Life-Study of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs

Life-Study of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songsby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-87083-947-0
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 20 of 20 Section 1 of 2

LIFE-STUDY OF SONG OF SONGS

MESSAGE TEN

THE FOUR STAGES
OF SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE IN SONG OF SONGS

Scripture Reading: S. S. 1:2-4a; 2:14; 4:8; 6:4

Song of Songs, although it is a short book, contains a great many figures and is full of important points. In reading this book it is easy for us to lose our way. However, through the writings of those who have gone before us, especially through Brother Nee’s study of this book, Song of Songs has been opened to us. I am thankful that through Brother Nee we can see that Song of Songs is a spiritual life-story of Christian experiences, signified by a romance. In Song of Songs these experiences are in four stages.

THE FIRST STAGE—ATTRACTED BY CHRIST
AND DRAWN BY HIM TO PURSUE
AFTER HIM FOR FULL SATISFACTION

In the first stage we are attracted by Christ and drawn by Him to pursue after Him for full satisfaction (1:2—2:7). This stage includes many things: yearning to be kissed by Christ; the fellowship in the inner chamber; entering into the church life by following the footsteps of the flock; being transformed by the remaking of the Spirit; and participating in Christ’s rest and satisfaction.

In this stage a sinner saved by grace is stirred up, attracted by Christ’s love, and charmed by what He is. Song of Songs 1:2 says of Christ, “Your love is better than wine.” Nothing in the whole universe can compare with Him. Verse 3 goes on to speak of Christ’s “anointing oils” and says that His “name is like ointment poured forth.” This ointment, which is actually Christ Himself as the Spirit, is a compound of divinity, humanity, Christ’s death and resurrection, the effectiveness of His death, and the power of His resurrection. The name here signifies Christ’s person, His being, and Christ is this compound Spirit. “The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45b). This indicates that Christ’s name as His person is the compound ointment.

THE SECOND STAGE—CALLED TO BE DELIVERED
FROM THE SELF THROUGH THE ONENESS
WITH THE CROSS

The second stage is the call to be delivered from the self through the oneness with the cross (S. S. 2:8—3:5). In brief, the second stage is the stage of the experience of the cross. In considering this stage, it is sufficient that we remember just one word—cross. Song of Songs 2:14 says, “My dove, in the clefts of the rock, / In the covert of the precipice, / Let me see your countenance, / Let me hear your voice; / For your voice is sweet, / And your countenance is lovely.” Here “the clefts of the rock” and “the covert of the precipice” are figures of the cross. Christ wants to see His lover’s lovely countenance and hear her sweet voice in her oneness, union, with the cross. The cross is the central stress in this section on deliverance from the self.

When we pursue after Christ and become satisfied with the rest and enjoyment in Christ, we may become very occupied with and concerned about the self and thereby fall into introspection. Thus, we need to experience the denying of the self and the breaking of the self by being one with the cross. We need to stay in the clefts of the rock and remain hidden in the covert of the precipice. This means that we should daily stay at the cross. We should be able to say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). We—“I,” the self, the natural man, the old man—have been crucified, and now we should stay on the cross. This is to be in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the precipice. How can we reach the clefts and the covert, which are rugged places high up in the mountains? How can we remain there? We can go to the cross and remain there only by the power of Christ’s resurrection (Phil. 3:10).


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