07 December 2008

A Theological Primer on "The Lion King"

While watching The Lion King after a full day of studying, Heather, Alethea, Kasey, and I realized that all systems are go on the Finals mindset.  It was all fun and games at the start--a little "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhSeboyaaaaaaaaaaaahMibedeeeeeMibedoooooooo" at the beginning, some African dancing a few minutes in, some jokes at how Rafiki reminds us of a certain North Park staffer...and then came the part where young Simba and Nala ended up in the elephant graveyard and I commented that it always reminded me of the chapter in Ezekiel that talks about the valley of bones coming back to life.  

And that was the beginning of the end.

You know that scene where Simba, after seeing Nala again, lumbers to a cliff in the oasis and plops down, sending a cloud of dandelion spores drifting into the wind?  They ride the breeze until Rafiki, hanging out in his giant Banyan tree, catches them, does some sort of voodoo, and declares "He's back!", valiantly drawing a mane on the lion-cub he drew at the beginning of the movie.  You look me in the face and tell me it's not The Lion King's version of "Already-not-yet" eschatology.  Further Biblical themes in the movie:

-Rafiki is clearly John the Baptist, least of all indicated in the fact that he baptizes Simba in the beginning of the movie and lifts him up in front of the entire kingdom and basically inaugurates his entire existence as King
-Sarabi = the Virgin Mary 
-Rafiki bothering Simba until he realizes that he's really meant to be King = John the Baptist (still)
-When Mufasa appears to Simba in the clouds saying "You are my son", that's Jesus' baptism
-Simba's return from the oasis could be the start of Jesus' public ministry after returning from the Wilderness
-When Rafiki gestures toward Pride Rock at the end and says to Simba, "It is time," it's a John the Baptist thing....again.  Plus, it sort of reeks of Jesus' "the hour is coming" statements in John.
-The entire kingdom is burned to the ground, then flourishes once Simba takes his rightful spot as King ("Tear down this Temple and I will rebuild it in three days")
-Could Disney be taking a stand pre-Dan Brown and making Nala similar to Mary Magdalene?

Yup, it's finals week.  And I'm a Bible major.  Geek extreme.

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