Jesus Is Altogether Lovely
The following is the substance of the opening message which set the tone and established the theme for the CWM Camp held at Kingscliffe, north New South Wales, Australia, September 9 to 15, 2007.
COMMENCE with two Bible texts— both from Old Testament songs or poems which celebrate marriages—what old time theologians called epithalamiums, which were just that, i.e. “songs or poems about marriages”.
Text 1 : Song of Songs 5:16
His mouth is most sweet: yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
Typically here the true CHURCH bears witness to the honour, beauty and grace of her lover Lord. She testifies to both the cold formal and the hotheaded religious leaders and to non-believers alike, here corporately called “daughters of Jerusalem”, that Christ is real and vital and that true experiential Christianity is about Him not about US. Our text is one of the several crescendos within this sacred nuptial song rightly called the Song of Songs or in the LXX “Canticle of Canticles”. It expresses the uninhibited love between a bride and her bridegroom and supremely illustrates the mutual affections of God and His Son’s remnant church, the Bride of Christ. It is polemic and it is prophetic. While it speaks to all time, it finds its ultimate fulfilment in the end times, and so has particular significance to us.
The Shulamite bursts forth:
His mouth is most sweet.
In similar vein the Psalmist proclaims:
The law of the LORD is perfect … sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb (Psalm 19:7-10).
While John the revelator announces:
And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in its strength (Revelation 1:16).
Paul the pioneer missionary statesman, who frequented prisons, declares:
But thanks be to God! He always leads us triumphantly in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of knowing him. To God we are the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are being lost. To some people we are a deadly fragrance, while to others we are a living fragrance. Who is qualified for this? At least we are not commercialising God’s word like so many others. Instead, in Christ we speak with sincerity, like people who are sent from God and are accountable to God (2 Corinthians 2:14-17 —International Standard Version).
Christendom’s problem is that it has lost sight of the altogether loveliness of the divine Bridegroom. Unless a renewed obsession with HIM leads to our being enraptured by HIM, who is the true lover of our souls, our witness will remain defective, our testimony ineffective and our worship futile.
Text 2 : Psalm 45:8
All your garments [smell] of myrrh, and aloes, [and] cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made you glad.
This is no third party witness—not here a testimony to others—but a description within a union that 1946: When asked which person left the most could have no closer intimacy. Notice the use of the second person in the sentence construction: “All your garments”. The bride is here addressing the Bridegroom personally and directly.
Albert Barnes in his Notes on the Bible rightly points out:
The word “smell” is not in the original. The literal translation would be, “Myrrh, and aloes —cassia—all thy garments;” that is, they were so impregnated with perfumes that these seemed to constitute His very clothing.
C.H. Spurgeon argues that this entire Psalm is Messianic:
Some here see Solomon and Pharaoh’s daughter only—they are short sighted; others see both Solomon and Christ—they are cross eyed; well focused spiritual eyes see here Jesus only, or if Solomon be present at all, it must be like those hazy shadows of passers by which cross the face of the camera, and therefore are dimly traceable upon a photographic landscape. “The King“, the God whose throne is for ever and ever, is no mere mortal and his everlasting dominion is not bounded by Lebanon and Egypt’s river. This is no wedding song of earthly nuptials, but an Epithalamium for the Heavenly Bridegroom and his elect spouse.
Where’ere HE walks HIS fragrance fills the place
In Matthew chapter 18 verse 20 our Lord promised:
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).
The implication of this verse is not that Christ will be present whenever those who profess His name are gathered but rather that He will be present when HE HIMSELF has gathered HIS people together. So the pertinent question that arises is:How do we know HE is here and if He is NOT then where might HE be?
Or in the words of the Song of Songs framed as a question to the Shulamite:
Where is your beloved gone, O fairest among women? Where is your beloved turned aside? that we may seek Him with you (Song of Songs 6:1).
Her answer is the same as ours:
My beloved is gone down into His garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: He feeds among the lilies (Song of Songs 6:2-3).
Psalm 45 verse 8 provides a similar answer but with a different emphasis. Where HE is there will be the fragrance of HIS person—“of myrrh, and aloes, [and] cassia, out of the (PIERCED) palaces”.
The Hebrew “shen” (shane) (Strong 08127) rendered “ivory” (KJV) appears some 48 times in the Old Testament and is mostly translated “tooth”. The word is derived from the Hebrew root “shanan” (shaw-nan) (Strong 08150), which signifies to “pierce” as teeth or sharp pieces of rock do.
You can imagine the difficulty our English translators of this verse faced as they did with many parts of the Hebrew scriptures in their painstaking work. One of those difficulties relates to the fact that words in any language have meaning in context. It’s not always practical to translate words consistently. The Hebrew “shen” translated “tooth” elsewhere, could not be so rendered when describing “palaces”. Obviously here the rendition “out of the ‘toothed palaces’” would not be right. So seeing human teeth and elephant tusks and some animal horns are the source of “ivory”, the translators opted for an extension of the idea of the Hebrew word to the end product and rendered it “ivory palaces” rather than revert to the root “pierced”, which is probably what they should have done.
The association is obvious. CALVARY DOMINATES HISTORY. Christianity and a church deprived of the doctrine of suffering has NO Calvary and no CROSS and that my dear friends is NO Christianity at all. Christ is NOT and CANNOT be present in such a setting no matter how great the perception of success. The unavoidable fact of history, both secular and sacred, is that everyone will be “pierced” in one way or another. If you are not “pierced” in a crucified life with Him as part of His “pierced palaces” leading to real joy “whereby they have made you glad”, then you will find yourself being “pierced … through with many sorrows” no matter what you profess. Both the wealthy and the poor can be among those whom HIS PIERCING have made glad. BUT both poor and wealthy who have not been so “pierced”, as the MASTER was pierced, will be miserable in both time and eternity. These truths stand out everywhere in the Bible and in human experience.
In the SONG of the CROSS the Psalmist cries out:
For dogs have surrounded me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet(Psalm 22:16).
The SONG of the REDEEMED in Zechariah gives insight to God’s ways:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication: and they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn (Zechariah 12:10).
The gospel writer states the outworking and prophetic fulfilment:
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith there came out blood and water … And again another scripture says, They shall look on Him whom they pierced (John 19:34 & 37).
Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him: and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen (Revelation 1:7).
Paul the apostle predicts the consequence of the alternative “piercing”:
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10).
Myrrh, and aloes—cassia—all your garments.
MYRRH is the first mentioned and was one of the two principal spices that constituted the sacred ANOINTING OIL of the Old Testament priesthood, the other being CASSIA, which the biblical record lists as the last spice to be put in the flask of holy anointing. So in the mention of the first and last, which were equal in volume, Psalm 45 is pointing to this special anointing oil which is detailed by God to Moses:
Moreover the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Take principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred [shekels], and of sweet cinnamon half so much, [even] two hundred and fifty [shekels], and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty [shekels], And of cassia five hundred [shekels], after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive a hin: And make an oil of holy ointment … (Exodus 30:22-25).
Please note that the measurement was according to “the shekel of the sanctuary”. Sacred estimate is not subject to inflation or fraud. This is particularly comforting in our times when no value seems to be stable or secure. The anointing oil of God is established by the law of the sanctuary—not by secular regulation or decree. We are not dealing with a stock exchange here. A famous New York stock exchange once owned by men of honour and of standing is now owned by a pornographer.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;Change and decay in all around I see;O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Thank God—GOD is immutable and HIS estimate of quantity and value like HIMSELF does not change. The measurement is “after the shekel of the sanctuary”.
Verses 7 of Psalm 45 is clearly an allusion to the high-priestly office and anointing of the Messiah. Hebrews 1:9 removes all doubt as it repeats the words verbatim and identifies the Lord Jesus Christ as the person in view:
But to the Son [he said], Your throne, O God, [is] forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, [even] your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows (Hebrews 1:8-9 cf. Psalm 45:7-8).
In Old Testament times when this holy anointing oil (or ointment) was applied to humans, it was done in a such a way that it never touched the flesh in accordance with the biblical requirement:
It shall not be poured upon man’s flesh, neither shall you make [any other] like it, according to the composition of it: it[is] holy, [and] it shall be holy to you (Exodus 30:32).
Two classes of people were anointed with this oil. Firstly the high priest, representing all Jewish priests, was anointed on the behalf of the Israeli nation who are described as “the anointed” (or my anointed) and who God commanded were not to be “touched”—(“do not touch the Lord’s anointed”) by the nations among whom they were scattered BEYOND God’s permitted extent of chastisement cf. 1 Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15:
He allowed no man to do them wrong: yes, he reproved kings for their sake, [Saying], Do not touch my anointed, and do not harm my prophets (1 Chronicles 16:21-22 cf. Psalm 105:14-15).
The only other people to be “anointed” were cleansed lepers who during their leprosy were “cut off from their people”.
In each case, that of the high priest and of the cleansed leper, great care was taken to ensure that the anointing oil did NOT touch the flesh.
True in Both Testaments
The high priest’s anointing is poetically described by the psalmist:
A Song of degrees of David: Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity! [It is] like the precious oil upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron’s beard: that went down to the edge of his garments; It is like the dew of Hermon, that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, [even] life for evermore (Psalm 133:1-3).
The anointing oil NEVER touched the flesh—not even that of the high priest. The cleansed leper was anointed—but NOT on the flesh:
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest: (14) And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the big toe of his right foot: (17) And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand the priest shall put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the big toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering: (25) And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the big toe of his right foot: (28) And the priest shall put some of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the big toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering: (Leviticus 14:1-28).
These acts are illustrative of the New Testament TRUTHS that only Christ as High Priest is anointed “ABOVE”, i.e. over, HIS people and that HIS anointing is all sufficient and provides for and includes all of HIS people. Sin, like leprosy which is a type of sin, cuts us off from the “Anointed One” whose blood was shed, and must then be applied for our cleansing, and whose anointing must touch, not the flesh, but the blood previously applied to those who are blood bought in order to establish or re-establish right relationship.
John in his epistle tells us:
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need any man to teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in HIM (1 John 2:27).
Only One Specially Anointed
No human messenger in New Testament times is ever described as specially anointed other than Christ—the Messiah, i.e. the “Anointed One”. This is a vitally important truth that has largely been lost sight of in these days of personality worship. Many rank-and-file Christians speak all too glibly of the anointing without due reference to its true meaning, while leaders appeal to it as a defence of their own ministerial position, when in fact it is nothing of the kind. The anointing relates to Christ our Great High Priest under whom we have all been called to function and to co-exist. It was not to “touch the flesh” and it must NOT be used for “fleshly” purpose. In fact it CANNOT be put to any selfish or fleshly use.
Expressions such as “he/she is specially anointed” and “sharing his (your) anointing” with someone else are totally unbiblical and when pushed to an extreme are actually anti-Christian. In cases where some men and women arrogantly claim the “anointing” as their defence do so in the spirit of anti-Christ.
On threat of death or excommunication, which was symbolic of death, there were three divine PROHIBITIONS—the ANOINTING oil must never touch the flesh, it must NEVER be imitated and it must NOT be put upon a stranger:
It shall not be poured upon man’s flesh, neither shall you make [any other] like it, according to the composition of it: it [is] holy, [and] it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds [any] like it, or whoever puts [any] of it upon a stranger, shall be cut off from his people (Exodus 30:32-33).
In like manner there were instructions about the making and use of the sacred perfume that carried a similar threat of excommunication if it were ever copied:
Make an incense, a perfume after the art of the perfumer, salted, pure [and] holy: And you shall beat [some] of it very fine, and put it before the testimony in the tent of the congregation, where I will meet with you: it shall be to you most holy. And [as for] the incense which you shall make, you shall not make it for yourselves: it shall be holy to you for the LORD. Whoever shall make any like it, to use as perfume, shall be cut off from his people (Exodus 30:35-38).
So the reference in our text to “myrrh, aloes and cassia” is firstly:
I. An Allusion
to Christ’s high-priestly office and anointing.
Secondly, it is:
II. An Affirmation
about life's journey—life/death.
MYRRH is a bitter substance with a sweet smell. It is the symbol of the “bitter-sweet” of life. Just as it pervaded the life of our Lord so it must be present in all true CHRISTIAN LIVING. Unlike most other resins, myrrh expands and “blooms” when burned instead of melting or liquefying. In this connection it is interesting to note that it is frequently linked with frankincense which also has a sweet smell that only fully emerges when it is subjected to fire. Frankincense was an essential ingredient in the second of the Levitical offerings:
And when any will offer a grain offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense on it (Leviticus 2:1).
Israel knew two substances that symbolised “sweetness”. Frankincense was famous for its fragrance and honey for its taste. The former was an essential ingredient in worship while the latter was totally forbidden to be present in worship:
No grain offering, which you shall bring to the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for you shall not burn leaven, nor any honey in any offering of the LORD made by fire (Leviticus 2:11).
WHY? Myrrh and Frankincense are enhanced when heat is applied to them. In similar conditions honey ferments. It cannot endure suffering. For this reason it cannot be a part of true worship. Sickly sentimentality can never be a part of the “worth-ship” of Him who endured the cross. It is incongruous—a part of the bloodless religion of our day.
At the start of Christ’s life we read of the wise men who worshipped HIM:
...when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to him; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).
On His being presented at the Temple Simeon the priest prophesied:
This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel and for a sign that shall be spoken against. (Yes a sword shall pierce through your own soul also) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2:34-35).
Of the cross of Calvary we read:
And they brought him to the place Golgotha, which is, being translated, the place of a skull. And they gave him wine to drink mingled with myrrh: but he did not take it. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots for them, what every man should take (Mark 15:22-24).
The Psalmist spoke prophetically of this:
Reproach has broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked [for some] to take pity, but [there was] none; and for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food; and for my thirst they gave me vinegar. Let their table become a snare before them: and [that which should have been] for [their] welfare, [let it become] a trap(Psalm 69:20-22).
Matthew identifies “myrrh” as the “gall” of the Psalmist’s prophecy of which Easton’s Bible Dictionary comments:
Gr. chole (Matthew 27:34), the LXX. translation of the Hebrew rosh in Psalm 69:21, which foretells our Lord’s sufferings. The drink offered to our Lord was vinegar (made of light wine rendered acid, the common drink of Roman soldiers) “mingled with gall,” or, according to Mark (Mark 15:23), “mingled with myrrh;” both expressions meaning the same thing, namely, that the vinegar was made bitter by the infusion of wormwood or some other bitter substance, usually given, according to a merciful custom, as an anodyne to those who were crucified, to render them insensible to pain. Our Lord, knowing this, refuses to drink it. He would take nothing to cloud his faculties or blunt the pain of dying. He chooses to suffer every element of woe in the bitter cup of agony given him by the Father (John 18:11). “Jesus then said to Peter, put your sword into the sheath: shall I not drink the cup which my Father has given me?”
Myrrh was part of His burial
And Nicodemus came, who at first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. Then they took the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury (John 19:39-40).
Modern day TRIUMPHALISM contains no myrrh. It holds no theology of suffering and thus there is within it no reality in either life or in death. A theology where there is no CRUCIFIXION produces “illegitimate children”.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:17).
The KINGDOM NOW triumphalists masquerade as the Bride of Christ when in fact they are HARLOTS like the loose woman described in Proverbs as:
... loud and stubborn; her feet would not stay in her house: Now [she is] outside, now in the streets, and lies in wait at every corner. …. with an impudent face said to him, …. I have paid my vows …. and I have found you. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with coloured coverings with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon (Proverbs 7:11-17).
What a contrast to the THE BRIDE of whom we read in the Song of Songs
A garden enclosed [is] my sister, [my] spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Your plants [are] an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; henna with spikenard, Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices (Song of Songs 4:12-14).
Change the imagery of the Proverb passage and we rightly describe the Pentecostal-Charismatic “harlot” church of our time?
They are loud and brash; “through covetousness … with deceptive words [they] make merchandise of you” (2 Peter 2:3); they “travel sea and land to make one proselyte, and … make him twice as much a the child of hell than themselves”(Matthew 23:15). Barefacedly they seduce you soliciting your tithes to seduce others to their marketing ways, perverting sacrifice and suffering to entice you to their corrupt and immoral ways.
Having described the fragrance of the bridegroom the Psalmist then describes the Bride. C.H. Spurgeon, as we have seen, suggests that failure to see Christ in this Psalm constitutes short sightedness, while seeing both Solomon and Christ makes one cross-eyed.
He is right in those observations but he goes on to say “well focused spiritual eyes see here Jesus only”. But to see ONLY the Bridegroom and not the Bride as well, is ONE-EYED. As we will see C.H. Spurgeon was NOT one eyed for he does go on to acknowledge the description of the Bride.
We have here:
III. An Adornment
Verse 9 starts the description of the Bride's adornment.
… upon your right hand stood the queen in gold of Ophir. forget also your own people, and your father’s house; So shall the king greatly desire your beauty: …. (13) The king’s daughter [is] all glorious within: her clothing [is] of wrought gold (Psalm 45:9-13).
C.H. SPURGEON comments:
(v9) … the church shares her Lord’s honour and happiness, He sets her in the place of dignity. He clothes her with the best of the best. Gold is the richest of metals, and Ophir gold the purest known. Jesus bestows nothing inferior or of secondary value upon His beloved church. In imparted and imputed righteousness the church is divinely arrayed. Happy those who are members of a church so honoured, so beloved; unhappy those who persecute the beloved people, for as a husband will not endure that his wife should be insulted or maltreated, so neither will the heavenly Husband; he will speedily avenge his own elect. Mark then, the solemn pomp of the verses we have read. The King is seen with rapture, he girds himself as a warrior, robes himself as a monarch, mounts his chariot, darts his arrows, and conquers his foes. Then he ascends his throne with his sceptre in his hand, fills the palace hall with perfume brought from his secret chambers, his retinue stand around him, and, fairest of all, his bride is at his right hand, with daughters of subject princes as her attendants. Faith is no stranger to this sight, and every time she looks she adores, she loves, she rejoices, she expects.[
Merril F. Unger in the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright © 1988) in an article entitled Solomon's Gold from Ophir writes:
Ophir was the famous gold-producing region prominent in the OT. It is believed to have been located in SW Arabia in what is now known as Yemen. It may have included a part of the adjacent African seaboard. Yemen was famous for its gold mines, which are known to have still existed in the ninth century BC. Ophir was visited by the trading fleet of Solomon and the Phoenicians. Solomon’s navy was fitted out at Ezion-Geber, then travelled to Ophir, taking “four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there” (1 Kings 9:26-28; 22:48; 2 Chroncles 8:17-18; 9:10). At the northern end of the Gulf of Aqabah, Ezion-Geber (modern Tell el Keleifeh) was excavated by Nelson Glueck. Solomon used the copper of the Arabah, smelted at Ezion-Geber, as a stock-in-trade. His tarshish or “refinery” fleet sailed down the Red Sea and spent part of three years to make the trip, explainable by long hauls in excessively hot weather. In exchange for copper, Solomon’s refinery fleet brought back not only the fine gold of Ophir but silver, apes, ivory, and peacocks (1 Kings 10:22). Gold of Ophir garnished Solomon’s armour, throne, Temple, and house of the forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 10:14-19).”
As we have seen, the clothing of our heavenly Bridegroom is the fragrance of His person (v8)—“Myrrh, and aloes—cassia—all your garments;” that is, they were so impregnated with perfumes that these seemed to constitute his very clothing.
On the other hand the bride’s clothing is the provision of the Bridegroom’s love:
The bride eyes not her garments,but her dear Bridegroom's face.I will not gaze at glory,but on my King of GRACE.Not at the crown He giveth,but on His pierced HandThe Lamb is all the gloryof Emanuel’s land.
In an interesting cross reference Isaiah prophesies:
I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir (Isaiah 13:12).
The contextrelates to the end times:
Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine. And I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir (Isaiah 13:9-12).
ALBERT BARNES in his Notes on the Bible points out:
The Chaldee Paraphrase gives a different sense to this passage. “I will love those who fear me, more than gold in which people glory; and those who observe the law more than the tried gold of Ophir” (E-Sword-On Line Bible).
As the bride of Christ approaches the time of her marriage to the divine Bridegroom a change begins to take place. It is a change based on magnetic attraction. We sing: He’s changing me, from glory to glory, He’s changing me.
That change though gradual is also automatic. We are nearing the time. A man—THE MAN—who is more precious than pure GOLD becomes our refuge and protector.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (1 John 3:1-3).
In the final scenes of time we read:
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev 21:2).
Thus the Psalmist in this most sublime of marriage songs observes in verse 9—“Kings’ daughters were among your honourable women” and adds in verse 13 in his description of the chief of them:
The king’s daughter [is] all glorious within: her clothing is woven with gold (Psalm 45:13).
The queen is the Bride of Christ, who having been made “all glorious within” now takes on her Bridegroom’s outward appearance. Because she shares HIS character and nature, she will bear His deportment and appearance. The prophetic Psalmist further observes:
at your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir (Psalm 45:9).
The word here rendered queen is the Hebrew shegal (Strong 07694), which features only once more in the whole of scripture. Nehemiah uses it to describe the consort of Artaxerxes the Medo-Persian emperor. She was undoubtedly Esther the one “brought to the Kingdom for such a time”. We read:
And the king said to me, (the queen <07694> also sitting by him,) For how long will your journey be? and when will you return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time (Nehemiah 2:6).
The word signifies a “foreign queen”. We the Bride of Christ were foreign to all that is associated with Him and now through His grace and His adornment of our dress we are foreign to everything that is NOT associated with HIM, i.e. that which is related to this world. The Psalmist says:
She shall be brought to the king in embroidered work: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought to you (Psalm 45:14).
Finally there is:
IV. An Appeal
to the church for loyalty and devotion and a promise in perpetuity
Listen O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear; forget your own people, and your father’s house (Psalm 45:10).
Based on her obedience in verse 11, the king responds to the bride’s loyalty and devotion:
So shall the king greatly desire your beauty: for He [is] your Lord; and you MUST worship Him (Psalm 45:11).
There then follows in verse 16—the king’s promise to HIS bride:
Instead of your fathers shall be your sons, whom you may make princes in all the earth (Psalm 45:16).
And in verse 17—the bride's assurance to HER bridegroom:
I will make your name to be remembered in all generations: therefore the peoples will praise you for ever and ever(Psalm 45:17).
Out of the Ivory Palaces
In the summer of 1915 the famous evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman preached at a Presbyterian conference in Montreal on Psalm 45. His 24 year old British pianist Henry Barraclough later that night wrote the words and music of the now famous hymn Out of the Ivory Palaces.
The following day the evangelist's wife and their soloist sang it for the first time as the pianist author played the music he had written. Here are the words originally outlined by Henry Barraclough on the back of a visiting card of a little village store where the evangelist's party stopped en route for the YMCA hostel where they stayed that night:
My Lord has garments so wondrous fine,And myrrh their texture fills;Its fragrance reached to this heart of mineWith joy my being thrills.
Out of the ivory palaces,Into a world of woe,Only His great eternal loveMade my Saviour go.
His garments too were in cassia dipped,With healing in a touch;Each time my feet in some sin have slipped,He took me from its clutch.
His life had also its sorrows sore,For aloes had a part;And when I think of the cross He bore,My eyes with teardrops start
In garments glorious He will come,To open wide the door;And I shall enter my heav’nly home,To dwell forevermore.
—Words & Music:Henry Barraclough, 1915