The Book Asks Us To Pretend That Rayford Isn’t Already Way Into God Now: Left Behind Chapter 12

Posted on February 9, 2016 by


Left Behind: Chapter 12

Before the news of his death gets out, Buck reaches out to his family and colleagues. As you might have imagined from our short time with Buck and/or the typical quality of writing in Left Behind, Buck does not handle this particularly tactfully.

“I’m really sorry about this, Dad, but you’re going to head I was killed in some sort of a car bombing, terrorist attack, that kind of thing.”

Granted, I’m not sure what a tactful way to bring up that you had to fake your death would look like, exactly, but it’s probably not that.

“Your sister-in-law and niece and nephew’s memorial services are tomorrow evening,” Mr. Williams said.
“Oh, no. Dad, it would really be obvious if I showed up there. I’m sorry. Tell Jeff how really sorry I am.”

I love how somehow neither of them seem like real people in this conversation. “Powerful men are trying to kill you and you had to fake your death? But you’re supposed to be here this weekend!” “Daaaaaaad, I can’t! Tell my brother I’m super sorry about his dead family, k?”

Meanwhile, Rayford watches the pastor’s DVD. The book is still trying to convince us that Ray is totally struggling with this whole God thing, even though he’s been 100% on board since like chapter two.

It was time to move beyond being a critic, an analyst never satisfied with the evidence. The proof was before him: the empty chairs, the lonely bed, the hole in his heart. There was only one course of action. He punched the play button.

Because just in case roughly a dozen chapters of seeing Ray struggled with this wasn’t enough, what if we sweetened the deal with a dramatic scene of him… pressing a play button on a DVD player!!!

He wanted to study, to pray, to be sure. But wasn’t that just insurance? Could he be more sure?

I feel like “Could he be more sure?” is my own sarcastic feedback on how insanely quickly he came around to this major revelation, suddenly here in the book.

friends could i be wearing any more clothes

And it goes without saying it comes across as seriously as this.

Ariel and I have both remarked on how odd it is that things seem pretty much back to normal already. The Rapture only happened a few days ago and airlines are working again (Buck had no problem just hopping on last minute flights to London, to Frankfurt, to New York, etc). Apparently Left Behind has also just realized that this is a little odd.

The news was full of crime, looting, people taking advantage of the chaos. People were being shot, maimed, raped, killed. The roadways were more dangerous than ever.

…really? Because we’ve seen exactly zero of this. In fact, given all the walking around Manhattan – of all places – Buck did with not only no issues, but finding free bikes and shit, I’d say we’ve only seen the opposite of what’s in this news report. Which kind of makes me wonder who this book is for, because if it’s not interested in anything more more than briefly mentioning that Biblical endtimes shit is going down, why wouldn’t I just read… you know… the Bible?

It had become an ugly world overnight

This statement is true for more reasons than the book realizes.

As for the pastor’s DVD, it is 100% exactly what you would expect an independently made DVD from a local church would be:

“That you are watching indicates you have been left behind. You are no doubt stunned, shocked, afraid, and remorseful. I would like you to consider what I have to say here as instructions for life following Christ’s rapture of his church. […] Ask yourself, how did he know? Here’s how, from 1 Corinthians 15:51-57.”
The screen began to scroll with the passage of Scripture.

cookie monster bored

The pastor kicks things off with the same thing Left Behind has been rehashing over and over again, which is 1) the rapture happened, and 2) whoaaaaa. Apparently Left Behind is very concerned that we might not have picked up on that. It next moves on from covering things that the entire book has already been about to things that none of the book has ever been about:

“You may have already found that martial law is in effect in many places, emergency measures trying to keep evil elements from looting and fighting over the spoils of what is left.”

Whoa! That’s exactly what we were told is apparently happening about four pages ago! Spooky!

“Governments will tumble and there will be international disorder. You may wonder why this has happened. Some believe this is the judgment of God on an ungodly world. Actually, that is to come later.”

“In the meantime, please enjoy this book where people mostly complain about airplanes.”

Left Behind finally starts to hint at what this story will eventually come to be about.

“Strange as this may sound to you, this is God’s final effort to get the attention of every person who has ignored or rejected him. He is allowing now a vast period of trial and tribulation to come to you who remain.”

Although the writing continues to be… let’s say redundant.

“Bible prophecy is history written in advance.”

And also somewhat unbelievably convenient.

“Also, Scripture indicates that there will be a great lie, announced with the help of the media and perpetrated by a self-styled world leader. […] Let me warn you personally to beware of such a leader of humanity who may emerge from Europe.”

Wait, seriously? How the fuck would he know about Europe, specifically?

“He will turn out to be a great deceiver who will step forward with signs and wonders that will be so impressive that many will believe he is of God. […] This person is known in the Bible as Antichrist.”

We’ve never even seen Carpathia, and Left Behind has already spelled out the twist that he’s the antichrist. I’m not saying that this necessarily had to be a twist, if the narrative didn’t want to go that way, but this is a lot of narrative focus on someone we’re only being told exists.

“If you accept God’s message of salvation, his Holy Spirit will come in unto you and make you spiritually born anew. You don’t need to understand all this theologically.”

Wait, why? I feel like this thing we were just told we don’t have to worry about is exactly what Ray’s personal challenge is in this plot. Does this one make sense to anyone with a better grasp on Christianity than I do? Because it sort of sounds like if he doesn’t have to actually understand the theology of accepting God, then Ray’s pretty much good to go now. I mean, there’s a whole other scene where Rayford goes to church, thinks its “the most moving moment of his life”, and even the new pastor wants to be his BFF. Seriously, how is there more story for Rayford at this point? His character development kinda seems 100% done already.

i'm finished

Rayford also gets on the phone with Hattie, who gives him the news that Buck has been killed in a car bombing. Rayford, of course, has never met Buck, and only sort of cares about him. Much like us.

Meanwhile, the not-actually-dead Buck gets back to New York and gets on the phone with his editor, and the plot gets even more weirdly convenient.

“Stay right where you are, Buck, you renegade. Do you know who wants to talk with you?”
“I couldn’t guess.”
“Nicolae Carpathia himself.”
“Yeah, right.”

What’s funny is that that was my reaction too.

Buck hung up and clapped. This is too good to be true, he thought.


Posted in: Left Behind