Jan 2001
  

Left Behind Series

Contents

  Intro

  Left Behind

  The Prince of Peace

  The Jews

  Servants of the Antichrist

  The Supernatural

  The Mark

  Wells Without Water

  Torture and the Virgin Army new.gif


  Survivorsnew.gif

  Back to Home

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Part 4 - Servants of the Antichrist

The "Left Behind" series is inspiring, in terms of making people think about the serious, life and death situations which await so many of us in the near future. However, it tends to assume that, even in the face of disaster, life for conservative fundamentalist Christians will pretty much go on the same, with the same values and goals that have characterised their lives up until now.

In other words, people will continue to go to church meetings on Sundays and to work in system jobs the rest of the week, right through the Tribulation and all that comes with it. The book suggests that people will get to mid-week meetings only if it does not interfere too much with their work, and that they will continue to have plenty of cash to throw around for the very best gadgetry and for the most expensive cars. And they will continue to hop on and off airplanes to jet around the world at will. There is nothing in the book which speaks to the condition of poor Christians, or Christians living poor countries. Most startling is that all of this materialistic philosophy is being preached at a time (in the story) when people should be seriously reconsidering whether the values that they lived by before the trouble started were really the correct ones.

The beauty of any good disaster story is that it gives the author opportunity to get people thinking past the mundane assumptions of everyday life. In desperate circumstances, people begin to recognise the futility of so much that they did before the disaster struck. But the "Left Behind" series lacks the courage to even suggest that there may be something wrong with the materialism of evangelical fundamentalism. Even in the face of the ultimate choice between serving Jesus or serving the Antichrist, the book's two heroes both find themselves very much in the employ of the Antichrist.

There is reflected in them the same double-mindedness that professing Christians face today when it comes to their efforts to work for God and work for money at the same time. They are forced to admit that they work for money because they fear being without it, at the same time that they search for excuses to be in their present jobs, usually on the grounds that they may one day be a "witness" where they are.

In most war type movies, where people are displaced and fighting for their lives, any talk of paid employment becomes fairly meaningless. However, at least the first six books in the Left Behind series suggest that paid employment is the norm for Christians during the time of great trouble. Not only are Christian heroes expected to continue working for money, but they are seen as getting the best jobs with the highest rates of pay. Against all reason, they are seen as being divinely protected in their work for the Antichrist himself, who, for no clear reason, keeps them on his staff even when he knows that they are supposed to be representing his arch Enemy, Jesus.

While Rayford Steele and Buck Cameron (the two heroes of the "Left Behind" series) continue to serve the Antichrist, they really do not learn anything that makes a great deal of difference in their ability to serve Christ during the years that they continue to work for A.C. Because they fear opposition if they speak out openly for their faith, their on-the-job "witness" is also relatively ineffective. They appear to be there for one reason, and that is for the money that it represents. The book itself is fairly clear about that, as we will show shortly.

We could appreciate the possibility that God might actually call someone to infiltrate the enemy's camp for a specific purpose. But that is not the case with Buck and Rayford. They go on year after year doing and saying nothing of any great spiritual significance. As a consequence, they are tormented by the guilt which they know they should feel, but which they (or their author) tries to brush away with faint suggestion that God may want them where they are.

The first chapter of Soul Harvest (volume four) is amazingly honest in depicting the angst and double-mindedness that Rayford Steele goes through with regard to his service to the Antichrist. But, because he is the hero of the series, the end result (his caving in to fear and selfishness) tends to justify similar gutlessness on the part of other Christians, both now and presumably in the future, when the real tribulation begins.

"Soul Harvest" begins with these words: "Rayford Steele wore the uniform of the enemy of his soul, and he hated himself for it." Rayford rips the coat off and beats it on the ground, in anger at the fact that the Antichrist has just destroyed thousands if not millions of lives in a needless war. A strange sentence appears on the second page of the book: "Rayford considered abandoning all vestiges of his connection to Nicolae Carpathia's regime, but his attention was drawn again to the luxuriously appointed arm patches." It is almost like a Freudian slip on the part of the authors to include a sentence like that. Why should luxurious arm patches cause him to change his mind? In the next paragraph a different explanation is given for Rayford's change of mind: "As he knelt to retrieve his coat, Rayford's maddening logic returned -- the practicality that made him who he was. Having no idea of what he might find in the ruins of his condominium, he couldn't treat as dispensable what might constitute his only remaining set of clothes."

So, whether Rayford decides to continue serving the enemy of his soul because he needs the clothes or because he craves the luxuries and power that go with them, the point is that he never really faces the possibility of totally trusting God to provide him with his material needs. Nor has he faced the possibility that God might ask him to survive without luxuriously appointed arm patches.

But the authors go on to defend Rayford's decision further. On pages three and four he makes brave threats about how he is going to tell the Antichrist just what he thinks of him. But as soon as he is faced with the opportunity to do just that, he caves in again. Here is the telephone dialogue between himself and his co-pilot. Rayford is talking to Mac:

""I understand you want to talk to me later, Mac, but don't put Carpathia on or I swear I'll--'

"'Stand by for the Potentate.'

"Rayford switched the phone to his right hand, ready to smash it on the ground, but he restrained himself. When avenues of communication reopened, he wanted to be able to check on his loved ones."

First it was clothing, then it was his loved ones. In both situations, the Antichrist had him in his grip, because Rayford Steele, like so many professing Christians today, had never seriously considered the teachings of Jesus, which ask us to put him before loved ones, before clothing, and even before food.

Food, too, gets a mention. On page 62 of the same volume, Rayford is tucking into an all you can eat buffet at the secret hideout of the Antichrist, while the rest of the world is being decimated by the Antichrist army. Referring to his Christian faith, Rayford says to Mac, "Carpathia knows where I stand." And Mac replies, "He likes you. Maybe he feels secure knowing you don't hide anything from him."

The next paragraph: "Rayford ate even as he ladled choices onto his plate. It might be the enemy's food, he thought, but it does the job.

Note: The emphasis in that paragraph is not mine. It was put there by the authors! They obviously do not want their readers to miss the point. The "job" is his need to be fed, and compromising with the enemy had met that need, whether or not it was the right thing to do.

Even the decision to join with the Antichrist in the shelter in the first place, was made with full knowledge that Rayford was turning his back on the suffering that was taking place outside of it. The closing words of the first chapter of "Soul Harvest" state: "He'd seen awful things in his life, but the carnage at this airport was going to top them all. A shelter, even the the Antichrist's, sounded better than this."

In every situation, Rayford Steele caves in to the Antichrist. In his "heart", of course, he is convinced that his true loyalty is to Jesus. But in his actions, everything he does is a total contradiction of that faith. His guilt leads him to experience a growing hatred for the Antichrist, until he finally convinces himself that he is doing God's will by killing him. Although a "deadly wound" was prophesied for the Antichrist, there is nothing in Bible prophecy to indicate that it was inflicted by a Christian, nor that it had any significance in terms of promoting Christianity. But the "Left Behind" series overlooks all that. Powerless to wage a proper spiritual battle for the truth, Rayford Steele must content himself with fighting a totally useless carnal battle against the Antichrist with a carnal weapon.

When seeking to find the underlying lesson of any novel, it pays to observe the behaviour of the "hero". Yet, if we do this with the "Left Behind" series, the underlying message that comes through is that Christians can (and probably should) serve the Antichrist in order to save their own skins, the skins of their loved ones, and in order to live a more comfortable life in this present evil world. As long as they proclaim loyalty to Christ with their lips, it doesn't much matter what their actions say.

Of course, the enemy of our soul wants us to praise him as well, and the "Left Behind" series is loaded with references to the various titles that the Antichrist and his cohorts give to themselves, each one more ostentatious than the one before. This too angers Rayford Steele, but he continues to give in when it becomes clear that taking a stand against such worshipful titles could cost him his job.

Rayford takes a slight stand against the Antichrist when he refuses to return to base immediately, because he is searching for his wife amongst the ruins. The Antichrist says that he will overlook such insubordination. But he notices that Rayford has refused to use the term "Potentate" (most powerful one) when referring to the world leader. The Antichrist says to him, "Now is no time to neglect protocol, Captain Steele. A pardoned subordinate is behooved to address his superior..."

And Rayford shoots back, "All right Potentate Carpathia..." (Again, the emphasis is not mine.)

On page 142 of the same volume, Rayford objects to calling Carpathia His Excellency. "You are using a title that has for generations been limited to religious leaders and royalty," he says to an Antichrist assistant. But the assistant replies, "Now that he has demonstrated supernatural power, Excellency is hardly too lofty a title."

But it isn't long before Rayford is using that title as well. (E.G. page 423: "Your Excellency," he said, swallowing any vestige of pride, "I'm assuming you'll need Mac and me to get you to Israel tomorrow.")

Rayford and his co-pilot discuss the expediency of sharing their faith on their job, and they decide that they should not, despite an earlier statement that Christians must be prepared to confess their faith publicly to be saved. (Romans 10:9-10) "You're supposed to tell lots of people," Rayford explains. (page 133) But then he admits that the other hero, Buck Cameron, kept his faith secret outside of church meetings. "He thought it best to keep that to himself, so he could be more effective," Rayford explained. And then he suggests that his co-pilot do the same thing. (page 183) His co-pilot asks, "What about that verse about confessing with your mouth?" And Rayford replies, "I have no idea. Do the rules still stand at a time like this? Are you supposed to confess your faith to the Antichrist? I just don't know."

After a particularly sinister speech from the Antichrist, their fellow employees are drawn to almost worship him. This is recorded on page 214: "When the Global Community employees in the mess hall leaped to their feet, cheering and clapping, Rayford and Mac stood only to keep from appearing conspicuous." Mac's attention is drawn to someone else who was slow to stand (as though the enemy would not also notice such indifference!) and that is their first clue that the other employee is also a secret believer. One cannot help but wonder what someone like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would have thought of such faith. After all, if they had merely gone through the motions (somewhat hesitantly) when ordered to bow down to the image of the Antichrist of their day, they could have escaped the fiery furnace. But what kind of a witness would it have been?

The kind of faith that Rayford Wetnoodle preaches and practises is the kind of faith that the Antichrist himself would like to see more of in the church. And so we have to conclude that the Left Behind books are just another part of his great worldwide deception, subtly teaching even the supposedly staunch fundamentalists that it is okay to compromise in any situation where it may cost you something as a Christian.

Are you willing and able to see past the lies being promoted by such weak faith? Are you serious about finding what God's will is for Christians in the years ahead? Or are you one of the many millions who want to be deceived into complacency about lukewarm faith? Make your choice and make it soon, because if you can't decide, you already have.

Survivors      Back to Home

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