L.B.: LPU&B

L.B.: LPU&B March 16, 2007

Left Behind, pg. 256

Unlike Buck, the other journalists present at the United Nations actually file stories on Nicolae Carpathia's speech and press conference, turning the Romanian president into a media superstar:

By the time of the evening network news, a new international star had been born. He even had a nickname: Saint Nick. More than sound bites had been taken from the floor of the U.N. and the press conference. Carpathia enjoyed several minutes on each telecast, rousing the U.N. audience with the recitation of countries, urgently calling for a recommitment to world peace. …

The news broadcasts didn't offer mere "sound bites" from Carpathia's speech because it didn't contain any sound bites. The guy recited lists of countries, agencies and secretaries general. It's hard to imagine some news producer telling her editors, "Be sure we use that bit about U Thant — that's what everyone will be talking about tomorrow at the water cooler." Then again, it's hard to imagine any news producer caring a whit about a U.N. speech by the president of Romania, even on the slowest of slow news days. And since there's still no trace of every child on the planet and still no full accounting yet for how many and who all is among the disappeared, this wouldn't seem to be a slow news day. (Just think of what CNN would like following the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of white women.)

But set aside the unprecedented context of The Event and its aftermath. The president of Romania giving a speech at the United Nations, about the United Nations, wouldn't make the paper if it happened today, let alone the network news. Speeches at the U.N., even by national leaders, just aren't that big a deal. They might make the news if they include something newsworthy — like Hugo Chavez's "smells like Bush was here" shtick — but generally speaking, they're not news.

I understand that LaHaye and Jenkins have their own peculiar perspective on the United Nations, but you'd think they might have noticed, if they've ever watched the nightly news, that such broadcasts do not usually begin with even sound-bite coverage of speeches there. The media attention Carpathia is getting would make slightly more sense if he had spoken, instead, before a joint session of Congress in Washington, but L&J have studiously avoided any mention of the American government and how it might be responding to The Event. LaHaye lives in southern California and Jenkins lives in Colorado, but quite honestly they don't seem to occupy the same planet that the rest of us live on.

He had carefully avoided specific talk of global disarmament. His was a message of love and peace and understanding and brotherhood, and to quit fighting seemed to go without saying. No doubt he would be back to hammer home that point, but in the meantime, Carpathia was on the charmed ride of his life.

Speaking of hammering home one's point, L&J remind their readers here, yet again, that anyone with "a message of love and peace and understanding and brotherhood" should be viewed with suspicion. That's the language of the Antichrist, after all, the language of evil. This is not a minor point in Left Behind and I suspect it's one that many of their 60 million+ readers have absorbed. (I wouldn't be at all surprised to find a close correlation between that readership and the 29 percent of Americans who believe the war in Iraq is going well.)

L&J's insistence that the Antichrist be a promoter of peace and disarmament is part of what lends an unreality to the whole narrative of Carpathia's rise to power. Post-Event the world would be in chaos, chaos that would extend even to the personal, existential level — those left behind have just witnessed the erasing of the boundary between being and non-being. With the population traumatized, desperate for answers and direction, the situation would be ripe for dictators to seize power by declaring martial law, restoring order with an iron hand. The Post-Event rise of global dictatorship practically writes itself. But L&J instead present a scenario in which Carpathia rises to power on the basis of little more than utopian appeals for cooperation as chaos flowers into peaceful order. (I suppose, again, that if this scenario seems plausible to you, you might really think the war in Iraq is going well.)

The authors follow some strange twists of logic to arrive at the idea that "love and peace and unity and brotherhood" is the message of the Antichrist. The idea seems to have its roots in the biblical warnings against false Christs, passages like Matthew 24:4-5, "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." For these impostors to "deceive many," their claims must seem plausible, so they must talk like Jesus. A false Christ, in other words, would likely talk about the same things that Jesus Christ talked about — love and peace and understanding and brotherhood. But this talk will be fraudulent, the false Christ wouldn't really mean any of it.*

Somehow L&J seem to have lost sight of the fact that the words of such frauds should not be taken at face value. (I think this is partly due to their reflexive antagonism against "works righteousness," which leads them to emphasize words over deeds.) They are not on the lookout against the deceptions of disingenuous false leaders, but rather against anyone with a message of love and peace and understanding and brotherhood. They've gotten so caught up in guarding against wolves in sheep's clothing that anything in sheep's clothing is viewed as the enemy. So all sheep must be shot on sight.

Follow the logic. Once you've decided that the Most Important Thing is to avoid the wolf in sheep's clothing, your safest course of action is to embrace the wolf in wolf's clothing.

Apply this logic to vigilance against the Antichrist. We "know" the Antichrist will come claiming to favor LPU&B. Now imagine we are faced with a choice between two leaders. The first advocates LPU&B, but the second, instead, favors the opposite — hate, war, dissension and enmity. From LaHaye and Jenkins' perspective, we should choose the second leader, because we know he's not the Antichrist. The first one might be (or, at least, he might be an unwitting tool of the one-world government conspiracy that will eventually be led by the Antichrist).

Anyone who talks about love, peace, unity or brotherhood might be the Antichrist, so anyone who speaks of such things must be rejected.

Through books like LB and through the vast network of "Bible prophecy" seminars, newletters and radio hosts, tens of millions of Americans have been taught to think like this. Consider how you might go about energizing such voters if you thought of them as your "base" of electoral support.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* The most extensive discussion of such false Christs is found in 1 John, which also introduces us to the term "Antichrist." (John actually speaks of "antichrists" — plural — and the term is not found anywhere else in the Bible, not in Revelation or any of the other apocalyptic passages favored by PMDs.)

John's first epistle is all about recognizing and avoiding what he calls "the spirit of the antichrist," and it's chock full of blunt, stark statements on the topic, such as this from Chapter 4: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." For John, in other words, actual "love and peace and unity and brotherhood" are the hallmarks of genuine faith.

"There is only one way to explain how this both exists and is so valuable ..."

LBCF, No. 224: ‘My Lunch With ..."
"having worked for one where the owner felt that $11/hour was good pay for full-time ..."

LBCF, No. 224: ‘My Lunch With ..."
"It's very easy to justify pride for this kind of Christian. Just hide your hubris ..."

LBCF, No. 224: ‘My Lunch With ..."
"The relationship between evangelical pacifism and TurboJesus is a lot less complicated than it might ..."

LBCF, No. 224: ‘My Lunch With ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • aunursa

    Yeah, struck me as odd that Jesus returns and seem totally obsessed with making sure he says only the same things he did last time.
    Interview with Tim LeHaye, March 2004:
    Fabry: As a matter of fact, as people read or before they read the book, they’re gonna wonder what Jerry and Dr. LaHaye are going to have Jesus say, because there are some very specific things in Scripture that Jesus says, yet there are other things that He could say. Will He be able to speak to people? Will we hear a conversation or Jesus proclaiming something? That’s a touchy subject. You really don’t want to put words in Jesus’ mouth, do you?
    LaHaye: That’s a perceptive analysis, Chris, because it is a tickly subject, but, you know, it’s amazing how much the Bible has to say about that. What Jerry has done, in a masterful way, is go through and select portions of the Scripture and put words in Jesus’ mouth that are legitimate because they already appear in the Bible. What he does is make it personal. One of the things that moved me so much was the fact that people came away and said, “He knows my name! He knows ME, and He’s speaking directly to ME.”
    Why would Irene need to *make* butter in Heaven?
    Tim LeHaye:
    I feel the need to clarify that the millennial kingdom is not heaven. While in some ways it can be seen as a foretaste of heaven, sin will still exist. Those who enter this period after already having been in heaven are the redeemed saints, of course. And those who survived the Tribulation are also all saints. So the first few days of the Millennium will be idyllic, with Christ on the throne and all citizens of the earth believers.

  • aunursa

    Yeah, struck me as odd that Jesus returns and seem totally obsessed with making sure he says only the same things he did last time.
    Interview with Tim LeHaye, March 2004:
    Fabry: As a matter of fact, as people read or before they read the book, they’re gonna wonder what Jerry and Dr. LaHaye are going to have Jesus say, because there are some very specific things in Scripture that Jesus says, yet there are other things that He could say. Will He be able to speak to people? Will we hear a conversation or Jesus proclaiming something? That’s a touchy subject. You really don’t want to put words in Jesus’ mouth, do you?
    LaHaye: That’s a perceptive analysis, Chris, because it is a tickly subject, but, you know, it’s amazing how much the Bible has to say about that. What Jerry has done, in a masterful way, is go through and select portions of the Scripture and put words in Jesus’ mouth that are legitimate because they already appear in the Bible. What he does is make it personal. One of the things that moved me so much was the fact that people came away and said, “He knows my name! He knows ME, and He’s speaking directly to ME.”
    Why would Irene need to *make* butter in Heaven?
    Tim LeHaye:
    I feel the need to clarify that the millennial kingdom is not heaven. While in some ways it can be seen as a foretaste of heaven, sin will still exist. Those who enter this period after already having been in heaven are the redeemed saints, of course. And those who survived the Tribulation are also all saints. So the first few days of the Millennium will be idyllic, with Christ on the throne and all citizens of the earth believers.

  • aunursa

    BTW, you’ll get a good laugh out of several of LeHaye’s answerings in the interview in the first link.

  • aunursa

    BTW, you’ll get a good laugh out of several of LeHaye’s answerings in the interview in the first link.

  • ako

    I’ve figured it out! Jesus was animatronic, like the presidents at Disneyland! That’s why he could only quote himself. The imagineers didn’t have anything else programmed in.
    It’s all an alien plot! They’re using the whole ‘divine judgment’ line to scoop people up and eat them. Then they build robot copies of some people to keep everyone believing the story. And they’ve used mind control gas, or some kind of ray, to make everyone all blissed out and vegetarian, in order to fatten them up without wasting other sources of meat.
    Think about it. That explains so many illogical details. The pit of flames were one big barbecue. Irene’s making butter and pouring it all over the vegetables because she’s a robot programmed to keep people fattened up. That’s why the raptured folk are all the same age, too (cheaper to make a few standard model robots) and all the dead folk have gone asexual. That’s why they need to make more children, and have more heretics and more battles with people being cast into flames. This makes so much more sense than a loving all-powerful God insisting on acting like that. I’ve cracked it! The whole series is an experimental effort at retelling “To Serve Man,”.

  • ako

    I’ve figured it out! Jesus was animatronic, like the presidents at Disneyland! That’s why he could only quote himself. The imagineers didn’t have anything else programmed in.
    It’s all an alien plot! They’re using the whole ‘divine judgment’ line to scoop people up and eat them. Then they build robot copies of some people to keep everyone believing the story. And they’ve used mind control gas, or some kind of ray, to make everyone all blissed out and vegetarian, in order to fatten them up without wasting other sources of meat.
    Think about it. That explains so many illogical details. The pit of flames were one big barbecue. Irene’s making butter and pouring it all over the vegetables because she’s a robot programmed to keep people fattened up. That’s why the raptured folk are all the same age, too (cheaper to make a few standard model robots) and all the dead folk have gone asexual. That’s why they need to make more children, and have more heretics and more battles with people being cast into flames. This makes so much more sense than a loving all-powerful God insisting on acting like that. I’ve cracked it! The whole series is an experimental effort at retelling “To Serve Man,”.

  • aunursa

    Oops!
    answerings = answers
    Should have used preview.

  • aunursa

    Oops!
    answerings = answers
    Should have used preview.

  • LMM

    ako: I was going to quip something along the same lines, but couldn’t figure out how to say it properly.
    But yes, it is robot-Jesus.

  • hapax

    X: “But do sane christians go in for the type of “Oh God. You are so big….[etc.]”
    Well, I can’t speak for our sanity, and I for one certainly wouldn’t respond to MechaJesus that way, but yes, yes they do.
    Indeed, most mystics that I have read, of various religious traditions, all seem to have pretty so much the same response to experiencing the Divine: “Oh. Wow. That was like… Wow.”, in a gush of adulatory praise (adjusted for the cultural context and poetic capacities of the individual mystic.)

  • hapax

    X: “But do sane christians go in for the type of “Oh God. You are so big….[etc.]”
    Well, I can’t speak for our sanity, and I for one certainly wouldn’t respond to MechaJesus that way, but yes, yes they do.
    Indeed, most mystics that I have read, of various religious traditions, all seem to have pretty so much the same response to experiencing the Divine: “Oh. Wow. That was like… Wow.”, in a gush of adulatory praise (adjusted for the cultural context and poetic capacities of the individual mystic.)

  • Ken

    Why would Irene need to *make* butter in Heaven?
    My question is, *what* would she make it out of? I don’t think too many cows or goats survived The Great Tribulation. Well, since all these humans did, there *IS* one source of fresh milk… Don’t think it has enough butterfat, though…
    Well, obviously heaven is just like earth, except that everything is all sweetness and light and singing purple dinosaurs.
    Well, a lot of Contemporary Christian “Praise Choruses” sound like they were written by Barney…
    (Which is more impressive when you’re talking about anthropomorphic dinosaur characters: An emasculated Barney or a Velociraptor who retains her full kick-claws but keeps them sheathed when she curls up beside you?)
    And while they’re not making butter and snuggling with wild animals, everyone spends all their time, not just a few hours a week for a few decades but ETERNITY singing psalms to Jesus.
    This reminds me more of 1984 (“Long Live Big Brother!”) or North Korea (“Workers Joyfully Dancing with Great Enthusiasm before Dear Leader”) than any sort of Paradise. (Even al-Qaeda’s 72-virgin whorehouse Heaven sounds more like it!) Where’s Aslan’s Land that encompasses the entire Cosmos and beyond, where all that was still is, only perfected?

  • Ken

    Why would Irene need to *make* butter in Heaven?
    My question is, *what* would she make it out of? I don’t think too many cows or goats survived The Great Tribulation. Well, since all these humans did, there *IS* one source of fresh milk… Don’t think it has enough butterfat, though…
    Well, obviously heaven is just like earth, except that everything is all sweetness and light and singing purple dinosaurs.
    Well, a lot of Contemporary Christian “Praise Choruses” sound like they were written by Barney…
    (Which is more impressive when you’re talking about anthropomorphic dinosaur characters: An emasculated Barney or a Velociraptor who retains her full kick-claws but keeps them sheathed when she curls up beside you?)
    And while they’re not making butter and snuggling with wild animals, everyone spends all their time, not just a few hours a week for a few decades but ETERNITY singing psalms to Jesus.
    This reminds me more of 1984 (“Long Live Big Brother!”) or North Korea (“Workers Joyfully Dancing with Great Enthusiasm before Dear Leader”) than any sort of Paradise. (Even al-Qaeda’s 72-virgin whorehouse Heaven sounds more like it!) Where’s Aslan’s Land that encompasses the entire Cosmos and beyond, where all that was still is, only perfected?