TSoA: Chapter 2: Jesus, Man

In Babylon Rising, occasional chapters detailed the background of the brazen serpent and the fictional High Priest Dakkuri.  Now, these chapters were oddly-interspersed, never quite where I felt they ought to be, but they did serve a purpose, and they were mercifully short.

NOT SO with the first Back In Time chapter of Secret, which takes almost six full hardbound pages to get where it’s going, which is nowhere we need to be.

A stranger from the country has come to Jerusalem.  Pages are spent describing the city, which is about…what we would expect, and we end up knowing nothing about the stranger.

(The stranger comes from Capernaum, so I thought at first that he might turn out to be Peter, since he comes from Capernaum, too.  But Peter was a fisherman, and the stranger is a shepherd.  Anyone have any other ideas, or is “the stranger” genuinely a stranger?)

The stranger (I will now call him Billy Ray because it pleases me to do so) passes the Holy of Holies and then sees a crowd gathered around a man who is preaching.  Billy Ray proves himself a nice guy by picking up a little kid who can’t see over the crowd, and putting him on his shoulders.

NOT Billy Ray.  (Picture from Bible People)

I’m sure you will be shocked to learn this, but the preaching guy is Jesus, and he is preaching about…The End of Days.

Let’s bear in mind here that this preaching is useless to everyone in the crowd.  LaHaye and his ilk think that the End of Days is right around the corner now (also in 2004, when Secret was written).  So the End of Days will have exactly zero effect on these people’s lives.

Not that that stops Jesus from going on about how the world of the End of Days will be just like the world of Noah.

Which is exactly what Tim LaHaye said in the Foreword.  If nothing else, you have to admire the man’s moxie.

Billy Ray is transfixed by the words, even though he will be many centuries dead before they mean anything:

[Billy Ray] gently lowered the boy down to the ground and whispered quietly to himself, as if repeating the words would reveal their meaning: “…because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him…”

Yeah, this has nothing to do with you, Billy Ray.  Move along.

This has to do with much more important people.  Like Michael Murphy and Rayford Steele and Tim LaHaye.

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Posted on May 21, 2012, in Babylon Rising, Books, Second Glance, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Huh.

    Well, it’s nice of the author to highlight the flaws in their own beliefs so nicely, if very confusing.

  2. Yeah, don’t try to kick over the established social order, ‘cos those slavemasters will be getting what’s coming to them from a much bigger boot than yours. Keep toiling, it’ll get you a reward somewhere conveniently far off where it can’t actually be disproven. Real soon now!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      “In the Sweet Bye and Bye,
      You’ll get Pie in the Sky when you Die…”
      — “The Preacher and the Slave”, old Wobbly march song

  3. So, Billy Ray walked into, like, the one verse from the books featuring Jesus that’s about the end times. Most of the rest is from Revelations I think, plus some of the older books about Babylon. Statistically, it’s much more likely that he’d have walked in on Jesus talking about helping the poor. But that actually has relevance to him and not to LaHaye who shouldn’t have to share any of his millions, hard earned by sitting on his ass while other people write his books, with the evil secular government who’s just a placeholder for the Anti Christ.

    Off topic: You might like this review of the ‘Oh sweet crap is this cheesy’ show Bibleman. It’s a (massive airquotes) superhero in costume in a show full of poorly trained child actors singing about science like it’s a disease you can catch if you’re exposed to it and don’t get to your bible in time. Oh, and he doesn’t so much fight the villain as get hopelessly captured, then praying for god to win the battle for him.

    It’s not quite as good as his review of the far, far belated rock-and-roll-is-from-satan movie “Rock: it’s your decision” ( http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/bj/dvd-r-hell/31261-rock-its-your-decision ), but it’s still just funny to see the show.

  4. Christians: getting punk’d since 33 A.D.

  5. “…because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him…”

    And Billy Ray’s thinking “Oh shoot, I’d better make sure the good china is clean.”

    Because how else would a listener interpret that statement? People at the time assumed naturally that everything Jesus was talking about would happen in their (and Jesus’) lifetimes. No one in that crowd was expecting the speaker to be dead in a year, let alone come back to life, let alone come back again a couple millennia later. As 2-D Man notes, the whole thing reads like a big prank — a wink and an inside joke shared only by Jesus and you, the 21st-century reader.

    Can you imagine traveling back to 33 A.D. with a copy of Left Behind, or maybe Soon, and trying to convince people that this is what Jesus was talking about the whole time? They’d probably stone you to death. And Jesus would help.

    • IAWYC.

      Would anyone in that time period take seriously the notion that the statements Jesus was making were intended to apply two thousand years later?

      Two thousand years! That’s so remote as to be unfathomable in a humanly visceral way. You might as well be talking about never.

    • Exactly! The’d expect him to show up sometime during their lives, so if he did he’d be coming at an hour when they expect him, and thus violating Jesus’s statement.

      • I can see Billy Ray in heaven (he’s listening to the real deal Jesus and seems impressed, so he probably made the cut), looking down at the Rapture and thinking “Huh, well, the 17521273th hour after he said it. Fair’s fair, I wasn’t expecting that.”

        But yeah, I’m a full-fledged heathen, but I can see why these scenes would be depressing for a lot of Christians. The main thing we get to see in a flashback of a contemporary listener to Jesus Christ himself is Christ telling about the Rapture. As if Jesus has only ever served two purposes: Die and predict he’d kick of the Rapture. Nothing else he said or did really mattered.

        • Well, the RTC conceit DOES seem to be that all else is outprioritized by whether you end up in Heaven or Hell. I think there’s even a claim that divine prophecy, in this case without an intermediary, began when God spoke of the enmity that would exist between Eve’s descendants and the Serpent, and the Serpent’s ultimate defeat. I guess that was supposed to set the tone for everything that came afterwards.

          I think the idea is that Gadreel/Mastema/Belial/Satanel/whoever cheated humanity out of an eternity in Paradise, and the RTCs want that back. As soon as possible. Oh, it looks like God has promised that. All else seems to pale before getting back the deathless paradise that’s rightfully theirs, and the Sinner’s Prayer and subsequent virtuous living (don’t want to commit khillul ha-Shem, after all) are basically about getting back in, first and foremost.

  6. Headless Unicorn Guy

    NOT SO with the first Back In Time chapter of Secret, which takes almost six full hardbound pages to get where it’s going, which is nowhere we need to be.

    Putting the Silmarillion before The Hobbit?

    A stranger from the country has come to Jerusalem. Pages are spent describing the city, which is about…what we would expect, and we end up knowing nothing about the stranger.

    How NOT to write a flashback. Reminds me of the Men’s Action Adventure series (i.e. Gunpowder Jerkoffs) where they spend page after page describing the hero’s firearms in erotic detail.

    I’m sure you will be shocked to learn this, but the preaching guy is Jesus, and he is preaching about…The End of Days.

    Let’s bear in mind here that this preaching is useless to everyone in the crowd. LaHaye and his ilk think that the End of Days is right around the corner now (als0 in 2004, when Secret was written). So the End of Days will have exactly zero effect on these people’s lives.

    Not that that stops Jesus from going on about how the world of the End of Days will be just like the world of Noah.

    End Time Prophecy
    End Time Prophecy
    End Time Prophecy…

    Is that ALL there is?

    • Putting the Silmarillion before The Hobbit?

      Ugh, don’t remind me. I saw the Silmarillion in the school library. It said it takes place before Lord of the Rings on the backcover. So my stupid teenage ass thinks “Well, I’ve been meaning to read those books, let’s start here.” And I needed an English book report, so I finished the bloody thing. Don’t ask me how though. Needless to say, I didn’t understand jack.

      • Back in 1991, there was this PC game called Riders of Rohan, a fun if imperfect little wargame covering the battles between Rohan and Isengard. You control Rohan’s armies as well as those members of the Fellowship passing through at the time. It covers the period from the breaking of the Fellowship to the parley with Saruman at Orthanc — about two weeks, pretty tight focus for a wargame.

        Anyway, the manual includes the backstory for the setting, and for some odd reason feels the need to recap EVERYTHING that’s happened in Middle-earth right back to its creation. Like, it’s awesome that Tolkien wrote so much history, but you don’t need to read about the fall of Melkor to understand the situation in Rohan in early March of 3019 T.A. “Orcs are bad, guys on horses good” will get you 90% of the way there.

      • I dunno, the whole Lord of the Rings history may be too much, but I miss the time when there was a lot of flavor backstory in the game manuals. Like the first Homeworld, which had a ton of information about the origin of the different clans of the planet, even though by the time the game starts the whole planet has united and the different clans are never even mentioned in the game.

        Then again, I hardly ever read game manuals anymore, assuming I even get them with my digital purchase. I’ve grown lazy. I’m accustomed to not having to read a single page of any manual before playing, counting on the game tutorial and tooltips to explain me everything I need to know.

  7. [Billy Ray] gently lowered the boy down to the ground and whispered quietly to himself, as if repeating the words would reveal their meaning: “…because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him…”

    Okay, I must be missing something, because … why would Billy Ray care about the “Son of Man”? Was “Son of Man” used to describe a Messiah before Christianity? Because as far as I can tell, Old Testament uses of “son of man” are used to call someone a human.

    • Wikipedia has a huge page on this. You’re more or less right – in the OT, “Son of Man” meant “Son of Adam”, me3aning either humanity in general or the writer in particular.
      Jesus may have used it in the same way, but once the later Christian writers got going, it was exclusively used to mean a divine being.

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