Gibson’s Passion Sequel Film To Be Non-Biblical Imagination

Gibson’s Passion Sequel Film To Be Non-Biblical Imagination March 25, 2024

Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ” film, released in 2004, was a most unexpected smash hit. It garnered over $600 million in box office receipts on a measly budget of $30 million. Gibson reportedly couldn’t muster support for the film concept in Hollywood and thus bankrolled it mostly himself. The film would have been a total dud since Gibson was hell-bent on filming it in the Aramaic language. But supposedly due to insider criticism, he relented and produced it in English to the unprecedented rave of many Christians, especially evangelicals. That in itself was a marvel since those latter folks, with whom I count myself, distance themselves from the likes of Mr. Gibson—a traditionalist Roman Catholic who repudiates the Vatican II, thus favoring the Latin Mass in Church services.

I saw “The Passion” the day it was released. I immediately dropped all I was doing and launched myself into writing my first screenplay, it being on Jesus’ resurrection appearances. I was partly because I thought the film was going to be successful and that Gibson would produce a sequel to it on this subject. I also did it because I already had done necessary research about this subject in my book, The Gospels Interwoven, endorsed by Billy Graham. I eventually shopped this script in Hollywood without success. But I did meet, and carry on an email conversation, with Gibson’s Passion screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald, a kindly gentleman who just died weeks ago. He read and liked my script a lot, even recommending it. He said it only needed some “professional polish.”

Benedict told me that Mel got so incensed about Jews criticizing his film as antisemitic that he told Benedict he would “never make another Jesus flick.” As they say, “never say never.” Gibson has been working on a sequel now entitled “The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection—Part 1.” His friend Randall Wallace, of Braveheart fame, is involved, and Jim Caviezel will play Jesus again in it. This film could be released a in a few days, maybe on Easter Sunday. But Gibson has said it will be completely about Jesus’s supposed experiences in Hades/Sheol during the short time of about 38 hours between his death, which the Catholic Church rightly deems occurred on Friday, and his resurrection, which the Bible says happened on Sunday. Caviezel says, “it will be the biggest film in world history.” I doubt that due to what the film is going to be about.

(The New Testament has multiple texts that say Jesus was raised from the dead on “the third day” and other texts that say he was raised after “three days.” The NT also has Jesus predicting this about himself. So many non-scholarly folks go astray about this subject by claiming Jesus must have died on Wednesday in order to get 72 hours. Not true! They don’t understand that “three days” is a semitic idiom for “third day.”)

Churches have taught that Jesus’s soul was alive during the interim period between his death and resurrection and that he proclaimed the gospel. Like most Christians, my church taught me that, and I believed it for decades. Then I attended a conference on “Resurrection,” learning from the Bible that this is not true. The Old Testament is full of information about what happens to the human soul after physical death. It says the soul goes “down” to the underworld, which is named Sheol in the Old Testament and Hades in the New Testament—and it remains there in an unconscious state until the “resurrection” which is to happen at “the end of days,” which means the end of this age in which we live. I’m not going to address, here, the biblical texts cited to support mine or the traditional view, since that would take considerable space. I’ve written a book manuscript on this subject that I intend to publish in the future in my Still Here series.

So, Gibson’s sequel film about Jesus between death and resurrection will be about non-biblical imagination. He reportedly is appealing to the Catholic Catechism called “The Harrowing of Hell.” I don’t think evangelicals will like it much, certainly not like they did regarding the first film. Gibson reportedly will make another film, after this sequel, in which it may be about the resurrected Jesus appearing to his disciples various times as recorded in the New Testament. That’s what I think Gibson should be doing rather than letting his imagination ride helter skelter through the mysterious underworld.

[See related posts, such as, “Should the Apostles’ Creed Have the Phrase ‘Descended into Hell.;” “The Blessed Hope of Christians Is Resurrection, Not Death;” “Anthropology, The Intermediate State, and Sheol/Hades.”]


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