Reign of Fire
(Spyglass Entertainment, 2002)
Main Point: When it comes to spiritual warfare, there is no middle ground. We have an enemy, Satan, who hates us and wants to destroy us. He must be defeated.
The Movie Clip: Reign of Fire
Reign of Fire was a fantasy action film from 2002 that starred Matthew McConaughey (Van Zan), Christian Bale (Quinn), and Gerard Butler (Creesy). It’s set in the year 2020, after dragons have left their hibernation under the earth, and have wreaked havoc on human civilization. With billions dead, only a few survivors are holding on. Some, like Quinn, have chosen to hole up in castles to try and escape the dragons’ fury, while slayers, like Van Zan, are on a hunting spree. Reign of Fire shows what happens when these two conflicting philosophies collide.
The film is rated PG-13 for intense action violence.
Introducing the Clip:
What would you do if your world was suddenly invaded by fearsome, deadly dragons? You’d probably go one of two directions: you might try hiding in an attempt to save your life, or you might try taking the fight to them in an attempt to defeat them. In Reign of Fire, those are exactly the choices that Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) and Quinn (Christian Bale) make. In the clip I’m about to show you, a dragon has just been killed by Van Zan and Quinn. Take a look at how they respond to the threat of dragons, and see which person you agree with.
BEGIN CLIP AT 50 MINUTES AND 08 SECONDS
(This clip is already over 8 minutes long, but you can make it even longer – and more exciting – by showing the fight between the humans and the dragon that sets up this clip. Because of its length, the following is a synopsis of the clip instead of a verbatim dialogue.)
The clip opens on a dead dragon. She’s just been killed by Van Zan and his dragon-slaying team of Americans. Quinn, the Englishman in charge of protecting the castle, rides up on his horse, just as Van Zan finishes off the dragon with his axe.
The scene then switches to a party being held that night at the castle. Van Zan walks in on a celebration of the castle folk but squelches their celebration by saying they’ve killed one dragon…while the dragon killed three of his men. He then says, “These beasts live on ash. They feed on death. There’s no middle ground. Not for them. Not for us.” He then walks out, declaring that his men will be buried at dawn.
The scene again changes to outside the castle where the dragon’s body is being burnt to keep the others away. Van Zan escorts Quinn into a conversation with Alex, the helicopter pilot, where they share their strategy for killing all the dragons by killing the one male.
Van Zan then tells Quinn that he needs more men and resources, but Quinn denies his request. Van Zan accuses Quinn of being a coward who is content to watch his men die slowly. Van Zan then leaves to go recruit men without Quinn’s permission, but Quinn doesn’t know it.
Alex and Quinn talk privately. She learns that Quinn has seen the male dragon with his own eyes when he was a boy. On that day, the dragon terrified him and killed his mother. He wants nothing to do with chasing after the beast.
END CLIP AT 58 MINUTES AND 12 SECONDS
Those were some really intense conversations, but I imagine they would be if our existence was actually threatened by dragons. Truth be told, I don’t believe in these kinds of dragons any more than you do, but the Bible does talk about one very real dragon named Satan. Throughout Scripture, Satan is given many names and titles, but one of those is the “great dragon.” He wants to destroy us and kill us and separate us from God for an eternity. Just like Van Zan said, when it comes to spiritual warfare, “there is no middle ground.” We have an enemy, Satan, who hates us and wants to destroy us. He must be defeated. Let’s take a look at how the Bible says that can happen.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and whether or not you think that a dragon is the scariest animal of all.
- ASK A FEW: What do you think the best way to kill a dragon would be?
- ASK A FEW: Who do you think was wiser: Van Zan for trying to track and kill the dragons or Quinn for trying to hide from them? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Why was Quinn so afraid of chasing the male dragon into London?
- ASK A FEW: In the Bible, Satan is sometimes referred to as “the dragon.” Why do you think that is?
- ASK A FEW: In his speech to the castle folk, Van Zan says, “These beasts live on ash. They feed on death. There’s no middle ground. Not for them. Not for us.” Is that true of our relationship with Satan, the dragon? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think that the real dragon, Satan, can be defeated? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
Revelation 12:1-12 (NIV)
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down– that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
Tonight, we took a look at how different people responded to the threat of dragons in our world. In some cases, men tried to hide from them. In other instances, men tried to fight them. Which is the best way to handle dragons?
That question becomes important when we realize that WE FACE A REAL dragon in this life. His name is Satan, Lucifer, the Great Dragon, and the Father of Lies, amongst others. But regardless what you call him, his job is simple: to destroy God’s children and try to drag us to Hell with him forever. That’s what he wants more than anything!
But the good news is, the great dragon has already been defeated. We don’t have to strategize about the best way to take him down, or worry if we’re strong enough to do so. The great dragon was defeated once and for all when Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago, and was resurrected from the dead 3 days later. Jesus knew that we wouldn’t stand a chance against this very real and very powerful enemy, so He took the responsibility of defeating the dragon, Himself. Praise God!
But just because Jesus has defeated Satan doesn’t mean he’s giving up anytime soon. He’s still prowling around trying to destroy people’s lives and eternities. If we’re not careful, he can destroy ours.
The key is to remember that the great dragon is overcome by the blood of Jesus, and then our testimony against him. What that means is simple: Jesus has defeated him by dying on the cross for our sins. So when the devil tries to attack us, we simply need to turn to Jesus (our testimony) and ask for His help.
For your own benefit, remember this the next time you’re facing Satan’s temptations. Remind the dragon that he has been defeated by Jesus’ death and resurrection and that he has no power over you unless you choose to give him that power. By doing this, we will enjoy Jesus’ victory over our enemy.
Before we close out tonight, let’s all take a few moments to pray with one another and for one another. We’re in this fight together; we might as well have one another’s backs. So let’s join together in prayer, asking for God’s courage and wisdom to face our enemy.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.