Rise Up, My Love (141): Who are Christ’s Beloved Friends?

CreationSong of Solomon 5:1 “Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” The term “beloved” is the Hebrew dodim, which is plural; literally, “beloveds” or “beloved ones.” The entire verse is one sentence, which is spoken by the husband in response to his wife’s invitation. The earlier portion of the verse speaks of the husband enjoying all the pleasures of his wife and is almost universally considered a metaphor for the physical union of marriage.

In this context, the last portion of the verse presents some challenging questions. Who are the friends of the bridegroom, and what exactly is his invitation?

Who are the “friends” of Christ? Some have suggested that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are the friends of Christ, and that this is his invitation for them to enjoy the bride with him, but I don’t think this can be right. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are truly a tri-unity, and as such they are inseparably one. In that sense, they are already one and therefore not “friends.” I would not address myself after I had just enjoyed a wonderful banquet with an “eat, O friends” invitation to eat again!

Contrarily, to whatever extent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate persons, the bride of Christ is always and only given to Christ alone. Scripture is uniquely monogamous from Genesis through Revelation. There is never, ever, a hint of anyone sharing his wife with anyone else (as a morally good thing). Throughout the ages of eternity, we shall be part and parcel of the body of Christ. Nowhere in Scripture is there any inference to being united as part of the “body” of God the Father or God the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the Father and the Spirit are not bodies at all. Christ is the physical manifestation of God, and his bride, in some mysterious way, will become a part of that “body.” This is a mystery, but it is a mystery between Christ and his church.preparing-lunchesWho are the friends of Christ? Who are his beloved ones? This must be an invitation to the individual persons who have put their faith and trust in him. As individuals, we are his friends…his beloved ones. I cannot help but think this is an invitation for us as individual believers to enjoy the blessings and benefits of the church corporately and personally. I believe this is Christ’s invitation for us to enjoy all the fruits and fellowship of the church at large, and all the blessings and benefits of marriage as individuals.

“Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” Enjoy the church—partake of her fellowship and divine nature, her fruits and goodnesses, her charity and comforts. Drink in her kindness. Be blessed by communion within her gates. Bring the sacrifice of joy and praise our God together. The Church is for Christ, but it is also ours to benefit us as members together of one another, so don’t be reticent! Join in the banqueting and enjoy all that Christ has provided for us! Candle lightThen too, as individual believers, we may each take unto ourselves one mate to have and to hold. “Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” See how Christ enjoys his bride! Imitate his love! Fill yourself with the love of your mate. Don’t hold back. Don’t hesitate. Understand that in love we may eat the honey and the honeycomb together…and drink the wine and the milk. It will not diminish the supply! There is an infinite supply of love flowing from the throne of God, and we may enjoy our mates with total abandon. “Drink abundantly!” Don’t fear you will love too much! Follow the example of Christ in enjoying all you’re offered! This is the liberty and privilege of believers. He has come to give us life, and life “more abundantly” (John 10:10)! Accept his offer and enjoy all he has given us.

(Since a notoriously perverted book and movie have come out recently in the U.S., I must add that marital relationships should always and ever be governed by genuine love, which includes the parameters found in Philippians 4:8, “ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.“)

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