The Apocalypse of St. Peter (Garrett)

“Bible prophecy” teaches gullible Christians to mangle the words of the Bible. So I guess it’s not surprising that those poor folks would turn around and apply the same interpretive method to the songs of Midnight Oil and of 1980s hair band Europe.

YouTube Preview Image

For those who can’t watch the video, it’s an earnest word of “prophecy” from a man who has apparently bought the deluxe package of bamboozling BS from the “Bible prophecy scholars.” He’s sure that the Rapture will occur this year, in 2013, because God spoke to him through a Midnight Oil song and told him “the time has come.” This prophetic message from God was confirmed to him by another good Christian whom God spoke to through the same song, and then confirmed again by yet another believer to whom God spoke through the song “The Time Has Come,” from Europe’s Final Countdown album. (Did they have another album besides that one?)

I never realized that “Beds Are Burning” was about the Rapture. I always thought it was about justice for Australia’s indigenous people — but then I also thought that John’s Apocalypse was about the late-first-century Roman Empire, so what do I know?

The poor guy in the video above, bless his heart, is not wrong to detect something apocalyptic in the music of Midnight Oil. Apocalyptic was kind of their thing. Their catalogue is filled with apocalyptic warnings and old-school prophecy — not the fortune-telling, Nostradamus parlor-tricks of predicting the future that Tim LaHaye et. al. think of as prophecy, but the emphatic justice-or-judgment message of the actual biblical prophets. “Your dreamworld is just about to fall” — that’s apocalyptic. “In the end the rain comes down … washes clean the streets” — that’s apocalyptic. “The sunset empire shudders and shakes” could almost come from the book of Revelation itself. That’s from “Sometimes” — which is the essence of apocalyptic:

YouTube Preview Image

The empire is falling, don’t give in. Apocalyptic in a nutshell.

The fascinating thing about that earnestly awful “prophecy” YouTube post at the top here is the way the poor guy so perfectly replicates the way that “Bible prophecy” Christians distort and dismiss the meaning of apocalyptic literature, twisting it into something wholly unrecognizable. This guy does to Midnight Oil precisely the same thing that Tim LaHaye does to the book of Revelation. He clips a phrase out of context, tosses away the rest, and then pretends that phrase means something that the text itself never mentions at all.

The guy says God spoke to him, giving him the phrase “the time has come.” And for him that phrase can only mean one thing: the Rapture. He heard the song, but he refused to listen to it, completely ignoring its urgent, passionate cry for immediate, tangible justice. (Here’s a bit of personal background on Midnight Oil’s lead singer, Peter Garrett, that suggests “Beds Are Burning” expressed the strongest imagery he could imagine.)

Justice gets set aside, replaced by talk of the “Rapture.” But the song doesn’t say anything at all about the Rapture. Neither, for that matter, does the book of Revelation.

(Happily, our friend’s YouTube prophecy has only been viewed about 20,000 times since he posted it back in August, so his theory that “Beds Are Burning” is really all about the Rapture hasn’t yet wormed its way into conventional wisdom the way the LaHaye/Scofield/Darby/Lindsey nonsense has. So we’ll probably never hear cable news reporters glibly parroting the idea that this is “Midnight Oil’s hit song about the Rapture” the way that they thoughtlessly, incorrectly love to repeat that Left Behind is “based on a literal reading of Revelation.”)

This is always the pattern with “Bible prophecy.” This is how they always mangle and misread apocalyptic literature. Ignore injustice. Ignore context. Pretend everything is about something it never mentions. Then breathlessly predict the imminent “Rapture.”

But what about thosee multiple “confirmations” of this guy’s prophecy? How should we regard them?

I’m holding out for additional confirmation. Somewhere, another brother in Christ is listening to Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long.” Somewhere a sister in Christ is listening to “Pikachu’s Goodbye” from the Pokemon soundtrack. And other brothers and sisters are hearing “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music, or U2′s “Kite,” or (if they speak Swahili) “King of Pride Rock” from The Lion King. And perhaps all of them will also decide that God is speaking to them through those songs to give them all those same prophetic words: “The time has come.”

And surely that must mean the Rapture is at hand. “The time has come” — what else could it ever possibly mean?

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax –
Of cabbages and kings –
And why the sea is boiling hot –
And whether pigs have wings.”



Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 31: 'Scream 2 morality'
Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 30: 'Thank Heaven for little girls'
Inerrancy, white evangelicals, 'and the sin of racism'
Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 29: 'Sorrow Floats'
  • LeRoc

    I understand that they released an album of grunge music a couple of years ago.

  • Isabel C.

    I used it in one of my novels as a retroactive “prophecy”–After The End, some people heard it and thought that, oh, *clearly* there’s a secret code going on here.

  • Isabel C.

    Paul is dead, man.

  • Matri

    Found on Facebook, somewhere (sorry, my Fu is weak):

    “Where are you taking me, and why am I in a handbasket?”

  • Hawker40

    Comedian Sam Kennison mocked him for it, suggesting that he should have listened to the Monkees instead.

  • AnonymousSam

    You might not have gotten it from him, but I believe I saw it today from George Takei. :D

  • Matri

    Quite possibly. I’m currently mis-remembering stuff. That tends to happen when I post from work.


  • AnonymousSam

    Been there. My short-term memory borders on ludicrously bad. Without a lot of mnemonic devices and physical logs which I can consult to refresh myself, I have a lot of trouble remembering anything long enough to encode it into long term recollection.

  • islandbrewer

    Wasn’t he the Walrus?

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Who shall be your Warmaster? :)

  • Luke the Lurker

    Meanwhile teenager (and adult) Australians were getting angry about Americans thinking that everything is about them.

  • Pattrsn

    I though maybe a few hundred yrs ago some illuminati formed a secret message dept for communication purposes but thanks to the laws of buerocracy it’s grown enormous and now consumes most of the illuminati budget to the point that they are no longer able to fund the actual conspiracies.

  • mistformsquirrel

    It’s a tossup between Tim Curry or Johnny Depp >_>

  • Oswald Carnes

    The dead walrus.

  • SororAyin

    Takei has the best memes.

  • The_L1985

    IKR? The one prayer in the entire series isn’t even addressed to Anyone!

    So many problems with that series, yet I loved it so much…

  • bekabot

    What would have been really cool is if he’d listened to the Banana Splits. “Over hill and highway the Banana Buggies go…” — that practically cries out for creative interpretation. Remember how Charlie Manson thought that the weird mounts and chariots described in Revelations were actually dune buggies belonging to fans of the Beatles (read: “locusts”)? Imagine what he could have done with the Banana Splits lyrics. “Flipping like a pancake/popping like a cork” — which is what we’re all going to do once the vials of wrath are upended over our heads. Sid and Marty Krofft were prophets, man, prophets!! You heard it here first.

  • StevoR

    For a long time the Oils were my fave band.

    Wonder what he would’ve made of their song ‘Minutes to Midnight’ or the section at very end of ‘Kosciusko.’ (Australia’s highest peak named by a Polish explorer and apparently always mispronounced.) Sadly, can’t seem to find either on youtube right now. (Clips of Koscisuko exist but lack the extra ending part I’m thinking of.)

  • cminus

    I got a kick out of ‘Kosciusko’ when I first heard it, in no small part because not far from where I grew up there’s a Kosciusko County, named for American Revolutionary War foreign volunteer, Polish patriot, and all-around Enlightenment-era Good Guy Tadeusz Kosciusko, and it turns out we Hoosiers mispronounce Kosciusko exactly the same way Australians do.

    (My hometown did have a large ethnic Polish contingent, though, and some of the older ones pronounced the county ka-ZHOO-sko, which is apparently much closer to correct.)

  • The Other Weirdo

    Oh my sweetest Jesus, no, not again. Have these freaks learnt nothing from Harry Camping? You do not put actual verifiable dates to the Apocalypsi. Nothing good ever comes of that.

  • AnonymousSam

    Camping didn’t learn from Camping. Harold Camping made seven predictions in total.

  • anon

    Zechariah 14:1-12

    14 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. 5 And
    you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the
    mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

    6 On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. 7 And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.

    8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.

    9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.

    10 The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. 11 And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction.[e] Jerusalem shall dwell in security.

    12 And this shall be the plague with which the Lord
    will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their
    flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes
    will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

    Ezekiel 38:1-20

    38 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all
    your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a
    great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. 5 Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you.

    7 “Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. 8 After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. 9 You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you.

    10 “Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme 11 and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders
    will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your
    hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away
    livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’

    14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord God: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? 15 You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. 16 You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 17 “Thus says the Lord God: Are you he
    of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel,
    who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against
    them? 18 But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. 19 For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The
    fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the
    field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the
    people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground.

    Naturally it’s all just some kind of social commentary. :rolleyes:

    Your hermeneutic seems to be based on methodological naturalism. If we trust that God exists, knows the future and can reveal it if He wills, there is no reason to not view the Book of Revelation as somehow descriptive of yet future events. If on the contrary we do not, we are forced to interpret the Bible according to a Procrustean hermeneutic which treats it as a man-made piece of literature. This leads to nonsense like JEDP and a Maccabean Book of Daniel which are plainly false under scrutiny but are still held by secular Bible scholars, as they have no way to otherwise understand the Bible without admitting that it contains accurate and otherwise inexplicable prophecy.


    Your way of reading the Bible is shocking for a self-proclaimed Christian. At one stroke, you rid Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 of their meaning; you erase the Book of Daniel; you destroy the typological meaning of innumerable passages in the Old Testament (the Binding of Isaac, Moses’ brass serpent, the story of Joseph, etc…).

    Eventually you are forced to make a choice:

    1. Revelation was nothing more than a revenge fantasy against the Roman Empire; John the Apostle was just a false prophet; there is no Holy Spirit to inspire scripture; Jesus is dead and lying in the ground today. Christianity is a false religion.

    2. Jesus returned invisibly around 70 AD. The Resurrection promised to us (1 Corinthians 15) was just a metaphor for something spiritual and invisible. Any promise of His future coming is false. Eventually Christianity will die out; long after that Earth will become uninhabitable and in 100 trillion years the universe will simply wind down like clockwork.
    3. Vaguely, God will do something in the distant future to end oppression and tyranny in the universe in non-violent fashion. We have no idea of when or any signs to look for to see His coming approach. We have no idea of what precisely might happen or how. I think you have expressed this opinion before.

    I’m sorry if I sound harsh or dismissive (I definitely agree with you that that guy’s “prophecy” studies are insane) but these choices are ultimately what a naturalistic opinion of the Bible leads to. I beg you to consider rethinking your opinion on Biblical prophecy. If you deny it as you seem to do then you cannot believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

  • Pseudonym

    Heretic! Everyone knows that Don McLean’s song American Pie is the true prophecy!

    (I wish that link was a joke.)

  • Pseudonym

    I dare you to point him to U.S. Forces.

    Having said that, if this guy got some traction, an entrepreneurial soul could make a killing by selling accommodation exactly half-way between Kintore and Yuendumu, being the likely site of Christ’s return according to the song.

  • Pseudonym

    Karate is the only true martial art. As it is written, “Put down that weapon, or we’ll all be gone.”