By Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com
Fierce creatures... disembodied hands... bodies rising from graves... witches summoning spirits of the dead... not horror movie plots, but things that are recorded in our Holy Bible.
We live in a world where our very explanation for it is built upon the supernatural, a fact we sometimes tend to ignore - especially at this time of year - because we also know there is a dark side to that realm. We also know that fear is a very real, very confusing, and very destructive force. But it has been overcome through Christ and the Spirit God has given us. Still, there is perhaps something to be gained by studying instances in the Word where scary things happened, where godly men and women were frightened, even where lines that should not be crossed regarding the supernatural were crossed. What better time to reflect upon these things and be thankful we have been given spiritual armor than at the time of year when the rest of the world is reveling in them?
A couple of years ago my friend and co-worker Fred "Fritz" Alberti, Salem's Senior Manager of Social Media, shared with me an October lesson he prepared for the boys' class he was teaching. It was a big hit in that it didn't focus on the meaning of Halloween or whether we as Christians should celebrate it. Rather, it just provided another way to get the young lads excited about the Scriptures...
The original lesson Fred taught appears below:
7 Scary Stories of the Bible
Today we're going to take a break from studying Galatians for a little bit of fun.
Halloween is around the corner and while some may choose to not celebrate it we may still encounter questions regarding the existence of monsters and other scary stories.
The Bible is not without its stories that would make Wes Craven envious.
Let's study a few of them.
But first, let's consider...
1. Does the Bible support the existence of monsters in times past?
2. Read Job 41 and list 10 characteristics of The Creature described.
3. If you had to give an explanation of such a beast to someone, what would you call it?
4. The book of Daniel 5, relates the story of The Knocking Kingly Knees...
The music was playing and the dancers were dancing. It was the King's great feast with a thousand lords in attendance.
The king was making merry and called to bring forth the golden and silver vessels taken out of the temple in Jerusalem by his father, Nebuchadnezzar. When they were brought out, he, his lords, wives, and concubines drank from them and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
Suddenly a hand appeared and wrote on a wall. The king was frightened... so frightened that his knees began to knock together and finally gave out from beneath him.
He called for the soothsayers and the enchanters and proclaimed that anyone who could interpret the writing on the wall would have bestowed upon them a purpose robe, a golden chain, and would be given the position of 3rd most powerful person in the kingdom. But none of them were able to decipher the writing on the wall.
The queen heard the king's fear and told him of a man named Daniel who had served his father. She spoke of Daniel's wisdom and recommended that her husband send for Daniel.
The king summoned him and told him of what would be given if he could just interpret the writing on the wall.
Daniel told the king that he could keep his riches and give his rewards to someone else but that he would still render an explanation.
Daniel first told how the king's father Nebuchadnezzar had become arrogant and prideful that he was stripped of his glory and given the mind of an animal and was sent to live in the fields like a wild donkey.
He remained like this until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men.
But then Daniel turned to the king...
But You have not humbled yourself despite knowing all this that your father went through. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Most High God. You had the goblets brought from His temple and used them to drink wine and to praise false gods. This is why he has sent.... the hand. (I doubt the Adams family realized that Hand's ancestry went back to the ancients.)
It has writen Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin. This means that you have weighed on the scales and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
Daniel received the awards despite his objections but then that night the king was murdered and Darius, the Mede, took over the kingdom.
5. What are some other scary things that God has used in order to deliver a message?
6. Has God ever used something scary in order to teach you something?
The Posse and the Ghost on the Water
The men had been waiting for their leader. He had left them to go be alone for a while.
They had come to respect His desire for these alone times and so when evening came they decided to head off across the sea without Him.
By now it was quite dark and a wind had blown up as it so often did upon this sea. The rough waters crashed against the sides of the boat and the wind whistled through the lines as the men struggled against the oars.
It was when they were about 3 miles out that they saw the ghost. It was coming straight towards them and they were afraid.
Who wouldn't be? On land, one could at least run but at sea, all one could do was to row harder.
Then... the ghost spoke... "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
It was then that the disciples realized the ghost was actually Jesus, who had walked out to them upon the water.
7. Have there been times when you were afraid of God? What did you learn during those times of fear?
8. What stormy waters have you encountered that you received comfort knowing that Jesus was with you through them?
Day of the Living Dead
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
9. What are some other scary stories recorded in the Bible?
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Pattadis Walarput