Avengers Endgame and the Importance of the Hebrew Scriptures
Recently, my family and I visited Washington D.C., and it was a very memorable trip. While we were there, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take an early morning run that followed the path of the “on your left” moment from “Captain America: Winter Soldier.”
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can catch the clip here. That moment from the film series moved from memorable to iconic when it was referenced once again in “Avengers: Endgame.” When it seems like all hope is lost and Captain America is standing all alone against Thanos and his evil hordes, a faint voice comes through the Captain’s in ear radio—“Cap, you hear me? . . . Cap, it’s Sam, can you hear me? . . . On your left.” Sam, as Falcon, flies through a portal, passes Captain America on his left, and joins the battle along with every other character imaginable from the Avengers series.
That’s one of the greatest moments in the film, and what makes it even better is the allusion—the reference—to an earlier moment in the series. There are dozens of these moments spread throughout Endgame, and the inclusion of moments, statements, and scenes that reference the earlier movies plays a huge role in making the movie so impactful. Many people have asked, “Can I watch Endgame without watching the other movies first?” And the answer is yes, you can, and you will enjoy it. You’ll understand the basic plot, and the movie will likely make an impact. BUT, if you really want to experience the movie on a deeper and more impactful level, and if you want to feel connected to the story, the characters, the situation, and the dozens of references to previous movies, it’s best to invest the time it will take to watch the entire series of movies. On a personal note, I suggest you check out the wwww.pluggedin.com review of each movie and use a filter like try.clearplay.com to filter out inappropriate content.
So what does this have to do with the Hebrew Scriptures? Everything! In many ways, the New Testament is the final installment in a series developed over 1500 years. The Hebrew Scriptures, which we often call the Old Testament, is home to the cannon of literature that set the stage for Jesus and all He is and has accomplished. Can you read and understand the basic plot and meaning of the New Testament without engaging the Old Testament? Yes. God, the ultimate Author, has revealed His written Word in such a way that the basic gospel message is repeated over and over again throughout the New Testament. BUT, if you want to connect with the plot, the story lines, the characters, the gospel, and ultimately the heart of God on a deeper level, invest significant time reading and studying the Hebrew Scriptures.
When Paul says, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, he was buried, and he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4),” the “Scriptures” he references are not the New Testament Scriptures—they are the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament. The gospel is founded on and revealed in the Old Testament in such a way that everything written in the New Testament is “in accordance” with the Old Testament. Furthermore, as the New Testament authors write, they use more quotations, allusions, and references than most of us recognize. Each time I see a new connection, it strengthens my faith in the reliability of the Bible and it increases my awe of God and His Word.
I hope one example will whet your appetite to explore the Hebrew Scriptures more deeply so they will guide your understanding of the New Testament. When Peter preached to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41), he builds his case for Jesus’ Messiahship on the resurrection, noting twice that God had raised Jesus up (2:24, 32). The phrases “God raised him up” (24) and “God raised up” (32) are references to a promise God made to David, which is recorded in 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17. In that promise, or covenant, God promises to “raise up” David’s offspring. While that promise found it’s first fulfillment in Solomon as he was raised up to the throne, it found its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, who was raised up from the dead. Peter, fluent in the Old Testament, understood the connection between God’s covenant with David and the resurrection of Jesus.
Anyone who watches Endgame understands the basic meaning of “on your left.” Falcon is coming up on Captain America’s left-hand side. But only those who have seen Winter Soldier really know what it means—one of Captain America’s closest friends has returned at just the right time to help him in a moment when his strength was not enough. Just as Sam’s comparative weakness and exhaustion made it impossible for him to keep up with Steve during the morning run, now Steve’s comparative weakness and exhaustion in the face of Thanos and his army make it impossible for him to win the battle without Falcon and the rest of the Avenger army. That’s the kind of reference that makes a good scene an iconic scene. Those kinds of moments are waiting for us all throughout the New Testament, and the more we understand the Hebrew Scriptures, the more those moments will move us to worship God and love His Word.