Tuesday, March 23, 2010

LOST - It's Good to See You Out of Those Chains

Tonight's episode is the one I spoke of a couple weeks ago called " Ab Aeterno".  As I mentioned in my last post on Lost this is Latin for "from the beginning of time". The significance of this title is revealed below.
This episode of Lost is centered on Richard Alpert. Richard believes he has been living in hell and this whole episode takes us through his story and what brought him to the island and why he never ages.  There is so much to talk about from this episode so my apologies for  a longer post, but I tried to keep it brief.

Richard's story begins in 1867 in the Canary Islands.  Richard's wife is burning up and coughing up blood. Early on, we are given evidence that he was a man of God.  He makes statements about God's will and prays for His provisions.  His wife hands him her cross that was hanging around her neck and said for him to give it to the doctor, that he is about to run off and get in order to save her.

The doctor refuses to ride the 1/2 day in the rain to see Richard's wife but says he has medicine that will save her life.  It is very expensive, so Richard gives him all he has and her cross necklace, which the doctor throws and says is worthless. He struggles with the doctor and inadvertently pushes him into a tale and kills him, but leaves with the medicine in his hands.  When he returns she is already dead, and the authorities show up at his house to take him to prison, where we see him reading the bible. The book of Luke was what he was studying. He prays for forgiveness and asks the the priest to grant him absolution, but the priest responds that  he can not grant him absolution for murder, even if it was an accident. Furthermore the priest tells him the only way to earn forgiveness is through penance, which he has no time to for because tomorrow he is to be hung.  The priest leaves him with the words, "the devil awaits you, may God have mercy on your soul".  This made me so angry, for a number of reasons.  First of all, a priest can not provide absolution only God can.  Forgiveness cannot be earned, by works and Penance is not a requirement of forgiveness.  God forgives all those who turn to Him, pray for forgiveness and repent of their sins.  "When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." ~Luke 5:20; " If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." ~ 1 John 1:9

The next day, instead of being led out to be hung, the priest brings Richard to a Mr. Whitfield, who purchases him as a slave, to take him to the new world, upon the Black Rock ship.   On the ocean one of the other slaves says he can see the devil, that the land ahead is being guarded by the devil, in fact it was an old Egyptian statue, which they ran aground on.

We witness Whitfield come below the ship and kill 3 of the slaves, skewering them with his sword. He comes to Richard, and goes to kill him, only to have the ship rocked by the black smoke, leaving blood pouring down below before the black smoke takes Whitfield, himself.  The black smoke comes below and stops in front of Alpert who interestingly enough is not wearing his cross necklace. The black smoke leaves Richard alone.  Interesting to note that it is never what we where around our neck, or the churches that we attend that save us. When everything is stripped away, it is the faith within our hearts that saves us.

A woman shows up on the ship and ask is anyone here?  It appears to be Richard's wife Isabella.  She tells him they are both dead and in hell. She is there to save him before the devil comes back.  He tells her to run, that he said he would save her -and if she loves him she must go as she leaves she gets taken by the smoke monster.

Richard is passed out in chains, when someone touches him, and offers him water.  He says that he is a friend and tells Richard that he is dead and in hell and that he will help him if he promises to do anything he asks in return.  The man tells Richard that the only way for them to escape hell, is to kill the devil. Interesting considering the only way for us to escape hell is through Jesus Christ himself - who died, overcoming death, defeating the powers of darkness and rose again to earth before going to heaven. "Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."~ Revelation 1:18 [AB AETERNO]

You only have one chance to kill the devil, you must walk up to him and stab him in the chest, do it quick, if he speaks to you it is already to late, he can be very persuasive.  Richard questions him and says "But you killed all those people...Murder is wrong that is what brought me here." to which the man replies "We can talk all day long about what is right or wrong but the question remains the same do you ever want to see your wife again."  Richard seemed to already know in his heart that what this man (devil) was telling him did not make sense, was not truth but his desires consumed him and led him into the jungle to find and kill the "Devil".  We compromise the moment we entertain conversation with the enemy.  One of the tactics of the devil is to convince us that someone else is the enemy.  It is what trapped Eve, when she entered into conversation with the snake (devil) in Genesis 3 and it is what trapped Richard as he entertains the request of the man in black to do his work, and kill Jacob. 

Jacob who according to the man in black, is supposed to be the devil meets Richard at the statue and wrestles the dagger from his hands. Jacob asks him "Did you meet a man in the jungle dressed in black. What did he say? He said you are the devil and the only way I can see my wife again is if I kill you." Jacob explains that it was not his wife, and that Richard is not dead.  Richard argues that he is dead so Jacob takes him into the ocean and keeps dunking him in the water as though about to drown him (obvious symbolism of baptism) and poses the question do you want me to stop? Why should I stop, if you are already dead?  To which Richard says, "because I want to live"

Richard asks him about his dwelling place, to which Jacob responds "Nobody comes in unless I invite them in."  "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." ~ John 14:6.  The following discourse was amazing. 

Are you the devil? - NO.  
Then who are you? - My name is Jacob. I am the one who brought your ship to this island. 
Why? - [Holding up a vessel of wine] Think of this wine as what you call hell, malevolence, evil, darkness and here it is swirling around in the bottle because if it could escape it would spread.  The cork is this island and it is the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs. That man believes that everyone is corruptible because it is in their very nature to sin.  I bring them here to prove to him, he is wrong. I wanted them to help themselves, to know the difference between right and wrong, without me needing to tell them.  

This reminded me of the story of Job, where Satan tried to corrupt him and prove his lack of faith in God, only to find His attempt futile.

Richard responds, well if you do not step in, the man will.  Jacob says I do not want to step in but maybe you will, you can be my intermediary between me and the people I bring to the island. In return he offers him eternal life and sends Richard back to give the man (devil) a white stone. The white stone is a blatant bible reference found in Revelation 2:17 "To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it."

When Richard hands him the stone, the man in black, tells Richard that he can change his mind at any time.

We come back to the present time almost 150 years later and Richard runs back to where he buried his wife's cross and yells out to the man in black (devil) that he changes his mind. "Are you listening to me?", he screams. "Does the offer still stand?".  It appears that Richard is losing his faith. As they pan out to a view of what could be Eden, Hurley who has the ability to talk to the dead, approaches Richard and says his wife wants to know why he buried her cross.  She says it wasn't your fault that I died, as much as you wanted to save me it was my've suffered enough. Richard tearfully speaks out, ""I miss you, I would do anything for us to be together again, Isabella his wife love..we are already together.

Richard places the cross around his neck!  She said one more thing that he has to do - stop the man in black (devil) from leaving the island cause if he does we will all go to hell.

As the show closes, the man in black (devil) is sitting on a log and Jacob comes up and sits beside him.  Jacob says to the man in black I see you got my gift (the white rock), to which he replies "don't gloat, it does not become you."  The man in black admits that he was trying to get off the island, which Jacob says will never happen as long as he is alive, which is why he is trying to kill him in the first place.  The man in black is held on the island, which aligns with what we read about Satan being bound for 1000 years, with the keys held by the angel of heaven in the book of Revelation chapter 20.  Hmmm... perhaps the candidates are the angels who hold the key.

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