“The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” as an Illustration of Spiritual Warfare

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During my first mission trip to China, my team watched Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring for a much needed time of rest (and for an opportunity to just hear English being spoken for a while). We’d been overseas for about four weeks, physical and spiritual exhaustion was beginning to set in, and I’ll never forget how excited everyone got over the infamous scene where Gandalf takes his stand against the fiery Balrog and declares with all his might, “You shall not pass!”

Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring: “You Shall Not Pass!”

For the average viewer, this was simply a great scene. But for us, it was an amazing picture of spiritual warfare.   According to Ephesians 6:12, every Christian finds himself in a raging battle against the powers of darkness:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

This became my favorite scene from the entire LOTR trilogy, since it inspired me to stand boldly against the darkness of this world and to refuse to give Satan a single inch in his struggle to influence me, my family, and my Christian brethren.

Desolation of Smaug

If you also found this scene inspiring, then you will want to check out The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, which is the second installment in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy. Overall, the Hobbit films have not been as impressive as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The plot lines are not as unified, and the circumstances don’t feel nearly as epic. If you’re a true fan, however, then you’ll find a few golden moments in these films.

One of which is the following scene, where Bilbo and his companions run into a colony of evil (not to mention gigantic) spiders. The further the heroes wander into the spiders’ lair, the more disoriented they become. And when Bilbo puts the infamous Ring on his finger (a symbol of pride and greed) a terrifying thing happens: he is able to understand what the spiders are saying to each other, because he is speaking their language. What a picture of the way sin lures us into its deadly web and influences the way we think!

Fortunately, Bilbo has an Elvish sword at his side, which gleams when danger is near and pierces even the deadliest armor. I cannot watch this scene without being reminded of the Word of God, which Ephesians 6:17 describes as the Sword of the Spirit. If we will open its pages and read them, then its truths will warn us of the dangerous influences creeping into our own hearts, and give us a defense against Satan’s forces (Matthew 4:1-11).

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, “Sting – That’s a Good Name!”

Gandalf Strikes Again!

But in my absolute favorite scene from Desolation of Smaug, Gandalf inspires us yet again by singlehandedly charging into enemy territory and forcing the Evil One to come out of hiding and rear his ugly head. (Notice what the Orc says to Gandalf, “We are Legion.” This is almost a direct quote from the demon that speaks to Jesus in Mark 5:9… still think I’m crazy for drawing this spiritual parallel?) I love the way Ian McKellen portrays Gandalf as fearlessly charging the gates of the enemy here, and it brings the following words of Jesus to mind:

Upon this Rock I will build my Church, and all the powers of Hell will not conquer it.” – Matthew 16:18

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, “Gandalf vs. Sauron & Azog”

As Christians, we can sometimes fall into the trap of fearing Satan and the powers of this world. But according to Scripture, all who are in Christ are victorious already… what is there to be afraid of?

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” – Psalm 27:1

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

As Christians, it’s time to stop cowering in the shadows and do battle to defend the Name of Christ and the Word of God in this world!

After all… why should movie characters get to have all the fun?

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