Are We There Yet?, by Michael Allen and Robert Lamphier
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press in exchange for an honest review.]
The writings of John present a hazard for the would-be novelist or prophecy buff . This hazard exists on multiple levels. For example, those who are passionately interested in prophecy and desirous of being thought of as a prophetic voice are often drawn to writing about Revelation when they lack the biblical knowledge to know what they are talking about and additionally such writers often lack the skill in writing to convey their thoughts in an appealing manner to the reader. Added to the lack of skill or biblical knowledge is the fact that self-appointed prophets  often take themselves particularly seriously, whether because they seriously believe themselves to be divinely inspired or because they feel it necessary to project such a confidence in order to be believed by others it is not my place to say, not being able to read inside anyone’s heart but my own. While there are some commentaries of Revelation that manage to get it mostly right, far more often those who write about Revelation end up embarrassing themselves in the process. This book, it should be noted, manages to at least partly redeem itself because it is so wildly entertaining, even though it is mislabeled as a nonfiction book when it basically amounts to an anti-rapture novella.
The contents of this book are mostly fictional. A frame narrative about a semi-autobiographical believer seeking for the key to understanding Revelation, of the “it was all a dream” variety surrounds a short novel that examines the book of Revelation as told by a barely literate prophecy fanatic who wants to see California disappear and who is deeply hostile to the theory of the pre-tribulation rapture. In many ways, this book shares a lot of similarities with another book I recently read about the book of Revelation  in that both books seek to counter beliefs in the rapture as an escape for believers from tribulation and both make strong claims that genuine believers will suffer through the difficulties of the Tribulation, including martyrdom. In many ways this is a slightly dodgy ripoff of Left Behind only without the rapture, even to the point of the beast power rebuilding Babylon in Iraq as a capital. As the story winds its way to the end, the protagonist wakes up, thinks he has been given the key to understanding Revelation, and makes an appeal to the author to repent and put his faith in Christ Jesus.
The reader of this book should be under no illusions about the quality of this book. This is a terrible book in terms of its quality. The second author of the book gives himself credit in the text as an editor, and if he got paid any money for his editing, he should give the money back. The fact that this book was edited, given its adoption of all caps in sections, its wildly inconsistent over-capitalization, its melange of different uses of formatting, its use of lengthy quotations of scripture from the King James Version without citation, suggests that it was not edited nearly enough or nearly well enough. Yet while this book is bad, it is in many ways so bad that it is actually somewhat entertaining on several levels. For one, the plot itself is not without its charm. For another, the book is short and does not try the patience of the reader, once the reader expects that the text will be full of inappropriately capitalized words and jump from fevered prophetic speculation to old-fashioned biblical quotation without any warning. For another, the book offers the reader the enjoyable prospect of seeing someone believe that they understand the book of Revelation when they do not, and that is a pleasure that those of us with less than entirely charitable habits as readers will often gratify.
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