Can we be honest for a second? When a well-meaning Christian studio tries to make a historically-accurate Bible story, it sometimes crashes and burns. It could be from a low budget prop area or the fact that the last eight Jesus actors we had were whiter than Mitt Romney. Seriously, are there no Middle Eastern actors that are worthy of the role?
But I am not here to gripe about the shortcomings of Christian Hollywood, but to offer a great alternative. What if we took the epic Bible stories and reimagined them as modern/futuristic stories. Here are five that I think would be truly epic.
5. That One Time the General Zimri got Revenge on Everybody
Biblical Context: 1 Kings 16: 1-27
Why this Would Rock: Zimri being the fist of God to get rid of the evil politicians of his day. A biblical Punisher!
The Story: Israel is a warzone with leaders who could care less about Israel. Their corruption is immense, and the Word of God is getting crushed underneath. Enter the fist of God, Zimri. Zimri was an official of the evil tyrant Elah of Baasha. Elah must have been a horrible monster, because Zimri decided one day to end his life assassin-style. So while Elah is having a merry old time getting his drink on at the night club, Zimri storms in and goes in for the kill. But Elah is not the only mastermind in the corruption. Zimri now has to take down the whole family of Baasha. Through various military tactics and beautiful fight scenes, Baasha is able to take down the whole regime. But wait… there is more. Zimri becomes king of Israel and thus welcomes other tyrants to seize his city by force. Omri steps up to destroy Zimri. The city is laid to siege, and Zimri unleashes anarchy on his enemies. In the end, the siege becomes too great and Zimri lights a whole temple on fire to kill himself and his enemies.
Biblical Message: This story has a two-fold message. One is that the Lord is dead serious about his reign over the Earth. You don’t mess with His Word. The other is that a life of violence and throne-stealing leads to your own demise. Zimri is a warrior at heart, but he falls prey to his own destruction.
4. Elijah and Elisha are Basically Wizards for the Lord
Biblical Context: 1st Kings 17, 18 and 22 and 2 Kings 1
Why this Would Rock: The Lord calls two peculiar prophets to shake up the streets against the corruption of King Ahab; their method of transformation, miracles, and signs of wrath.
The Story: The streets of Israel are corrupt, and King Ahab is basically the Darkseid of the Biblical cannon. He kills whomever he wants and he destroys the purity of the land of Israel. On top of that, he has sided with the dark witch Jezebel who gives him dark powers. They seem unstoppable until the Lord pulls out his two aces. Elijah is a prophet who can split the river just by touching it. He can make food appear, and he can communicate with animals (Ravens). He brings a mystical force from Yahweh so severe that his enemies run in fear. Perhaps his greatest task was sending fire down on heathen Baal worshipers. The face-off between Ahab and his dark power and Elijah with his god powers takes place. Meanwhile, his understudy, Elisha, is learning to see the spirit world. When Elijah is taken up to Heaven, he gives Elisha the authority to carry on the powers of God. The next scene we see is Elisha commanding two she-bears to fight his taunters.
Biblical Message: It is the war against darkness and light. The dark and evil forces of Baal have gripped the land, but God can do mighty things with his people. Hope is not lost.
3. Jacob the Salesman (Season 1 on Netflix)
Biblical Context: Genesis 25-33
Why this Would Rock: Will Arnett plays Jacob, the used car salesman always trying to make a deal. This is his crazy family.
The Story: Jacob comes from a long line of devout and godly men, but for some reason the tradition ended with him. He runs a slightly dishonest used car sales lot. His brother, Esau, is a meathead who shadows as a professional wrestler, The Red Fury. His mother is constantly ragging him to reach to the top by any means necessary. Despite Jacob always lying and doing deals, he gets a strange visitor from the Lord (played by Willie Nelson). The Visitor is always trying to convince Jacob to do good and get his family in order. But the lesson fails as Jacob cons his brother out of the family heirloom. To make matters worse Jacob tricks his father into giving over the family inheritance. But Jacob will soon learn his lesson when he meets Laban. Laban is just as sly as Jacob and cons him into marrying both his daughters. Leah and Rachel, in turn, barter for the baby-making properties of Jacob as if they were his pimp. What an odd family.
Bible Lesson: Even though you come from crooked beginnings, the Lord still has a plan for you
2. The Judges (A Super Hero Team)
Biblical Context: The Book of Judges
Why this Would Rock: Each Judge of Israel has a power, a personality, and a heart for bringing back justice.
The Story: The beloved utopia of Israel is now a wasteland, the Gotham of biblical times. Injustice seems to win over. When all seems to be hopeless, the mighty call for heroes is heard by a select few. Ehud was a man whose parents were killed by the nefarious Eglon. He dons the vigilante costume with sword and bow. Gideon was a young boy who was bullied his whole life. His power is to draw bravery from the Lord. Deborah is a wild card, ready to jump into any fight. She has the heart of a warrior. Samson is a tank of a man, his mighty strength is legendary, but he is none too bright. When the Amorites and the Philistines team up to destroy the crippled city, only the Judges can team up and take them.
Bible Lesson: It is justice and the call of faithful men and woman that wins in the end.
1. St. Peter in the Dark Future
Biblical Context: Starting with the last supper and continuing through the book of Acts
Why this Would Rock: A revolutionary disciple of Jesus working to give the neo-distopia some hope.
The Story: Peter was there when his hero was seized by the Roman fascist regime and executed. His heart sank to see his only mentor and idol drained of life. Broken-hearted and plagued by his guilt for denying Jesus, he returns to his menial desk job. All around him people are losing faith, his band of brethren have disassembled and now live in hiding. It seems that the future holds no promise in Neo Judah. Peter seems to be an escapist, doing psychedelic drugs to take his mind off the disappointment. Depression and fear get the better of him and he decides to take his life. Before he can set up the appointment with death, Maggie and Beth, two friends of Jesus, call his cell phone. The risen Jesus has returned. His new mission is to send Peter through the streets of Neo Judah and proclaim that hope is coming. People no longer need to live in fear.
Bible Lesson: It’s the story of hope and life from a savior, amidst the horror of a reality that life is bleak.
What do you think? Awesome? Corny? What Bible stories do you think should be modernized?
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