What "Left Behind" Left Behind
Consider this: On a "midnight special" flight home you're rudely startled awake by stewardesses screaming that passengers have mysteriously disappeared. You notice your seat mate, who pestered you earlier that evening with her incessant talk about Jesus, is gone. You feel an adrenaline rush as you remember discussions about some "rapture" thing that would whisk Christians from the earth, leaving others behind to face some kind of global crisis. No! It couldn't be! Could it?
Left Behind–a 1995 best-selling fiction novel with an overtly religious message tells the story of Rayford Steele, a 747 pilot who's "left behind" when millions of Christians, including his own wife and son, were suddenly "raptured" from the earth by Jesus Christ. Now he and the billions of people left behind with him face a seven-year period prophesied in the Bible as a time of great "tribulation" under the reign of an evil antichrist. Will they now avail themselves of this "second chance" to become "born-again" Christians and be saved before the end of the "seven-year tribulation" when Christ will return again to judge the world?
Barnes and Noble ranks Left Behind as one of the ten best sellers
of the 20th century. With eight sequels in print to date, and others on
the way, it's already being celebrated as the most widely sold book series
in history! While its story line is admittedly fictitious,
Behind throws a spotlight on one of the most dominant teachings of
Bible–the second coming of Jesus Christ. However, by superimposing
the rapture theory over this great
biblical teaching as it has, Left Behind has itself left behind–
But not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Millions of Left Behind's readers and viewers have had their attention riveted on the shining truth that Left Behind didn't leave behind–Jesus Christ is indeed returning soon! The second coming of Jesus is referred to over 1500 times in the Bible, and in an average of one verse in every 21 in the New Testament alone. Jesus' promised reunion with His people at His second coming is the great climax toward which the entire Bible story moves. John 14:1-3
Jesus' promise to return for all who have genuinely believed in Him and followed Him has inspired millions to lives of faith and unselfish benevolence to relieve suffering and inspire hope. Titus 2:11-14 Jesus' followers through the centuries have courageously endured great suffering, even martyrdom, with the vibrant assurance burning in their hearts that He will one day return for them. 2 Corinthians 4 And a grand reunion it will be, one faintly represented by an award-wining photograph seen in Life Magazine which captured an unexpected drama at the return of an American POW from Vietnam.
Jesus's last recorded words in the Bible are, "'Behold I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. . . . Surely, I am coming quickly.'" The closing words of the Bible respond: "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!'" Revelation 22:12,20
So, is the soon return of Jesus good news or bad?
Depends entirely on your perspective, doesn't it? Is the apprehension of a criminal good news or bad? Depends on whether or not you're the criminal! If you aren't ready for Jesus to come, then His return will be the most unwelcomed experience imaginable. But if you're forming a forever friendship with Him now, it'll be the fulfillment of your greatest dream.
If you haven't done so previously, you can begin forming that forever
friendship now, this very moment. Interested?