Anyone within earshot of a radio or television heard about the recent movie massacre in Aurora, Colorado. A mad gunman had killed 12 and wounded 58. Why? Instant analysis blamed everything from guns to drugs, but missed the true cause of this egregious event.
Shocked inquiries ripped across the country like bolts of lightning. By the end of the day on Friday, the 20th of July, the whole country expressed shocked curiosity about the shooter: “Who is James Holmes?” Sadly, in the hours that followed the carnage, many were already politicizing the event, attributing everything about the killer to their particular list of grievances.
Holmes had walked into the midnight premier of the latest Batman movie: The Dark Knight Rises. Armed to the teeth and clothed in expensive riot gear, he proclaimed himself to be Batman’s nemesis, “The Joker,” as he walked to the front of the theater and began to strafe the crowd of men, women and children with dozens of rounds of ammunition. Many thought he was part of the performance.
He had dyed his hair red for the occasion, apparently intent upon adopting the persona of Batman’s clownlike arch-enemy, a warped personality named after the wild playing card of the same name. (He didn’t get his makeup right – the hair should have been green!) After his shooting spree, he calmly met the police in the parking lot near his car and informed them of his adopted personality. He had literally inserted himself into the movie!
What was he attempting to do? He is a college student who graduated with honors. Why did he feel the need to project the twisted persona of a comic psychopath? Who is this strange character, anyway?
Many are now trying to make some kind of sense of the entire affair. As we look at the Joker’s history, comparing it with Scripture, a striking truth emerges: The Joker is a perfect picture of Satan, himself!
DC Comics, 1940
Seventy-two years ago, as originally conceived by cartoonist Bob Kane and his partners in 1940, the Joker had been crowned with a heavy thatch of green hair. He was dreamed up as a caricature of the well-known playing card image. Kane and his fellow cartoonists were looking for an additional character to flesh out their next comic issue. Someone produced a playing card, comparing it with the strange face of a 1928 movie character who perfectly captured the look of maniacal laughter. The Joker soon laughed his way into the folklore of modern America.
He was designed as an intelligent sociopath who had lost his sanity after falling into a vat of corrosive chemicals that turned his skin a garish white, his lips bright red and his hair a bilious green. He began as the ultimate prankster who designed his criminal activity as a series of sadistically humorous misdeeds.
Over the years, however, what had begun as a rollicking comic adventure between peculiar adversaries, slowly morphed into a serious dramatic conflict and psychological horror. The eccentric but harmless Joker with a sadistic sense of humor slowly turned into a genuinely threatening figure.
From Playing Card to Movie Monster
He had originally come to cartoon life as the “wild card,” the “court jester,” and the clown. In card games, he is “wild,” able to substitute for any rank or suit to complete a set, run or meld. Subversion, in fact, is his most cherished labor. He substitutes twisted fiction for reality. He is unpredictable and mischievous. His is the ideal personality to express the insane twists and turns of life … the perfect figure of villainy.
Over the years, Kane’s creation was featured as the “Clown Prince of Crime,” “The Harlequin of Hate,” and “The Ace of Knaves.” Many have since called him the most well-known comic villain of all time. He was brought to television and the movie screens as an ostentatious, exaggerated and theatrical character, played first by Cesar Romero and then by Jack Nicholson. At first, his humorous side almost outweighed his homicidal nature.
But in recent years, the Australian actor Heath Ledger, in Batman Begins, the Dark Knight, took him to an entirely different level of homicidal horror. He became deathly serious and uncontrollably psychopathic, bent upon destroying humanity and ultimately, himself.
Movie fans will also remember that after this film was completed, Ledger died under strange and obscure circumstances, involving an overdose of sleeping medication, and perhaps other substances, as well. He had been clinically depressed.
Apparently, the development of the Joker character had brought him to a level of deep dejection.
His death might as well have been personally engineered by the Joker, himself. Fantasy fatally bled over into the stark reality of death. There is something poisonous about this comedic character … something that projects itself from the movie screen into the hearts of men, who love to see themselves as immune to his evil touch. And they will pay big-ticket prices to prove it.
Movie Director Reveals a Secret
After Aurora, “social scientists” strove among themselves about the real cause of the massacre. Predictably, they became stuck in a morass of speculation about its real cause. They argued about the possibility of drug abuse, and declared that if large-magazine assault weapons were confiscated, then such things would never happen. Their answer: more social control, more surveillance by the authorities, and more psychological screening by guess who: government agencies like the Transport Security Association [TSA], and others yet to be invented.
Of course, media speculation totally avoided blaming the movie, itself! But isn’t it possible that the psychotic Holmes found his calling in the dark exaltation of the Batman/Joker drama? Of course it is, and at least one honest Hollywood figure admitted it in the wake of the mass murder!
Shortly after the movie theater killing played itself out, famed producer Peter Bogdanovich, director of many well-known motion pictures, admitted that the lustful and violent film culture could produce sociopathic events like that witnessed in Aurora. He was interviewed, and later quoted by Breitbart.com, on July 25th. One of his films (Targets), was known for its extreme homicidal violence. But, as he notes, it was violence of a different kind:
“ ‘Targets’ was meant to be a cautionary fable. It was a way of saying that Boris Karloff kind of violence, the Victorian violence of the past, wasn’t as scary as the kind of random violence that we associate with a sniper – or what happened last weekend [in Aurora]. That’s the modern horror. At first, some of the people at The Dark Knight Rises thought it was part of the movie. That’s very telling.
“Violence on the screen has increased tenfold. It’s almost pornographic. In fact, it is pornographic. Video games are violent, too. It’s all out of control. I can see where it would drive somebody crazy.” It’s worth noting that Bogdanovich also went on to blame religious conservatives for the ready availability of guns, but that point was lost in his sweeping indictment of video violence.
And when he said that such violence is “pornographic,” he was really saying that it has an addictive quality; it appeals to the lust of the flesh. That is, those already subverted by the attractive lust found in vicarious violence, might not be able to arrest their growing addiction, following it to its gruesome and pathological conclusion, i.e., James Holmes.
Has anyone suggested that Hollywood place controls upon itself, to avoid such brutal events? Of course not; they are propaganda machines that rely upon creating an increasing need for the macabre.
Students of dispensational Bible prophecy understand that this latter-day social degeneration was clearly predicted. Paul and the other Apostles foresaw the future age of the Church – the body of Christ – as suffering the outrages of the sinful world system. Their recurring themes of suffering, followed by glory at the coming of Jesus, precluded the false doctrine that features an ascendant church that ultimately rises to control all the world’s institutions.
Peter, for instance, wrote to Christians living in the difficult conditions of the “last time” (I Pet. 1:5). He assured them:
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:6,7).
He encouraged them:
“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Pet. 4:13).
His words suggest an end-times culture that is violently anti-Christian. He tells the truly faithful that their testing has a purpose: the glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter wrote these words in A.D. 64, at the rise of Christian persecution under the Roman Emperor Nero. His depraved abuse of the early Church is legendary. Peter, himself, was the victim of the tyrant’s pathological fury; he was crucified upsidedown on the outskirts of Rome. Nero might as well have dyed his hair red (or better, green) and personally carried out the thousands of executions of the faithful. Nero, too, played the Joker!
Thus, Peter’s letter has a near, as well as far-future application, since it does address end-time persecution.
And of course, Paul wrote in no uncertain terms about the culture of the latter days:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (II Tim. 3:1-8).
Here, Paul catalogs the cultural failings of latter-day society. It consists of a list of nineteen personal faults. As the world tilts toward a more pronounced ungodliness, its worst projections are coming to pass.
But, as we have stated many times in past writings, the first sentence tells the whole story. It describes the cultural condition of the day as “perilous.” This word is a translation of the Greek term, chalepos, meaning “raging, out of control, or fierce.”
And, as we have also pointed out for many years, this word is used only twice in the New Testament, once here and again in Matthew 8:28:
“And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matt. 8:28-34).
In the above narrative, Jesus is met by violent, demon-possessed men, who immediately recognize Him as the Son of God. They meet as the adversaries of an ancient heavenly rebellion. They also recognize that their sinister work will be allowed to continue until a time in the future.
In the parallel passage to this event in the Gospel of Mark, one of these men is described as supernaturally strong:
“Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him” (Mark 5:3,4).
And here we have it. The demon-possessed are said to be “exceeding fierce,” a translation of the very same word used by Paul to describe the “perilous times” toward the end of the Church age. As the culture moves steadily away from belief in the Lord, demonic influence becomes more and more pronounced. Intelligent men become demonic, and prone to acting out their hatred in open violence, which they often terminate by suicide.
It all begins when the culture is convinced that society is unfair, and is in need of revolutionary change. Satan can turn envy into open violence: “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (Js. 3:14-16).
The Real Joker
The person behind these inexplicable acts and evil works of violence is Satan, a revolutionary with delusions of grandeur: “I will be like the most High” (Isa. 14:14). Like the Joker in the card deck, he wanted to substitute himself for the King, and thus, act out the King’s role. His actions reveal him as demonstrably psychopathic, whose narcissistic pride convinced him of the impossible … that he could effectively play the role of God.
He enjoys it when human beings depict him in comic garb, like the familiar red suit, with pitchfork and pointed tail. Sometimes they paint him as a sophisticate in a tuxedo, who delights in toying with human emotions, displaying an urbane sense of humor and impish personality. Sometimes, he is the psychotic clown who turns humor into bloodshed.
He is the slanderer who injects envy into the hearts of the wretched and miserable, then turns it into a murderous rage. Wherever there is a miserable, depressive human being seeking some sort of social justice, Satan is there to insert a comic irony that takes joy in destruction. He is the one who places power in the barrel of a gun. But firearms are not in question. It is a murderous heart that is the source of violence.