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Twilight...Or Marvelous Light?   

What is twilight? Taken from the Random House Dictionary, this is the definition: twi-light 1. the dim, scattered light from the sky just after sunset. 3. a period of decline.
The "dim, scattered light", indicates an absence of absolute light. It indicates a time with inadequate light. A time when darkness is overtaking the light. "A period of decline", refers to the degrading state of the day. The day is being ushered into the night, if you will.  It's a mixture of light and darkness.

This year, there has been a buzz about a book series, which also was produced as a movie. That movie is called, "Twilight". It's a feel good flick with a special appeal to teenage girls. The premise of Twilight is based on a "good" (they only drink animal blood) vampire (Edward) and his family, and a family of mortals. In particular, a certain mortal teenage girl (Bella). A love relationship develops between Edward and Bella. During the movie a series of events reveal Edward to be Bella's own personal superhero. She is enamored with him, and eventually is willing to forfeit her soul and mortal life ("become a monster"), in order to be with him. On the other hand, Edward is willing to risk revealing his immortality because of his intense love for her.

It has been said, "it's just a fantasy love story".  I have also heard Christians say, "Twilight is a great book, and could be a powerful tool to teach about purity". If you are unfamiliar with Twilight, there is a place in the movie, where Bella is ready to give up her virginity to the vampire (and essentially her soul), but Edward has enough moral fortitude to resist temptation, exclaiming, "I'm stronger than I thought". Sounds pretty good, huh? Sounds like there are some "biblical" principles at work in the storyline.

I want you to consider a story from the Bible before you respond to the preceding statement. Go with me to Judges 17:

1 Now there was a man from the mountains of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2 And he said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you, and on which you put a curse, even saying it in my ears—here is the silver with me; I took it.”
And his mother said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my son!” 3 So when he had returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, “I had wholly dedicated the silver from my hand to the LORD for my son, to make a carved image and a molded image; now therefore, I will return it to you.” 4 Thus he returned the silver to his mother. Then his mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to the silversmith, and he made it into a carved image and a molded image; and they were in the house of Micah.
5 The man Micah had a shrine, and made an ephod and household idols;
[a] and he consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. 6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
7 Now there was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah; he was a Levite, and was staying there. 8 The man departed from the city of Bethlehem in Judah to stay wherever he could find a place. Then he came to the mountains of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. 9 And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?”
So he said to him, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am on my way to find a place to stay.”
10 Micah said to him, “Dwell with me, and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten shekels of silver per year, a suit of clothes, and your sustenance.” So the Levite went in. 11 Then the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man became like one of his sons to him. 12 So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and lived in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since I have a Levite as priest!”

Having read this story, you can clearly see there was compromise in Micah's life. He was living in a spiritual twilight. The light he possessed was definitely dim and scattered at best. Verse six says, "everyone did what was right in his own eyes". Micah fit that statement to a "T"! And though Micah was well meaning, and had a form of godliness, he was very much in sin! His words, actions, and beliefs were incongruent! There was a mixture of Truth and Lies in Micah. He was willing to accept things which he knew were not God's best. He accepted incomplete truth by making his son his priest; having idols; utilizing an ephod that only Levites were to wear; and ultimately, hiring a traveling Levite to be his priest! Unfortunately, he was apparently deceived to the point, that he thought the Lord would reward him! Reward him for what?! Idolatry?! Disobedience?

When I think about the Twilight plot, I see a similar spiritual picture. I see evil (vampires/Edward and his family) parading as good. I see a young girl willing to give up everything for this evil. Why? Because it seemed right to her! In her eyes, the vampire wasn't evil, he was good! In her eyes, what the vampire offered her was better than what God had already given her (life and soul). In her eyes, his willingness to sacrifice himself for her was worthy of anything required. Now some might chide me here, and say that Edward was a Christ figure. Edward's desire to, in effect, make himself  dangerously vulnerable for Bella could be considered synonymous with the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for the world. However, should we ever compare an inherently evil fantasy character, to our perfect, holy Savior?! Don't get me wrong. Edward's character in the movie was very kind and thoughtful. It would be hard for anyone to dislike him, except for one thing. He was an undead, blood drinking, vampire who was constantly fighting demons of blood lust. I think it would be more appropriate to contrast Jesus and Edward.

According to our dictionary, "a vampire is a reanimated corpse said to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night". Biblically speaking, the only way a corpse can be reanimated is through the power of God. All vampire story fans KNOW  that vampires would have nothing to do with God. Therefore, the only other apparent way they could be reanimated would be through demonic activity. Now I know this will make Twilight fans uncomfortable, but, perhaps it would be best if we weren't so comfortable about reanimated corpses being in relationship with humans anyway. Now, in looking at Edward the vampire in light of Jesus, there are nuances we must be willing to admit. Edward lusts for the blood of humans, and for Bella's most of all. Of course, Jesus gave His blood for us on Calvary. He didn't try to take life, He GAVE LIFE. Typically, vampires ("bad ones") try to take the life force of humans. The Bible refers to Jesus as the Light of the World. Vampires hate direct sunlight. They typically are monsters of the darkness. According to the fictional legends, vampires can be driven away by "holy water", and/or a cross. They can be killed, or stopped, by a stake in the heart. Jesus took stakes through His hands and feet ON a cross, and truly holy water and blood flowed from His side. Vampires need constant sacrifices on which to survive. Jesus' life was the one and only sacrifice needed for our survival. Death and the grave could never hold Jesus down. He rose from the dead with resurrection power, with life and liberty for all who will believe. Certainly, Jesus represents light and life. Vampires represent darkness and death.

I have a hard time enjoying a story that is about a hero who is the anathema of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have an even harder time trying to infer goodness on a character that has been historically known as evil.  Surely, a Christ follower would never even joke about Satan being good. We would never ascribe godly attributes to such a despicable being. After watching the movie, I understand why so many Christ followers seem to have no problem identifying Edward and his "family" as noble characters. I get it. I appreciate the fact they willingly gave up the practice of drinking human blood. Never the less, humor me for a moment. If a pig stops eating slop, and goes on a fruit and vegetable diet, is it any less a pig?! Of course not! By the same token, demons are still demons no matter what form they take.

1 John 1:5 (b)-7 says, "that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin". I want to be associated with the things of LIGHT! As a Christ follower I desire a life that is set apart...COMPLETELY from the evil of this world!  "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not  despise prophecies. Test ALL things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from EVERY form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 NKJV). SOME of Micah's actions seemed to indicate a heart for God, but his other actions confirmed his depravity! No matter how enticing a book, movie, song, video game, or whatever else may be, we as Christ followers MUST learn to discern what its value is according to the Sword of the Spirit...God's Holy Word! Now this may be a little difficult at times. It may be more than just uncomfortable. It may literally shake your concept of who you are in Christ, and what is righteous, and what is NOT.

"Behold I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. Therefore, to you who believe, He is the precious; but to those who are disobedient, The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. They stumble being disobedient to the Word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of DARKNESS into His marvelous LIGHT; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy". (2 Peter 2:6-10 NKJV). Simply put, it is a matter of choice. You and I get to choose what we esteem to be worthy of our time and thoughts. He has called us OUT OF DARKNESS. We have a choice to stay there, or follow HIS voice out. We can close our spiritual ears and eyes, but where does that leave us?! In the darkness! I want to have ears to hear what the Lord is saying! I want to move into the marvelous light of Jesus! In that light my spirit CAN discern between good and evil. I will be able to see what is pleasing to God. I will see, hear, and speak those things which are in line with HIS TRUTH! (Romans 13:14 NKJV "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ...")

If you have been offended by the truth in this article, then pray. Ask the Lord what to do from this point. If you have been offended by me, I apologize profusely. I do not want to be a stumbling block, or a condemning voice (Romans 8:1). My hope is to strengthen and lift up the body of Christ, as the Holy Spirit gives me inspiration (1 Corinthians 10:24). I desire to present the truth in love. Perhaps you really enjoyed Twilight as a fantasy love story, and you feel perfectly fine about it. Maybe you have various promotional materials for Twilight in your possession. Whatever the case may be, I challenge you to do one thing. Pray for wisdom. Ask Jesus if HE likes the story. Ask Him if HE would be a supporter of the books and movie (1 Corinthians 10:31 a). Christ followers "have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things." (1John 2:20 NKJV). YIELD to the HOLY SPIRIT...THE HOLY ONE. Take time to listen. Seek out the TRUTH in the Holy Word of God.

Realize this is bigger than any one book or movie. It concerns our overall spiritual state. Do we abhor what is evil, or like Micah, do we wink at, and tolerate sin? What does darkness have to do with light?! "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1John 4:1 NKJV) Understand, this is not about MY OPINION. It is about TRUTH. "...And receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:21-22 NKJV) Don't let your opinion, or mine for that matter, DECEIVE you. Let the mind of Christ be in you. Let the Spirit confirm or deny the status of all things in your life, and you will be filled with the peace of God, and walk in the Spirit of the Lord (Romans 8:6 NKJV). Until next time, be blessed with God's BEST, and remain in His marvelous light!

Your Partner In Ministry,
Greg McCowen

P.S. - Twilight Fans...in no way am I suggesting that by watching the movie, or reading the books will one become spiritually depraved, or be in danger of losing their salvation. I AM suggesting that there are better ways for a Christ follower to spend his or her time. I confess...I am guilty of spending too much time watching T.V., and reading Louis L'Amour westerns! The challenge is in regard to TRUTH...absolute TRUTH. Who and what are we embracing in the realm of fantasy? May the Lord open the eyes of our understanding.

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