Chaos after the rapture

Who Will Be Left Behind?

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans7 Minutes

What is The Left Behind series all about?

Just the Facts

Apocalyptic Doomsday MovieAs most movies do, the Left Behind series began as a book series. Back in 1995, Tim LeHaye and Jerry Jenkins teamed up to write a dozen Christian books that crossed many genres: science fiction, romance, disaster, and spy intrigue. Written from an end times theology that includes the rapture of believers and the suffering of those left behind for the tribulation period, the series is an apocalyptic, doomsday prophecy that has been wildly successful! Over 70 million copies have been sold.

The first action film (Left Behind: The Movie) was released in 2000, followed five years later by World at War, and then 18 months after that – Tribulation Force. Neither LeHaye nor Jenkins allowed their names to be connected to the movies, and LeHaye especially objected to the low-budget movie portrayal of his work. Nonetheless, the movies have been well received by viewers and are part of the Inspiration Ministries’ library.

The cast of the series includes heroes Kirk Cameron (Buck Williams), Brad Johnson (Rayford Steele), Janaya Stephens (Chloe Stephens), Clarence Gilyard, Jr. (Pastor Bruce Barnes), and as the key villain, Gordon Currie (Nicolae Carpathia). Cameo appearances by T.D. Jakes, Rebecca St. James, and John Hagee expand the influence of the movies.

A Little Entertainment

A mini-tour of Biblical prophecy is necessary to set the stage for this series. In the “dispensational pre-millennial” view of the end times, the focus is on the rapture (whisking away) of Christ-followers at the “end of the age.” Believers vanish from the earth (taken to heaven) and a seven-year period of intense tribulation then comes upon the earth. Those who remain must worship a world-wide leader known as the anti-Christ or be killed. The Left Behind series portrays the mysterious vanishings of faithful believers, the fallout for survivors, the increase of evil deception, and the resistance to faith in the final days.

In the series, the movie opens with the vanishings and quickly introduces viewers to a few key people who have been Left Behind. The Stephens family has been ripped apart – father (Rayford) and daughter (Chloe) panic over the disappearance of their wife/mother and young son/brother. In searching for their loved ones, they go to the church where mother and son loved to be. There they find the pastor, who himself has been “left behind.” A video has been prepared for this occasion and soon T.D.Left Behind movies. After rapture. Jakes is explaining what has happened.

Gradually a contingent of new converts to Christ develops. Each of the Left Behind movies progresses through the years of the tribulation revealing more of the diabolical horrors expected in the seven-year tribulation period.

[Spoiler Alert] Most of the tribulation converts lose their own lives in their quest to save souls before the final judgment. Anti-Christ, Nicolai Carpathia is eventually revealed to be the product of genetic engineering/artificial insemination and demonic involvement. In keeping with the series’ interpretation of Bible prophecy, the triune evil of Satan, the False Prophet, and the anti-Christ is defeated by Jesus Christ at His second coming.

A Little Deeper Digging

While the Left Behind series focuses on one view of End Times, we thought you might enjoy an overview of the four prominent interpretations. Unfulfilled prophecy is one of those unique areas of Scripture without definitive clarity. While all develop their theories from Scripture and support their views with the Bible, four primary understandings of the End Times have been developed:

Dispensational Pre-millennialism (in Left Behind) (originated circa 1860)
Historical Pre-millennialism (originated circa 100 AD)
A-millennialism (originated circa 400)
Post millennialism (originated circa 300)

All four theories share two common beliefs:

Jesus will return to earth physically (aka – Second Coming).
Only believers in Christ are saved.

Only the Dispensational Pre-millennialists believe the modern state of Israel has any relevance in the End Times prophecies of Revelation. Other beliefs related to End Time events include:

Left Behind seriesTime of Tribulation

This is the area of greatest disagreement among the views. While all believe in the Tribulation, the expectations about it and even the definition of it differs for each theory.

Dispensational Pre-mil: Believers will be “raptured” – taken to heaven either prior to the tribulation or mid-way through it.

Historical Pre-mil: Believers will endure the suffering and persecution of the time of tribulation.

A-mil: Christians will experience the tribulation, and it will get worse in the End Times.

Post mil: Tribulation will occur whenever the Gospel is shared.

Millennial Reign of Christ

Only Pre-millennialists believe in a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ. A-millennials believe that the ‘reign of Christ’ is in individual hearts and Post millennialists understand the millennial reign as a time period when the Gospel is accepted by all.

Timing of the 2nd coming of Christ

Both Pre-millennial views expect Jesus’ return after the tribulation and before the prophesied millennial reign of Christ.

A-millennials do not specify a time for His return.

Post millennials do not expect Jesus until after the millennium.

While prophecy is subject to interpretation, the need to believe in Jesus Christ is clear throughout Scripture. It is the message from Genesis to Revelation. If you don’t know Jesus, please check out our Love of God video.

To learn more about the Left Behind movies on Inspiration TV, visit the movie pages below:

Left Behind: The Movie

Left Behind: World at War

Left Behind II: Tribulation Force