Left Behind – Now What?
By Dennis Huebshman
The other day, I logged onto a Christian Movie site and watched the three “Left Behind” movies based on the best-selling book series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. I had seen the movies previously, but individually and never all together. In their series of books from 1995 to 2007, there were a total of 16 books. There were 12 in the original series; then 3 “pre-quels” (2005-2006) and 1 sequel (2007) were added. I remember buying the first book after it had been out for a couple years expecting a “fairy tale” story about the end times. I never expected to be gripped by a series that would consume me to the last chapter of the last book.
Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye used “made-up” characters that after a short time seemed to be real people. They took the word of the Lord and dramatized it in a way that followed events from the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4: 14-17 and 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52) and all through the Tribulation period (Revelation 5 – 19). After catching up to the series, it became a waiting game for each new episode to appear on the book shelves. The authors did a country-wide tour after the “Great Appearing” book was made and had book signings at major Christian Book Stores across America. My wife and I were able to see them in Tyler, Texas, and they were very down to earth people even with their enormous success.
Anyway, my wife also followed the series and a close friend was given the books when we had finished with them. When our friend finished with them, she mailed them to one of her relatives in another state, and we learned that person shared them, and as a result some people came to believe in the Lord because of them. One never realizes the full extent of the “Great Commission” and how far the word of the Lord can go.
Before going on, this is not a sales pitch for the books or the movies, however, I would recommend anyone who has not experienced them to check them out when they can. The one thing the books and movies concentrated on was that the true believers and small children were all taken right from the very beginning. (I believe there will be special provisions from the Lord for those who are mentally challenged as well.) There is speculation in the books and movies as to what has taken place, but slowly and surely there are those who come to understand the Rapture has occurred, and what the unpleasant future was that they were facing. Naturally, the books are able to go into greater depth, but the movies are intriguing as well.
In the first movie, Bruce, a black minister, was sitting in his church and said, “They’re all gone and I’m still here!” He goes through the fact that he sang the songs, said all the words and went through all the “rituals”. Only problem he had was summed up in one statement, “Knowing Jesus exists and believing in Him are two different things!” He knew he had just gone through the motions of “religion” without ever accepting Jesus as his Savior, and as a result was Left Behind. Therein lies the key to the whole Rapture plan. True Believers, those who have heard and accepted the True Word and called on the name of Jesus to be saved, will be taken. God knows who they are and will accept no “actors” of the faith. Romans 10:9 says, “…because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (all emphasis is mine) Verse 10 continues with, “For with the heart one believes, and thus has righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.” Some call this being “born again”, which is to say one’s address has just been changed from eternal damnation to eternal salvation and forever being with the one who paid for our sins on the cross with His precious blood.
By the way, even satan and his demons believe that Jesus is real; they just don’t accept Him as their God and Savior. (James 2:19)
Jenkins’ and LaHaye’s characters all realized they missed the Rapture because they had not accepted Jesus. Over a period of time, they realized who the anti-christ was, and became a “Tribulation Force” to try to thwart his efforts and survive until the “Glorious Appearing”. (these were the titles of 2 of the books)
That works well for fiction, but Hebrews gives a solemn warning to the ones who have heard about the Lord, yet choose to follow the ways of the world. Hebrews 6: 4-6, “For it is IMPOSSIBLE in the case of those who have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, became partakers of the Holy Spirit (5) tasted the good word of God and the miracles of the age (6) and then have committed apostasy to renew them again to repentance since they are crucifying the Son of God for themselves all over again holding Him in contempt.”
Following up with this thought is 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12, “The arrival of the lawless one (anti-christ) will be by satan’s working to all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders, (10) and with every kind of evil deception directed against those who are perishing because they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved. (11) Consequently, God sends them a deluding influence, so they will believe what is false. (12) And, so all of them who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evil will be condemned.” I believe the delusions may have already been started in those the Father knows will never turn and accept His Son.
Does this mean no one can be saved after the Rapture. As Paul would say, By No Means! There will be many people who accept Jesus all through the Tribulation, but at a very high cost. Most will be martyred. The Jewish people will go into the Tribulation as an unbelieving nation, but the survivors at the end (about 1/3) will ALL know Jesus/Yeshua is their Messiah. As you can see by the previous sentence they will pay an enormous price as about 2/3 of their total population will be killed. (Zechariah 13:8-9) The anti-christ will especially take delight in persecuting God’s chosen people in an attempt to totally eliminate them.
There will come a time during the Tribulation when the False Prophet will create a “mark” either on the right hand or forehead for all who will accept the anti-christ. This will allow them to be able to buy and sell things and all without this mark and those who refuse to take it will be martyred. Thing is, to accept the mark is automatic condemnation to the Lake of Fire at the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the millennium, with no possibility of repentance.
There are many other books and movies about the end times that are both fiction and nonfiction. The problem today is the divide between the world and Christianity is getting wider and wider. In 1 Corinthians 1:23, “…but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to gentiles (unbelievers).” Just about any mention of “Jesus” in the secular arena today sends the “freedom from religion” folks scouring for their lawyers. Any mention after the Rapture could get a person killed.
Is there any reason anyone would want to face such a time? The answer to not doing so is simple and easy which is what makes it so unbelievable in some people’s eyes. I already mentioned Romans 10:9-10, and just want to include Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13, and Joel 2:32. ALL who call on the name of the Lord WILL BE SAVED.
Know that Jesus died for us all; accept His sacrifice (it’s a free gift); tell Him you are a sinner as we have all sinned (Romans 3:23) and ask His forgiveness. He will not turn ANYONE away who sincerely asks Him. No special speeches, no pre-ordained rituals, just talk to Him as if He’s your best friend, because He is. After this, you will not have to worry about going through the Wrath or Tribulation because the Father will keep you from it. (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10 Revelation 6:16-17 and numerous others.)
Hope to see you in the air/clouds as we go UP to meet with Jesus there!