Remember that movie about everyday people who are called to do a marvelous work and a wonder, being invited by a vision to a mountain where they will see signs in the heavens as they commune with heavenly beings? The dead are brought back to the Earth, families are reunited, and some are even called to ascend into heaven with the visitors. It all sounds like it’s ripped straight out of the Holy Bible, but I’m actually talking about Close Encounters of the Third Kind. No, it’s not a movie explicitly about the scriptures, but it does appear to be an allegory for Biblical things.
Instead of angels, the heavenly beings are aliens. Instead of divine visions, there are glimpses of unidentified flying objects. Instead of prophets, there’s an electrician and a homemaker. Instead of transfiguration and translation, there is alien abduction.
“This means something. This is important.” That’s the movie’s most famous line. Let’s take this classic movie at its word and see if we can find a deeper meaning in it than the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. I think we can find a lot of heavenly wisdom pertaining to the last days in which we are living. Please join me as I quote a number of Old and New Testament verses and relate them to the events of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. By the way, I hope I don’t come across as demeaning the scriptures or trivializing them in any way. I’m just interested in making connections between them and a piece of popular entertainment that also speaks to me.
Sowing Seeds of Division (Luke 12:51-53)
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Sometimes standing up for what’s right means standing alone. Roy Neary is an ordinary electrician who is called to sacrifice everything in order to follow the vision he sees in his mind. He is obsessed with finding out what it all means, and this pushes his wife and children away until they are forced to abandon him. I’m not defending all of his actions. He’s not exactly the best father, and he doesn’t do a good job explaining his actions to his wife. She’s incredibly patient with him for a long time, but she reaches a breaking point when he starts destroying their house. Hopefully she and the kids end up in a good place, but Roy definitely gets everything he wanted when he gets taken up by the aliens at the end of the film.
Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen (Matthew 22:14)
At the end of the Parable of the Marriage Feast, Jesus gave this warning, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Those who were invited to come to the king’s feast for his son refused to come and some even killed the messengers who invited them. So the king had to find commoners to come to his feast instead. In Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we see an interesting parallel. Government officials scour the Earth, finding clues about the aliens’ intentions while the aliens themselves contact many regular people and invite them to come to a mountain in Wyoming to attend a visual and musical feast.
Many are invited, but they don’t come when beckoned. And others try to come, but they are stopped by fear and intimidation from the government officials who try to replace them with their own people who they intend to send away with the aliens. We can see a parallel to the film in our own time as the people are forced to wear gas masks, even though they’re not in any real danger. I’ll probably be accused of heresy for daring to question the official narrative, but I just don’t buy the idea that COVID-19 is more harmful or dangerous than any other coronavirus.
Roy and a mother named Jillian Guiler are the only ones who make it all the way to where the aliens are coming to make contact with humanity. Jillian’s young son Barry was taken by the aliens, and she is desperate to see him returned home. We’ll talk more about that a little later.
The 10 Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13 )
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
After Roy is intercepted on his way to the mountain where the aliens are coming that night, he gets put on a helicopter with a bunch of other people who were similarly invited and caught. In fact, there are 10 people aboard the helicopter! They are going to be sent away, but Roy, Jillian, and another individual named Larry Butler escape before the helicopter lifts off. It’s not the same number as in the parable, five of the 10 being wise, but at least some of them are willing to go out when the shout comes that the bridegroom is coming.
The three are pursued by another helicopter fitted with a sleeping agent to prevent them from making it to their destination. Roy and Jillian struggle with all their might to get to safety while Larry lags behind. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak (to paraphrase another quote from Jesus), and he unfortunately falls asleep and is unable to witness the marriage of music and heavenly beings.
The Mountain of the Lord’s House (Isaiah 2:2-3)
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
It’s ironic to compare the Devils Tower to the mountain of the Lord, but here goes. As we’ve already mentioned, Roy and Jillian are just two of possibly hundreds of people who are invited by vision to come to Devils Tower in Wyoming. They want to go there to be taught by aliens and to follow them to their faraway homeworld. Representatives of at least two nations are present at the mountain: the United States and France.
Signs in the Heavens (Mark 13:25-27)
25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Numerous small alien spaceships shoot across the sky and bring sweet music with them. They are preparing the way for the giant mothership to come down and receive those who had been invited to come aboard. Roy is the only one who gets gathered to the uttermost part of heaven because none of the other elect made it.
Rising to Meet the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18)
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
When the mothership comes down, it begins playing a symphony. The loud trump sounds and other beautiful music that emanate from the mothership are meant to communicate with the humans. Once it finally goes silent, the ship opens up and returns many people to Earth after they had been taken away.
Dozens of people who were thought long-dead are brought back by the aliens, including World War II pilots. They haven’t aged a day possibly because they had been traveling at the speed of light and so hardly any time had passed for them while many years had passed on Earth. Barry is among them, and Jillian is overjoyed to be able to welcome him home. She is finally comforted when she sees him again. It had been quite a traumatic experience for her when he was abducted, but he seems completely unharmed and happy.
First, Second, and Third Kinds
I’m sure there are many other scriptures we could relate to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s an intriguing movie that can be endlessly dissected and discussed. With all the upheaval going on (social, political, environmental, and otherwise), it sure seems like we are coming to the end of the world as we know it. And the beginning of a new one. I suggest we take Roy’s words to heart, “This means something. This is important.” Whether we’re talking about a First Vision, the Second Coming of Christ, or Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we can view it all as a profoundly religious experience.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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If you’d like to support the Deja Reviewer, please consider donating a few dollars to keep this site going strong. I’ll even send you an original joke if you do! Try it, and prepare to enjoy a good chuckle.