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    Too Bad Frodo’s Theology is Not Made of Mithril

    J.R.R Tolkien lived and died a Roman Catholic. He clearly had a solid understanding of God’s providence and moral absolutes and frequently exalted mercy over judgement in his writings. Yet despite this, he sadly left us vestiges of his Roman Catholicism within The Lord of The Rings that you need to be aware of. 

    Let’s Get Nerdy

    The Lord of The Rings trilogy wasn’t just created in a vacuum for a bit of fanciful reading but was borne out of a detailed world and mythology of Tolkien’s own creation. Many things from Tolkien’s mythopoeic work The Silmarillion are referenced in The Lord of The Rings and one would not necessarily understand what the significance of such things are unless one was… well, a serious LOTR nerd who looked into it. 

    Throughout the books, Frodo frequently cries out to a spiritual being called “Elbereth”. This happens at the Weathertop where the Witch-King’s “Morgul blade” makes friends with Frodo’s chest and also at the Ford of Bruinen when being chased by the Black Riders.

    So who is Elbereth? She is Queen of the Valar, beings who are basically angels in Tolkien’s world. The name Elbereth itself is Sindarin (elvish) which translates as “Star Queen”, or Queen of Heaven.

    So Frodo, when in danger, evokes the Queen of Heaven to aid him in his distress. 

    Roman Catholics & Revelation 12 

    This is significant when one understands how the Roman Catholic Church interprets Revelation 12: 

    “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labour and in pain to give birth. 

    And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.” The Revelation 12:1-4 

    Roman Catholic Theology would have us believe this is a reference to their perpetual virgin; Mary. This is why Roman Catholics refer to Mary as the Queen of Heaven. In reality, this is a symbol of the nation Israel, the 12 stars being a reference to Joseph’s brothers and his dream (Genesis 37:9). Stars are clearly used in Revelation 12 to represent spiritual principalities or authorities, notably the 12 tribes of Israel (Rev.12:1) and angelic beings (Rev 12:4). To call Mary the Queen of Heaven is to ascribe her authority over these things- #heresy 

    It Gets Creepy 

    Big deal, you say. Roman Catholics have whack eschatology- anyone could tell you that, right? Well, it gets dark. You see, the Queen of Heaven is a figure that pops up regularly in pagan religion and mythology. She is known as Ishtar to the Babylonians, Astarte to the Semites, Aphrodite to the Greeks and Ashtoreth to the Sidonians. 

    She is even mentioned in this book called the Bible. In the Bible, however, she is not your pal and she is certainly not Mary the physical mother of Jesus Christ. 

    What was going down in the days of Jeremiah is that the people of Judah had made a vow to worship the Queen of Heaven: 

    “…we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her” Jeremiah 44:17 

    And this is what God told Jeremiah to tell those folk: 

    “The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, …the Lord could no longer bear it, …Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.” Jeremiah 44:20-23 

    You see, the evoking of the Queen of Heaven brings God’s judgment and wrath, not protection from ills. This is a massive problem in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. Frodo will need something stronger than Mithril to protect himself from God’s Wrath. 

    One Does Not Simply Make Disciples 

    With this knowledge in hand, you can now emblaze the interests of nerds like Sting at a Mordor man-flesh banquet and have a Gospel conversation that is more riveting than the Council of Elrond. 

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    Comments

    1. I’m just going to make this short and blunt. This article is horse shit.

    2. The so-called Queen of Heaven, with the regional name-variations Ishtar, Astarte, Ashtoreth, and perhaps a few others, was a bogus, knock-off, mini-deity from polytheism. She was either a demon pretending to be her, a false god emerging from the fallen nature of men in the region, and/or a distorted, disordered memory of a real (angelic or human) being from the distant past. They probably also called their primary god, one of the Baals, things like, “Lord of Lords”, or sometimes just “God”, and they often called their rulers “King of Kings”, but that certainly wouldn’t mean that the worship of the true Triune God is incorrect simply because some pagans back in the day so happened to use the same titles and honorifics. The English word “God” itself is a noun taken from Germanic Paganism but it’s the best short, common word we have for Him. It gets the point across and it’s true. Jesus doubtlessly is the fullest King of which all earthly Kings are miniature spin-offs, if even that. Seeing how Jesus is the King, Mary doubtlessly is a Queen, both Mother to the Son and Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

      • If this reasoning followed that would mean Joseph is the king, not Jesus. Notice how Mary is never called the Queen of Heaven in the scriptures. The RCC having amalgimted pagn feasts with Christianity (Easter, Christmas etc) have also adopted the worship of Semiramis / Isis etc from Mystery Babylon.

    3. I was excited to see a theology-and-nerddom article pop-up, but this is just offensively anti-Catholic, and a surface-level, bad faith examination of the source material (Scripture, Roman Catholic tradition, and Tolkien’s works) at best. Moreover, the piece purports that the supposed bad, heretical Catholics make certain doctrinal claims, but makes no effort to cite or substantiate those claims.
      I’m sorry to be harsh, but based on this article, I find it hard to imagine anyone learning anything of spiritual or intellectual value from the page. I’m hopeful my words can offer an occasion for reflection as you move forward as a blog.

      -Signed, a former Evangelical, belonging to an evangelical faith-community, trained in theology in both secular and religious programs, under the guidance of experts in their fields hailing from a plurality of Christian traditions.

      • If you think Roman Catholicism is supposed heresy you have bigger problems than citations about the Queen of Heaven :/

        Why did you learn theology in secular programs? That’s like getting driving lessons from the blind lol

    4. So let me get this straight:

      – Revelation 12 describes the Queen of Heaven giving birth to Jesus, an image that has been understood to either refer to Mary (literally) or Israel / the Church (metaphorically), or both.
      – It’s “heresy” to say the Queen is Mary, because “To call Mary the Queen of Heaven is to ascribe her authority over these things.”
      – Queen of Heaven is bad because the pagans also had a Queen of Heaven!

      … why isn’t it equally “heresy” to say that the queen in Rev. 12 is Israel?

      If you’ve got a problem with the whole idea of there being a Queen of Heaven, your beef is with the Book of Revelation, not with the Catholic interpretation of the book.

      Also, Ba’al (the most notorious pagan god in the O.T.) just means “Lord,” so it’s a super-lame argument to say “this thing is bad because the pagans have a god by that name.”

      • Notice how Rev 12 does not mention the term “Queen of Heaven”, are you perhaps reading that into the text?

        Do you agree that there is only one way to God, and only one mediator between God and men?

    5. You might want to think about how in the days of the Kings of Israel, the Queen was not one of the King’s wife, it was the King’s mother. Let’s take Solomon for an example. He had scores of wives and concubines. The queen was not picked from his wives, but his mother. Bathsheba was the queen, not one of Solomon’s wife. This position was called the giberah. The queen mother’s job was to intercede with her king son for the good of the people. Take a look at how honorably Solomon treated his queen mother in 1 Kings 2:19. This was the position of Queen Mother in Israel. Not Babylon, not the Moabites, but Israel:

      When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down at his right hand.”

      Notice that Solomon, the king bows down before his mother. What King bows down to his mother? In Israel Solomon did. Quite a bit of honor shown to the Queen mother. I don’t believe Jesus, being God, bows to Mary, but I think Mary at least has a special honored position in relation to her son’s redeemed people and was not simply a human incubator to be ignored by His servants after giving birth to Jesus. If the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Manna, the rod of Moses, and the Ten Commandments was so revered that God struck down a non Levite who simply touched it to keep it from falling in the mud, how more worthy of reverence is the mother who had God take up residence in her womb for nine months. How much do we dishonor God when we think his mother worthy of no honor? Heck, I’d be angry if someone who supposedly loved me considered my mother of little worth and an object of idolatry. Even Martin Luther honored Mary.

      Who questions that Jesus is the King of Israel and the King of the Universe amongst Christians? Who is his mother? Mary of Nazareth. Now you may not agree with Catholics, but at least you have to realize seeing Mary as the Queen Mother of Jesus has a biblical basis. Who is of higher stature, Bathsheba the mother of Solomon or Mary mother of Jesus Christ? If Solomon honored his mother as his queen mother, don’t you think Jesus would love his mother and honor her too? Catholics do not imitate pagan notions of the queen mother, but the Jewish notions out of the Bible. Check it out in scripture.

      • Hi Ken,

        I’ve never heard this line of thinking before, so thanks for bringing it to my attention!

        I guess we have to consider if the account in Kings is descriptive or prescriptive.

        Solomon also amassed horses and wives which he was commanded not to do. Looking at Solomon’s life is not where we should glean orthopraxy!

        Thankfully one greater than Solomon is here and He told us the significance of his mother in Matthew 12:46-50

        Mary herself also understood her lowly state before God and her need for salvation (like the rest of us) in Luke 1:47

        Remember every knee will bow, including Mary’s 🙂

        • Solomon was indeed instructed not to have too many wives, but is not through the line of Solomon–born of David’s murderous and adulterous affair with Bathsheeba–that our Lord entered humanity? Jesus is a Son of David, his full heir to the Kingdom of Israel (and to so much more). Was it not to Mary that the Angel said, “Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee”? Was it not to Mary that Elizabeth said, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”? That’s most of the Hail Mary prayer right there.

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    Zo
    The Hunter. Having played too much World of Warcraft, Zo developed skills in tracking, hunting and trapping. Now seeking to redeem the time, Zo uses these skills to find nerdy stuff for you to enjoy. Has a fondness for coffee, presuppositional apologetics and drum & bass.

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