Well, who doesn’t think of the Old Testament Daniel while watching Daniel Radcliffe perform his role as the famous Harry Potter?
- Young boy is taken away from his home to enter a fantastical world he never knew existed —
- Along with other elite youth, he is instructed in the wisdom and science of an unusual people —
- He and his friends are subject to trials and ridicule from others, but use their special talents and abilities to overcome great odds —
- His enemies attempt to do away with him —
- He discovers great and miraculous gifts within himself that he uses to combat evil —
- He has many visions which are extremely difficult to interpret —
Now, as I watched Harry Potter 7.1, I became interested in an underlying theme of the movie. Elements of the wizarding world are beginning to be intolerant of Muggles (humans without magical abilities), to the point that they are casting out those wizards who are Half-Bloods. It occurred to me that during the Babylonian exile in the time of Daniel, the Jews faced the same problem. Those who went into exile lived among the Babylonians and adopted many of their customs. Back in the homeland, those Jews who were left intermarried with the conquering people and developed a syncretistic Israelite-Pagan religion, eventually becoming the despised Samaritans.
With the return to Israel, Ezra-Nehemiah considered that only the Jews who returned from Babylon were pure and fully acceptable. Every Israelite inhabitant of the land who had not been exiled was suspect or considered to be a non-Jew. This attitude was unwarranted, considering that the religion and bloodlines of those who were returning was hardly unsullied! It was as improper as Voldemort, who advocated the cleansing of the Ministry of Magic from Muggle blood, when he himself was the son of a Muggle parent.
The message of the Book of Daniel, which was written to comfort the exiles and look forward to their future place in God’s plan, is instructive to those who may feel they have the “one true religion.” Daniel has a series of visions, which are actually several repetitions of the same message. They show the future kingdoms of the earth and their impermanent nature. In the latter part of the history of the world, there will be divided nations who rise up in pride and attempt to exert dominion, but they will all be thrown down until the everlasting Kingdom of God is established upon the earth during the millennial reign of Christ. Sometimes I think that LDS Americans in the U.S. are so invested in our democratic system and its role in the Restoration, that we forget that it is one of the kingdoms that will be thrown down in preparation for the theocracy that will dominate in the Millennium. I’ve also come to suspect that there might be a bit of a taint in the religious system we espouse. We may do the best we can, but considering some of the irreconcilable differences between teachings of the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the teachings of the earlier prophets of this dispensations and what we have today, there is great reason to think that we are still standing on feet of clay and iron. I believe there are still things to be clarified when the Ancient of Days arrives and establishes the final and everlasting Kingdom of God.
The final film in this series has yet to premiere.