[NOTE: Following is Chapter 2 of Nobody Left Behind. which summarizes the issues discussed in the book. Check out this site’s Index by Topic to find in-depth discussions of the same issues.]
What if “end-time” prophecies are not end time at all? What if many of these significant prophecies have already been fulfilled–and we missed them? What if we are vainly looking into the future for what is already in the past?
It may be more exciting to imagine future scenarios than to dust off the history books and read about events of yesteryear. We may choose to enjoy an adrenaline surge from being alarmed about the future rather than suffer the boredom of studying history.
Society today is attracted to instantaneous coverage of news around the globe. We are even more attracted to predicting what the news will be tomorrow. Did you ever notice how much “news analysis” is not an analysis of the news at all? Rather, the time is spent trying to second-guess coming events. If bad times are being predicted, it is even more provocative. We seem to take pleasure in worrying about the future.
It is time to divest ourselves of the excitement generated by conjuring up future scenarios. More specifically, it is time to resist the thrill of imagining startling future fulfillments of Bible prophecies when those prophecies have already been fulfilled. It is time to look at Bible prophecy in its context. It is time to seriously consider that, inasmuch as the last book of the Bible was written nearly two millennia ago, it is quite possible that many of its prophecies have already been fulfilled.
When studying Bible prophecy, we need to look at the context in which individual prophecies were given. In search of the fulfillment of any particular prophecy, we need to begin looking in the days when the prediction was made. From there, we move forward in time until we find the fulfillment. It makes no sense whatsoever to ignore two thousand years of history and to begin our search for fulfillment in today’s newspapers. By carefully examining the last two millennia, it quickly becomes clear that many so-called, end-time prophecies already have been gloriously fulfilled.
What follows is an overview of the major issues to be discussed in Nobody Left Behind. Each issue is briefly presented and reference is made to the chapter that deals in depth with that particular issue. We begin now where the “Left Behind” series begins–with the Rapture.
Most would agree that the return of Jesus is an end-time topic. However, does the Word of God give any hint of the futurist concept–airplanes without pilots, cars without drivers, and trains without engineers causing eerie fatal accidents all over the globe? So begins the plot of the “Left Behind” series. This Rapture theory captivates the imagination of many people. I have heard real-life cases in which someone did not find family members where and when they fully expected to find them. Their immediate reaction was to panic–imagining that the Rapture had taken their family away and left them behind. The fact that anyone in real life would react this way shows how strongly many believe in the Rapture doctrine.
However, the scene of crashing planes and cars (or ships and chariots) is found nowhere in the Bible. The major unproven premise of the Rapture doctrine is that after Jesus secretly snatches away the believers, life will continue on earth more or less as we know it. This doctrine says that there will be multitudes of people left behind who will be totally ignorant of what caused the disappearances. Can such ideas be found anywhere in the Bible? Or are such ideas fiction? The issue is not simply that the “Left Behind” series is written and sold as fiction. The issue is whether the supposed biblical basis for the series is an accurate one.
Will Jesus return? Absolutely! Will believers be caught up to meet Him in the air? Absolutely! Will the dead arise from their graves? Absolutely! Will there be a separation of the saved from the lost? Absolutely! Will the world continue on when all this happens? No! The Bible paints no such picture.
In no place does the Word of God depict a “left behind” scene. Nowhere in Scripture does it teach that life on earth will continue after Jesus returns. In no text of the Bible can anyone find a hint of people in the world trying to deal with the problem of multitudes having disappeared. Nowhere in the Bible do we find driverless cars crashing into guardrails, driverless chariots crashing into walls, husbands frantically searching for wives who have mysteriously disappeared, or unborn babies evaporating from their mothers’ wombs. Such scenarios are neither mentioned nor hinted at in any verse in the Bible.
Someone might quote Matt. 24:40: “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.” However, what happens then? Look at the context by reading the two preceding verses: “Marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (24:38-39, italics mine). The flood took away the wicked! Righteous Noah and his family were left behind! “So also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Nobody left behind but God’s saints!
That sounds like the very opposite of the Rapture doctrine. To delve more deeply into Bible teaching that relates to the Rapture, study Chapter 15, “The Rapture.”
The plot of the entire “Left Behind” series takes place during a supposed seven-year Tribulation in the future. This seven-year period is a major element of today’s futurist doctrine. It is seen as the period of time between the Rapture (the starting point of the novels) and Jesus’ return to earth, which ushers in the Millennium (the ending point of the novels). It is believed that the seven-year Tribulation will be broken into two parts, with the second half being the Great Tribulation.
What is the biblical basis for this widely accepted view? Although many texts are involved, the claimed foundation of this view is located in the seventy-weeks prophecy of Daniel 9. This is made clear in Chapter 13 of Tim LaHaye’s Revelation Unveiled,(1) as well as in most futurist works that deal with the topic. LaHaye initiates each chapter of his commentary with a topical title and a mention of the verses of Revelation he will discuss in that chapter. The title of his Chapter 13 is “The Tribulation Period,” and the text given is Dan. 9:24-27.
The seventy-weeks prophecy is one of the most awesome prophecies regarding the first coming and great work of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. Futurism admits that Daniel 9 provides the date for the Messiah’s coming. Daniel 9 prophesies that the Messiah will come before the destruction of Jerusalem (which happened in A.D. 70), thereby putting all Israel on notice today–if they would have ears to hear–that the Messiah has already come. Daniel 9 outlines the redemptive work of the Messiah in cleansing us from our sins. It teaches that God has put an end to the sacrificial system of the Jerusalem temple, replacing it with the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. It teaches that with the arrival of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem, God would be finished dealing with Israel as His holy people; God would be finished dealing with Jerusalem as His holy city.
Chapter 5, “The Jews’ Time Has Run Out,” and Chapter 6, “Jesus Fulfilled God’s Timetable,” offer comprehensive studies of these remarkable themes.
Did God’s Clock Stop?
The chronology of the seventy-weeks prophecy is so outstanding that the prophecy usually is identified by reference to that time period. Literally, seventy weeks is 490 days. A literal 490 days offers no fulfillment of anything. This is fine for those who reject the Bible as the inspired Word of God. In contrast, all believers of every category accept the reality that we must regard these 490 days as symbolic. Some consider them symbolic in a general non-numerical sense emptying them of all chronological value. However, the futurist and historical views agree that the key in Ezek. 4:6 is to be applied to this prophecy: “I have laid on you a day for each year”–a day for a year. Using this key, 490 days is understood as symbolic of 490 years.
Thus, futurism accepts a non-literal interpretation of one of the leading elements of this prophecy. Futurism agrees with the historical view that the 490 years is roughly the historical span of time between the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the first coming of the Messiah.
If that were the whole story, there would be no problem. However, what futurism actually does is transform the accepted 490 years into nearly 2,500 years! How does futurism do this? By placing a two thousand year gap between the first sixty-nine weeks and the final week of the prophecy. Consequently, even though the futurist method claims to be the literal method of interpretation, in this key text futurism transforms seventy weeks into more than 350 weeks!
Of course, futurism does not explain it that way. Futurism says, “God stopped the prophetic clock”–never mind the fact that “prophetic clock” itself is not a literal expression. More importantly, Scripture nowhere mentions such a clock. Did God really have to change His plans? Was the fulfillment of outstanding prophecies put on hold? This whole issue is worthy of the extensive study found in Chapter 9, “Did God Stop the Prophetic Clock?”
Literal or Figurative?
What the futurist view does with the seventy weeks offers insight into their claim that futurism interprets the Bible in general, and prophecy in particular, in its literal sense. The claim of literal interpretation is expressed by Tim LaHaye this way: “For the most part, all who believe the Bible to be literal are premillennialists . . . Only in taking the Bible other than literally can a person be anything but a premillennialist.”(2) This is the uniform claim of futuristic premillennialism. However, futurism’s interpretation of the seventy weeks shows that it does not live up to its own claim of literalism.
Not taking the prophecy literally is fine; however, by not doing so, futurism negates its claim that literal interpretation is the basis of the futuristic-premillennial viewpoint. In fact, if students read enough, they will come across many examples of futurism explaining symbolic elements in prophecy. It is true that futurism takes more elements literally than do many other prophetic views. However, the implication that the trouble with these other views is that they spiritualize prophecy is not in accord with reality. All methods of Bible interpretation take some parts literally and other parts figuratively, symbolically, or spiritually.
The question for futurism and all views is this: How do you decide which elements to take literally and which to take figuratively? Chapter 3, “Prophecy: Literal or Figurative?” documents many elements which the “literalists” take figuratively. More importantly, this chapter offers guidelines to help us determine which way we should interpret individual Scriptures, prophecy included.
Will Christians go through the Tribulation? Today’s common reply is the one given in the “Left Behind” series: “No.” For many believers, the principal hope involved in the Rapture is escaping the Tribulation. Indeed, the thrill of the “Left Behind” novels is not the Rapture itself but rather the contemplation of what happens to those unfortunate people who missed the Rapture. Those people enter the Tribulation. According to the initial novel of the series, some of those left behind are quickly converted, and they form themselves into a “Tribulation force” to fight the evil expected during the Tribulation. Tribulation Force then becomes the title of the second book in the series.
There is much misunderstanding today regarding what Scripture teaches about tribulation. Many believers assume “tribulation” refers to a time yet in our future. They do not question it. They only have questions about its nature and timing. Tribulation becomes mainly a curiosity to those who fully expect to be raptured away before the Tribulation begins.
Is this a correct view of Bible teaching on tribulation? Jesus prophesied and promised, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Jesus suffered for us, and He declares here in John that we will suffer–have tribulation–for Him. When the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, which is claimed to be the basis of the “Left Behind” series, John said, “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation” (1:9, italics mine). John was already “in the tribulation”! “The tribulation” was not two thousand years in the future. The Scriptural teaching on tribulation will be explored in much detail in Chapter 4, “Which Tribulation?”
The futurist viewpoint would respond to the above by saying: Yes, we have tribulation now, but we are speaking of “the Great Tribulation.” The common belief is that the Great Tribulation is the second half of the Tribulation. However, Scripture teaches three “great” tribulations–not just one–and they are all in our past, not our future. To gain greater insight into this interesting topic, study Chapter 8, “Three Great Tribulations.”
As will be seen in Chapter 8, one of the “great” tribulations is that which transpired in A.D. 70 when the Roman armies devastated Jerusalem and its temple. Today’s popular prophetic viewpoint gives scant attention to the earth-shaking events of A.D. 70. Nevertheless, this is one of the most significant fulfillments of Bible prophecy. To miss this is to miss not just a fulfillment of prophecy, but some vital truths regarding God’s relationship to Israel and Jerusalem. To push Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 almost totally into our future completely changes the prophetic and doctrinal landscape of much of the Word of God. In addition to most of the chapters already mentioned, see Chapter 7, “Not One Stone upon Another,” for further study of the events of A.D. 70.
There is much talk today about rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. Conservative evangelicals talk about it as much as orthodox Jews do, if not more. Many evangelicals today join with elements of the Jewish population in a fervent desire and expectation of seeing Israel gain full control of the Temple Mount so this dream may become a reality. Since a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem is a major factor in futurist doctrine, it naturally finds its way into the “Left Behind” series, even being mentioned several times in the first book of the series.
What does Scripture say about the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem in modern times? Nothing! No Scripture predicts a rebuilding of the temple in our day. The temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and there is no text that predicts a rebuilding after that date.
Since there is no such Scripture, where does the idea originate? Among other things, it comes from two New Testament prophecies of a temple–one in 2 Thessalonians 2 and the other in Revelation 11. Futurism claims that since these two prophecies speak of a temple, the Jewish Jerusalem temple must be rebuilt so these predictions can be fulfilled.
This claim, however, ignores a very important fact. When Messiah Jesus died on Calvary, the God of heaven tore in two the veil of the temple, which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. In this way, God boldly declared that He was finished with that temple. Forty years later Almighty God sent the Romans to totally obliterate that temple from the face of the earth; God was finished with it. The perfect sacrifice for sin had replaced it.
Following Jesus’ death, the New Testament speaks of another temple, which is now the temple of God. Study this issue more thoroughly in Chapter 11, “Man of Sin–the Prophecy.” In particular, see the section, “Which ‘Temple of God’?”
Most students of Scripture, both past and present, see a connection between the man of sin of 2 Thessalonians 2, the little horn of Daniel 7, and the beasts in Revelation 13 and 17. From ancient times, these outstanding prophecies have usually been lumped together under a common title–“the Antichrist.”
Some believers object to applying the term “antichrist” to the texts mentioned. They point out that the term “antichrist” is found only in John’s epistles, and that antichrist has no connection to the beasts of Daniel and Revelation or to the man of sin of Thessalonians. They further notice that John says, “Even now many antichrists have come” (1 John 2:18). This causes them to believe it is improper to speak of “the” Antichrist.
Indeed, John does refer to many antichrists. However, upon careful reading of John’s three epistles, there is no verse where John denies the coming of “the” Antichrist. The complete text of 1 John 2:18 reads: “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.” John explains that there are already many antichrists. However, he does not deny “the Antichrist is coming.” He simply explains that there are more than one, and that many are already present. He does not dispute the concept that one particular outstanding Antichrist is yet in their future. Consider this issue at length in Chapter 13, “Man of Sin–the Reality,” in the section, “Antichrist?”
Although there are indeed many antichrists, the descriptions of the enemy of God in the texts previously mentioned definitely describe the major Antichrist of all time. Whenever the Antichrist is mentioned in commentaries or in fiction, the authors generally have in mind a composite view of the enemy of God predicted in Daniel 7, Revelation 13 and 17, and 2 Thessalonians 2. Therefore, as Bible students, we must ask ourselves if what the commentaries and novels say about the Antichrist is in agreement with these texts. Some of the initial questions to investigate are these:
1. Is the Antichrist past, present, or future?
2. Is the Antichrist one individual or a group of individuals?
3. What is the relationship between the Antichrist and “the temple of God”?
4. Is the Antichrist primarily a political or a religious figure?
The “Left Behind” series in particular and futurism in general maintain that the Antichrist is one man in our future who will have important connections to a rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem. With 2 Thessalonians 2 as the basis, these questions and more are explored extensively in the three chapters dealing with the man of sin: Chapters 11, 12, and 13.
Antichrist’s Seven-year Pact with Israel
Another important element of the futurist doctrine is the idea that the Antichrist will make a seven-year pact with Israel. The very first volume of the “Left Behind” series mentions this idea several times. There seems to be only one text in the Bible that is claimed as the source for this idea. As LaHaye says in his Revelation Unveiled: “Daniel 9:27 indicates that the Antichrist will make a covenant with Israel for seven years.”(3)
However, note what Dan. 9:27 and the context do not say:
1. No antichrist is mentioned. Verse 27 speaks only of “he.” Who is this “he”? Futurism looks back to verse 26 where it says that the city of Jerusalem will be destroyed by “the people of the prince who is to come.” Futurism agrees that verse 26 is predicting the destruction in A.D. 70 by the Romans under Titus. The disagreement is about “the prince who is to come.” In the context, it would be Titus. Futurism, however, with no warrant from the context, says this refers to the future Antichrist. On the contrary, Daniel 9 has nothing whatsoever to do with any antichrist. It first has to do with the real Christ. It secondly has to do with the punishment that God would bring upon the Jewish nation because of their rejection of the real Christ.
2. Verse 27 says nothing about making a covenant. It says, “he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week” (italics mine). This contradicts futurism’s own teaching. Futurism teaches that the Antichrist will break the covenant in the middle of the week, whereas the prophecy says that he (whoever) will “confirm” the covenant for one complete week.
3. Daniel 9 says nothing about a second rebuilding of the temple to take place after the prophesied destruction. The futurist interpretation holds that the destruction mentioned in verse 26 took place in A.D. 70, whereas the destruction in verse 27 is still in the future. In order to get such a future destruction, futurism invents a two thousand year gap between verses 26 and 27. In addition, it envisions a rebuilding of the temple sometime during that gap. However, Daniel 9 says nothing about such a gap and nothing about a second rebuilding.
Futurism reads many things into Daniel 9 that simply are not there. This turns the prophecy into something that it is not. This approach misses wonderful truths that God revealed to Daniel. For a clearer understanding of the seventy-weeks prophecy of Daniel 9, consult the entire “Section Two: The Great Tribulation of A.D. 70.”
The Roman Connection
Most Bible believers agree that Daniel, Thessalonians, and Revelation make predictions about Rome. A major reason for this agreement is the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2. The awesome image he saw forms the basis for several prophecies that follow, especially in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17. According to Scripture and history, the succession of empires predicted is unquestionably Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
LaHaye refers to various details of the Roman connection in his Revelation Unveiled. However, in Left Behind, A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days, #1 of the “Left Behind” series, LaHaye barely acknowledges the Roman connection. He gives Nicolae Carpathia, the future Antichrist in the novels, Roman ancestry–that is all. Any connection to the Roman Empire is totally lost.
In the last half of the twentieth century as the European Union was emerging, futurists followed the news closely and claimed the rebirth of the Roman Empire was imminent. It was said that the ten horns of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17 would be realized in the ten nations that would make up the European Union. For example, Hal Lindsey wrote in his best-selling The Late Great Planet Earth: “We are beginning to see the Ancient Roman Empire draw together, just as predicted… We believe that the Common Market and the trend toward unification of Europe may well be the beginning of the ten-nation confederacy predicted by Daniel and the Book of Revelation.”(4)
What is now the European Union began in 1950 with six countries. In 1973, three years after Lindsey wrote, the number increased to nine. In 1981, the tenth member was added–just right for the futurist theory. However, the process did not stop there. In 1986, two more members were added. By 1995, there were fifteen members. Now the largest increase ever is nearly history. Ten more countries are set to be added in 2004, making a total of twenty-five member countries.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that in Tim LaHaye’s Revelation Unveiled we find no mention of a “revived Roman Empire.” LaHaye clearly identifies the first beast in Revelation 13 with the Roman Empire, and then he explains regarding the seven heads: “They represent five kings up to the time of John; the sixth, Domitian, was the Roman king at the time of John, who then skips forward to the end time for the seventh head, the Antichrist.”(5) “Skips forward to . . . the Antichrist.” With this fictitious break of more than nineteen hundred years, only lip service is paid to Rome. Any meaningful connection to Rome is totally obliterated.
What a difference it would make if people would close their novels and open their history books. For more insight into the historical fulfillment of the Roman connection, read Chapter 10, “Why Rome?” and Chapter 12, “Man of Sin–the History.”
The Mark of the Beast
People in general give free rein to their imaginations when conjuring up scenarios involving “the mark of the beast.” Most assume this mark relates to end times. Once again, the excitement of predicting the future takes precedence over the drudgery of studying history. Consider the thoughts presented in Chapter 14, “666: the Mark of the Beast,” and keep in mind that since the beast is related to Rome, the mark of the beast must also somehow be related to Rome.
The Kingdom and the Church
Another major issue involved in the futurist method of interpretation is the nature of Jesus’ church and the nature of the kingdom of God. Although this issue does not have a major place in the plot of the “Left Behind” series, the underlying concept is always there–after the Rapture and the Tribulation, Jesus will return to earth to establish the Millennium, a thousand-year physical kingdom. The issue is not simply that futuristic premillennialism affirms Jesus will come before the Millennium. The issue is whether there will be a literal millennium at all. The issue is whether God’s kingdom is still in the future or if the kingdom of God is a present reality.
What does the Bible teach about the nature of the kingdom? What does the Bible teach about when the kingdom is supposed to arrive? Is the kingdom here now? Is the church the kingdom? Is the “thousand years” of Revelation 20 to be understood literally or figuratively? To investigate these issues, read Chapter 16, “The Millennium is Not . . .,” and Chapter 17, “Jesus Revealed the Nature of the Kingdom.”
Nobody Left Behind?
What exactly is meant by the title of this book: Nobody Left Behind? The entire “Left Behind” series is built on the unproven assumption that when Jesus comes, saints will be taken away and sinners will be left behind. The term “left behind” carries the idea that life here on this planet will continue its normal course. Yes, people will be greatly disturbed. Yes, the Tribulation will be around the corner. However, those left behind will continue to eat, sleep, work, marry, divorce, give birth, die, shop, fly in airplanes, and watch TV. That is the underlying assumption of the whole Rapture theory.
The title of this book, Nobody Left Behind, bears witness to a very different view of end times. The view proposed in this book and accepted by many believers today is that when it is over, everything is over. It is the belief that Jesus is coming only one more time. It is the belief that when He does come, the world as we know it will be finished. It is the belief that when Jesus comes, time will be no more–no seven years, no thousand years, no time at all. Eternity will have arrived. For a Scriptural study of this vital topic, see Chapter 19, “Nobody Left Behind.”
The title Nobody Left Behind in no way implies that everyone in the world will be raptured to be with Jesus in heaven. Neither does the title imply that all the wicked will be blotted out of existence when Jesus comes for the saints. Instead, the title is an affirmation that when Jesus comes it will be too late to make a decision to follow Him; it will be too late to reconsider. The title is an affirmation that there will be no . . .
One of the most important questions anyone can ask is this: After the Rapture, will unsaved people have a fresh opportunity to get right with God? Will Jesus’ invitation for salvation still be open? The message of the “Left Behind” series is a resounding, “Yes!” In fact, the title of the second book in the “Left Behind: The Kids” series is exactly that: #2: Second Chance. In the same manner, the fourth book in the adult series announces the doctrine of second chance by its very title, Soul Harvest. This is no side issue. Tim LaHaye introduces his comments on Revelation 7 with this amazing declaration: “The greatest revival the world has ever known is yet to come. It will not occur within the Church Age but during the Tribulation period.”(6)
The popular futurist view interprets “He who now restrains” in 2 Thess. 2:7 as the Holy Spirit. The teaching goes somewhat like this: The influence of the Holy Spirit in the church today is what keeps the man of sin from taking over the world. It further states that after the church is taken out of the world by the Rapture of all the saints, the man of sin will be able to deceive those who remain. LaHaye, however, in his commentary on Revelation 7, openly refutes this common belief of his fellow futurists. He states that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, A.D. 30, was only a small token fulfillment of Joel 2. He claims that the real fulfillment will take place during the Tribulation.(7)
Does the Rapture indeed open the way for the greatest soul harvest the world has ever seen? If I miss the Rapture, is there still a chance for me to get my life right with God? Chapter 19, “Nobody Left Behind,” will examine the biblical perspective of how we should view the return of Christ in relationship to our personal salvation.
The Salvation Prayer
Speaking of salvation brings us to the most important issue in the “Left Behind” series. Virtually all those who believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, final message of God to man also believe that Jesus died for our sins and that there is no salvation apart from His shed blood. Nevertheless, there is widespread debate regarding man’s part in the salvation process. The ideas range from “saving oneself by good works” to “there is nothing you can do.” Probably most believers position themselves somewhere between these two extremes.
Repeatedly, co-authors LaHaye and Jenkins make their view plain in the “Left Behind” series. For them, salvation involves a personal decision to receive Christ and pray for salvation. For example, consider this portion from Chapter 12 of Book #1 of the series: “If you accept God’s message of salvation, his Holy Spirit will come in unto you and make you spiritually born anew . . . You can become a child of God by praying to him right now as I lead you.”(8)
The hope of the authors is to lead many people to Christ before the Rapture. However, are people being led to Christ or are they unintentionally being diverted from Christ? This question is not asked lightly. Does the Word of God say, “They who receive Christ and pray the sinner’s prayer shall be saved”? Chapter 18, “The ‘Salvation Prayer,’ ” offers a Scriptural answer to this life and death question.
How This Book is Organized
Nobody Left Behind: Insight into “End-Time” Prophecies is divided into four sections:
“Section One: Getting Started in Prophecy,”
“Section Two: The Great Tribulation of A.D. 70,”
“Section Three: The Roman Connection,”
“Section Four: From Here to Eternity.”
Section One contains general introductory material. The aim of the other sections is to study selected Bible prophecies at length–first and foremost to present my understanding of the correct interpretation of these prophecies, and secondly to examine the claims of today’s popular futurist viewpoint, of which the “Left Behind” series is a major example.
Open Mind and Open Bible
If the views presented in this book are new to you, I ask that you give them honest consideration. May the good Lord help us all to have the attitude of the Jews of Berea when they heard the teaching of the apostle Paul: “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). My desire is to exalt, understand, and correctly explain the Holy Word of God. I urge you to accept whatever you find in this book that agrees with Scripture. On the other hand, I urge you to reject as the teaching of a fallible man whatever you find in this book that is not in harmony with God’s revealed Word. Let God’s Word have the last word.
(Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)
(1) Tim LaHaye, Revelation Unveiled (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 132-140.
(2) Ibid., 331.
(3) Ibid., 211.
(4) Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (New York: Bantam Books, 1973), 83.
(5) LaHaye, Revelation, 215-216.
(6) Ibid., 148.
(7) Ibid., 151-57.
(8) Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Left Behind, A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days, #1 of the “Left Behind” series (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1995), 215.