American film streaming giant, Netflix recently released the trailer of an upcoming web television film series titled “Messiah”, a socio-religious thriller which explores the power of belief and influence in a digital age.
The yet to be released film is already embroiled in controversy. “Messiah” follows the story of a mysterious man who has “come from nowhere” and is gaining global media attention through acts of public disruption.
The mystical man amasses a cult-like following from the Middle East to America by allegedly performing miracles. These and more fuels the speculation whether he is a divine entity or a deceptive con artist capable of dismantling the world’s geopolitical order.
“Messiah” has inspired two related controversial theories centered on the coming of the Anti-Christ and the Second Coming of Christ. This is largely due to the film’s seemingly double meaning plot.
In the trailer, we get a glimpse of the character’s inexplicable mandate in a dialogue exchange between the character and an interrogator:
- Interrogator: “what were you doing in Syria?”
- Mysterious Man: “Delivering a message”
- Interrogator: “A message from whom?”
- Mysterious Man: “My father”
- Interrogator: “And who is your father?”
The Anti-Christ or Al Massih ad-Dajjal?
It is generally believed that the antichrist would appear from the Middle East which happens where the mystery man in “Messiah” appeared from.
In the Christian and Islamic eschatology, the Anti-Christ is recognized as an entity that would oppose Christ and in some text pretend to Christ and thereby deceive humanity.
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
In the trailer, it is alleged that the mystery man is capable of performing extra-ordinary wonders, hence the mass following he amassed.
If anyone says to you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect.
Matthew 24:21, 24
The Second Coming Of Christ?
The enigmatic character in “Messiah” appears as a divine entity with supernatural powers. His sudden and mysterious appearance is likened to the historical foretelling of the second coming of Christ.
Most English versions of the Nicene Creed, a set of shared statements that summarizes the orthodox faith of the Christian Church, includes the following statements on the Second Coming:
[...] he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in his glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
In the Quran, the second coming of Jesus is heralded in Az-Zukhruf (the Quran’s 43rd surah or chapter) as a sign of the Day of Judgment.
And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.
The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross (idol symbol of Christians), kill the pigs, and abolish the Jizya tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable gifts).
Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43: Kitab-ul-`Ilm (Book of Knowledge), Hâdith Number 656
There is a petition, by a certain Zeynaba Dahir, on petition website Change.org that calls for the boycott of the Netflix series. The petition which sought for 500 signature reads:
Can we really allow our money to be used in the production of evil content like this? with your participation join me in boycotting Netflix.
A comment on the petition by Ayesha Baig said:
I am Muslim and it’s threatening to my faith and disrespectful to the Muslims of the world especially Syria, Palestine.
The trailer of “Messiah” was released on the 3rd of December, a timely and intentional release to stir up conversations during Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, who the titular character imitates.
The controversies surrounding the “Messiah” is reminiscent of the highly publicized backlash and criticism leading up to the release of “Joker”, a psychological thriller that has gone on to surpass the expectations of critics.
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