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Left Behind #1

Left Behind

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An airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun...

470 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published September 29, 1995

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About the author

Tim LaHaye

558 books1,771 followers
Timothy "Tim" F. LaHaye was an American evangelical Christian minister, author, and speaker, best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins.

He has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,253 reviews
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,295 reviews120k followers
May 27, 2021
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins - Image: Tyndale House Publishers

Try to forget for a minute that there are people who take this stuff literally. The book actually works as a sort of sci-fi novel, the kind Robert Heinlein might have written for adolescents. The characters are paper thin and the truth is revealed to true believers. It is a scandal that this stuff sold so many copies. But it was worth the read to know what all the fuss was about. Entertaining, sure, but still a major eye-roller.
Profile Image for Summer.
298 reviews142 followers
January 1, 2008
I felt left out of the Bad Books Club because I completely failed to get past the first chapter of The DaVinci Code, so I read this to keep up. And boy, is this one horrible book! And there's at least 11 more of them! (N.B. - I will not be reading the rest of the series)

The writing is beyond terrible. In a story that presents so many interesting narrative possibilities - the grief of those "left behind" after The Rapture, the breakdown of society after a massive tragedy, the personal pain and soul-searching of those who believed they had faith but who were found wanting - and ignores them all in favor of people sitting on beds and talking on phones. The authors say that there is violence and mayhem, but don't show any of it. The main characters' conversions to Christianity happen as almost an afterthought - there is little description of the feeling of God's love, of how they will change their lives and live by the teachings of Jesus. The book could have been about 300 pages shorter for all it has of any substance, or it could have remained the same length and added some actual plot or character development.

Oh my, the characters. Our Two Heroes are named Rayford Steele and Buck Williams. The current president is named Gerald Fitzhugh (totally not supposed to evoke John Fitzgerald Kennedy, I'm sure!). Williams's editor is named Steve Plank, and I presume that if this naming scheme keeps up, later volumes will include media mogul Robert Mudrock and sassy reporter June Heat-Register. There are two women in the book, and both of them are boy-crazy and even find the time to get makeovers in the middle of the horrors of the post-rapture world. They are also wholly without personality, but so are all the male characters. The Antichrist shoots his two closest business partners in order to command respect, and then uses his evil hypnosis skills to make everyone in the room forget about it. So what was the point? There's also a great throwaway line about how much Planned Parenthood loves its filthy abortion money, and how they're so sad they no longer have any babies to abort (no mention is made of reproductive health, etc.)

Theologically, this book is on shaky ground as well. There is the aforementioned avoidance of actually describing the process of converstion, and there is little Biblical evidence given for the Rapture itself (an event which many Christian sects do not believe in and see no textual evidence for). Questions are brought up (in the book!) about God's seemingly abusive role in forcing people to accept Jesus's sacrifice and love for humanity by secondhandedly killing scores of people in the aftermath of an event where drivers of cars disappeared suddenly. If the seven years of tribulation are supposed to give the unbelievers a second chance, how about all of those poor souls who died in accidents, or who were stricken with heart attacks? These questions are not answered in the slightest, and I was slightly thrown off by the book's refusal to capitalize "Him" when speaking of the divine. It's an ostensibly religious book without any real faith.

This could have been such an interesting story, but the writing is so utterly awful that the series stands as dangerously bad. It does nothing to address the mystery of faith and the horrors of the Apocalpse - it could be any third-rate spy thriller gathering dust on an airport bookshelf. And it's so damnedly popular!
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,688 followers
June 24, 2009
It has been a long time since I read Left Behind, but I have one interesting memory of reading it that remains clear and is, I think, worthy of discussion. I'll get to that memory in a second, but first I must digress.

I read this book for a student of mine. She was a very nice lady who came into my English classes worried for everyone's souls (and I say this with all honesty). Left Behind was her favourite novel (her favourite book was The Bible, obviously), and she asked me to read it just after we finished Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. So I did.

Now back to that memory.

Early on I remember thinking, "What a brilliant book this would be if Tim LaHaye was a master of irony on the level of Jonathon Swift." Sure...nothing could save LeHaye's clunky prose, but if he conceived of Left Behind as a commentary on "fundamentalist believers" it would have been a stroke of genius approaching the level of A Modest Proposal.

Then I started reading it that way, letting myself imagine the story as a brilliant commentary, and it made the otherwise execrable experience thoroughly tolerable. I knew it wasn't so, and I couldn't really force myself to "believe," but it sure was more fun. I laughed more than I might have, I giggled more than I might have, and I actually wasn't moved to throw this book in our backyard firepit when I finished.

Indeed, when this piece of fundamentalist-pop-fiction kindling was over, I eschewed the flames and dropped it on the book swap shelf of our English Department. Drop a book, take a book is the theory, but there wasn't anything there I hadn't read before, so I simply left my copy of Left Behind for some poor, unsuspecting student to stumble upon.

And the next day it was gone.

I wonder who took that book? Probably a member of LeHaye's choir, but I'd love for one of my colleagues to have picked it up and read it with the same guilty pleasure I did. Perhaps then I wouldn't feel so sheepish.
Profile Image for Allen.
134 reviews16 followers
July 6, 2008
I usually have students fill out a card at the start of the semester with information like their major, where they went to high school, etc. One thing I always ask is what book they read most recently. The Left Behind series started showing up on those cards a lot a few years ago, so I decided to read the first one to see what they were like.

This is absolutely the worst-written book that I've ever picked up. The dialogue is painful, the characters are wooden, the descriptions are hackneyed. In every way this book is just too dreadful to wade through. I skimmed it, right through to the unintentionally laughable end where the main characters are striding side by side down the street to go take on the evil-doers as the "Tribulation Force".

I now have a benchmark for the scale of books -- this is the bottom. Apparently you can't give a book a rating below one star.
Profile Image for Nick Black.
Author 1 book711 followers
December 23, 2016
My mother demanded I read this in my senior year of high school (I was no slouch reader or anything, I assure; this was indeed punishment for a handful of books the parents had found, and thrown away -- Henry Miller, The Story of O, Beyond Good and Evil, and for some incomprehensible reason Invisible Man, which all ought indicate the parents as not particularly illiterate people themselves (aside from the Ellison, their Index Librorum Prohibitorum at least evidenced a self-coherent ethos), and give a hint as to the bewildering nature of my formative years).

It was quite possibly the very worst book I've ever choked down, and remembering these pages of absolute shit brings the bile to my throat to this day. Baby-Sitters Club books (of which I read about fifty, and refuse to ever list on GoodReads) had more complex and well-developed characters. The previously best-known novelist of the evangelical Christian-slash-eschatological scene, Frank E. Peretti, absolutely puts LaHaye and Jenkins to shame, and has a series of childrens' books with less presumptuous plots. What epic trash.
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,194 reviews9,453 followers
April 27, 2022
LaHaye and Jenkins, the Simon and Garfunkel of the Apocalypse, one tall and blond (he did the typing) and the other short and dark (he had the ideas). In the photo on the back they are grinning like maniacs. They are happy.


We begin in Israel where a scientist has invented a New Formula which makes the desert bloom. This means Israel becomes the richest nation on earth – the formula earns them far more than their “oil-rich neighbours”. I expect this is from tomato and cucumber exports, it is not spelled out. Now, the Israelis don’t let anyone know their Secret Formula and this leads Russia to send a bomber fleet to “annihilate” Israel. In the world of Left Behind there is no such thing as international diplomacy. It turns out that Russia is in a secret alliance with Ethiopia and Libya. So this vast fleet of bombers appears in the Israeli skies one night without any advance warning (there is no radar or US led intelligence in the Left Behind world either). But miraculously all the airplanes kind of explode in the air and disintegrate, and not a single person in Israel is harmed.

So that was the first thing. The next thing was that a few weeks later millions of people disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving their clothes and wedding rings behind. Oh, all children and babies in the womb also disappear. There’s a later conversation about how mean God is to deprive abortion clinics of their livelihood just like that. But of course that’s not the main problem – when all these people disappear there are thousands of hideous car pile-ups, plane crashes and houses burn down.

The story follows two guys throughout this mayhem – Captain Rayford Steele, pilot of 747s, tall, bulgingly shouldered, with a terrible guilty conscience. (His crime was that he thought about having an affair, but he didn’t actually have one. But he thought about it.) The other guy is crack reporter Buck Williams of the Global Weekly.

So it’s the Rapture – you knew that. God has gathered up to heaven all the True Christians. I will come to the theological implications of that in a moment but first we must follow Rayford and Buck through many pages where they try to phone people but can’t because the lines are jammed. They can’t get a cellphone connection, they queue for hours for a payphone, this goes on for page after page. And I think the Rapture would be just like that – people frantically trying to find out which loved ones have been raptured – but man it makes for some dull reading. “Buck hung up and dialed his father. The line was busy.” You don’t say so.

I was interested in the craziness that would happen if millions of people were raptured but I was disappointed, our authors aren’t bothered about the huge human drama of it all, they are wanting to get on to the Big Picture – after the Rapture will come The Rise of the Antichrist.

This whole plotline sinks the second half of the book which up to then was kind of goofy but also sort of entertaining too. But now we get really dull stuff about a Romanian politician called Nicolae Carpathia and how he becomes Romanian president and then ludicrously becomes General Secretary of the United Nations. Hilariously, he has a shopping list of demands before he will accept the job :

1) UN HQ to move to Babylon!

2) All member states to disarm totally – 90% of their weapons to be destroyed and 10% to be given to the UN

3) All member states to agree that there should be only one religion, not many.

As they say, good luck with that.

Captain Steele’s wife & son were raptured – his wife had been nagging at him for months about the Apocalypse and the End Times, kind of irritating, but now he sees she was RIGHT ALL ALONG so he goes to see the pastor who confesses he hadn’t taken Christianity seriously so hasn’t been rap….

Wait, let’s try to figure this thing out. If God has taken all the True Christians up to Heaven, those who are Left Behind are the fake ones and the non-Christians.

Not once does this book mention any non-Christians apart from Jews. We must assume that no Muslims disappeared. So Muslim countries never experienced all the plane and car crashes and thousands dying. So from their perspective the whole Rapture must have seemed like God’s punishment on Christian countries for not being Muslim. Now the other point that bugged me was what about all the people who died in these plane and car crashes? Did they all go straight to hell? This is not explained.

So the LB fake Christians figure that God has actually given them a second chance. If they get born again, they will become True Christians and will get to Heaven eventually. Being born again seems to be a matter of being completely sincere plus some fancy mental footwork. It is not really explained.

Anyway, Captain Steele has a big sweating crying conversion scene and he is now a True Christian. He learns from the pastor (also born again) about all these Biblical prophesies. There will now be a seven year period of “trials and tribulations” and there will come The Antichrist and blah blah blah.

A great many pages are then taken up with Capt Steele trying to convert his skeptical daughter. Clearly he thinks she might die at any time then go to Hell. Even though she’s a pretty nice kid. Because the pastor keeps banging on about how there’s no one righteous, no not one. Everyone’s a sinner, even the sweet little old ladies who make the tea.

Well, trying to cram all the weird complicated Biblical prophecy End Times stuff into a novel, even a sequence of 12 longish novels, was never going to be easy. The ludicrous turns of events, the cardboard characters (that’s an insult to cardboard), the drab inept dialogue that exists only to shoehorn more prophecy ideas into the book all make the book collapse into a welter of silliness.

It ends with a now-read-on cliffhanger, but even at the peril of my very soul, I am going to resist ordering volume two. And volumes three to twelve.


REV A W NIX : Black Diamond Express to Hell

JOSEPH SPENCE : Happy Meeting in Glory

REV EDWARD W CLAYBORN : Then we’ll Need that True Religion

THE CARTER FAMILY : God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign

SISTER CALLY FANCY : Goin’ on to Heaven in the Sanctified Way

BLIND ROOSEVELT GRAVES : I'll be Rested when the Roll is Called

BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON : Church I’m Fully Saved Today

IRIS DEMENT : God Walks the Dark Hills

BOB DYLAN : Ain’t No Man Righteous

PRINCE FAR I : Psalm 1
Profile Image for Ancient Weaver.
71 reviews36 followers
November 18, 2015
Left Behind is one of the most wretchedly awful books I have ever forced myself to read.

If possible, I would give this book zero stars. Only by sheer willpower and by listening to the audio book one short installment at a time was I able to get through this one. Whole essays/rants could be written on how much this book sucks, but I'll limit myself to just a couple observations.

The worst thing about LB isn't LaHaye's crazy religious beliefs, it's the fact that it's such a horribly written piece of garbage. The only other books I have read that have been written this poorly are L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth series (which, interestingly enough, are also religious propaganda fiction written by a fanatical religious leader in his declining years). C.S. Lewis was a popular Christian author with whom I often disagree, but Lewis is infinitely more readable and infinitely more enjoyable than LaHaye and Jenkins regardless of whether you agree or disagree with him.

Apparently, the writing process for the LB books was as follows - LaHaye would write up a couple hundred page outline of notes and then submit the notes to his co-author Jenkins who would turn these notes into a story. Jenkins set a goal of writing 20 pages a day, which means that within less than one month's time he could crank out a whole book. A real writer worth his or her salt might spend years taking notes, writing, editing, rewriting, editing some more, re-re-writing, etc. It's not surprising then that LB reads like mass-produced crap, because that is exactly what it is - McFiction for the McMasses. No, scratch that. Stephen King used to joke about how his books were the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries (most of what he wrote was at least a hundred times superior to LB). LB is the four-day old, rotting McFiction that somebody salvaged from a dumpster.

A final comment on this travesty of the written word - there is an almost total absence of Christian virtue or compassion in LB. The Christian scriptures speak of the fruit of the spirit being love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. None of the "Christian" characters in this book embody these kind of virtues.

Christianity in LB is more like a form of Manichean dualism than a religion of faith, hope, or love. The so-called Christians in LB are grim survivalists resigned to a fatalistic worldview of kill-or-be-killed. Their only concerns seem to revolve around taking care of their own and signing up more recruits. It's no wonder that so much of what passes for Christianity in America consists of extremist, right-wing militia groups holed-up in their gated compound mall fortresses rather than genuine religious communities when books like this are what so many "Christians" imagine to be representative of their faith.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.5k followers
October 31, 2021
Left Behind (Left Behind, #1), Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

Tim Francis LaHaye was an American Baptist evangelical Christian minister who wrote more than 85 books, including the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-authored with Jerry B. Jenkins. Left Behind is about the earth's last days.

When the trumpet sounds, where will you be?

Passengers in an airborne Boeing 747 find out in this riveting novel. Without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold.

For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun. This fictional account of life after the Rapture delivers an urgent call to today's readers to prepare their own hearts and minister to others.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز سی ام ماه اکتبر سال 2006میلادی

عنوان: ب‍ازم‍ان‍دگ‍ان‌: رم‍ان‍ی‌ از آخ‍ری‍ن‌ روزه‍ای‌ زم‍ی‍ن‌؛ ن‍وی‍س‍ن‍دگ‍ان‌ ت‍ی‍م‌ لاه‍ای‌ و ج‍ری‌‌ ب‍ی‌ ج‍ن‍ک‍ی‍ن‍ز؛ م‍ت‍رج‍م‌ ن‍وش‍ی‍ن‌ ری‍ش‍ه‍ری‌؛ وی‍راس‍ت‍ار زه‍را ج‍وادی‌زاده‌؛ تهران، نسل نواندیش، سال1382؛ در463ص؛ شابک9645885973؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

آن هنگام که در یک روز، و در یک ثانیه، میلیونها تن در سراسر جهان ناپدید شده اند، تمدن جهانی با یک فاجعه روبرو میگردد؛ این رویداد مرموز پیآمدهای بیشتری نیز دارد؛ هواپیماهای بدون خلبان، قطارهای بدون راننده هستند، و خودروهایی نیز رانندگانشان ناگهان نیست و ناپدید شده اند، و اینکار رگه های تازه ای از فاجعه ی غمبار را فراهم میآورد؛ هرج و مرجی که زمین را فرا گرفته، منجر به پیامدهای سیاسی و اقتصادی پیش بینی نشده، در مقیاس جهانی میگردد، ��ما در زمان کوتاهی روشن میشود، که افرادی که روی زمین مانده اند، شاهد پیشگویی کتاب مقدس هستند، همان پیشگویی که آغاز روند پایان جهان را اعلام کرده، دوستاران مؤمن، و خانواده و آشنایان آنها به ملکوت خدا برده میشوند؛ خود آنها اما به دلیل عدم ایمان در قلبشان بر جای مانده اند؛ چیزی که بسیاری به عنوان یک افسانه مذهبی در نظر گرفته بودند، ناگهان به یک واقعیت دراماتیک بدل شده است؛ چه کسی را گرفتند و چه کسی را ترک کردند؟ چگونگی پیشگوییهای دیگر درباره ی صلح جهانی آینده، و مصیبت بزرگ دجال، که باید بر زمین فرمان براند، که در کتاب مقدس پیشگویی شده، و در باره ی کسانی که پشت سر بگذاشتند چطور؟ آیا آنها هنوز شانس رستگاری دارند؟ «تیم لاهای» و «جری بی جنکینز» در رمان جسورانه ی خود، روز قیامت را کشف می‌کنند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 08/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Greg.
1,109 reviews1,843 followers
June 18, 2009
Most people do now know that I have read 7 of the 13 Left Behind books (12 actually, but then they threw on that extra one, and this is not counting the prequels, the kids versions and the horrendous graphic novels: Armageddon can pay off nicely as long as it's delayed). I don't hide the fact, it just doesn't come up that often. I would have read all of them, but when I went through my Left Behind phase these were the only ones out. The phase lasted I think 2 weeks. The books read quickly.


Originally I wanted to read something I knew going into the book that it would be shit. I do this from time to time. I also wanted to read what AMERICA was reading, and right around the time I read this there was a good deal of media coverage on the Left Behind phenomena. I felt disconnected from AMERICA at the time, as I was at Grad School and spent most of my time around then reading Adorno, Deleuze and Levinas. Most of AMERICA wasn't reading this, but they were reading LaHaye and Jenkins tales of a post-rapture world.

Once I started reading the first one I got hooked on them, and read all of them that I could. Were they any good? No. They are terrible books. Awful. The writing is shit, their dialog is painfully cookie cutter and except for Rayford every character sounds exactly the same. These two murders of Literature also found it too time consuming to put things like, 'Rayford said', or 'Buck said' after a line of dialog so to follow a conversation again and again I found myself having to count back lines to see who was talking when. That most of their dialog was made up of short declarative sentences made this even more painful (I don't know why but it did).

The plot.

All the born again christians goto heaven when the rapture happens. The non-believers are all left for the 7 years of tribulation. Everyone gets one more shot to believe in the big G and JC, because they are kind that way. The anti-JC and satan though are out to make life a living hell for these new found believers.

Apparently there was a video game that came out, where the Tribulation Force (what a fucking stupid name) got to fight the minions of satan. It looked like a Grand Theft Auto kind of game, and apparently you could kill the evil-doers. Neat, huh?

Did this make me a believer?


What did I learn from these books?

That once again outlandish persecution fantasies dominate the thinking of groups of people. This isn't news, but at the time I was drawing interesting parallels between left-wing theorists like Ernesto Laclau, left-wing theorists like Judith Butler, racist writers like George Lincoln Rockwell, and these two bozos. All of them based their entire philosophy basically on the opposition where they precieved themselves to be a minority being threatened, and basically stuck on the idea of us vs. them as a starting point. All three types of people went in divergent directions with their theorizing, but they all seem to revel in being victims. The Republican Party, and right-wing talk show hosts pass almost their entire identity these days on this kind of thought. You'd think that they were being hunted down and killed by raving liberals, instead of living in a country where their brand of thought is pretty much accepted (I'll avoid going off on my thoughts on our two-party system here). Liberals probably kind of do this too, but they at least have the decency to hide their paranoia by attempting to do something that isn't just whining about how they are being victimized (they might point to someone like a tortured prisoner, or the poor to show how bad things are under some conservative.

This is going way off track.

This book is pop-shit. Sadly this is a mainstream type of thought in this country, a non-thinking brand of religious mania being fed to people through shitty books like this one. Instead of believing in anything this book is getting people to do the old Pascal's wager and put the insurance bet on getting into Heaven, there is nothing here about being any kind of decent human being, just a mindless automaton getting ready to kneel down and pray and preach at anyone until they are brow-beaten into submission.

Why three stars? Because they were just so much fun to read in their terribleness, I'll always be a sucker for the rapture stuff christians produce. Good shit.
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,889 reviews428 followers
November 19, 2020
Edit: August, 2018

New edit below, August, 2019

List of some of the years (Gregorian calendar) Christian churches and their followers and various other leaders and followers of popular Christian-based theological cults have announced when they believed the Apocalypse was now here (or coming) and Jesus came from Heaven (or will come) to murder us all. (Many followers actually killed themselves later when the Apocalypse did NOT come - maybe because many believers gave away all of their goods and farms and houses and money in a kind of survivalist frenzy of sorts):

500 - Sextus Julius Africanus, Roman, based on his calculations using the dimensions of Noah’s arc.

793 - Beatus of Liébana, Spaniard, just because a crowd was listening to him.

1000 - Pope Sylvester II because of the Gregorian calendar millennium date which was in use in Rome at the time - did he know about the other calendars in use in the world?

1260 - Joachim of Fiore, Italian mystic.

1366- Jean de Roquetaillade

1504 - Sandro Botticelli, wrote we were in Tribulation times and the apocalypse was coming next.

1524 - Johannes Stöffler spotted a planetary alignment, predicted apocalypse was coming now (then).

Basically, every time the planets are aligned some big and many minor churches announce it is the apocalypse.

1533 - Michael Stifel, mathematician, figured out judgement day was now, from Bible clues.

1673 - William Aspinwall, Fifth Monarchist, claimed the new Millennium was to start, from Bible clues.

1694 - a very popular apocalypse year, many many many people predicted it was the end of earth.

1700 - Henry Archer, using Daniel 12:12 as the source for his prediction.

1757 - Emanuel Swedenborg, who talked with Jesus every day, so one day Jesus told him the day of the apocalypse was in 1757.

1793 - Richard Brothers, sailor, committed to an insane asylum, shortly after nothing happened.

1806 - The Prophet hen of Leeds. Her eggs had the words “Christ is Coming” written on them. People came from all over England to read her eggs. (It was a farmer’s son’s prank).

1814 - Joanna Southcott, who also said she was pregnant with Jesus’ baby. She was 64.

1829, 1847 - George Rapp, leader of the Harmony Society.

1836 - John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, predicted this was the year of the apocalypse based on Revelation 12:14

1840 - Jakob Lorber, popular musician, heard inner voice telling him the apocalypse was now.

1844 - William Miller, founder of the Millerites. When the apocalypse didn’t happen, this one was called “The Great Disappointment”.

1861 - Joseph Morris, told his followers not to plant crops. They died all right. Starvation.

1863 - John Wroe, founder of the Christian Israelite Church, calculated this was the year of the apocalypse.

1874 - Charles Russell, first President of the Jehovah’s Witness.

1890 - Wovoka, founder of the Ghost Dance movement.

1891 - Joseph Smith, Mormons, said pruning was nigh.

1901 - Catholic Apostolic Church prediction.

1910 - the comet Hailey caused many Christians to believe Jesus had finally come.

1914 - Jehovah’s Witness, again, predicted this was the year of the apocalypse.

1915 - John Chilembwe, Baptist leader.

1930- Sun Myung Moon said he WAS Jesus, so. Apocalypse now -not.

1935, 1943, 1972, 1975 - Herbert Armstrong, Church of God, said Jesus was here now, no maybe now, no, maybe now, no.....

1954 - a Chicago housewife and leader of The Seekers said a flying saucer from the planet Clarion would cleanse the earth.

1967 - Charles Manson and Jim Jones, psychopath Christians, told believers time to go was now.

1980 - Stephen Swihart, author of prophetic signs book.

1982 - The planets aligned, which caused religious folk panic - again.

1982 - Benjamin Creme, believes Jesus (Maitreya) is living here on earth in secret since 1977.

1988 - Edgar Whisenant, predicted the Rapture is happening now this year in 1988.

1994 - Harold Camping, -1994 was the year of Christ’s return. Judgment Day would occur on or about September 6. When it didn't, he revised the date to September 29, then October 2. In 2005, he said May 21. In March 2012, he said prediction was "sinful".

1995 - Aum Shinriko cult, Japan.

1996 - Sheldon Nidle, who predicted 16 millions space ships would land, too.

1997 - Marshall Applewhite, Heaven's Gate, followers going to Heaven on a comet, but first, suicide was necessary.

1998 - a Taiwanese Christian group, “the True Way”, believed God would land a spaceship in Texas, kicking off the apocalypse.

1999- Jerry Falwell predicted any day in the next ten years. Nostradamus, as well, liked 1999 too.

2000 - the computer chip apocalypse prediction of the end of days, which got American survivalists scared enough to dig underground homes in the mountains and woods, and Ed Dobson, author, and Timothy Dwight IV, Yale University President, and Edgar Cayce, psychic, and James Harmston, leader of the True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days. And Ugandan cults.

2010 - when the Large Hadrian Collider was turned on, which scared all of the Christians about a black hole swallowing the earth, a very upsetting usurping of Jesus’ role in the apocalypse.

2011 - the comet Elenin, by crashing into Earth. (Actually every comet which comes ‘close’ to earth is a sign that God has thrown a rock, or iceball, at us, per every apocalyptic evangelical Christian church prediction throughout the history of every apocalyptic evangelical church since telescopes became common).

2012 - Planet X (Nibiru) will smash into earth, a warning received by several apocalyptic psychics, from aliens from Zeta Reticulan.

2012 - the “upside-down mountain” a vision which was supposed to appear in a town called Bugarach, signaling the apocalypse.

2012 - Jack Van Impe, televangelist. Well, basically every televangelist has set a date for the apocalypse at one time or another, to be fair, not only Van Impe.

2011, 2012, 2013 - Ronald Weinland, who was convicted of tax evasion in 2012. Why do evangelical followers give all of their money to these prophets - to prepare for the apocalypse? To offer Jesus a bribe to not murder them, or for some other unimaginable reason? Come to think of it, would dollars be Jesus’ goto for cash? Why not gold doubloons, or the British pound or whatever?

2013 - Mayan calendar would stop Time from moving forward. Would that mean the end of the light wave/particle physics argument at last?

2015 - Mark Blitz, receiver prophet of the Blood Moon Prophecy apocalypse. wait, didn’t we have a 2018 blood moon last month? I’m still breathing, and I presume so are you.

2018 - The war in Syria is a sign Jesus will soon be here as predicted in Isaiah 17. Several American politicians, such as George W. Bush, President, believes in this one, folks.

1962, 2020, 2037 - Jeane Dixon, psychic.

2021 - F. Kenton Beshore favors 2021 as a good one for an apocalypse.

2025 - Alice Bailey, New Age guru, thinks 2025 is the year.

2028 - Kent Hovind of Patriot Bible University is placing his bet on 2028 for Jesus to return.

2057 - Frank Tipler, physicist, says his Omega Point Theory predicts Jesus will arrive this year.

2060 - A prediction from Isaac Newton, who interestingly did not believe in worshipping Christ at all, yet thought the Bible pointed to 2060.

Oh, and I can’t leave out one of my neighbors who lived next door to me in the 1990's, as well as assorted street people I have met wearing robes in Seattle, Washington.

Stay tuned.

Original review, 2008

I wondered what all the social media fuss was about so I finally read this popular religious Christian novel. I have learned it is based on common evangelical teachings. Fucking hell! I have never read such hateful and ridiculous propaganda. This is supposed to convince me of the value of being a Christian?

I am not exaggerating, gentle reader, when I point out the Christian idea of a sadistic apocalypse actually appeals to a sizable group of Christians. The prophesy of the Devil evilly murdering sinners slowly and cruelly in the years after The Rapture is warmly anticipated by evangelical Christians. The Rapture is the name of a predicted Christian event in which people will disappear suddenly all over the world - even in non-Christian countries, I suppose? This prophecy was made before modern technology and knowledge of other religions, and it is still believed by many modern Christians despite new televised knowledge and more academic education. What supposedly will happen after the predicted Rapture is vividly described in the fictional stories of the Left Behind series. The Devil will have his fun torturing Mankind, then Jesus is to return, supposedly for the second time, to also murder us slowly and deliciously in as many wickedly evil ways He can devise to punish the survivors of the Devil’s mayhem. The point of this apocalypse is beyond me. These stories were no different than the insane teachings of Charles Manson. Can't fundamentalists hear themselves?

The 'Left Behind' series is pure sadistic filth. It is full of disgusting torture-porn. The series is also an utter waste of time for those looking for a literary read, unless you are one of those Christians who feels ecstasy over explicitly described gory torture and bloody broken-bone and disemboweling horrors God and Jesus and the Devil will supposedly each personally perform on everyone you know, excepting fundamentalist evangelicals. It scares me that many Christian people are murderously sadistic, but it doesn’t surprise me, given history. That the violent explicit fantasies of torture and death contained in these books is perceived by fundamentalists as righteous justice from a 'savior of love' is fascinating and terrifying. I cannot comprehend how supposedly ‘good’ people of religious faith believe in these violent and sadistic prophesies.

The novels graphically detail throughout all eleven books in the series how the handsome main character, gravity-defying glowing-eyed Nick the Devil, tortures various individuals and wipes out entire nations through the authority and powers of a one-world government. Nick, using the military units under the control of the United Nations, and also by creating through mystical means massive earthquakes and deadly storms, fulfills various Christian prophesies such as the conversion of the Jews to Christianity. Tim LaHaye holds off on writing the worst scenes of sadism and cruelty he has imagined until the last book when finally *spoiler alert* a giant Jesus races around stomping people with His feet or swatting people like bugs on a windshield or blowing them up as if He is setting off pipe bombs strapped to their bodies. In effect, Jesus destroys the rest of Mankind in even more lengthy drawn-out bloody explicit tortures outdoing Nick in every way.

The Tribulation force, the contrite 'heroes' who were left behind in the Rapture, pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and...throughout the series.

Our heroes pray endlessly out loud (in writing) for paragraphs and paragraphs and pages and pages, seemingly for hours and hours every five chapters or so throughout the eleven novels, as they witness Nick and his allies, and then also Jesus, tear people apart bloodily limb from limb in front of them. Do the Force stop the apocalypse? No, they cannot stop anything. Save any sinners? No. Not. All of the Tribulation Force characters do in eleven books is risk their lives traveling all over the world simply to watch the torture and violence with much avidity and joy. As a 'force', all that these ‘heroes’ accomplish in all of these novels is to place themselves in deadly life-threatening situations while they race about dramatically from location to location maneuvering around destroyed infrastructure. I couldn't see what was their point in traveling everywhere, except for salacious voyeurism.

I highly recommend this series for sadists.

New Edit, August, 2019

I had wondered about Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church and what might be their Apocalypse predictions, but information is sparse on the ground for a non-scholar Westerner as myself. However:


I learned about this in reading Edvard Radzinsky's The Rasputin File, a spirited (but definitely not spiritual) biography of Rasputin. Because it is a translation and lively, I wasn't sure of it's accuracy. However, it seems to be VERY on target. There is a section on document sources in the back. So.

Quoted from the book:

"As Khlyst tradition describes him, 'This Daniil Filippovich descended from heaven in great glory in a chariot of fire' and remained on Earth in the form of man. According to the same legend, 'fifteen years before the Advent of the ""Lord of hosts"" Daniil Filippovich, ""God's son"" Ivan Suslov was born to a one-hundred-year-old Mother of God.' At the age of thirty, Suslov was summoned by the 'Lord of hosts' Daniil Filippovich, who made him a 'living god'. Thus, both the 'Lord of hosts' and 'his son Christ' had appeared in sinful Rus. Along with a 'Mother of God' who had given birth to the 'Christ'.

"According to Khlyst tradition, the first 'Christ' Ivan Suslov was seized by the boyars, taken to Moscow, and crucified at the Kremlin's Spassky Gate. But he rose from the dead. And they crucified him again, and again he rose. Afterwords, both Daniil Filippovich and Ivan Suslov died, or more accurately, they returned to heaven, and [like, a continuous reincarnation of sorts, my comment] others became new 'Lords of hosts', 'Christs' and 'Mothers of God'.

"In some Khlyst sects, abstention, the refusal of family sexual life was, during the rite of 'rejoicing' (radenie), transformed into 'group sinning (svalnyi grekh) - into promiscuous sexual relations among the sect membership. 'Rejoicing', the principal Khlyst rite, derived from the pagan sorcerers and shamons. It was during 'rejoicing', in the view of Khlysty, that the Holy Spirit descended upon them. And then the members of the sect would try to conceive as many new 'Christs' and 'Mothers of God' as possible. That conceiving took place in a state of frenzy preceded by Khlyst dancing."

"I was the witness of such 'rejoicing' on the little island of Chechen in the Caspian Sea. Old believers fled to the island in the seventeenth century. But by the eighteenth, fugitive Khlysty also began to arrive, and they kept alive the ways of their ancient sect over the centuries."

By the way, excessive and prolonged self-flagelation is a part of their rituals. Khlyst communities call themselves 'arks'. Khlysty is the word for 'whip'. They call themselves 'God's People'.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,451 reviews55.8k followers
September 18, 2007
i read this entire series.....almost non stop...
they came out with a prequel series, but i figured how many times can you beat a dead horse....

This series was really really good.
I didnt know how i was going to like it, not being a practicing catholic and all, but even if it doesnt keep to scripture 100%, it gives you enough of an eye-opener....

I remember thinking, wow. If this really happened, i would be one of the ones suffering through all this. And what would it take for me turn and accept god....how many plauges and tribuations would i suffer through....

You get to see how the whole world gets affected by this transition period, where the antichrist fights for his throne and god is ever angry.... a war between good and bad....

Its long, theres so many books to this series, but if you are the least bit interested in what life would be like once god takes his chosen ones, and the rest of the world is left to fight off the devil/ antichrist.... give it a whirl.

I am glad i did!!!
Profile Image for Kelly H. (Maybedog).
2,484 reviews221 followers
September 14, 2008
I gave it a go, I really really did. The series is so popular and my ex really enjoys the books (ok, they're the only books he ever read, so maybe that should have told me something) so I thought I'd be open-minded and try it. After all, I did like the movie The Rapture and I love religious science fiction.

This, however, is thinly disguised right-wing propaganda. I can respect people who think differently than I do as long as they respect me back. This book does no such thing. They manage to twist everything positive in the world today into proof that the devil is afoot (did you know the U.N. is apparently a tool for the anti-Christ?) The plot is bad, the premise, while interesting, is poorly expanded upon and the writing is just bad bad bad.

I actually read another book, also by a conservative Christian, on the same theme that was infinitely better. It at least had a plot that could hold its own and left you wondering what would happen next. I wish I could remember the name of it, I'd recommend people who like this sort of stuff read it. At least they might think at some point during their reading.

Alas, this book was just inane, offensive, drivel.
Profile Image for Joshua Nomen-Mutatio.
333 reviews878 followers
April 18, 2009
I'd totally forgot that my mom actually paid me 50 dollars to read this book when I was about 11 or 12. Yeah, she's pretty religious. She wanted me to read the second and third books of the series as well. I think I may have lied about reading the second one in order to get another payment. The memory's a bit fuzzy on this. The whole thing is actually kind of unsettling the more I think about it. It's a bit of a drag having parents that really believe in Jesus and heaven and hell.

Oh, and obviously this book was utterly terrible.
Profile Image for A Rye.
18 reviews5 followers
June 8, 2007
This...should not be considered literature....
This...is eschatological pornography...

The narrative and dialogue within this series is simply pedestrian.
Profile Image for Trent Mikesell.
1,065 reviews10 followers
January 10, 2009
I think whether or not you enjoy this book depends on what you consider a "good" book. If you think all good books are well written, then this is probably isn't for you. If you think good books have to be 100% accurate, then this book probably isn't for you. However, if, like me much of the time, you think good fiction books should make you WANT to keep reading (even to the point of staying up late), then you may enjoy this book.

I remember when this book came out and it sounded interesting. I forgot about it, but then on Saturday I saw my wife unpack it from a box and thought I would give it a try. It's not the most well-written book out there and it doesn't really jive with my personal religious beliefs; however, it does give an interesting perspective on how others might view the last days. More than anything, it kept me very entertained and kept me interested, which is much more than I can say about the "well-written" book I was reading before this (cough...cough...watership down...cough...cough...).
3 reviews4 followers
September 13, 2007
if you grew up in church like i did, this first book of the series will terrify you. the rest will keep you spell bound.

i would recommend these books to anyone though, they are fantastic and very well written.

they reference scripture a lot and i like to book mark those places and go back and read the scripture later. its amazing.
Profile Image for Stepheny.
381 reviews541 followers
March 20, 2018

Growing up my sister and I had similar interests in books. While she read the newest R.L. Stine Fear Street I was holding my Goosebumps book in a white-knuckle grip. As time went on and our interests turned from books to parties and boys, we still shared a love of all things horror. She and I would swap Stephen King books like most sisters swap clothes-unwillingly and with a degree of fear that the other would somehow diminish its quality by merely touching it.

There was a period of time where my sister and I grew apart, I suppose it’s a phase that siblings go through- maybe not all, but most if I had to guess. A few years ago, I was browsing the library’s book sale at the Farmer’s Market when I came across a few of the Left Behind Series books. Their covers drew me in. No matter what any book lover says, to say the cover doesn’t impact the reader’s desire is bullshit. (Go ahead, throw your stones, but it isn’t ME you’re lying to.) But there was something else, a tickle in the back of my mind. I grabbed Left Behind and quickly scanned the little blurb on the inside cover. I distinctly remember rolling my eyes at the thought of reading a religious book. I set it down and moved on to other sections.

That tickle in the back of my mind never quite left, and every Wednesday I saw those books still sitting there waiting for someone to come by and snag them. Finally, one day it clicked: my sister had read these. Did she like them? Had she gushed over how good they were? Had she warned me they were too church-y? What was it she had said? Well, there was only way to know so I asked her. She said that she read the first 4 or 5 and while they were pretty heavy on the religious side, they were also fast-paced, exciting and a new approach to the “same old-same old” of dystopia. Definitely worth it if they were being sold for $1 a book. Of course, I took her advice and bought them and figured I’d get around to them.

There they sat for the last 2 or 3 years. I wanted to wait until I had them all but hey, shit happens, right? Sometimes when you stare at a book long enough if reaches out and slaps you. That’s about what happened here.

I’ll be honest here. I’m agnostic through and through. I believe there’s something but my problem is that I tend to want to believe in everything. I can’t accept that there’s nothing, but I can’t accept that there is only one answer to the age-old question. I don’t want to argue with anyone, I don’t want to be disrespectful to anyone or belittle anyone else’s beliefs. I’m a live-and-let-live type. All I ask is that everyone else abide by those rules as well when responding to this review.

Rayford Steele is flying a big ol’ plane across the Atlantic when he decides to finally act. He has been daydreaming about his twenty-something senior flight attendant. Sure, they’d had drinks and dinner before a time or two between flights. She casually brushed his arm from time to time as well. But Rayford, being a married man, had never actually done anything wrong. He was receptive of her subtle cues that she was interested in him, but he let his mind do what he didn’t have the gall to do physically. Until now. The plane is set to autopilot and it’s going to be a long time before they touch down in England. When Rayford exits the cockpit to search for Hattie with the intent of finally taking their “relationship” to the next level, he is surprised to run into her…literally. He no sooner walks out and she basically falls into his arms. But something isn’t right.

Hattie is scared. She alerts Rayford that passengers are missing. He, of course, reassures her that they must be on the plane. After all, one can’t just exit a plane midflight. But as he begins to check the plane, he finds that she was not mistaken. More than half of his passengers are missing. Their clothes, however, are not missing. As Rayford and Hattie, and other staff members try to keep passengers calm, Rayford goes one step further and begins trying to reach anyone who can help explain this bizarre situation.

But deep down in his heart Rayford knows. His wife had told him of this, had she not? Was this not the very reason Rayford had felt compelled to cheat on his wife in the first place? She had recently become so devout it had driven a wedge between her and her husband. At least, that’s how Rayford excused himself in his mind. His wife had been negligent to him in her pursuit of a more spiritual life. The church she went to was full of nutters according to Rayford. They seemed weird and pushy. And if there’s one thing an analytical minded person doesn’t like, it’s being pushed too hard too fast. It was too much and pushed him right out the door of the church altogether. But she had warned Rayford that God was going to rapture his church and if he didn’t follow her lead, he’d surely be left behind.

One of the passengers on the plane is Cameron “Buck” Williams, international journalist with a long list of accomplishments that came very early in his career. He has a way with people and a way to get the story out in an unbiased way that people not only respected, but admired.

When the plane lands back in the US rather than its original destination of London, the scene is like something out of a movie. There’s chaos and panic. There’s fires, accidents, death and even suicide as people find out that they’ve lost their entire family. Phone lines are a hit and miss and millions of people are all trying to find out what happened to others. Buck, ever the journalist, is listening to the different accounts of what may have happened. Was it aliens? Some weird chemical reaction? Had the Russians developed a super-weapon that vaporized millions of people in one shot? Was it God’s rapture? What could it possibly be?

As the story unfolds we find out that millions of people worldwide have vanished with no sound explanation-every explanation seeming as far-fetched or bizarre as the next. We also find out that every child is gone; babies vanished during delivery. Women who were pregnant were no longer.

I must say that this was a pretty damn exciting read. Coming from no religious standpoint I read it as a Dystopia and therefore enjoyed the ever-loving shit out of it. Was the writing the best? No. Were the characters fleshed out? Meh. Was it predictable? At times. Did it convince me that God was real? Hardly. But it was written well enough to keep this reader on the edge of her seat…her seat at work, at home, at the dentist…I literally could not put it down. It’s written in split narratives so the suspense builds nicely. There were parts, as I said that were predictable but I was also wrong on quite a few fronts as well. The story develops and you do grow to really care about ~most~ of these characters, if not all of them.

If you’ve seen these books around and been teetering on the edge of the fence, I say go for it. I am as cynical as they come and I enjoyed the fuck out of this book. But do yourself a favor and set your personal feelings/beliefs aside and read it for what it is…. a fictional story about the end of the world as we know it. You might be surprised.

Profile Image for Robert Beveridge.
2,402 reviews155 followers
January 20, 2008
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind (Tyndale, 1995)

So I figured after nine years, it was time for me to get around to reading the first book in the bestselling Christian fiction series in history, Left Behind. I had always avoided it, not because of the subject matter, but by and large books that break records tend to be writ large by those with the wit, talent, and grammatical skill of overly enthusiastic six-year-olds. Dame Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steel, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Sandra Brown, you get the idea. Why should Christian fiction be any different?, I wondered. But despite all that, I dove into it.

Expecting the worst may not have been enough. To call the book naïve would be, perhaps, too kind. It uses the conventions of satire without being in any way satiric, treats its readership like total idiots, has all the spelling and grammar mistakes one could possibly want from a mass-produced piece of claptrap, and various other things, all of which I will attempt to make sound as tactful as possible below. But the bottom line, for those who would rather stop reading now, is this: plot's not bad, but execution is some of the worst I have seen outside self-publishing. Ever.

Without getting into the theological aspects of the book, it is impossible to write a comprehensive review of Left Behind without at least glossing over some of the more interesting (and less Biblical) assertions made by the authors, the most notable being the Rapturing (for lack of a better term) of everyone under the age of puberty. Hmmmmm. Including the ones in juvenile detention for murder? Okay, we'll drop the point. After all, our society is based (wrongly) on the idea that people can't make up their minds until they reach the magic age of eighteen. At least LaHaye and Jenkins dropped the magic age to twelve, for which they must get grudging respect.

But little niggling theological concerns are perhaps less galling than LaHaye and Jenkins' complete and utter inability to ascribe a mote of intelligence to any of their characters, and by inference any of their audience. Not being a Christian and a regular attendee at church, I can't say for certain what the average joe learns about the end times. But even without regular church attendance for the last number of years, I remember enough of the Revelation of St. John from Bible study back in the day to have seen all the major twists coming at least a hundred pages before they actually do. And yet his characters, including the wife and daughter of a fundamentalist, are completely oblivious. Writing a book like this as a mystery/thriller, it seems, was not the way to go. Or if it were, perhaps adding a couple of extras who might have looked like they, too, could be the Antichrist might have helped with the suspense angle. (They do attempt a move exactly like this, but way too late and way too ineffectively.)

(review too long; read it in full at Amazon, review date June 7, 2004)
Profile Image for Matt Mazenauer.
251 reviews27 followers
October 16, 2007
I thought at first that I wouldn't be who this book was aimed at, but instead, I found the opposite. Since all the devout Christians have been taken by the Rapture, the protagonists are a mix of atheists, agnostics, Christmas Christians, even seemingly devout Christians who could have been truer. This means that no matter where you fall on the devout scale you have someone to follow through the tribulations fo teh Rapture. There's fun semi apocalyptic planes falling from sky disaster movie aftermath. There's also the requisite semi-preachy "I'm discovering Jesus" passages, though they aren't as bad as I was expecting (though they are very prevalent, taking up 80% of the last parts of the book). Lastly, there is actually an interesting murder mystery/thriller slant running throughout the whole book, which makes for very good "keep you interested" hooks. And the last 20 pages pretty much guarantee you'll be reading the next book. I'd actually compare the writing somewhat to a bad Stephen King novel. It isn't fine literature, but it's decent enough to get the inventive fantasy ideas across (though don't go expecting King's trademarks or anything, it's a loose comparison). The next book involves more prophesy and more anti-Christ so i know I'll be back.
Profile Image for Mont'ster.
67 reviews40 followers
June 18, 2007
First thing (this is very important) This book is a novel. LaHaye has very premillenial viewpoints in all of his writing and he doesn't apologize for that. Read this book for what it is - entertainment, not an eschatology textbook. LaHaye has written many books explaining his views on the end times - if you want the "why" on this subject, almost anything by Tim LaHaye will do; here he is just having fun.
This is a fast paced novel so if you read this book expecting a lesson in eschatology, you will probably be disappointed. Students of the Bible who maintain an amillenial view of the end times will probably just be annoyed.

In my opinion, book 2 of this series was just as good as this first one. But, even though I enjoyed the entire series, I just don't feel that books 3-12 pack anywhere near the "punch" of book 1 or book 2.
Profile Image for Rissa.
1,395 reviews48 followers
October 27, 2017
Finally got a chance to reread this and being old then i was the first time and learning more abour the bible then i did when i first read it, i have more theories and questions but I think the left behind series does a pretty good job of what will happen one day.
Profile Image for Denise.
302 reviews22 followers
July 1, 2014
Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins is one of those books that has become a Christian fiction classic. I've read and enjoyed this book several times. It seems like many of the negative reviewers of this book treat it like it's supposed to be a nonfiction, completely accurate description of the end times. I think the best way to look at this book is as it is written - a fictional book. I take it as more of a "what if?" scenario of the end times. Of course we can't know exactly what is going to happen. This is just a fun book, and a thrilling page turner. Read this book and enjoy it for what it is, don't dissect it into a theological treatise.
Profile Image for Jason.
248 reviews116 followers
July 4, 2008
It would be unfortunate enough were the prose this book's lone problem. But as knuckle-headedly indelicate (Jenkins describing Carpathia as "not unlike a young Robert Redford" on 114 and later Jenkins's character describing Carpathia as "a young Robert Redford" on 232) and heavy-handed ("you might be asking Carpathia to turn against his own angels" on 231) and weirdly unfunny when attempting to be funny (the entire flirtatious cookie exchange between Buck and Chloe: 365-367 and 372-375) and cringingly pedestrian ("He knew Hattie was not a bad person. In fact, she was nice and friendly" on 89) as the prose is, the book suffers most, perhaps, from its shameless pushing of agendas amidst token attempts to convince the reader that pushing agendas couldn't be further from its intent. At one point in the novel, we learn that Buck had always thought "born-again" to be synonymic with "ultraright-winger" - Jenkins seems to be telling us, in this instance, that such isn't the case, that the two are distinct ideological phenomena or positions. And yet, earlier in the novel, Jenkins forces a disgusting critique of the pro-choice perspective into the narrative, suggesting that doctors and counselors who work in abortion clinics cannot but long for women to decide to abort their babies. The novel is explicit that we needn't subscribe to ultra-conservative ideology in order to be Christians even as it implies that ultra-conservative ideology and Christianity are inextricable bedfellows. (Another example of the novel containing this contradiction can be seen in its sympathy with "stand[ing] up [...] to bigotry" on 429 alongside its subtle bigoted dig at homosexuals on 103: "[Rayford Jr] wasn't effeminate, but Rayford had worried that he might be a mama's boy...")

It's just a thudding collapse devoid of imagination, this novel. The characters are cardboard cut-outs. There are flashes of bizarre homoerotic subtext, from the naming of characters (Buck, Rayford Steele, Dirk, Steve Plank) to double entendric prose (e.g. "to stoop to something as tawdry as paying for sex. Had Irene known how hard he was..." on 144, "and the milk making him long for his boy. This was going to be hard, so hard" on 101, "Dirk and Buck had become closer than ever, and it wasn't unusual for Buck to visit London on short notice. If Dirk had a serious lead, Buck packed and went. His trips had often turned into excursions into countries and climates that surprised him, thus he had packed the emergency gear" on 86-87). In the end, the story is little more than a stencil clumsily cut to fit a rigid (and therefore uninspired) reading of Revelation.

I'll be taking breaks between books for the duration of the series, lest I develop a need for antidepressants, or a vomit bag (thanks to gooeyness of the burgeoning relationship between Buck and Chloe). (I'm reading them in research.) There must be better fiction than this coming out of the Christian publishing houses?

*page numbers in this review are from the hardcover edition...
Profile Image for Amanda (BookLoverAmanda).
292 reviews203 followers
January 30, 2023
5 stars. First time reading this, and wow, what an emotional and faith filled impact. This book truly encouraged my faith and made me stop and take time to check my heart and faith walk with the Lord. Many of you already know this book is surrounding the rapture of Christ's believers. Many movies have been made and I really want to watch them now because I am so invested in this series now.

We follow Rayford Steele, who is a pilot. All of a sudden on a flight back home, passengers randomly disappear without any trace or cause, with their belongings and clothes left behind. Rayford's thoughts lead to the rapture as it's something his Christian wife always talked about. With the world in an uproar trying to figure out what happened, Rayford sets out to figure out things for himself too. When he realizes his wife and son are gone, but his daughter Chloe and him are part of those left behind, they work together to piece everything together from what the bible tells them.

Then we are also following Buck Williams, who is a journalist and passenger on Rayford's flight. He is trying to tell the story of what has happened here and gets completely intertwined in it all. We follow Buck as he is working to investigate everything from all angles. We also have several side characters that leave a huge impact to the story. We slowly start to see biblical prophecy come to past from the book of revelation in this story and our characters try to figure out what is going on and where they are in the middle of it all.

I loved this so much. What a wild ride and THAT ENDING had me in a chokehold ya'll. I need to read the second book sooner than later. This is such a well developed series with engaging characters that will keep you on the edge of your seat and NEEDING to know what happens next. It truly gives you a glimpse into what the end times could look like for us on earth and truly is eye opening to some things that are already occuring in today's world.
Profile Image for jess.
847 reviews72 followers
May 28, 2013
Basically, I thought this was one of the most mind-numbingly idiotic books I have ever read. It was.... a fast read. That is the kindest thing I can say. Oh, wait. No! The kindest thing I can say is that this fulfilled a reading challenge. I basically read it on a dare.

If you are ever like, "I am so far removed from religious evangelist people. I wonder exactly how people get sucked into completely illogical, mind-numbingly stupid, culty shit like Christianity End Times Rapture Prophecies, etc" then you can read this book and imagine that you are a person who is such a shallow empty vessel that this book can fill you up.

At no point was I ever thinking "Wow, if The Rapture happened in my lifetime, here's how I would react to that situation." or "If this happened to me, here are the people I think would disappear, and here's who would be left, and here's how society would cope." I mean, there was literally never a single moment where I could relate to the plot or characters on any level -- and I want to be perfectly clear, I emotionally relate to many kinds of fiction. Every aspect of the book is a transparently shallow effort to drive home the point of just how HARROWING it would be to be a sinner in the eyes of God, and how much you need to get on your knees and crawl toward redemption.

Beyond the whole religion thing, which I cannot emphasize enough how stupid that aspect is on its own, this book is written extremely poorly. It's as if the authors themselves are not only barely literate, but also dumbing down their writing for a far-stupider audience. Dude, there is a scene where someone rewinds a DVD and then takes it out of the VHS player. Seriously. The dialogue could not be worse. I mean, there is literally no way in Heaven or Earth that a book could have worse dialogue than this one. Maybe in Hell, the books have worse dialogue. Oh, maybe reading this book is supposed to simulate the eternal punishment one experiences in Hell. That's the only explanation. The characters are flat, unrelatable, annoying pawns. The internal monologues of the characters are so breathtakingly idiotic, any reasonable person would want to bludgeon these people to death with a Bible, VHS player or any handy, heavy object, and not as a merciful killing to help them find their way to Heaven. What can I say except that the writing is of a lower caliber than free internet erotica, but there is no sex.

I wish you could give a book zero stars. Or negative stars. I am stupider for having read this book. It was every bit as terrible as I expected it to be.
Profile Image for Rachel.
142 reviews3 followers
August 17, 2007
I read the whole series but I can't remember which book was which at this point. So I'm rating the series overall as a 4.

The story begins the day after the rapture. Everyone who was "left behind" has to figure out what happened. Was it aliens or a terrorist attack? The story unfolds over the books and you get to watch people come to terms with the reality of the situation. You get to see the rise of the antichrist and how so may people don't understnad what's really going on.

The series as a whole was compelling, but I think it is broken up into too many books. Some of them were very boring and did not move the story along quickly enough. But, I did read them all, so I guess they intrigued me to keep going. Actually, I think I kept going b/c I knew how the story was going to end. I really believe that the facts behind this fiction are a true picture of what the Bible says will happen. Praise God I know how the real story will end!
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,398 reviews1,103 followers
May 13, 2017
Re-read August 2015

This is one of those stories that makes you stop and think "What if." It is very much Christian fiction that focuses on the Book of Revelation, starting the Rapture and tells of the story of those left behind. Although, even just for story value I think non-Christians can possibly enjoy this as well so long as they accept this does not follow their beliefs. It is an interesting story unto itself.

The book is told primarily from two perspectives. Cameron "Buck" Williams-a famous journalist looking for the next big story (boy did he get it here) and and Rayford (Ray) Steele, pilot. They are on a plane flight when suddenly a large portion of the passengers are gone. But it is not just on the plane, it is around the world. Many just disappear! As the two look into things through various connections they realize that it is the Christians and all children who are gone.

There is also a lot of intrigue going on with the United Nations as powers unknown make their move. From political secrets to war and religion. Secrets, murder, loss and love can all be found within this book.

There is a large cast of characters that seems to grow as the book goes on, so at times it might seem a bit overwhelming. This is my second time reading this. I actually read the first few books in this series years ago and remember that by the 4th book I wanted a list to keep track of characters. Now I was much younger than so maybe my mind can follow better now, but just in case, I am taking notes on this thrill ride!
Profile Image for Melvina.
21 reviews7 followers
April 30, 2008
Not worth the paper it's printed on, what a piece of shit, I couldn't even finish it. It is THAT BAD. If there was a 1/4 star I would give it that. I read it (or tried to) when it first came out and was causing such a buzz in the Christian community, I wanted to see what it was all about. It was a difficult slog from page 1. It's SO poorly written, the characters are as one dimensional as possible, the dialogue is SO bad, there aren't enough words to describe how B-A-D this book is. The most alarming aspect is how huge this franchise became. I am dumbfounded - there are actually millions of people who read this and the many sequels, and they LOVED it? God save us.
Profile Image for Colleen Fauchelle.
494 reviews59 followers
March 15, 2019
When these books came out I was busy raising the children, I wasn't reading much, But the main thing was I was to scared to read these books. I am a born again Christian I have believed in God since I was a small child. I have struggled with a lot of fear and with the Lords help and healing I am now a stronger person, so I decided it was time I read this series.
It's a story about the end times, with the Lord taking His own home and thoes who come to faith after the rapture and the challenges they face.
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