REDEEMER’S ENDGAME 

Recently I took my oldest grandson to the movies. Both of us love the Super Hero movies and so I took him to AVENGERS: ENDGAME. (If you haven’t seen the movie and intend to, then stop reading this now.)  

I realised that my Grandson has been playing Superheroes from these movies for the last 10 years, but this movie brings the Avengers team to an end. The story concludes. We have reached the ENDGAME.  

Beginning with IRON MAN in 2008, the drama has unfolded, movie by movie, to this: half a team of superheroes, fighting to save the world. Now they fight the seemingly invincible enemy, THANOS. The 22 movies have led us to a final battle.  

This series of superhero movies has been part of our lives. I remember TARZAN, SUPERMAN, PHANTOM AND BATMAN. My grandson grew up with IRONMAN, SPIDERMAN AND THE AVENGERS. A good part of his play as a child was racing around the house chasing bad guys. I was inevitably cast as the bad guy.  

Which makes one of the anticipated themes of the final chapters of ENDGAME slightly unsettling: SACRIFICE.  

As a Pastor, watching the movies; Avengers Infinity War last year and then recently Endgame, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Endgame of which the Bible speaks and how the earth will go through a time called the Great Tribulation, when a guy called the Antichrist will come with his prophet.  

THANOS  

When the Infinity Gauntlet was activated by Thanos, half the population of the world disintegrated, including half of the Avengers. That’s troubling, to say the least!  

It reminded me of another “Snap” in the Biblical narrative of End times when Christ followers will disappear from the earth “in the twinkling of an eye”, an event now called “The Rapture of the Church”, before the Second Coming of Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NLT2) says, “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.”

Thanos, however, is like the Antichrist figure in the Biblical Endgame.  

Many prophesies in the Bible describe the Antichrist. Daniel 9:26 (NLT2) simply calls him, “… A RULER will arise whose armies will destroy the city (of Jerusalem)...” 

The Antichrist is a global political leader. He is called… 

“The seed of the serpent” (ie from Satan), “The Ruler who will arise,” “The man of sin,” the “son of perdition” or the “man of lawlessness” and in the book of Revelation he is called “The Antichrist.” 

The book of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NLT2) in the Bible says, “Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.” In a godless age, where Christianity is more and more reviled and persecuted around the world, it seems very plausible that such a world ruler would arise. 

Apparently, this ruler will emerge from a revived Roman Empire (from Europe). It was amusing that the Antichrist figure of Endgame, Thanos, should be dressed in armour similar to a Roman soldier though I’m sure no association with Antichrist was intended by the film-makers. 

EBONY MAW 

Also like Antichrist, Thanos has a Prophet called Ebony Maw who first appears in Avengers: Infinity Wars, who acts as Thanos’ herald. He says those under siege by Thanos are actually being saved and the citizens should “rejoice” in their deaths bringing balance to the Universe (It’s a definitely Green agenda so it must be OK). In Infinity wars, we get an insight into this False Prophet of the Endgames Antichrist by his pronouncements … 

Ebony Maw: [kneels before Thanos] My humble personage… bows before your grandeur. No other being has ever had the might, nay the nobility, to wield not one, but two Infinity Stones. The universe lies within your grasp. 

Ebony Maw: (to the people) Hear me, and rejoice. You have had the privilege of being saved by the Great Titan (Thanos) … You may think this is suffering… No. it is salvation. Universal scales tip toward balance because of your sacrifice. Smile… For even in death, you have become Children of Thanos. 

This reminds me of John 8:44 (NLT) when Jesus confronts the religious leaders who insisted they were right because they were descendants of Abraham. He says “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

The False Prophet, the second beast of Revelation 13, will be a religious leader who will point people toward the Antichrist. The Antichrist’s focus is politics while the False Prophet’s emphasis is religion. Like Ebony Maw, the False Prophet will have great power over people.  He will be like many false prophets of our own day—enforcing their own perverted form of ethics. 

I AM 

The Antichrist of the Bible will receive a fatal wound but miraculously recover. Thanos also survives impossible odds in order to impose his rule. At one point in Infinity Wars, Thanos says, I know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right… yet to fail, nonetheless. It’s frightening. Turns the legs to jelly. I ask you, to what end? Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same. And now, it’s here. Or should I say… I AM.” 

Terrifying words. When Thanos says, “I AM” I was reminded that in Genesis 3 God describes himself as the great I AM. God’s destiny for the world is very different to the world leader who is called the Antichrist, whose idea of destiny for the world is destruction rather than salvation. Moses asks God … 

 “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is His name?’ Then what should I tell them?” 

God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM  has sent me to you.”  

I AM in the Bible is also a description of Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords.  

In Mark 14:60-63 (NLT), the high priest takes Jesus into custody on charges of blasphemy. “Then the high priest asked Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 

Jesus said, “I AM. (In the original language a deliberate choice of words and to make it clear, He says…) And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 

In the Book of Revelation, the Antichrist tries to usurp the authority and rule of Christ. But it is a destructive power like that of Thanos.  

In Infinity Wars, various parts of the script give us the Character of Thanos. 

Bruce Banner: “Thanos. He’s a plague, Tony. He invades planets. He takes what he wants. He wipes out half the population. He sent Loki. The attack on New York. That’s him. 

Gamora: The entire time I knew Thanos, he only ever had one goal: To bring balance to the Universe by wiping out half of all life. He used to kill people planet by planet, massacre by massacre… 

(Conversation with Thanos and Gamora…) 

Gamora:  you murdered half the planet. (Her planet) 

Thanos: A small price to pay for salvation. 

Gamora: You’re insane. 

Thanos: Little one, it’s a simple calculus. This universe is finite, its resources finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correction. (Sounds like a very Green agenda) 

Gamora: You don’t know that! 

Thanos: I’m the only one who knows that. At least, I’m the only one with the will to act on it. … (Not an uncommon sentence for arrogant political and social engineering leaders) 

THE PLAN 

Tony Stark is the somewhat dubious “Christ figure” of the Avenger disciples in Endgame and the team formulates a plan to steal the Infinity Stones back from Thanos and use them to reverse his actions. All seems lost when they find Thanos and discover the Infinity Stones have been destroyed. 

However, five year later Scott Lang (Antman) escapes from the quantum realm, and it seems like 5 minutes. This experience leads to the possibility of travelling back in time. Stark eventually agrees to grapple with the possibility of building a quantum time machine and miracle of miracles, discovers that it works. The Avengers are reunited with a plan – get back the Infinity Stones. 

6 INFINITY STONES 

There are six Infinity Stones: The Space Stone (blue), the Reality Stone (red), the Power Stone (purple), the Mind Stone (yellow), the Time Stone (green) and the Soul Stone (orange). A rainbow of destructive power in the wrong hands. 

The Time Stone is in a necklace, the Mind Stone in a scepter, the Space Stone in the Tesseract, etc. Thanos needs to wear a special golden glove to hold all the stones, basically, it’s a fancy golden glove that can hold all the Infinity Stones. When all the stones are united in the Gauntlet, the wearer wields unlimited power.  

This quest for absolute power is similar to the Antichrist’s quest for a world, seeking to usurp the Sovereignty of God.  

In the Bible, the number 6 symbolizes man and human weakness, the evils of Satan and the manifestation of sin.  

Three 6’s in the book of Revelation is a very evil number and 666 is associated with the mark of the Beast used as a means of conducting business in a world which ignores the rulership of God (the Antichrists pin number). 

Revelation 13:15-18 (NLT2) says, “… He (the Antichrist) required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.  

SACRIFICE 

In Infinity War, Thanos travels with Gamora to the planet Vormir, where the Soul Stone is kept. There they encounter Red Skull, the villain from the first Captain America movie. He tried to handle the Space Stone himself and has now been doomed to guard it. Red Skull tells Thanos that he needs to sacrifice something he loves to attain the gem, and so Thanos relunctantly but deliberately kills Gamora, his step daughter. 

The Avengers divide to travel back in time to retrieve various stones in Endgame. Barton and Romanoff travel to Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone. Once again the Red Skull, keeper of the Soul Stone, informs them that the stone can only be obtained by sacrificing someone they love. The two fight over who will make the sacrifice, with the Black Widow (Romanoff) ultimately “winning” (dying in sacrifice). Barton returns to Earth with the Soul Stone totally distraught.  

The theme of sacrifice and Martyrdom also play an important role in the Great Tribulation of which the Bible speaks. Such Martydom demands vindication. 

Revelation 6:9-11 says, “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”  Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them. 

ENDGAME BATTLE 

Thanos’ army lands on Earth and we have the Endgame battle. In the Bible, this equates with the battle of Armageddon, where it is the armies of the Antichrist who gather in a futile attempt to overthrow Christ.  

Psalms 2:1-5 (NLT2) prophesies the event. “Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” …” It’s kind of like an all-out attack on Christianity and all Christ stands for. 

The Battle of Armageddon will take place in the Valley of Jezreel, just below Mt Megiddo, North of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will fall and half the city will be taken into slavery by Gentile forces of the Valley of Jezreel. 

Similar to when the Avengers and their allies return from the past in Endgame just at the point of despair, the Second Coming of Christ occurs. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NLT2) it says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died. …”  

Revelation 19:11-16 (NLT2) speaks about Christ returning to battle with the forces at Meggido (the Battle of Armageddon), Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for He judges fairly and wages a righteous war. … He wore a robe dipped in blood, and His title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed Him on white horses. From His mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On His robe at His thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.”.  

In Endgame, all of the Avengers reappear along with other allies revived by Bruce Banner, coming through various portals before launching an assault on Thanos and his army. It’s like a second coming of Avengers. 

When Christ returns, the Bible says the Battle of Armageddon is over before it starts, but in Endgame, there is a lengthy battle during which Thanos wrestles with numerous Avengers for the Infinity Stones. Captain Marvel reappears, taking out Thanos’s ship while fighting for control of the gauntlet.  

Isaiah 14 prophesies the demise of a king who is very Thanos-like. This passage refers to Lucifer (Satan). 

“The mighty man has been destroyed. Yes, your insolence is ended. For the Lord has crushed your wicked power and broken your evil rule. You struck the people with endless blows of rage and held the nations in your angry grip with unrelenting tyranny. But finally the earth is at rest and quiet. Now it can sing again! “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’” 

Endgame © Image by Ross Cochrane

IRONMAN DIES TO SAVE THE WORLD!  

Like the Endgame movie with Thanos and Ebony Maw, in the Biblical Apocalypse, the False Prophet and the Antichrist will also ultimately perish together.

Stark maneuvers the Infinity Stones from Thanos’ hand to his own and uses them to turn Thanos and his entire army into dust, triumphantly stating “I am Iron Man.”

But there is a high price. Parker and Potts console Stark as he dies from overexposure to the Stones.  

My grandson came away from the movie in tears, saying “I don’t believe it. Ironman is dead.” He was actually feeling grief for his childhood superhero. 

We know from the news that not all good guys will make it out alive in any given wartime confrontation. But with superheroes, you just don’t expect that one must perish that others might live. They might get battered, but at the last minute it’s always the bad guys that die! How could IRONMAN DIE?  

PEACE AND SACRIFICE 

I am reminded that Peace with God does not come cheaply either, but involved a sacrifice. It cost one Warrior everything. The greatest of all Good Guys died so that we could receive peace with God. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  

The story of Christ is the story that tells of God Himself being the only one willing to battle evil itself, dying for us, paying the ultimate cost as a sacrifice for our sins. “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6–8).  

Deep down, the theme of self-sacrifice rings true with us. The horror of death mixed with the beauty of supreme love:  At the end of the highest-grossing franchise of all time, peace is purchased through the highest love — SACRIFICE. Yet still it pales into insignificance when compared to the greatest sacrifice of all paid that we could find peace and forgiveness with God. And it is offered as a free gift.

In Endgame we are given a brief flashback which shows Rogers and Carter finally sharing the dance they never got to have in their living room, truly happy at last.  

Revelation 21:1-5 describes eternity for those who have believed in Christ. It says, “… I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them … And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’”   

The invitation is to receive what Christ has done on the Cross for us by placing our trust in Him. 

John 3:16-17 (NLT) says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.” 

Pastor Ross 

Comments
  1. Wow! Brilliant comparison.

    Like

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