Left Behind: Apollyon Review–Part 4

Previous parts

On page 162, Buck’s phone vibrates.  With our fetishist Buck, there are so many bad ways we can take that, especially if the phone is in his pants pocket.

On page 230, after a harrowing escape which leaves Buck fallen and injured on the ground, he feels “the bulge in his pocket.”  Er….

“Was it possible?  Had his phone survived?  He didn’t dare hope as he flipped it open.  The dial lit up.  He hit Rayford’s number.”

But of course it has!  Buck’s beloved phone has survived!  Oh, happy day!  After all, we want nothing to harm that bulge in Buck’s pocket.

On page 258, Chloe has been working on a business model to allow believers across the globe to share food and other resources after the Mark of the Beast becomes required for business transactions.

Buck asks what she’ll do when she has a baby to take care of.  She replies that she’ll teach her husband how to handle it.  He says, “Teach him what?  Your business or child care?”  She says, “Both.”

Oh, yeah, because the woman knows how to take care of babies and the man doesn’t, just because she’s a woman and he’s a man.  This is not a Christian thing, but a greater society thing that annoys me.

I hated this assumption when I was pregnant, and hate it now: Being a woman does not make you automatically know how to take care of children, and being a man does not automatically make you a bumbling idiot!

On page 259, I find another reminder that the LaHaye version of the Rapture/Tribulation doesn’t quite match what I Iearned, growing up as a PMD Christian.

For example, here we find that the Great Tribulation hasn’t started and won’t for another year and a half, and then will only be three and a half years.  I always heard that the Great Tribulation started immediately after the Rapture and went for 7 years.

In another place, the writers tell us that the Tribulation believers are not “Christians,” but “Tribulation Saints,” though everything I ever heard about it called them “Christians” or “believers.”

Then, of course, there is the disagreement in prophecy circles over whether the Holy Spirit will even be around during this time, whether anyone can become a believer during the Tribulation, or whether there are conditions to who can become a believer (ie, the Holy Spirit is gone, but you can become a believer, but it’s very hard, even impossible if you heard and clearly understood the Gospel and rejected it before the Rapture).

These books take the stance that anyone can become a believer, whether they rejected the Gospel or never heard it before the Rapture.

Isn’t it funny how these prophecies supposedly come from a literal reading of the Bible, and are supposed to be evident to anybody who reads it with a mind open to the leadings of the Spirit, yet there are so many different versions of what exactly the prophecies are?

This is one of many things which ultimately led me to Orthodoxy, where you are led by the general consensus of the Church, not by individual interpretation.

On page 261, Buck and friends try to badger–er, convince Chaim Rosenzweig to convert to Christianity.  Buck says, “God is trying to get your attention, Dr. Rosenzweig.  I hope it doesn’t take something drastic.”

Drastic, unlike the non-drastic events we’ve already seen: earthquakes, floods, famine, water turned to blood, etc….

On pages 296-298, we find the attitude that has riled up so many of the “heathen” and non-premillennial-dispensationalist Christians against these books, rather than just dismissing them as badly-written propaganda works:

An angel speaks from Heaven in Greek, and it’s heard throughout the earth, each person hearing it in his own language.  Radio satellite dishes and probes follow the angel to see what it is, and it says, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”

We read,

Buck heard the angel and mistook it for the TV until he saw the look on Chaim’s face.  The old man was terrified.  How could he, or anyone, doubt the existence of God now?  This was no longer about ignorance.  It was about choice.

But Buck does not seem to realize that even such words from an angel can be very confusing to someone who, say, was raised Hindu and knows very little about Christian angels or Tribulation prophecies.

But the lines are being drawn here: If you don’t become a Christian, you have deliberately chosen to be against God.

On page 300, yet again we find one of the Tribulation Force–in this case, Rayford–falling into sinful behavior, and we read, “Rayford’s old nature took over.”  In this case, the sinful behavior is sarcasm and aggressiveness in dealing with an abrasive and aggressive guy named Bo.

(Bo, by the way, has just proclaimed the voice from the sky to be “those crazy fundamentalists again, playing with our minds.  Some kind of loudspeaker trick.”  Yet another example of the persecution complex in these books.)

On page 305, we see that a literal interpretation of Revelations leads to silliness in End-Times literature:

Can we really take it seriously when the characters encounter demonic insects with horse bodies, human faces, lion teeth, long hair, a kind of helmet-crown, and scorpion tails, that can speak human languages?  When Buck captures one (p. 319) and it starts screaming, “Abaddon!  Abaddon!” in a tiny voice?

(I can’t help remembering the end of the original The Fly, with the little fly with a man’s head screaming in a tiny voice, “Help me!  Help me!”  Rock, anyone?)  Though at least it’s not like the giant tail which lunges through doorways (1:22:45) in The Image of the Beast.

But then Buck wants to–open the window?  Sure he says it’s so he can trap one between the screen and the window to look at it more closely.

But is he mad?  Does he want them to get past the window and get to Chaim?  Chaim is sensible enough to say no, but Buck keeps insisting, saying that they won’t kill him (just make him want to die), isn’t he fascinated as a scientist….

And, of course, eventually Chaim gets stung.

To be continued….

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