The Bible, Part 3

Bible, on HistoryI’m still watching the Bible on History. My simple prayer before it began was that it not be stupid. It certainly isn’t stupid; the film is well made, filmed on location and for the most part tells the Bible story. I understand that some things must be left out and others abbreviated.  I understand dramatic license when adapting a story into a screenplay. And yet with each installment I find myself wondering why deviate from scripture when there is no need? Some details we might wish for are simply not found in the text, but why change those that are? For those of us that know the biblical account the film recreates, the differences are at times pretty bold.

Tonight the main plot points were the Babylonian exile and the birth of Christ. Perhaps the Gospel story will reach a new or broader audience because of The Bible. Perhaps some who know a little bit will decide to learn more. The whole series will culminate on Easter Sunday and I still hope and pray this can be used to share Christ. That part is still to come; tonight’s account of Daniel left me shaking my head.

I wrote on the three Hebrew children just recently. The details of that story are clearly presented in narrative form in the Old Testament book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar gave Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego a final chance to bow down and worship his image and if they would do so all would be well and good. They answered that they would not, and he ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. The men throwing the Hebrews into the fire died themselves from the extreme heat. Three bound men were thrown into the fire, but Nebuchadnezzar saw four men up walking around. But in the film they were immediately sentenced to be burned then marched into the furnace. Nebuchadnezzar called for a torch and threw it in himself, lighting the oil that had been poured out. After a few moments of seeing the three men in the flame, an image of Christ was superimposed over them. We never saw four men, but it was more like Christ took their place. When he saw the men were not burned, Nebuchadnezzar runs up to the flames, badly burning his hands in an attempt to see if the fire was real and/or actually hot. If they had only shown the guards being killed by the heat there would have been no question that it was hot. They were removed from the story and Nebuchadnezzar given a more direct role. He lights the fire and ends up being injured personally. The story is found in one chapter of Daniel. All you have to do to know what really happened is read it; takes five minutes. Why tell it wrong when you could so easily have done it right? The real story is just as dramatic as what they did instead, and there wouldn’t be guys like me asking these kinds of questions.

The story of Jesus is yet to come. I still hope it will be done well, but three out of five episodes have aired and there have been noticeable issues with each.

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