I’ve already offered some theories about who could be The Leftovers’ true prophet. But what other biblical, prophetic clues were in “Guest”? Here are three big prophetic references I noticed – with a little guessing about what they could mean.
The Prophet’s Dilemma
An academic at the DROP conference is overheard delivering a very interesting talk on the “prophet’s dilemma.” Perhaps the most referenced and discussed prophet’s dilemma in history has been the story of Jonah. The prophet Jonah is tasked by God to go and tell the people in the city of Ninevah that they will soon be destroyed unless they change their ways. Jonah runs away and refuses to deliver the prophecy. However, after being swallowed by a giant fish, Jonah relents, goes to Ninevah, and tells the people what God has instructed him. In a surprising twist, the people listen, change their ways, and the prophecy does not happen. This, of course, leads one to doubt if the prophet had any credence in the first place. Thus, the prophet’s dilemma. In the story of Jonah, he actually becomes pretty upset that God did not destroy the city and validate him as a prophet. The question is: Who might arise as the Jonah figure on The Leftovers? Rev. Matt Jamison has emerged as a Job-like figure…could his mini-sermon from The Gospel of Thomas in “Gladys” become prophetic by the end of the season? Holy Wayne claims to have seen his own death approaching…will he issue a new prophetic warning thus becoming more Jonah-like before his demise? Perhaps Patti? Who will be the first to issue a clear prophetic warning and to who will it be directed?
The protesters outside the DROP conference were holding signs that read “Acts 20:31.” That verse warns: “So, be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” Holy Wayne spoke similar words to Tom in the pilot. There seems to be wild variations in the concerns and theologies of the many protesters. So what could this warning refer to? Is it an echo of the warning that Nora Durst’s impersonator spoke from the panel? Is it a warning from G.R. members who clearly are present at the protest? People supporting Holy Wayne are there. Is it a message from them about the government?
When Nora Durst meets Holy Wayne, he comforts her with words from Ecclesiastes 9:4, which says, “For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.” While the words certainly sound like those of compassion when Wayne speaks them, the verse is actually part of a Biblical warning. Consider the verse before it, from Ecclesiastes 9:3: “There is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards, they go to the dead.” And the verse that follows it, Ecclesiastes 9:5: “For the living know that they will die; but the dead do not know anything nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.” One could assume that Wayne is prophetically warning us that we will soon find out that the departed are truly dead and not in a better place, as Nora’s survey question optioned. Even worse, the passage might be warning us that the memory of the dead will be forgotten – something Wayne promises Nora will not happen.