Sinead O'Connor has recorded a nice version of the Peter Tosh song "Downpresser Man." Hearing it yesterday, I was struck by how Tosh's lyrics capture the meaning and the spirit of the apocalypse better than anything Tim LaHaye has ever written.
If you haven't heard it, "Downpresser Man" is an explicitly apocalyptic song. It describes the Day of the Lord's Judgment, complete with wrath raining from heaven — "the sea will be boiling … the rocks will be melting." This divine wrath will leave the "downpresser man" with nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide.
The oppressor will be overthrown, the powers that be will be cast down and the end of the age will bring, at last, liberation.
The Rasta understand the meaning and the central importance of liberation. And because they understand liberation, they understand the apocalypse. The downpresser man — the antichrist, the beast, The Man — may be winning now, but he cannot ultimately win. His might and power cannot save him anymore than Pharaoh's could.
You remember Pharaoh: Enslaved the people, declared himself God and acted like he really believed it? That guy. Remember what happened to him? That's what the apocalyptic is all about.
For all the desperate cutting-and-pasting of scripture done by prophecy-obsessed PMDs like Tim LaHaye, they never seem to connect the downpresser man of John's Revelation with the original downpresser man of the book of Exodus. They don't connect the seals and bowls and horsemen of John's apocalypse with the apocalyptic plagues of Egypt. And thus they never consider that these outpourings of divine wrath might be seen as agents of liberation.
So instead of exultant, hopeful songs like "Downpresser Man," they write turgid, oppressive novels like Left Behind.
Tim LaHaye could learn a lot from Peter Tosh.