The Poseidon Adventure and the World Turned Upside Down – Purity 755
Purity 755 06/11/2022 Purity 755 Podcast
Today’s photo of the afternoon sky over the Albany Labor Temple, the home of Teamsters Local 294, on Third Street Extension comes to us from yours truly as I grabbed this quick pic as I got into my car at the end of the work week yesterday.
While I could always appreciate a view of the heavenlies, since coming to Christ, I am definitely a “sky guy” and often find myself marveling over what’s going on just over our heads while the world is so concerned with the goings on down on the ground. When I look up, I get a small idea of just how magnificent God’s creation is and it causes me to give Him thanks and praise for His handiwork.
Yesterday, I commented more than once to the Lord about His wonderful work in the skies throughout the day and was so distracted by it as my workday came to an end that I forgot about my company’s policy not to return to the garage “too early”. Whoops. And it was only because I wasn’t rushing to leave at the end of the day that I thought to take this photo. Sometimes you have to stop and look around at life and enjoy the here and now and all that the Lord has provided you.
That was the apparent theme yesterday afternoon, as after a traffic delay caused me to arrive late at my countryside home, I made the decision to skip an evening appointment for a new ministry opportunity to enjoy the meal my wife had prepared me for dinner, to take my canine friend Harley for a walk under that same but different magnificent sky, and to spend quality time with the Mrs. for the rest of the evening.
Well its Saturday, we made it to the weekend, and it is my prayer that all of my friends use the weekend to enjoy the here and now of what the Lord has provided you and that you take some time to give Him thanks and praise by walking and talking with Him.
One of the things that was said of the apostles was that they “set the world upside down” (Acts 17:6), Undoubtedly, the people that they encountered wondered how simple fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, someone who had been a Pharisee who actively sought to persecute the early church, and others could all be united in proclaiming the same message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and how it was through faith in Him alone that one could be saved from the wrath of God. How could these men who were scattered or were Christ’s enemies at His arrest be changed into those who would boldly proclaim Him as our only hope a short time later?
Well when the Lord reveals to you the truth about Christ and His resurrection, your world gets turned upside down. When you are forgiven of your sins and are given a new and eternal life, it’s a whole new ball game. Having a revelation of the truth of the gospel changes things. Having an encounter with God, makes all things new. Ask me how I know.
If you have been following the blog for any length of time, you know that I often reflect on music lyrics or themes from movies, to try to explain concepts regarding our Christian faith to encourage Christians to have a closer walk with the Lord and to live out their faith authentically.
Yesterday morning, during my morning exercise, as I thought about how the gospel has changed the world in general and how it has turned my world upside down personally, I remembered the 1972 disaster epic film, the Poseidon Adventure. As I reflected on the plot, settings, and characters of the Poseidon Adventure and how it details a group of survivors desperate attempt to survive, I realized that its themes could be analogous of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the movie, a luxury cruise ship’s captain is influenced by the owner of the cruise line company to make an unwise decision to go full speed into the direct path of a 90 foot tsunami wave, causing the ship to be completely turned upside down, immediately killing most of the crew and passengers. But some crew and passengers remain alive in the air that is captured in the upside down boat. While most of the remaining passengers are influenced by the ships purser to stay put and wait for help, in total denial of the facts of the situation, a small group of survivors is led by an unconventional reverend to go up in this world turned upside down to try to find a way of escape through the bottom of the boat.
The star studded cast that includes Gene Hackman as the Reverend, Ernest Borgnine, Roddy McDowall, Red Buttons, and Shelly Winters does a wonderful job of portraying the human experience of trying to band together to survive.
In the twists and turns of the journey to the end, lives are lost, and sacrifices are made, culminating in Hackman’s Reverend Frank Scott, yelling out to God in complaint about the groups misfortunes and lives lost, asking how many more lives, how many more sacrifices it would take to please Him, before he surrenders his life to save his adopted flock.
The man who cursed God one moment for “working against them”, in the next freely gave his life to save his friends, exclaiming “Take Me!”
Before dropping to his death, the reverend turns to the downcast survivors and makes one last encouragement: “You can make it. Keep going!”, telling the remaining leader, Borgnine’s character to “Get them through!”
The film’s setting, the Poseidon turned upside down and slowly falling apart can be seen as our world, slowly fading away and destined to die.
The remaining passengers could represent humanity.
The captain, who knew better, and owner, who didn’t, are both influenced by money and perish.
The purser, who before the disaster commented that he was the “real captain of the ship”, represents earthly knowledge, expertise, and authority. But those things don’t matter in a world turn upside down and in light of the question of life and death is shown to be lacking solutions. The purser and all who trust in his knowledge, authority and expertise perish when they refuse to follow the reverend.
The Reverend Frank Scott, an unconventional man of God who can think outside of the box to help people regardless of the circumstances, is shown to be the one who knows the way to life. Only the people who follow him survive.
And in sacrificing himself, the reverend represents a type of Christ. Although he voices a hearty complaint over the cup of suffering he receives, after he encourages his people to keep going, he goes silent and goes into eternity with no sign of fear.
When you know the gospel it changes everything. It turns your world upside down and you see the truth every where you look. You see the beauty, you see the pain. But you know the hope in the here and now and for what lies beyond where we can’t see.
So let me encourage you, that whatever disasters you may face in this life, “You can make it. Keep going.”
But just like in the Poseidon Adventure, the only way you survive is to follow the man of God, Jesus Christ. He came to earth to live and die for us. He is the truth, the way, and the life.
And when you put your faith in Him, your new life as a Christian may seem like the world turned upside down but in Christ you will your footing and discover the ways that the Lord has for you to walk in, and even when you thought there was no way.
So keep walking and talking with God, where sometimes it can seem that up is down and down is up, but somehow through it all there is always peace.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NLT2)
6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Today’s Bible verses continue where we left off yesterday. My resource presents 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 all at once, but I decided to split them because there is so much about love stated in these four verses that I didn’t want go through them too quickly.
Love rejoices whenever the truth wins out, not about injustice.
OOF before coming to Christ, I rejoiced over “getting away” with things. That spirit of rebellion that encourages you to cut corners, break rules, and take what you want regardless of circumstances can have you revel in your successes but that selfish spirit is not love. The spirit of “doing things my way” is the opposite of love – indifference toward God and your fellow man. While we can glory in the injustices that favor us, true love would favor justice and the truth winning out.
Full acceptance, love, has to be in the light of the truth. We can’t say we love someone if we don’t know the truth about them. Love can’t be based on lies.
And as today’s verses tell us, love never gives up. When we give up on a relationship, love is gone, love has come to an end.
The choice to love is the choice to hope, to have faith, and to endure. And in relationships in order for love to survive, both parties must eventually choose to give and receive it.
With God or man, One party can pour out all the love they can muster toward someone else. But if that other person, doesn’t receive and give love in return, love’s purpose isn’t realized.
Here truth comes into play, if we say we love but don’t really love, our lies will be found out eventually.
If our love is a lie, it will eventually be exposed and the relationship will end, with pain and possibly betrayal. On earth that means heartache and broken relationships.
But with God, who loves all men because He is love, when our love for Him is a lie, our lie will be exposed and result in eternal separation from Him.
The answers to the questions of life, love, and death are all the same. The answer is God. The answers come from the Creator and we must make peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ to be able to know what love is.
So seek the truth, receive the love of God that is offered through Jesus Christ, and show you know what love is by sharing it with the world
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we Begin sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
A Protective Charm
The first text we will examine is a short recipe for a protective charm (or amulet) to be worn like a necklace. The purpose of this amulet was to protect the wearer from harmful or evil spirits.
While there is no need to perform a magical rite with this charm, there are specific instructions on how the amulet is to be fashioned: “Onto lime wood write with vermilion this name.… Enclose it in a purple skin, hang it around your neck and wear it.”
The second part of the recipe gives a series of magical names to be written on the charm: “epokopt kopto bai baitokarakopto karakopto chilokopto bai” (in some of the texts that I cite below, such magical names will be summarized by “magical names”). Although these words are transliterated from the Greek and are unintelligible to us, they were no more intelligible to most Greek readers. They are magical words, probably the names of the spirits who are supposed to make this magical charm effective. Often magical names were invoked together with the names of known gods and goddesses, such as Hekate, Artemis, Selene, Kore, Kronos, Aphrodite and others. All of the magical texts show an incredible amount of syncretism; that is, the mixing together of various elements from different religious beliefs and practices. Any name thought to be laden with supernatural power could be invoked. Hence, one will find Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Phrygian and Roman deities all invoked in the same text.
The third part of the text contains the command that the spirit agents are being summoned to fulfill: “Guard me from every daimon of the air, on the earth and under the earth, and from every angel and phantom and ghostly visitation and enchantment.” This representative example is what is called apotropaic magic; that is, the “warding off” of demons and harmful spirits.
In the magical papyri the Greek word daimōn did not necessarily signify an evil or harmful spirit. Although in this magical recipe the term is plainly used to refer to the spirits who could inflict harm, by itself the word has no moral connotations. In the classical era before the New Testament age, the word daimōn had been used for the gods (such as Apollo, Dionysus and Hermes) and for supernatural beings regarded as somewhat lower than the gods. Increasingly it was used of the supernatural intermediaries (between the gods and humanity) and of the spirits of nature. Many regarded the daimones (plural form) who filled the air to be the disembodied souls of the dead, especially heroes. Influence from the East, especially Persian and Jewish thought, resulted in the Greek word daimōn taking on an increasingly evil connotation in its common use. Both daimōn and the related word daimonion are consistently used to refer to an evil spirit in the New Testament. Throughout this book the term demon will be used in reference to evil spirits and daimōn will be used in its neutral sense.
This magical text illustrates fear and dread of the spirit realm felt by the general populace. This magical recipe also illustrates the fact that people believed evil powers populated all of creation, including the air, the earth and the underworld. Magic provided a means for dealing with the fear of this reality.
Numerous accounts could be given to depict the great fear of demons among people in antiquity. It was believed these evil beings could even threaten to bring death. One ancient writer gives an account of a certain wise man, or shaman, endowed with a knowledge of the magical arts who could exhibit a certain measure of control over these hostile forces. Apollonius of Tyana became a well-known wonder worker throughout the Mediterranean world. He lived during the time of Paul, and Flavius Philostratus chronicled his life about a century later. This work is very important for giving us further insight into the folk belief of the time.
On one occasion Apollonius of Tyana encountered a woman whose sixteen-year-old son had been possessed by a demon for two years. She was aware of his possession because of her son’s altered behavior and because the demon allegedly revealed itself to the woman using the boy’s voice. The demon claimed to be the ghost of a dead person who hated women and was in love with the boy. The mother, understandably anguished over her son’s tormented condition, explained to Apollonius all the symptoms. Among other things, she observed that “the boy does not even have his own voice, but speaks in a deep, hollow tone, the way grown-up men do, and when he looks at me, his eyes don’t seem to be his own.” The mother explained to Apollonius that whenever she had tried to bring the boy to him, the demon would threaten to throw the young man into a crevice or off of a precipice and kill him. Apollonius confidently responded to the woman by supplying her with something like an amulet or a magical recipe that would prevent the demon from killing the boy.
A Love Potion
The second text provides us with a vivid illustration of how magic involved the direct assistance of supernatural beings to perform a given request. This recipe, recorded on a papyrus scroll discovered in Egypt, reveals how a certain lovesick Theodorus attempted to gain the affection of a woman named Matrona. The intent of the recipe is stated simply: “Let Matrona love Theodorus for all the time of her life.” This type of “love potion” is commonly called an aphrodisiac.
There is virtually no magical rite for Theodorus to perform, but the text does presuppose that he has obtained some of her hair. The recipe is quite expansive, however, in invoking the help of the underworld gods and spirits. The formula continues:
I entrust this charm to you, underworld gods, to Pluto uessemigadon ortho baubo, to Kore, Persephoneia, Ereschigal, and to Adonis era … puonrth and to underworld Hermias Thoth phokentazepseu and to mighty Anubis cherichtha kanchene … th, keeper of the keys of the gates of Hades, and to the underworld gods and to the untimely dead, lads and lasses.
The final phrase, “to the untimely dead, lads and lasses,” lends some insight into a common interpretation of a segment of the spirit realm by the ancients. Many in the Greco-Roman world believed people who were heroes or who had suffered an untimely death became disembodied spirits after death. They would customarily take on a rather evil disposition and could bring harm to someone if commanded to do so through a curse.
The text goes on to invoke two additional goddesses (Hekate and Artemis) and uses many more magical names. It is also very clear that the conjurer expects these supernatural beings to accomplish his stated intent to make Matrona a devoted lover of Theodorus. The formula is quite explicit:
I adjure all ghosts [Greek=demonas] in this place to come to the assistance of this ghost. Raise yourself up for me from the repose that keeps you and go out into every district and every quarter and every house and every shop, and drive, spellbind Matrona … that she may not have intercourse vaginal, anal, or oral with anyone else, nor be able to go with any other man than Theodorus … and never let Matrona … be able to endure or be healthy or find sleep night or day without Theodorus.
In this particular case the conjurer is not exactly sure which “demon” will be compelled to perform the task. The spell continues: “Do not turn aside from hearing me, ghost [Greek=demon], whoever you are, and raise yourself up for me, for I adjure you by the lady Hekate Artemis demon damno damnolukake damnippae damnomenia damnobathira damnobathiri damnomenia dameamone, tail-swallower, night roamer.” Here it appears that the conjurer is threatening a “demon” by the goddess of the underworld, Hekate Artemis, and certain magical names. Thus, Hekate Artemis will enforce his request because she is believed to respond to these magical names and the epithets that are ascribed to her. Other magical texts even give instances of hymns to be sung to the deities, which would render them more receptive to the requests of the petitioner. In this text the implication for the “demon” is clear—there is now no choice but to respond to the request of Theodorus. The “demon” is thus manipulated by the conjurer.
A Spell to Inflict Harm
The last example is a rather horrific piece of black magic that has an elaborate rite. It is a recipe for inflicting great harm on an enemy. The rite is to proceed as follows:
Take a lead lamella [thin, metal plate] and inscribe with a bronze stylus the following names and the Figure [depicted in the papyrus text], and after smearing it with blood from a bat, roll up the lamella in the usual fashion. Cut open a frog and put it into its stomach. After stitching it up with Anubian thread and a bronze needle, hang it up on a reed from your property by means of hairs from the tip of the tail of a black ox, at the east of the property near the rising of the sun.
Following this is an invocation of supernatural beings and the statement of the devilish command to the powers:
Supreme angels, just as this frog drips with blood and dries up, so also will the body of him [a space to insert the name of the victim] whom [a space to insert the name of the victim’s mother] bore, because I conjure you, who are in command of fire maskelli maskello.
It is important to understand that the conjurer is not invoking the good “angels” surrounding the Christian or Jewish God, Yahweh. In the Hellenistic era pagans used the term “angel” (angelos) for supernatural beings and messengers. Here the idea of a supernatural assistant or servant is what is in mind.
Various parts of this magical rite seem rather strange and nonsensical to us. Indeed, for the person who performed the rite, a rational explanation for the details may have defied explanation, but it was believed to work! There was, however, a somewhat rational basis for certain aspects of the magic rite. Magic was based partly on a system of correspondences. Animals, plants, herbs, precious stones and metals were believed to be associated with or to symbolize various gods and demons; therefore, they could be used to attract or repel the presence and influence of these supernatural beings. Moreover, the use of written symbols functioned in much the same way. The seven vowels of the Greek alphabet, for instance, were used in magical texts to represent the seven planetary deities.
These three magical texts give us a glimpse not only of the nature of magic, but also of some fundamental assumptions behind magic: Gods, spirits, angels and demons do exist; they are involved in everyday life; and, most important, they can be manipulated.
Numerous words, names and titles are used in the magical texts to refer to the wide array of spirit beings. From all religious traditions during the New Testament era, people seem to have used a broad vocabulary for the spirit realm. While much of Paul’s vocabulary for the principalities and powers can be found in the magical papyri, he was probably drawing more specifically from the vast reservoir of terminology in the demonology and angelology of first-century Judaism (see chapter four). Pagan readers would have clearly understood what Paul was talking about when he referred to principalities and powers since they shared many of the same terms and concepts with Judaism.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 22–27.