Here is another distinct and unquestionable break…the next “act” if you will. The curtain closed on the last scene with the bride’s reverie as she gazed in rapture on the form of her beloved husband, wrapped in her arms, loved into blissful sleep. The curtain rises again on a magnificent processional wending its way up the mountainside to the honeymoon residence, coming to receive the bride and bring her to her permanent residence…probably a palace built for her!
“Who is this…” There has been great controversy over “who” the “who” is, since the word is feminine singular in the Hebrew and can be rendered by either “who” or “what.” Although modern customs showcase the bride at such formal celebrations, and it is thrilling to consider the bride’s privileges and beauties as she entered into the protections and graces provided by her husband (as soon as she joined the processional at his side), I believe deeply that this is a portrait of the bridegroom coming to receive his bride. If this is true, then the “who”…if not referring directly to the groom, may be speaking of his royal palanquin described in verse two (which is a feminine singular noun), or to the processional itself…and might be rendered “what.”
“What is this?” It is a glorious cavalcade, a dazzling display of grandeur! “Who is this?” It is the king in all his regal glory, coming to receive his bride unto himself!
“Cometh” is the Hebrew ‘ola and means literally “ascending” or “coming up.” The bride, filled with amazement, watches as her beloved returns to her again with his royal train. So, this is what he’s been up to! This is the secret that he was keeping from me, that was making me so frightened and insecure! This is what he was doing all the time! I worried that he didn’t love me…that his affections were wondering…that he had ceased finding pleasure in me. But, no, he was thinking of me all along, preparing a royal surprise.
“Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense?” This time her beloved was not coming to her humbly from the wilderness, like a deer leaping upon the mountains. Our Lord came to us first as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothing…just a man… “as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). Our first experience with the Lord is to be overwhelmed by his love and goodness…his life-giving forgiveness and salvation. Like the bride, we saw him as a sustaining “apple tree,” and we delighted in him, not because of his beauty, but because of his infinite love and provision.
This in itself was more than enough, but this wasn’t all! First we knew him as the humble, earnest lover of our souls, who came to us, leaping across the mountains of adversity and wooing us to himself. But, after our souls have grown to seek him and thirst for his love more than for our own comforts…yea, at the risk of losing our very lives in order to embrace him fully…after that time, he comes to us again. He comes to us not in quiet simplicity, but in the full revelation of his person and office as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Who is this who is coming to me? It is indeed “him whom my soul loveth,” but it is more! He is not coming alone; he is coming with a heavenly train attending him! Who is this “man,” this bleeding Savior who knocked so gently at the door of my heart…whom I have grown to love so passionately, and whom I have brought into the most intimate chambers of my being? He is not just my husband, and the lover of my soul. He is the king. He is my king! May I bow in reverential awe before his feet and worship him!
(Picture #1 from lostpedia.wikia.com; picture #2 wordsofreason.wordpress.com)