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Any 'Christian fiction' book or series will contain errors, as man is fallible. However, the 'Left Behind' series errs and distorts more than most. As such, as entertainment it should be read with caution, and definitely not as sound doctrine. #1 Frequently in the series, supposed believers outwardly serve the AntiChrist, even deny Christ and take the mark of the Beast - yet the book upholds this as a 'good thing' and holds that these people are still saved, because they are just 'secret Christians' (As opposed to Rev 14:8-10). At one point, a character even swears that he serves the supreme pontentate (antichrist), using the excuse that the wording was not 'specific enough'. Yet, Christ says that those who deny Him before men, He will deny before the father (Matt 10:32-33). The examples of Stephen, Paul, and others show that we should be willing to die before we deny Christ in the name of safety (Dan 3, John 10:25-26, etc). #2 Declaring Christ, martyrdom, and baptism are minimized/non-existent - while working for and supporting the Anti-christ are applauded. #3 The hand of God to rescue believers is minimized, the hand of man to solve spiritual battles is maximized. The Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) is replaced by humans trying to *physically* fight Satan rather than standing firm in Christ & declaring truth without fear (Eph 6:10-20). #4 The Left Behind series is written primarily from the viewpoint of Premillenial Dispensationalism - a theory of the end times that is has become popular over the past couple centuries, especially in America. This view believes that believers will be secretly raptured, taken up to heaven, before a Great Tribulation hits all those left behind (hence the title). In this regard, the book is built off speculation and distortion. There is no doctrine of a 'secret rapture' taught in the Bible, only the doctrine of the public second coming of Christ and the Resurrection. For further reading on the Rapture: https://ebible.com/questions/4342-where-does-the-term-rapture-originate-from#answer-15310 https://ebible.com/questions/4527-is-the-rapture-the-same-as-the-second-coming-of-christ#answer-15400 https://ebible.com/questions/3953-is-the-word-rapture-in-the-bible#answer-15309 https://ebible.com/questions/634-what-is-the-rapture-of-the-church#answer-7873 #5 God promises to keep us from His wrath/judgement (Rom 2:5-11), He does not promise to remove us from trials, suffering, and tribulation (Rom 5:2-4, Mark 10:29-31, Acts 26:10-11, etc). We are protected from *God's* wrath, not from persecution by the hand of man. A tribulation is a time of testing for believers. Those who overcome and endure until the end will be saved, even if their body is destroyed. (Rom 5:3, Matt 13:31, Rev 2:22, Rom 8:25, John 16:33, Deut 4:30, James 1:12) The "Great Tribulation" refers to the the heaviest persecution of believers the world has ever seen (Matt 24:21-22). Yet, the believers of the 'Tribulation Force' in Left Behind don't seek to overcome or endure, rather they seek to keep their belief secret. Nor do events or timelines really match with scripture. https://ebible.com/questions/4862-when-will-the-tribulation-begin#answer-8456 #6 The timeline of this theorized tribulation account is also wrong, mixing and distorting scriptures at whim. While some of this is understandable for a fiction book, the Left Behind series applies things Christ accomplished to the Anti-Christ! For example, the event that launches the Anti-Christ into power in the series is the signing of a seven year peace treaty. The 'scriptural' basis for this is Dan 9:27, yet Dan 9:27 speaks of Christ. [The grammar, word-use, and context are also against this being the anti-christ]. Christ confirmed a covenant with many (Mark 14:24, Matt 26:27-28), then was cut off in the midst of the week (approx 3.5 years of ministry). His death put an end to sacrifice and offering (Heb 10:1-18).
For the most part, yes. It simply explains to us that there will be a Rapture of the church at some point wherein we Christians will be "caught up" (raptured) to meet our Savior in the air. Those who are not of the Christian faith will be left behind and will have to endure the 7-year Tribulation.
No, the 'Left Behind' series was, and is, a privately-owned corporation's attempt to sell millions of dollars in products (and services) to Christians in order to make a profit (not to please or teach their customers the Truth).
It is clear that the rapture and the one time resurrection of the righteous dead are married and cannot be separated. Therefore the timing of that one time harvest of souls is the end of the world. This can be seen in Matthew 13 when Christ explained the parable of the tares and wheat! “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” Matthew 13:38-39 KJV http://bible.com/1/mat.13.38-39.kjv “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:40-43 KJV http://bible.com/1/mat.13.40-43.kjv That one and only rapture resurrection happens at the end of the world. The judgment day and the entry into heaven are on the same “last day."
I say no because what the scriptures say in Revelation 20:5-6: But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of YEHOVAH and of MESSIAH, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Finally, believers that are not swept up in pre-trib rapture. I think that pre-trib is popular because believers, especially Americans, have an allergy to suffering, even though Christ promised us that there would be. There are some very solid teachers [John MacArthur comes to mind] that hold to a pre-trib rapture.I think this is dangerous because believers are not being prepared for the great tribulation. Many believe in a pre-wrath rapture, which there is evidence for. In summary: The Bible is not explicit about the timing. We should hope for pre, but prepare for post.
I believe that the Bible does teach a pre-tribulation rapture. Several scriptural passages come to mind and the passages speak of the living believers being “snatched away” (harpadzo), and meeting Christ in the clouds. I have listened to eschatological scholars speak on this subject, and their case is solid and lines up with scripture. I have also listened to expositional scholars, such as John MacArthur speak on the subject. After reviewing the scriptures, I believe that pastor MacArthur and others in my circle of trusted teachers are correct in teaching the rapture. One thing this teaching has done in me is to promote the trust that Jesus will come as a thief in the night to snatch away his own in the twinkling of an eye. That means I have to live as though Christ could come at any moment and I don’t want to miss Him. There are several reasons I subscribe to the rapture and the Left Behind series is not germane to any of them. It is an entertaining story and takes some limited artistic license, but does not go overboard in my humble opinion. Ultimately, it is up to you and how you reconcile pastoral teaching with biblical scriptures. What we think doesn’t matter when it comes to your walk with Jesus. That is your relationship and yours alone. God bless you in your walk.
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