Oh, hey, did you hear that another Left Behind movie is coming out in October? It’s sure to make the book of Revelation extra, super scary. Check out this official description:
“The most important event in the history of mankind is happening right now. In the blink of an eye, the biblical Rapture strikes the world. Millions of people disappear without a trace. All that remains are their clothes and belongings, and in an instant, terror and chaos spread around the world. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn. Planes fall from the sky. Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. There is no one to help or provide answers. In a moment, the entire planet is plunged into darkness.”
Death! Destruction! Chaos! Terror! End Times Judgment!
Man, Revelation sounds terrifying… that is, if such events linked to an actual rapture were actually going to happen.
I’ve already shared quite a bit about the book of Revelation in my book The Good News of Revelation. That book digs into the background of Revelation, particularly its audience.
The short version is that John wrote a book in a series of symbols in order to answer a very important question: Why are God’s people killed and oppressed by the Romans if Jesus is Lord?
As evidenced from the movie promotion, the Left Behind version of Revelation can turn God into a violent and angry monster hell bent on destroying the world—or at least the people who weren’t raptured. When I worked on A Christian Survival Guide I found that such violent depictions of God can become a huge barrier to faith.
How do we reconcile Jesus, who said, “My peace I leave with you” and a God who is about to send fire pouring down on the earth?
Well, there are lots of ways we could go about this. We could even look at the Bible, but sometimes a little bit of humor can help cut the tension.
Why not write up a fake book review of Revelation to snap us out of Left Behind terror?
Book Review from the Ephesus Exposé
“Sophomore Effort from Fisherman Casts Wide Net in Revelation by John of Patmos”
Dragons, beasts rising from the sea, and angel guides add elements of danger and mystery to the latest release from John of Patmos, even if they sometimes fall flat as familiar, pedantic tropes from Jewish “apocalypticisms” and the wildly speculative book of Daniel. John is clearly reacting to the stinging critiques of his previous eponymous release that used painfully simple Koine Greek and dragged over-wrought symbols and signs through each scene. If his microcosm of a “gospel” was too reductive, obvious, and heavy handed, his apocalypse veers toward the obscure and obstreperous with its grandiose literary aspirations and pantheon of religious symbols.
For all that is familiar and overused in Revelation, it’s a coruscating and provocative read that offers a new-age twist from John’s break-off Jewish sect of Nazarenes that reenacts a series of familiar, though sometimes tiring, biblical clichés such as the serpent vs. the woman and the plagues that precede the exodus. His opening epistolary warnings to a series of churches lends an air of urgency that drives home the many symbols of heavenly and earthly warfare that follow. No doubt his readers may puzzle over the identity of the Antichrist, but once again, John’s failure to develop this character only serves to expose his limitations as an author. For all of his faux sophistication, John of Patmos remains hooked on his humble origins and has yet to produce a work of literature that will endure beyond its two-week release period. Fascinating though John’s innovations may be, this humble laborer’s work still smells fishy.
– Flavius Josephus
Read more ridiculous parodies in A Christian Survival Guide—because everyone struggling to save their faith needs a good laugh, right?