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Pocket Guide To The Apocalypse: The Official Field Manual For The End Of The World Paperback – Bargain Price, April 30, 2005
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About the Author
Jason Boyett is the communications director at Paramount Baptist Church in Amarillo, Texas. He is the author of Things You Should Know by Now (Relevant, May 2003) and The Guys Guide to Life (W, October 2004).
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I came across Jason Boyett's Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse: The Official Field Manual for the End of the World (Relevant books, 2005) in a bargain bin at a local Christian bookstore. I took it home that afternoon and read it from cover to cover. The book definitely delivers what it promises: an entertaining, lighthearted look at the best and worse of Christian speculation of the End Times.
The book opens with a glossary of the most relevant apocalyptic terms. I first thought that beginning a book with a glossary would be boring. But that's because I was underestimating Boyett's corny/clever sense of humor.
For example, under the heading for Abaddon, Boyett gives a brief definition of the chief fallen Angel from revelation, and then he makes sure we don't confuse Abaddon with "the German death metal band of the same name, renowned for their combination of classical music with melodic black metal and philosophical lyrics. Also horrifying, but in a completely different way." Using the term in a sentence, he writes: "Don't select that mangy dog from the pound. It might be Abaddon."
The Pocket Guide features a chronicle of End-Times scares and prophets from 2000 B.C. until today. If you think the Last Days madness phenomenon has only appeared recently, you should look into Boyett's book. The number of Last Days prophets that have appeared throughout Christian history will surprise you. Even a cursory glance over the list of weird prophets and prophecies provides important perspective on today's doomsayers.
The funniest section of Boyett's book lays out a list of "potential anti-christs" and how each manages to (loosely) match up to the list of characteristics found in Scripture. Boyett includes Nero, Hitler, Saddam - but also Reagan, Kennedy, Gorbachev, and Bill Gates! From reading the chapter, it seems that Boyett went to the internet to find the looniest choices for Antichrist in the world and then showed how the conspiracy theorists will make anything fit their view.
(How does Ronald Reagan go hand-in-hand with the number 666? "Ronald Wilson Reagan: three names, six letters each. There's your 666. Plus, when the president and Nancy retired, they lived in a Bel Air mansion given to them by wealthy friends. Its address? 666 St. Cloud Road. Nancy had the number changed to 668." How's that for proof?)
Boyett quickly summarizes the different interpretations of Revelation, specifically regarding the Millennium and the Rapture. But the reader should not expect an accurate academic summary of these views. Boyett rushes through the material, providing comic relief along the way and more than a few historical anecdotes. He doesn't take himself seriously enough to worry about a few minor errors in his descriptions, and neither do I.
Boyett's Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse is a lot of fun. It would make a good bathroom book for any student of theology!
The largest section of the book is two chapters throughout history of failed predictions of the end of the world starting from 2000 BC all the way to modern day. Laughing all the way you are introduced to the Shakers, the Jehovah's Witnesses (who win the award for failed predictions of Christ's return), C. I Scofield (a shady-appearing character who had a major impact on Christian eschatology), and the travesty of Edgar C. Whisenant's predictions of the return of Christ in the late `80's. Along the way, are some absolutely hilarious definitions of words such as tribulation, ragnorak, the Rapture, and even Leonard Bernstein.
For those who believe serious theology can't be taught with mirth, you may want to steer clear, but for those of us who believe there can be laughter in the Holy of Holies, this is a book to be enjoyed and shared.