Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, by Witness Lee


In chapter six, we see the last figure used by the Lord to describe the seeker. “Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners” (v. 4). So we have the garden and the city. Tirzah was the ancient capital of the king (1 Kings 14:17; 16:17-18), and Jerusalem is the holy city of God (Psa. 48:1-2). Therefore, the last figure is really something of building. Now we have ten figures— the first eight, and now the garden and the city.

Besides these ten figures, there are two more: the spring and the fountain. However, for the present we would like to put these two aside. It is clear, in any case, that the Lord Jesus mainly used these ten figures to describe this seeking one. We have become quite familiar with the first eight; now we must see the last two.


The garden and the city include the whole Bible from beginning to end. The Bible begins with a garden and it ends with a city. In the first two chapters of the Bible, there is a garden; in the last two chapters, there is a city. In the Song of Songs, the garden and the city are the very person of the seeking one. She fully corresponds now to the standard of God’s eternal will. The Bible reveals that God’s eternal will is firstly a garden and ultimately a city. This is why this book is so marvelous. The seeker of the Lord in this book becomes these very things—a garden and a city. For this reason we say that the Song of Songs covers the entire Bible. It takes the whole Bible to describe the seeker because the Bible starts with the garden and concludes with the city. Now she is the garden and the city. But this is not all. The name of the garden is Paradise, and the name of the city is Jerusalem. This proves the divine inspiration of the Bible. No human mind could compose a book that fits so well in today’s church life. How did Solomon learn all these things? Who told him about life and building? Yet he wrote it all twenty-five hundred years ago. Praise the Lord that He has opened this book to us!


Almost all the teaching and edification given in Christianity is for the individual. Everyone is trying to be individually spiritual, and most of the Bible teachers are doing their best to help others to be spiritual in an individual way. But the whole Bible shows us that our spirituality should not be only individualistic. All our spirituality must be for the building. Some of the brothers in the church are carpenters who have helped to build houses and buildings. They know that each individual piece of material is not for itself; every piece is for the corporate building. I never heard anything in Christianity about the corporate building. But I did hear a great deal about this matter from Brother Watchman Nee. For more than three years, from 1939 to 1942, he spoke all the time on the matter of building. At that time the Lord opened up to us the first two chapters and the last two chapters of the Bible. The building in the Bible became so clear to us. But today a message is rarely heard in Christianity about our need to be built up into a corporate Body. May the Lord grant us doves’ eyes so that we will have spiritual perception to see that spirituality is not merely for individuals. Spirituality is for the building up of the corporate city.


The progression to the building is clearly seen in these ten figures. First, there are the horses, then the doves’ eyes, the lily, and the dove. After a period of time there are the pillars of smoke. This figure of the pillars indicates building. Then from the pillars we go to the couch and the palanquin. The palanquin is built up with certain materials. Then, comes the crown. All of these first eight figures are one group in the first section of this book. The conclusion for this group of figures is the palanquin for the Lord’s move and the crown for the Lord’s glory. It is really wonderful and marvelous! It seems that the seeking one has reached the peak and that nothing else is needed. If I were the writer of this book, I would probably have closed the book here. It seems good enough to have the palanquin and the crown. But if this is all we have, it is merely individual spirituality, holiness, and maturity in life. Everything is for individuals.

We must realize that this book is divided into two sections. The first eight figures in the first section describe and illustrate the seeking one up to the crown. In the second section, two more figures are used by the Lord to describe this wonderful person: a garden and a city. This is wonderful! If we only had the figures from the horses to the crown, we would have only some pieces and parts of the Scriptures; we would not have the whole Bible. But when we come to the last section of the book, this wonderful seeker becomes the garden and the city. Now she fits into the entire Bible; we can apply the whole Bible to her from the beginning to the end. We can see her in the garden in Genesis 1 and 2, and we can also see her in the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 and 22. She is both the garden and the city. It is not just a personal, individualistic matter; it is a corporate matter. A garden is for growing, and a city is something built up.

(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)