After World War II, premillennialism reached an eschatological frenzy. Atomic weapons with incomprehensible destructive power and delivery systems left no place safe from the threat of thermonuclear annihilation. Israel was established as a Jewish state and successfully defended its territory during the ensuing decades.

Furthermore, the United States and the Soviet Union entered a Cold War; in evangelical circles, this was portrayed not as a geopolitical conflict but as an ideological struggle —capitalism versus communism, democracy versus dictatorship, freedom versus slavery. And such themes pervaded the prophetic and apocalyptic literature that rolled off the evangelical presses in the 1960s through the 1980s.

Scores of sensationalist prophetic teachers issued these volumes, but none was better known than Hal Lindsey.

Suicide and Second Coming

Born in Houston, Texas, in 1929, Harold L. Lindsey dropped out of the University of Houston to serve in the Korean War, then worked as a Mississippi River tugboat captain. When his first marriage broke up, he contemplated suicide, but instead found a Gideon New Testament and was converted. Lindsey became an avid reader of Scripture, particularly prophetic sections, which convinced him that the Bible was truly the Word of God.

Though not a college graduate, he entered Dallas Theological Seminary in 1958 (with the help of "Colonel" Robert Thieme, pastor of Berachah Church in Houston, where Lindsey had attended), and graduated with a degree in theology. He also met his second wife, Jan, and they became missionaries for Campus Crusade for Christ, lecturing to college students throughout North America.

In the late 1960s, Lindsey began gathering his lecture notes into a book that would make ...

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