For the week of December 24, 2005 / 23 Kislev 5766
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 37:1 - 40:23
Haftarah: Amos 2:6-3:8
Joseph, Aslan, and Hidden Messages
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. (Bereshit/ Genesis 37:3,4)
By now if you haven't already seen it for yourself, you have most likely heard about what has become one of the most successful movies of the year: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." This is the screen adaptation of C.S. Lewis' extremely popular book series for children (and for adults too, as Lewis asserts in the dedication of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which was the first in the series to be published back in 1950).
I myself did not read the Chronicles of Narnia until I was an adult. I was struck by Lewis' storytelling ability and his insights into life. It was actually one of the other books in the series that helped me catch a glimpse of the reality of eternity, but I won't get into that now.
I am very happy to see how close to the book the movie version is, and how well received something like this has been, not just by children, but by all ages.
The thing that has really surprised me has been the reactions of some people to the book's (and the movie's ) spiritual message. That C.S. Lewis intentionally patterned Aslan after the Messiah is no secret. (Just in case you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I won't give specific details). Not only are C.S. Lewis' spiritual convictions well documented, the parallels are so obvious, they hardly bear mentioning.
Yet, I keep hearing that people who read the books as kids (or adults for that matter), didn't know what Lewis was alluding to. Since I grew up in a Jewish community, I can understand my own friends, many of whom read the books as children, not making the connections, since we were sheltered from the Gospel story. But I assumed that the general society would readily catch the parallels. Obviously I was wrong. As I mentioned, I didn't read Narnia until I was an adult. By then I had already come to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah, and so the parallels were obvious to me.
This then might explain something else (here comes the tie in with this week's Torah portion). This week we begin the story of Joseph. Accepting God as the true author of the Bible, he did something in the writing of this story similar to what C.S. Lewis did with "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," except not only did God do it first, but he did it before the fact, instead of afterwards.
There is perhaps no other story in the Hebrew Scriptures that so closely parallels the Gospel than that of Joseph. Joseph, just like Yeshua, was destined to rule, was betrayed by his brothers, was given over to death, but used by God for the salvation of many.
In fact, Joseph is only one of many examples of parallels and predictions regarding the Messiah Yeshua of Nazareth in the Hebrew Bible. Still, many who have read these stories, have never made the connections and are surprised when they hear about them.
But God, like Lewis, intended these parallels. Perhaps those who are surprised to hear this have never really taken the time to take a good look at them. How many people actually know the details of the Gospel story? At this time of year, when we hear so much about the Messiah's coming, it might be a good time to check out the facts. Aslan and Joseph just might be telling us more than we think.
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