Manga Metamorphosis by Kozumi Shinozawa has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the second book in the “Manga Bible” series.
Using Scripture primarily from the book of Acts, Japanese animators create a comic book-style depiction of the early church and its trials. Peter and other apostles speak boldly on the day of Pentecost, heal the sick and are imprisoned by Jewish leaders. Some, such as Stephen and James, become martyrs for Christ. Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit, and the Jewish Christians (including apostles) wrestle with Yeshua’s inclusion of all men in His kingdom.
God blinds Saul, an infamous persecutor of Christians, transforming him into a fiery preacher of His Word. As the persecutions and imprisonments continue, the number of converts to Yeshua’s message grows. Saul (now Paul) and his helpers travel widely to check on new churches and teach in new cities. They’re stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, rescued from prison by angels and sometimes considered gods by the locals. In the midst of their struggles, they enjoy some emotional reunions and hopeful messages from growing churches.
Paul writes several letters of admonition and encouragement to his brothers and sisters in Christ. He visits many of them as well. Though messengers and the Holy Spirit himself have shown Paul how his life will end, he continues to preach in perilous areas. After more beatings, perils at sea, years in prison and other harrowing experiences, Paul dies as a martyr in Rome.
Scripture references are provided at the bottom of each page so readers can locate the biblical accounts. Character profiles of various apostles, biblical writers and Paul’s co-workers appear in the back, along with a timeline of the early church’s activities and a map of Paul’s missionary journeys.
Apostles Paul, Barnabas, Silas and others devote their lives to sharing the message that Yeshua is the Messiah who died for the sins of all men.
Several sorcerers and exorcists attempt to thwart the work of the apostles. Simon the sorcerer appears to be a convert to Christianity, but he eventually tries to pay the disciples for “their” powers. Elymas, a Jewish false prophet and sorcerer in Cypress, causes chaos whenever the apostles are speaking. He is struck blind. The sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, try to profit by casting out demons. The demons don’t recognize them and beat them.
The Ephesians often used witchcraft and spells. Many stop dabbling in it and burn their expensive scrolls and charms after hearing about the one true God.
The Governor of Cypress says his island is beautiful because Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was born there. In Lystra, the people think Paul and Barnabas are gods or servants of Zeus and Hermes.
Peter’s fellow apostles are amazed at his boldness in sharing Christ on Pentecost and thereafter. Paul allows the Spirit to guide him as he determines what to say and where to go. Barnabas gives Mark a second chance to prove himself after Mark initially deserts Paul and him. The rulers and religious leaders, driven by pride, jealousy and fear, ruthlessly strive to eliminate Yeshua’s followers. For example, when Herod learns the people are happy that he killed James, he decides to kill more apostles.
Some illustrations show a small amount of blood as apostles are being stoned or beaten. The pictures are not particularly graphic. In one illustration, an angel wakes Peter to guide him out of prison. The illustration seems to have the angel punching Peter to wake him up.
A few pictures show a little female cleavage.
Lying: Ananias and Sapphira lie, saying they’ve given all of the profits from land they’ve sold to the church. God strikes them dead for their deception. People bear false witness against Stephen so the rulers will stone him. A Jewish high priest lies to Festus in an effort to get Paul transferred. He plans to ambush and kill Paul en route to his new location.
Murder: Stephen, James, Paul and others are killed for preaching about Yeshua.
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