Left Behind is for the Biblically Blind
By Wade Burleson – 1/30/14 at 12:02 PM
I really like Nicolas Cage as an actor. The Rock, National Treasure, and Family Man are three of my favorite Nicolas Cage movies. Unfortunately, Nicolas Cage is the new star of a 2014 major motion picture release entitled Left Behind. This movie is the Hollywood reboot of the insanely popular Left Behind series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. The only thing worse than people not reading the Bible for themselves is for them to get their theology from a Hollywood motion picture. Even worse, when evangelical Christians think Left Behind represents sound biblical theology about the end of the world, we expose ourselves as being biblically ignorant. 95% of Christians believe what they believe about the end of the world because somebody–either a pastor, a parent, or a popular teacher–told them what to believe. Gone is the day when Christians search the Scriptures for themselves.
The prophet Daniel in his prophecy called “the scroll (book) of Daniel,” the Lord Jesus Christ in His prophecy of Matthew 24, and the apostle John in his prophecy called Revelation, all predict the same thing – and it is NOT the end of the world. The prophets of the Old Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the early apostles all predicted the end of the Old Covenant way of life (Jewish sacrifices, Temple rituals, yearly festivals, etc…) through the fall of the Temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the scattering of God’s Old Covenant people.
The prophets of Scripture gave very specific time as to when the Old Covenant Jewish kingdom would come to an end. Daniel said in his prophecy that the Jews had 70 weeks left (490 years), Jesus in His prophecy of Matthew 24:34 said the Jewish way of life (Old Covenant Temple worship) had a generation left (40 years). and the apostle John said that the events in his prophecy (the same events predicted by Daniel and Jesus) would occur “very soon” (Revelation 1:1) and that everything was “near” (Revelation 1:3). It was Jesus expressed purpose to fulfill every jot and tittle of the Old Covenant Law through His life, death and resurrection, and then inaugurate His New Covenant of faith whereby He would “make the Law obsolete” and cause it to “disappear” (Hebrews 8:13). Jesus successfully accomplished His purpose through His life, death and resurrection, and then a generation later by sending the Roman army to destroy the Jewish Kingdom in AD 70. Again, Daniel, John and Jesus all prophesied the end of the Jewish kingdom! Interestingly enough, God told Daniel to “seal up the scroll” (Daniel 12:4), a Hebrew euphemism indicating the events of Daniel’s prophecy (the end of the Jewish Kingdom) were a long way away. However, God told John to NOT “seal the scroll” of his prophecy (see Revelation 22:10), a prophecy written in AD 68 (see Kenneth Gentry’s Before Jerusalem Fell) because “the time is near.” Jesus said shortly before his death (AD 30) that “all these things” – meaning the end of the Temple and the Jewish Kingdom– “will be fulfilled within a generation” (40 years). Just like the Messiah said, the Old Covenant disappeared completely in AD 70!
Any person with a modicum of biblical literacy knows that Daniel, Jesus and John prophesied the end of the Old Covenant Jewish Kingdom. The New Covenant people of God are those who trust His Son, both Jews and Gentiles. In this New Covenant, faith in the risen Lamb of God makes a sinner–whether male or female, slave or free, rich or poor–a priest unto God. We, the people of Christ, are the new Temple of God. The Royal Law of our King is the law of love for one another, the same kind of love Christ has for us (John 13:35). In this New Covenant inaugurated by Christ, I live a life of faith in the risen Son of God, “who loved me and gave Himself for me.” My at-one-moment with God occurred through the atonement of my King! I trust in no ritual, no festival, no law apart from faith in Him. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection!
So, let me just encourage those of you who are tempted to see Left Behind as Christian orthodoxy to pick up your Bible and read for yourself! Revelation is a glorious book showing how God ended the Old Covenant Kingdom of the Jews and how He inaugurated the eternal Kingdom of His Son. You and I are members of that Kingdom via faith in the risen Savior! Unfortunately, the beauty of Jesus Christ is missed by Hollywood, and the poor theology of this film will lead to restless living by those who believe it to the neglect of their Bibles. It’s worth repeating; Left Behind is for the Biblically blind.