Oh my heart aches at the news from Colorado this morning at the premiere of ‘Dark Knight Rising’. I ache not merely for the immediate victims but for what the whole scene tells us about the darkness encroaching, and the many souls who will be subsumed by it. May our Great and Most High God and His Christ, Y’Shuah have mercy, granting repentance and salvation to at least a few more.
ROMANS 1:21 …although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
Many of you, I suspect, are amply familiar with the above text, accustomed to reading it in a particular way, with a particular conclusion and set of people in mind. That interpretation is not wrong. It is plain and clear-cut. Yet I’d like to suggest an additional layer of interpretation which ought to bring all of us in America to our knees in awe and reverence, repentance and confession. That layer is the text’s corporate, collective, national application.
Although America was never a ‘Christian’ nation (scripture makes clear that no nation was or will be, until Christ Jesus returns to reign in power and majesty, from the mount of Holy Zion), we nonetheless, as a nation “knew God”. Our ancestors used to sing of “purple mountains majesty… above the fruited plain” and recognize the overt Biblical roots of those words and the Sovereign God Who made such grandeur and blessings possible.
Over time though, and especially at holidays such as ‘Thanksgiving’, as we sat down to eat of that abundant fruit, we as a nation lost our proclivity, and eventually our ability to “honor him as God and give thanks to Him“. (Generic ‘thanks’ tossed into the air without a sentient, personal object to receive it is nonsensical when you think about it. E.g., when one of the Higgs scientists thanked ‘nature’, whatever that is supposed to mean.)
As such, over time, WE, as a nation, became futile in OUR thinking. (Use of the past tense and plural are both deliberate and appropriate, I believe.) As a nation, OUR foolish hearts were darkened. (Again, past tense plural deliberate.) Claiming to be wise and powerful and good (the self-esteem, prideful culture), WE the people (the majority of us, anyway) became fools — not overnight and not all of us, but enough to tip the scales in a democracy. WE exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man… for a celebrity culture of mini-gods, immortalized in film and television and on supermarket check-out magazine covers instead of praising the immortal Word of God, Jesus Christ.
In a post I put up three years ago (‘It’s Him’, on July 13th, 2009, identifying Barrack Hussein Obama as the likely antichrist, or at the very least his warm-up band), I wrote:
…many have resolutely put God in second place — if they believe in Him at all anymore. See Matt 24:12 — “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Many forget: satan is smart; attractive; smiling; engaging; smooth; funny; the life of the party (until it ends); he’s a joker; he’s even been The Joker [in 'Dark Knight', the first Batman movie].
Ever wonder why Heath Ledger couldn’t sleep after filming Dark Knight? Why he effectively ended up killing himself by accident in a tragically desperate effort to silence the demons he’d let inside so he could play that dark and lawless part, among others, so convincingly and chillingly?
Recall that Heath Ledger’s previous role — the one which arguably made him famous — was starring in Brokeback Mountain.
[UPDATE: It has come out that the alleged perpetrator was doped-up on Vicodin while he was committing these crimes. Vicodin is the same drug which killed Heath Ledger.]
I mention this in light of the tragic events last night (shooting spree;
thirteen twelve dead) at the opening of the sequel to ‘Dark Knight’ — ‘Dark Knight Rises‘ — at a midnight showing in Aurora, Colorado.
REVELATION 13:1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads… 11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.
REVELATION 9:1 …I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. 2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. [Will this have a literal-physical fulfillment? Most assuredly. But as with all things, the physical serves as a pointer to and reflection of events and larger truths in the spiritual. Consider then how spiritual black smoke from the pit of hell might begin to manifest itself on earth...]
(As noted previously, e.g., here, Denver in particular — Aurora being a suburb — and Colorado in general, seem to serve as America’s ‘high place’. (In Spanish, ‘aurora’ means ‘dawn’. As this dark dawn arrives, we must remain cognizant of the ultimate dawn of the reign of Christ, coming soon. It is, as they say, ‘darkest before the dawn’.) These observations about the spiritual goings-on in Colorado should not be construed as an indictment on Colorado residents, nor a cause for fear among the faithful, but simply an observation of the kinds of things which seem to routinely take place there, e.g., the likely revelation of the fulfillment of Revelation 6:2 in BHO at the ’08 DNC.)
Were the number of dead inconsistent with other aspects of this dark, dark sad scene, I would not bother reminding readers that, throughout scripture, the associations of the number thirteen are clear and consistent. As E.W. Bullinger notes:
…every occurrence of the number thirteen, and likewise of every multiple of it, stamps that with which it stands in connection with rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption, disintegration, revolution, or some kindred idea.
[UPDATE: Twelve were killed. Fifty-eight injured. Seventy total. Not to make too much of those numbers either, but both are related, in scripture, to spiritual perfection. If this isn't an example of near 'perfect' spiritual evil, I don't know what is.]
(I’d forgotten that I’d mentioned Heath Ledger and ‘Dark Knight’ in such close conjunction with my most pointed commentary to date on ominous spiritual signs surrounding the president. For this ‘…Rising‘ sequel to be released during his re-election campaign, and for these sad events to unfold around it should therefore cause thoughtful readers to consider if they are not linked. )
There’s another layer to this which I’d been meaning to write about but had never quite gotten ’round to. Now’s the time. As with Heath Ledger and his trajectory to fame through another demonically inspired project (Brokeback Mountain), it surrounds Tom Hardy, the actor who played the masked villain (‘Bane’) in ‘Dark Knight Rises’.
The role which made Hardy at least semi-famous was as ‘Eames’ in the 2010 film, ‘Inception’. Like both ‘…Knight…’ films, ‘Inception’ is gripping, fast-paced and relatively ‘deep’ and intellectually complex for that genre. It’s an attractive, fascinating film, pulling one in despite one’s own better judgment. (I can say this with authority, from experience.)
Two of the ‘big ideas’ behind ‘Inception’ are:
1) That it’s possible to plant the seed of an idea so deeply in someone’s mind that it will affect their behavior profoundly without their even realizing it (‘inception’ is about the inception of such ideas) and,
2) that it’s difficult to be certain that we’re living in the ‘real’ reality.
(As with most lies, both of these contain a significant concession to truth, but with deceptive twists. If we take the Word of God seriously, we already know that we’re not living in the ultimate reality and yet we also know that our only ticket to the ‘real’ one is Christ Jesus and the blood of his cross. Similarly, when we take a look at the fall, in Genesis 3, we know just how much changed when Eve took seriously the extremely simple idea that God might not really have said what he said. One small idea planted the seed for much mischief. Another example would be that fetuses aren’t really people, or that if it feels so right it can’t be wrong. In a sense, in ‘Inception’, Satan was revealing one of the most basic aspects of his game plan.)
Now, here’s the third ‘big idea’ and the rub — i.e., what I came to see as the deep, dark, and profoundly ironic Satanic agenda behind the film and therefore why Tom Hardy being center-screen last night in Colorado may be significant. The way people get out of sticky situations and move ‘up’ to a higher reality in ‘Inception’, is by 1) taking drugs and 2) killing themselves. The idea is self-determination and self-will over the act of moving from a ‘lower’ layer of reality so as to ‘wake up’ to a higher one.
A teen who ate mushrooms and drank a tea made from the fungi shot himself in the forehead so he could wake up from a nightmare he said he was having while awake, sheriff’s investigators said. Tilbury told investigators he and some friends ate mushrooms and drank a tea made from the substance Tuesday afternoon. His friends left his house shortly after and he fell asleep. “Tilbury said he woke up and it felt like it wasn’t real,” deputies wrote in the report. Tilbury told investigators he felt like he was awake in a bad nightmare and could not escape from his house. “Tilbury said he thought if he shot himself he would wake up from the bad dream,” investigators said. The teen told deputies he walked into his parents’ bedroom and got a .22-caliber rifle. He then went back to his own bedroom, sat down on his bed, put the butt of the gun on the floor, removed the safety and fired once into his own forehead. “He said after he shot himself he didn’t wake up from the bad dream,” the report states.
[Suicide, almost by definition, is the tragic result of despair. The victims (e.g., of attempts) deserve our utmost compassion, as do those left behind. Yet it inevitably also involves a degree of selfish pride. (Putting one's own needs above those of others.) And it necessarily and quite obviously involves murder as well. When Job's wife urges him to "curse God and die," she is essentially urging him to take this ultimate act of rebellion. So too when Satan urges Jesus to leap off the pinnacle of the temple. Suicide involves telling God that he was wrong to have made you and that he doesn't understand you, while denying the hope He offers in His Son, who already died in our place.]
‘Inception’ glosses over the grisly reality of such acts (e.g., in an ultra-slow-motion plunge of a passenger van off a high bridge). The momentum behind this idea builds subtly as the film goes on as glamorous and adventurous heroes of the film are courageous enough (i.e., they have enough faith) to kill themselves over and over again, move between realities (like gods) and get ‘big’ things done, building entire worlds merely by thinking them into existence.
By the last scene, it seems quite natural to wish that the lead character, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, would ‘off’ himself yet one more time for his own good because (spoiler alert) the audience can see that he’s not yet reached the ‘top’ level of reality… i.e., that he’s still living in a dream world. The entire construct is vaguely Buddhist and thus congruent with much of where ‘spirituality’ has gone in the West, but with a slick veneer of high-tech adventure.
ALL THAT TO SAY THIS:
As I opined earlier this week, the second commandment exists for a reason, even if it’s not immediately obvious why it’s that high on the list. We who are in Christ needn’t fear, nor do we need to go to superficial extremes in a misguided effort to be holy, e.g., avoiding art museums, films and photography. Yet we’d do well to be wise and vigilant, if only for the sake of others (e.g., see Romans 15:1 — “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”) As last night’s events, and the other things I’ve outlined here sadly demonstrate, those not in Christ, or weak in faith, are highly vulnerable to the subtle influences of images which supplant the sure and unchanging Word of God. They are vulnerable to the inception of seeds of anti-God ideas by the enemy.
It is not my desire or purpose to delve any more deeply than I have to into what happened last night in Colorado. My heart goes out to the victims. Yet it seems obvious to anyone who saw the first ‘Dark Knight’ film that the young man apprehended in the parking lot of the theater and accused in the shooting rampage — dressed in black, and having booby-trapped his own apartment with explosives and incendiary devices — was following many aspects of the script of the previous film (not to mention ‘Inception’, where demolition and immolation are also central themes).
In an important and most literal sense, whether he had seen ‘Dark Knight’ or not, he had had a devilish idea planted deep in his mind by the evil one and he appeared to be acting on it without necessarily being consciously aware that he was doing so. In mirror-image fashion, many in the theater at first thought that this man’s crime spree was merely part of the show — a staged, unreal act designed to increase the potency of the entertainment. Anyone not in Christ Jesus is similarly vulnerable to being used by the enemy
A few may be used by the enemy, as this man was, as the main actor in such a murderous drama. More likely, but just as deadly in the spiritual sense, are the many in the ‘audience’ who imagine that life is just a show for their enjoyment — their ‘self-actualization’.
The world would have us think that our choices are unreal and inconsequential… that we are all living in a fantasy from which we will be rescued no matter what we do or believe. Holy Scripture says different, over and over and over again.
Brothers and sisters, the time is desperately short. Jesus’ desire for us is plain: turn to him. In fact, the very first word he is recorded as preaching, (in Matthew 4:17), is “Repent…”