When the God of Marvels Defeated a “God” of Marvel (Studios)
Editor’s Note: My apologies! Mr. Ryan Dawson submitted this earlier during the Holy Day season—an excellent meditation prompted by Marvel Entertainment’s current flirtation with the gods of Egypt and the fact that we’re observing a time when God demonstrated His superiority over those very gods. Still, the Days of Unleavened Bread aren’t over yet! And hopefully you will find this explanation of the revealed reality behind fiction to be helpful. Enjoy the rest of your days of not-fluffy-at-all bread!
It’s that time of year when we consider the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. We think about the plagues that God poured out—and, if we remember that these plagues were real, we are thankful that we did not get to see them. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking about the Exodus as a story rather than as history, but this was a real event in God’s plan that brought the world’s biggest superpower to its knees. Let’s take a look at the final plague that put fear into those who occupied the land of Canaan—the plague that made the world marvel at the one true God.
As we know, Egypt saw nine plagues prior to the final plague, and they devastated the country. Each plague piled on top of the one before: water turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness. God was purposeful in these plagues, and each targeted Egypt’s belief in one or more of the false gods in its pantheon (Exodus 12:12). Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not recognize the truth that the God of Israel was and is the true God, who reigns supreme.
Which brings us to the final plague. God told Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here” (Exodus 11:1). That plague would be the death of the firstborn on the first Passover. God instructed Israel to paint their doorposts and lintels with the blood of a lamb without blemish (Exodus 12:1–7), foreshadowing the sacrifice of Jesus (John 1:29). Israel was to paint their doorpost and lintel on the fourteenth day of the first month, to differentiate Israel from the Egyptians in the sight of God. There is an important spiritual lesson in this for us: Are we afraid to stand out in a world that is held captive by Satan, or does God see a difference between our lives and the lives of those in the world around us?
God explained in Exodus 12:13, “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” As the Israelites obeyed, they were set apart in God’s eyes through their obedience. At midnight, by the light of the full moon, God passed over Israel, but struck dead all the firstborn in the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:29–30). The God of marvels brought down the world’s superpower and exposed its gods as nothing but fiction, while sparing His people who believed and obeyed Him.
These days, Marvel Studios is seeking (in a sense) to breathe new life to a long dead Egyptian god. The new Disney+ show Moon Knight portrays the character Steven Grant, who “discovers he’s been granted the powers of an Egyptian moon god. But he soon finds out that these newfound powers can be both a blessing and a curse to his troubled life.” While the fictional Steven Grant is Marvel’s brainchild, the moon god Khonsu (spelled “Khonshu” by Marvel) from whom the character’s powers derive was invented long before any superhero. The ancient Egyptians believed in a group of three major gods called the Theban Triad, and within this triad, the moon god Khonsu was the firstborn of Amun and Mut. Belief in the Theban Triad was prominent during the time of the New Kingdom of Egypt (ca. 1550-1100 BCE), which many understand to have begun with the expulsion of the Hyksos, who were the rulers of Egypt during the time of Joseph. The descendant of those who overthrew the Hyksos and the ruler of the New Kingdom was the Pharaoh found in the Exodus account, which means that belief in Khonsu was prominent during the time of the first Passover! Every year, on the fourteenth day of the first month of God’s calendar, on Passover, there is a full moon—along with the rest of the pantheon of Egyptian gods, Amun’s firstborn, Khonsu, was, in a sense, a casualty of the final plague the one true God poured out on Egypt.
Consider that God—the real God—had the false gods of Egypt in mind during His plagues: “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD” (Exodus 12:12). So, God had Khonsu in mind with His plagues! And He proved Khonsu, and all the others, impotent when compared to the true God of Marvels.
Is it a coincidence that Moon Knight, with its focus on Egyptian gods (however fictional their representation may be), is premiering during the same Holy Days during which we celebrate their defeat? Maybe. Maybe not. Do we recognize that there is a real spirit being who would love viewers to become unbalanced and over-fascinated with false gods like Khonsu, instead of the real God who puts any pretenders to shame? For advice concerning practicing discernment with our entertainment, please consider reading Mr. Sandor’s earlier post, “Thinking Biblically: Entertainment.” In the meantime, don’t let on-screen excitement carry you away. Whenever the God of Marvels faces a “god” of Marvel, don’t forget who the Winner always is.