It is early Sunday morning and I have been watching Zeus (also known as Zack) and Aphrodite (also known as April) on TV. Zack is a Telephrophet and April is a Telespouse. They are a perfectly groomed team: Zack is intense with the scowls and eyebrows of a prophet; April is blond and sweet, no wrinkles, despite (probably) being over 80 years of age.
The formula for the program is simple: 1) First, April and Zack must find some horrible, no-good, terrible headlines about war, rumors of war, nuclear attacks, bombings, Russia, China, Islam and Israel—a simple feat on the Internet; 2) April reads the headlines with passion, sighs and wonders, allowing Zeus to interrupt and comment, with even more passion, but without wonder; 3) Zeus thunders memorized verses from Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation, mixing in a few minor prophets, as April periodically exclaims, “Oh Zack listen to this one!”; 4) Zack keeps shouting, intending to scare the hell out of the viewers and lead them to heaven before all the terrible things take place—rivers turning to blood, stars falling out of the sky, plagues and pollution, for all those left behind.
But you don’t need to be left behind. Zack stares at you through the myopic lenses of the TV set and informs you of the rapture, but with a way for you to escape the promised living hell. The camera now zeroes in on Zack as he grips his hands, prays and promises blessings. He explains that the devil is the “prince and power of the air”, although he is using the airwaves for his message and will allow, nay encourage, the purchase of his books and DVDs by credit card of a “donation” of only $24.95, plus shipping and handling.
Zack has a number of such books and DVDs and is in direct competition with a number of other telephrophets. Zack has one advantage the others do not: he has a master promoter, Orpheus (also known as Orphie), who is the “voice over” for April and has a deep, modulating voice—much like Micheal the archangel must have sounded—he provides addresses and details of how to get Zack’s books and DVDs, “before it is too late”.
One of Zack’s competitors has written a series called, aptly, “Left Behind”. It is a succession of novels, later made into a movie that details the calamities that are awaiting anyone who does not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. The books have sold well, including to my neighbor, who owned a set, which she gladly passed on to me. I examined them and gladly passed them on to a library. They will be there for all who have been left behind to read and contemplate. And if it is a post-tribulation rapture, they might not be too late after all.
Another competitor is Heracles (also known as Baggee), a large man with a large voice. His main “tools” are gigantic charts, some 100 feet long and 15 feet high, replete with color symbols and arrows, photos and drawings. Using an electronic pencil, Baggee traces the destruction from country to country, color to color, calamity to calamity. Nothing is left to chance: verses from Daniel, Ezekiel, Joel, and of course Revelation, support the charts. Reading from Joel, Baggee warns of the “blood moon” that will serve as an omen for the end times.
For $24.95 (plus shipping and handling) any viewer with a credit card or check book can purchase a much smaller version of the chart to hang in their bedroom. It is intended to help viewers with their prayers and scare them out of hell. Unfortunately Baggee’s “Four Blood Moons” can no longer be seen on YouTube because it “has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement”.
There are other lesser telephrophets who point out that the “sun will be turned into darkness” and offer advice on interpreting the moon, stars and end times. Their books and DVDs cost less than those of the big prophets, a sure guide to their lesser significance. Besides, if you have seen Zach and Baggee, you won’t resort to such minor league prophets.
We all know that there will be “end times” but some telephrophets have it figured out better than others. A number have set dates in the past and more will do so in the future. Sooner or later, someone will get it right, but I don’t think it will be Zach or Baggee.
Of course there are nay-sayers, who discount the telephrophets and expose their “pseudo astronomy”. But they sell books and DVDs too, so be careful.
After watching TV