The Bride of Christ beautifully described as ‘ a dove’. 27th January 2018

Yesterday I mentioned that I would share I would share today the significance of the choice of the dove when Solomon describes his beloved in the Song of Songs. Remember he calls her ‘My dove’ and then as the relationship develops she too addresses him similarly.
We know that in scripture the dove is used to symbolise the Holy Spirit and this gives us a picture of both the character and the power that the Holy Spirit wishes to impart in us as He comes to indwell.
He comes to develop peace and purity, grace and gentleness, sensitivity and humility. His two wings permanently remind us of the need for balance in our search for truth and in our expression of ministry. It reminds us of what Jesus described as the Father’s understanding of pure worship…”The Father seeks those to worship Him in Spirit (supernatural authority and demonstration) and in Truth (Scriptural accuracy and character integrity). Without both, one wing only, we fly around in the circle of error and imbalance.
However here the word dove is used for different reasons.
Where is the dove so often found?
“O my dove, you are in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see you, let me hear your voice; for sweet is your voice, and your appearance is so wonderful to me”.
Song of Songs 2 v 14
The dove makes her nest in high places. The King James text says, “in the secret places of the stairs.” Other translations suggest literally, “in the places of going up.” This is a cry for ‘intimacy’. In order for us to have the fellowship with our Bridegroom it is necessary for us to get away from it all. It is necessary for us to be in that secret, quiet place away from all the busy turmoil of life.
Isaiah 38 v 14 says “Like a crane or a swallow [two birds noted for their chattering] , so did I chatter: Oh that I would mourn as a dove”
Ezekiel 7 v 16 “But that they may escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning”
Yes, doves are peculiar birds in that they mourn. They are so sensitive to atmosphere and reflect it in their behaviour.
I’m reminded of the Beatitude in Matthew 5 v 4 “Blessed are they that mourn (hunger, thirst, desire, yearn for God) for they shall be comforted”. The characteristic of the Bride and the Bridegroom for Her can only be described as an intimate deep yearning for each other as if in mourning.
Lastly, the dove is a bird that doesn’t have peripheral vision. She can see only that which is directly in front of her. The dove, the Bride, only has eyes for her Bridegroom. Like-wise we only have eyes for Jesus.
And… the dove does not have a gale bladder….that is the part of the bird that is bitter to the taste and is removed from a chicken before cooking.
So….. the dove has no bitterness in her. Solomon says to her …”You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
And Jesus, our Bridegroom, says that to us too today.
Oh Lord
You love us so much and we deserve nothing. Help us to be like the moon to the sun, a mere re…

About the author: Dr Howard Barnes

Howard Barnes was born in England in 1944 to Salvation Army pastor parents. After secondary education he went to university and studied Theology and subsequently become a Secondary School teacher and served in several London schools as the Head of Divinity. During these years he also was a youth leader and then served as a pastor of a local church in Cornwall, England. In 2003 he retired from teaching, after 37 years’ service, to take up a position as director of an evangelistic ministry called Harvest for Christ but in 2008 he became Co-director of Time Out Mission International and more recently director of The Body and the Bride Network Ministry International (UK). These last two ministries which he co-directed with his close friend and ministry colleague, Michael Pike (Apostle), were deeply passionate about two things. 1) to see the worldwide Church discover the meaning of real unity and so fulfill the prayer of Jesus in Jn 17 v 21 and 23 ….“that they may be One even as we are One” and 2) to understand and embrace its end-time identity as the precious Bride of Christ and to prepare her for the coming Bridegroom King. These experiences have paved the way for the creation of this new ministry called The Call2Come which, while still holding to these emphasis, calls the Church to prepare Herself as His precious Bride and so position Herself to cry the prayer that only the Bride can¬ pray. It is only the “Spirit and the Bride” that can cry Come. Howard has received two honorary doctorates in recognition of his mission and reconciliation/peace work in over 70 nations around the world. He is also an official representative for Foundations for Biblical Farming (FFF) which comes out of Zimbabwe, Africa and for the World Prayer Assembly (WPA). He is a regular speaker at international church conferences and operates under an apostolic mantel. He has been married to Tricia for 50 years who was herself a music teacher, and they have two lovely married children and four beautiful grandchildren. He is both a musician and a gifted artist.

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