Guest / Limited Access /

This Tuesday the grand finale to Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' best-selling Left Behind novels went on sale at bookstores across the nation. Glorious Appearing tells the tale of Jesus' return to crush the Anti-Christ and inaugurate his millennial reign. It's a finish filled with plenty of drama to top off a series that's engrossed millions of readers—the first 11 novels have sold more than 40 million copies, leading LaHaye and Jenkins to edge out John Grisham as the most popular novelists in America.

Just what's driving this literary phenomenon? The way LaHaye tells it, Left Behind taps into growing anxiety over global political and religious instability. "The fact that we're seeing some of those things happen right now must be a wake-up call to some people to say, 'Hey, we may be closer than we think.'" On the official Left Behind website, LaHaye notes, "The true account of the Rapture and the subsequent seven year Tribulation period—as described so graphically in the Book of Revelation—has to be the greatest story in the two thousand years since Christ ascended to His Father."

LaHaye's language reminds me of the hype that called Mel Gibson's Passion the greatest Christian outreach opportunity in two millennia. But LaHaye hardly has a monopoly on interpreting the Book of Revelation. A brief overview of Christian end-time schemas from Christian History's Issue 61: The End. A History of the Second Coming should prove the point.

A Perplexing Apocalypse The Revelation of John has bred a plethora of end-time interpretations. For example, first-century Papias (c. 60-120) believed that Christ's resurrection had already inaugurated the new millennium, while Justin Martyr (c.100-c.165) believed that the church would reign with Christ ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueEric Wowoh
Eric Wowoh
Refugee’s startup funds affordable, effective schools for Liberia’s poor.
RecommendedCover Story: Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church
Subscriber Access Only Cover Story: Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church
Some visitors claim to be healed. Others claim to receive direct words from God. Is it 'real'--or dangerous?
TrendingDobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Dobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Pew tracks how many evangelicals came to pick Trump for president.
Editor's PickMy Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
My Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
A four-hour visit to the massive replica of Noah's boat left me with a flood of questions.
Christianity Today
How Will It All End?
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.