Easter Eggs

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For many of my more seasoned readers, the term Easter eggs is often associated with the wistful, nonsensical, and commercialized holiday that has been seemingly absconded by non-Christians so they do not feel left out in what orthodox Christians consider the most holy of holidays. This begins with Palm Sunday and run through Resurrection Sunday. However, in the modern vernacular, and in particular, this article, the Easter egg refers to what has become the modern adaptation of it…i.e., the hidden symbols, references, pictures, etc., that are now seemingly commonplace in more and more films/movies in production today. These Easter eggs often either foreshadow movies yet to come, or pay homage to some movie or past events.

Over the past 10 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in large part, due to its heavy usage of Easter eggs in its movies. In 22 separate movies, Marvel has successfully managed to intertwine a larger narrative connecting the films in a way never been done before (in size and scope) due in large part, to the heavy usage of Easter Eggs and post-credit scenes. This has been successful in building up and foreshadowing what would come next in the MCU’s future. In fact, there has been a slew of cottage industries built up around trying to decipher all this on YouTube and other video outlets.

With Marvel’s crown jewel culminating at the end of this month with Avenger’s Endgame, you can expect the Easter eggs to be as thick as a North Korean minefield. Nevertheless, as ingenious as people think Marvel are for using this sort of clever marketing, they were not the first to use the Easter egg. In fact, the inventor of the Easter egg was God Himself when He dropped into the Garden of Eden and personally delivered the mother of allEaster eggs in Genesis 3, when He condemns the serpent for his role in man’s downfall. This foreshadowing is the Protoevangelium.

And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel

Assessment

In understanding the significance of the Protoevangelium, we first note, that the angelic host were eyewitnesses to the creation of the universe itself (Job 38:4-7). They understood how the things worked at probably a more elemental level than we ever could, because they saw God create it. Now, I have to get into a little bit of conjecture here, because both we do not know and Scripture does not go into detail about what I am about to say. It is an assumption on our part to assume Satan was probably not physically present when God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden. Nevertheless, it is also reasonable to assume that Satan has some basic understanding of human anatomy after stalking and studying the pair as they interacted in the Garden. He at some point came to realize that men have seed, and women have eggs.

So after his successful efforts at corrupting the pair through tempting them to break God’s singular commandment, his prophetic “dressing down” by God in Genesis 3:15, was cryptic enough to probably drive Satan crazy for the next 1,656 years (from Adam to Noah). During this time, Satan attempted to genetically corrupt mankind in an attempt to prevent this Savior from ever being born. After the flood, Satan started getting wise to God’s plan as He began to narrow His focus down to just one man (and offspring), with that man being Abraham. For the next two-thousand years, we see numerous attempts by Satan to wipe out the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews beginning with Pharaoh and ending with King Herod.

Now things start to become very interesting.

Due to the narrowing process we see begin with Seth (Adam’s third son), to Noah, to Abraham, to Isaac, etc., Satan understood that this Savior would come from the race of Jewish people. He would have to be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and probably understood that He would either have to come from the tribe of Judah (the Kings) or Levi (the Priests). Therefore, you can bet Satan began closely watching these two tribes. Furthermore, since Moses was the first to record Scripture (circa 1500 BC), Satan did not have any literary (scriptural) references to lean on to determine whether this Messiah had yet come or not. For all he knew, Moses could have been the Messiah. This may answer the question as to why he and Michael fought over the body of Moses after his death (Jude 1:9).

However, seeing that he was still around (uncrushed), Satan had to conclude that Moses was not the Messiah after all, and that someone else was still yet to come. Satan then resorted to using his influence over the Gentile powers to either enslave or destroy the Jewish people. He began by corrupting them, and causing them to divide the nation in two, with Israel remaining in the north, and Judah remaining in the south. He then stirred up the Assyrians against the northern kingdom, and later, the Babylonians against the southern kingdom. Satan used (and is still using) the influence of Gentile powers to ultimately destroy Israel. His goal was to keep as much pressure on them as possible, and did so through the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, pagans, Muslims, and in these days, pretty much everyone.

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5

It was during the time of the Romans, that a boy named Jesus was born. Although the angels announced His birth, it was only to a select few shepherds who were out in the middle of nowhere. It would not be until Jesus was around the age of two, that His arrival would be publically heralded with the arrival of foreign, gentile wise men. This strange arrival of foreign dignitaries must have signaled to Satan, something divine was afoot. He immediately stirs King Herod to issue a kill-order and have all the boys under the age of two in and around Bethlehem, put to death. Probably watching Him from a distance, but doing nothing to stand out, Satan probably dismissed Jesus of Nazareth several times simply because He did not fit the “type” of hero Israel was looking for. He was not Moses-like. He was not Elijah-like. He was not even tall and good-looking like Saul had been. For all intents and purposes, Jesus was just your average-Joe. I believe that Satan did not even consider him a “Messiah-candidate” until His baptism at the age of 30. Even then, Jesus immediately departed into the desert to fast and pray for the next forty-days.

Probably more curious than convinced, Satan proceeds to test Him as the hunger pains kicked into high gear. And at His weakest point (physically speaking), Jesus rebukes Satan three times not by showing His power, might, and true identity, but by using Scripture. For the next three and a half years, Jesus would perform miracles, raise the dead, and preach the kingdom gospel.

Yet, from Satan’s perspective, there wasn’t anything Jesus did that had not already been done by those prophets of old who had come before Him. Moses healed the sick and performed great signs and wonders (the Ten Plagues, Mt. Sinai, etc.). Elijah raised the dead. Most of the prophets did miracles and wondrous things, or had revealed to them great prophetic truths. Jesus considered John the Baptist the greatest of all who had come before him and yet, Jesus did not prevent even him from being beheaded (Mark 6:14-29). I bet at this point, Satan was thoroughly confused as to who Jesus really was. The Apostle Paul would later confirm this confusion when he wrote in 1st Corinthians 2:8,

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory; which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would have not crucified the Lord of glory.

So shrouded in mystery was Christ that He told his disciples (Matt. 16:20) and others who had figured out who He really was, not to tell anyone (Mark 3:12, 5:43, 8:30, Luke 8:56, 9:21). He did that so everything could be carried out to its natural conclusion, which of course we know now, meant Him dying on the Cross of Calvary (Matt. 16:21). In fact, it would not even be until the Palm Sunday of the Passion Week that Christ would allow anyone to publically worship Him as Messiah (Luke 19:28-40). Moreover, when He did, the Pharisees went into hysterics. However, Jesus told them very clearly that if the people did not worship Him, the stones themselves would cry out, because that in this your day (Luke 19:42) they should have recognized Him as the Messiah (Dan. 9:24-26).

This prophecy had been given to the Prophet Daniel while the Jew’s were still living in captivity in Babylon. Satan must have known that particular message (the 70 Week’s Prophecy) was important, which is why he sent the prince of Persia (a fallen angel) to try to prevent Gabriel from being given further understanding regarding these future prophecies to Daniel. (Dan. 10:12-13). At his breaking point, Satan had finally had enough from Jesus of Nazareth. He stirred the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and Zealots into enough of a hysteria (think Jesus Derangement Syndrome) that these opposing groups were now collaborating and plotting to kill Him. They would break their own rules, the Law, and every protocol to take Jesus down at any cost. They flipped one of His disciples (an insider) to betray Him for 30 pieces of silver and Judas handed Jesus over to the Jewish authorities on the night before Passover.

Word spread quickly throughout the Sanhedrin that they had finally caught this Jesus guy, and they hastily threw together a kangaroo court and quickly arrayed a bunch of “witnesses” against Him. So quickly was this all done, that the witnesses did not even have time to get their false charges straight, so that their testimonies were contradictory. Nevertheless, the court was just a show so that the Pharisees could claim some legitimacy in condemning Jesus to death. They were determined to condemn Jesus as a heretic, and wanted to make an example of Him by putting Him to death in the most horrific, embarrassing, and painful way they could, which was death by Roman crucifixion. Such was their hatred for Jesus, that they probably thought stoning was too good a death for Him.  

They then dragged Him from the Sanhedrin, to Pontius Pilate, on to King Herod, before going back to the Romans. Pilate found no fault with Him and even washed his hands of the whole event. He gave the people a choice as to who they were to free, and the people loudly cheered for the scoundrel named Barabbas. The Pharisees stirred the crowd up to demand for blood. They were probably were proud of themselves at that moment, finally convicting a man who for three and a half years wrecked their moneymaking ministries surrounding Temple worship.

The Romans stripped Jesus naked, whipped Him so badly that His ribs were exposed through His back. They placed a purple robe on Him and a crown of thorns on His head, and then made Him carry His own cross to the place of His execution. They did all this while they pulled His beard out, struck Him, and mocked Him. Once He got to Golgotha (Calvary), they stripped the robe off His back, which reopened the whip-wounds that would have already started to dry. They laid Him on the cross, nailed His hands and ankles to the wood with large iron spikes. They then hoisted Him up vertically so that all of His weight would be placed on His ankles. Consequently, this caused Him to suffocate and forced Him to have to push up on His ankles in order to breathe. Aside from the shame of being made into a public spectacle without a shred of decency or dignity, Jesus was at this point, in a tremendous amount of pain.

The Romans stripped Jesus naked, whipped Him so badly that His ribs were exposed through His back. They placed a purple robe on Him and a crown of thorns on His head, and then made Him carry His own cross to the place of His execution. They did all this while they pulled His beard out, struck Him, and mocked Him. Once He got to Golgotha (Calvary), they stripped the robe off His back, which reopened the whip-wounds that would have already started to dry. They laid Him on the cross, nailed His hands and ankles to the wood with large iron spikes. They then hoisted Him up vertically so that all of His weight would be placed on His ankles. Consequently, this caused Him to suffocate and forced Him to have to push up on His ankles in order to breathe. Aside from the shame of being made into a public spectacle without a shred of decency or dignity, Jesus was at this point, in a tremendous amount of pain.

So rushed was the day that the Pharisees and onlookers probably lost track of the time and forgot that this was also the exact same time when the sheep were being taking to the temple for slaughter. Satan and his host watched eagerly through the veil, even mocking this Jesus of Nazareth from the demonic realms (Ps. 22:12). After having been on the cross for six hours, Christ cried out My God My God, why have you forsaken me? Shortly after, He gasped and gave up the spirit and died. (See here and here for a clearer picture of the timeline)

Who Do You Say That I Am?

I know what you are thinking. Wait a minute Mr. Pete, are you telling me that Satan and his minions did not know that Jesus was God come in the flesh? Some of you might even be thinking back to specific instances where when confronted face to face, the demons instinctively knew who Jesus was (Luke 4:31-37, 41, 8:26-32). Christ may have allowed this in certain circumstances, but it was usually in the company of a very few, and in large settings (Lk. 4:31-37, 41) He commands the demons to keep quiet. Bottom line is that these lower level servants of Satan seemed to see more than their master.

However, I am willing to be a pretty penny that Satan probably believed Jesus to be only a human Messiah. If he believed Him to be like a Moses, or David, he could tempt them. Besides, Satan had success previously with every human God raised up. The Old Testament is chock-full of instances where the Patriarchs and the Prophets failed in one degree or another. He may have even suspected there was something more to Jesus than meets the eye, but would not have suspected that God Himself would become part of His own Creation.

Do you remember Satan’s second lie in the Garden? That if they (Adam and Eve) ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would become like God, knowing the difference. Satan would have never suspected that instead of us becoming like God, that God would become like us to redeem us.

Even if Satan did suspect some divine play afoot, he could not possibly know what His end game was. Jesus talked so much about the kingdom, and bringing in the kingdom, that a premature death would have effectively squashed that idea. Remember, that when Jesus was in the desert for forty-days, one of the temptations Satan tempted Him with, was all the kingdoms in the world. What he was really saying is, if you want people to worship you and for your message to spread worldwide with zero resistance. All you have to do is worship me and I will hand it all over to You (Luke 4:5-7).

Of course, we know how that turned out. Jesus shot him down quick, fast, and with finality.

Another couple of things to remember is the role of the Trinity in the Old Testament.

  • We know the Spirit was active in the creation process
  • We know Adam walked with God (presumably the Father) in the Garden before the Fall

However, the Son was hidden. The only mention of the Son we get is when He appears as the Angel of the Lord in what we now call the Christophanies. How can I be sure God the Father walked with Adam in the Garden? Well, considering the macro picture of the entirety of Scripture, the whole point for the Son to come, was to restore what was lost there, which is to say, man’s unfettered fellowship with His Creator.

We see in Ezekiel that before Satan fell, there was One who seems to have both “an appearance of a man” whose throne was high above the Cherubim. Perhaps He was hidden in some form or fashion from the Angelic hosts, although they were aware of One above them. This may add credence to Satan’s misunderstanding and belief that God would never stoop so low as to become a human.

However, we are not told how much the Angels knew about the Son, or the Trinity for that matter. What we do know is that the human form Jesus took at His incarnation, would be completely new and unknown to the fallen angels. I believe that those demons, who instinctively knew who Jesus was, probably sensed that overpowering divine nature in the same animals often could sense an earthquake is going to happen before it does.

We also know that the form Jesus took in His incarnation is the form He will likely as appear forever. In Revelation 5, Jesus (although addressed as both a lion and a lamb) still bears the marks of His crucifixion. I am not going to credit Satan with either being an idiot or being smarter than God is; I will simply say that as clever as Satan is, God was effectively able to shield what His plan really was from him. Perhaps the demons were permitted to see through Jesus’s flesh to His true nature, but Satan was not. Perhaps this added to Satan’s confusion as to what was really going on. Perhaps Satan was temporarily blinded and unable to see what was going on.  Of course, these are things we cannot prove one way or another, this side of the veil.

Conclusion

The origins of Easter Eggs (in the foreshadowing sense of the word), begins and ends with God our Creator. As One who declares the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:9-10), there are no surprises to Him. However, why hide those gems in the Old Testament? Why just not come outright and say that Jesus would do x, y, z and not give any room for doubt for anyone to believe Jesus is the Christ?

The veiling of the Old Testament reminds me of a quote by Sun Tzu when he said,

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
– Sun Tzu, the Art of War

If a 5th century BC Chinese general can understand good strategy, shouldn’t the Creator of the universe understand that all the better? Make no mistake brothers and sisters, there is a war afoot. Satan (our enemy) is cunning, crafty, murderous, and the very incarnation of evil. He is desperate, which makes him exceedingly dangerous, and will not rest day or night until he thinks he has won. Moreover, he has untold legions at his disposal that seeks our destruction daily. The Apostle Paul warns us in Ephesians 6:12 that…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

However, the war is not between God and Satan anymore, that battle was won two-thousand years ago at Mt. Calvary. The Old Testament was purposely cryptic, to keep God’s plan on a “need to know” basis. This ultimately culminated at the fullness of time, when all hope seemed lost and Christ hung on a wooden cross between two thieves, naked, beaten half-dead, mocked, and seemingly abandoned. Yet, the writer of Hebrews noted this is what Christ came to do, for this moment in time, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, fulfilled the Protoevangelium by crushing that serpent of old’s head by sacrificing everything at the cross.

And crush him He did. At the cross, Christ did what no human could ever do, which was, to live a sinless life, and die an undeserving death. In the process, He conquered death and hell taking ownership from Satan over both. This is why He could raise Himself from the dead, because death had no hold over Him. Furthermore, His death provided for us, a way across the unbridgeable chasm between an unapproachable and completely holy and righteous God, and a fallen and flawed human being. We are given Christ’s righteousness when we place our faith in His finished work at the cross. This is the true meaning of Easter. We celebrate the original and ultimate Easter egg by Christ’s victory at the Cross.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Even So, Maranatha!