One website states that: In an interview in the March 28, issue of the Assembly of God magazine Pentecostal evangel , he insists that " Left Behind is the first fictional portrayal of events that are true to the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy.
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It was written for anyone who loves gripping fiction featuring believable characters, a dynamic plot that also weaves prophetic events in a fascinating story. Origins of the Rapture has been claimed to have been invented by an Anglo-Irish religious figure named John Nelson Darby He was ordained in the Church of Ireland and worked there to convert Catholics. He joined a dissident group called the Plymouth Brethren and became a prominent leader. Around he began teaching that Jesus' coming at the end of times would be preceded by a "rapture of saints.
Eventually he would distance himself from the Brethren group and travel Europe, United States, and Canada from spreading his views on the rapture. Given Darby's hatred of Catholics, his influence on Protestants add an ironic touch. Some premillennialists, while accepting many of the basic beliefs behind the series, describe problems with specific prophetical teachings in the Left Behind books.
For instance, in The Mark , Chang Wong receives both the mark of the beast and the sealing of the Lord and he is later able to go to heaven, despite having the mark.
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In Desecration , the character's dual-marking was justified in the storyline. He was saved because he did not accept the mark of the beast; he was forced to receive it because he was involuntarily put to sleep and then given it. This has led some readers to wonder how a Christian can have the mark of the beast and still be saved, which many readers voiced on the Left Behind messageboard, and which was answered on the FAQ page at LeftBehind.
Along with some other rapture fiction novels, the Left Behind series demonstrates a different understanding of the gospel and the Christian life than that taught within the historic orthodoxy of evangelical Protestantism. Most Christians deny the key eschatological beliefs underpinning the plotline and the books have not sold particularly well outside of the United States.
Dispensationalism remains a minority view among theologians. For instance, amillenial and postmillenial Christians do not believe in the same timeline of the Second Coming as premillennialists, while preterist Christians do not interpret the Book of Revelation to predict future events at all. Brian McLaren, a self-appointed spokesperson of the Emergent Church, compares the Left Behind series to The Da Vinci Code , and states, "What the Left Behind novels do, the way they twist scripture toward a certain theological and political end, I think [Dan] Brown is twisting scripture, just to other political ends.
But at the end of the day, the difference is I don't think Brown really cares that much about theology. Some practicing Christians, evangelical and otherwise, along with nonchristians have shown concern that the social perspectives promoted in the Left Behind series unduly sensationalize the death and destruction of masses of people. Harvey Cox, a professor of divinity at Harvard, says part of the appeal of the books lies in the "lip-licking anticipation of all the blood," and theologian Barbara Rossing, author of The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation , said the books glorify violence.
Large chunks of several U. More than one critic has pointed to a passage in Glorious Appearing in which Jesus, who is portrayed as a lamb in the Book of Revelation, slaughters millions of people:. As Rayford watched, the soldiers stood briefly as skeletons in now-baggy uniforms, then dropped in heaps of bones as the blinded horses continued to fume and rant and rave. Seconds later the same plague afflicted the horses, their flesh and eyes and tongues melting away, leaving grotesque skeletons standing, before they too rattled to the pavement.
One Christian accused the authors of re-sacralizing violence, adding that "we human beings are the ones who put our faith in superior firepower.
But in the Left Behind novels the darkness of that human, satanic violence is once again attributed to God. The series makes no secret of its Protestant-style view of Christianity. As a result some believe the books are Anti-Catholic, noting that many Catholics were not "raptured. While the fictional Pope, John XXIV , was raptured, he is described as having embraced some of the views of the "Father of Protestantism" Martin Luther, implying that he was raptured for this reason. Jimmy Akin, writing for Catholic Answers, details the series as anti-Catholic. However in Chapter 18 of Book 10, The Remnant , most of a Catholic church including the priest and the catechism teacher are raptured, similar to Tribulation Force's situation with their Protestant church: The books are listed initially in story-line chronological order but then numbered in order of publication.
There are also graphic novels, audiobook CDs and cassettes, and a Left Behind series for teens. Audio dramatizations based on the first thirteen titles have also been produced for broadcast on Christian radio. The series written for teens is called Left Behind: The plot of this series is the same as the adult series, but the main protagonists are teenagers. Several of the main books have also been turned into movies by the Canadian motion picture studio Cloud Ten Pictures , including Left Behind: Tribulation Force , and Left Behind: Two spin-off series have been written: A video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces , was released for the PC on November 6, The success of the Left Behind books have led to the release of three motion pictures based on the series so far.
The movies have been produced and released by Cloud Ten Pictures , a Canadian Christian movie studio. The first movie, Left Behind: The Movie , was based on the first book of the series and was released in In a very unusual marketing scheme, the studio released the movie on video and DVD first, and then released it to the theaters.
The movie fared poorly in theaters. In , the sequel, Left Behind II: Tribulation Force , based on the first four hundred pages of the second novel, Tribulation Force , was released. The film debuted at 2 on Nielson's video scan reports, behind Spider-Man , and was 1 in terms of overall sales for two days on Amazon. The second sequel, Left Behind: World at War , was released first to churches on October 21, for church theatrical viewings, and was released to DVD and video on October 25, Tribulation Force reprised their respective roles for Left Behind: Clarence Gilyard, who played Bruce Barnes, was unable to return for the third movie due to a scheduling conflict with a play in New York.
The movie is based very loosely on the final fifty pages of Tribulation Force , and features Louis Gossett, Jr. The third movie was the least identifiable with events in any of the books. Major parts of the movie, however, were either changed from the books or not found in the books whatsoever, including the poisoning of Barnes by GC forces instead of Nicolae Carpathia himself, and an attempt by Fitzhugh to assassinate Nicolae Carpathia, which did not exist in any of the books. Buck's meeting with the President in the books makes it into the movie, but in a totally different form.
The movies have been criticized for, among other things, low production values. A Slate reviewer, commenting that "In low-budget movies there are just some things that you can't portray convincingly.
The end of the world is one of them," said the following:. In Left Behind 2: Israel is represented by a few stone walls obviously made of plywood, some Christmas-tree lights, and volunteer extras wearing leftover costumes from a Nativity pageant. The producers have also dubbed in the sound of goats during scenes set in downtown Jerusalem, which leads to the unusual notion that modern-day Israel is populated by WWII re-enactors, nervous-looking people in bathrobes, and goats.
The video game Left Behind: Eternal Forces was developed by a publicly traded company, Left Behind Games. The game is a real-time strategy game where the player controls a 'Tribulation Force' team and allows the player to "use the power of prayer to strengthen your troops in combat and wield modern military weaponry throughout the game world.
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