As beautiful as the full moon,
As pure as the sun,
As awesome as an army with banners?”
—Song of Solomon 6:10 (NASB)
Lists within God’s Word help us to precisely understand exactly God’s definitions of words, phrases, and/or attributes of people, places, and things. I am particularly drawn to biblical lists in which something seems out of order. This usually means God is teaching something that might be contrary to our earthly way of thinking, or educating us as to how His definition of things is different than expected. In this list of the bride’s attributes, the first three things seem to speak of increasing intensities of light, but what does the fourth—“an army with banners”—fit in? At first blush, it doesn’t seem to belong.
There are probably other interpretations that can be applied, but what leaps to my mind is how these things mirror what some have termed, “the progressive revelation of God”. This is a theological term that summarizes the fact that God did not reveal His whole plan or explain everything about Himself at the very beginning. God reveals a little bit about Himself to the patriarchs, those people that lived before the time of Moses. We know the most about them and what God revealed to them from the book of Genesis. Think of this as “the dawn”, just a little light shed on the whole of God’s work and character. With Moses and the calling of Israel, God revealed even more of Himself and His plan, providing the light of “the full moon”—not nearly as much as the sun, but a lot more than the dawn. In the first coming of Christ, God’s revelation to us of His nature and intentions is far, far brighter than “the full moon” and more akin to “the sun”. So how does that thought develop logically into “an army with banners”? Just visualize Christ’s Second Coming, when He comes with His armies to conquer and reign forever. At that time we will know everything fully, both His plans AND the person of the Trinity.
If we will allow ourselves to listen to what the Spirit teaches through the Song of Solomon, we’ll find a wealth of spiritual references that go far beyond the teachings of physical relationships. We need to apply the lessons of the bride to our individual relationship with Christ and to our corporate response to Him as the church. We might begin to see that this relationship, first begun and to be continued through eternity, has at its core God’s desire to reveal more and more of His love as we’re drawn closer to Him personally and through the ages.†††