A SYNOPSIS OF THE LEFT BEHIND SERIES
A SYNOPSIS OF THE LEFT BEHIND SERIES
A SYNOPSIS OF THE LEFT BEHIND SERIES
This article will be a synopsis of the “Left Behind” series by the authors Tim LaHaye and writer Jerry B. Jenkins.
Before going on, here is some background information on both Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Conceiving of this series was Tim LaHaye. He is a prophecy scholar, a minister and educator. Over the years he has published 40 non-fiction works and 30 languages. Writing this series is Jerry B. Jenkins. He has published more than 100 books. Jerry B. Jenkins has been on the New York Times bestseller list.
Publishing this series of books was the Tyndale Publishers. Here is a list of the various titles of the books I have read in this series: Left Behind, Tribulation Force, Nicolea, Soul Harvest, Apollyon, Assassins, The Indwelling, The Mark, Desecration and The Remnant.
Before commenting further, it has to be understood that these books are FICTIONAL in nature, although based on the fact of the Tribulation period. (You can read about the tribulation period in the book of Revelation.) The reason for emphasizes on the fact this is a series of fictional books this is because I’ve known people who have prayed for the characters in these books.
Tim LaHaye also presents this series from the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. (You can read about the Great Tribulation in the book of Revelation. This is the last book in the New Testament.) Here is brief some information concerning the Tribulation period. Daniel, one of the books in the Old Testament, writes about the Tribulation period in the book of Daniel, starting with chapter 9, verse 24 through verse 27. In this Daniel writes about, what has become know as the, “70 weeks of Daniel.” Below I have used two translations of this Scripture, the first translation is from the New American Standard Bible, and the second is from the King James Bible:
24 Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your hold city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniguity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. 25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolation are determined. Daniel 9:24-27
In the King James Translation, this 70 weeks of Daniel is below:
25 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Dan 9:24-27 (KJV)
Based on the mathematics of Christian scholars, 69 weeks in the prophecy of Daniel had been fulfilled at the time of Christ. That means there is one week left and this is what is known as the week of The Great Tribulation. It’s during this time of tribulation that the Left Behind series revolves around. (Each week being equal to a year of time.) During this final week there is combat between God and Satan; Satan will rule during the first half of the week, (which is 3 ½ years) and God will rule for the final half of the week, (which is also 3 ½ years.)
According to Tim LaHaye, the rapture takes place just before The Great Tribulation begins and this is known as a PreTribulation Rapture. (This is one of three views presented by theologians.) There are at least two more views of the Tribulation Period. One of them is known as the Mid-Tribulation Rapture. It occurs 3 ½ years into The Great Tribulation Period when God takes His justice out on the Devil and his followers. The logic of those who adhere to the Mid-Tribulation view is that the Christian has never before escape the tortures of Satan in the past events of history, so why now? Since the second half of this tribulation period is God’s actions against Satan, the Christian will not be subject to this part of the Tribulation. The third view is the Post Tribulation view. Those who believe this view are of the opinion that the Christian will go through the complete Tribulation Period, but will be rapture at the end of the Great Tribulation, and return with Christ to start of Millennium reign of Christ. Regardless of a persons view, it is interesting reading.
How quickly this rapture will be once it starts is not really given in the Bible, but according to Bible scholars it will be quick and without warning. There is no word, either in Hebrew or Greek that uses the word, “rapture”. One of the best verses to describe the rapture is this:
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed King James Version. (KJV)
A more recent translation of the Bible reads like this:
We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
The key word in these verses is, “twinkling of an eye”.
Now, for a quick synopsis of the Left Behind series.
It’s important that the books be read in the order as written so a reader gets the correct context. The first book is titled, “Left Behind”, and establishes the characters and their relationship to the Lord and to the other characters in the series. For example: there is Rayford Steele, who is an airline pilot for Pan Continental Airlines, Cameron (Buck) Williams who is the senior writer of Global Weekly, Bruce Barnes the pastor of The New Hope Village church and Chloe Steele, a student at Standford University. What is important to me, as I read this first book in the series, is the fact that it takes more than just being good, having a church membership, or maintaining good morals to be a part of the Rapture. Even being pastor is no guarantee of being raptured, since there is one case of a pastor NOT being part of the Rapture but is left behind.
In the second book of the Left Behind series called, “The Tribulation Force.” It’s the characters of Steele, Cameron, Barnes and Chloe who make-up this Tribulation force. The purpose of this Tribulation Force is to fight the Anti-Christ who is about to make his appearance.
The third book is called “Nicole”. In this book, the reader will lean how the Anti-Christ gets his power and what he does with this power. His full name is Nicole Carpathia. He is very charismatic, and soon convinces the political leaders that he is the one to lead the world. Among other things, he starts World War III.
The other books in, “The Left Behind Series” follow in more detail and show how the characters of Steels, Cameron (Buck), Barnes and Chloe come into constant contact with Nicole.
The books in the rest of the series are very interesting, especially in the “light” of the book of Revelation. While each book is “spell binding” and exciting, the writers seem to make the Tribulation less terrifying in the, “Left Behind” series than is written in the book of Revelation. However, a person will appreciate reading this series, especially when compared with the present world politics.