On page 390 I got confused: Hattie, who was poisoned by the Antichrist, has lost her baby and is on her deathbed. She doesn’t feel worthy of salvation by Christ, and says, “Just let me die.” Chloe responds, “No! You promised to be my baby’s godmother.” Later on, Chloe says, “You’re my friend, and I want you for a sister.”
Sister? Godmother? I’m not sure how being a godmother makes you the mother’s “sister.” If she means spiritual sister, wouldn’t that apply to a daughter of Chloe’s godmother?
And godmother–isn’t this verboten in the branch of Christianity represented by these books? You get to be a godmother by being the sponsor at a baby’s baptism. Tim LaHaye is a Baptist. Baptists are opposed to baby baptism. So how could Hattie be Chloe’s baby’s godmother (or Chloe’s sister, for that matter)?
To try to find an answer to this, I tried searching for Jerry Jenkins’ affiliation, but could not find it. Still, premillennial dispensationalism tends to be doctrine among the branches of Christianity which reject baby baptism; the mainline churches which do practice baby baptism, tend to reject dispensationalism in favor of amillennialism or postmillennialism. So Chloe’s comments about a godmother, make no sense to me.
When Chloe says, “I want you for a sister,” Hattie says, “I’m too old to be your sister.” Oh, come on, Hattie–You’re less than ten years older than Chloe! Siblings can easily be that far apart in age, even farther, in fact (my eldest brother is ten years older than I am).
Buck then whispers with “his lips near her ear”: “You want Jesus, don’t you?” Come on, baby, you know you want Jesus!
On page 400, after hearing from Hattie that Nicolae had Bruce poisoned, Buck ponders murdering Nicolae. Rayford also has such thoughts periodically, such as on page 416. These violent thoughts are quite disturbing, especially when these are supposed to be born-again Christians who are taught by Christ to love their enemies. I can only hope the characters will be properly chastened later.
Page 406 shows the problem inherent in any story which is supposed to represent the future: Tsion decides to run his computer on batteries during a storm, but remain connected to the phone lines. What, no cable modem, DSL or wireless router?
On page 410, in the middle of a divinely ordained hailstorm, “plummeting tongues of fire” begin coming down, then showers of blood. From the sky. Not only does this scene (like many others) strain plausibility, but Rayford’s response to the blood is “a peace flooding his soul.”
But this show, this shower of fire and ice and blood, reminded him yet again that God is faithful. He keeps his promises. While our ways are not his ways and we can never understand him this side of heaven, Rayford was assured again that he was on the side of the army that had already won this war.
That’s an odd reaction to fire and blood showering down from the sky! Does he feel no repulsion, or even concern for the people and animals who might get caught underneath the hail, fire and blood? Also, what about understanding for why people still may not turn to the book’s version of God, since they don’t know what’s going on or why God is treating them this way?
Tsion’s reaction is, “Here comes the blood.” (Cue Sammy Davis Jr.’s “Here comes the judge!“) Then he shouts,
Praise the Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth! What you see before you is a picture of Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Eh? For one, how did he connect the hailstorm with Isaiah 1:18, and for two, why is he praising for this?
More of the same is on page 417, when the news reports a massive comet on its way to a collision course with Earth. This comet is expected to cause unknown devastation–possibly even split the earth in two. And what is Rayford’s response? “It’s happening!…This is going to be some ride!”
The comet finally hits, followed by a meteor called Wormwood. (I guess that means LaHaye doesn’t follow the school of thought which says “Wormwood” refers to the Chernobyl disaster.)
We follow the edge-of-your-seat action as–Oh, wait, there is no edge-of-your-seat action, because the whole thing is summarized in about three pages tops. Then a few pages later, the book ends.
There is suspense in the question, Was Amanda, Rayford’s new wife, a double agent for the Antichrist? I keep hoping that she is, because it would provide a twist to make the books far more intriguing than they have been so far.
But in the hands of a better writer, we would have seen the comet’s devastation as it unfolded, and felt worn out from the tragedy as now Wormwood threatened the earth. And the writer teaches other people how to write?