Christ Returns in Final Installment of "Left Behind" Series
- Wednesday, March 31, 2004
What is most interesting and particularly gripping about "Glorious Appearing" is that the book not only deals with how Christ will judge all those remaining on earth who have not yet accepted Him as Lord, but it also ushers in the dawn of Christ’s thousand-year reign as the physical king of the Earth. LaHaye and Jenkins give us a glimpse into the millennium of peace and fulfillment for God’s people here on this planet – how they will relate to one another and to Jesus, what they will eat and where they will live, and other realities of daily life that are fascinating to speculate about.
Don’t expect any speculations on the exact date of Christ’s return from LaHaye and Jenkins, however. The authors carefully avoided giving any clues in the story that might lead readers to try to determine a calendar date for when Jesus will once again appear on earth.
“Jesus Himself said that He didn’t even know, that only the Father knew. We’ve always felt it was folly for anybody to try to predict, so we very carefully didn’t put any dates in,” Jenkins explained. “Christians are supposed to live in light of the imminent return as if it could be today. But it could be ten years from now, it could be a hundred years from now – the point is, it’s coming and we don’t know when.”
As history has seen the turn of the millennium, the darkness of terrorist attacks, and the recent success of another Scripture-based bestseller, Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" feature film, the "Left Behind" series has riveted the attention of millions of readers around the globe who are anxious for spiritual meaning and direction. From the beginning, both LaHaye and Jenkins freely admitted that their series was intentioned as an evangelistic enterprise, and they have seen that purpose fulfilled as thousands of people have come to Christ after reading the series.
“We both had a passion to lead people to Christ,” said Dr. LaHaye, in the March 23 press conference. “That was number one. … But our dream was to explain the gospel in common sense language to where people could realize it happens to every kind of person, whether you’re an FBI director or a schoolteacher, a doctor, or whoever you are – this message is for you. And we have literally heard from thousands and thousands of people … that have had a life-changing experience – many accepting Christ for the first time, many others rededicating their lives to serve the Lord, and many others who just use the book as a tool of evangelism or a way of opening conversations to talk about spiritual subjects. So we’re thrilled with the impact that [the "Left Behind" series] is having in individual lives and for the body of Christ.”
Closing out a series that has taken almost ten years to write and has had such an impact on so many lives was understandably an emotional milestone in both authors’ lives.
“I had a similar feeling as I came to the end of each of the books … a relief that the hardest part of the work was done and a bit [of] melancholy because it was the end of the story,” Jenkins admitted. “This was, of course, magnified with 'Glorious Appearing,' as I have been close to these characters for a long time.”
However, LaHaye and Jenkins are planning to team up once again for a prequel and sequel to the "Left Behind" series, in addition to each working on individual, unrelated prophecy-based fiction titles. First, the prequel will take a look at the pre-Rapture lives of antichrist Nicolae Carpathia, pilot Rayford Steele, Cameron “Buck” Williams, and other primary "Left Behind" characters. The sequel, not due out for a couple of years, will focus on the prophecies regarding the time when Satan will be loosed to once again wreak havoc on the nations at the end of Christ’s thousand-year reign on earth.
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