Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. (Song of Solomon 4:6)
…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun (Dayspring from on high) will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
The day break, all those in the darkness and shadows long for this day break, the brightness of dawn, for this dayspring from on high.
Dayspring is a beautiful name for the coming Savior given by Zacharias as he prophesied filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:67). The Greek word translated “dayspring” is only translated like this here in Luke. It refers to the metaphorical spring from which the sun springs forth each day. Usually it is translated simply as “the east.” It is interesting that it is used three times in connection with the story of the wise men “from the east” who saw “His star in the east” and then, when they reached Bethlehem once again, “the star, which they saw in the east,” led them to the one who was Himself “the dayspring” (Matthew 2:1,2,9). The east is also the direction from which Ezekiel saw come “the glory of the God of Israel” enter the temple (Ezekial 43:2, 4). The birth of Jesus was a very special dawn indeed.
There is another special dawn to look forward to, the return of Christ, which will also come from the east, just as the rising sun (Matthew 24:27). A dawn where all shadows will flee, where the glory of the LORD will rise upon all, every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7), every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). There will be no more darkness, sorrow, pain, no need for the light of the sun or moon; for the LORD will be our everlasting light and the Lamb our lamp (Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-20; Revelation 21:1-4, 22-23). There will never be another sunrise after this.
But until this last sunrise, the lover of Song of Solomon 4 will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. Micah and Isaiah also mention a mountain that peoples will stream to.
In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.
(Micah 4:1, Isaiah 2:2)
Many nations will come and the Lord will judge. The Lord’s people will walk in His light, His way (Micah 4:2, Isaiah 2:5). Those who are brought to this holy mountain, who walk in His light, will be given joy and their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on the Lord’s altar. The Lord’s altar will be a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:7-8). The joy of the redeemed will be visible; an everlasting crown for their heads.
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
On this mountain of the Lord, sorrow, sighing, pain, darkness — all shadows flee. The ‘mountain of the Lord’, ‘the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense’; are these phrases linked? Where might these places be? What might this mountain or hill be referring to?
Because of the sweet smells which accompanied temple sacrifices many commentaries associate the mountain of myrrh or hill of frankincense with the temple built on Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah is also where Abraham offered up his son Isaac, foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice. Abraham called this place ‘The LORD Will Provide’. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided” (Genesis 22:14). Mount Moriah is known as the mountain of the Lord. The temple built there was where the shechinah or the divine presence of the Lord dwelt.
Before Christ’s death only the High priest was permitted to pass beyond the temple veil into the Holy of Holies (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7), into the Lord’s divine presence. Christ’s sacrifice, His death, tore the temple veil from top to bottom opening the way into the Holy of Holies for all people (Matthew 27:50-51). When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never to dwell in a temple made by hands again (Acts 17:24). Christ now dwells in the hearts of believers – the new temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19).
Until that Day breaks and Christ returns, the Lord has provided a fragrant place of safety and refreshment, an invitation open to all. The mountain of myrrh and hill of frankincense, the temple that is, that was, and is yet to come – how beautiful! I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8) This mountain of myrrh and hill of frankincense is the Lover’s answer to His beloved’s plea.
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.
(Song of Solomon 2:17)
The plea to turn towards His beloved, to come to His beloved even though He seems far away, only to be seen in the distance. The plea to have Him come even though mountains are in the way – He like a roe can travel over them with ease. This plea longing for the day when nothing will separate, when God himself will be with His people. No temple will be needed, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb will be their temple.
The call to go to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense is a call to know the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to abide in Him, worship Him, to know Him intimately. Abide in me and I will abide in you (John 15:4). Look closely at this promise. It uses the word ‘in’ instead of ‘with’. Jesus is not saying He wants us to walk ‘with’ Him, or be ‘with’ Him. He is saying He wants us to abide ‘in’ Him and He will abide ‘in’ us — as close as we could ever get to Him without actually being Him. It is also a call to holiness.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts…
Until the Day Breaks
Until the day breaks and the shadows flee,
Cleanse me Lord and set me free.
Clean hands and a pure heart please give me.
Within and without, make me holy.
Send forth Your light and Your truth to guide me,
Up Your holy hill into Your sanctuary,
With singing lips, in Your name I glory.
Washed whiter than snow I wish to be.
O Lord, a pure heart create in me.
O Lord Jesus abide in me,
And please show me how to abide in thee.
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.
Until the day breaks and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh and
to the hill of frankincense.
(Song of Solomon 4:6)
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
…these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. The Sovereign LORD declares- he who gathers the exiles of Israel: I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.