A badly written story about the end times

Left Behind - Jerry B. Jenkins, Tim LaHaye

Now, I am going to try to write this commentary without using any profanity whatsoever, namely because I have yet to encounter a commentary where somebody has not used some form of profanity in relation to this book (and these people are Christians as well). Look, I admit that there are books out there that are rubbish (this book included) but I personally feel that somebody who is skilled in the use of the English Language can easily describe something that they do not like (or even absolutely hate) without resorting to the use of such language. Okay, granted, I am not one to have never used profanity, but I usually reserve that for informal occasions with friends, when I am writing a story and developing a character, or sitting at a sporting event watching the team that I am supporting performing really badly (which I hope does not happen today). Anyway, on with the book.

I was considering putting this book under the heading of fantasy, but felt that this was probably not appropriate since there are theological groups out there that do believe that the events in this series of books to actually be plausible. As a run down, the authors have written a series of books which chronicle the end times from a pre-millenialist point of view. I will not go into details on that here (but may do elsewhere as there are three books in this series that I have read, though I read three pages of the forth book – I believe there are thirteen – and pretty much put it down). This book begins with the rapture, an idea that at a certain point in the future all Christians will suddenly vanish from the world leaving only those who have rejected God. The idea with these stories is that the rapture is the last opportunity for people to accept God and to repent of their ways, which is what happens to the main characters in this book. When they realise what has happened and why they have been left behind, they go through a lot of soul searching and decide to repent. The struggles that they face then come later.

Look, I am not too sure on whether the rapture will happen or not. The idea is based on one passage in Thessalonians, and even then it is quite vague. If we look at other parts of the Bible we will notice that nobody actually disappears. Jesus ascends to heaven, Elijah ascends to heaven, and we can thus assume that Enoch also ascended to heaven. In these events they went up in full view of people, they did not vanish. This is what Thessalonians implies (as well as the Seth Rogan film 'This is the End') also: that we will be lifted up rather than suddenly vanish resulting in utter chaos and mayhem on Earth. The suggestion is that when the rapture occurs God finally turns his back on the Earth for a time to give it over to the wicked. Well, unfortunately, that once again does not make sense, because from a Theist point of view, Earth cannot survive if God turns his back on it. In fact, as Graeme Goldsworthy indicates, because of the nature of sin in the world, it is essential that God remain focused on the Earth because, once again, if God were not to do so, creation would simply rip itself apart.

Now, I am not saying that Le Hayne is wrong (though being a self-professed expert on the end times is a bit concerning, since it is like George Orwell claiming to be a self-professed expert on Animal Farm) but I do suggest that this is only one idea among many. However, consider this, there is a section of Revelation that talks about the sun being blotted out, a third of the rivers being poisoned, and a third of the earth burning up. My take on that is that if this were to happen during the tribulation, then guess what, we are living in it right now. I guess all of us who are still here have, unfortunately, been left behind.

However, remember the context. The days that we are living in are not the only time when things like this happened. It is believed that the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt was destroyed by climate change and the encroaching of the Sahara Desert. They say that today we are causing desertification on a massive scale, well look at what the Ancient Egyptians did. Also, the Romans, especially in the later empire, were notorious for destroying the landscape and polluting the rivers. If you have read [author:Terry Pratchett], consider the city of Ankh Morphork, where the river flows in one end and sludges out the other. That happened in the medieval ages. So just because we are seeing all this happen now, does not necessarily mean that it has never happened before.

Finally, looking back at the Roman Empire, when the barbarians swarmed over the empire and sacked Rome I am sure many of the citizens, and in particular the Christians, believed that the end of the world was nigh. Civilisation had collapsed, and the empire that had held the world at peace was finally gone. I am sure that at that time people were running around the streets screaming out 'Repent, repent, for the end of the world is nigh'. Remember, when Rome collapsed, it was supposed to be a Christian empire, but the world has continued on for another 1500 years. Therefore, my word of encouragement is, do no fear, for we do not know when the world will end, because you are more likely than not to die before that happens. Do not worry about the end of the world, be more concerned about the end of your life, because, seriously, to you, that will be the end of your world.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/394262879