Saw Frozen last night with the family, and it struck me that the climax of the movie is actually a fairly good picture of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus — not perfect, but pretty good. If you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want to spoil it, you’d probably want to stop reading this post about here. Spoilers ahead, as they say.
So without going into all the details of the story, Anna has been struck in the heart by her sister, Elsa. Anna’s heart has begun to freeze and soon her whole body will turn to ice. She has been struck with Elsa’s ice-curse. One key to understanding the curse of sin in this world is understanding the curse as the wrath of God against sin. It is God’s eternal judgment against that which turns away from Him and His love. It’s like gravity, like a spell, but it’s all exhaustively personal and not mechanical or merely a law of nature. It’s God’s eternal determination to drive sin and darkness back into the nothingness, to free all of creation from the bending disease. Thus, when Paul speaks of the wrath of God in Romans 1, it is God turning men and women over to themselves, allowing them to continue down the path of evil, toward the void, in increasing confusion. Hell is the fullness of this wrath.
The central theme of Frozen is, like every Disney princess movie, surprise, true love. But what is actually surprising is that “true love” is not what it seems. Both sisters struggle with opposite distortions of love. Elsa hides herself from others, afraid of hurting and being hurt, while Anna has no discretion, no wisdom, and throws herself into the world, falling in love with the first gorgeous face she happens to run into. What unfolds is the startlingly biblical explanation that love is putting other’s needs before your own, thinking of others first.
Turns out Anna’s first “love” was Hans, a suave, handsome player. He’s the Satan of the story, an angel of light, full of dazzling moves, quick on his feet, smooth with his words. But in the end, his aim is to murder both sisters and take over the kingdom. Here, we arrive at the climax. As Anna has stumbled out onto the frozen fiord trying to make it to Christof, who she believes may be able to break the spell (true love), she sees Hans raising his sword to finally strike Elsa down who cowers in despair, believing that her sister is already dead. The Accuser has announced that Elsa is guilty, she has brought this freezing curse on the land, she is responsible for the trouble in the kingdom. She deserves to die. Instead of seeking her own safety, her own healing, her own salvation, Anna runs between Elsa and the sword of judgment. And at that very moment, as the sword comes crashing down, the spell finishes it’s awful work and her body freezes altogether. Anna becomes the curse completely, she is finished by the wrath, the judgment, and as the Satan’s sword comes down it is the ice that has consumed Anna that now shatters the Accuser’s sword. The wrath has been filled to full. Once death has done its worst, there is no more room for wrath, there is no more room for judgment.
Our hero Jesus is the One who did not seek His own good, His own glory but rather rushed to stand between us and the sword of judgment that we justly deserved. We were all born with the curse of sin, we were born deformed in our loves, but He came in His love and took our curse upon Himself. When He died He bore the awful wrath of God against sin, all of God’s fury was laid upon Him, and He was consumed. And at that very point, as Satan swung his sword down, all of the sin was paid for, all of the sinners were ransomed, all of the blood was atoned for, all of the guilty were pardoned. And the very power which Satan had wielded, the fear of death and dying, became the very power by which God shattered the Accuser’s sword.
And like Anna, our Hero, because He acted with true love for His brothers and sisters could not stay dead. And on that first Easter, a heart enclosed in the ice of death buried in a tomb, sealed with a stone, began to beat again. And the ice began to melt, and now light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings.
Of course there are details that make our stories different at points. Several creep into my mind immediately, but honestly, I’m content to ignore them for the moment. True Love bore the wrath of God on the tree. True Love shattered Satan’s sword. True Love stood in our place. True Love melts the power of death. And now we watch as the winter dwindles away, and we await the Great Spring to come.
Linda. Rich says
Totally love that analogy…
patty reed says
If Disney movies so accurately depict the sacrifice of Christ, why are so many women looking for their Prince Charming to save them, rather than Christ? The Devil is an imitator… the Bible tells us he masquerades as an angel of light.
Darla Demahy says
The movie has magic in it and God says to stay away from anything of its kind.
By no means can you take Disneys movie that’s filled with demonic filth and apply it to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or His precious and Holy Word.
Thank you for having the courage to share the message that God wants spread around the world. Now if Disney would put your blog in every DVD of Frozen….that would be cool;-)
Wow. Isn’t Jesus wonderful? 🙂
Loved this, made me picture how much sacrifice true love is, and well worth it.
Paulette williams says
I,totally,agree I was,thinking aling the same lines,when I saw movie. God can speak volumes in the arts and movies.
Lorrie Shelton says
Very cool analogy! Wish everyone who watches Frozen would get this story every time they watched it! Jesus is our hope! Thanks!
Paulette williams says
I agree. I thought along the same lines.God can speak volumes,through arts and movies dance and music.if we open our hearts and spirits,He guides,us to all,truth.
I love how the Holy Spirit use physical to speak to us in the spiritual. Thank you for seeking & sharing.
crystal banchor says
Beautiful interpretation of God’s love hidden in this unassuming Disney movie!!!!!
Very nice lesson. It’s always about redemption, is it not?. Beautiful parallel. Thanks!!
Sharon Chappini says
Very good, Kirk. Your critique made me cry. I saw redemption in the movie also and the surprise of what true love can really look like- the selfless giving of oneself for the one who is loved. I’m so proud of you and all that you are allowing The Lord to do in your life. Grace filled truth. You are a blessing to many. With my prayers, Sharon
James Herzog says
That was an awesome summary of Frozen! To go even farther, I believe Elza’s tears were like Jesus’ blood for those of us who have fallen short, yet are seeking Him…healing and covering those imperfections we committed just as they restored the town and Anna to their former glory, and then doing away with Hans, just as Jesus will someday do once and for all do with Satan into the eternal lake of fire. Frozen is, to me, one of the better Disney movies of all time, due to its awesome and largely clean message, something very difficult to find in movies today.
Terrance Adams says
Excellent interpretation. We run a Christian daycare and this will be a great way to share the gospel with our children.
It rely makes me sad how many people are lashing put about this post. This was a beautiful analogy and a wonderful movie. Yes, the movie had magic, but it’s also a fair tale and I think most reasonable people can understand that difference.
Just saw DVD. Kirk you did an excellent in summary of this movie. Yes, there are questionable parts and yes magic is not of God. However, Jesus used many parables to show His message including some in which the characters were questionable like the prodigal son in which both brothers at various times were doing the wrong thing.
Another article which I read was despicable in that both a pastor and an active homosexual tried to portray the purely sisterly love as homosexuality. It seems to me that the devil in the article and the responses was simply trying to put forth his agenda.
I have to say, I love how you brought this out. I loved the movie simply because it was a message about what true love is in a world of “Disney” that’s all about princesses finding their princes even up through the teen years with them looking for the “perfect” boyfriend. Frozen has a message that can speak to anyone – young or old.
Joshua Bondy says
I really appreciate this thoughts about this movie. While I am much less of a Disney fan than I was as a child, I really enjoyed this movie, and I appreciated the focus on family love. This article helped me look even deeper, though, and see how God can share His message of redemption even through venues that are not necessarily seeking His glory. I think that recognizing the redemptive nature of this movie helps us remember that people are looking God and for the unconditional love and forgiveness He offers, even if they don’t realize that’s what they want.
Lisa Morales says
I totally agree with you Kirk! There are other things in the movie that speak to me when you look at it through spiritual eyes. First of all Fear kept Elsa isolated..which is what satan likes to do. Also when Elsa leaves to the mountains as she sings Let it Go you will notice before she makes that bridge of ice., there is a gap between the two mountains which reminded me of the sin that separates us from God.. Then she sings I’m free! Let it go! As she runs across the bridge ( bridge represents Jesus ) love that scene! Then when she sings IM NEVER GOING BACK.. The past is in the past! Her old clothes change into a beautiful whitish sparkling dress .. Which reminds me of never going back to who we were before Christ and how He clothes us in righteousness . I also loved the ending as well when Ana sacrifices herself for her sister, whom for a lot of years payed her no mind and pushed her away, yet Ana could of been bitter toward her sister yet she forgave her enough to die for her. And then when we reLize the act of true love thaws a frozen heart ..love thaws as Elsa said… Reminded me of all that icy stormy weather was like FEAR but then perfect LOVE CAST OUT ALL FEAR! And the winter was gone ! God is LOVE! This to me was best Disney movie so far… Those with eyes to see let them see!! Praise God!
Kirk, I remember watching you as a child in all my favorite shows growing up! Who would have know that even then God was doing a great work within you! And today you continue to honor Him with your life and through your talents in which He bestowed upon you.
I just wanted to take a moment to thank God for you and to pray that God continues to build you and continues to encourage you as you share His Word of Truth. It is my pray that Jesus keep His blood over you and your family! In Jesus name, Amen!
Your gift to us is evident!
This movie was a well done allegory of a “coming out of the closet” story. Look at the lyrics from the song “Let it Go.” “No right, no wrong, no rules for me.” Just change the worlds “special magic powers” with being gay, and see where the story takes you. Look what the people in the alternative lifestyle community are saying about the movie! The girl who was “shoved into the closet” by her parents (who are later killed off), comes out in a big way. I’m so sad that so may Christians try and use the bond between sisters as a comparison to Jesus. Sure there may be a far away similarity, but the “Jesus figure” of the movie is way to flawed to be a good representation of the true Jesus. She has had a caged in existence, is naive, has no discernment, and wants to fall in love. Nothing like Jesus. There is a reference to bestiality in the “Fixer Upper” song that the Trolls sing about the main male character and his reindeer, a reference to their relationship being “outside of the laws of nature.” WHAT is THAT? A friendship between a human and an animal is NOT outside the bounds of nature, unless there is more involved – and that IS what the song implies. The ice monster at the end of the movie dances with the tiara he finds at the ice castle, on his head, as he embraces his inner femininity? Not something I want to expose my kids to. There is a possible reference to a gay family, that you can argue for or against in the sauna scene. This movie is so full of innuendo that people have been so desensitized to, it goes right over their head, and it is very sad that so many Christians have not even NOTICED any of these things about the movie, but go on to say how much they really LOVE it. Sad.