Me vs. The Rapture

I’ve been struggling with a lot of insecurities lately, I’m sure everyone has noticed.  Everyone who has known me for a long time will also know this is pretty par for course.  I guess this time in fighting it, I am trying it as an analyst — to observe when it started, and figure out how to combat it.

As I’ve been pondering, trying to heal old wounds ripped open by great stress, I was reminded of my response once when asked why I was a Buddhist —  I said, that it was the path that taught me how to see things for the way they really were — good or bad, pretty or ugly.  When I was meditating and doing yoga at my peak of such activities, I had come to more of a peace with myself.

So, where do these things COME from?  I would have to blame, in part, the faith with which I grew up.  While I was raised in the Southern Baptist church, I do not blame them, merely a sub set of their practitioners, specifically let’s call them the ‘end timers’ that take it to a hurtful and terrifying level.

When I studied the Bible at Pitt, in one of my favorite classes which approached The Bible as a piece of literature (as opposed to a theological text), I learned about some of the alternative ways of interpreting The Bible from the hardcore Protestant upbringing I had.  I learned at a first brush about the Gnostics (Darren introduced me more firmly to their enlightening beliefs later), and of particular interest to me at the time were the preterists.  They believed, essentially, that the end times spoken of in that lighthearted frolic of a book, the Book of Revelations, had already occurred.

Growing up, I was troubled about religion.  Sore, sore troubled.  Particularly the end times, as I was kind of seen as, well, evil by the people around me — I was born of sin, and had two ‘abominations’ as parents and thus I was one, too.   So, as if my mother walking out / abandoning me / choosing something more ‘pleasurable’ than me wasn’t enough to hurt my self-esteem, I knew, without a doubt, I was totally screwed within my religion.  And I was a KID.  What the hell did I know, and why does it stick around?  Eventually, I became obsessed with the idea of the end times, trying to figure it all out, reading everything from the book of Daniel to works by Hal Lindsey.

I can say, that one of the big contributing factors to me being spooked by the end times was this movie:

It’s called “A Thief in the Night.”  For some reason, the music freaked me the fuck out.  I guess I’ve always been a punk rock girl:

In this next one, you’ll see another one of my “favorite” things, a weird ass clown. I’m actually watching along, and I love the whole exchange regarding “You can just be converted LATER.” Maybe she was using it as an excuse, like “I gotta go wash my hair.” In this case, “I gotta go get converted . . . ”  Watching it now, it is MUCH LESS SCARY than when I was a kid, but still creepy. Then again, I would credit the Dracula from 1979 as the movie I definitely shouldn’t have seen when I did (along with Poltergeist).

clip 3

“Well, that’s great, Ginny, I hope that works out well for ya. . . ”

Clip 4

In clip five, we finally know the ‘bad seed’ in the group, and we get this classic line: “It’s like a super evil credit card, only tattooed on your hand and forehead.”
I remember that idea. All, all too well.
Clip 5

Mmm snake bite!
Clip 6
Clip 7

Sermon: The Signs of the end times, specifically the appearance of the Anti Christ. EVERYBODY PANIC when empty pajamas are found. Wrench your hands at the ticking clock!
That screaming girl, the one who flips out thinking her mom is gone in the rapture? Yeah . . . freaky stuff to see when you’re a kid. . .
Clip 8

Have you ever chosen for him?  No?  You’re damned.  “God is holy, but he will also punish sin . . . God uses circumstances in our lives to bring us in a close relationship with himself.”

Okay, fine.  He should maybe start a little gentler than snakebites.
Clip 9

The rapture BEGINS:

Take over by the “Imperium.” One World Government never sounded so insidious:
Clip 10

Creepy-ass 0110 Tattooings:
Clip 11

Clip 12

I s’pose we presume she escapes, as Clip 13 shows her running around.

And, finally, the somewhat end: Clip 14

Of course, at the end of it all, she dies:

She doesn’t die before they figure out what’s up with those freak-ass tattoos – 0110 through super l33t hacking skillz:

There was a whole mess of these movies made by a production company called Mark IV.  I guess they gave up the Christian movie biz after producing The Shepherd in 1984, since their next production was “The Joys of Erotica.”

There’s a great page that summarizes the four movies created in this story line, which are, “A Thief in the Night,” “A Distant Thunder,” “Image of the Beast,” and “The Prodigal Planet.”

Watching these movies, it becomes clear how little innovation and imagination authors LeHaye and Jenkins actually have.  I actually read the entire Left Behind series, during my knee surgeries, and while I’ve only caught one of the movies, I have to say they are great if you want to read about mass destruction. . . but I don’t know that any other movie would freak me out quite like the Mark IV series of the 70’s.  It’s a hard one to top.

But the Antichrist Nicholae, as casted in the movie, and in the books, is actually quite smarmy and thus chilling:

Nicolae Carpathia, Antichrist in the world of Left Behind
Nicolae Carpathia, Antichrist in the world of "Left Behind"

As opposed to this guy, who is merely mildly amusing.

Antichrist from "Image of the Beast"
Antichrist from

The thing that has scared me lately about the end times prophecies aren’t so much the prophecies anymore. It’s the people that hold them dear. Search for ‘end times’ on youtube and google, and you’ll find several naming top ranking U.S. officials in on it. I would have thought it was total foolishness until I talked to my grandmother one day. She told me that violence had started in the city of Megiddo, and she was happy — the rapture was about to start.