Indiana Jones -- Raiders of the Lost Ark

Starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood. Directed by Steven Spielberg.

Indiana Jones is a practical man. He won't engage a man in hand to hand combat when he can simply shoot the man from 100 meters away. Yet the value of his excavations tend to rely on impractical or, what he would call, "superstitious hokus-pokus."

In the case Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jones is seeking an ancient Hebrew artifact, the Ark of the Covenant. The urgency of his mission is fueled by the convictions of a few men who believe that this Ark has divine power. Jones is sent to find and recover the Ark before the Nazis find it and use it to take over the world.

Toward the end of the movie the Nazi head honchos finally get around to opening the ark. One man dressed like a Jewish priest leads the spectacle. He even says a few words in Hebrew before they open the ark. However, much to the Nazis' dismay, there is only sand in the Ark. (Perhaps they were expecting a divine weapon of mass destruction to use against their enemies?) Everyone's disappointed to say the least. Then the sand turns into a swirling mist. The mist pulsates. The Nazis' hopes begin to rise as their efforts seem to have finally paid off. Then spirits come out of the Ark. One in particular has a pleasant countenance. Is this is an angel sent by God to help them conquer the world in the name of Hitler? No, it's actually an angel sent by God to either melt or explode their heads.

Jones and Marion are present throughout this entire episode, however they don't die because they don't look at the spirits that come out from the Ark. Jones tells Marion to keep her eyes shut after he realizes that this is God manifesting Himself. He realized that, if they want to live, they had better respect His holiness. God may be looked upon only by those to whom He gives permission.

The message is: Don't cross paths with Yahweh, the God of the Jews, or you will die.

Look at what happened during the reign of David (1 Chronicles 13:8-10) :
" David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets. When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God. "
Times were good. Israel's military campaigns had been hugely successful. They carried the Ark as a demonstration that God was on their side. Then God killed one of them for touching His Ark without His permission. Why? Didn't the man mean well? Well-meaning or not, God's holiness demands a fearful respect.

Another example from Moses' time (Leviticus 10:1-3):
" Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.'" So Aaron, therefore, kept silent. "

You would think that God might make an exception for the sons of Aaron, God's chosen high priest... but this is not the case because God's holiness is unfaltering. Yahweh is always holy. Everyone must respect God's holiness no matter what their position, no matter how good their intentions happen to be.

Likewise, Indiana Jones was not a Jewish priest nor was he an oppressive villain; but he had enough sense to respect God's holiness. Therefore, God let Jones and Marion live.


john doyle said...

"The message is: Don't cross paths with Yahweh, the God of the Jews, or you will die."

Right. So Indy liberates the Ark, which has demonstrated its power to kill the Nazis, and returns with it to the USA. But what happens to the Ark? The DC bureaucrats mothball it in some warehouse, thereby permitting the Nazis to assume power, kill a lot of Jews and other people, and take over much of Europe. Eventually the US intervenes, the tide turns, the Nazis are defeated.

Isn't this part of Spielberg's spiel: the USA has the GOD-GIVEN power to defeat its enemies, but is too cautious in wielding this power?

Pat R said...

it is true that God uses physical and political powers to keep evil in check, but there is nothing particularly special about the United States in the grand scheme of things... It's the misguided notion that we Americans have "God-given power" that has gotten us into trouble ever since WW2. Few would argue that we have been far too tied up in the affairs of other countries since WW2.

at this point in history, putting the ark "in mothballs" is the most appropriate thing to do with it. A non-theocracy might think to utilize it for military conquest (as if military conquest were an end in itself), but this is severely misguided... the Hebrews tried to exploit the ark thus and ended up losing it (1 Samuel 4). There is no organization or theocracy that i know of, not even the political entity labeled "Israel," who would know how to treat the Ark of the Covenant with proper reverence. Men are, by and large, too easily distracted to be trusted with the Ark.

The Ark was never meant to distract people from seeing Yahweh, it was meant to reveal His holiness and inspire people to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Anonymous said...

USA god give power??? Don't you think your reading wayyy too much into this Ktismatics?

Its more about fanitical people than the politics. Great film though and harrison ford is really great. I really wasnt sure if he was past his superhero sell by date.

Justin The Critic said...

I think the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark with the spirits were the best part. I love the site