When the Beloved Has Gone Down into His Garden
...on the Holy Spirit Bearing Witness in Us to the Lord Jesus
We saw in the last issue, from Acts, how Jesus had given orders, like that of a military commander, to the disciples who remained with Him after His Death and Resurrection. Now, here, from Luke, we want to see again this short record of His orders. He said, And, behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high—Luke 24:49.
The question before us now is this: what was the Promise of His Father to which the Lord Jesus made reference in the above passage? Besides going to the early Prophets, we go back to when Jesus was about thirty years old. He had been hidden, as it were, for nearly two decades till he suddenly appeared on the scene where John the Baptist was preaching repentance and baptizing in the River Jordan. For the Jews, baptism was an act of purification. John was ministering this to those who were confessing their sins and were ready to undergo a spiritual reformation.
Jesus was among those who came asking to be baptized. John, it is apparent, did not readily recognize Him. But he knew something was different about this man. So he forbad Him. This means he tried to restrain Him as he said, I have need to be baptized of Thee. But, Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now (permit it now): for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. This meant, “It is the right thing for us to do to bring righteousness to its fullness”—from Matt 3:13-15.
Though He knew no sin, Jesus was sent of the Father to take upon Himself the sin of the mass of humanity. Paul stated it well. For He, (the Father), hath made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him—II Corinthians 5:21.
John said, I knew Him not (I had no idea Who He was): but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit—John 1:33.
And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him—Matthew 3:16. On seeing this in the context of the Original, it becomes rather apparent that it was to John that the heavens were opened so he could see that the Spirit was coming down on this One Whom he was baptizing. Then came a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased—Matt 3:17.
It is not clear whether there came upon Jesus something in appearance as a dove, or whether It was a description of how the Holy Spirit came upon Him. Luke adds some detail, saying that while Jesus was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him—Luke 3:22. What is more significant is that here, at one powerful moment in time, we have the three dimensions of the Godhead manifest in the earth. While some have made this a point of doctrinal division in the Body of Christ, it is more important that we consider that this was the coming of the Holy Spirit upon God’s Anointed Son. He is the One to Whom Prophets gave witness, the One Who identified with us in our sin, the One through Whom we are now reconciled to the Father, and the One who ever liveth to make intercession for us. And—we see one more powerful thing: He is the One Who would baptize us with the Holy Spirit.
There is a fine note of distinction here in the Original that I believe is significant. In John 1:33, John said most literally: “He is the One Who baptizes in Holy Spirit.” There is no Definite Article with “Holy Spirit.” This places the emphasis on the quality of that into which Jesus would baptize us. It would be into a Spirit that is holy. The word baptize is interesting in that it means to dip, or submerge. When this came into fulfillment on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, Peter, standing before the crowd, said, Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear—Acts 2:33. The word shed is from a word in the Original meaning to be poured out liberally, as if it were a gushing stream. What a baptism!
As the Good News of the Gospel was spreading to the Gentiles, Peter brought back this report to the Jewish believers: on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit—Acts 10:45. He used the same word as shed, though here it is translated poured out. It is significant that he called it the gift of the Holy Spirit. Is not this an evidence of grace? It brings before us an understanding that the Holy Spirit comes upon us not as an earned entitlement. There is no person who can become holy enough to deserve, or earn, the Holy Spirit. It is God’s gift of His Own Spirit sent to dwell in us, while we’re still in our needy state, to work His holiness into us.
We have already seen that Jesus spoke more fully of the Holy Spirit in John, chapters 14, 15 and 16, where He called Him the Comforter. But now, we will look more closely into some of what He said there. Take note of this compelling statement where He called Him the Spirit of Truth. He said, I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth; Whom the world cannot receive because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you—John 14:17. The word with is from the Greek para, meaning right along side you, like two parallel lines, side by side, moving into infinity. The disciples were knowing the Holy Spirit in that manner while Jesus was with them. But, after His departure, they would know the Holy Spirit in them. This would be theirs to know after He had baptized them in the Spirit. It is thus that we, present disciples of Jesus, can know Him now.
Then, Jesus went on to say, But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me—John 15:26.
The word testify is from the same basic word seen in Acts 1:8, the record of Jesus telling His disciples they would be witnesses unto Him. See it here: But ye shall receive power (dunamis, the enabling power of miracles), after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
First, the Holy Spirit would bear witness to Jesus in them, then they who received the Spirit would bear witness unto Jesus in the world.
This is so important, let us state it again. To the disciples, the Holy Spirit would bear witness within them of Jesus. The little word of in John 5:16 is from the Greek peri which here means concerning; or, about. The Holy Spirit Who would dwell in them would bear witness in them concerning Jesus, making Him real in them.
When Jesus said in Acts 1:8, ... ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me, it became evident they would bear witness to Jesus to Whom the Holy Spirit was bearing witness in them. They would not tell of a distant, historical Jesus. They would give testimony concerning their Lord Whom the Holy Spirit was presently making known in them. It is no difficult matter to be a witness unto Jesus for someone in whom the Holy Spirit is currently bearing testimony concerning Him.
Seeing this, I can know why the Lord Jesus became more real and personal in my own life after the Holy Spirit came upon me. Before I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, but after I knew I was saved, I looked forward to beholding Jesus in heaven. But when the Holy Spirit came upon us in a little Baptist Church in Mississippi, immediately it was Jesus who became more real in our lives. The Holy Spirit had come in us to testify of Him.
To add to this, Jesus caused me to become more aware of His Father. We do remember what He said to the questioning, and sometimes doubting, Thomas: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me—John 14:6.
My first understanding about trusting Him as my Savior was that I would now go to heaven. But Jesus made it more clear. Through Him, I would come to know His Father. Heaven? Yes! Forever! But the Father, now!
And, to add to this, we learn from Paul that heaven is ours to know now also. He said, ...God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (has made us alive together with Christ)...and hath raised us up together (with Him), and made us sit together (with Him) in heavenly places (in the heavenlies) in Christ Jesus—from Ephesians 2:4-6.
In those days after the Holy Spirit came upon us, Jesus became utterly real. I could see Him and know what He was doing. For a while I was able to stand back and let Him do His work. Those were wondrous days. Then, one day He came toward me, and kept on coming. Suddenly I could see Him no more. I spoke to no one of this for years.
Though my life had been changed by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, I missed seeing Jesus. Some years later, I shared with a brother who walked closely with the Lord what I felt had been my loss in not seeing Jesus any more. I told this man what had happened when I saw Jesus coming toward me and then disappeared.
He said, “That’s because He went down into his garden” (Song of Sol. 6:2).
I knew what he meant. In those days we spent much time watering our spirits from the Song of Solomon. Through the profound symbolism and light of that little Book, the Holy Spirit was drawing us toward knowing what we would later begin seeing in the straightforward language of Ephesians and Colossians. There Paul spoke freely of our place in Christ, and His place in us.
Allow me to spend a little time with you in the symbolism of the Song of Solomon. See this passage: A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed—4:12. We saw this as a picture of the Bride of Christ, His sister-spouse. This was spiritual terminology. As a corporate body, we are His sister because we share the same Father. We are His spouse because of the intimate union into which we are brought with Him as his bride, the Lamb’s wife, whom we come to know in Revelation 21:9.
In the beauty of the continued symbolism of the Song of Solomon, we find this in 5:1—I am come into My garden, My sister, My spouse. This would call for adjustment on her part, for she was not accustomed to knowing her Beloved within. I was not accustomed to knowing Christ in me.
As she goes through the spiritual pain of discovering where her Beloved, indeed, has gone, we hear her: I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled... In those days of spending time in the Song of Solomon, we saw a picture of the Lord Jesus asking for entrance into the closed chamber of His bride’s life. She hesitated at His call, with excuse that some of her life was to be reserved unto herself alone, without Him. Thus, we hear her pathetic response when He called: I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?—5:3
Then, she saw His hand. As sudden as a spark, she knew what she had done when He attempted to enter, only to find her door latched. My Beloved put in His hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved (the seat of my affections were awakened) for Him—5:4. The sudden awakening in the bride that her Beloved had the right to her innermost chamber brought a stirring within her. It was mixed with deep, and painful, conviction that she had not given herself fully to Him. She was hesitant about His rights to her, as many of us have been hesitant with regard to the rights Christ has in our lives.
Then, she said, I rose up to open to my Beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh (the bitterness of her rejecting Him mingled with the sweetness of expectation of beholding Him), and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock—Song of Sol 5:5. Bitterness, as myrrh is bitter, came upon that by which she had shut Him out. She expected she could open to Him and find Him instantly awaiting her embrace. So, she opened to her Beloved; but her Beloved had withdrawn Himself, and was gone. Her mournful response was, My soul failed when He spake. The inner part of her had not learned to maintain its continuing communion.
Is this possible? Does the Lord expect us to live in constant, unbroken communion with Him? What about the “other business” to which we must attend? What about the time we must spend with others?
For one who has yielded to the Lordship of Christ, these questions have little meaning. His last words recorded in Matthew’s Gospel were, Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world—28:20. Literally: “I am with you everyday until the con- summation of the age.” These were not empty words.
Back to the Song of Solomon, we hear these rather mournful words from the bride of the Beloved: I sought Him, but I could not find Him; I called Him, but He gave me no answer—5:6.
As a seeking believer might go from meeting to meeting, from ministry to ministry, expecting that at some place the One once known and watched might be found again, so she went about the city. At some places she met rebuke from those whom she expected would help her find Him.
Finally, she was challenged to recall Him. Questions came to her from some who would themselves also know Him. They are provoking questions, questions that called her soul to a deep searching: •Whither is thy Beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? •Whither is thy Beloved turned aside, that we may seek Him with thee? (Song of Solomon. 6:1)
As if shocked into reality by these queries, she answered: My Beloved is gone down into His garden... I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine... Where was He when she did not know where to find Him? He had gone into His garden. This was Christ in her, her hope of glory—Col 1:27.
Is it, indeed, possible that we may have the very indwelling Christ, living within us, and not know where He is or how to relate to Him?
I believe it is. The Apostle Paul bore his own painful testimony of this in Romans 7. Crying out, he said, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?—Rom 7:24. The word wretched is amazing, and interesting. It gives a picture of the bride going about seeking her Beloved—torn, abused, rebuked, till made to answer the question: Whither hath thy Beloved gone?
Wretched, the word Paul chose to describe his own state, means “miserably tired from overwork” in seeking to a righteousness before God. He found his deliverance in Christ. Answering his own question, he said, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord—Rom 7:25.
Then he gave this testimony: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit)—Rom 8:1.
He concluded by saying, Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord—Rom 8:39. He discovered, and so can we, that the promised Holy Spirit has, indeed, come to dwell within us to bear witness in us concerning Christ. What a witness!
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