Bad theology makes for the best movies and TV. I’m not talking about bad theology like prosperity gospel preachers or the people who predicted that the world would end a week ago. Bad theology about the end of the world makes for great movies. They are titles like Supernatural, Rapture-palooza, Dogma, The Prophecy, and many more. I love them enough that it doesn’t matter how badly they are done.
On September 29th, the church celebrates the festival of St. Michael and all Angels . It’s a day that we remember the work that the angels do for us. One of the key scripture readings from that day is the one from Revelation, chapter 12, that mentions Michael as the leader of God’s heavenly armies. It can be easy to look at this reading and see a plot for a fantastically bad apocalypse movie. But that’s not what’s going on. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two by seeing what these bad-theology shows have in common.
1) There Is A War Between Heaven and Earth for Humanity
There is some form of open conflict going on between the powers of good and the powers of evil, and they are fighting over the fate of the human race. Powers from both sides have been fighting battles for millennia, and it continues to be a daily struggle. Supernatural has a constant battle between demons, monsters, angels, and humans.
Depending on how you talk about the battle, it can be a decent way to describe the human condition. There are spiritual forces from hell that do battle with the church. St. Paul describes the battle in Ephesians, chapter six, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
This isn’t the only place that the Bible uses warfare language for the spiritual battle. Here are some other examples:
2) A Hidden Prophecy Predicts the End of the World
There is always some secret prophecy about the conditions that will bring about the destruction of the earth. Usually, it’s hidden in a dusty tomb, deep beneath the vatican. Sometimes it’s a secret understanding of the book of Revelation. Frequently, it points to some sort of antichrist figure. He may be a child, spawned from the Devil and some unfortunate woman, or another spiritual figure who arises from mysterious circumstances. There is always some trigger that will allow Satan to finally come and destroy the earth.
Christians know that there is a prophecy concerning the end of the world, but it’s not hidden in some fictional catacomb. It’s plainly written in holy scripture. Jesus says so himself, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).
Even more importantly, it is not the Devil who wants to bring about the end. It’s God. The end of the world is not something for Christians to fear but to celebrate. Jesus will return and raise us from the dead. He will make a new heavens and a new earth in which we will live in perfection.
3) The Battle Is Undecided
In these movies, the battle between Heaven and Hell is undecided. Often, the two sides are evenly matched, but sometimes Hell is winning. Because the struggle has been going on forever, someone has decided they want to end it all. Satan or another demonic figure comes to figure out some way to end everything.
We know that the battle between Heaven and Earth has been decided. Jesus won. Satan lost. The reading from Revelation that features Michael and the rest of the angelic host shows Michael defeating the dragon, who is cast down to earth. He is defeated, not by the power of the angels, but by the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection mean that Satan and all his demons have been defeated forever. The only thing they have left is to attempt to do as much damage as they flee the coming wrath of God.
4) One Person Is All That Can Prevent Total Defeat
In the End of Days, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays this character. He’s an unbelieving man, who gets thrust into the conflict out of necessity. By the end, he learns trust and sacrifice. In Supernatural, Sam and Dean Winchester fight an underfunded, unsung battle. In Rapture-palooza, two hapless teens try to fight off the beast.
And the battle almost always comes down to a last-ditch effort. They are about to lose everything. It looks like the bad guy is going to win. Then Sam grabs the right weapon that was just out of reach. Some guy with a chainsaw for a hand exclaims the right magic words.
There is one person who stands between us and the Evil One. His story might have seemed to follow the predictable plot. The hero was arrested, beaten, and then nailed to the cross. It looked like everything was lost, and then he died. But victory was not out of reach. When Jesus rose from the dead, he saved everyone.
But the victory was never in question. There was no doubt about what would happen. Jesus knew that his Father would raise him from the dead. He predicted it several times . He even tells us that the whole of the scriptures , the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, all predict his death and resurrection to give us eternal life. The battle was not in question. Jesus had it under control the whole time.
Michael and All Angels
This can help us understand the role that the angels play in our lives as we celebrate Michael and all Angels. They are not some special power that we need to court. They are servants of our Heavenly Father and of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Anything they do, they do by his mighty power. Their battle with the dragon, or their work among us on Earth, it’s all directed and controlled by God. We can trust that they will do what God has promised for us. They will be with us as God’s servants as we wait for the resurrection.
Comments will be approved before showing up.