:2, “You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips” – the introduction is just like the Song of Songs.
Psalm 45:6, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” – This refers to Christ, as quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9.
Psalm 45:10, ” Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father’s house; So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord (Adonai), worship Him;” – because He is you Lord (Adonai) worship Him, identifies Christ again.
Psalm 45:13, “The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; Her clothing is woven with gold. She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors; The virgins, her companions who follow her, shall be brought to You. With gladness and rejoicing they shall be brought; They shall enter the King’s palace.” – Here, we see the same idea that is related by the Song of Songs, that many “virgins” wish to be the King’s bride, but there is only “true” bride, the bride that is “faithful and true” (Revelation 19:11), as described in the conclusion, Song of Songs 8:11-12.
Wedding Banquet or Engagement Banquet
There are two interpretations of the Wedding Banquet in this first section, the first Song. This is either “the Day of His Espousals (betrothal), or “the Day of His Wedding” as described in Song of Songs 3:11 – both translations of this verse have been made. Such is the paradox of the kingdom of heaven. It is the kingdom, or banquet, that lies ahead in the future, which we also enter today. Just as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, described in Revelation 19:9, precedes the appearance of the Rider on the White horse in verses 11-21. The prophecy of this Book, like Isaiah 2, Ezekiel 1, Revelation 1, and 2 Thessalonians 1 – begins with the ending in view.
Song of songs – this is most commonly understood to mean, “the most excellent song.” However, it can also mean a collection of songs. In 1 Kings 4:32, we are told that Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs.
The numbers 3,000 and 1,000 are naturally understood as “estimates.” The extra “five” songs are the five songs in the Song of Songs.
Four Natural Breaks
All of us can see three natural breaks that appear in this Book, (Songs 2:7; 3:5 and 8:4) made by the words “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem…do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” These words bring the preceding section to a climax, and a new scene follows, ie “my beloved behold He comes, leaping upon the mountains” (Song 2:8); “who is this coming out of the wilderness (Song 3:6); “who is this coming up from the wilderness” (Song 8:5).
These three breaks, describe Christ’s relationship with New Jerusalem in three eras: The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Songs 1- 2:7); The Apostolic Church (Songs 3:8-3:5); New Jerusalem in the Wilderness (Songs 3:6-8:4); and the Revival of the Sanctified Church in the End Times (Songs 8:5-14).
However, there is one more break cited by many at Songs 5:1 (see Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary). It is also followed by an abrupt beginning, and sets a “new stage,” where the Shulamite is “struck” and “wounded” by the watchmen of the City.
The Apostle John told us that New Jerusalem flew into the wilderness for 1,260 days. This brings us to Revelation 11, 13 and 17, where we see that great battle between the saints and the beast, and the Bride is “struck” by the watchmen of the Great City. That is the break of Songs 5:1.
The division into these five sections is historic. These same divisions were used by Christian David Ginsburg, in 1857, from his extensive analysis of historic interpretations, explained in his introduction..
your oils – the Holy Spirit that Christ poured out was referred to as oil, beginning with Hosea, “the oil, grain and the wine”
your name is oil poured forth – the meaning is related in Acts 2:38, “be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
therefore the virgins love you – as the ten virgins who looked for oil in the lamps to be ready for the bridegroom’s return (Matthew 25:1-13).
take me away with you – as the Bride who wishes to be “resurrected” with Christ.
the King has brought me into His chambers – into his rooms…the king at His table (vs 12), and His banqueting house (2:4). The meaning here can be related to John 14:2, “in My Father’s house are many dwelling places.” The relationship of Christ with the saints, is in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22), and is described as in a house, or temple.
where do You graze Your flock – Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).
follow the tracks of the sheep – follow the chosen ones, as those in Revelation 14:4, the “virgins…who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.”
my perfume spread its fragrance – the prayers of the saints are like an incense, (Revelation 8:4); the saints are as a “sweet fragrance” (2 Cor 2:15).
Your name is oil poured forth – as first mentioned in Song 1:3, the oil represents the Holy Spirit that is received through baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38). The beginning of the Church, the kingdom of heaven, is described in the next verse, as the banquet hall.
the banquet hall – this the banquet hall of wedding or engagement, referred to again in Song of Songs 3:11; which some translate as the “day of His espousals” – engagement. Origen, in his 3rd century commentary called this the banquet of the kingdom of heaven., referring to Matthew 8:11.
Do not stir up, nor awaken love, until it pleases – the phrase that signifies the end of this section. Then the Abomination of desolation will be set up.