The Return of the King (plus 4 page A5 Gospel tract jpg-s download)

The world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, I smell it in the air.
J.R.R. Tolkien

In his epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien transports us to Middle Earth where the evil forces of Sauron, Lord of Mordor, have brought great darkness throughout the land. Although the parallels with today’s war-filled world are obvious, there has been much debate about whether The Lord of the Rings was written as an allegory. Tolkien himself stated that he “dislikes allegory in all its manifestations.” Later, however, Tolkien wrote, “Of course, Allegory and Story converge, meeting somewhere in Truth.” What is the “Truth” that Tolkien’s stories impart? Is The Lord of the Rings a prophetic vision of our present tumultuous times when war, violence, greed, hatred and destruction threaten to envelop us in darkness?

Prophets and seers throughout the ages have foretold a cataclysmic end of the world. Nostradamus wrote in his quatrains of a final “antichrist” and a fiery, bloody great war: “By fire he will destroy their city. A cold and cruel heart. Blood will pour. Mercy to none.” The Hebrew prophets Isaiah and Daniel predicted that in the time of the end “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time;” and “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” Jesus also warned His disciples that in these last days, “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Many prophecy scholars agree that the world stage is rapidly being set for the final great showdown between the forces of good and evil. In the book of Revelation the prophet John envisioned an unearthly creature rising from the depths, a monster that derives his power from a dragon representative of the powers of darkness: “I saw a beast rise up out of the sea…and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority.” According to numerous Biblical prophecies, this beast is personified in a powerful political figure who will unite the globe into a one-world government and demand the allegiance of all nations. “And all the world marveled and followed the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’,.. And power was given him [the beast] over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Although The Lord of the Rings describes an unthinkable evil, the underlying message is that there is always hope in the face of great darkness. When asked about Frodo’s efforts to struggle on and destroy the ring, Tolkien said, “That seems more like an allegory of the human race. I’ve always been impressed that we’re here surviving because of the indomitable courage of quite small people against impossible odds.,.. They struggle on, almost blindly in a way.” With so much darkness we can be tempted to wonder what’s the use of a little light, a little good, a little love.

“Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”

This message of hope for the meek, the weak, the powerless, and the downtrodden that is central to The Lord of the Rings was proclaimed by Jesus when He said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Jesus was not born in power, but in meekness. His life began in a humble stable, His father was a simple carpenter, and His disciples were unlearned fishermen. He was a “companion of harlots,” and was called a demon-possessed bastard by the self-righteous religious leaders of His day who finally crucified Him to stop the spread of His doctrine that threatened to overthrow their powerful religious establishment.

“This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields, to shake the towers and counsels of the Great. Who of all the Wise could have foreseen it?”

Jesus’ radical message that brought such fear to the hearts of the ruling powers of His time was a message of love–true love, the love of God and the love of fellowman–the greatest force in the universe that will ultimately vanquish all evil. It is man’s rejection of the love of God and His loving laws that causes him to be selfish, unloving, vicious, and cruel–man’s inhumanity to man, which is so apparent in today’s weary world with its enslavement by oppression, tyranny, exploitation and the tortures of war. All of these evils are caused by man’s lack of love for God and each other and defiance of His laws of love and faith and peace and harmony with Him, each other, and His whole creation.

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater. Some there are among us who sing that the Shadow will draw back and peace shall come again. “

When Jesus was cruelly crucified, it seemed that the lights had gone out in the world and that His message of love had been quenched. But He had promised His disciples that His Spirit would live on in them as they spread the light of His love to others. He also said that He would one day return to conquer evil, hatred and all the wicked works of the Dark Lord and establish God’s kingdom of love on Earth. That day is coming soon! You can have Jesus’ spirit of love within your heart by praying this simple prayer:

“Dear Jesus, I believe that You are the Son of God and that You died for me. Please forgive me for my sins, come into my heart, and give me Your free gift of eternal life! In Jesus’ name I pray.”

[All italicized text is taken from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R.Tolkien.]

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