I’m not forgetting my upcoming series’! I know probably a few readers are probably bored with the exposition of Revelation. Indulge me please, because we’re more than halfway through it, and then I’ll start resuming my normal series of apologetics against the various cults nad false religions.
Yes, I’m going to deal with Mormonism and Seventh DAy Adventists. Don’t worry! But it’s absolutely amazing to me in this day and age, that even AFTER the release of the Left Behind series, we have many christians still believing incorrectly about the Book of Revelation. Am I going to write a month long series dealing with the errors of the Left Behind series? No. Let me explain. These books are fiction.
Jerry Jenkins had to find a way to fictionalize a number of elements, and some strong Biblical teachings. He did so fairly well, I thought. The problem in this was twofold, I would say…
Laheye was not writing it himself – that was the first problem. He had the image and understandings of it to carry it out. Jenkins had to go by LaHeye’s vision and understanding, and the difficulty in being a writer and going from someone else’s vision is this – it becomes halty, stop start. You see where the story in YOUR head is starting to go. And LaHeye is seeing where HE thinks it should go. The entire thing becomes an issue of compromise.
The other issue is, they had to keep the series from becoming incredibly depressing. If I wrote the series, I’d have told LaHeye from the start, “It’s going to be like living in the wild – cold, hungry, scary, depressing. People are going to die. Bodies will be lying in the streets, decomposing. It’s not going to be fun or pretty.” It WOULD be depressing, hard, upsetting. Why? I want people SAVED. I want to leave the reader with the unshakeable feel that “the tribulation is going to be horrible.” Towards the end of the series, it did manage to capture a little of it.
And personally, I would have dropped the Hattie character quickly on. Okay, Rayford was unsaved, and contemplating adultery. I’d rather that hadn’t been in the book, but let’s move ON from it. Drop the character quickly, and lets’ not have the lead guy still (as a christian man) having an attraction to someone he’d contemplated an affair for. And speaking of which, if my wife had been raptured, I would not have remarried. Why? You’re gonna see your wife again in seven years. That’s going to be VERY hard to explain. And in the last book, Steele is living with his first wife in Jerusalem… but the second wife is out of the picture. Now, that’s uncomfortable. You love this other woman enough to marry her (when technically you’re still married to the first), but once the Lord returns to the earth, “Well, thanks! Good luck!”.
See what I mean? The whole thing was uncomfortable. I found myself skipping past pages if I saw the name of Steele’s second wife or Hattie when I read the series.
And obviously there were scenes that were only written the one time due to publisher’s deadlines. Here’s how they should have done it… get the prospectus from the publisher, and start working on all the novels at once. Tell the publisher, “I’m not going to guarantee the book for a year. Give me two years max, but expect the first one say 15 months from now. I’ve got over a dozen novels to write.”
What scenes were rushed? Okay, the “seek him in the desert” scene. The dialogue from the devil masquerading as the false messiah was painful at best. Killing someone, raising them from the dead, and kiling them again… that could have been done without dialogue, becuase that was…cheesy. Or the scene could have been left out, and recounted through an eyewitnesses dialogue. And other scenes were rushed as well.
Anyway, I’m not going to talk about the left behind series. I’m just going to repeat, we need the novels written from a fundadmentalist vierwpoint, so people will see what it’s REALLY going to be like.
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. Revelation 13:1-2 (KJV)
Whether this is describing the attributes of the Antichrist, or giving clues to who he is, i’m going to let you decide. I think it’s telling us he’s going to be like an amalgamation of the four kings of Daniel – like a mix of Alexander, Cyrus and Caesar Agustus – cruel, cunning, relentless, devious, smart… making deals with one hand while planning on how to attack that person from behind at the same time. The Antichrist will defeat many through treachery.
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Revelation 13:3-10 (KJV)
The second half of the tribulation, Satan himself will enter the Antichrist. He’s cast out of heaven, and has no place to go. He knows he has very little time, because he KNOWS exactly how long the Tribulation is! Satan, quite simply, has better doctrinal understandings than most Christians, because he KNOWS the truth, and is rebelling against it. Many christians are simply misled. And sadly, many unSaved are deluded by false religions into thinking they’re already saved. That’s the worst part of all.
11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. Revelation 13:11-18 (KJV)
the false prophet. The unHoly trinity is this – Satan, Antichrist, false prophet. Who is the false prohet? Who can he be? Someone influential. Perhaps a wildly popular Pope who has done nothing to merit such crazy acclaim – “The pope of hope”. Perhaps a tall, thin man who speaks in platitudes and smiles a lot, and encourages Christians to worship themselves. Or perhaps its a stout Southern Baptist who wears hawaiian shirts and laughs a lot. We will see.
What is the number of the beast? It’s written right there! 666. Thanks.
See, very often when you read the Bible, the answer that’s right there in front of you is the right one.