Tag Archives: left behind

Left Behind: A Good Thing or A Bad Thing?

Long before the popular Left Behind books and films by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, a Christian filmaker, Russell S. Doughten, in 1972 produced the classic (though some say a bit cheesy) A Thief in the Night, a visual experience that haunted a great many youth groups in dispensationalist churches throughout the 1970s.

Long before the popular Left Behind books and films by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, a Christian filmaker, Russell S. Doughten, in 1972 produced the classic (though some say a bit cheesy) A Thief in the Night, a visual experience that haunted a great many youth groups in dispensationalist churches throughout the 1970s.

Growing up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, things were not looking very good. The Cold War with the U.S.S.R., the Islamic Revolution in Iran with American embassy staff held as hostages, and runaway inflation were on everyone’s mind. So when I first heard Larry Norman’s song “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” I really resonated with the message:

life was filled with guns and war
and everyone got trampled on the floor
i wish we’d all been ready

children died the days grew cold
a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
i wish we’d all been ready

there’s no time to change your mind
the son has come and you’ve been left behind
a man and wife asleep in bed
she hears a noise and turns her head
he’s gone
i wish we’d all been ready

two men walking up a hill
one disappears and one’s left standing still
i wish we’d all been ready

Based on Matthew 24:36-44, Larry Norman was singing about the coming Rapture, where all living Christians would be taken up into the air to escape the approaching seven years of the Great Tribulation, prior to the Second Coming where Jesus Christ sits in judgment as the righteous King and to rule the earth for a one thousand year millennium (previous Veracity post). While most of my Christian friends were hesitant to guess any particular dates, the general sense was that Jesus would definitely come within my lifetime. I was so taken in by this message that for the first few working years out of college, I never bothered to participate in my company’s 401K plan to save for the future. Why should I plan for the future when Jesus is definitely coming back so soon?

Years later, I now wish I had given greater thought to how my view of the EndTimes had impacted my life as a young person. Even more so, I wish I had learned that the Rapture theology narrative I had so readily embraced as being identical with the very Word of God is actually a bit more complicated. Let us dig a little deeper into what the Bible teaches on the subject. Continue reading


Revelation … (and the Rapture Reboot)

Clarence Larkin (1850–1924), a Baptist pastor, produced this intricately detailed chart showing the structure of the events described in the Book of Revelation according to a dispensationalist system of Bible interpretation. Note how Larkin splits the event of the Second Coming, into two parts: the first where Christ "raptures" the church and the second where the Christ comes in glory with his Church to begin the millennial reign. In between the two parts of the Second Coming is the "seventieth week of Daniel," which forms the basic narrative of the last book of the Bible.

Clarence Larkin (1850–1924), a Baptist pastor, produced this marvelously intricate and detailed chart showing the structure of events described in the Book of Revelation according to a dispensationalist system of Bible interpretation (Click to enlarge). Note how Larkin splits the event of the Second Coming, into two parts: the first where Christ “raptures” the church out of the world and the second where Christ comes in glory with his Church to begin the millennial reign. In between the two parts of the Second Coming is the “seventieth week of Daniel,” which forms the basic, if not sometimes terrifying, narrative of the last book of the Bible… You really need a chart to keep track of everything! (Source: clarencelarkincharts.com)

The subject of the End Times can be very daunting. Various places in the New Testament address the topic, but by far the most fascinating discussion in the Holy Scriptures that digs into End Times issues can be found in the very last book of the Bible: The Revelation.

As I was nearly completing this blog post on the Book of Revelation, I read about a new Christian movie coming out this year, Left Behind. What? Nicholas Cage in a Christian movie?

Yep. That’s right. What a great lead in on a blog post about the Book of Revelation! How did this all come about?

Well, the story is that some years ago, best selling Christian authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins wrote a series of popular books of the same name. The only book series that has topped Left Behind in sales in recent years is Harry Potter.

In 2000, Cloud Ten Pictures released a theatrical version of the book, starring Christian actor Kirk Cameron. Left Behind: The Movie was a total bust at the box office. Unlike the Harry Potter films, Left Behind: The Movie never went very far.

In response to the poor sales and lackluster quality, author Tim LaHaye sued the film company claiming a breach of contract. LaHaye was expecting a much better movie and wanted Cloud Ten to make amends. Cloud Ten eventually settled with the author and agreed to remake the movie. As the subject of the film is “the Rapture,” you can call it a “Rapture Reboot.”

Well, here is the trailer. Does this look like your idea of a Christian film?

I am still working on the concept of Nicholas Cage being in this film…. Anyway… Undoubtedly, the film will be controversial, particularly among Christians. Fans of the book series might flock to the theatre, just to see if the “Rapture Reboot” with Nicholas Cage was really that much of an improvement over Kirk Cameron. Nevertheless, the film does raise a lot of questions about the Bible, the type of issues you simply will not be able to resolve just by going to a movie theater, or viewing later on Netflix.
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