Left Behind: The Mark Review–Part 6 (Last)
On page 308, we read Rayford’s thoughts that:
But if there was someone who seemed healthier more quickly than most, it was Hattie. The irony of that was not lost on Rayford.
Fewer than twenty-four hours before she became a believer, she was suicidal. Months before, she had admitted to any Trib Force member who had the endurance to debate her that she understood and believed the whole truth about the salvation gospel of Christ.
She simply had decided, on her own, to willfully reject it because, even if God didn’t seem to care that she didn’t deserve it, she did care. She was saying, in effect, that God could offer her the forgiveness of her sins without qualification, but she didn’t have to accept it.
But once she finally received the gift, her mere persistence was wearing. In many ways she was the same forthright woman she had been before, nearly as obnoxious as a new believer as she had been as a holdout. But of course, everyone was happy she was finally on the team.
Poor obnoxious Hattie. Even becoming a believer doesn’t stop her from being obnoxious.
Rayford finds her doing a womanly task–changing the baby–and asks if she has a minute. She says, “If this guy is drowsy, I’ve got all the time in the world, which–according to our favorite rabbi–is slightly less than three and a half years.”
Just a harmless joke that anybody might make, but Rayford thinks, “Hattie isn’t as funny as she sees herself, but there is something to be said for consistency.”
Yes, there is something to be said for consistency: Ray is still condescending to this person whom he once wanted to pork. Love them, then devalue and discard them–Dang, Rayford sounds like a narcissist! Knowing what we know about him, yeah, “narcissism” fits him like a glove.
Anyway, Ray hems and haws a bit before finally getting around to saying that he needs Hattie to do a favor that has to do with Chaim. She says,
“Isn’t he the best?”
“He’s great, Hattie. But he needs something Tsion and I don’t seem to be able to give him.”
“Rayford! He’s twice my age!”
Oh, geez. She’s redeemed yet still she’s painted as the whore!
The “favor,” by the way, is for her to transfer some of her new believer bounciness into Chaim. In a nonsexual fashion, of course.
On page 312, Buck, who is impersonating “Corporal Jack Jensen on behalf of Deputy Commander Marcus Elbaz [Albie],” is watching as prisoners in the detention center are made to choose between the Mark and the guillotine: “Buck watched the process, despairing at the masses who ignorantly sealed their fate.”
Yes, Buck watched as the masses ignorantly sealed their fate. They’re ignorant, yet this seals their fate? They can’t possibly change their mind later if they got a mark they didn’t actually fully understand?
Somehow I think that God would snatch souls out of Satan’s very grasp, even if Satan had a signed contract saying they were his. Not to mention, you would think that Buck would at least try to stop the proceedings, maybe quietly pass out some Chick Tracts. (Everyone loves Chick Tracts!)
But then his phone vibrated–woowoo! I bet Buck loves having his phone on vibrate. Then his phone shows how much it loves him back.
On page 339, Tsion once again deceives his readers with the false security of Once-Saved-Always-Saved, telling them that once they decide for Christ and get God’s seal on their foreheads, or accept the mark of loyalty to Antichrist, “[Y]ou cannot change your mind!”
And that he believes that when his flock is forced to make public their beliefs, choose for God or the Antichrist, they will be “unable to deny Jesus, unable to even choose the mark that would temporarily save our lives.”
I bet this would be news to the Early Church. Not only did the Epistles warn us to stay steadfast in the faith, that we needed to work hard to stay Christians, but many people were turned away from re-joining the faith after having chosen loyalty to the emperor over martyrdom. People are weak.
On pages 342 to 343, Tsion basically invents a way of explaining Exodus 32:33 to fit with once-saved-always-saved: When Moses asks God to blot his name out of God’s book rather than punish the Israelites for their many sins, God says he will blot out of the book whoever has sinned against Him.
Tsion comes up with the idea that this is referring to the book of the living, and that the book referred to in the New Testament is the book of Christians. He has no sources to base this on other than “my contention” and “to me”–and having to make the Bible conform to Calvinist doctrine.
This is not the traditional view of the Book of Life, rather, that it and the Book of the Life of the Lamb (which Tsion says is referred to in the New Testament) are one and the same thing: a roster of the righteous, out of which to be blotted means (physical and spiritual) death.
The Talmud and the Book of Jubilees also refer to a Book of the Dead, where the wicked and their deeds are recorded.
Tsion’s version is not one I’ve heard of before: Growing up in the Nazarene tradition, I always understood there to be one Book of Life with the names of the redeemed, not two separate books, one for the physically alive and one for the spiritually alive.
With his lack of cited sources, or even a reference to any tradition, Tsion appears to have invented this solely out of his own head, and with some prooftexting, in order to fit with his contention that none of his flock need fear choosing the Mark over salvation out of brown-underpantsing fear.
R. Kruspedai said in the name of R. Johanan: Three books are opened [in heaven] on New Year, one for the thoroughly wicked, one for the thoroughly righteous, and one for the intermediate.
The thoroughly righteous are forthwith inscribed definitively in the book of life; the thoroughly wicked are forthwith inscribed definitively in the book of death; the doom of the intermediate is suspended from New Year till the Day of Atonement; if they deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of life; if they do not deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of death.
Said R. Abin, What text tells us this? — Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
‘Let them be blotted out from the book — this refers to the book of the wicked.
‘Of life — this is the book of the righteous.
‘And not be written with the righteous’– this is the book of the intermediate.
R. Nahman b. Isaac derives it from here: And if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written, ‘Blot me, I pray thee’– this is the book of the wicked.
‘Out of thy book’– this is the book of the righteous. ‘Which thou has written’– this is the book of the intermediate.
—Talmud – Mas. Rosh HaShana 16b, translated into English with notes, glossary and indices under the editorship of Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, B.A., Ph.D., D. Lit., Soncino Babylonian Talmud
I see I’m not the only one to have noticed this strange teaching of Tim LaHaye’s:
Scripture-Twisting in the LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible
The Book of Life: One Book or Two?
On pages 348 to 354, we read about a kid, Chang, who doesn’t want to take the Mark, is a believer, resists all he can, but is forced to take the Mark by his father. But underneath the Mark can still be seen (to other believers) the cross of Christ. So it’s not all-or-nothing after all?
At long last, I have finished book 8. I’m halfway through the series (I think)! On to book 9….