Friday, August 13, 2004

The "Left Behind" books

I work at a bookstore in a nearby town so get to read lots of great books w/o having to pay for them (sort of a lending library situation). I've had the opportunity to read through the "Left Behind" series over these past few years and really liked the fact that the Gospel was presented on almost every page of the books. It bothered me, though, thinking of the scripture in Revelations 22:18 which says, "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book." I heard Messrs. LaHaye & Jenkins on the radio once when they were on the Larry King show. Someone called in & referred to this scripture & asked what they thought of this. They both said they weren't adding to scripture because the series was entirely fictional & the events described are their own interpretation of what scripture says.

I wasn't too concerned about this, honestly, until I read the last book, "The Glorious Appearing" (this book describes the Lord's millennial return). I found myself deeply disturbed by their description of these events. Even though they are careful to have the Lord's words be scripture quotations, I felt uneasy with the whole idea of attempting to describe something which is truly beyond description! Also, to attempt to put into words what He will look and sound like to His saints feels belittling. Just the very act of attempting to put into words details which even scripture leaves out feels sacrilegious, sort of a "Tower of Babel" using words. Many people are confused by the book of Revelations (from which many of the events in this series is taken), yet what is described in Revelations regarding the end times is meant to be a mystery because it is beyond our power to know.

As Christians we speak of "The Mystery" (that which there is in scripture which is not easily understood). A lot of this Mystery occurs in Revelation mainly because what is to happen in the end times is so indescribable. I believe God in His holiness, grace & wisdom has allowed us to be unclear/uncertain about what is to come after the Rapture because it's not something we really need to know other then what He's written in Revelation & in other prophetic books of the Bible. We don't need details because He is in control. It's my belief (& this is knowledge obtained from personal experience) we only want to know specifics and detail because we feel more in control this way. I've always felt I'd be more comfortable when I'm in control of things, yet this cannot compare with the deeper peace & a joy which comes from giving control over to God. I don't know why this is true; it just is. It's a another of God's wondrous mysteries.

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