Spoilers Should Be Outlawed

When I read a book, see a movie, or even hear a joke, I want the story to progress as the creator intended. No spoilers, please.

I have friends who insist that spoilers don’t bother them. Some friends have even said they actually like knowing the end before they get there, that this enhances their enjoyment of the story. This makes me realize there are some people I’ll never understand.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at this woman’s extreme:

spoilersFor me, when the book comes first I often want to read it before I see the movie. Then again, sometimes I just want to see the film. I can always read the book later, and since movies based on books take a lot of liberties with the story there’s always something to discover anew.

But there’s one story I am glad to know the end of before it comes along. It’s the story of Jesus.

An incomplete story

The Bible, like a lot of books, has an overarching theme, and that theme is the gospel of Christ. The opening lines of Genesis are about creation, and the opening lines of the book of John are about Jesus being the Creator. Israelite prophets said the Messiah would come to usher in a new and everlasting covenant between God and his people, and Jesus tells his listeners that he is the fulfillment of those promises with his death and resurrection.

The Bible has an interesting event following Jesus’ resurrection, though. Instead of finishing the job, he literally vanishes into thin air.

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6-11.)

These earliest Christians thought Jesus was going to set everything right for God’s people, but he tells them they have more work to do and then he goes and disappears. Almost every single one of those who watched him ascend ended up dying before hearing the rest of the story. They were left hanging.

Everyone except John.

A revelation of spoilers

John lived to old age, really old age, and then received a vision from God that gave away the end of the story. He wrote it down for the rest of us in what became known as the Book of Revelation. His book does more than tell the end of the story. It’s downright chock-full of spoilers like these:

  • Jesus is already on the throne of heaven.
  • Satan’s end is sure.
  • All things will be made new and eternally perfect.
  • There will be no sorrow, no cause for sorrow, and not even the possibility of sorrow in the new creation.

You’ll find these truths and more about the final realization of God’s plan for his people in Revelation. I’ll leave it to you to read it and find them for yourself, though.

No sense spoiling it for you.


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10 Responses to Spoilers Should Be Outlawed

  1. Perhaps ‘no spoilers’ is the reason some questions remain unanswered. God seldom answers questions the way we expect. Sometimes He gives us answers to completely different questions! I do believe our Creator is a God of stories, though, and perhaps faith itself can be defined as the belief that my story – your story, our story, the story of humanity – is not done yet, and that it has a direction and a purpose beyond what we can ever imagine.

    • Tim says:

      That’s a really helpful insight, sfk. When a person’s story isn’t completed yet, it makes sense that the person doesn’t know everything that is coming next. God knows because he has an eternal perspective, but as Paul told us, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12.)

  2. Jeannie says:

    So funny, Tim — my blog post today is about the end of a story, too.

    I admit I’m one of those people who is fine with knowing the ending in advance, especially of a TV show or movie. I actually read Downton Abbey episode synopses before I see the episode. (I hope this doesn’t mean you and I can’t still be friends. 🙂 ) But it IS good to know the end of God’s story in advance. This is what gives us the hope to face each day.

    • Tim says:

      I figure it takes all kinds in this world, Jeannie. And thanks for your own post today. I love the way endings can satisfy even if they are not what we expected.

  3. Pastor Bob says:

    The best line i saw in awhile went something like this,
    ‘So many people are trying not to share spoilers about the new Star Wars film, we ahve not seen such unity like this since 9-11.’

    In Christ we have greater unity. There is a cring community worldwide.
    How awesome!

  4. Opa Bear says:

    Sorry, Tim, but I like to know where I’m going to end up when I set out. That way I know what to look for on the way. Seriously, though, I don’t think many of us would hold up for the slog if we didn’t know that we come out on top in the end.

  5. Anu Riley says:

    Actually, Revelation used to puzzle me more than anything, although it IS full of spoilers! A new Heaven and a new earth, for example. I watched a wonderful show about it on the History channel, years ago, when we had cable and when it wasn’t full of reality shows lol. They did a great job in exploring, scientifically and also spiritually, what all the different signs and language might mean.

    But there’s still so much we don’t know (which is fine, it keeps things interesting and keeps motivating us to seek the Lord). What is the mark of the beast? What does 666 really mean? Is the Antichrist been born yet, and who might it be? A public figure? An unknown? Who are the 2 prophets mentioned? What is their background, I wonder?

    The words “I don’t know” drive me crazy at times. Now I’m trying to make peace with those words, because there are things that God has every right to NOT tell me, even if I ask. So I don’t even know my own story as well as I’d like! I won’t make sense of my past, but I can make peace with it. When I see Him again, everything will make sense.

    If it doesn’t make sense, or if I still don’t understand nine tenths of what I’ve been through (I’m in that bucket right now), at least I will be done and free from all that sorrow. That’s a nice spoiler.

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