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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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4/03/2004

Obligatory Left Behind Blog 

Everybody and their TV network is talking about Glorious Appearing, the last in the Left Behind series. So why not me?

I've read the series, up to Desecration. My in-laws are buying the series for me in paperback, so I'm going to be a bit behind as far as plot line goes. Although, if you think about it, we know how the story ends.

That is, we do IF you have studied your pre-trib, pre-mil eschatology. If you haven't, those two links are a starting point.

The problem with eschatology is that there is no one position that we can call, with 100% accuracy, orthodox. The dominant view in the United States right now is pre-tribulation, pre-millenial -- that is, Christ will rapture His Bride (the Church) before the Great Tribulation (the trib in pre-trib) starts, which is before the Millenial regin of Christ (the mil in pre-mil). That is the view that the books support. The Rapture signals the start of seven years of misery on Earth (the Trib). At the end of seven years, Christ and the Church come back and whoop up on the forces of Evil, and rule the Earth for 1,000 years (the Millenium).

So from the start, people familiar with this eschatological scenario have known what was coming next. That's why the series has been a REALLY easy read for me. I could sit and say "OK, that's judgement #1, so next we have THIS happening", all through the books. No suspense. The characterization was a bit dull -- I have a real problem with Rayford as the leader of these people. I don't think he's qualified. Every time he starts barking instructions, I wonder "Who died and left this schmuck in charge?"

I also have a hard time getting theology from a work of fiction. This book is pure speculation, and should be treated as such. It's a fun read, it's an easy read, but I can think of a LOT of other resources to go to if you want to study end-time prophecies.

I can understand the big part of Evangelicaldom that feels left out by Left Behind. These are the mid-tribbers, the post-tribbers, the post-mils, the amils, and all the pan-mils. If you're confused by these terms, this is a pretty good reference to start out with. They're not usually sympathetic to Christians over there, notwithstanding their name, but they offer some good basic info on this subject. Pan-millenialism is the belief that it'll all pan out in the end, that whenever it happens, it'll happen, and that we have more important things to do than sit on our mountain and wait for Christ to come back. I tend toward that position, though I usually say I'm mid-trib if someone asks me.

I snuck a look at Glorious Appearing in the bookstore tonight. It ends rather ominously, with a quotation reminding us that Satan comes back at the end of the 1,000 years. I smell another book or two (HOPEFULLY they don't plan on writing about the whole Millenial Reign!).


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