Digging Deeper: Jesus Stopped at a Comma

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education


Estimated Reading time: 8 min.

Did you know that when Jesus read a passage of Isaiah during a synagogue service He stopped his reading at a comma?

This was a most unusual preaching strategy but it was done deliberately. My last Digging Deeper article entitled “Jesus’ Sermon at His Hometown Synagogue” outlined the liturgy and custom of the first-century Jewish synagogue. In it, I explained that Jesus was recognized as a member of His Nazareth synagogue and was invited by custom to read a portion of either the Law or the Prophets. Jesus may have deliberately chosen the scroll of Isaiah for this sermon to His fellow worshipers. However, what He read and pointedly commented upon caused them to rise up and threaten His life.

Luke alone records this incident in Luke 4:16-30. Jesus quoted two passages from Isaiah He was beginning to fulfill: Isaiah 61:1-2 and Isaiah 58:6. Combining two texts with a similar theme was a common practice called a gezerah shava. If you read Isaiah’s original version, you will notice some rewording of the text in Luke’s account. This was common practice throughout our New Testament. God, the Author and Chief Editor of the Bible, is at liberty to revise and rephrase His word as necessary depending on the context in which it is cited.

Jesus First Came as a Prophet

When Jesus proclaimed that the Spirit was upon Him, He meant that he was moved to do some supernatural work. In Luke 4:18 He explained He was anointed by the Spirit, as Luke later explained in Acts 10:38, that authorized Him to preach. The Old Testament ceremony of anointing with oil inaugurated men into the offices of priest, prophet, or king. Jesus first came as the Prophet (Matthew 21:11; John 7:40), today He is our High Priest in heaven, and He will return as our King. He holds all three offices at once.

Jesus explained this anointing enabled Him to preach the gospel to the poor. He was a master preacher and teacher. One matter Luke emphasized about Jesus’ ministry was His concern for those materially poor. They were often at the mercy of unscrupulous officials and businessmen. It was generally thought that their suffering was due to God’s curse and was their fault. By contrast, those who relieved the poor were considered especially righteous since almsgiving was synonymous with righteousness in the minds of many at the time.

Jesus then proclaimed He was sent to heal the brokenhearted – those who were in despair of heart including those who mourn over their sins leading to repentance. He continued His sermon stating He came to preach deliverance to the captives – i.e., the forgiveness of sins and remission of its penalty. Those who are held in Satan’s snare as his captives in body, mind, or spirit Jesus will deliver.

Jesus added that He had come to recover sight to the blind – including those spiritually blind to God’s truth. During His ministry, Jesus healed many who were physically blind. He next declared that He came to set at liberty those who are bruised – i.e., oppressed, broken people. Jesus came to free people from heavy burdens of sin and oppressive rabbinical restrictions.

Jesus knew what it was like to be poor, brokenhearted, and bruised (Isaiah 53:3-5). The phrase “to set at liberty them that are bruised” in Luke 4:18 was Jesus’ insertion of a paraphrase from Isaiah 58:6. He was announcing a time when salvation was available to His audiences. The final phrase of Isaiah 61:2 states that throughout His ministry He came to comfort all that mourn: those who mourn over loss or sin. He still does today!

Stopping at a comma

In Luke 4:19, Jesus quoted only part of Isaiah 61:2. Notice the complete verse: Isaiah 61:2 KJV  “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” “The acceptable year of the Lord” sometimes refers to the Jubilee year of Leviticus 25:8-17. However, Jesus applied it to His ministry then. He offered liberation from sin and its consequences. Those who accepted His salvation offer became His disciples.

As He quoted Isaiah 61:2 He stopped at the first comma (in the English Bible) and omitted “the day of vengeance of our God” and the rest of that verse (Luke 4:19). His reason seems to have been that the day of vengeance of our God is reserved for His second coming when He returns as conquering King and administers vengeance (justice) on those who willfully oppose Him.

Many Jews at the time believed that salvation was for them a matter of nationality rather than of submission to God. They considered vengeance and retribution to be reserved for the Gentiles. Some of the Jewish sects believed that Messiah would return as a powerful, conquering prince at the head of a mighty army to vanquish their enemies. When Jesus came instead as a suffering Servant Messiah who died for human sin, they rejected Him because He did not meet their messianic expectations. Their pride, prejudice, and preconceived opinion blinded them to their own spiritual need for repentance. What follows in this story is the result of this attitude.

Scripture fulfilled in a Man from Nazareth

In Luke 4:20 Jesus ended His reading, rolled up the scroll of Isaiah, and handed it back to the chazzan so He could sit down, as was customary, to deliver a sermon about these passages. The eyes of the congregation were fixed upon Him. There was an atmosphere of suspense building as they wondered what He would say next. He proclaimed that these texts were being fulfilled in their hearing (Luke 4:21). By contrast, they expected these passages to be fulfilled in a coming messianic age. Jesus said this phase of His ministry had already begun and they were being given an offer of repentance and discipleship.

The audience wondered at such gracious words coming from one they had known since He was a boy. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”, they asked (Luke 4:22). “How could He be the Messiah?” Rather than respond favorably to His offer, in Luke 4:23 Jesus predicted they would recite to Him a proverb that questions a person’s power and authority: “Physician, heal thyself.” Instead of responding to His offer, they asked Him to perform a miracle such as those they had probably heard about from His earlier ministry in Judea and Capernaum. By this point, Jesus had already turned water into wine and healed the nobleman’s son. Out of mere curiosity, they wanted to see a miracle but not transform their lives through genuine spiritual responsiveness.

Not accepted at home

Jesus then explained that prophets are seldom fully trusted back home (Luke 4:24). Jesus recited a proverbial expression that placed Him in the long line of prophets who were rejected by their people. What led to their rejecting Him was His noting examples of two Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Elisha, who performed miracles for Gentiles during an age of Israelite apostasy (Luke 4:25-27).

This was more than they could stand so they arose in wrath (Luke 4:28). Their rage had been building as they sat listening to Him but now it boiled over. They were not slow to see how Jesus applied these Old Testament stories to them. He inferred they were just as apostate as Israelites in the time of Elijah and Elisha. Instead of accepting the message to repent of their sins, they chose to destroy the messenger. Familiarity had bred contempt for one of their own. 

To accept His words meant they would have to accept that God offered salvation to Gentiles whom they looked down upon as “dogs.” They were unwilling to humble their hearts. Their fierce, nationalistic pride and bigotry resented the thought of God’s blessing faith-filled Gentiles in the time of Elijah and Elisha. In effect, Jesus had compared his townsfolk to their unbelieving ancestors. Jesus even gave them another opportunity about a year later but instead they were offended in Him. As a result, He did not work many mighty miracles in his hometown (Matthew 13:53-58; Mark 6:5). At the time, even His siblings did not believe in Him (John 7:5).

In Luke 4:29, these congregants led Him to the brow of a hill overlooking Nazareth, intending to cast Him down headfirst and then stone Him to death for blasphemy. This was contrary to Jewish custom that forbad execution without trial and forbad it being conducted on the Sabbath. Not only that, but Roman law required the governor’s permission before executing one of their own. They were acting like a lynch mob. In Luke 4:30-32, Jesus miraculously passed through their midst and continued His ministry in Capernaum. His time of sacrificial death had not yet come (John 7:30). Many elsewhere became His disciples. Jesus lived this proverbial expression: “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house”  (Matthew 13:57 KJV).


Kenneth Frank headshot

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Course Spotlight: A Sign from God

There are many instances in the Bible where God’s people ask Him for a sign. Does God want us to look for signs for Him in everything that we do?

Course Spotlight From The Life, Teachings, and Ministry of Jesus Christ: (Unit 3) The Judean Ministry

Programme biblique pour enfants : niveau 3 – NT leçon 5 “Les béatitudes”

Passage étudié : Matthieu 5


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Jésus-Christ a commencé Son ministère sur la terre. De nombreuses personnes Le suivent, impatientes de voir les miracles qu’Il accomplit et d’entendre ce qu’Il dit. Un jour, Jésus monte sur une montagne pour enseigner des leçons très importantes aux gens et à Ses disciples. Le discours qu’Il prononce ce jour-là est l’un des plus célèbres jamais donné, et il est souvent appelé “le sermon sur la Montagne”. Il commence Son discours par une liste de qualités que nous appelons “les béatitudes”. Les béatitudes sont un bon début pour apprendre ce que le Christ recherche chez chaque chrétien.

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Discussion :

  1. Les béatitudes expriment les attitudes qui devraient faire partie de la vie d’un chrétien. Quelles sont les béatitudes enseignées par le Christ ?
  2. Le mot grec traduit par “heureux”, dans la Bible Louis Segond, est parfois traduit par “béni”, dans d’autres versions. Quelle conclusion peux-tu tirer sur les personnes qui ont ces qualités ?
  3. Que signifie “être pauvre en esprit” ?
  4. Que signifie “avoir faim et soif de la justice” ? (Psaume 119:172 définie la justice ; dans ce passage, le mot “justes” peut aussi être traduit par “justice”.)
  5. Pense à une situation où tu pourrais agir comme un pacificateur (c’est-à-dire “procurer la paix”).
  6. Le Christ a dit que les véritables chrétiens seraient persécutés. As-tu déjà fait ce genre d’expérience ? Peux-tu donner des exemples de chrétiens à qui cela est arrivé ?
  7. Quelles promesses Dieu fait-Il à ceux qui développent les qualités mentionnées dans les béatitudes ?
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Mémorisation :

Matthieu 5:3-12

Aidez votre enfant à mémoriser les béatitudes !


Programme biblique pour enfants : niveau 2 – NT leçon 5 “La piscine de Béthesda”

Passage étudié : Jean 5


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L’histoire se passe à l’époque de la Fête des Tabernacles. La ville de Jérusalem grouille de gens qui viennent de partout. Il y a une piscine à Jérusalem où, de temps en temps, un ange vient agiter l’eau de la piscine, et la première personne qui entre dans l’eau est guérie. C’est pour cette raison que de nombreux malades se trouvent au bord de la piscine, mais à chaque fois, un seul d’entre eux peut être guéri. Par compassion, Jésus guérit un homme qui attend là depuis longtemps, mais tout le monde n’est pas heureux de voir ce boiteux marcher à nouveau.

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Discussion :

  1. Pourquoi Jésus Se trouvait-Il à Jérusalem à ce moment-là ?
  2. Depuis combien de temps cet homme guéri par Jésus était-il malade ?
  3. En voyant l’homme porter son lit, les Juifs pensaient qu’il transgressait une loi. Quelle était cette loi, selon eux ? Pourquoi étaient-ils contrariés que l’homme ait été guéri ?
  4. Pourquoi les Juifs voulaient-ils tuer Jésus ?
  5. Qu’a dit Jésus au sujet de Sa relation avec le Père ?
  6. Quelle autorité Dieu a-t-Il donnée à Jésus-Christ ?
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Mémorisation :

Jean 5:19

“Jésus reprit donc la parole, et leur dit : En vérité, en vérité, je vous le dis, le Fils ne peut rien faire de lui-même, il ne fait que ce qu’il voit faire au Père ; et tout ce que le Père fait, le Fils aussi le fait pareillement.”


Programme biblique pour enfants : niveau 1 – NT leçon 5 “Pêcheurs d’hommes”

Passage étudié : Luc 5


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Jésus-Christ a affronté Satan et Il a gagné. Il peut maintenant S’occuper des affaires de Son Père en prêchant la bonne nouvelle du futur Royaume de Dieu. Jésus commence à prêcher aux habitants de la Galilée, Il accomplit des miracles étonnants et les gens commencent à Le suivent. Le plan de Jésus est de bâtir Son Église pour aider à propager l’Évangile, à former les gens et à les préparer pour le Royaume. Il va chercher douze hommes qui accepteront de Le suivre pour être Ses élèves – Ses disciples ! Un jour, alors que Jésus est en train d’enseigner devant une foule nombreuse, au bord de la mer de Galilée, les gens sont tellement serrés autour de Lui, qu’Il a besoin de plus d’espace. Il saute dans une barque qui appartient à un pêcheur local, et Il continue d’enseigner aux gens restés sur le rivage. Mais le pêcheur ne sait pas encore que Jésus a prévu de lui confier une mission très spéciale.

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Discussion :

  1. À qui appartenait la barque dans laquelle Jésus est monté pour prêcher à la foule restée sur le rivage ?
  2. Quel métier faisaient Pierre, André, Jacques et Jean ? Quels liens unissaient ces quatre hommes ?
  3. Pierre, André, Jacques et Jean avaient-ils réussi à pêcher la nuit précédente ?
  4. Pourquoi Pierre a-t-il été surpris lorsque Jésus lui a demandé de jeter son filet ? Que s’est-il passé lorsqu’ils ont ramené leurs filets ? Combien de poissons ont-ils pris ?
  5.  À ton avis, que signifie être “pêcheurs d’hommes” ?
  6. Comment Pierre, André, Jacques et Jean ont-ils réagi lorsque le Christ leur a demandé de Le suivre ?
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Mémorisation :

Marc 1:17

“Jésus leur dit : Suivez-moi, et je vous ferai pêcheurs d’hommes.”


Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 3: Lección 17 “Israel se prepara para encontrarse con Dios”

Pasajes Destacados: Éxodo 1:1–14; 14:5–31; 19:1–11


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Dios cambió el nombre de Jacob a Israel. Los descendientes de Israel vivieron en Egipto y se convirtieron en una gran nación. Pero los egipcios los esclavizaron y les impusieron trabajos forzados. Dios hizo muchos milagros para liberar a Israel de la esclavitud. Después de la muerte de todos los primogénitos en Egipto, Dios condujo a Israel fuera de Egipto bajo el liderazgo de Moisés. Dios separó las aguas del Mar Rojo para que los israelitas lo atravesaran caminando en seco, y así protegió a Su pueblo del ejército egipcio. Dios dijo a Moisés que trajera a los hijos de Israel ante Él en el Monte Sinaí después de que hubieran salido de Egipto (Éxodo 3:12). Pocas semanas después de salir de Egipto, los hijos de Israel estaban acampando cerca del Monte Sinaí. Dios llamó a Moisés y le explicó que haría un acuerdo especial con el pueblo de Israel llamado pacto. Este pacto consistía en que el pueblo de Israel lo obedecería y, a cambio, Dios los haría su pueblo especial. El pueblo aceptó. Dios dio instrucciones a los israelitas de que se bañaran, lavaran sus vestidos y “se consagraran”; es decir, que se prepararan para encontrarse con Dios. ¡Para encontrarse con su Creador!

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Discusión:

  1. Explique que a pesar de que habían presenciado las milagrosas intervenciones de Dios, el pueblo de Israel desobedeció desde que salió de Egipto. Se quejaron por el agua y la comida (Éxodo 15:22–25; 16:2–3), transgredieron el sábado (Éxodo 16:26–29), y se quejaron contra Moisés (Éxodo 17: 2–3). Explique que el presenciar milagros no hace que una persona responda teniendo fe en Dios de forma automática, sino que debemos elegir conscientemente obedecer a Dios.
  2. Pregunte a sus hijos por qué piensan que Dios le dijo a Israel que se bañara y lavara su vestimenta. ¿Qué preparación haría uno para visitar a la Reina de Inglaterra? Use esto como una oportunidad para enfatizar por qué nos vestimos lo mejor posible para los servicios del sábado.
  3. Discuta lo que significa ser “consagrado” o “apartado para uso santo”. Explique que la Iglesia es el Israel de Dios bajo el nuevo pacto y que somos apartados por el Espíritu Santo de Dios. Ayude a sus hijos a entender que, si ambos o alguno de nuestros padres se bautizan y están en la Iglesia, eso significa que tenemos la oportunidad de tener una relación con Dios que de lo contrario no necesariamente tendríamos (Hechos 2:38–39, 1 Corintios 7:14).
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Para Memorizar:

Éxodo 20:1–17

Los Diez Mandamientos (Todo el texto sin resumir nada).


Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 2: Lección 17 “Abram sale hacia Canaán”

Pasajes Destacados: Génesis 11-13


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Abram nació 292 años después del Diluvio. Su familia vivía en una ciudad llamada “Ur”, que estaba en el área de la nación que conocemos como Iraq. Abram era el hijo menor de su padre Taré, cuyo antepasado fue Sem. Abram se casó con su media hermana Sarai, pero no tenían hijos. Taré salió de Ur hacia Canaán y tomó con él a Abram, Sarai y a su nieto Lot. La familia se detuvo por un tiempo en Harán, donde murió Taré. Abram se había hecho muy rico en Harán. A la edad de 75 años tenía ganado, plata, oro y muchos sirvientes. Esto seguramente habría hecho difícil dejar Harán, pero Dios ordenó a Abram que abandonara su hogar y se fuera a una tierra lejana que le mostraría. A cambio de su obediencia, Dios prometió hacer una gran nación de los descendientes de Abram. Sorprendentemente, Abram inmediatamente obedeció a Dios. Él tomó a su esposa, su sobrino Lot y todas sus posesiones y abandonaron su hogar para siempre.

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Discusión:

  1. Explique a sus hijos que no era raro que las personas se casaran con parientes cercanos en los días de Abram. Recuérdeles que todos estuvieron estrechamente relacionados después del Diluvio porque solo una familia sobrevivió. Dios luego ordenó a los israelitas que no se casaran con parientes cercanos (Levítico 18: 6-17).
  2. Discuta con sus hijos lo difícil que debe haber sido para Abram y Saraí empacar y mudarse a un lugar que no conocían. No había camiones ni hoteles en el camino. Pregunte a sus hijos cuáles podrían haber sido algunos de las dificultades que Abram y Sarai podían anticipar en su viaje.
  3. Abram debe haber sabido lo difícil que sería su viaje. Aun así, no discutió con Dios. Él simplemente obedeció lo que Dios le dijo que hiciera. Hable con sus hijos sobre el carácter de Abram. Realce el buen ejemplo que Abram dio cuando obedeció a Dios de inmediato.
  4. Dios le prometió a Abram que de él saldría en una gran nación, pero esa promesa no se cumplió inmediatamente. Explique a sus hijos que la obediencia a Dios debe venir primero antes de recibir cualquier recompensa.
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Para Memorizar:

Hebreos 11:8

“Por la fe Abraham, siendo llamado, obedeció para salir al lugar que había de recibir como herencia; y salió sin saber a dónde iba”.


Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 1: Lección 17 “Las familias se convierten en naciones”

Pasajes Destacados: Génesis 8-10


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Con el Diluvio, Dios destruyó toda vida sobre la faz de la Tierra con excepción de Noé, su esposa, sus hijos Sem, Cam, Jafet y sus esposas, una pareja de cada animal inmundo y siete parejas de todos los animales limpios. Todos estos sobrevivieron en el arca. Después del Diluvio, Dios ordenó a Noé, a sus hijos y a los animales que se multiplicaran en la Tierra, y eso fue exactamente lo que hicieron. La gente vivía más tiempo y podían tener muchos hijos. Pronto las familias crecieron tanto que formaron naciones, las cuales se establecieron en sus propias tierras.

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Discusión:

  1. Ayude a sus hijos a identificar a las ocho personas que sobrevivieron al Diluvio.
  2. Discuta con sus hijos por qué Dios le dijo a Noé que metiera siete parejas de cada animal limpio en el arca.
  3. Ayude a sus hijos a visualizar cómo podría haber sido la Tierra después de unos años con tan poca gente y tantos animales que se multiplicaban muy rápidamente.
  4. Explique a sus hijos que, aunque su número aumentaba, las personas seguían unidos por el idioma y la cultura.
  5. Ayude a sus hijos a reconocer que después del Diluvio solo había ocho personas, y que hoy, unos 5 mil años después, hay casi ocho mil millones de personas, todas descendientes de Noé.
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Para Memorizar:

Génesis 11:6

“Y dijo el Eterno: He aquí el pueblo es uno, y todos éstos tienen un solo lenguaje; y han comenzado la obra, y nada les hará desistir ahora de lo que han pensado hacer”.


Les Fêtes de printemps (2) – La Fête des Pains sans Levain

Artiste : James Mitchell – Kingston, Jamaïque

La deuxième Fête du calendrier de Dieu

qui suit immédiatement la Pâque est la Fête des Pains sans Levain. Souvent, cette Fête est aussi appelée les Jours des Pains sans Levain, car elle dure sept jours. Tout comme la Pâque, les Jours des Pains sans Levain nous rappellent des événements qui se sont produits dans le passé. Cette Fête nous rappelle les événements de l’Exode, lorsque Dieu a fait sortir les enfants d’Israël du pays d’Égypte, mais ces jours particuliers sont également destinés à nous enseigner d’importantes leçons spirituelles. Qu’est-ce que Dieu veut que nous apprenions avec cette Fête des Pains sans Levain, et qui nous aidera à nous préparer à faire partie de Sa Famille ? C’est que nous allons voir !


Comment ça fonctionne :

Ce guide d’étude a été préparé pour aider les parents qui veulent enseigner les sujets bibliques essentiels à leurs enfants. Conçu dans un format ciblé et facile à suivre, il n’est pas destiné à être enseigné en une seule leçon. Mais les sujets sont organisés pour permettre aux parents de choisir les priorités et d’adapter les leçons à la personnalité et à l’âge de leurs enfants. Chaque section est présentée d’une manière simple, accompagnée de références bibliques.

Vous y trouverez également des versets à mémoriser, des pistes pour développer une discussion constructive et des activités ludiques. N’hésitez pas à adapter ces ressources selon l’âge, la personnalité et les attentes de vos enfants. Nous espérons que vous l’apprécierez !


Forum Summary: Hollywood’s Marxist Propaganda

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2021


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 3 seconds.

Mr. Michael Brown pastors two congregations in Saskatchewan, Canada. He spoke to the students about communism and the influence of Marx’s ideologies on modern society. Mr. Armstrong called communism “worldwide psychological warfare.” In 1956, he wrote, “We are not fighting a single nation in a military war, but a gigantic worldwide, plain-clothes army, masquerading as a political party… [It will] weaken us from within… destroying our spiritual and religious life…” After World War II, Mr. Armstrong believed Russia would not attack the West militarily, but psychologically. Communism—or leftism—did not disappear with the dismantling of many communist governments in the twentieth century. As Mr. Armstrong predicted, communism simply took a new form.

What is Neo-Marxism?

Mr. Brown asked, “But what is Neo-Marxism—or leftism—and what is it we can do to protect ourselves?” He gave seven short points on Marxism, taken directly from the leftist “bible,” The Communist Manifesto—the third most assigned textbook in American universities.

First, communism “promotes change through radical action.” Marx believed the solution to historic class struggles in society was the violent overthrow of the rich. Another core goal of Marxism is the “doing away of private property.” Marx claimed that if the working man rebelled against the rich, all wealth would be handed over to the state, ushering in the dictatorship of the working man. Third, communism reflects Marx’s hate for families. Marx wrote about removing “the two bases of traditional marriage—the dependence rooted in private property, of the women on the man, and of the children on the parents.” He believed the traditional family model treated women and children like “oppressed factory workers.” Mr. Brown that communism dissolves distinct nationalities. “Marx believed the working man had no country.” Fifth, communism brings the destruction of all religion, truth, morality, and tradition. Marx wrote, “Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality… [It] acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.” Finally, Marx aimed to bring world peace by establishing a utopian world via government. He believed revolution was justified by its results.

“Of all the arts, cinema is most important to us.”

– Vladimir Lenin

During Russia’s Bolshevik rule, Vladimir Lenin promoted his revolutionary agenda by equipping trains with propaganda movies, sending them throughout the country. Joseph Goebbels was Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945. He controlled the German film industry during the Nazi period. In 1941, Goebbels commissioned the film I Accuse, in which a woman convinces her husband to poison her to end her suffering from multiple sclerosis. This film was designed to inspire sympathy for Aktion T4—a program that authorized certain physicians to euthanize patients. Hundreds of thousands of injured or sick people were murdered as a result.

“We all know who the first revolutionary was—an angel named Lucifer.” Today, Satan uses Marx’s ideas to tear down a nation’s belief structure, including the tradition of the family and a belief in God. Mr. Brown emphasized one of the major avenues for this psychological attack is the entertainment industry. Hollywood has weaponized Marx’s ideas to reshape people’s attitudes and pervert their morals. Genesis 19:1 describes the gates of Sodom. Mr. Brown asked, “What types of things do you think you would see at these gates? Today, those gates live in our pockets, our bedrooms, and our living rooms.”

Modern Gates of Sodom and Gomorrah

Christians are to “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:23-24). Mr. Brown encouraged the students to analyze the entertainment they absorb for subtle narratives. For example, Rudy, “one of the ultimate underdog films of all time,” falsely portrays the authority figures in Rudy’s life as harsh and unmerciful. In Star Wars, the villains are authoritative and ordered, an evil father tries to destroy his son, and Luke is advised to trust in his feelings—not guidance from wise mentors. “So often in movies,” Mr. Brown said, “good qualities are given to the bad guys and bad qualities are given to the good guys.” Even seemingly innocent children’s movies, like Finding Nemo or Happy Feet, contain subtle, ungodly propaganda. “The audience begins to reshape their personal reality to reflect the reality of the characters and the narrative of the film. As we develop affection for the characters, it can lead to us being accepting of their wrong behaviors.”

What can we do to protect ourselves?

2 Corinthians 6:14 reads, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?” Christians can accidentally fellowship with characters on a screen. Mr. Brown explained even virtual, evil company will corrupt good character (1 Corinthians 15:33). “Hollywood and the entertainment industry are the biggest propaganda tools in the world.” While God teaches blessings follow obedience and curses follow disobedience, the entertainment industry lies, showing curses for obedience and blessings for disobedience. Mr. Brown encouraged the students to replace the Hollywood propaganda in their life with wholesome pastimes that impart wisdom and knowledge.


This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts.