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Commentary

Jared Thurmon

is the Strategic Partnerships Liaison for Adventist Review.
You can reach him anytime on twitter via @thurmon.

Lucifer is Coming

Does Hollywood understand the last great scenes in the drama better than many Christians?

A 5-minute read

As I scrolled through my news feed this morning, I stumbled across an item trending on Twitter: #LuciferisComing. No Adventist could resist investigating a line like that. The hashtag quickly led me to a flurry of posts, 85% of which were written by concerned Christians upset about a new television show on Fox slated to premiere on January 25. The series stars actor Tom Ellis as Lucifer – the tall, dark and handsome—and misunderstood--fallen archangel now in “the city of angels”—Los Angeles.

Communications specialists sometimes argue “that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Fox may secretly be reveling in the controversy. But I’m guessing this may be a “one and done” series—that “Lucifer is Coming” could shortly be followed by “Lucifer Has Left the Building.”

So I decided to hijack a headline to underline an important truth.

The truth is—Lucifer has been misunderstood by many.

It’s intriguing that Christian viewers raise issues with shows like this. What were they expecting from the entertainment industry? Were they not entertained? Many who read this article probably wouldn’t choose to spend their time on things that don’t build up their insight or character. Even if the new series tanks after the third episode, it might have unintentionally served a good purpose.

You see, I actually do believe Lucifer is coming. I have to grudgingly tip my hat to Fox for at least portraying the enemy more accurately than Christian tradition usually has done. In the popular imagination from medieval times to the present, the devil is likely red, has horns, a tail, and a pitchfork. The Bible, though, tells us that this being is on a far different level of sophistication and attractiveness. He’s good looking, commands powers many can only dream about, and seeks one objective: to become the ruler of this world by convincing humanity that living for self is the meaning of life. In the words of avowed occultist Aleister Crowley, “Do as thou wilt is the whole of the law.” And as the oldest created being in existence, he’s had a long time to refine his appeal to both men and angels.

In what reads like a tragic love letter from the broken heart of the Lord to Lucifer, God says:

12 “You were the seal of perfection,

Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty…

14 “You were the anointed cherub…I established you

15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,

Till iniquity was found in you…

17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty… (Ezek. 28:12, 14, 15, 17, NKJV).

Biblical prophecy reminds us that this majestic and beautiful being is coming one day soon to planet earth. Why? To claim what he believes are rightfully his—the keys of the kingdom.

Seventh-day Adventists underline even more than Fox that #LuciferisComing—and very soon.

“But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14 NLT)

Seventh-day Adventist co-founder and thought leader Ellen G. White described Lucifer’s coming very clearly:

The world is a theater; the actors, its inhabitants, are preparing to act their part in the last great drama. With the great masses of mankind, there is no unity, except as men confederate to accomplish their selfish purposes.

A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama,—Satan coming as Christ…—Testimonies for the Church 8:27, 28.

And in the final volume of her “Conflict of the Ages” series—The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan—she asserted:

“As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Revelation 1:13-15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: ‘Christ has come! Christ has come!’

The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people… This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion.” (Great Controversy, 624).

The Book of Revelation portrays the whole world in the last days as looking for a compelling leader to help it navigate the political, economic, and environmental chaos of the age. Confused by forces beyond their control or their understanding, human beings willingly give their allegiance to a sophisticated ruler who promises both stability and ultimate personal freedom. Others dream of escape to an untainted world where human beings can re-establish sanity—and billionaires such as Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos invest heavily in space vehicles that could theoretically colonize another planet. Each week’s box office numbers remind us that our culture is fascinated by the war that began in the stars, and hungers for a superhero who offers a new world order we can never seem to manufacture for ourselves.

Yes, Lucifer is coming, and prophecy tells us that his coming precedes the coming of Christ. Complaining about Hollywood’s programming misses the point: Adventists should be making headlines by affirming that yes, in fact, #LuciferisComing—but so is our real Saviour, whose sacrifice and love offers the only real redemption this broken planet will ever find.

It’s our mission to teach the world how different the value systems of Christ and Satan really are—and why the faith of Jesus is our only hope. 

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