Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Avatar and the Pandoran Rules

Jake Sulley first arrives on the planet Pandora and meets with Colonel Quaritch while the Colonel is explaining the Pandoran Rules to all of the new people. The Colonel is trying to impress on the minds of each person that Pandora is dangerous and that certain rules are required to be obeyed if they plan to live and return to Earth. The primary rule is that the wildlife on the planet can be very dangerous and that many people have died when forgetting that life is dangerous on Pandora. I am sure that the Colonel would have told people about the large predators, and the big animals that while not carnivores can still hurt people. Then there was the indigenous peoples the Na’vi who were much bigger than Earthlings, and while having bows and arrows the arrows were coated with a neurotoxin that could kill in two minutes. All together Pandora would be a dangerous place if not dealt with seriously. To forget the Pandoran rules, even for a short period of time would be very dangerous and very likely to end in death for those who forgot the rules and did not live in harmony with them.

In God’s kingdom He has the same thinking. God knows that He has established the laws of life and all who want to live will keep His laws. God knows that His laws are not something He just made up to be difficult but He shared His laws which are the best things that He could possibly do for His people. God knew that His laws were to be life for His people (Deuteronomy 30:14-20) and that they were all based on love, for God is purely and simply love. I John 4:8 God knew that the world was a dangerous place after Adam had sinned and Satan perceived himself as the God of this world (II Corinthians 4:4). God knew that to believe anything that Satan taught was dangerous and would eventually mean the loss of the physical life of the person as well as the spiritual life of the person. So God gave us an interesting progression of truth. God identifies Himself as love, and then He states that all of His laws are centered in two laws – to love God with all your heart and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus claimed that these two laws are the central laws of God and that all of the other laws that God gave were to hang off these two laws. Matthew 22:35-40 so law is the basis of all of God’s laws.

In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy God gives us His laws. He gave us His ten commandments, written on stone and then He gave us many other laws to amplify and clarify the original ten. All of the rest of the books of the Bible show how these laws are to function, and are to be carried out, and lived out, by God’s people so that all of the rest of the world could see these laws and then decide if it would be worth their time and effort to learn these laws.

God gave the Ten Commandments to Israel 50 days after they left Egypt. God wanted to use these laws to establish the foundation of God’s government for Israel as a nation, and to establish the foundations of God’s covenant with mankind – they were to obey God in all that He asked them to do, and God would support and care for them in all that He asked them to do. God spoke them to Israel at Mount Sinai and they were listed as follows:

And God spake all these words, saying,

I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. Exodus 20:1-19

These Ten Commandments are the simplest and most comprehensive testimony that God could give to mankind so that they would understand what He wants from them and what they can do for His children. For those who follow these laws blessing and life are promised and for those who disobey any of these laws, then chaos and death were sure
to follow. Like Colonel Quartich’s Pandoran rules, so we can listen and learn from truths of God as revealed in His law. If we follow them we will live and if we choose not to follow them we will die.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Avatar and the Mark of the Beast

In the movie Avatar Colonel Quaritch is the character considered to be the villain in the story. The Colonel was a very decisive individual and had a clear vision of what he needed to do. He had been given his marching orders by Parker Selfridge and he was ready to do all to accomplish his task including sacrifice any thing that was in his way.

Colonel Quaritch had many admirable traits. He was clean, neat, kept himself in good shape. He was a stickler for detail and discipline and he would not hesitate to do the very things he was asking his soldiers to do. He had a vision, he was willing to pay the price, and he did not suffer fools lightly. He stated that “I take care of my own” to Jake and followed through with getting the corporation to ok the surgery necessary for Jake to get his legs restored. The Colonel was a man of his word and he had the fortitude and determination to make his word a powerful issue. The Colonel understood military issues and he was willing to get the information necessary to plan an attack and he was willing to implement the plan.

Colonel Quaritch also had a few unusual qualities about him. Apparently when he first arrived on Pandora he was attacked by a beast and the beast left a threefold scar on his head, and apparently on his heart as well. As a result of this encounter Colonel Quaritch had the opportunity to go back to Earth and have cosmetic surgery but he chose to stay on Pandora and kind of liked the marks on his head. He appeared to see his threefold scar as a testimony of his character and he approved of his character.

Another interesting, and symbolic, quality of Colonel Quaritch is that he employed the name of “Papa Dragon” when in combat. Not only did he use the name but his calm, cool, condescending behavior toward the Na’vi while in combat “And that is how you scatter the roaches”, signified that he was used to killing and saw it as a necessary evil especially to peoples that he did not respect nor like. Colonel Quaritch was a very powerful man and he used his power in a manner that fulfilled his visions of life.

Since we have been looking at the symbolism in the movie Avatar it appears that Colonel Quaritch has many symbolic applications. One of the symbols is that of the mark of the beast. Revelation 13-15 has multiple comments about the concept of a mark of the beast. This is some kind of symbolic quality that shows that an individual has joined the ranks of the people devoted to the great red dragon of Revelation 12 who gives his power, seat, and authority to a beast that comes up out of the sea in Revelation 13. This sea beast then enter into a relationship with a land beast in Revelation 12 who creates an image to the sea beast and then demands that everyone worship the beast that came up out of the sea. Revelation 14-15 then describes a group of people who refuse to worship the beast and instead they choose to worship God only. This contrast between the two groups of worshippers is differentiated by the symbol of the mark of the beast in their foreheads or hands versus the name of the Father in heaven written in their foreheads.

In the movie Avatar, Colonel Quaritch has the threefold scar on his head/forehead, and he also carries a special name “Papa Dragon”. Those who follow him have a spirit of cooperation with him, even if they do not think identically to him. So they have the spirit of the Papa Dragon even if they do not have the threefold symbol on their heads.

The opposing group, Jake Sulley and company as well as the Na’vi, have different markings including that of war-paint. The spirit and goals of the two groups have markedly different goals and different ways of going about accomplishing their goals. Colonel Quaritch wants more military might, and Jake Sulley is willing to submit to a spiritual path and seeks help from Eywa, the goddess of Pandora.

In the Bible the same issue is presented, two different groups with two different philosophies of how to accomplish their goals in life. The one group attached to the dragon and the beast is open to forcing people to agree and obey – worship, and if necessary they will kill to accomplish their goals. The other group, attached to the Heavenly Father, focus on following the Lamb of God – Jesus. They do not want to be involved with issues of force, but they clearly want to worship God and not the beast. The contrasts between the two groups is one of the major principles in the Bible and the primary focus on the issues of the last events in the history of Earth before the Second Coming of Christ occurs.

So one of the goals of the Bible is to determine what this mark issue is how to get the right one and avoid the wrong one. In Revelation 13 the central around which the mark of the beast occurs is that of worship. Worship is basically defined as understanding and respecting a powerful figure, or source, and then submitting to and obeying that figure or source. So to obey the commands of a powerful figure is a form of worship, especially if one loves and respects the powerful figure.

In the Bible the focus of worship is to obey the commands of God. God gave us a number of commands and humanity has played out its struggles regarding whether they want to obey God or not. All through the history of the planet Earth this struggle has been revealed in life. We have seen the results of evil that has been displayed in mankind. Most of the time humanity has been determined to rebel against such commands from God as “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not steal” or “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. We all readily identify that it would be good to obey these three commands and if we did obey them much misery and suffering would be removed from the lives of people.

But as we all know there are ten of these commandments, not just three. Most of us can figure out, and agree with the benefits of the last 6 commandments regarding how we should treat one another. Whether we do them or not we can at least philosophically agree that the last six of the Ten Commandments would be good if implemented.

The part we seem to get into difficulty with is the first four commandments. These commandments are focused on the worship of God. In commandments one He commands that we do not obey any other powerful person out there that would attempt to counter one of His commandments.

The second commandment is not to make images of God and then worship those images. God does not want this because any image of God will not properly reflect the grandeur and magnitude of God and thus lessens our appreciation of how great He is. Any lessening of the wonderful qualities of God reduces Him in our minds and lessens our respect and adoration of His qualities. Many people state that God will understand that their heart is right and that they want to use images as a vehicle to keep their minds focused on Him. So they want to disobey Him and then want Him to accept their obedience as worship of Him. But God says that He wants their worship because they respect Him enough to obey Him out of love.

The third commandment is to not take His name in vain. Most of the time we think of this commandment as an issue of not swearing by using His name, but this is a bit shallow. While this concept is true the larger meaning is that we are not to falsely claim to be a follower of His when we won’t live in harmony with His commands. If we don’t live like a follower of God, but live like a follower of the dragon then we are violating this commandment. God wants us to live in harmony with Him and obey Him because we have had enough experience to know that His ways are better than the ways of the dragon.

God’s fourth commandment is the most interesting of them all. It is interesting because human logic and reason do not compute with this commandment. We have difficulty understanding a commandment based on arbitrary time. Often times we violate the 1st commandment by obeying our own thoughts rather than obeying God’s thoughts thus we place our own thinking higher than God’s thinking and we end up creating a god out of ourselves.

But the fourth commandment, the Sabbath commandment, is viewed by God as a “sign” or mark of our surrender to His ways of thinking. In Exodus 31:12-17 God views His Sabbath as a sign that God sets us apart for His personal use. This sign/mark is a statement that we will serve God and no other. This sign is also a mark that we think that God is the original creator of the world and the universe, including any potential planets like Pandora that might be out there. This sign has a visible quality to it that God arbitrarily assigned. He wants us to worship Him on the 7th day of the week or Saturday. It is interesting that in our culture almost everyone knows that Sunday is the 1st day of the week but they have difficulty determining what day of the week the 7th day is.

It is interesting to note that most of us think that any day of the week will do as far as God is concerned. However, when He personally expresses the idea that He wants us to worship Him on the 7th day of the week, in addition to our daily worship on every other day, we find that a bit demanding. We ask who does He think He is to command us to do something that we can not figure out in our own minds. God, of course, wants us to think of Him as God, higher than even ourselves, and He wants us to think of Him as our Creator and thus deserving of our respect and honor.

To clarify this point of worship God has given us many stories in the Bible to testify of how He thinks about the Sabbath and of whether it is important to Him or not. We find in the Creation story that God created the Sabbath while making the first week of Earth. He wanted His children to join Him in celebrating the completion of His works of Creation. Genesis 1:1-2:3; Hebrews 4:1-11; Exodus 31:12-17. By the book of Exodus we see that mankind has already forgotten this concept and God has to restore the concept to His people who will be priests and teachers to the world in Exodus 5:5. He refreshes their minds again when He gave the manna and gave them manna each day for 5 days, doubled the gift on the 6th day of the week – Friday, and then gave them no manna on His Sabbath, so they would have time to spend with Him on His 7th day. Then He pronounced His will to His people at Mount Sinai and proclaimed His law, and His Sabbath day, as a sign of obedience to Him.

In Jeremiah 17 God told Israel that if they insisted upon rejecting His Sabbath He would allow people to come to Israel and burn their cities down. This eventually happened because the people refused to worship and obey God and refused His protection from the powerful nations around them. I Chronicles 36. When God brought them back to Israel, after 70 years of captivity, God reminded them again of their need to refrain from disobeying Him and keeping all of His laws including the Sabbath day. Nehemiah 13.

But Israel had a difficult time with all of these commandments and by the time that the Law Giver Himself, came to earth in the form of a man, Israel had so altered the Sabbath commandment, with all of the other commandments, that they were offended when Jesus lived out His commandments on Earth. Jesus, Himself the Lord of the Sabbath, showed Israel, and thus all of the rest of the world, how Sabbath was to be kept in Matthew 12 and John 5 and 9. The Jewish leaders rejected Jesus’ testimony and chose to reject His Sabbath and thus His special sign and mark. By the time that Jesus had completed His mission they were ready and willing to kill Jesus, reject His authority and choose Rome as their king and thus they chose Rome’s mark as well.

After the time of Jesus the disciples kept all of His teachings and continue to live out all of the laws of God by faith in Him and His power through the Holy Spirit. They observed their surrender to Him by keeping His laws and displaying the sign of surrender to Him by obeying His Sabbath commandment. See Acts 13. By the time of Paul God was warning that people inside of the very church of God would seek to turn His people away from Him. Acts 20:27-31.

In a few hundred years there were two churches struggling to reveal the commandments of God. Both of them claimed to be in harmony with God and both of them claimed to be worshipping God by obeying His commandments. For 1260 years this contest went on and the only way to tell the difference between the two was by their obedience to the commandments of God and the presence of the spirit of the dragon or of the spirit of the Lamb. One group attempted to keep all of the commandments of God, including the Sabbath, while the other group new and improved God’s laws by substituting laws of their own making, including changing the Sabbath from the 7th day of the week to the 1st day of the week. This will be the identifying mark and test in the end as well.

God has said that the great issue in the Revelation 13 will be worship. One group will claim to be worshipping God, while changing His laws, and the other group will be claiming to worship God while maintaining and obeying the revealed laws of God. Colonel Quaritch revealed His character by how he treated those weaker than himself. He also had the three scars to testify of his toughness. Revelation 14 states that God’s followers will have the three angel’s messages to testify to their relationship with Him, and that they will keep God’s laws by faith in Jesus.

God will have a group of people who will follow Him to death if necessary. The Dragon, and the beast, will have a group of followers that will do the same. We know how Colonel Quaritch ended up. God states that His curse (Revelation 14:9-11) will be upon those who refuse to worship Him for they will have no protection from the deceptive miracles of power that the beast will do. Revelation 13:12-16. Just as the battle between the Colonel and Jake became inevitable so this last battle will happen on this Earth, and each one of us will have to take a decided stand. We know it will happen because of the ability of God to know the future. I hope all of us can learn from the experience of the Colonel and not be on his side. Choosing the side of the Colonel will lead us to acting like him and thinking like him. God would like us on His side but to do that we must decide to worship Him and obey Him. We get to decide which mark we will have.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why Does James Cameron Use Bible Symbols In Avatar?

During the discussions of various subjects of the movie Avatar it has been my assertion that James Cameron used Bible symbols in this movie. I have attempted to show these connections in a variety of ways. It will, of course, be up to each reader as to whether my assertions are correct or merely my assumptions and the apparent connections are merely happenstance. But a reasonable question does occur and that is why would Mr. Cameron use Bible symbols in a secular movie? I think that is a reasonable question and I would like to briefly address this concept.

It is my believe that Mr. Cameron wants his movies to be successful in conveying his thoughts, for his ideas and beliefs to have the most powerful impact possible, and to have commercial success for himself and for his investors. In order to accomplish these ideas Mr. Cameron would have to use ideas, methods, symbols that have a positive effect on the audience he is aiming at, and that audience is humanity, worldwide humanity. Mr. Cameron has been in the business of selling ideas long enough to know that one can have an idea but if only a few people see it or hear it there is not much impact. He has refined his craft to the point that he knows what sells, how it sells, and to whom it sells. So Mr. Cameron has been willing to study the most effective ways of communicating his ideas and has settled on movies. Movies are powerful tools because of the truism “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Mr. Cameron also knows that the picture is better if it can communicate a thought in the context of a story that moves the audience to a response, and the response that Mr. Cameron is looking for is repeated viewing of his movie, an open mind and heart to the message, and a willingness to share this thought with others. To accomplish this, the movie, and the message, must contain thoughts that will accomplish these tasks. To accomplish these tasks, on a worldwide basis Mr. Cameron must get to points that every human being can respond to. The best place to look for such things is again to the Bible.

The reason the Bible is so powerful is that God wrote it. Since God created mankind one must assume that God knows human beings pretty well. He knows what makes them tick and He knows the things that block thinking, feelings, and decision making and He knows what opens the hearts and minds. God knows how to make people decide and He knows the boundaries of fairness and freedom to choose. God has a perfect understanding of self-control, and He has the requisite understanding of the time necessary to accomplish any undertaking that He decides to do when interacting with mankind. God also has an understanding of sin and of how sin blocks all of the above issues.

With these thoughts in mind let us discuss briefly Mr. Cameron’s goals. We have stated a brief list above of some of the reasons that Mr. Cameron wants his movies to be commercial successes. In order to accomplish His task Mr. Cameron has been willing to study the methodologies that successful sales people have used to accomplish their goals. The greatest sales person is God.

In God’s sales program He is trying to sell us the idea that we have a problem – sin. He wants to sell us on the idea that this sin problem has been problematic for 6000 years on Earth plus the time in heaven when Lucifer fell. He wants us to understand that this problem has a time limit and will self destruct. In addition He wants us to know that there is an implacable enemy that is encouraging us to self-destruct in a thousand ways. He wants us to know that this enemy started his career in heaven as the closest created being to God in the entire universe. God wants us to know that this being – now called Satan – will use every positive thing that God has initiated and twist it enough to cause death and destruction to mankind, and in principle, to any other living organism in the universe. To communicate these ideas God has used creation, mankind, angels, and the Bible. Each of these entities has a special role in communicating the above ideas, while maintaining freedom to choose to respond to His messages. God knows that these messages are difficult to understand because of the effect of sin on our nervous systems, our bodies, and our awareness of data. God also knows that unless He helps, through the power of His Holy Spirit we can not get certain information, nor make certain decisions without His help. This entire process is called the Plan of Salvation.

As James Cameron has studied out God’s plans, and methodologies, he has seen that God wants to affect us at the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual levels. God has chosen to reveal His truths to mankind at a story level for this level allows us to receive His messages at all three levels at the same time. Mr. Cameron is also aware that God has left certain prime directives in each heart and mind. One of those prime directives is the need to worship. Every human being worships something on a regular basis. This worship can be as simple as following the steps of a movie star and trying to replicate that person’s power, persona, and appearance in our own lives, or it can be a destructive worship of trying to copy the lifestyle of a favorite criminal or gang members. But however the worship is done Mr. Cameron recognizes that worship is a principle that all people respond to. Thus in the movie Avatar Mr. Cameron has placed on display a variety of worship scenarios. One of the worship issues is the veneration that the Na’vi has for Eywa. They also show the worship that Parker Selfridge has for money, and of course the worship that Colonel Quaritch has for power. Mr. Cameron knows that the audience can respond to these forms of worship for they are universal in all human beings.

One of the interesting things about Mr. Cameron is that he also has an awareness that there are other prime directives in the hearts and minds of people. In Avatar he has displayed his awareness that people have an innate calling to return to their Edenic home and he has created a little sample of what the Garden of Eden may have looked like by his rendition of the planet Pandora. Many viewers have gone into a state of depression in their longing to return to Eden but do not know how.

In addition Mr. Cameron is aware that to get back to the Garden of Eden God has laid out a process. He reveals this process in the changes in the life of Jake Sulley. As Jake goes through his various stages of change, the audience recognizes these steps and they are hoping that he makes it for they also are aware that they have a similar process to go through. Thus the audience can identify with Jake and they encourage him to be successful in his endeavors. All people like a success story that they can see is similar to their walk in life.

A final concept Mr. Cameron uses is the idea of victory over evil. He has displayed in Avatar the greed and avarice of mankind. All people recognize these traits in others, as well as themselves. Most everyone can recognize sin at this level and are happy when the little guy, in this case Jake Sulley and the Na’vi, wins a victory over these sins. The audience can relate to these concepts and they enjoy the vicarious victory over the villains.

A tragedy in the movie, that is not addressed, is the idea of how each person in the audience will have victory in their lives over the villains that they have addressed. Mr. Cameron does not show how this is to be accomplished for the audience in real time. Mr. Cameron recognizes that not everyone in the audience is a hero type like Jake Sulley. The audience recognizes this as well. The audience wishes that there was a real hero that could help them in their walks of life that could deliver them from external villains as well as internal villains. This hero is not revealed in Avatar because Mr. Cameron is also aware that if he reveals That Hero he might lose the majority of his audience because That Hero is willing to tell the whole story and will openly and freely communicate to the audience what they need to do in order to be saved and to have all the things that they want in reference to returning to their Eden home. That Hero, by the way, is Jesus Christ of Nazareth – the True Avatar – The very Creator of the Universe who came to Earth, in human form, to communicate with His estranged people.

I will be asking Mr. Cameron, in a future article, to communicate these issues in a more comprehensive manner to his audience. But for now I just want to conclude this article by stating that Mr. Cameron has used the principles that God had granted to us in a marvelous manner. Mr. Cameron has studied the communication patterns that God has left us and has incorporated them in many of his movies, and especially in the movie Avatar. If Avatar turns out to be a trilogy, we will see these principles on display again. We have benefited by the efforts of Mr. Cameron but we also can study out these principles directly by studying the Bible ourselves. If we truly would like to go to Eden we can get there. God has given us the plan. He has revealed the principles to us. We can learn them just as Mr. Cameron has learned them. We personally can live out the Jake Sulley story in real time and have real time results. The symbols revealed in the Bible and in the movie Avatar, can be lived out and experienced in this real life, not just in a movie theatre. Make the decision today. Ask God, the One greater than Eywa, to come to you and to teach you the symbols that He has given to us. Ask Him to teach you, and to help you to participate in the plan of salvation. Tell Him of your desire to go to the Eden Home promised to us in Revelation 21-22. Allow the symbols to become reality for you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Avatar and the Warrior Princess

One of the central themes of Avatar is the feminization of the Pandoran Government and Religion. Mo’at is the spiritual leader of the Omaticaya Clan, Eywa is the feminine goddess of the planet and the Neytiri is the warrior princess of the clan. Eytukan is the leader of the clan as long as he maintains the blessing of Mo’at. Tsu’tey is also a leader into battle, or the hunt, but is not the leader when it comes to spiritual things which is the basis of leadership in the Na’vi system. Thus the male is the figure head ruler of the clan but the female is the true leader in this culture. But in this article I want to focus primarily on Neytiri and the role as a leader in the clan.

Neytiri was to be the successor to Mo’at as the spiritual leader of the clan and the interpreter of the will of Eywa for various activities that the clan participated in. Neytiri was responsive to the will of Eywa in not killing Jake in the beginning of the movie and of being willing to take him to the home tree. This would indicate that Neytiri was very sensitive to the spiritual issues of her clan and her willingness to suppress her desires for the good of the clan and to accomplish the will of Eywa. In addition Neytiri was a warrior princess and when necessary she was able and willing to use physical force to take care of a problem. Neytiri was going to shoot Jake when the seed of the holy tree rested upon her arrow and she was willing to not kill to be obedient to the will of Eywa. She delivered Jake from the animals attacking him. She recognized that a special message was being communicated about Jake when all of the seeds landed upon him. She was willing to disobey her father’s command to not bring any Avatar to the clan’s home, and she was willing to save Jake from Tsu’tey’s attack. Neytiri was a warrior and a servant to her goddess, she was a warrior princess.

As we have discussed before James Cameron appears to have used the Bible as his original source of symbolic issues. The warrior princess symbol is also expressed in the Bible. This concept is first expressed in Genesis 3:15 where God says that He will put enmity between the woman and the serpent and between her seed and the serpent’s seed. This text gives us some clue to the conflict between the great serpent Satan, and the woman – mother Eve.

The next literal example of a warrior princess is that of Jael in Judges 4-5. God has allowed Israel to be subservient to Jabin king of the Canaanites because of the sins conducted in Israel. God has raised up a judge and a prophetess by the name of Deborah. She alerts a man by the name of Barak that God has called him to deliver Israel and he will get the glory of defeating the general of the Canaanite army. But Barak states he will not fight this battle unless Deborah goes with him to the battle. Deborah agrees to go with Barak in Judges 4:8-9. Deborah also prophesies that if she goes with Barak, Barak will not get the glory of defeating the opposing general Sisera but that the glory will go to a woman who will kill the general. Barak is willing to not receive the glory to be sure that he wins the battle. So in fulfillment of the prophecy Sisera, the Canaanite general flees from Barak because the Lord had delivered his armies into the hands of Barak. When Sisera flees providence directs him to the home of Heber the Kenite because there had been peace between Sisera’s king and the house of Heber. When Sisera arrives he meets Jael Heber’s wife and asks for sanctuary. She offers to give him something to drink and to hide him n the tent and if any man comes looking for Sisera Jael was to tell them that she had not seen anyone. After lying down to rest Sisera falls asleep and while he is sleeping Jael kills him by hammering a tent stake through his temples. She thus has the honor of killing the opposing general in the time of Israel’s great tribulation.

The next part of the symbolism of the warrior princess is spoken of in Romans 16:20 “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly…” This text states that God will subdue Satan through the efforts of His church. In Bible symbolism a woman always represents a church. A good woman represents the church of God, and an evil woman the church of Satan. See II Corinthians 11:2; Jeremiah 6:2; Revelation 12; and Revelation 17. God says that He will use His church to win His great war against Satan and even refers to His church as His battle horse. “…for the Lord of hosts hath visited His flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.” Zechariah 10:3

So in the Bible God’s church, symbolized by a woman, is described as a warrior princess, a suitable bride for Jesus. Jesus as the Warrior king, has a bride who is able to fight as well. Thus just as Jake and Neytiri are suitable for each other on several planes, so God and His church are united as husband and wife, and are a warrior couple as well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Avatar’s Tsahik

In the movie Avatar one of the main characters is Moat, Neytiri’s mother. Moat is the Tsahik of the Omaticaya Clan. Moat, as the Tsahik was to monitor and facilitate the will of Eywa – the goddess of Pandora.

Moat is introduced in the movie when Neytiri, in response to the “signs” given by the clustering of the seeds from the holy tree on Jake, brings Jake Sulley in his avatar to the clan home. Moat comes out to investigate hears from Neytiri, the next Tsahik, that Eywa has spoken of and approved of Jake. She conducts a judgment by taking a sample of Jake’s blood to analyze it and to see if there is any treachery being conducted by Jake, and his fellow humans. Not much detail is given as to how and what Moat was judging but the end product was that Jake was granted trainee status and was allowed to become a part of the clan if he could pass the training that Neytiri was commanded to grant him.

Moat is also presented as the one with enough spiritual common sense to release Jake after he is taken a prisoner for confessing to be a spy for the Earthlings. Moat also supervises, and facilitates the attempts to heal Dr. Augustine by transferring her consciousness to her avatar, and conducts the successful transferring of Jake’s consciousness to his avatar, on a permanent basis.

Moat seems to be the High Priestess of the religious activities for her tribe and the spokesperson for Eywa. All religious activities are led by her, and all activities are sanctioned by her as god’s representative. Moat is the spiritual leader of the tribe and even the tribe leader would submit to her decisions since she is the spokesperson for God.

In the Bible women play many roles but none are as forceful as that of Moat. The story of Deborah in Judges 4 probably comes closest to the role of Tsahik. The Bible clearly states that Deborah is a prophetess – a female prophet. She also plays the role of a judge, the final arbiter of legal issues in the nation. She can claim to be the spokesperson for God for that is the role of a prophet, and the Bible states that several women were prophets. But one thing Deborah is not recorded as doing. She does not go into the temple to offer any kind of sacrifices to God. This role seems to be an exclusively male role in the Bible. But the role of spokesperson for the will of God, as a prophetess, seems to be an event that is used frequently.

Two other examples of people being prophetesses would be that of Hulda in II Chronicles 34:19-28. She receives the message from the king of Judah and communicates the will of God to the king. Miriam, Moses’ sister, was also a prophetess and led out in various spiritual activities. Exodus 15:20-21. In the New Testament one of the disciples had daughters who prophesied.

So there are similarities in the Christian religion to the role Moat displayed. God’s ideal was for a man to be the spiritual leader of His people. God wanted Adam to perform this function in the beginning and to have the first born son to be that spiritual leader after Adam. In the time of the Exodus God expanded this role and gave it to the High Priest.

After Israel came to the land of Canaan the role of spiritual leader was altered in an unusual way. The people did not want God to be their spiritual leader, or their king, and they pleaded with God to give them a king just like all of the other nations. They wanted someone that they could physically see and hear and they wanted someone to watch over them in a standard way. In this story God allowed them a king, and the king God chose was King Saul. King Saul fulfilled all of the issues that the people wanted – he was tall, handsome, powerful, big, and had some leadership qualities. But his heart did not stay right with God and he led Israel away from God. God countered King Saul with a King of His own choosing and raised up King David – a leader, and a prophet.

God’s goal was to have a spiritual leader, a prophet, and a priest all mixed into one person. Eventually that Person came and He was Jesus the Son of God. Jesus was the Tsahik, as well as the Toruk Makto, as well as the Clan leader. All of the spiritual issues in the Bible were to lead our minds to the One who fulfilled all of concepts of the Bible. Jesus fulfilled every spiritual model in the Bible. He was not only was king, prophet, priest, and man; Jesus was God in the flesh – the true Avatar.

So in conclusion, Moat gives us some ideas of what God is like in her role as Tsahik. But God wanted a larger picture to be presented. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the son of Mary and Joseph of Nazareth was the true Tsahik.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Avatar- "I can See"

One of the constant metaphorical themes in the movie Avatar is the saying “I can see you”. This is a statement often used in the Na’vi clans as a statement of recognition when greeting each other. Norm, Jake Sully’s Avatar driver co-worker, spent a great deal of time trying to get Jake to see that this statement is not only a greeting but it is a statement of spiritual awareness and emotional sensitivity, toward the person you are “seeing”. “I can see you” is one of those all purpose, multi-level greetings that go as deep as the relationship of the people will allow it to go.

This statement is also a Bible concept. God uses this phrase, this concept, in many different ways as well. God states that when people are in a state of rebellion they cannot “see”, or hear, or understand spiritual things. This statement is made when the disciples come to Jesus and ask Him why it is that He speaks in parables. They are questioning why He does not just come out and say certain things to people? Jesus answers in the following way:

“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Matthew 13:13-15

Jesus, Himself, says that people, who are religious, conservative, state that they want to know the will of God, but they cannot and will not see spiritual things that disagree with their preconceived ideas. Therefore, God Himself has to use special teaching methods to communicate ideas to them in a way that hopefully their preconceptions will not interfere with the truths that need to be heard and then they will turn away from truth before faithfully and honestly evaluating the thought.

God also says that people, in a non-converted state cannot process spiritual thoughts. He says the following:

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which mans wisdom teacheth, but which
the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corinthians 2:13-14

God teaches that when a person is spiritual, having had a conversion experience from a personal relationship with God, then they can hear spiritual truth and then respond logically and reasonably for they have a spiritual understanding of truth. But without this spiritual understanding then spiritual things sound just plain old
foolish. So, for example, Colonel Quaritch could hear the statement “I can see you” and he would evaluate it from the purest form of logic. Yes I can see you physically, or yes my satellites say you are there, but if it came to seeing a spiritual quality, Colonel Quaritch would “see” this as soft and unimportant and thus block off an avenue of awareness that could be helpful.

Probably God’s ultimate statement on the issue of “I can see you” is recorded in the Love Chapter of the Bible in I Corinthians 13. In this chapter God says the following:

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:9-12

God says that when we are in a state of spiritual love – fully in harmony with the mind of God – then we will see things and hear things and will understand many of the things around us.

These concepts especially apply to the movie Avatar. I have talked to many people about the spiritual symbols in the movie. The people look at me blankly and say “I didn’t see any spiritual symbols in the movie.” I am totally impressed with that statement because they didn’t see anything, they saw a movie about blue people on another planet and they saw it as a movie of entertainment. They did not see the spiritual principles. They did not see the potential for truth or error, they just saw a movie.

On the bright side of the picture, when I shared with them some of the observations I had on the movie, a little light began to dawn on them. They said “Really, I didn’t see any of that by myself, but now that you mention it, there could be some ideas like that. I think I will look at it again and maybe I will see something.” This is one of the major principles of the Bible, one shares thoughts with another and then if they are willing they may go back and look again. Then they may be able to share with God “I can see you.” If that happens to even one person, it will be well worth all of the time of writing to allow someone else to see God, and His truth, in a movie like Avatar.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Avatar and the Providences of God

Providence is one of those concepts that people use to try to figure out the mysterious workings of God. We can not process the idea that God can organize events in such a manner to have the right person at the right place at the right time to accomplish a wonderful event. Avatar is a story of such a series of events. The hero of the movie – Jake Sulley – is at the center of a series of extraordinary/supernatural events and this series of events is the story of the movie Avatar.

The series of events goes something like this:

Jake is wounded in combat and loses his ability to walk on his own.

Jake does not have sufficient funds to get the required surgery so he is more open to a set of new events should they come.

Jake’s identical twin brother goes through extensive training to be an Avatar driver and the mining corporation invests significant funds to train and to prepare an Avatar for Jakes’ brother.

Jake’s brother is shot just a few days before leaving for the 6 years flight to Pandora.

The Mining Corporation offers Jake the opportunity to go to Pandora to save their investment because he has the DNA requisite to use the Avatar and save the corporation all kinds of money.

Jake is open to going to Pandora because he is totally dissatisfied with life on Earth. He is willing to do something new.

Jake is assigned to Dr. Augustine’s program and has the opportunity to experience being able to walk and perform in a different setting than he has ever done before.

Jake is attacked by the largest land carnivore on Pandora and survives.

Jake’s survival exposes him to the denizens of Pandora and he needs help.

Neytiri finds Jake and is about to kill him when Eywa expresses her wishes to save him by sending the seed to descend upon Neytiri’s arrow.

Neytiri delivers Jake from the wolves.

Jake sees Neytiri as a Savior and does not want her to leave him alone in the jungle lest he die by some other creature.

While discussing issues with Neytiri, Eywa again expresses her wishes to Neytiri by sending a number of seeds to communicate the idea that Jake has been called by her to accomplish a task of importance to Eywa.

Jake is taken to the village of the Omaticaya clan and after assessment, identification as someone who does not know it all, and identification as a warrior, Jake is allowed to train and the trainer is Neytiri the princess and potential love interest.

Jake is accepted by Colonel Quaritch, Dr. Alexander, and Mr. Selfridge to go through the training process, and a time limit of 90 days is established. This puts pressure on all parties to move expeditiously. No time for fearful decisions, action is imperative.

Jake gets so involved in the training, and in his new body, and his new relationships, that it is difficult for him to remember who he is. He can not remember what his old life was like especially in comparison with his “new” life. Change is occurring.

Jake is learning and he likes what he is learning and when he is able to “see” life like a Na’vi would, Neytiri passes judgment upon Jake and declares him ready to take the final steps in becoming a man, a member of the tribe of the Omaticaya, and one eligible to become a mate and husband, and lover, to be fulfilled as a person.

Jake accomplishes all of his tasks and is accepted as a full member of the tribe, and takes Neytiri as his wife.

Jake is now confronted with the rapaciousness of the Mining Corporation when they bulldoze the holy tree on the morning of his marriage. He acts and is recorded as a rebel against the Corporation and against humanity.

Jake is rejected by the Corporation and by the Omaticaya as a betrayer of both clans.

The Home Tree is destroyed and his relationships are challenged at all levels.

Jake is delivered by his friends and is able to get back to his Avatar.

Jake recognizes that he must do something extraordinary and he chooses to become Toruk Makto and flies into the camp of the Omaticaya on the back of the largest flying predator on Pandora.

Jake is accepted as the leader of the resistance and all of the clan leaders are willing to follow him into battle.

Jake recognizes that he needs special help and he is willing to ask Eywa for help.

Jake survives the battle and delivers the Na’vi from the Earthlings.

Finally Jake is willing to abandon his Earthling form to be forever identified as a Na’vi warrior.

Now that is a lot of events and circumstances and providential movings in the life of one man. It thus brings us to an interesting question. That question is whether Eywa is the goddess of Pandora only or the Goddess of the universe. If she is the Goddess of the universe then she would be able to foresee the needs of Pandora as well as the needs of Earth, and of every other planet in the universe. Whoever the God is that Eywa is modeled after is either the real God or not to be able to control all the variables in the story of Jake Sulley.

Now all who have seen the movie Avatar, are satisfied that Jake, Neytiri, and Eywa are fictitious characters and are not real. But as we have discussed earlier, James Cameron came up with all of these spiritual ideas and he came up with them strictly from his imagination, or he got them from somewhere else. It has been the primes of the blog – Avatar’s Garden of Pandora – that Mr. Cameron got all of his true ideas directly from the Bible, including the greatest Avatar of all – Jesus Christ. The reason that the movie Avatar so resonates with people is that it tells the story of Jesus Christ symbolically. All of the issues of the movie Avatar are symbolic and are told in a fictitious story. The Bible tells the same intergalactic story but tells the truth about the real story of the great struggle and tells about the real experiences of people working with God and tells the real story of God Himself. In the rest of this article I will tell the story of Jesus in the same abbreviated way that I told the story about Jake Sulley. For the fuller, more complete version I would recommend reading the Bible for yourself.

Chronologically the story of Jesus starts in the book of Colossians 1. Before there was a universe the Bible tells us that God existed alone. God consisted of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Remember that God is infinitely more complex than can be described in words but we will do the best we can to tell an infinite story in finite terms.

God decided to create the universe and created all of the planets, galaxies, and all of the principles and powers involved in this creation. Colossians 1:12-17

Among the things created was heaven and angels.

In the process of time, the greatest created angel – Lucifer, chose to rebel against the revealed will of God and brought chaos and dissension into heaven.

After working with Lucifer, and those who chose to follow Lucifer, to try to bring them to a point of repentance and reconciliation. When this did not work out there was war in heaven and Lucifer was cast out of heaven but not destroyed.

Earth was then created and mankind was created on Earth to live out their lives and reveal the perfect will of God.

Lucifer, now called Satan, – the Adversary – seduced Adam and Eve, and they chose to listen to Satan rather than to God. This started the sin problem on Earth.

To give Adam and Eve another chance, and to fulfill their plans on Earth, God chose to reveal what is called the Plan of Salvation, of how God Himself would come to Earth as a man and redeem mankind, destroy Satan, and reveal His glory to all of the universe, so that none would ever choose to follow Satan or his ideas ever again.

God informed Adam and Eve that God would come as a man, through the lineage of the church and through the people.

All Bible history is a record of the lineage of the church people, the chaos and confusion of their lives, and yet there is a constant thread of how God watches over His people, and providentially continues to guide His true believers through the difficulties of a life of sin on this planet.

All through this Bible history God gives little revelations of the fact that He is still here, He is guiding, and He is controlling events even in the context of freedom of choice to obey or rebel. These revelations are prophecies to show that God can see the future, long before it happens, and is able to guide and control without infringing on our freedom to surrender and obey, or to rebel.

God promises that he will come as a man, and that he will come through the line of Shem, one of the three sons of Noah. This lineage is more clearly identified in the time of Abraham and a promise is made that of the seed of Abraham all the nations of the Earth will be blessed. Genesis 15:1-6.

God again promises to come and more specifically He will come through the lineage of Judah. In fact Messiah will come by the time there is no longer a descendent of Judah sitting on the throne of Israel. Genesis 49:8-10

God preserves Israel through all kinds of difficulty but still His hand guides and keeps that His prophecies will unfold.

In Micah 5:2 God tells the city where Messiah will be born in.

In Isaiah 53 God tells what the mission of Messiah will look like.

In Psalms 22 God gives great details of how Messiah will die.

In Daniel 8-9 God tells the time of when Messiah will show up and various details of His life. Daniel says that Messiah will be born around 4 BC, anointed in 27 AD, and crucified in 31 AD.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell the story of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth – the Messiah of the Bible.

Jesus, the Creator of Earth, comes to Earth as an Avatar in that He takes on the form of a man and to mankind is indistinguishable from any other man by appearance alone. But when one talked with Him and watched Him any honest open hearted person could tell that there was a significant difference between Jesus and any other man. Those who recognized this difference followed Him and became His disciples.

Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies of the Bible to show that He was the fulfillment of the utterances that He Himself had given all through Earth history.

Jesus then chose to gather all of the collected guilt of mankind, past, present, and future, and took it all upon Himself and was punished for all of mankind, and then crucified to fulfill all Scripture to reveal that sin brought death.

Jesus then resurrected Himself to show that He had power over death for Himself and all who believe in Him.

Bible prophecy states that from the resurrection of Jesus to His second coming there would be great warfare between His followers and the followers of Satan. God prophesied that there would be a people that He would reveal Himself through so that any who wanted to could follow Him by faith. God reveals all of these things in the Bible.

God tells all of the major issues that would confront His people and warned them that life would not be easy, but that through His power all could overcome anything Satan would throw at them.

Jesus tells us that when all is accomplished He will come a second time to gather His righteous ones, including those who have died all through history.

When Jesus gathers His people He will take them to heaven and then after 1000 years He will return to Earth and resurrect the wicked. He will judge the wicked, for they have refused His gift of sacrifice and death, and then destroy the wicked and recreate the Earth so that it returns to the state of the original creation.

God, and His people, will reign over the universe on Earth for ever.

All of the above concepts are to be offered to any and all who want to have a personal relationship with God. All of the wonderful things, seen in the movie Avatar, will be fulfilled in reality in God’s kingdom. He will grant us new bodies, He will grant us eternal life, and He will grant us the opportunity of traveling through out the universe seeing the things that He planned for us in the beginning when He first created the universe. All of these things are available for any who will accept the Bible truths by faith and experience. The choice is ours and can be started today. To start today simply start reading the story of the Bible with the belief that this story is written for us to train us and to give us opportunity to work together with God Himself.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Avatar – You Don’t Dream in Cryo

In the opening dialogue of the movie Avatar Jake Sulley, states that when you are in the deep sleep of Cryogenics you don’t dream. You are in a state of suspended animation and your brain processing is virtually at a stand still until you are brought back up out of this state of suspended animation. While you are in Cryo your body continues to function but you have no awareness of anything going on around you, not awareness of time, no dreaming, no hating, no loving, nothing, until awakened by an outside force.

As I was meditating upon the subject of Cryo sleep, I thought that this was a great metaphor for something that the Bible calls “sleep”. In the Bible there is regular sleep that all humans do for some period almost every day. This sleep is the normal rest taken, usually at evening, and from which we all awaken every day to go about our duties; and then there is a sleep from which we do not awaken without the help of an outside force – the sleep of death. I Corinthians 15:6,18,20,51,52

Death as a form of sleep is one of the more interesting concepts in the Bible. Jesus describes it in John 11. One of Jesus’ favorite people, Lazarus has contracted a fatal illness and the family calls to Jesus because He is the great healer. Jesus delays his coming to see Lazarus until Lazarus is dead. When the disciples ask about the delay of Jesus to respond He reports that Lazarus is “sleeping”. The disciples think this is pretty good for they think that he is sleeping in healing rest. Jesus clarifies this thought by saying that He is going to get Lazarus and wake him up from his sleep, because Lazarus had died. John 11:1-14 Jesus was the outside force that would awaken Lazarus and eventually will awaken all who are “sleeping” in the tomb today.

As Jake Sulley stated from his experience, there is no dreaming in Cryo, so there is no dreaming when one is dead. God says that when a man dies that very day all of his thinking stops. “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalms 146:4 Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, 9-10 states the following:

“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labor which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

Nothing goes on for the person who has died. He has as much awareness of things around him as Jake Sulley described about his ability to dream when in Cryo.
This concept of not thinking, feeling, loving, hating, communicating has some interesting ramifications on things we normally take for granted. One of those things that people accept quite freely are things like Vampires, Witches, Wizards, Ghosts, Zombies, etc. In each of the subjects listed there is a requirement to be dead and yet not dead or to communicate with the dead. The Bible clearly states that when a person dies they do not communicate with anyone living unless they have been resurrected from the dead – or brought back to living, thinking, breathing, sharing by the power of God. So a Vampire by definition can not be for a vampire is supposed to be a dead person who continues to live, thus violating the statement of God. Witches and Wizards get their information and power from communicating with the dead. Now according to the Bible this can not be for the Bible says that a dead person is totally unable to think, or communicate any thing. A Ghost is supposed to be the soul of a dead person who is still moving around due to some kind of unfinished business. And a Zombie is something that should be dead but is still moving around attacking people for some unknown reason. All of these things the Bible says can not happen.

So the obvious question is that people have this belief, and have a variety of experiences of coming in contact with ugly, gruesome, violent, evil persons who appear to have died yet people see and communicate with something. The clearest Bible story we have on the subject is the story of King Saul and the Witch of Endor. I Samuel 28:3-25. In this story King Saul has through his rebellion shut off every normal avenue of communication with God. Since King Saul has not wanted to submit to the counsel of the prophet Samuel, and did not want to pray, or have anything to do with God, he is now in an experience that he wants some comfort and support. Since God is not willing to talk to one who is not willing to listen and obey, Saul decides to consult with a witch. Now prior to this event Saul has attempted to kill every witch, or wizard in Israel to follow the counsel of God in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Now that he feels desperate he is willing to go against his better judgment.

When Saul goes to the Witch he disguises himself for he does not want people to see him and his activities, and he does not want to frighten the Witch lest she not give him what he wants from her. When Saul presents his case to the Witch the first thing that happens is that she is informed that her customer is Saul. She did not have that information on her own but was provided this information through her supernatural contacts. Saul is properly impressed that she has a source of supernatural information. Saul assumes that it comes from the person he is seeking to contact – the Prophet Samuel. Saul is not able to see anyone but he asks the Witch and she reports that she sees an old man coming up, apparently from the grave, covered with a mantle. She apparently assumes that it is Samuel, and Saul assumes that it is Samuel. She hears the message of condemnation from the apparition which she sees and she passes this message of discouragement on to Saul. Saul faints with discouragement after hearing the message.

Now the great question is, was the thing which the Witch saw the real Samuel? My answer would be no, it was not. It was not Samuel for the following reasons. God says that the dead know not anything. So to attempt to communicate with Samuel would be as possible as talking to Jake Sulley while he was in Cryo. It can not be done. Secondly, God would not allow His dead prophet to respond to a person that God has already declared to be worthy of death. Thirdly God is not going to violate His principles to encourage people to violate His principles. To reward rebellious Saul, and the rebellious witch, would be to train, and reward, people to do exactly what He told them not to do. God does not function that way.

The Second question would be, if the thing that the Witch saw was not Samuel then who was it? The answer is that it would be Satan, or one of his fallen angels, for they are the only supernatural beings who would attempt to contradict God. Angels are supernatural beings and can do many things that are wondrous and supernatural on our plane of existence. One of those things is that they can be invisible around us, they can take on different forms, and they can communicate information that is not readily available to the rest of us. So the fallen angels would, and do, encourage people to come to them for wisdom that God will not give, because it is not good for us. Satan can tell his witches information that is private to all else but Satan was there when an event occurred and can communicate that information to others. He displayed this by revealing the fact that the Witches customer was King Saul. He also can pretend to be something, or someone else to convince people that they are talking to their loved ones.

The key concept is that one of the key factors of information received from demons, through what ever avenue they want to communicate, is that the information is never intended to bring the person into a surrendered obedient relationship with God. God’s intent, on the other hand, is to confront, if necessary, but to offer hope for a renewed relationship if the person is willing. His goal is never to discourage an honest hearted attempt to renew a relationship with God.

In conclusion, God has clearly stated that when a person is dead, that person is totally unable to communicate information to anyone else, until they are resurrected. So any thing that attempts to communicate information, from someone who is dead, is not from God but from Satan. Any avenue of information that presents the idea that the information came from the dead, is from Satan, not from God.

God wants us to come to Him to seek the answers to our questions. He will always help us to get the information we need, not always what we want. He wants to give us the truth in such a manner that it helps us to draw nearer to Him, the source of all information and wisdom. God will not help us to indulge in error, or something destructive. He will only help with the truth, especially that truth that helps us to come to Him. Let us therefore shut the door on that communication that is meant to destroy us and help us to open the door in our minds to that communication which helps us to find our way to God.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Avatar and the Garden of Eden Restored

One of the wonderful things about the movie Avatar is that it seems to tap into a racial memory about the Garden of Eden. Numbers of people have become depressed over the fact that they cannot go to a planet like Pandora to see the beauties and wonders of nature as depicted in the movie. It is this writer’s perspective that God intends for man to have this very thing. God wants us to have the reality of what Pandora and the movie Avatar have intimated about what we need.

As I have studied the Bible over the years I have found a few signs of the Garden of Eden and what God plans to do with it, and what He wants to do to reunite it with His people. First of all God has sent His angels to watch over the gate way to the Garden of Eden and kept His angels on guard that no unconverted person enters into the Garden. This of course implies that a converted person would have access to the Garden at some time. For this to be true would imply that the Garden of Eden is out there somewhere waiting for God’s timing to allow us to come back into the Garden and to have access to the Tree of Life once again.

In Ezekiel 47:1-12 is a scene described that is similar to that of Genesis 2:1-15 where there is a river of pure water coming out of the Garden and watering the Earth. Around the headwaters is a tree whose fruit comes out monthly and the leaves of the tree have healing qualities. This scene is similar to that of Revelation 22:1-2 where the Tree of Life is very close to the River of the water of life that proceeds out of the throne of God. This Tree is very similar to that of the tree in Ezekiel 47. This Tree, and this River, and this Throne are in the New Jerusalem. It is almost as if this section of the Garden of Eden was preserved by God in the New Jerusalem for us to see when we are taken to heaven for 1000 years. God tells us that the New Jerusalem will descend from heaven to Earth and then God will recreate the heavens and the earth and restore it to its Edenic beauty for us to enjoy forever.

This scene is spoken of in the writings of Ellen G. White – a woman whom the Seventh Day Adventist Church considers to be a prophetess. She wrote of the Garden of Eden being removed from Earth and taken to heaven as a token of the wonders that God wanted us to have. She also talks about Adam seeing the Garden after taken to heaven. The story goes as follows:

“Before the ransomed throng is the Holy City. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency. Then that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying: "Your conflict is ended." "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Now is fulfilled the Saviour's prayer for His disciples: "I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." "Faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24), Christ presents to the Father the purchase of His blood, declaring: "Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given Me." "Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept." Oh, the wonders of redeeming love! the rapture of that hour when the infinite Father, looking upon the ransomed, shall behold His image, sin's discord banished, its blight removed, and the human once more in harmony with the divine!

With unutterable love, Jesus welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of their Lord. The Saviour's joy is in seeing, in the kingdom of glory, the souls that have been saved by His agony and humiliation. And the redeemed will be sharers in His joy, as they behold, among the blessed, those who have been won to Christ through their prayers, their labors, and their loving sacrifice. As they gather about the great white throne, gladness unspeakable will fill their hearts, when they behold those whom they have won for Christ, and see that one has gained others, and these still others, all brought into the haven of rest, there to lay their crowns at Jesus' feet and praise Him through the endless cycles of eternity.

As the ransomed ones are welcomed to the City of God, there rings out upon the air an exultant cry of adoration. The two Adams are about to meet. The Son of God is standing with outstretched arms to receive the father of our race--the being whom He created, who sinned against his Maker, and for whose sin the marks of the crucifixion are borne upon the Saviour's form. As Adam discerns the prints of the cruel nails, he does not fall upon the bosom of his Lord, but in humiliation casts himself at His feet, crying: "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain!" Tenderly the Saviour lifts him up and bids him look once more upon the Eden home from which he has so long been exiled.

After his expulsion from Eden, Adam's life on earth was filled with sorrow. Every dying leaf, every victim of sacrifice, every blight upon the fair face of nature, every stain upon man's purity, was a fresh reminder of his sin. Terrible was the agony of remorse as he beheld iniquity abounding, and, in answer to his warnings, met the reproaches cast upon himself as the cause of sin. With patient humility he bore, for nearly a thousand years, the penalty of transgression. Faithfully did he repent of his sin and trust in the merits of the promised Saviour, and he died in the hope of a resurrection. The Son of God redeemed man's failure and fall; and now, through the work of the atonement, Adam is reinstated in his first dominion.

Transported with joy, he beholds the trees that were once his delight--the very trees whose fruit he himself had gathered in the days of his innocence and joy. He sees the vines that his own hands have trained, the very flowers that he once loved to care for. His mind grasps the reality of the scene; he comprehends that this is indeed Eden restored, more lovely now than when he was banished from it. The Saviour leads him to the tree of life and plucks the glorious fruit and bids him eat. He looks about him and beholds a multitude of his family redeemed, standing in the Paradise of God. Then he casts his glittering crown at the feet of Jesus and, falling upon His breast, embraces the Redeemer. He touches the golden harp, and the vaults of heaven echo the triumphant song: "Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again!" The family of Adam take up the strain and cast their crowns at the Saviour's feet as they bow before Him in adoration.

This reunion is witnessed by the angels who wept at the fall of Adam and rejoiced when Jesus, after His resurrection, ascended to heaven, having opened the grave for all who should believe on His name. Now they behold the work of redemption accomplished, and they unite their voices in the song of praise.” The Great Controversy pages 647-648


I personally want to be able to go to heaven, and to see the wonderful events spoken of in the above quotation. I want to see the Garden of Eden and I want to taste the fruit of that wonderful tree. This great opportunity awaits every single person who is willing to explore the truths of the Bible with an open and humble heart. I hope to see you there as well.

Avatar and the Removal of Adam from Eden

In the closing scenes of the movie Avatar is an interesting scene. The remaining people from the Hells Gate camp are being escorted out of the camp into a shuttle to return to Earth. In the judgment of the Na’vi, with Toruk Makto being the intercessor, have concluded that the majority of the people are not safe to retain on Pandora and must be sent away lest harm come to Pandora as a result of their presence and their potential interference with life. This judgment is a result of the Investigative Judgment and is a result of the evaluation that came as a result of Eywa winning the war between the Na’vi and the people from Earth.

This scene is reminiscent of the events that came about from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God had created a special place for His first two children and God called the place the Garden of Eden. Eden means pleasure or delight in Hebrew, so the English translation would be the Garden of Delight or the Garden of Pleasure. In every way Eden was the picture of perfect peace, safety, and the fulfillment of righteous pleasure. Nothing killed one another in Eden and everything communicated with each other, in a way similar to the communication qualities of the plants and animals as represented on Pandora.

In the center of the Garden were two trees – the great tree was called the Tree of Life and Adam and Eve were to eat freely of the fruit of this tree for it would perpetuate life. God wanted Adam and Eve to never die but to live and enjoy the pleasures that He had designed for them. Near the Tree of Life was a tree to test the trust of Adam and Eve. God created a tree called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God had forbidden Adam and Eve to eat of this tree for it would expose them to evil, the evil of not trusting the good will and care of God. God allowed this tree to be in the garden to allow Adam and Eve to decide whether they would trust God or would they put their own wisdom above His.

In Genesis 3 the story is told that Satan, the great dragon and the great serpent of Revelation 12:9, came to this tree and started to talk to Eve, who had separated herself from her husband Adam. Eve apparently felt that she was strong enough to handle any kind of emergency by herself and did not feel the need to have her husband with her. When the serpent began to speak to her she was shocked but attracted to this new thing. She listened to the words of the serpent and when the serpent told her his reason why God did not want them to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of God and Evil, it made sense to her mind. The serpent told Eve that the reason that God did not want them to eat of this tree is because it would make them like gods and they would know good and evil and implied that they would not have to be dependent upon God any more but could judge things accurately on their own. When Eve heard this she thought that that made sense. The serpent also told her that when God told them that they would surely die if they ate of the tree, that that was not a true statement. The serpent told them just the opposite of what God had said. God said they would die if they ate of the tree and the serpent said that they would not die. Now Eve had to decide whether the Creator knew what was true or whether the serpent knew what was truth. She was not eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and had not even tasted of the fruit. After weighing the data, as she understood it, she concluded that the serpent was correct and God was in error. She apparently concluded this, because the serpent could speak, and she apparently concluded that he was able to speak as a result of eating the fruit, a very erroneous conclusion. She did not know that a fallen angel can take on many forms, and do many supernatural things, that she did not understand fully. See II Corinthians 11:13-15 A fallen angel is, after all, an angel who had chosen to rebel against God, just as he was trying to get Eve to do.

After evaluating all of the data available to her, she decided that she was wise enough to eat of the fruit and be as wise as the serpent. After all she did not see, hear, smell, or sense any evil from the tree or its fruit. So Eve decided to eat of the fruit. Again she did not detect any evil and she decided to share this fruit with her husband Adam. When Adam saw Eve with the fruit he decided that she was going to potentially die, and since he also could not sense any evil, he chose to join her without talking to God about this event. After eating he noticed that he was naked as was Eve. To care for this he made clothing out of fig leaves to cover their nakedness. They began to notice that something had changed, but they did not know exactly what it was but they began to have a sense of dread and fear, especially of meeting with God.

It appears that God came to visit with Adam and Eve in the morning and evening of each day. That evening God came to visit his children as He had always done. But this time Adam and Eve did not come to Him. He called them and asked where they were. They said that they had heard his voice but they had hidden themselves from His presence. Adam told God that he was aware that he was naked and that was the reason he hid himself. God then asked Adam if he had eaten of the tree that He had instructed him not to eat of. Instead of answering this question directly Adam told God that it was God’s woman that made him eat implying that he, Adam, was not to blame. God asked Eve about the fruit and she responded it that it was God’s serpent that beguiled her. Then God turned to the serpent. God knew who the serpent was, God knew that the serpent was being used by Satan to be the medium of communication and that it was Satan who had deceived Adam and Eve as he had done one third of the angels in heaven. Revelation 12:4 Satan had deceived the angels and now he had deceived God’s children on Earth.

God condemned the serpent and used it as a symbol of deception and evil. God also made the serpent to crawl upon its belly when once it was a flying serpent, in some ways similar to the flying dragons of Pandora. Isaiah 30:6. God also makes a prophetic statement to the serpent that his seed, his descendents, will fight against the descendents of the woman – the church. But there will be One seed that will strike a death blow to the serpent directly, yet the serpent will wound the Seed of the Woman.

God then tells of the suffering and the changes that will come as a result of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace. But inherent in all of these issues is the promise that the Son of God will come and die for the sins of Adam, Eve, and all of their children.

God then offers an exchange. He is willing to exchange the clothing made by Adam and Eve for clothing made by His hand. In order to get the skins necessary to clothe Adam and Eve God informs Adam that the sacrificial system will be instituted and that the animal sacrificed will be a symbol of the death of the Son of God in the future. In addition this death will provide the covering made by God to cover the nakedness of man. These sacrifices, and this clothing, are both symbols of the experience of salvation – provided for man by infinite God.

The last event to take place is that Adam and Eve must leave the Garden of Eden. God did not want sinful man partaking of the Tree of Life to perpetuate a life of rebellion and sin. So God sent them out into the world to be tillers of the ground. They would now have to work for their food rather than just pluck and eat. But again the promise of God was that the way to the Tree of Life was to be preserved. Satan will never be able to block our awareness of our need for this tree. The flaming sword of the Word of God was to ever keep Adam and Eve, and their descendents, aware of the Tree of Life and the original garden. It has been God’s plan to restore humanity to the life that He had originally made for them. This plan will be fulfilled. It is our opportunity to work with God to fulfill this goal. May we choose Him now.

Avatar and the Jar Head Clan

In the movie Avatar, Jake Sulley, the hero is asked by the Na’vi to identify himself. He stated that he was Jake Sulley of the Jar Head Clan. The Na’vi could relate to clan hood and they could also relate to the fact that Jake identified himself as a warrior rather than a scientist. The Na’vi stated that they had not met a sky people warrior and they decided to allow Jake to spend some time with them so that they could learn what this warrior was like and how it could help them.

All of the people, the scientists, and the military people were all shocked that Jake, in only one day, had been accepted into the Na’vi clan while many “brighter” people had not been allowed in. But in life, when God calls, and when He wants something done, then things get moving and doors open that might not have been opened at any other time. The movie allows certain things to happen and Jake took full advantage of the opportunities to become a tribe member.

In the Bible this same phenomenon happens. In the Bible one of the major threads of discussion is that of becoming a part of the children of God. To become a part of this national clan would identify one as a part of the family of God. Anyone could become a member of the children of Israel if they chose to be a follower of the ways of God. But there were a few restrictions. In Deuteronomy 23:3 and Ammonite, nor a Moabite, was allowed to come into the congregation of the Lord for ten generations – virtually meaning that no one from Moab or Ammon would come into the camp. Yet, the Bible states that one Moabite came into the camp in less than one generation and was incorporated into the lineage of the Messiah. That individual was a woman named Ruth.

In the book of Ruth the story is told that Ruth married a Hebrew husband and was married to him for several years before he died. After a few years Ruth’s mother in law Naomi was going to go home to Bethlehem of Judah and Ruth declared that she would not leave Naomi and would go back to Israel with her. Not only would she go back but she chose to adopt all of the ways of the Israelite nation, and would accept Israel’s God and that nothing would separate her from Naomi but death. This testimony of Ruth’s, recorded in Ruth 1:16-18 is the testimony of all who would follow God and God will treat each and every one of them, who testify like Ruth, as a true follower of God. Ruth became a full member of the Jewish nation – the followers of God.

This theme of becoming a true Jew – a follower of God, is followed all through the Bible and was one of the major points of contention by the time of John the Baptist. In Matthew 3:9 John attempts to correct the Jewish people from making the claim that blood lineage to Abraham makes one saved. John protests this idea and wants people to produce the same fruit as Ruth did – a commitment to the God of Israel and a willingness to follow God’s counsel given to the prophets of Israel. If they would do these things they would be accounted of the tribe/clan of Israel. If they did not do these things they would be resting on a false promise and God would, and will, reject them at His second coming.

Paul restates this issue in Romans 2:28-29. Paul claims that being a Jew by circumcision and by doing Jewish things does not make a person a true Jew. Paul claims that to be a true Jew is a matter of the heart relationship that bound Ruth to Naomi and to Naomi’s God. That circumcision is more a matter of the heart than it is a matter of the flesh/genetics. Those who accepted God by faith, and who walked in God’s ways, would be considered by God to be a part of His clan. Talk alone does not make it in the Christian world.

Paul again restates this issue in Romans 9:3-8 and Galatians 2:6-8, 29. Paul claims that just as Abraham received children by faith so one becomes a child of Abraham, by faith. When we accept the God of Abraham we are considered by God to be of His family. Our actions will also show that this change has occurred. We will start to act like the heroes of the Bible and especially that son of Abraham – Jesus of Nazareth. And if we accept the Messiah – Jesus of Nazareth – we will be accounted children of Abraham. We will become Jews – the true clan of God.

A final statement on this clan issue is stated in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9. Many claim to be Jews but since they have not accepted Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Christ – the son of Abraham, by faith and they do not act like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Christ, they are really of the synagogue/clan of Satan.

When Jake accepted the Na’vi ways he wanted to become a clan member. To do this he had to submit to the rites and ways of the Na’vi including riding one of the dragons of Pandora. Jake had decided that he would go to any lengths to become a clan member and felt fulfilled in doing so. When he had completed all of the requirements then he was accepted by the clan leadership and the rank and file leadership as well. So when we come into the Christian clan we must do all of the things that God asks of us as well. In addition God promises to do all of these things with us and to come into our hearts and minds and do them in us. This promise, when accepted by faith, allows us to become a part of His clan. This promise awaits each and every one of us in the here and now. All of the joys implied in the fantasy movie of Avatar are awaiting a greater fulfillment in the reality of the Christian walk. What choice will you make?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Avatar and the Investigative Judgment

This article is very similar to the article on Avatar and Probationary Time. This article covers much of the same material with one great difference. This article will focus on the issue of judgment rather than time. In the movie Colonel Quaritch gives Jake 90 days to infiltrate the Na’vi and then will come a final confrontation over the relocation of the Omticaya Tribe to another home tree so that the mining company can dig out the Unobtanium from under their current home. In the process of the 90 days each and every character is revealing more of their focus, desires, and intents. When the probationary time runs out each person will have made their decision as to whose side they will be on and then in the Armageddon that occurs afterward each party will act out their decisions in combat.

In the Bible the issue of judgment is a complicated affair. In virtually every major judgment scene in the Bible there is a predictable process that is revealed. A probationary period of time is given, sometimes in hundreds of years, and sometimes in thousands of years. But in any case when the probationary time is nearing the end God Himself comes down from Heaven to Earth to explore the situation and to make his final assessment and decisions regarding the thoughts, decisions, and actions of the parties involved in the judgment.

In the first judgment scene God assesses the decisions of the angels in heaven. When God created the angels He crated them perfectly with no desire to sin, or to rebel against God. Ezekiel 28:14-15. But somewhere in the process of time, Lucifer, the covering cherub concluded that he wanted to be like God and made a decision to sin against God. Isaiah 14:12-14 Lucifer, and his fellow angels decided that they could take over heaven but Michael, the Son of God – the Head of the Angels, contested with Lucifer and his angels and won the battle/judgment in heaven, and Lucifer and the angels that sinned with him were cast out to the Earth. II Peter 2:4; Revelation 12: 7-13

The next judgment scene is that with Adam and Eve. After Adam and Eve sinned against God, He came to see them. When they did not come to him in the evening He called out to them asking where they were at. Being the all knowing God, He knew where they were at but He questioned them so that they would know what happened to them. He asked them if they had eaten of the tree which He had forbade them to eat of. Their responses revealed that sin had already affected their thinking and they were already blaming each other and God Himself for their sins. As a result of His investigation God initiated a plan of salvation, and a judgment scene of escorting them from the Garden of Eden.

Another judgment scene is when God comes down to Earth to check out the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:1-9. He had heard of the sins in the Tower of Babel but decided to give it His personal attention. He came and judged that indeed there was a problem at the Tower and as a part of His judgment He confounded the language in an attempt to slow down the evil that was taking place at the Tower. After he confused the language the people separated from each other into language groups and distributed themselves all over the Earth.

In Genesis 18-19 God again comes to Earth to check out the next major problem. This problem was that the cities of the plains were growing increasingly corrupt. God came to investigate it for Himself and He would pass judgment on it and decide whether the cities would continue to live on in their behaviors or to be destroyed. God shares His plans with His friend Abraham and Abraham intercedes for the people because he has family who live in the city – his nephew Lot, and his entire family. God allows Abraham to whittle Him down to the position that if there were 10 righteous people in the city of Sodom that God would not destroy it. It turned out that there were only 4 righteous people and one of those chose to stay with Sodom even when she had left it. God sent two angels into the city to check it out and when the men of the city sexually attacked the angels the final decision was made for the cities of the plains to be destroyed. God removed the righteous and destroyed the wicked.

In the next judgment scene God comes to Egypt to demand that His enslaved people – Israel – should be released. When Egypt refuses to allow Israel to leave God begins the judgment process by sending various plagues on Egypt until He ends up destroying all of Egypt’s armies in the Red Sea and delivers Israel. Exodus 12-15.

Another great judgment scene is when Israel rejects the counsel and correction of God through His prophets and He finally declares that they must go into Babylonian captivity for 70 years. II Chronicles 36:11-21

In the next judgment scene God pronounces that He will set a probationary period of time for Israel of 490 years – starting in 457 BC and going to 34 AD. This period of time would give Israel sufficient opportunities to return to a right relationship with God and if not they would be removed, or cut off, from a relationship with God. Daniel 9:24-27. This period of 70 weeks, or 490 years was cut off from a larger period of time called the 2300 day prophecy which states that there would be 2300 years from 457 BC to the start of the judgment scene in 1844 AD. Daniel 8:14; 7:9-14.

The first facet of this judgment scene is when God Himself, incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth, comes literally to Earth to explore the thinking and behaviors of His people on Earth. While Jesus is investigating His people, they are deciding that they do not want Jesus to reign over them and they reject God as their King and choose a criminal as their Saviour and King, as well as choosing Caesar to be their King. God eventually allowed Rome to come in and destroy the Jewish nation, and its city Jerusalem in 90 for they were judged to be wanting.

In the end of time, God will investigate Earth one more time. He will start the judgment in October of 1844 AD at the end of the 2300 day/years prophecy of Daniel 8:14. This time of judgment started at a later time than what Paul had expressed about “judgment to come” in Acts 24:25. In the end of the 2300 days the “time of judgment” would have come as spoken of in Revelation 14:7. When this time is thoroughly investigated and each person is evaluated as to whether they have accepted Christ as their Saviour, then the end will come and Jesus will come to Earth literally, and take all of his loved ones to heaven for 1000 years. At the end of the 1000 years of Revelation 20:5 then Jesus will return to Earth for the executive judgment and will resurrect the wicked, all those who did not come with Jesus at His second coming, and will burn them up in the lake of fire. Revelation 20:7-15.

When God is finished with this last judgment scene, then He will recreate the heavens and the Earth and restore Earth to its Edenic purity and man will live in a land more beautiful than that of Pandora where there will be no great beasts to endanger one’s life but only peace, safety, and eternal joy. Revelation 21:1-8; Isaiah 65:17-25. The beauties of Pandora will be far surpassed by the newly created Earth, after the final destruction of the wicked. This promise is available to all who will explore these things in the Bible and will allow the real Messiah – Jesus of Nazareth – to forgive them and to help them avail themselves of the promises of Jehovah – Jesus of Nazareth.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Avatar and Probationary Time

In the movie Avatar Jake Sulley is given a probationary period of 90 days to win the confidence of the Na’vi and to win the confidence of his superior officer Colonel Miles Quaritch. This probationary period of time will also be sufficient to allow each other person on the compound the opportunity to decide whether they want to view the Na’vi and Pandora as people and resources to exploit or opportunities to share. In either case people will come to a point where their thinking is clear, they will have had opportunity to make decisions, and then would come an opportunity to act upon that decision.

After the 90 day period is completed Jake wants a little more time to go through the final acts of becoming a part of the Na’vi tribe and becoming a man. He also wants to complete his opportunity to choose a mate in the tribe he has selected – Na’vi over human. Jake completed his probationary period of time and he chose which side he wanted to be on and was willing to commit his all to the tribe he had selected.
After the 90 day period Colonel Quaritch had received enough data from Jake to make his decision that he could strong arm a response from the Na’vi or use military force and make the Na’vi comply with his perceptions.

The leader of the Mining Corporation – Parker Selfridge – also completed his probationary time, and decided that whatever it took he would force the issue to accomplish his political, and his own personal, goals to move the Na’vi out of their home and mine the Unobtanium that he was looking for. He had enough information about the Na’vi and he decided that corporate approval was of much greater value than sensitivity for the Na’vi.

When the probationary period was completed the Na’vi had decided that Jake was a worthy member of the their tribe and had passed all of the tests necessary for Jake to be a solid man in the community and would therefore be eligible for all privileges of a man in the community, including that of choosing a wife.
Neytiri had also had sufficient time to evaluate the personality and qualities of the man she was training. After he had completed all of the tests of being a man, she concluded that Jake would be a good mate, and she chose Jake when the opportunity availed itself.

Each other member of the Na’vi, and of the Earthlings, had to choose what they wanted to do and whose side they would be on when the decision was made to force the Na’vi out of Home tree. Norm Spellman, Trudy Chacon, Dr. Max Patel, and Dr. Grace Augustine also chose and decided to be on the side of the Na’vi in case of hostilities.

The last group to decide would be the audience. The audience had to decide in their hearts and minds what they would do if they had been on Pandora and could choose to actually be involved in the final confrontation. The essence of a good film requires the audience to become involved in the decision making and to commit to a response. Avatar was a good film and each audience member chose their side. But in a fantasy world one can make a decision and still live to tell about it. Reality is often much harsher, and as in Trudy Chacon’s case, as well as Dr. Augustine, they paid with their lives, as did the Na’vi, and the Earthlings in Hell’s Gate.

The concept of probationary time is a common theme in the Bible. God sets a time and allows all parties to make their decisions and then acts accordingly. One of the primary differences between Avatar and the Bible is that the Bible deals with reality and finality. It also deals with the issue that God can read the heart and mind of each person, and of each angel, that is involved with any decision or any event. With this information in hand God works to save as many people as He can and still preserve their freedom to choose. God only wants true decisions made from a heart and mind convinced of the truth.

In the Bible there are several probationary experiences that are samples for all probationary experiences. In Genesis 1-3 God establishes probationary time in Eden as Adam and Eve can stay as long as they do not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. On the day that they disobey God and eat of this Tree they will initiate a death sequence and as is revealed in reality, they are demanded to be removed from the Garden. So the time sequence is open ended but when it happened it was carried out and Adam and Eve received the consequences of their decision.

In Genesis 6:3 God gives mankind a probationary period of 120 years to repent and reform or He would send a flood and wipe out all people on Earth. This message was communicated to man by God’s prophet Noah. In addition God was to give an escape clause. If the people would not repent, God would allow anyone who wanted to get on the Ark and escape the flood. If they would not get on the Ark then they would die in the flood. As in the first probationary experience God demanded that each person make a decision based on faith in Him rather than the event itself. So seven days before the flood, God informed Noah that he, and all of his family, needed to get on board. Anyone wanting to get on the ark would be informed by this movement and could come with Noah, or stay behind but the decision would be based on faith. Only 8 people got on board and when God closed the door, 7 days before the flood, the decisions were irreversible. All of the rest of mankind died in the flood.

The next probationary period was the time given to Abraham that his descendents would be captive in Egypt for 400 years and then God would deliver them. Genesis 15:13-16. When this time came to fulfillment, God sent plagues on Egypt via His prophet Moses. In one of the final plagues Moses is instructed by God to alert the Egyptians and the Israelites to put blood on their doorposts as a sign to protect them from the destroying angel. If they put blood on their doorposts their firstborn child would live. If they did not their firstborn child would die. God also alerted Moses that after this plague Egypt would let Israel go. When the morning arrived God’s warning had come true. All who did not put blood on their doorposts had lost their first born children and Egypt pleaded with Israel to leave lest a worse thing happen to them. One of the side effects of this was that many Egyptians came out with Israel for they had had sufficient information to recognize God and to obey Him. A secondary issue was that three days later Egypt changed its mind and attacked Israel at the Red Sea and when they did that they lost their entire army in the middle of the Red Sea. Exodus 12-15.

The message of the experience of Egypt was spread all through the then known world. Although Israel was to go into Canaan within 2 years time they did not arrive for 40 years. None the less the nations in Canaan had time to ponder what they would do if and when Israel arrived at their doorstep led by the invisible God – Jehovah. When Israel arrived at the Jordan River and God opened the Jordan for Israel to walk over it on dry ground during the flood times of Jordan, the nearest city Jericho got to decide what to do with Israel and Israel’s God. Rahab, and her family, chose to follow God and were saved. Jericho, given a probationary period of the original 40 years, and an additional time of 7 days, decided to not follow God, and were destroyed.

Israel itself was given a probationary period of time to decide whether they would submit themselves to the God who brought them out of Egypt. God sent them into Babylon for 70 years, Jeremiah 25:1-14, and then brought them back out to alert them that God would discipline Israel as well as all other nations. While in Babylon, God raised up a prophet to alert Israel that God would give them 490 years, the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27, and if they decided not to respond to Him He would bring them to an end as a nation devoted to God. This probationary period of time was decided in 31 AD when Israel chose to reject God Himself in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, and chose Caesar. John 19:14-15. This was culminated in 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus and all of the Jews were scattered throughout the world.

Another probationary period was granted to the church of God after the destruction of Jerusalem. The original prophecy, from which the 70 week period was cut off from, indicated that from the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, in 457 BC, until the final judgment time was set, would be 2300 day years. This period would end in 1844 AD. At that time a prophet, Ellen G. White would be raised up to give instructions for the final probationary period of time. Those events happened just as prophecy indicated, and now the people of earth are in their final probationary experience. Just as God directed in the past, He has done so in this final period of time. Each of us has the opportunity to read God’s word, the Bible, and each of us has the opportunity of deciding whether there is a probationary time and if God will follow through with it as He has done in all of His probationary experiences with mankind here to for. God has not given us a specific time period but He has given us specific warning issues, all through the Bible, to alert us to when the time would be completed. See Matthew 24 and Revelation 13-14. When we see these issues occurring we are to know that His second coming is at hand just as it was in the time of Noah. Mathew 24:36-39. It is our opportunity to study these things and to know the reality of this situation.

God is alerting us to the principles of His Word through many avenues including the movie Avatar. We can see how the issues of probationary time played itself out in the movie. We can read the Word of God, if we choose to, and see how probationary time has played itself out in Bible history. Now, each of us must determine whether God had changed or if He will stay the same and act the same as He has in the past. The primary difference between the Bible and Avatar is that what the Bible teaches is reality and that it really will happen just as expressed in the Bible. I hope that we will make our decisions about whose side we will be on and that we will make that decision, and follow through with it before our probationary period of time closes. The choice is ours, make it today.