Summary: Using the beautiful allegorical language of the Song of Solomon this lesson provides insight into one facet of the Christian’s relationship with Christ.
In it’s Preface to the Song of Solomon (also known as the Song of Songs) the New King James Version gives these details. "The Song of Solomon is a love song written by Solomon and abounding in metaphors and oriental imagery. Historically, it depicts the wooing and wedding of a shepherdess by King Solomon, and the joys and heartaches of wedded love.
"Allegorically, it pictures Israel as God’s betrothed bride (Hosea 2:19,20), and the church as the bride of Christ. As human life finds its highest fulfillment in the love of man and woman, so spiritual life finds its highest fulfillment in the love of God for His people and Christ for His church" (Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1996).
Pastor and counselor Tommy Nelson (Senior Pastor of Denton (TX) Bible Church) has this to say: "For many people, the Song of Solomon is the mystery book of the Bible. Tucked among the books of the Bible in the section called the Wisdom Literature, the Song of Solomon has the distinction of being the only book of the Bible that seems to have been edited and censured by the Christian church. Most Christians don’t read it, don’t understand it, and have never heard a sermon from it. Yet no message could be more needed today. The Song of Solomon is the book for this generation, in my opinion" (Tommy Nelson, The Book of Romance, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998, p.xiii).
The Song of Solomon is rich in descriptive language, picturing Christ the heavenly Bridegroom and His Bride—the Church. The entire book flows with a love that all but defies description.
It is not a sordid love of a carnal nature, as some might suppose, but rather a love that is pure and real. Just as two people genuinely in love will employ every beautiful word and phrase at their command to describe each other, so the language of the Song of Solomon is the language of love.
In chapter five, verse two, the bride is likened to a dove by her beloved. She hears him knocking, saying, "Open to me . . . my dove." He has already made a similar reference in chapter two, verse fourteen, saying "O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock . . . " Later he employs the same words of love in a statement fraught with meaning when he says, "My dove, my undefiled is but one . . ." (Song of Solomon 6:9).
These references to the bride as being a dove are of particular interest. They become very significant when viewed in the light of their application to the Church, the Bride of Christ. We can almost hear the echo of these words from the Song of Solomon as Jesus speaks to the disciples, saying, ". . . Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16).
What then is the significance of Christ designating His Bride, the Church as His dove? Its significance becomes apparent when we consider a few things about doves, noting the striking parallel between them and God’s people today.
In Bible times one of he chief uses of the dove was for sacrifice. They often were used when a lamb was too expensive for the offerer. Alluding then to this use of the dove in sacrifice we recall Paul’s words in Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. . . ."
Living for Christ demands our sacrifice. The entire history of the Church has been one of sacrifice. Men and women in all walks of life have sacrificed fame, fortune, popularity, prestige, friends, and many their vary lives in sacrificial service to their beloved Lord. The call to the Church today is still to sacrifice. May we see that as Christ’s dove we may be called upon at any time to sacrifice for Him, even to the laying down of our lives.
But even the particular mode of offering the dove was strictly defined. See Leviticus 1:14-17. In this passage we have a repetition of Abram’s sacrifice in Genesis 15:9, 10. You will note that care was taken that the bodies of the birds should not be divided. How meaningful this is when we recall the words of the bridegroom, saying, "My love, my undefiled is but one . . ." (Song of Solomon 6:9). Immediately we can see God’s thought for the Church—it should be undivided, it should be one.
Jesus prayed in John 17:21, "That they all [believers everywhere] may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." Paul speaking by the Spirit says, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).