The Hidden Romance Of The Bible
By Frank Viola
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. (Song of Solomon 8:6 NLT)
I wish to introduce you to a very special lady. She is the most elegant woman in the universe. She is as ancient as God. She existed before angels. Her origins reach further back than antiquity itself. Yet she is forever young.
When it comes to sheer class and beauty, she is without peer. The word “stunning” is an understatement to describe her. She is as beautiful as the face of God. She is beyond captivating. She is hypnotic and magnetic. There is glory in her that most of us have never imagined. Just a glimpse of her matchless loveliness could win your heart and possess your being. For she is incurably attractive.
This woman is the most liberated woman in the world. In fact, she embodies the word freedom. She is also the second greatest lover in the universe. And she was made for love.
This woman stands at the very heartbeat of God’s eternal purpose. She is His highest passion . . . His holy obsession. She is the purpose of the very creation wherein you and I stand. And your Lord is out-of-His-head in love with her!
Yet despite how priceless this glamorous lady is, she has been utterly neglected. She has been forgotten. And with rare exception, she has been veiled to most of us. Herein lies my motive in writing the first section of this book: It is to give her center stage.
From the beginning, God has had only one passion . . . one purpose . . . one dream.. Before time, the Almighty shrouded His high and holy purpose in a mystery. And He hid it in His Son. For ages, no one knew what that purpose was. It was deeply hidden in God. It was a secret—the secret of the ages (Rom. 16:25; Col. 1:26; Eph. 3:4-5, 9).
Adam walked with God, yet he didn’t know the mystery. Abraham was the friend of God, yet he didn’t know the mystery. Moses was the prophet of God, yet he didn’t know the mystery. Neither did David, Isaiah, nor Jeremiah.
The mystery was not only veiled to mortals, it was hidden from angels as well. Gabriel and Michael didn’t know it. Neither did Lucifer nor his demonic hosts (1 Cor. 2:7-8; Eph. 3:9-10).
Why did God keep His purpose a secret for so long? Presumably, it’s because He didn’t want it to be thwarted prematurely. God’s purpose embodies His dream . . . His passion . . . His very heartbeat. So He kept it close to His vest until the time was ripe for its unveiling.
The sacred mystery was first proclaimed by the Old Testament authors in stories, types, pictures, and shadows. But although kings, prophets, and sages proclaimed it, they did not understand it.
There came a day, however, when God lifted the curtain and disclosed the secret. And He chose a man named Paul of Tarsus to unveil it to the world (Col. 1:25-29; Eph. 3:1-11). In Paul’s letters, especially Ephesians and Colossians, the apostle speaks of this mystery with great fervor. He virtually exhausts human language to convey its incomparable depths and unfathomable heights. Paul, along with other apostles and prophets in Century One, were “stewards of the Divine mystery” (1 Cor. 4:1; Col. 1:25-26; Eph. 3:2-9).
On the day that God lifted the curtain and let the secret out, His enemy froze with terror. Satan never saw, dreamed, nor thought that such a thing could be possible. (Truthfully, he still lives in dread when women and men understand the mystery.)
Although God revealed His mystery in the first century, it remains a secret to most Christians today. God must open the eyes of His people in every generation for them to grasp it. In this way, the great prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1:17-23 is still being answered.
The Divine mystery has everything to do with the woman of whom I have been speaking. This amazing lady fills the pages of holy Scripture. She shows up at the very beginning of the Bible; she shows up all throughout the middle; and she shows up at the very end. The Scriptures give us an exalted view of this woman along with her immaculate Husband. Each book of the Bible pulsates with her fragrance.
In Genesis 1 and 2, the Bible opens up with a woman and a man. In Revelation 21 and 22, the Bible closes with a woman and a man. The Bible opens up with a wedding, and it ends with a wedding. It opens with a marriage, and it ends with a marriage. It opens with a boy and a girl, and it ends with a boy and a girl.
Your Bible is essentially a love story!
In fact . . . it is the greatest love story of all time. It is the classic romantic tale. In the words of Fulton J. Sheen, it is “the Divine romance.” And your Lord is an ageless romantic.
Those who know me well can tell you that I’m a huge fan of love stories. My favorite movies are romantic films. (I will shamelessly admit that I own a modest collection of them.) These films have the power to evoke strong emotion. Even to the point of pulling tears from the eyes of the viewers. Yet the most powerful love story that any human has ever crafted pales in comparison to the epic romance that runs throughout your Bible.
Please pay attention to this next sentence. Every love story that’s been constructed by the minds of mortal men . . . every love story that has made its appearance in the pages of human history . . . whether fiction or non-fiction . . . is but a reflection, a pale image, a faint portrait, a scrambled version of the sacred romance of the ages.
God has authored the most incredible love story ever written. It is a story that has set the standard for all romantic literature to follow. Every great saga follows the story line of the hidden romance contained in Scripture. But none can trump it.
The Lord’s romantic imprint is chiseled into the tablet of every human heart. For this reason, romance spans the ages of human history. It never grows old nor does it go out of style. G. K. Chesterton once said that “romance is the deepest thing in life.” You and I were born into such a romance—the romance of the ages.
The heavenly romance begins in Genesis 2. Let us now revisit day seven of God’s creation and watch the drama unfold.
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FRANK VIOLA is an internationally known speaker, a house church planter, and the author of six highly acclaimed books on radical church restoration, including Rethinking the Wineskin, Who is Your Covering?, and The Untold Story of the New Testament Church. Frank lives in Gainesville, Florida. You can visit him online at www.frankviola.com
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