Distinctions that Make a Difference
Wade E Taylor
“There are threescore queens... My dove, My undefiled is but one….” Song of Solomon 6:8, 9
The certainty that all Christians experience the “abiding presence” of the Holy Spirit is absolute. Apart from receiving Jesus as our personal Savior, there are no conditions to meet. For all who are redeemed, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is a reality that can be depended upon.
“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own.” I Corinthians 6:19 Amplified
The Holy Spirit is the perfect type of a crucified life. He is a person, but is totally hidden, as His purpose is to reveal and make Jesus known.
“However when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you.” John 16:13-14
However, our experiencing the “manifest presence” of Jesus is conditional. To have the ability to recognize the “manifested presence” of Jesus when He knocks on the door of our spirit, and the capability to rightly respond when He does, is dependent upon the development of our “spiritual sensitivity,” and the “poise” of our spirit.
“For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” I Corinthians 2:11-12
This means that we must prayerfully keep our spirit sensitive, or “poised” toward Him, so we will be able to recognize His presence, when He comes to makes known His desire to fellowship with us.
“I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me... That I may cause those that love Me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” Proverbs 8:17, 21
As our love for Jesus grows, we will find ourselves expectantly looking forward to these visitations of His manifest presence.
“…There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” I Corinthians 15:44
Our “natural body” is earth bound, and is limited to all that is of the earth realm.
“My soul cleaves to the dust: quicken You me according to Your word.” Psalm 119:25
In our new birth, we are spiritually reborn, and we become a “new creation.”
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, Who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ….” II Corinthians 5:17-18
Being a “new creature,” we are reborn as a spiritual baby with newly created spiritual senses, which must be progressively developed, just as our natural senses gradually matured as we grew.
It is through these inner spiritual senses that we perceive, or recognize the manifest presence of the Lord.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock....” Revelation 3:20
This “door” is the entrance into our spirit. Those who truly desire the Lord’s friendship will quickly respond to the manifestation of the fact of His presence (knocking), and invite Him to come within the “room” of their spiritual being.
This requires our learning how to open the “door of entrance” into our spirit, when the Lord comes to visit with us - waiting for us to respond to His knock upon the door of our spirit. We must, in an attitude of expectant anticipation and worship, invite Jesus to come within.
The Heavenly Bridegroom attempted to visit His Bride at a time that was inconvenient for her, therefore she failed to respond. Disappointed, He departed because of her reluctance to open the “door of her spirit” to fellowship with Him. But, all was not lost. Instead, He allowed her to recognize the essential difference that exists between the “gifts and blessings” which He willingly left behind for her to find, and the tremendous value of His “manifest presence.”
Jesus longs for us to both desire and seek to know Him as a person, rather than our being satisfied to respond to Him only to receive all that He is willing to provides.
During the time in which the Bride lived, the latch on the door of entrance into her home was located on the inside of the door. It could only be unlatched by reaching through a small hole in the door and unlocking it from within. This provided a limited means of privacy, security, and protection.
The Lord so intensely desired to be with His Bride that He reached through this opening in the door toward the latch, but He did not open it. The “door of entrance” to our spiritual chamber is always within our control, and can only be opened by us. This action by the Lord of reaching toward the Bride, deeply stirred her. Later, she testified concerning this,
“My Beloved put in His hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels (the inner depths of her being) were moved for Him.” Song of Solomon 5:4
The Lord will never invade or violate our privacy. We must open the door; He never will. This principle is established in Scripture - He will knock, and then stand there, waiting for us to open the door. But, He will leave if we do not invite Him to come within.
“…If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him….” Revelation 3:20
When she noticed His hand reaching toward the latch as an expression of His desire to be with her, she (finally) responded and opened the door to Him.
“I rose up to open to my Beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my Beloved; but my Beloved had withdrawn Himself, and was gone: my soul failed when He spoke: I sought Him, but I could not find Him; I called Him, but He gave me no answer.” Song of Solomon 5:5-6
When she opened the door, He was no longer there. Because of the delay in her response, He had reluctantly withdrawn His “manifest presence” from the door of entrance into her chamber. However, the anointing, or the result of His presence, had remained upon the lock. When she touched the lock, this tangible anointing came onto her hands “...my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh.” When He departed, He left for her a “handful” of blessings. Previously, she would have been content to have these blessings, apart from Him, but now, she panicked and longed for the personal presence of the Bridegroom Himself.
Some are not able to differentiate between these two aspects of His presence.
First, there is His “omnipresence,” which fills heaven and earth, and relates to our salvation and to its outworking within our lives. This speaks of the unconditional, “abiding presence” of the Holy Spirit within us. This aspect of His presence is general, and relates to His redemptive grace.
“…Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:24
The second aspect of His presence is specific, and relates to the coming of the Lord to us as a Person, having intellect, will, and emotions. The Lord is eager to come within our chamber, to personally “share Himself with us” in fellowship, and then lead us upward into His manifest presence (throne), where “we share with Him” in the outworking of His purposes.
This speaks of a “conditional” visitation from the Lord to us, and is referred to as His “manifest presence.”
“…He stands behind our wall, He looks forth at the windows, showing Himself through the lattice.” Song of Solomon 2:9
Jesus expresses the conditions that allow Him to personally manifest Himself to us in the Gospel of John.
“He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. Judas says to Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world? Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” John 14:21-23
The experience of her failure in responding to the attempted visit of the Bridegroom became a very important lesson for the Bride. She learned through her disobedience that she urgently needed to develop her inner spiritual sensitivity, so she could hear His knocking upon the “door” of her chamber. She also learned the importance of quickly responding to His approaches, regardless of her present circumstances.
“I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early (without delay) shall find Me.” Proverbs 8:17
Previously, the Bride had picturesquely described a characteristic of the Bridegroom - His hesitation in revealing Himself, because of His sensitivity to being rejected. She had said,
“My Beloved is like a roe or a young hart….” Song of Solomon 2:9
She recognized that His “manifest” presence is delicate, and can be easily grieved. Thus, she should have known that He would leave when she delayed in responding to Him.
After her failure to respond promptly to His visitation, the Bride made a second mistake. Instead of asking for His forgiveness, and then waiting for Him to again come, she departed and returned to her old ways, seeking out others for advice, concerning the loss of His presence.
“The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.” Song of Solomon 5:7
The ministry that she sought out did not understand the deep “workings” that were taking place within her at this particular time, which are intended to bring about the changes that will enable her to become more responsive to the Lord’s presence.
Unseen to these watchmen, the Lord was diligently at work, deep within her being. He was enlarging within her the desire, and the capacity, to maintain an attitude of “expectancy” concerning His visits to her. Along with this, He was creating within her the ability to better respond and move with Him in the outworking of His purposes, when He came to her in His manifest presence.
The Lord left her in this condition for awhile. This time, her visit to the “watchmen” had a different outcome. Her heart had been captivated by the Lord and she was earnestly searching for Him, rather than frantically seeking for His blessings, as in the past. Therefore, she recognized that the Lord was allowing her to be “chastened” through the ministry, that she might be inwardly changed.
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens….” Hebrews 12:6
Because she now understood that the Lord works “all things together for good,” she was able to maintain a good attitude toward these watchmen. We too should be careful about giving expression to our feelings, concerning difficult situations in which we find ourselves, especially when we know that others may not understand. If we should express our need, regardless, our spirit may be damaged and our spiritual perception decreased.
It is exceedingly important that we discipline ourselves in order to maintain the sensitivity of our spirit to His presence.
After this experience with the watchmen, she turned to those who should have been seeking Him with her, and said to them,
“I charge you, O Daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my Beloved, that you tell Him, that I am sick of love.” Song of Solomon 5:8
There are two different categories of Christians within the Church. This is clearly demonstrated in the Song of Solomon.
“My dove, My undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bore her. The Daughters saw her, and blessed her….” Song of Solomon 6:9-10
The first is the “Bride,” who can be identified as being a “Church within the Church.” This “hidden” Church within (Bride), first relates to the Lord, and then through Him, to others. The “visible” Church (Daughters of Jerusalem), first relates to others within the church, and then through them, to the Lord.
The Bride has captured the singular attention and interest of the Bridegroom and said to Him,
“Tell me, O You Whom my soul loves, where You feed, where You make Your flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of Your companions?” Song of Solomon 1:7
The Bride is no longer content with simply enjoying all the blessings of salvation, or with just having a part in the program of the Church. She is reaching beyond this to the Lord Himself, and will only be satisfied with a personal, intimate relationship with Him.
The second group, the “Daughters of Jerusalem,” (nominal Christians) are saved and have some understanding of the things of God. They attend Church and become involved, but they are satisfied with being saved, healed, and blessed. These say to the Bride:
“What is your Beloved more than another beloved….?” Song of Solomon 5:9
They are saying, “We have gone as far as we are willing to go, we will stay here. Besides, we do not see why we should go through all those dealings, like you do.”
The Bride was seeking the Lord because He had withdrawn His “manifest presence” from her. She could no longer be satisfied with the Church program, and only fellowship with those within the Church, as the Daughters of Jerusalem were doing. Therefore, as she desperately searched for the Lord of the program, she spoke to the “Church visible” - portrayed as the “Daughters of Jerusalem,” and said,
“I charge you, O Daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my Beloved, that you tell Him, that I am sick of love.” Song of Solomon 5:8
The Daughters of Jerusalem (Church visible) answered her and said,
“What is your Beloved more than another beloved, O you fairest among women? What is your Beloved more than another beloved, that you do so charge us?” Song of Solomon 5:9
They only saw the benefits of being a Christian. To them, going to Church represented an obligation, or duty fulfilled. Also, it provided them with a time for social fellowship and activities. The thought of entering His chambers for fellowship and communion with the Lord Himself was far from their minds, or interest. They could only say to the Bride,
“What is He more than a good job, a nice home, or security? What is He more than all of the good things we have? We are satisfied and content. We are the Daughters of Jerusalem (saved), and it is enough. Do not bother us with your seeking of the Lord, you are trying to be too spiritual.”
But something had happened within the heart of the Bride. She had been in the garden alone with Jesus, and experienced the joy and the satisfaction of communion with Him. Now, she longed for the continuing experience of His personal presence and friendship. She felt incomplete when she was apart from Him. When the Daughters of Jerusalem said to her, “What is He more than another,” she did not tell them about all the blessings she had received from Him. Rather, she began to extol the Bridegroom Himself.
“My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, His locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet: yea, He is altogether lovely.
“This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, O Daughters of Jerusalem.” Song of Solomon 5:10-16
She had been spending time alone with her Beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ, and was able to give an intimate description of Him. She could clearly describe His Person because she had a single eye toward Him. She knew Him as an intimate Friend, and could give clear, authoritative expression to His beauty and to His desirability.
Due to her personal knowledge and relationship with Him, the Bride exalted the Lord Jesus, and set Him forth as the answer to the inner cry of every heart. This brought a response from the Daughters of Jerusalem, which is so needed in our day of special gimmicks and programs that are (wrongly) being used to build up the Church.
“Where is your Beloved gone, O you fairest among women? where is your Beloved turned aside? That we may seek Him with you?” Song of Solomon 6:1
Their spirit had been stirred by the testimony that flowed out as a river from the inner depths of the Bride, as she gave expression to her love for Him. She set forth the Lord Himself in evident view for the Daughters of Jerusalem to behold, as she had been spending time with Him.
The enemy of our spiritual life continually seeks to turn us aside from this, and will try to tell us: “It is selfish to endeavor to become spiritual, or to spend time waiting on the Lord. Rather, go out and do something for somebody else. Get so busy working for the Lord that you have no time to prepare yourself to work with Him.”
The enemy knows the power that can flow through the life of the one who has been alone with the Lord, in His chambers. He knows the heart cry of those who will eagerly respond - after they “witness” the beauty of Jesus being expressed through the life of His Bride.
“Where is your Beloved gone... that we may seek Him with you.” Song of Solomon 6:1
We must purposely set apart time to wait upon the Lord. As we do, we will fall so completely in love with Jesus and become so like Him, that it will be He that is seen, rather than us. Then, wherever we go, His presence that abides with us will penetrate through every hindering bondage and fear, in those who are witnessing the result of His life in our life. This will bring others to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The Lord is calling a Bride out from among those who are still saying, “I have gone to bed, how shall I get up?” These Daughters of Jerusalem know the voice of the Lord to a degree, but they are not committed. They have a limited involvement in the Church and are willing to only go so far. They draw a line, and refuse to go further. They say, “I will not become one of those fanatics.” They know there is a price to pay in order to enter His chambers, and they are not willing to pay it.
How much better it is to arise from our bed of indifference to respond to His knocking on the door of our heart, and then allow Him to guide us upward on the stairs into His chambers, that we might come to intimately know Him; and then, in the manifestation of His presence, share together with Him in the outworking of His purposes.
Now, He can say to us:
“Come, My beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give you My loves.” Song of Solomon 7:11-12
And now, we as His Bride, can respond, knowing we have found that for which we had been searching - our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ.