God’s Wild Romance
by David River
Copyright © 2020-2021 by David River
Printed in the United States of America
All rights reserved solely by the author. The author guarantees all contents are original and do not infringe upon the legal rights of any other person or work. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the author. The views expressed in this book are not necessarily those of the publisher.
Bible quotations are taken from The New American Standard Version, The Message Version, and The New International Version of the Bible.
The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand,
The One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this…
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God."
Revelation 2:1, 7
God: You are a Father who radically loves Your Son, Jesus.
Church: You are loved, fought for, and chosen
as Jesus’ beloved Bride.
The Cast Members
GOD’S WILD ROMANCE: THE STAGE PLAY
ACT 1.1 God’s Wild Romance……………………………………..………….……………………………1
A Maiden, a Dragon, and Warrior
ACT 1.2 God’s Wild Romance……………………………..………………………………………………16
Discovering Biblical Weddings: Capturing the Bride
ACT 2.1 The Romance of Jesus………………………………………………………………………………..41
The Dragon and His World System vs. Jesus and His Kingdom System
ACT 2.2 The Romance of Jesus………………………………………………………………………………..50
Lover, Conqueror, King
ACT 3.1 The Romance of the Church
Chosen to be Loved, Rescued, and Reign
ACT 3.2 The Romance of the Church
The Seven Names of the Bride
ACT 4.1 The Keys to the Light
God, Jesus, and the Bride
ACT 4.2 The Keys to the Light
The Test: Humility, Surrender, and Love
ACT 5.1 The Keys to God’s Voice
The Purpose, Power, and Presence of the Holy Spirit
ACT 5.2 The Keys to God’s Voice
Discovering the Voice of God
ACT 6.1 The Keys of God’s Kingdom
ACT 6.2 The Keys of God’s Kingdom
ACT 7.1 Discovering Your Character
Dreams, Roles, Calling, and Music
ACT 7.2 Discovering Your Character
The Song of Solomon and His Bride
THE ROMANCE OF THE BRIDE AND JESUS: THE MUSICAL
Song 1 The Vision of Jesus Sunday Beautiful, Sunday
Song 2 The Vision of Jesus God, an Angel, and the Light
Song 3 Sunday to Jesus Heart to Heart
Song 4 Jesus’ Prayer The Rescue
Song 5 Jesus to Sunday Eternity Enticing Time
Song 6 Jesus to Sunday The Dream Maker
Song 7 Sunday and Jesus With You
Song 8 Jesus and Sunday Lips Soft and Tender
Song 9 Jesus and Sunday Butterfly Kisses
Song 10 Jesus and Sunday The Vows: You Belong to Me
Song 11 Jesus and Sunday Forever, Together in Love
Song 12 Sunday and Jesus You + Me = Intimacy
Song 13 Sunday and Jesus The Garden of Paradise
Song 14 Jesus and Sunday Love on the Mountains and Passion by the Sea
Song 15 Sunday and Jesus The Spirit and the Bride
Song 16 Sunday to Jesus Lover, Conqueror, King: Jesus
Song 17 (Currently uncertain of the total number of songs.)
The Casting Call
The casting director has just called you up from the audience for your audition. He hands you the script and you begin rehearsing the lines in your head. The play is titled God’s Wild Romance. From the title, you deduce the obvious: It’s about God’s romance and you could be playing a star role. It all depends on how well you spend these next few minutes delivering your lines.
Right now, you may feel average, but to God you are a dream come true. Before the foundation of the world, He chose you to be alive at this very moment. God created you to play this crucial role at this very hour. Thousands of years ago, before anything was created, God dreamed of you and called you by name. In eternity past, God proposed to pour out His love upon you in a way that will not only make history but become history itself.
Your life will soon become center stage. This is your big discovery like how Marilyn Monroe was discovered in a radio-controlled airplane factory, or how Harrison Ford was primarily a carpenter when he was discovered for Star Wars.
At the prompt of the casting director, you begin reading your lines with passion; the words glide effortlessly off your tongue. Captured by your enthusiasm, the director tilts his head down and peers over his reading glasses. An emotion begins to swell from deep within; awe, yes, he is struck by the new talent standing in front of him. His intuition whispers, “This is the star you have been searching for your whole life.”
A flurry of activity surrounds you after your performance. Instantly, you realize that something unusual is going on. Amazed, stunned, and a little confused, you embrace the excitement. The casting director, an aged man with white hair, breaks through the commotion. He takes you by the hand and leads you to a private dressing room. With caution he looks into the hall to make sure no one has followed. After quietly closing the door he looks sternly at you and whispers quietly, “Can you keep a secret?”
You whisper, “Definitely.”
The director sternly replies, “Your destiny depends upon it.”
He then offers you a leading role. You have been chosen to play a crucial role in the most pivotal love story of all time. Taken back by all the sudden attention, your heart pounds out of your chest as the adrenaline races through your veins. The moment you accept his offer by signing the contract, he leads you out of a backdoor into a large square room with twelve doors.
As you enter the room the director quietly replies, “This is where your secret begins.”
You nod, “Okay,” and swallow deeply.
Within this new room, you notice there are three doors on each wall. The entire room is covered with mirrors–from floor to ceiling–including the doors. It’s acutely disorienting. There are hundreds, if not thousands of reflections of yourself all around the room.
He pauses in the middle of the room, turns to you and says, “Choose.”
Bewildered, you begin to grasp that something much bigger is occurring backstage, then you ask, “What if I choose the wrong door?”
“You will get another chance in the near future,” he states candidly.
“Near future?” you think to yourself. Pausing with caution you ask, “How many choose the right door the first time?”
“About 7%,” he replies.
Grasping the magnitude of his answer, you attempt to gather all the information possible before making your crucial decision, “How will I know which door to choose?”
Placing his hand over his heart he reflects, “Follow your heart.”
You pause for a moment, then stumble around the room intensely studying each door. As you walk up to each mirrored door, you notice your reflection is distorted in various fashions. In one door you look much older but in another, far younger. In another door, you appear shorter while in yet another, distortedly taller. In the fifth door, you look heavier, yet in the sixth, much skinnier. Suddenly, visions of yourself as a kid at the carnival staring into similar mirrors flash into your memory. It feels oddly familiar.
Then you notice something even stranger. The longer you stare at your most recent reflection, it begins to morph into something else. You realize that you’re going to have to make a quick decision because what you see one minute, might not be there the next. You stumble around the room studying each reflection again, watching them change before your eyes. You’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, but you believe that you will instinctively recognize it when you see it.
Finally, after watching your reflections change for a considerable time, you come to a door where you look ecstatically happy. Your reflection stares back at you with a huge grin and looks innocent and carefree. Joy begins to flood your heart and soul. This is the reflection you’ve been searching for. You reach toward the doorknob as your delighted reflection reaches, too.
Turning the handle, a white blinding light engulfs you as you step across the threshold into yet another large room. You immediately observe that the walls, floor, and ceiling are pure white. As you look toward the center of this new room, you recognize what appears to be your entire living room and bedroom set up identically in the middle. Baffled, you also observe your television is on but currently displaying only static.
Taken back by this new revelation, you detect a blood red stain in the center of your living room floor and a silhouette of a body on the floor. It’s oddly bidding your presence. As you walk toward what appears to have been the scene of a bloody crime, your television clears and begins tracking your every step.
As you continue walking toward the stain and silhouette, your television divides into two scenes. On the right is you walking toward the center of the room and on the left, is the most gorgeous woman (or handsome man if you are a woman reader) you’ve ever laid eyes upon. You study her as you continue walking closer. You observe that she appears to be in her living room writing in what seems to be her diary. She appears completely unaware that you are watching. You are completely smitten by her beauty and are compelled to study her more.
Suddenly a flood of questions storms through your mind and heart.
“Who is she?” you ask the director.
“That’s for you to decide,” he responds.
“I don’t understand.”
“Time will reveal all,” he declares.
Confused, you ask the casting director, “Where are we?”
“We are in the past, the present, and the future.”
“I really don’t understand.”
“You will, be patient,” he replies.
“Why are we here?”
“Salvation,” he reveals.
Instantaneously, scenes of a severely beaten and bloodied Jesus hanging upon a cross flash onto your television monitor as if somehow seen through the eyes of God as He watched humanity crucify His only Son. The scene feels oddly similar to The Passion of the Christ. Tears begin to swell in the corners of your eyes and your brain begins to squirm from this awesome awakening. Suddenly, your television redirects back to both you and the astonishingly beautiful woman.
Dazed by these revelations, you look to the director and ask, “What happens next?” The television echoes your voice, “What happens next?”
The casting director trembles, then clears his throat, “You two decide the fate of humanity.”
“How is that possible?” you reply.
“It’s a mystery you will soon discover,” he responds.
You pause for what seems like an eternity and ponder the weight of the world. After much consideration, you declare, “Salvation.”
Your television monitor switches to a new scene. It’s a bright light bursting from a cave on a hillside. A fully healed and life-infused Jesus steps out of a tomb, light emanating from His entire body. The earth doesn’t yet comprehend the news; hence, it is still sad and silent, yet all of heaven’s angels are rejoicing. The Savior of the world has overcome both sin and death. Eternal life is now His prize. Then somehow, Jesus’ eyes pierce through time and space and He speaks directly to you through the monitor. He calls you by name and says, “It’s your turn to save the world. Show them My mercy, forgiveness, and love.”
Grasping the magnitude of the challenge before you, you turn around and begin heading back toward the mirrored door that led you into this enormous epiphany. You look over your shoulder and notice that your television continues to track your steps leaving the room, as well as the exquisite beauty on her couch. You cross the threshold and find yourself no longer in the mirrored room, but mysteriously standing on the audition stage once again.
The casting director looks at you, winks, then declares again, “Everything you’ve just seen is top secret, you understand?”
“Yes,” you reply.
Then he requests, “Let’s begin.”
You nod your head and ask for your script. He hands you a copy of the play and you begin reading the entire production. As you read it, you discover the main drama that has been raging for millennia. In your mind’s eye, you step back in time and discover the ultimate story to which all other stories belong.
You begin to comprehend God on an entirely new level: His infinite love, how evil was born, and how all of humanity was originally enslaved in spiritual darkness. As you continue reading, you realize that this is the tale of how God’s perfect love overcomes the dense darkness with His glorious light. You have been handed a firsthand account of how the hearts of mankind discover true freedom, and miraculously, you have landed a leading role.
You, along with many others upon the stage, begin to rehearse your lines for God’s Wild Romance: a drama that God conceived in His own heart before the dawn of time. This is your new role. You are a leading character. This is the narrative of your life.
THE CAST MEMBERS
God, the Father
Jesus, God’s Son–The Bridegroom
Satan–The Great Dragon
Adam and Eve
Noah and His Family
Abraham and Sarah
Moses and Zipporah
Prophets: Daniel, Isaiah, etc.
King David and Bathsheba
Solomon and His Bride: The Shulammite Woman
Mary–The Mother of Jesus
John the Baptist
Pharisees and Sadducees (Religious Leaders)
Jesus’ Followers: Peter, John, Martha, Mary, etc.
The Apostle Paul
The New Testament Saints
The World System vs The Kingdom System
The Holy Spirit of God
The Church–The Bride
GOD’S WILD ROMANCE:
THE DIVINE LOVE STORY
A Maiden, A Dragon, and a Warrior
God has chosen you. Your adventure has begun. You have landed a leading role in the play of your dreams. You have been rehearsing with the cast for months and tonight is opening night. You reflect upon your casting day and recall all the bizarre events that brought you to this evening. You are keenly aware that you, as well as the entire cast, are most likely going to be ridiculously famous very soon and are humbled for the incredible opportunity. Despite your awareness of pending fame, your truest desire is that the audience grasp the central message of the production: God is the author and originator of all love and romance.
The audience is taking their seats in the theater. Electricity fills the air as the commotion of the crowd comes to a hush. This is the night you have anticipated your entire life. The playhouse lights are dimming. The velvety red curtains draw back. It appears we are somewhere in eternity past, from the blackness of the night. There is one great light shining in the darkness. The narrator slowly appears; an angelic creature dressed in pure white with large translucent wings. Light bursts from behind her and pierces the entire theater. She begins to narrate softly as a whisper.
GOD’S WILD ROMANCE
Before the dawn of time, God had a dream that has spanned millenniums, conquered countries, mended the broken, and directed the course of history. It is a dream for which saints have searched, prophets have prayed, and disciples have discovered. It is the dream above all other dreams; a story being fulfilled before your very eyes. Every great author, playwright, script writer, or song writer understands this truth: every masterpiece begins with just a dream or a vision. God’s story is no different. Before creation God dreamt and He envisioned.
What is God’s mysterious dream and vision which countless people throughout history have sought? The answer is simple. It is so easily understood that children grasp the concept. For remember, those who come to God must have the faith of a child. If you currently have a small child, look on their bookshelf to find the elusive answer to this puzzling question.
What is God’s dream? Simply put, His vision is to orchestrate a wild romance between His Son, Jesus, and you as His Bride. Much like a romantic fairytale, for centuries, God has been writing and directing a grand saga a maiden in distress, a dragon, and a conquering warrior. God’s heart is so wild, He dreamed of love and romance in the same way knights used to dream of rescuing a princess. Am I stretching your imagination too much? Then ponder these thoughts for a moment.
Before space, elements or atoms: God. That’s it. Just God. God was, God is, and God will forever be. This is why He told Moses His name is “I AM.” God is eternal and ever present. God is also masculine, for God is a Father, not a mother. Jesus was a Son, not a daughter, and God is a Spirit: Holy. God is an eternal, masculine, Holy Trinity. Existing as love, the Father loved His Son, and He loved His Spirit. The Trinity reciprocated love completely, perfectly, and infinitely, but their love needed an object of affection other than only themselves.
Therefore, God began to dream.
GOD, JESUS, A VILLAIN…AND A BRIDE
While God was still alone, in eternity past, His heart devised the dream above all dreams: a love story of epic proportions so outrageous that it would span millennia and encompass billions of people. In God’s own fairytale, He would be the Superhero of His own story. After all, He was writing the story.
Being the best-selling author history has ever known (the Bible) and an astoundingly loving Father, God wanted to express His love for His Son, Jesus, by allowing Him to marry a beautiful and holy bride. She would return His affections with all-encompassing passion: all her heart, strength, soul, and mind. For Jesus’ Bride to love Him with such complete devotion, she needed to be a maiden in distress: longing to be saved because she was being held captive by a villain.
This, of course, is the classic fairytale and I’m about to prove to you with the remainder of this book, that this is indeed, God’s wild dream come true: a real-life romance.
THE PLOT AND MAIN CHARACTERS
Recall with me that you have just been chosen as one of the leading characters in God’s grand production. Before an actor ever decides to take a part in a new movie, TV show, or play, they are given a copy of the script and told which character they will become. The actor reads the script, then determines if that is a character role that he or she desires to add to their credentials.
Within the script contains the plot. The plot is the sequence of events that provides the ‘why’ of the story. There are several types of plots to stories, but one of everybody’s favorite is: ‘conquer the monster.’ Within this storyline, there are typically three main characters: the hero, the villain, and the one(s) being rescued. This is also the storyline of God’s great adventure.
In God’s story, there are many characters but most of them fall into nine main categories:
The Superhero: God the Father.
The Hero (#2): Jesus, God’s Son.
The Angels: Spirit beings that worship and serve. 2/3 of heaven’s host.
The Villain: Satan, ‘the Dragon.’
The Fallen Angels: The Dragon’s accomplices which are demons. 1/3 of heaven’s host.
The Enemy: Humans who have knowingly or unknowingly
chosen to side with the Dragon and his demons.
7. The Unbelievers: Those who have no clue that there is a story, let alone
that they have a key role in God’s story and that He is attempting to rescue them.
8. The Hero (#3): The Holy Spirit.
9. The Heroine: The Church–the Bride.
For you to discover your character in God’s production, you, like any actor, must read and understand the script of the story that God is telling. Then, unlike an actor, you get to choose which character you become in His story. Whether you realize it or not, you are a character in God’s story. The main purpose of this book is to help you comprehend God’s plot, then help you discover your character. Now that you grasp the purpose, let’s dig deeper into God’s plot.
THE THREE ARCHANGELS
Before God created the seen realm, He created an unseen realm: a spirit realm. Who really knows how long this invisible domain existed? The Bible doesn’t really say. In this unseen kingdom, there is a myriad of strange, angelic creatures. Many of the prophets had visions and dreams of these creatures and attempted to describe them in the Bible. Some are very bizarre. The Bible seems to indicate that of all the creatures God has in heaven, He has three chief angels (Archangels). These angels are Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer.
1. Michael: His role is to war/battle in the heavenly realm on behalf of God and His story. One example of this can be seen in Revelation 12:7-8 (NASB), “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.” Thus, we discover Michael’s primary role is spiritual warrior.
2. Gabriel: His role is to deliver messages from God in heaven to people on earth. Luke 1:26-28, (NASB) reveals this role of Gabriel. “Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” Thus, we discover that Gabriel’s primary role is an angelic messenger.
3. Lucifer/Satan: Although scripture does not specifically declare Satan as an archangel, many believe he is. One reason for this is because when He is cast out heaven, he will take one third of the angles with him. (See Revelation 12:4) His original role in the beginning is also not quite clear in scripture, however after his rebellion to God, he became known as the ‘accuser’ or ‘adversary’ of the brethren. In fact, Revelation 12:10 (NIV) says this of him: “For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” Also, in Job 1:6-9 God is having a conversation with Satan, and Satan accuses Job of inappropriate motives. God defends Job’s motives, then lets Satan test Job. Thus, it appears one of Satan’s chief roles is to roam the earth, then stand before God hurling accusations.
As God’s mysterious plot progressed, we discover that it was from these three angels that God revealed His archrival, the villain of His story.
THE VILLIAN: LUCIFER/SATAN THE DRAGON
As most of us know God’s enemy is Satan–the Devil, or as the Bible calls him in the book of Revelation, “the great Dragon…who deceives the whole world” (12:9 NKJV). Before Walt Disney, before Cinderella, before tales of fire-breathing dragons and maidens trapped in towers, and even before the knights of the round table, God, through His servant, John, called His archenemy “the great Dragon.” Stop and ponder this: before knight, dragon, and princess tales were so numerous, God had already painted this analogy in His Word over 2,000 years ago. This proves that God Himself is the author of the original real-life fairytale and everyone else borrowed His original idea and popularized it.
A brief study through the Bible suggests that dragons were very real creatures that inhabited the earth for thousands of years, along with humans. The Bible even mentions dragons in the book of Job (chapters 40–41), which was written in approximately 1600 BC. In the Apocryphal version of the Bible, the Prophet Daniel is said to have killed a dragon that the pagans worshipped as a god (Daniel 14:23–32 NRSVACE). Dragons weren’t mythical creatures; they were at one time very real and were probably of the dinosaur species. It’s important to note that Satan isn’t just any dragon; the biblical writer calls him the great Dragon, as in the ‘head dragon.’
THE FALLEN ARCHANGEL
Satan was once the most beautiful angel in heaven covered with rubies, topaz, turquoise, emeralds, diamonds, and more. Ezekiel 28:12-19 (NIV) is a prophetic passage speaking of both the King of Tyre and Satan. This is where we learn the most about Satan’s role prior to his rebellion.
“You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.”
“So, I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So, I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade, you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So, I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end.”
Pride filled the dragon’s heart because of his great wealth and beauty. “Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.” Apparently, an inherent trait of Satan is violence. In fact, Jesus said in John 10:10 (NIV) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
This was the original sin and an act of rebellion against God Almighty. It was committed not by a human, but by an angel. Satan rebelled against God and His wild romance, deciding that his dreams were more important. Consequently, he refused to submit to God. This is the nature of all sin: seeking to steal God’s glory by putting one’s own dreams and life story above God’s dreams and story. The Devil revolted against God, along with one-third of heaven’s angels (demons). The Bible says that God had to cast them out of heaven to judge them for their pride and rebellion.
THE MAIDEN: HUMANITY
The stage was beginning to be set for the grandest of all love stories. God the Father was the Superhero, Jesus would be the Hero, and they had an archrival. Now, all they needed was a maiden in distress for Jesus to love, rescue, and marry. God’s plot was beginning to take shape.
In eternity past, the masculine Trinity wanted someone in His own image to love intimately. Recall when God created Adam, at first, he was alone without a counterpart. God was the same in eternity past: He had no one to love that had a wild heart like His own. Consequently, the male Trinity had to create His maiden. This is when creation came into play. God created His Eve: humanity; you.
Genesis 1–2 states that God created the elements, galaxies, stars, planets, and earth in six days and rested on the seventh. God created a perfect world of gorgeous gardens and fruit trees and clean flowing rivers. Think of some of the most gorgeous gardens you’ve ever seen, with bright-colored flowers, flowing green grass, and tall trees in full spring bloom. Eden would have been even more breathtaking. God created everything seen and especially Eden, because He needed a home for His new Bride. Then God placed His very own pure, spotless Bride inside the lush Garden. Their names were Adam and Eve.
From the dust of the ground, God first created Adam and breathed His Spirit into him to make him come alive.
Adam was a picture of God, formed in His image: masculine and alone.
Before God created Eve, He paraded thousands of animals before Adam so he could name them. Why? To reveal to Adam that, although He too had a myriad of angelic creatures in heaven, He had no counterpart. Both God and Adam were in a predicament: their hearts were full of love, but neither had another like themselves to love. So, God graciously created Eve.
God put Adam to sleep, then from Adam’s rib, possibly the one closest to his own heart, God formed the perfect woman. God then brought Eve to Adam. They were both naked and unashamed. Adam and Eve lived free from fear, free from sin, and in perfect communion with God and each other in a perfect Garden within a perfect world. Finally, both God and Adam had someone to love who was made in their own image: Paradise.
THE MAIDEN IS CAPTURED
The next scene in God’s script was the fall of humanity and our original sin. God gave Adam and Eve a command: “You are free to eat from any tree in the Garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:16–17 NIV). In a roundabout way, God said, “If you want your dreams, do this and don’t do that.”
Entering the Garden of Eden in the form of a serpent, came the Dragon. He whispered and deceived Eve with a lie. “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to Eve. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4–5 NIV).
The Dragon told Eve that her eyes would be opened, and she would be ‘like God’. Satan tempted Eve with the very same temptation that he, himself, fell prey to: wanting to be ‘worshipped as a god.’ Satan tempted Eve with, “You want your dreams? Do it my way, not God’s way.” She convinced Adam to follow her voice and not God’s voice. Adam wanted to be like God too; therefore, they were disobedient to God’s command. Sin entered the world. Instead of living their dreams, their hearts became imprisoned to their dreams. Paradise lost.
Adam and Eve both ate the forbidden fruit and they both died that day (not physically, but spiritually). Their spirits died and were cut off from God. Love no longer filled their hearts. Their eyes were opened, and sin was birthed on earth. They put their own dreams before God’s. They were ‘little gods,’ just as the Dragon promised. There was one huge stipulation though; they were now prisoners to both fear and sin.
Humanity inherited Adam and Eve’s sin genes. Every person born since Adam and Eve is also born a prisoner to fear and sin. Adam and Eve were not the only ones captured by the Dragon that day; all of humanity became captive to sin and enslaved by God’s archrival. We don’t even know it. We can’t even see it until God brings the mirror of His truth into our lives and shows us our sin. The Bible says all of us are born cut off from God and His Spirit: self-serving dreamers—sinners.
The Dragon and his followers have one primary objective: destroy love at all costs. He does this by tempting humanity with sins such as lust, greed, and pride. Sin cuts off the flow of God’s Spirit in our lives and darkens our spiritual eyes. Because of our plight, we need a hero to save us because we can’t free ourselves from the captivity of the Dragon. Fortunately for us, God already had a plan.
God had already written it into His story from eternity past. God’s great production continued to be revealed over centuries and millennia as He rose up other ‘actors’ like Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and Esther to play roles in the grandest of all love stories.
THE HERO IS BORN
Then, at just the right time, God chose one woman to give birth to the warrior who would save the entire world. His name is Jesus. Her name was Mary. God promised Mary that she would birth the Messiah, the hero of God’s mysterious story.
God sent an angel to her and He said, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will reign forever” (Luke 1:30–33 NIV).
Mary was a little confused. She inquired, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
“The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason, the holy child shall be called the Son of God … for nothing shall be impossible with God’” (Luke 1:34–35, 37 NASB).
Quite unlike Eve, Mary responded in complete faith. She replied, “Behold, [I am the] bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 NASB). Mary believed God. She submitted her life and dreams to God. She allowed God to be her ‘Director’ and she followed His leading. Because she did, God gave her one of the most pivotal roles in all of history in His cosmic production. She was the mother of the Messiah.
JESUS THE WARRIOR
Jesus was born miraculously, through divine conception. He grew in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. For all practical purposes and intents, He seemed like an ordinary Jewish man who worked with His hands as a carpenter. That is, until the day He was called by the Holy Spirit.
The very first thing the Holy Spirit called Jesus to do was not public ministry, but rather take on the great Dragon head to head, in a one-on-one confrontation. Jesus waited thirty years before taking on the great villain. When the time was exactly right, the Father, through the Holy Spirit, called Jesus to battle the Dragon alone in the wilderness. Every great love story that has a villain and a hero always has at least one battle. In fact, most times there are a few major conflicts leading to one final great victory.
JESUS BATTLED THE DRAGON IN THE WILDERNESS
If Hollywood were writing Jesus’ love story at this point, they would probably paint the analogy with a huge battle scene on a field between dark and light, with warriors and swords on fierce stallions. There would be one great exception, though: this battle would have been completely unseen by everyone except God and the angels. Nobody else knew Jesus was battling the Dragon in the wilderness.
For forty nights and days, Jesus fasted and prayed; imagine no food for forty days. At this point, science tells us that if you don’t eat, you could die. Your body is at its very weakest; this is when the Dragon took the opportunity to tempt Jesus.
THE FIRST TEMPTATION
Jesus was confronted by Satan in the wilderness when He was hungriest; he said, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:3–4 NASB).
Satan pulled out a verbal sword and attempted to pierce Jesus. Jesus swung back. He said that to truly live, one must obey God’s voice: the very thing Adam and Eve failed to do. Satan spewed a lie. Jesus swung back with the truth. Jesus’ sword cut deep into the Dragon’s flesh. The great Dragon, wounded and bleeding, lost the first battle.
THE SECOND TEMPTATION
Then the Dragon took Him into the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
“Jesus replied, ‘On the other hand, it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Matthew 4:6–7 NASB).
A loud clashing of swords could be heard as Jesus struck another blow into the Dragon. Satan spewed another lie but this time he misquoted God’s word out of context. Jesus retaliated with another passage of scripture that balanced Satan’s lie. This cut went deeper into his armored skin. Satan lost the second battle. He nursed his wounds and then came at Jesus one last time in the wilderness.
THE THIRD TEMPTATION
“Then the Dragon took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give you, if you fall down and worship me.’” Notice what Satan requested from Jesus: worship.
“Then Jesus replied, ’Depart from Me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’” (Matthew 4:8–10 NASB).
Once again, swords clashed in the epic battle. Jesus dealt the Dragon a fatal, slow, bleeding blow. Light pierced the battlefield like the midday sun at midnight. Satan tried to tempt Jesus with self-serving dreams, the same way he tempted Adam and Eve, but Jesus refused. Jesus responded by quoting God’s truth and giving the answer to life’s ultimate question:
How does God intend for mankind to accomplish their dreams? Worship God!
JESUS WON THE BATTLE: “WORSHIP GOD”
Jesus’ third temptation is essentially the same temptation that the Dragon himself faced and failed at in heaven. It is also the same temptation that Adam and Eve faced and failed at on earth. Satan used lies to tempt Jesus. What was the main temptation?
“If you fall down and worship Me, I will make you like a god” (Matthew 4:9, paraphrased). Remember from earlier: The Dragon was envious of God. He admired himself because of his own beauty and riches and thought everyone else should, too. There is an intrinsic flaw in this type of thinking. Created beings are just that: created. We are not the creator, nor do we deserve worship. In fact, when one worships a spirit that isn’t God or a human who certainly isn’t God, pride will fill their heart. Only God can be worshipped without pride consuming Him. God is inherently humble. God is also holy. God deserves all worship. God is the only uncreated being. Jesus knew this and spoke this truth to the Dragon: “Worship and serve only God.”
Jesus was quoting from the Ten Commandments where it says, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery … You shall have no other gods before Me … You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 5:6–9 NIV).
Jesus was reminding Satan of God’s great deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt. In this passage, God was saying, “Look at what I did to their puny gods! I destroyed them! Do not worship them, worship Me.” Scripture makes this clear: false gods who attempt to place themselves (their dreams and story) above God’s dreams and story are always annihilated. A casual reading of the Old Testament records this same storyline repeatedly throughout history. The Bible records dozens of encounters where God wiped out false gods and entire civilizations of those who worshipped them. In fact, this is the dominant theme of the Old Testament: God’s people ‘whored’ themselves to serve false gods and God would rebuke and judge them until they would repent and return to love and serve Him in faithfulness. This historically documented fact, that God can and will destroy every false god, is what makes Him the only living God.
THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE: PROPERLY QUOTING GOD’S WORDS
Recall when Adam and Eve were in the garden? How did the Dragon tempt Eve? He quoted God’s words, but he twisted them: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1 NIV). The Dragon will always twist God’s words to tempt you to fall for self-serving dreams.
Jesus experienced the same thing in the wilderness. Satan twisted God’s words to get Jesus to serve His own dreams. Simply because a person can quote Scripture, does not mean they are of God. Realize this: The Dragon existed before the world and he has memorized the entire Word of God. He knows every word God has ever spoken and he will attempt to twist them to his own advantage.
Do we use God’s words to benefit ourselves and attempt to make others stumble like Satan did, or do we use God’s words to benefit God and His wild romance? If we are of God’s Spirit, we use His words to benefit others and build them up. Jesus was quick to quote the whole Word of God to Satan; He kept God’s words intact. Jesus knew God’s Word and quoted it properly in context. Why? Because Jesus’ dream was one and the same as His Father’s dream.
At this moment in the wilderness, with only God the Father and all heaven’s angels watching, Jesus crushed the Dragon. Before He ever began public ministry, God’s hero spoke a few simple words: “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve only Him” (Matthew 4:10 NASB). The victory belonged to Jesus.
In practical terms, what does this mean? God’s dreams and visions are supreme. When we learn to submit our dreams to His, our dreams will come true. In fact, when we submit our dreams to God, He will honor our humility and cause our dreams to come to pass in extraordinary miraculous ways. God always exalts the humble. The humble always exalt God. The humble also place their dreams secondary to God’s. This is the nature of true worship.
Now, all Jesus had to do was walk in this truth: worship and serve God through faith. Immediately after this trial, angels came to Him and began ministering to Him. Jesus then continued to submit His entire life and dreams to the Father. The Father then led Him to public ministry by beginning to rescue the Church–His Bride.
Let’s rehearse as we close out Act 1.1 of God’s Wild Romance and the Keys to Paradise. God is love eternal. Before creation, God dreamed up an epic secret romance. Because He is love, He wanted a bride for His Son, Jesus, so He created humanity. For the Bride to love Jesus passionately, she needed to be a maiden in distress. For her to be in distress, there needed to be a villain. Satan, the Dragon, attacked the bride and tempted her with self-serving dreams. He imprisoned Jesus’ new love through fear and disobedience in the Garden of Eden. The great Dragon won the battle right out of the gate. Satan’s evil dream of supplanting God was coming true.
Now, we, the maiden of God, were very much in distress. We were prisoners, locked away in towers by the great Dragon, alone and cut off from the Spirit of God. Our dreams were now locked away in our hearts and we could no longer hear God properly to live our dreams. Because of our dilemma, our hearts cried out to God to save us. God heard our cry and sent a warrior to love and rescue us. God chose His Son, Jesus, to be our warrior in shining armor.
Jesus came to earth with the sword of His Father’s Word, faced the Dragon head-on in the wilderness and defeated him. His victory statement was: “Worship and serve only God.” Jesus defeated the Dragon and took back His rightful throne in the hearts of humanity. This makes Jesus, God’s #1 hero, and the ultimate Warrior.
Ultimately, this is the message that we discover. The gospel is a story of Father (God) who loves His Son (Jesus) with such profundity, that He would create and entire universe, and then birth a perfectly positioned planet called earth, exactly the correct distance from the sun, with an atmosphere that could sustain living creatures called humans, so that the Father could provide eternal companionship (a bride) for His Son. Such incredible love!
Finally, we are beginning to comprehend that God is indeed the grandest romantic of all and the author of the original fairytale. Since the dawn of creation and all throughout history, God has been secretly penning an everlasting romance about a maiden, a dragon, and a conquering and loving warrior.
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