|by Terry Watkins||Dial-the-Truth Ministries|
Mel Gibson’s much anticipated The Passion officially opened in theaters on Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004. Never in history has any movie so captured the attention and adoration of the Christian community. No movie, no movement, no sermon, no revival, no event nothing in modern history has created such a moving among the Christian world.
The first day The Passion grossed over $25 million dollars. And there appears no slowdown. After 5 days, it has now grossed over $125 million dollars. The Passion generated an unbelievable $10 million in advance sales. Many churches leased complete movie theaters to show The Passion. Some churches have rented theaters until March.
Churches and prominent Christian leaders around the world are heralding The Passion as the greatest evangelical event in modern history – maybe ever. Many are crowning The Passion as the greatest presentation of the crucifixion in history – including the Word of God.
What in the world is going on?
Are we witnessing the launching of a great revival across the land as some are proclaiming? Is The Passion the "fire" that could spark a great moving of the Holy Ghost throughout the land?
We as Christians are given the charge of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." There is nothing that we as God’s children should exclude from examination under the light of the Word of God. There is nothing, no matter how "pleasant to the eyes" (Genesis 3:6) it appears that we should automatically presume is the will of God.
And may we not forget our adversary. Satan is very crafty. His ultimate goal is "to be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14). He is the master of counterfeiters. The Bible says in Matthew 24:24 that "false Christs shall arise" and "if possible should deceive the very elect". Satan desires to be Christ. His ultimate role would be to "act" as Jesus.
With that in mind, may we always be cautious to Satan’s potential injection of poison and venom, especially when the Lord Jesus Christ is the topic. May we agree with the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:11, "not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices" – "lest he should get an advantage of us".
There are some Christians who will cry "Foul, You are just looking for bad stuff in The Passion". And to that I say, "Amen". That is exactly what we as Christians are commanded to do "Prove all things". Let us never be guilty of closing our eyes and disregarding our Bibles to any possible influence of Satan.
As we examine The Passion. let us prayerfully hold the attitude and conviction of the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so".
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
Christian ministers and the news media have paraded The Passion as true to The Bible. Most of the Christians interviewed have remarked at how true and authentic it appeared.
But is it true to the Word of God?
Did Mel Gibson, with his loyal Catholic beliefs and his director’s creative ability wander outside the pages of the Word of God? Is it possible that The Passion is not entirely based upon the Bible as most Christians are led to believe? Is it entirely possible that the primary script and inspiration for The Passion is not the Bible at all – but another book?
Here is an article on MSNBC describing some of the scenes from The Passion. See if you can find these in your Bible:
Gibson’s movie begins in the garden of Gethsemane, with the disciples sleeping as Jesus prays for guidance and stomps on a snake that tempts him to avoid his destiny. There are other horrors: a screeching creature that resembles a berserk monkey, demonic children who might have wandered in from "The Exorcist," a bird that plucks out the eyes of crucified men, the gargoyle-like members of King Herod’s court,. . .
That is nowhere in the Bible. You can search all day and all night but you will not find such silliness in the Bible.
Now where in the world did Mel get that stuff from?
A few years ago, as Mel Gibson was rediscovering and renewing his Catholic faith, Mel Gibson purchased a library of hundreds of books from a closed nunnery. Mel claims as he was reaching for a book on the library shelf a supernatural intervention caused another book to "miraculously" drop into his hands. And that "miracle" book, not the Bible, not the Gospels, is the inspiration of The Passion. The book was The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Meditations of Anne Catherine Emmerich. Gibson claims like "magic" this book opened up a new world. "'Amazing images,' he said. 'She supplied me with stuff I never would have thought of".
Who is Anne Catherine Emmerich, the mysterious script writer of The Passion?
Anne Catherine Emmerich was a famous, mystic, Catholic Nun who possessed some very unusual abilities.
Anne was born on the feast of the Virgin Mary’s own nativity: September 8, 1774 in Westphalia, Germany. She became a nun of the Augustinian Order at Dulmen.
Emmerich began having supernatural visions very early in her life. By the age of four she prayed for three hours daily while being physically visited by her guardian angel. Even at that early age people around her described a "mysterious power that emanated from her."
Emmerich was found frequently practicing the occult art of levitation. Many times when she entered a room, she was clearly seen levitating above the ground. She also practiced the occult art of astral projection, claiming to "bilocate" to various places. Astral Projection is the physic ability when the soul leaves the physical body and travels beyond space and time. During her mystic astral projections, she claims to have watched the actual execution of King Louis XVI, and visited Marie Antoinette, queen of France, in prison. Some times these astral projection trips actually took her into purgatory to view the tortured souls in purgatory. Of course, the Bible does not teach purgatory. Emmerich experienced about every satanic supernatural and occult practices known.
Emmerich also bore the actual, physical wounds of Jesus Christ, called the Catholic mystic stigmata, where the actual wounds of Christ supernaturally appear on the hands, feet and head. According to supposedly verified medical reports, her supernatural stigmata wounds were half an inch in size and found in her hands, feet, side, head and bled profusely, especially on Fridays (the Catholic’s erroneous day of the crucifixion). At times the blood flowed so heavy from the supernatural stigmata wounds, the blood would completely soak the bandages and freely flow on the ground. According to various sources, this was all verified by medical doctors. One physician who examined Emmerich said, "There can be no question of imposture in this case. The wounds speak for themselves, at least to a man of science. To ascribe them to natural causes such as imagination, induction, analogy, or similar causes, is simply impossible."
According to her biographers, the last 12 years of Anne’s life she ate no food except the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist. In other words, she supposedly lived for over 12 years on nothing but the Catholic Eucharist or Mass.
To put it bluntly, Anne Catherine Emmerich was a very spiritually disturbed lady.
Emmerich experienced common occurrences of supernatural visions. During these visions she claims to have "seen" the creation of Heaven, the fall of the angels, the creation of the earth, paradise and many other such scenes. During these demonic visions she also claims to have "seen" the actual crucifixion of Jesus Christ take place. Anne wrote a book titled, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ from these visions. And according to Mel Gibson, these demonic crucifixion visions, called the Dolorous Passion, became the "supernatural imposed" script and inspiration for The Passion – not the Gospels. This was the book that "supernaturally" fell into his hands that became the script and inspiration for The Passion.
Mel Gibson is so devoted to Emmerich, his cherished possession is a piece of cloth that was once part of Emmerich's habit [garment]. Gibson carries the sacred Emmerich cloth in his pocket. During his PrimeTime interview with Diane Sawyer, Mel proudly displayed his miracle cloth for the world to see. I wonder how many pastors and Christians who watched this interview did not even question Mel’s fanatical devotion to Emmerich?
Here are a few quotes by Anne Catherine Emmerich:
"The Church is the only one, the Roman Catholic! And if there were left upon earth but one Catholic, he would be the one, universal Church, the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ against which the gates of Hell shall never prevail."
If Emmerich and her writings are not extreme blasphemy then there is not one word of truth in the Bible.
Christianity Today writes of Gibson’s obsession of Emmerich’s Dolorous Passion:
"He [Gibson] also recounted a series of divine coincidences that led him to read the works of Anne Catherine Emmerich, a late-18th, early-19th-century Westphalian nun who had visions of the events of The Passion. Many of the details needed to fill out the Gospel accounts he drew from her book, Dolorous Passion of Our Lord."
Much of The Passion is clearly scripted from Emmerich’s Dolorous Passion. Let us examine a couple of scenes from The Passion.
In one scene, as "Jesus" is being flogged, Claudia, the wife of Pilate, approaches Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. She gives them folded linens. After Jesus is taken away, the two Marys began mopping up the blood on the ground with the linens.
Somehow in my reading and study of the scriptures I missed that scene. Of course, it is not in the Bible. It is taken directly from Emmerich’s visions. Here is the same scene in Emmerich’a Dolorous Passion:
When Jesus fell down at the foot of the pillar, after the flagellation, I saw Claudia Procles, the wife of Pilate, send some large pieces of linen to the Mother of God. I know not whether she thought that Jesus would be set free, and that his Mother would then require linen to dress his wounds, or whether this compassionate lady was aware of the use which would be made of her present. … I soon after saw Mary and Magdalen approach the pillar where Jesus had been scourged; … they knelt down on the ground near the pillar, and wiped up the sacred blood with the linen which Claudia Procles had sent.
Another curious scene from Emmerich’s Dolorous Passion is when Satan tempts "Jesus" during the garden of Gethsemane as "Jesus" is in agony praying, Satan (which is incidentally played by a beautiful woman in The Passion) tempts "Jesus". Here is how one reviewer describes the scene from Gibson’s The Passion:
In the darkness, a gaunt, hooded woman appears [Satan].
Again the above scene is nowhere in the scriptures. And again it is straight from Emmerich’s Dolorous Passion"
He fell on his face, overwhelmed with unspeakable sorrow,. . . But Satan, who was enthroned amid all these horrors, and even filled with diabolical joy at the sight of them, let loose his fury against Jesus, and displayed before the eyes of his soul increasingly awful visions, at the same time addressing his adorable humanity in words such as these: ‘Takest thou even this sin upon thyself? Art thou willing to bear its penalty? Art thou prepared to satisfy for all these sins?'
Another scene from The Passion coming from Emerich’s Dolorus Passion is "Jesus" crushing the serpent’s head:
A snake slithers from her robe [Satan} toward the man [Jesus] who, for the first time, has diverted his eyes to this enemy. Suddenly, and without warning his foot comes down, crushing the serpent’s head.
References originally from www.challies.com
An article in Christianity Today, titled The Passion of Mel Gibson had the curious subtitle, "Why evangelicals are cheering a movie with profoundly Catholic sensibilities". which they write:
"This evangelical enthusiasm for The Passion of the Christ may seem a little surprising, in that the movie was shaped from start to finish by a devout Roman Catholic and by an almost medieval Catholic vision. [Anne Catherine Emmerich]"
A review of The Passion by TV Guide also recognizes Emmerich’s influence:
"Like all filmmakers inspired by the Bible, Gibson picks and chooses his lore, guided in part by the lurid visions of 18th-century stigmatic nun Anne Catherine Emmerich. "
James Dobson’s, teen guide, Plugged In gives a glowing approval for The Passion while readily acknowledging Emmerich’s guidance:
"The script is based primarily on New Testament accounts of the gospel, but also draws upon Catholic works including St. Mary of Agreda’s The Mystical City of God and the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich as collected in the book The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This may explain a few extra-biblical elements."
Get this! According to one report, Emmerich’s satan-inspired, Dolorous Passion sold less than 3,000 copies in all of 2002. But since Gibson’s Passion, in just one month, it has sold over 17,000 copies!
Franklin Graham recommends The Passion but readily admits The Passion wanders from the Word of God:
Although there are some exceptions, what I call "Hollywood's artistic liberties," the film is for the most part an accurate, biblical portrayal of Christ's suffering. (Graham, Franklin. To the Point, The Point of 'The Passion'. Decision, March 2004
Franklin Graham and the others peddling The Passion should go back and read the King James Bible. These "Hollywood artistic liberties," as Franklin describes them is strongly condemned by the Lord.
The following are obvious incidents in The Passion that are not in the Word of God. Any Christian who has even slightly read their Bible should immediately recognize the perversion of the Gospel Story of the Lord Jesus Christ:
There is no question The Passion is not true to the Bible. There is no question The Passion adds to the Word of God. There is no question The Passion perverts the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no question that The Passion is an openly Catholic originated, inspired and produced movie. Mel Gibson has held back nothing, confessing his complete devotion to his Catholic faith. In an interview with the Australian paper, The Herald Sun, Mel proudly admits "There is no salvation for those outside the [Catholic] Church.
"There is no salvation for those outside the Church, I believe it."
Gibson goes on to calmly condemn his own wife to hell. Mel readily admits that she "believes in God" and "she knows Jesus" – but that is not enough. According to Gibson’s own words, "knowing Jesus" will not save a person. Mel Gibson clearly believes "There is no salvation for those outside the Catholic Church."
"Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She’s a much better person than I am. Honestly, She’s, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it’s just not fair if she doesn’t make it, she’s better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair. I go with it."
The "pronouncement from the chair" Gibson is referring to is the pronouncement by the Pope, which to Catholics, is literally the voice of God and infallible. The "chair" has more authority than the Bible.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church number 780 says, "The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men" (CCC 780).
THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS
To really grasp the complete Catholic inspiration and foundation of The Passion you need to understand the Catholic teaching of "The Stations of the Cross".
"The Station of The Cross", also called "The Way of the Cross" or Via Dolorosa, is the Catholic sacred ritual where they walk the footsteps of Jesus while praying and meditating along the 14 "stations" or scenes during the last 12 hours before the crucifixion of Jesus. The Station of the Cross is normally done during Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday. The Station of the Cross is vital to the Catholic faith. Most Catholic Churches have plaques or pictures along their walls of the 14 "Stations of the Cross" used to walk through the "stations". Like Mel’s movie, the "Stations of the Cross" are commonly referred to by Catholics as The Passion. Of course, nothing of the sort is found in the Word of God.
Get this. . . Mel Gibson’s The Passion is the Catholic ritual "The Stations of the Cross" in action. Believe it or not. That is what The Passion actually is. It is the Catholic "Stations of the Cross" carried out on film!
There is no doubt the underlying foundation of The Passion is the 14 "Stations of the Cross". They are all there.
For instance, "station" number "six" is the Roman Catholic Saint Veronica wiping the face of Jesus as He carries the cross. Is that in the Bible? Of course not. Is it Mel Gibson’s The Passion? Of course it is!
James Dobson’s teen magazine, Plugged In, which lovingly endorses The Passion, recognizes the sixth Station of the Cross:
". . . a woman (the Roman Catholic Saint Veronica) gives Jesus a cloth to wipe his face (legend has it that that imprint survived, and became a "relic" of the crucifixion)."
In an interview with James Dobson, Mel Gibson relates that it was The Stations of the Cross that renewed his Catholic Faith:
"Gibson had drifted away from his devout Roman Catholic roots; his ‘early’ midlife crisis caused him to reconsider his faith. He meditated on the Stations of the Cross, which Catholics use to mark the hours of Christ’s passion. ‘I got on my knees,’ Gibson said. ‘I realized that His wounds could heal my wounds.’"
There is no question Mel Gibson’s The Passion is a subtle (see Genesis 3:1) reenactment of the Catholic teaching of the "Stations of the Cross".Here are the 14 Catholic “Stations of the Cross”. Notice “stations” 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 are not in the Bible. All 14 are unmistakably in Gibson’s The Passion.
Here are some reviews by keen observers of The Passion, who unlike most of today’s spiritually-blind Christian leaders, quickly recognized the "Stations of the Cross" being walked out in The Passion.
"Gibson gives the Catholic Church. . . the version they can love. . . This is a literal Passion, with all the major Stations of the Cross covered. It's as literal as the scene in which a woman gives Him a cloth to wipe His face as He's creeping through the streets of Jerusalem dripping blood and flesh. The Veil of Veronica is thus created [Station number 6]. No quibbling here about whether this event, which is not in the Bible, ever happened. In Gibson's film, it's a fact, as real as the blood on Caviezel's face."
"Finally, though, when we get to point where Christ is arrested by the Temple Guard, brought before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, and scourged at the stake, it suddenly becomes absolutely clear what Gibson is doing: He’s illustrating the 14 Stations of the Cross"
"Gibson, who co-wrote the screenplay, has said he took much of his inspiration for the torture and crucifixion depictions not only from the Gospel accounts, but from the writings of a 19th-century German Catholic nun. The film features much from Catholic tradition that is not based directly on Scripture such as Jesus passing through the Stations of the Cross and his mother, Mary, being by his side much of the way."
"The Passion does not simply translate a single Gospel narrative onto the screen. Rather it is a composite of The Passion narratives in the four Gospels embroidered with non-scriptural traditions as well as the imaginative inspiration of the filmmaker. The result is a deeply personal work of devotional art - a moving Stations of the Cross. . ."
"Catholics will find themselves on familiar ground: they, at least, have retained the ritual of praying ‘the stations of the cross’ - a Lenten practice that, like Gibson's movie, focuses on the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus."
Do you really think it is just a coincidence that the "official" start of the Catholic observation of The Stations of the Cross begins on Ash Wednesday and that Mel Gibson "officially" launched The Passion on Ash Wednesday? It is very rare, outside of special days such as holidays, that a movie starts on a Wednesday.
Let us not forget the chalice. . .
One preview of The Passion shows "Jesus" in agony praying in the Garden. Of course, he was praying in Latin or Aramaic, but the English subtitles quoted "Jesus" saying, "Father if it be possible let this chalice pass from me". Chalice? I always thought it read cup? It does in every Bible I could find except one – The Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims version.
Matthew 26:39, Douay-Rheims version
And what is the chalice?
Here is the definition for chalice from www.infoplease.com
The chalice is the sacred cup used in the Roman Catholic Mass or Eucharist.
Mel Gibson’s film contains no English speaking whatsoever, it is all in Latin or Aramaic. The fact is, there is no evidence that Jesus Christ ever spoke any Latin. Most scholars agree the dialogue between Pilate and Jesus, between Jesus and the Roman authorities was Greek. Any Christian knows the New Testament was originally written in Greek; not Latin. Why the Latin language? Simple. Latin is the sacred language of the Catholic Mass. The Passion is a Catholic movie – from top to bottom.
Get this. . . Mel Gibson openly told the Catholic Eternal Word Television Network, the goal of The Passion was to brashly perform the Latin Holy Eucharist through The Passion:
"The goal of the movie is to shake modern audiences by brashly juxtaposing the ‘sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the altar [Holy Eucharist] - which is the same thing,"
The Catholic News Organization Zenit, writes that The Passion is actually the Catholic Mass secretly (via Latin) performed. The reason for the Latin language to perform the Mass. Wow. . .
"This film, for its author, is a Mass: Let it be, then, in an obscure language [Latin], as it was for so many centuries. If the mind does not understand, so much the better."
Syndicated religious journalist Terry Mattingly, details Gibson’s hidden purpose for The Passion is the Holy Eucharist.
"It is crucial to realize that the images and language at the heart of ‘The Passion of the Christ’ flow directly out of Gibson's personal dedication to Catholicism in one of its most traditional and mysterious forms - the 16th-century Latin Mass."
To emphasize and connect the Catholic’s false teaching that the Holy Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper changes into the actual blood and body of Jesus Christ (called transubstantiation) in The Passion as Jesus is on the cross, Mel flashes in scenes from the Lord’s Supper. One Catholic reviewer picked up on this subtle Catholic propaganda.
"The juxtaposition of the wounded and bleeding body of Christ on the cross with scenes of the Last Supper compellingly underscores how the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ."
There is no doubt The Passion is a subtle Catholic mystic film cunningly teaching and promoting the Catholic religion.
And there is no question the Catholic Religion is not a Bible Believing Christian faith. Here are some of the un-Biblical and false teachings in Catholicism:
1. The Pope is called Holy Father, and acts in the place of God. As Gibson stated when the Pope speaks from "the chair" it is the voice of God. The Pope wears the title "Vicar of Christ". Vicar means "substitute". The Pope claims to be the "substitute of Jesus Christ". Jesus Christ is the "head of the church" according to Ephesians 5:23. The Catholic Catechism (882) states, "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."
Matthew 23:9, quickly demolishes the "Holy Father" myth.
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
And Ephesians 5:23 also dethrones the "Vicar of Christ" nonsense.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
2. The Catholic Church teaches salvation is not in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but only through the Catholic Church.
Thank God, John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 (and about a zillion other verses) completely destroy the "Catholic-only-salvation" foolishness:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
3. The Catholic Church teaches salvation is in the Mass or Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist (Mass) is where Catholics partake of the wine and the bread communion. In the Eucharist, through a mystic process called transubstantiation the bread literally changes into the actual body of Christ and the blood literally turns into the blood of Christ. Without partaking of the Catholic Mass, there is no salvation.
Not surprising, Gibson and Caviezel [the actor who played "Jesus"] received Mass and Communion every morning to prepare for the filming.
4. The Catholic Church teaches an intermediate place between heaven and hell called purgatory. Purgatory is a place where souls suffer and torture to be purified from their sins. Of course, there is no such nonsense as Purgatory in the Bible.
5. The Catholic Church worships Mary as the Mother of God. The Catholic Church teaches Mary, not just the Lord Jesus is the mediator between man and God. A very popular Catholic prayer is:
Mel Gibson proudly calls Mary "a tremendous co-redemptrix and mediatrix". (Mel, Mary, and Mothers. Christianity Today. March 2004 <http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/commentaries/passion-melmarymothers.html>)
Mel clearly believes Mary is the co-redeemer (with Jesus) and co-mediator (along with Jesus). Any doubts about what Mel Gibson believes?
The Bible is clear. There is only "one mediator between God and men" – and it is not Mary.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
There are many, many other false teachings in the Catholic Church such as infant baptism, sacraments, confession, penances, indulgences, celibacy, priests, and all kinds of sacrilegious silly stuff.
It is amazing the Christian leaders who are informed on the false teachings of the Catholic Church and its influence in The Passion and yet these same Christians are wildly promoting The Passion.
It not only amazes me, but it also amazes Mel Gibson:
"I've been actually amazed at the way I would say the evangelical audience has—hands down—responded to this film more than any other Christian group." What makes it so amazing, he says, is that "the film is so Marian [the Roman Catholic worship of Mary]."
Gibson adds, "The way the film displays [Mary] has been kind of an eye opener for evangelicals who don't usually look at that aspect. . ." (Ibid)
The actor, who played "Jesus", Jim Caviezel, said in an interview concerning Mary’s omniscience role in The Passion:
"I ask Mary to guide me and my career. . . This film is something that I believe was made by Mary for her Son. Because it was made by her, it will be attacked by the enemy."
Let us understand something. If The Passion is the will of God and if the Lord God of the Holy Bible is pleased with it, then we need to join the Catholic Church and become devout Catholics. The Passion is a hard-core, Catholic inspired and guided movie.
The Catholic Passion Outreach website site, proudly says:
"The Passion of The Christ offers an unprecedented cultural opportunity for you to spread, strengthen, and share the Catholic faith with your family and friends. Unlike any other, this movie will inspire hearts and change minds. And it will evoke questions."
The Catholic Passion Outreach even offers Passion booklets, Passion Diocese/Parish Action Plan, and Passion group manuals to instruct Catholics how to utilize The Passion to convert curious viewers to Catholicism.
A bizarre incident occurred in one of the theaters showing The Passion. Strangely the number "666" began appearing on the movie tickets. The theater was in Rome, Georgia. Do you what is in Rome, Italy? Did I fail to mention The Passion was filmed in Rome, Italy? Do you know who "sits" in Rome, Italy? Have you ever read Revelation 17? It describes a CITY that sits on seven mountains [Rome] (Rev. 17:9, 18) A city that is connected to a WOMAN (Rev. 17:8). This woman dresses in PURPLE and SCARLET with a golden CUP in her hand. (Rev. 17:4). And she is called Mystery, Babylon the great, and the MOTHER (Rev 17:5). And the BEAST  shall some out of her (Rev. 17:7).
Those tickets with "666" may not be so bizarre after all?
1 Corinthians 10:21
Anyone who has watched a movie in a modern day theater is blown away by the images and sound system. Huge screens covering a complete wall; larger than life; living color; super-duper surround sound. It is certainly a graphic feast for the ears and the eyes. Scenes viewed in these darkened rooms of visual ecstasy will not soon be forgotten.
The Lord Jesus gives the following warning in Luke 11:34-35
34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
What you watch will greatly influence you. Not only will it greatly influence you, but according to the Lord Jesus it will "fill you full of light" or it will "fill you full of darkness".
When you place Luke 11:34-35 in "the darkness" of a gigantic movie theater the "filling" is multiplied many times.
The Bible is specific about controlling what goes in our mind.
The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-38
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul gives the prescription for the perfect will of God. The how-to-solution – ". . . by the renewing of your mind. . . "
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
In Peter 1:13, Peter commands the Christian to "gird up the loins of your mind". To "gird up. . ." is to prepare for battle.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Jesse Peen Lewis writes in her classic, The Battle for the Mind:
"The stronghold of the mind is therefore the strategic centre of the ‘war’ with the ‘god of this age’, because it is primarily through the mind that he holds holds captives in his power."
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 verifies Satan’s strategic war on the mind. It states the devil has "blinded the minds" of unsaved people.
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
The battle is for the mind.
Jesse Penn Lewis also warns the Christian about the attack on their mind:
"The mind of the Christian is also the strategic centre of the ‘war on the saints’ which Satan wages with ceaseless and fiendish skill. And for this reason. The mind is the vehicle for the Spirit of God, dwelling in the spirit of the believer. . ."
The Bible in 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs the Christian to cast down "imaginations". Imaginations come from the root word "images". Images are what is flashing across the movie screen theaters. These "imaginations" will influence and control you. The rest of the verse proves this point, ". . bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" – every thought – the "thinking process" of the mind.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Jesse Penn Lewis, comments on 2 Corinthians 10:5 with the reasoning "The Holy Spirit, dwelling in the spirit needs the mind as a channel for expression."
"If the mind is the vehicle of the Spirit it is absolutely necessary that the Spirit of God should have full possession of it, with every "rebellious thought’ brought into captivity to Christ. The Holy Spirit, dwelling in the spirit needs the mind as a channel for expression."
As much as possible, the Holy Spirit requires a clean, uncluttered and obedient mind to perform His work. To corrupt your mind with false "images" is to hinder the ability of the Holy Spirit to "speak" to you.
The Word of God in 2 Corinthians 11:3, reaffirms Satan’s attempt to "corrupt your mind"
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Perhaps the greatest spiritual damage The Passion does is that it plants an "imagination" of the Lord Jesus into the mind that perverts the ability of the Holy Spirit to paint the true picture.
As the Apostle Paul warns the Corinthian Church, I also fear that your minds should be corrupted from the "imaginations" of The Passion.
One reviewer of The Passion truthfully acknowledges:
"Once the images and subscripts are embedded in the mind by the relentless musical theme, they will be unable to read Scripture or hear preaching without mental recall of false images of a false Christ portrayed by Hollywood actors."
To prove the above allegations, read the testimony of various Christian leaders after viewing The Passion:
"It has been nearly three weeks since I saw the rough cut of The Passion. It is still impacting my life. I can't stop thinking about it nor can I stop talking about it. I have never seen a film that has so affected my life."
Franklin Graham writes in The Decision:
"Whatever your perspective, if you watch Mel Gibson's new movie, ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ you will never look at the cross the same way again"
Yes. Franklin that is exactly what I am afraid of. . .
One Passion reviewer gave this incredible and frightening impact of The Passion:
"I felt as I came out of the screening that there is a great amount of detail in the movie that you don't read in the Bible...until you read the Bible again."
Billy Graham makes a starling statement concerning the "imaginations" from The Passion:
"I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. No one who views this film's compelling imagery will ever be the same. Every time I preach or speak about the Cross, the things I saw on the screen will be on my heart and mind."
What a sad confession. It is especially troubling within the darkness of the Anne Catherine Emmerich’s demonic-inspired material infecting The Passion.
Mel Gibson readily admits Anne Catherine Emmerich’s: "images" was a major player in The Passion,
"Amazing images,. She supplied me with stuff I never would have thought of".
In my 25 years of research, preaching, teaching and writing, I have researched many filthy and satanic subjects. I have watched videos of actual bloody, satanic rituals. I have listened to hard-core satanic music and the Satanic Black Mass. I have seen many violent and vulgar things. I have seen things that no one but someone God called and God protected should view. But the one thing I have vigorously avoided is religious movies and videos, especially about the Lord Jesus. I have avoided them like a "pit bull with AIDS".
When the Jesus Video Project was mass mailing out The Jesus video by the millions (several came to my house), people called or wrote asking my opinion. I replied, "I have not watched it and I will not watch it". Why the strict avoidance of the Jesus videos? Because when I read the word of God, I want the Holy Spirit to have as clean a canvas as possible concerning my Saviour and the spiritual things of God to paint into my mind what He wants me to "see".
Before I was saved over 28 years ago, I watched the movie The Ten Commandments. And even until this day, as I read the books of Moses my mind "sees" Moses looking like Charleton Heston. Those "imaginations" will never go way. As I read about my Saviour, I do not want the "images" of Jim Caviezel, the actor who played "Jesus" in The Passion, popping up in my head.
One thing you can be absolutely certain of. . . The Holy Spirit does not want your mind filled with the "imaginations" of a demon-possessed Catholic mystic through the "images" of The Passion.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to SEDUCING spirits, and doctrines of devils;
One of the biggest surprises about The Passion is the wholesale acceptance from the Christian community. I have been saved for over 28 years and I have never seen such an indiscriminate reception. It has been called The Passion Phenomena.
It is even more surprising when the known Catholic influence is considered. Many of the Christian leaders who are adamantly promoting The Passion, are well aware of Mel Gibson’s fanatical Catholicism and it’s inspiration in The Passion. And yet many of these men are ecstatically promoting The Passion. Normally, most of these Christian leaders would draw a straight and deep line of separation against Catholicism – but not with The Passion.
Mel Gibson was also surprised at how the evangelicals have "hands downs responded" to The Passion, especially since it openly promotes the Catholic adoration of Mary.
"I've been actually amazed at the way I would say the evangelical audience has—hands down—responded to this film more than any other Christian group." What makes it so amazing, he says, is that "the film is so Marian [the Roman Catholic worship of Mary]."(Mel, Mary, and Mothers, Christianity Today, March 2004
What is so different about The Passion?
What is the hook in The Passion? What is about The Passion that Christians are closing their eyes to the blatant doctrinal errors and welcoming it with open arms?
The Passion is "seducing" most Christians because of their desire to know more about the Lord Jesus. They believe if they can just "see" the scourging, the beating, the pain and anguish – they could love Him more. If they could "see" the blood, the torn flesh and what the Lord Jesus went through for them – oh how they could love Him more!
It sounds logical.
Their motives are certainly right. They want to know more about their Lord. They want to draw closer to their Lord. They want to love their Lord more. No problem here.
Their motives are wonderful, but the method is completely wrong.
Let us understand something very important, something that is missing in today’s Christianity – and that is, the right motive does not make the action right. You can have the right motive, but you can be completely wrong.
Matthew 16 contains a very interesting dialogue in the Word of God. It is the popular conversation between the Lord Jesus Christ and Peter. It begins in verse 13, with the simple question, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am"? And they answer, "Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets" And the Lord asks them, "But whom say ye that I am?"
In verse 16, Peter gives the correct answer:
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And the Lord Jesus replies:
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Peter apparently got a direct revelation from the Father. The Lord said, "flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee". There is no doubt that Peter loved the Lord. There is no doubt at this point the Lord is pleased with Peter. It would be safe to say at this time Peter is in the perfect will of God.
Everything is fine at this point. But here comes trouble. . .
Just 4 verses later, the Lord tells his disciples how He be must beaten, crucified and rise again third day.
From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
The next verse Peter begins rebuking the Lord, "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee." Peter loved the Lord. The Lord was not going to be beaten and crucified as long as Peter was around. Peter would have fought with every fiber in his soul to protect the Lord. Remember in John 18, when they came for Jesus in the Garden, it was Peter that pulled out a sword to protect the Lord.
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
Look at the next verse:
But he [Jesus] turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Jesus addresses Peter as Satan! Satan had completely taken over Peter. What is amazing is Peter’s motive is love for the Lord! Peter did not want Jesus to be beaten and crucified because he loved His lord. And yet, Satan completely took over Peter. The words coming out of his mouth were no longer Peters – but Satan’s. The motive was wonderful – the method was wrong.
Remember, just six verses earlier God the Father was speaking to Peter – and six verses later Satan is speaking through Peter. And in both cases, the motive is love.
What was the difference? One was the will of God. One was the will of man.
Remember what the Lord said to Satan in verse 23, "thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Peter wanted to do the "will of man" by not allowing Jesus to be crucified. His motives were wonderful, but his method was completely wrong.
Oh, how easy it is for us to try to serve God in the "will of man". We want to do it our way. We want to "see" it. We want to "feel" it. We want this "flesh" to experience it. So many times we try to serve the Lord with our flesh. And every time we do – like Peter, we fail.
Just like Peter, the millions of Christians flooding the theaters are trying to draw close to the Lord with their "flesh". If I can just "see" the Lord beaten, tortured and crucified – I could love Him so much more. If I could "see" those nails actually driven in those precious hands – I just know I could love Him more! I know I could. . .
Just as Peter quickly discovered, we can not serve God with our "flesh. We can not draw closer to God with our flesh. God is a Spirit – not flesh.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him MUST worship him in spirit and in truth.
The Christian life is a spiritual life. If we draw closer to the Lord it MUST be spiritual. If we love the Lord more it MUST spiritual. If we really grasp what the Lord Jesus did for us – it MUST be spiritual.
There are no alternatives. There is no "plan B". God is a Spirit. You know
Him, You love Him, You worship Him – spiritually.
In fact, the Bible says in Galatians 5:17, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: . ."
The flesh and the Spirit are completely opposite of each other.
The Bible says in Romans 8:7, the "carnal mind is enmity against God". The flesh is the enemy of God. Genesis 6:3, says, "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh. . ." The flesh and God do not fellowship.
Are you getting the picture? We can not love the Lord Jesus Christ more with our flesh. Going to a picture show, any picture will not help us understand more what the Lord Jesus did for us. Why? It is flesh. It is the carnal mind. In order to love and know God it must be in the spiritual realm. There are no exceptions.
The Passion appeals and touches the flesh. The Passion shows in very graphic detail with all the graphic enhancements possible a man tortured and beaten to death. For 45 non-stop minutes a man is beaten bloody with torn flesh flying in slow motion, groans of pain and agony searing through the sound system – of course it will touch you. Of course, it will bring tears to any sane person’s eyes. It could be any human being beaten like that for 45 minutes and it would touch your emotions.
The Passion feeds and speaks to the flesh. The Holy Spirit feeds and speaks to the spirit.
A.W. Tozer in the book, Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, addresses how movies touch our emotions, but can not touch our spirit:
"Religious movies are mistakenly thought by some people to be blessed of the Lord because many come away from them with moist eyes. If this is a proof of God's blessing, then we might as well go the whole way and assert that every show that brings tears is of God. Those who attend the theater know how often the audiences are moved to tears by the joys and sorrows of the highly paid entertainers who kiss and emote and murder and die for the purpose of exciting the spectators to a high pitch of emotional excitement. Men and women who are dedicated to sin and appointed to death may nevertheless weep in sympathy for the painted actors and be not one bit the better for it. The emotions have had a beautiful time, but the will is left untouched. The religious movie is sure to draw together a goodly number of persons who cannot distinguish the twinges of vicarious sympathy from the true operations of the Holy Ghost."
Do you really believe Mel Gibson’s Anne Emmerich inspired Passion could do more for you spiritually than the inspired Word of God and the Holy Spirit? Do you believe Mel Gibson and Anne Catherine Emmerich could possibly "show" you more than the Holy Spirit of God?
The reason millions of people are flooding the theaters is they are desperately searching for something from God. Some are seeing The Passion over and over, just trying to get a "glimpse" of God. "Oh, I want too see Him, look upon His face". They are starving spiritually to hear from the Lord. Amos 8:11, prophesied of the days when there would be a famine not of bread. . . but of hearing the words of the Lord.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
Well friend, we are there. The famine is clearly here. Millions of people are storming the theaters looking for a morsel or a few crumbs from the Lord. They are spiritually starving to death.
Yet the Lord gave us a spiritual feast, but we have refused to taste it. Like a little child refusing to eat their vegetables, "I don’t like them". The Lord gave us the King James Bible to feast on but people say, "I don’t like it. It’s too hard to read. It’s too outdated". And the people are slowly starving to spiritual death. They crawl in the garbage dumps of Hollywood and Catholicism searching for some scraps from the Lord. But friend, they are not there. . .
How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Go back to the old King James Bible. It is the only lasting and satisfying spiritual nourishment that will sustain you. It has proved it’s power and provision many times. Just look at the majesty of the revivals of Moody, Sunday, Wesley, Whitfield, and others. The Word of God was once the foundation of this once great nation.
A.W Tozer in the book, Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, writes of the Miracle Plays of the Middle Ages. The Miracle Plays were today’s version of The Passion. They were futile attempts to bring spiritual revival through the art of drama and acting. But they produced the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages were the darkest hours in the history of the church.
Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
O taste and see that the LORD is good:. . ."
God’s form of communication with mankind is the written Word of God.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The written Word of God is literally the spiritual life-blood of the Christian faith.
It is the Word of God that:
There is simply no way to overemphasize the importance of the Word of God in a Christian’s spiritual life.
The devil knows if he can somehow weaken the appeal and appetite for the Word of God his battle is easily won. The great evangelist Dwight L. Moody once said of the Bible, "This Book will keep me from my sin, or my sin will keep me from this Book".
Mankind’s spiritual life-source is the Word of God.
It is no accident the first time Satan attacks the human race it was a direct attack on the word of God.
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said. . .
Satan planted a small seed of doubt into the mind of Eve. And as Eve questioned the truthfulness of God's Word - the fall of mankind was just one bite away.
Satan has not changed his attack.
In Luke 8, Jesus Christ tells the parable of the sower, verses 11-12 read, "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. . . then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word. . ."
The Passion with it’s elaborate special effects, dramatics, make up, blood, ripped flesh, actors, music and stereo surround system makes the God-given, God-inspired Word of God, almost insignificant in comparison. It clearly lessens the effect and appeal of the Word of God.
Look at how these Christian leaders describe their own experiences with The Passion. Remember these are not star-struck teenagers but seasoned veterans of the ministry.
"It has been nearly three weeks since I saw the rough cut of The Passion. It is still impacting my life. I can't stop thinking about it nor can I stop talking about it. . ."
Now, I ask how can the simple, written words of God compete with that?
It almost sounds like a supernatural experience has "captured" these men? Maybe it did. . .
One very serious emailer wrote us the following unbelievable reply"
"I seen the movie. If you do not like it or appreciate it, you are lost."
One alarming thought penetrates my mind as I read these quotes. . . Do these men really believe that a Hollywood movie can reveal the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ better than the Word of God? Are they so deceived and spiritually blind to believe that a demon-possessed Catholic mystic inspired blood and gore movie can portray the passion of the Lord Jesus better than the Holy Spirit of God?
God help us. . .
One reason The Passion has found such a welcome mat in the Laodicean Church Age is because the Word of God has been surgically diminished and crippled through the years. The authority and wonder of the Word of God has been de-throned and replaced with movies, music, jewelry, productions, drama, and any other crowd appealing invention.
A.W. Tozer in the book, Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, hits the nail on the head:
"One thing may bother some earnest souls: why so many good people approve the religious movie. The list of those who are enthusiastic about it includes many who cannot be written off as borderline Christians. If it is an evil, why have not these denounced it?
I am reminded of an episode in the life of the late-great, evangelist Brother Lester Roloff. At a time when there was a big ballyhoo about the possible discovery of Noah’s Ark. Brother Roloff said somebody asked him, "Brother Roloff, wouldn’t your faith be strengthened if they found Noah’s Ark"? Brother Roloff simply answered, "My faith is not in a piece of wood, but the Word of God".
1 Peter 2:2
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The previous problems we have discovered within The Passion are severe. They certainly deserve careful consideration before any Christian indiscriminately recommends this film to anyone. But there is an issue with The Passion that in the light of the scriptures, I would dare say puts the "others to shame." And yet, I have yet to see it discussed in any critique or review.
Read these ringing endorsements by these Christian leaders. Have you ever read anything or anybody in modern times with such praises ". . . the greatest evangelistic tools in modern day history. . . one of the most powerful evangelistic tools of the last 100 years. . ., Notice how they praise The Passion particularly for its evangelistic ability.
"I have no doubt that the movie will be one of the greatest evangelistic tools in modern day history. I think people will go to it and then flood into the churches seeking to know the deeper implications of this movie."
Many more earth shattering accolades of unheralded evangelistic praises could be given. Without a doubt, The Passion has received more evangelistic applause than any other Christian event in my lifetime.
There is one little problem, (actually quite large), that overshadows over all the evangelistic hoopla. . .
Just one. . .
The one specific group of people that the Lord Jesus explicitly warns to welcome and include are not welcome! Now, how did the evangelistic caravan miss that one? Probably how they missed the other major problems with The Passion – they left their Bible at the movie theater.
13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
The Passion is not a movie for children. The Passion is rated "R" meaning "Restricted for under 17 years of age".
One article advising parents before taking their teenagers to The Passion asks the following questions:
"Ask yourself if you want to show a child the reality of what flesh looks like after it's been scourged or what a Roman crucifixion looks like. Do you want your child to see a crow pick out a man's eyes? Or see a man hang himself, hear the rope clinch and his neck snap."
Darrell Bock, professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, advises parents:
"If they were between 13 and 18, I would take them only if I was sure they could handle it,"
Senior Pastor Riley Powell of the First Church of the Nazarene, said the violence is the sole reason for the R rating and suggested that children younger than 12 or 13 not see the film. (Is 'Passion' for children? The Marian Star. <<http://www.marionstar.com/news/stories/20040225/localnews/17560.html>?)
Columnist Nell Minow, "Movie Mom" for Yahoo! Movies, warns parents about The Passion:
Doris Davis, theater manager for Lewiston Flagship Cinemas in Maine warns parents:
James Dobson has praised The Passion as "the most powerful and important [film] ever made" and a great evangelistic. But when it comes to the children – like the disciples whom Jesus was "much displeased" and "rebuked" – James Dobson "forbids" the children:
Rev. Russell Cotnoir Jr., of Fayette Baptist Church in Maine says:
"I would caution people, the film is not for everybody. It is very graphic and not for the squeamish. I suggest no one under 13 watch it. . ."
"The Passion" has been called "near pornographic violence" by Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter and "The Goriest Story Ever Told," by Time's Richard Corliss.
Larry Poland, chairman of Mastermedia International, who met with Mel Gibson after viewing an earlier release of The Passion, says:
Hundreds of more warnings concerning the children could easily be produced. Even Mel Gibson himself has said no children under 13 should see The Passion.
How does The Passion measure up against the many admonitions of the Lord Jesus to "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me . . ." Not very well.
The stern "forbidding" and "inappropriate" exclusion of children to "view" The Passion should provide irrefutable proof to any Bible Believer – that The Passion is not from the Lord.
With the glowing endorsements by hundreds of Christian leaders claiming The Passion is "true to the Gospels", "factual", "like it really happened" and "bringing the Bible to life" this begs an important question. Some have even redefined the "R" rating as "R for Reality". Since The Gospels are a "real" representation of The Bible – and since virtually every Christian leader recommending The Passion are "forbidding" children to view it - does that mean they also "forbid" young children to "view" and "read" The Bible?
Don’t laugh. When Jay Leno asked Mel Gibson on NBC’s The Tonight Show about the R rating of The Passion, Mel said:
(Mel Gibson, The Tonight Show, NBC, Feb. 26, 2004)
"R" rated. Hmmm. . . So, no one under 17 should read the Bible? I don't think so.
Isn’t it amazing how quick and how far we can wander from the will of God when we forsake the Bible? I say this with fear and trembling, but without any hesitation of the truth, most of these popular Christian leaders recommending The Passion are far, far away from the Word of God and the will of God. Like Esau, most sold their birthright [The Word of God] for one morsel of the world’s meat long, long ago.
By the way, did you notice how many times the age of 13 came up as the forbidden age? No one under 13 should see it. What? No one under 13 should see the "greatest evangelistic tools in modern day history"? No one under 13 should see the "the most powerful evangelistic tools of the last 100 years"?
A very enlightening survey was conducted by the Barna Research Group titled Third Millennium Teens: Research on the Minds, Hearts and Souls of America’s Teenagers. The research consisted of extensive nation-wide surveys of teenagers. Using statistical analysis the margin of error is less than 5%. The research discovered some enlightening information concerning the average age in which people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. According to the Barna Research, "The data show that if a person does not accept Jesus Christ as savior before the age of 14, the likelihood of ever doing so is slim."
Barna Research went on to say, "if they’re not saved by age 13, they probably never will. The data shows clearly that the prime evangelistic years are those before a person becomes a teenager". (Third Millennium Teens, Barna Research, p. 65)
Wow. No wonder the Lord Jesus Christ put so much emphasis on the "little children".
There has been much controversy accusing The Passion of being Anti-Semitic or Anti-Jewish. More publicity has been devoted to the possible Anti-Jewish interpretation of The Passion than any other issue. But where is the outcry against the anti-children discrimination of The Passion? If The Passion is the "greatest evangelistic tools in modern day history" and "the most powerful evangelistic tools of the last 100 years" where does this leave the "little children"? Are we to let "these little children" go to hell because they can not see The Passion?
And what about the "little children" whose parents take to see The Passion? They watch over 45 straight minutes of bloody, close-up graphic detail of a man virtually beat to death. Their little eyes watch in large-screen, living color, graphic surround sound as ripped bloody flesh is flying through the air as blood splatters all over the Romans executors. What will those images do to those tender young vulnerable minds? Judging by the many adults who leave The Passion shocked and dazed over the extreme blood and violence, I would dare say the "little children" will have some confusing questions, to say the least.
James Berardinelli of "reelviews" recognizes the potential danger to young people:
"The torture of Jesus is presented in such a brutal, unflinching manner that it's almost impossible not to look away as chunks of flesh are ripped out by a scourge, and the bloody, mangled skin is shredded to appear like a grotesque parody of ground meat. This is tough stuff, capable of unsettling adults and potentially traumatizing young viewers."
One reviewer says of the bloody Passion:
"What is most depressing about "The Passion" is the thought that people will take their children to see it. Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me," not "Let the little children watch me suffer."
Considering all the irreverent and graphic violence mixed in with the occult Catholic teachings and rituals, it might just be the loving protection from God that these children are restricted from viewing The Passion.
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Mel Gibson is not exactly the "poster boy" for good, clean G rated-films. Mel has appeared in many films, such as Mad Max, Payback, and the extremely violent Lethal Weapon series. Most of Mel's movies are steaming with profanity and vulgarity mixed in with the typical "Helly-wood" sexual scenes.
Gibson had a leading role in the sexually charged comedy, 2000 film, What Women Want. Mel starred as Nick, who after a freak accident possessed the ability to read women's mind. Soon Nick's "goal in life was to bed all the women his lustful heart desired." The Target review ironically says of What Women Want, "Add Mel Gibson--as Nick, the divorced 'man's man' who can charm almost any woman into bed--and you've got high-concept comedy made in Hollywood heaven, right?"
Screenit's review of What Women Want reads, "There's also some brief fooling around between a 15-year-old girl and her older boyfriend and related comments that she plans to lose her virginity to him after their prom, other kissing and gazing at body parts of the opposite sex, and various instances of cleavage and some brief, partial nudity in a flashback." (Screenit)
Monica Bellucci, the actress who plays Mary Magdalene in The Passion, posed for the "2001 GQ Italia Totally Nude" calendar.
The French film, Irreversible, which Monica Bellucci (aka Mary Magdalene) plays a leading role, features total male and female nudity with violent and filthy perverted sex scenes including homosexual S&M acts.
Scoop news agency says, ". . . the film delivers a stomach-churning opening punch set in 'Rectum,' a sado-masochist gay club." Monica performs in a 10 minute perverted-sex, graphic and violent sodomy rape scene.
The sleaze provoked veteran movie critic of 25 years, Jack Mathews of The New York Post, to write:
"You may feel debased. . . I won't be surprised if an audience member somewhere leaves his seat in the midst of the rape scene and tries to get at the projectionist." (Mathews)According to Scoop news agency,
"The movie, Irreversible, premiered at last years Cannes Film Festival, 'Irreversible' proved so shocking that 250 people walked out, some needing medical attention. . . Fire wardens had to administer oxygen to 20 people (at the Cannes Festival) who fainted during the film - which includes a 10-minute depiction of sodomy [of Monica Bellucci], and also contains graphic scenes of rape and murder." (Scoop)Movie critic, Mathews, adds this frightening professional opinion of Monica's Irreversible:
"France, where mainstream filmmakers have been taking sexuality and sexual violence to unprecedented extremes in recent years, the elevated shock quotient of 'Irreversible is nearly a demonic achievement." (Mathews)
And friends, these are professional secular people trained and prepared for such films!
Fire brigade spokesman Lieutenant Gerard Courtel said of Irreversible:
"In 25 years in my job I've never seen this at the Cannes festival. The scenes in this film are unbearable, even for us professionals." (Scoop)For that kind of severe nauseating response from them - Irreversible is pure, 100%, unadulterated violent filth!
Monica Bellucci, of The Passion, calmly says of the filthy and vile, Irreversible:
"This is a film that people love or they hate, but it's good to have these kind of extremes."No wonder Gibson chose Monica for the extreme graphic blood and gore-fest of The Passion. As the old saying goes, "Birds of a feather flock together." Or as the Word of God says, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3
Searching Google with "'Monica Bellucci" and porn will return a whopping 44,100 hits of extreme graphic vile and filth!
What about those Christian young people who viewed The Passion and now innocently search the internet for some info on Monica and get 44,000 pages of wicked vile and filth! Don't tell me it does not happen. I have already received emails from some of the surprised innocent victims! Some of the Monica Bellucci laced "porn sites" will literally take over your computer browser replacing your browser's home page with their filth. You have to cancel or re-boot to get out of their filthy sewers. This happened to me personally many times simply researching this chapter!
Rosita Celentano, who plays Satan is not exactly your cute "little girl next door". A Google search with "Rosita Celentano" will pop-up over 6,000 pages of porn-garbage. She has starred in such wonderful movies as "Diary of a Porn Star" (which is a gay porn star).
Maia Morgenstern, who plays the virgin Mary in The Passion is not exactly pure. She starred in the move, "The Whitman Boys". It is a bizarre death film which contains prostitution, animal sacrifices, violence and nudity. One review describes it as," two brothers become obsessed with death after the death of their father. They investigate the cemetery, dissect small animals, and then meet a young prostitute who becomes an important presence in their lives" (Hollywood). The "warning" on CVMC's film site reads: Contains "adult themes; brief nudity; sexual themes; violence" (CVMC)
Claudia Gerini, who plays Pilate's wife in The Passion, is also very popular in the Internet "Hall of Scum". A Google search on "Claudia Gerini" and porn will infect your computer (and mind) with over 6,000 hits of depraved vile.
The height of hypocrisy is James Dobson's recent praise of The Passion as "the most powerful and important [film] ever made." (Dobson). Remember it was Dobson a few years ago that was viciously fighting pornography and even on the attorney general's Commission on Pornography and now he is lavishly recommending a film to Christians virtually infested with "porn stars". Shame on you Dobson!
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
The Bible is crystal clear. God’s people are to be separated from the world, and the things of the world.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
Ephesians 5:11-12, resembles the "darkness" of a theater, where "it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them. . .". It is a shame, but the world projects the "shame" on huge color screens in stereo surround sound.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Hundreds, probably thousands, of separated Bible-Believing Christians who have never stepped inside the darkness of a movie theater, with the encouragement of their pastors, will enter the movie house for the first time. And it will probably not be their last. Once that wall of separation is broken, it is very hard to repair. The carnal mind (which we all possess) instinctively says, "Now that wasn’t that bad. And the picture and sound was awesome! And after all, there are some decent shows available. Maybe I’ll just come back". As Proverbs 30:20 testifies, "Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness."
Before someone jumps in and says, "Well the movie theater is no worse than the television.". While I am certainly not attempting to justify the filth on the TV, anyone who has spent any time in the theater (as I did before I was saved) can testify to the contrary. As bad as network television is, most of the really vulgar scenes are removed – but in the movie house, it is full-life, large-scene, filth with the vilest language and complete nudity – and that is an R rated show, which by the way, is what The Passion is rated.
The opening day of The Passion in the U.S. alone grossed over $23.6 million in one day. The Passion is by far the largest opening day not on a holiday or in the summer. If the first few days are any indication, The Passion is destined to be crowned one of the biggest selling, possibly the greatest selling movie of all time. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of the viewers flooding the theaters are professing Christians. According to news reports, many churches have leased complete theaters – some have them completely booked up until March! The Christian community has purchased over $10 million in advance ticket sales. A new advance sales ticket record! God only knows what these millions of dollars could have done for the missionaries around the world and the spread of the Gospel.
And another wall of separation comes tumbling down. . .
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
While we have The Passion on our examination table, we dare not ignore the actor playing "Jesus".
I find it very degrading and irreverent for anyone to "play" or "act" as the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe there are some things a Christian should not "play" with. I believe there are some things that are simply too sacred and too glorious for man to "touch". And the person of Lord Jesus Christ is one of these.
I know what some are already thinking. "C’mon, chill out, it is just a movie. All they are trying to do is bring the Gospel Story to life. What is the big deal?"
I am reminded of a story in the Old Testament found in 2 Samuel 6. It is when David decided to retrieve the sacred ark from the house of Abinadab. As they lifted the ark on a new cart and began rolling the ark out. As the ark was moving the oxen shook the ark, and in order to help the Lord to keep the ark from possibly falling, Uzzah put his hand on the ark to steady it – and the Lord immediately killed him. Somebody says, he was just trying to help the Lord. He was just trying to steady the ark. What is the big deal? Friend, there are some things that are too sacred for depraved men to "touch". And the person of the Lord Jesus is one.
3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.
For someone to "act" as the Lord Jesus Christ is the creation of "another Jesus" (2 Cor. 11:4) As we saw previously the full-screen, incredible images enhanced with surround creates an atmosphere that is larger than life. Remember how amazed Billy Graham was after viewing The Passion:
"I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. No one who views this film's compelling imagery will ever be the same. Every time I preach or speak about the Cross, the things I saw on the screen will be on my heart and mind."
Now every time when millions of people read their Bible or think of the Lord Jesus Christ they will instinctively picture Jesus as Jim Caviezel. Friend, Jim Caviezel is not Jesus.Caviezel, claims he got a "sign" six months before he even auditioned for the role of Christ when a complete stranger just came up to him and said, "You'll be playing Jesus." Caviezel has proudly noted that his initials are J.C. and he is 33, the same age Jesus Christ was when He was crucified. Caviezel also claims he has actually had fans bow down before him in worship.
For some strange reason (like blasphemy), I do not believe The Passion and this "another Jesus" is pleasing to the Lord.
According to reports there were many strange and bizarre incidents during the filming of The Passion.
Jim Caviezel, the actor who played "Jesus" was struck by lightning twice while filming The Passion. Here is how Caviezel describes one of these lightning episodes:
"I was lit up like a Christmas tree! I was doing the Sermon on the Mount. I knew it was going to hit me about four seconds before it happened. I thought, "I'm going to get hit." And when it happened, I saw the extras grab the ground.
Caviezel makes this incredible admission in an interview with The 700 Club – even though I was "playing Christ many times I felt like Satan, I had obscenities wanting to come out of me"!
"And let me tell you, I was on that cross. Many people who looked up there, I may be playing Christ, but a lot of times I felt like Satan. I had obscenities wanting to come out of me."
Caviezel says later in the same 700 Club interview, "I felt like a great presence came within me at times when we were filming.. . ." (Ibid)
Interestingly Caviezel also starred in the movie "Ride with the Devil".
Caviezel experienced several close-calls and bizarre incidents.
Caviezel describes one incident that speaks volumes of this "another Jesus":
At one point, Gibson instructed the two actors inflicting the beating to hurl their lashes overhand as if throwing a baseball. Caviezel took a blow to his back after one of the actors aimed poorly.
"It just extended over the board and hit me with such a velocity that I couldn’t breathe," Caviezel said. "It’s like getting the wind knocked out of you. The stinging is so horrific that you can’t get air."
That is the second time Caviezel has said that "he felt like Satan".
Caviezel, a fanatical Roman Catholic "asks Mary to guide him". He believes The Passion was made "by Mary for Her son":
"I ask Mary to guide me and my career. . . This film is something that I believe was made by Mary for her Son. Because it was made by her, it will be attacked by the enemy"
Caviezel also carries in his a pocket a piece of wood from the "original" cross Jesus died on. (Yea, right. If you believe that nonsense, you probably believe the Pope is the Vicar of Christ). As mentioned earlier, Mel Gibson’s sacred Catholic relic he carries in his pocket is a piece of the habit [nunnery garment] from the demon-possessed nun Anne Catherine Emmerich.
James Dobson, who is known for his anti-Biblical, pro-Catholic support, publishes in Focus on the Family that Caviezel is a "devout Christian".
"Actor Jim Caviezel, himself a devout Christian, plays Jesus; he is almost unrecognizable by the end of the scourging scene."
4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
2 Corinthians 11:3-4
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The overwhelming feature of The Passion is the "scourging".
Everyone that sees The Passion leaves shocked by the amount of torn flesh and blood graphically displayed. Even with all the news media reporting on the extreme violence, people knowing before hand what to expect, leave literally dazed at the amount of blood and gore. Over 45 non-stop, continuous minutes are nothing but "Jesus" scourged, beaten and whipped with nails. All the while, close up graphic scenes in slow motion show every gruesome detail of the torn flesh flying and blood splattering over the Roman executors. And this is surrounded and enhanced with gruesome sound effects.
To give you an idea of the amount of scourging and torture was displayed, it took eight hours of makeup to create the beaten "Jesus".
Mel Gibson boasts of the extreme blood and violence of The Passion. Gibson told Diane Sawyer, he wanted it this way.
"I wanted it to be shocking. And I also wanted it to be extreme. I wanted it to push the viewer over the edge ... so that they see the enormity - the enormity of that sacrifice"
According to every review I have read, he certainly succeeded.
Here are some reviews of The Passion:
". . . the film is the most violent I have ever seen. It will probably be the most violent you have ever seen."
The above disturbing reviews could easily be reproduced by the thousands. Virtually everyone that experiences The Passion leaves traumatized by the extreme and graphic violence.
But what was the actual Passion of the Lord Jesus really like?
Was it really this violent? What is as bloody and graphic?
It was worse. . .
The Bible describes the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus "as a lamb to the slaughter". Isaiah 53:7
Isaiah 50:6 says the Lord Jesus "gave’ His back to the "smiters", His beard was literally ripped from His face and He was "spit on".
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
Isaiah 53 describes the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isaiah 52:14 says the Lord Jesus was so beaten, people that saw Him was astonied. His visage or face was so marred more than any man – His form or body more than the sons of men. He was hardly recognizable as a man.
As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
There is no question the Lord Jesus was beaten unmercifully before He was crucified.
But friend it was not something to be viewed in graphic, bloody, full screen, enhanced stereo surround sound with music blaring in the background! When the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified it was not eight-hours of makeup with polyurethane simulating torn flesh and fake blood. It was His actual torn flesh and sinless blood!
And there were no movie theaters with millions of people gazing at the blood and torture. No. He died all alone.
The Bible says, "And they all forsook him, and fled". Mark 14:50
Jesus Christ died a curse. The book of Galatians 3:13 says, Jesus was "made a curse for us".
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Beloved, the cross of Jesus Christ was the darkest, shameful, disgraceful moment in the history of the universe. It was such a shame His own Father could not even look upon His Son.
In Matthew 27:46 the cry that literally shook the universe was uttered as God the Father forsook His Son – "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Friend, that was such a day of darkness the sun refused to shine. Darkness veiled the Son of God on the cross to hide the shame. And yet Christians by the millions are flooding theaters to view the scene.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
As the Lord Jesus Christ was hanging on the cross, Matthew says the "earth did quake, and the rocks rent".
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
The songwriter got it right:
Oh the shame of it
It shocks me at the huge number of Christians that are literally overflowing the theaters to watch their Saviour beat and tortured unmercifully for nearly two hours! They are coming for one reason, and one reason only – to see the blood! To view the extreme graphic scenes of torn flesh and blood! There are no teachings. There are no miracles. The Gospel is not even told The sound is not even in a language they understand! The only thing they understand is the blood!
Oh my God how far we have wandered from your Word! No wonder we are seeing same-sex marriages, abortions and perversion of the Word of God with hardly a whimper from God’s people!
I have no desire to watch someone I love beaten and tortured in graphic gruesome detail. I have no desire to watch my Saviour beaten, bruised and bloody anymore than I had see my wife and children beaten and tortured.
Yes, I know it happened. Yes, I know it was real. Yes, I know it was very gory and bloody.
Yes, I know.
Thank God, I know what happened on the cross of Calvary. I know what the Lord Jesus did for me. Thank God I can say with the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:14, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,. . ." But I think it’s a shame and a disgrace for Christians to wallow in the blood and gore of watching their Saviour tortured.
Before I end this critique of The Passion, let me ask you dear reader – do you really know what the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus was really about? Are you aware of what took place that night? Do you realize it was so much more than the physical beatings and physical death on the cross?
When the Lord Jesus was praying in the Garden He said, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. . .".
And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
The "cup" Jesus Christ was referring to was more than just the physical death of Calvary. That cup was the wrath of a Holy God filled to the brim with the sins of mankind. The Lord Jesus would literally pay for the "sins of the whole world". When John the Baptist saw Jesus in John 1:29, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
In order for Jesus Christ to "take away the sin of the world" He had to drink the "cup" of the wrath of God.
No wonder as Jesus Christ was praying in the Garden He was in such agony, Luke 22:44 tell us, "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground". Jesus Christ knew what was ahead. He knew what was about to happen! Oh beloved don’t you love Him so! Oh what a Saviour is mine!
And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
All the sins of the world, every perversion, every abortion, every murder, every child molestation, every rape, every curse word, every thought of hate, every single sin ever committed by man in all of history was going to be "drunk" by the Sinless Lamb of God. 6,000 years of filth, violence, hate and sins was going to be placed on the pure, spotless Lord Jesus Christ!
2 Corinthians 5:21, tells it all: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
When Jesus Christ hung on the cross He cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Do you know why God forsook Him? Do you realize this was the only time Jesus Christ referred to His Father as God? Every other time, He called Him "Father". But not this time. . .
When Jesus Christ was "made sin for us", the fellowship He had with His Father from all eternity was broken. That is why God the Father "forsook" Him. Jesus could not even refer to His Father as "Father". The wrath of God was placed on the sinless Son of God. Oh, what a price the Lord Jesus Christ paid for our sins! Oh, do you love Him my friend? Do you know this wonderful Saviour?
Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes the crucifixion:
The central event around which all of human history revolves was about to unfold. God would take the mass of guilty, blood-soaked sin which had accumulated against His people and place it on the body of His beloved Son. But that's barely half of it. This One who had never known anything except the presence, fellowship, and communion of God would be heard to cry out, "My God, My God! Why hast though forsaken me?!!" This One who had lived as eternal spirit had taken on a body which would be so racked with pain that Isaiah would declare, "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men" (Isaiah 52:14). His body was torn and distorted as God poured out the cup of Holy wrath. He was beaten, bruised, and abused by men and God. As it loomed before Him, He feared. The more amazing side of this story, though, is that He knew it was coming. He cried out to the one who could save Him, "if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." Yet, He submitted Himself. You're not getting it...I'll say it again... Yet, He submitted Himself!!! In humility and obedience to the will of His Father, knowing the horror that lay ahead of Him, our eternal Priest acquiesced, "nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Let me ask you my friend, have you ever asked received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Is there a time and a place when you asked the Lord Jesus Christ to save you?
If you've never received Jesus Christ as your Savior, please bow your head this minute and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to save you and give YOU that "joy unspeakable".
Pray this prayer, and mean it with all your heart.
Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and unless you save me I am lost forever. I thank you for dying for me at Calvary. I come to you now, Lord the best way I know how, and ask you to save me. I now receive you as my Savior. In Jesus Christ Name, Amen.
If you just now prayed that prayer and meant it with all your heart according to God's Words YOU ARE SAVED!
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
"For whosoever" that includes YOU!
And God can not LIE!
"In hope of eternal life, which God, THAT CANNOT LIE, promised before the world began;" Titus 1:2