I used to watch the old anthology series from the 1950s and 60s called The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling used to intone a message at the beginning, and then there was doo-doo-doo-doo music, and the black and white episode would begin.
My favorite episodes were “Time Enough At Last“, “The Shelter” and “To Serve Man”
About To Serve Man, I am going to SPOIL it for you. The episode is 55 years old but still has cultural (and moral) repercussions. Don’t read this if you don’t want to hear about the ending.
“To Serve Man” is episode 89 of the anthology series originally airing on March 2, 1962 on CBS. The story is based on the 1950 short story “To Serve Man”, written by Damon Knight. The title is a play on the verb serve, which has a dual meaning of “to assist” and “to provide as a meal”. The episode is one of the few instances in the series wherein an actor breaks the fourth wall and addresses the viewing audience at the episode’s end.
Here is Wikipedia’s full synopsis of the episode:
The Kanamits, a race of 9-foot-tall aliens, land on Earth. One of them addresses the United Nations via telepathy, announcing that his race’s motive in coming to Earth is to aid humanity by sharing their advanced technology. After answering questions, the Kanamit departs and leaves a book in the Kanamit language without comment, which leads Michael Chambers, a US government cryptographer, to be pressed into service.
Initially wary of an alien race who came “quite uninvited”, international leaders begin to be persuaded of the Kanamits’ benevolence when their advanced technology puts an end to hunger, energy shortages, and nuclear proliferation. Trust in the Kanamits seems to be justified when Patty, a member of the cryptography staff led by Chambers, decodes the title of the Kanamit book: To Serve Man. The Kanamits submit to interrogation and polygraph, at the request of the UN delegates. When declaring their benevolent intentions, the polygraph indicates that the Kanamit is speaking the truth.
Soon, humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits’ home planet, which they describe as a paradise. Kanamits now have embassies in every major city on Earth. With the Cold War ended, the code-breaking staff has no real work to do, but Patty is still trying to work out the meaning of the text of To Serve Man.
The day arrives for Chambers’s excursion to the Kanamits’ planet. Just as he mounts the spaceship’s boarding stairs, Patty runs toward him in great agitation. While being held back by a Kanamit guard, Patty cries: “Mr. Chambers, don’t get on that ship! The rest of the book To Serve Man, it’s… it’s a cookbook!” Chambers tries to run back down the stairs, but a Kanamit blocks him, the stairs retract, and the ship lifts off.
Michael Chambers’s ship quarters are a cot in a spartan interior. A voice offers him a choice of dish at all the regular meal times. Each time he refuses food with increasing irritation. At last he says to the audience: “How about you? You still on Earth, or on the ship with me? Really doesn’t make very much difference, because sooner or later, all of us will be on the menu… all of us.” The episode closes as he gives in and breaks his hunger strike.
The episode was rated the best twist ending ever. It certainly has stuck in my memory.
The title To Serve Man is a play on the verb serve, which has a dual meaning of “to assist” and “to provide as a meal”.
We see what we want to see, based on our expectations, and previous experience. We usually connect the new to the known.
When satan comes along, he does not announce himself as a tiny man with horns in a red jumpsuit holding a pitchfork. He deceives. He deludes the unwary into thinking he is there to serve you. But satan actually is there to serve you.
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6).
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15).
Satan wants to serve you … up on a dinner plate.
But we are not unaware of satan’s schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
For examples, false teachers begin softly, humbly. They seem kind and willing to serve the local or the global body. But false teachers are actually waiting for the moment to pounce. They patiently build up a loyal following, they insulate themselves, and they wait. They are wolves. Wolves are patient, the pack will track a caribou for days. See how wolves hunt:
A wolf pack may trail a herd of elk, caribou or other large prey for days before making its move. During this time, they are already hunting, assessing the herd, looking for an animal that displays any sign of weakness, and this is just the beginning. Wolves must also factor in other conditions that will affect the hunt; weather and terrain can tip the scales in favor of predator or prey. For example, a wide-open plain favors the ungulates, who, if full-grown and healthy, can outrun the fastest wolf. On the other hand, crusty snow or ice favors the wolves whose wide round paws have evolved to perform like snowshoes and carry them effortlessly over the surface. An experienced wolf is well aware that hoofed animals break through the crust and can become bogged down in deep snow.
Do not entertain false teachers. Do not coddle them, forgive them, allow them, make excuses for them…Titus 1:16 says,
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Of that verse, John MacArthur preached:
The next time you see a false teacher, you might say, “You rebellious, empty-talking, deceitful, lying, evil beast, slow-bellied glutton.” And you would certainly be within the framework of Scripture. You might have to cope a little bit with 2 Timothy 2, verse 25, which says, “We are to rebuke them with gentleness.” So say it kindly.
Remember, false teachers and false Christians don’t want to serve you, even if their mouths profess it. They want to serve you … up to the wolves…lions…pigs. Satan’s book…it’s a cookbook.