I’ve watched all the episodes of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, a few times over and conclude there are many obvious shadows and types of Christ and the Church seen in each episode, too many to write about! More than likely, many others have written about these and so I thought I would share just some of what I saw in the episode titled Return of the King.
In this episode, we see a ‘steward’, Denethor II, who sits himself on the throne of the kingdom of Gondor. This steward is not the true king and is quite mad. The Gandalf character who might be a type and shadow of a prophet if you like, reminds Denethor II that he is only a steward and only on the throne until the True King returns. `
So naturally, I saw Denethor II as a type of Satan, having set himself up as authority and ruler, seeking the throne that only belongs to Christ Jesus. Of-course, we know that Satan is by no means on the throne, but that he only seeks to be! He is called the ‘prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2). If there’s one thing that exposes the lie of Satan’s supposed rule, it is the declaration of the True King, as the True Authority above all names and all realms, whose name is Jesus!
We read in Ephesians 3:10 & 11,
His (God’s) intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (NIV).
The name of the true king in the story is Aragorn. Aragorn has been on a long journey, from far away, in his quest to take his rightful place as king of Gondor. Interestingly, Aragorn is the son of a previous king, and the people are anxious for Aragorn’s return.
Jesus, of-course, is our true King and we, His people, await His return. Just like the shadow and type of Aragorn, Jesus is humble, kind, and reflects the heart of His Father to His people. He has a servant heart and those who truly know Him, love Him and are honoured to serve Him as their King.
There is an impending final battle for Aragorn to take back the kingdom that is rightfully His and it is a battle against many enemy armies. Of-course we also read of the great and final battle in the book of Revelations, that will take place before God’s Kingdom is revealed in its glory, never to be lost again. Aragorn needs to gather more men to fight for him in this final battle. In the story, he awakens an army of the ‘dead’ to come and fight for him. Of-course, it is just a story and there’s a lot of detail about why this army exists the way it does. However, there is one scene in this part of the story that to me at least, was a reflection of Christ.
As Aragorn declares “I am not afraid of death” and heads boldly into the mountain where the dead army reside, I was reminded of Christ, and how Christ was not afraid to go into death for us, how He conquered death and is able to walk in and out of all realms! Christ faced and won the final battle for us, at the cross of Calvary where He defeated Satan and the power of sin and death.What a King! Our Lord Jesus is said to ‘fill the universe’!
And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself (Ephesians 1:23);
He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe (Ephesians 4:10)
Finally, after defeating the enemies completely, the kingdom of Gondor is established under the reign of the true king Aragorn. There is a great ceremony where the Gandalf character crowns Aragorn in the presence of the people and there is a mighty cheer, and one feels there is a sense of oneness in the kingdom.
Proceeding down the aisle through the throngs of people, Aragorn comes face to face with his long lost beloved Arwen, to whom his heart had been true though separated for a great deal of time. Arwen was once an elf and immortal but in order to be able to marry Aragorn, a mortal man, she had voluntarily gone through a death experience in order to lose her immortality she once had as an elf. There is an assumption in the story that the two are betrothed and at this ceremony, Aragorn takes Arwen as his queen.
So, here we can see just a shadow and type of Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One of the Spirit of God and in the summing up of all things, being united with His Bride, which of-course is the Church. We can also see that we the church, as represented in the shadow and type of Arwen, must also go through death as in the waters of baptism, and a daily dying to our self-life, just as Christ our Lord went through the full baptism of death and resurrection for us. This death and resurrection is a daily principle we as christians are called to live by. Of-course, the opposite of Arwen’s change from immortality to mortality, is true of us. The scriptures say of us in 1 Corinthians 15:53, 54 that our mortality will put on immortality! We are already in fact, as we abide in Him, being changed to His likeness!
And lastly, there are the characters of the little hobbits in the story, standing before Aragorn at his crowning ceremony as king. All the way through the story, the hobbits knew the king and his plans. They co-laboured with him, if you will. And just like them, we know our King Jesus and God has made known to us His plan and His heart, in His Son. Aragorn turns to the hobbits and calls them ‘friends’. Although we can see the church in the shadow and type of all the people of the kingdom of Gondor bowing to their king, we can also see this aspect of the relationship we have with Jesus, in that He says in John 15:15;
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you (NIV).
All hail King Jesus!
What else can you see of Christ in the series of the Lord of the Rings?
(All images taken from Google Images)