“Left Behind”

 If you’ve been to any bookseller or movie store recently, you’ve probably noticed a new phenomenon: the “Left Behind” series written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Presently, there are eight novels in the series along with nearly twenty, “children’s books,” and one feature film for those who are not such avid readers. And Biblically speaking, it is the truth that has really been “Left Behind.” Let’s notice what God has to say about the unfortunate teachings in this wildly popular series.

Rapture of the Saints — The basic premise of the first “Left Behind” novel is that one day in the very near future, Jesus is going to secretly rapture all those who are saved. Everyone who is not a Christian, this book teaches, will be left here on earth to witness a horrible tribulation accompanied by the rise of an, “Antichrist.” Folks, this could not be further from the truth. Jesus is coming back only once (cf. John 14:1-6), and that coming will be far from secret (cf. 1 Thess 4:16). When the Lord descends from heaven, it will be to execute judgment on both the righteous and unrighteous (cf. 2 Thess 1:7-10). There will be no, “rapture” in which part of the humans alive are taken and part are left behind. When Jesus returns, the world will end (cf. 2 Peter 3:10-12).

Rise of the Antichrist — While certainly entertaining, the “Left Behind” series loses even more credibility with its story of the supposed Antichrist who is to come. LaHaye and Jenkins see the Antichrist as a Romanian man who rises in political and military power until he controls the forces of darkness on the earth. The Bible says something quite different, however. John wrote these words almost two thousand years ago: “Little children, it is the last time, and as ye have heard that antichrist is come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time (1 John 2:18).” John says that antichrists were present in his day! Not only that, but John does not limit the number of antichrists to just one man. He says there were many! Later, John actually tells us who the antichrists are: “he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ; he is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22).” You see, there were people in John’s day who believed that all matter was evil, and that Jesus had not literally come in the flesh. This doctrine was known as Gnosticism, and to adhere to it was to deny that Jesus is the Christ. When John speaks about antichrists, he is warning Christians about false teachers in his day, not a Romanian ruler who will conquer the world 2000 years in the future.

Signs of the Times — Legion have been the people who have attempted to predict the time of Jesus’ second coming. The “Left Behind” series points to current events in our world as indicators that the “end times” are upon us. Peter, who was closer to Jesus than just about anyone, said that, “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10).” Thieves don’t telegraph their arrival in advance, and neither will Jesus. He Himself said that He had chosen not to know the hour of His return (Matt 24:36). If Jesus doesn’t know when He will return, then how arrogant is it for men to predict when the end will be? May all of us strive to study His word and prepare ourselves for His judgment. You can be assured — He will not leave any soul behind.

— John Baker