The May 24, 2004 issue of Newsweek featured stories, again, about the continuing Left Behind phenomenon. The book series has sold over 62 million copies, and spawned movies, and even comic books. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are looked upon as the leading experts on Biblical last things by literally millions of people. This is extremely sad.
LaHaye says one thing I do agree with: "The worst thing a person can do against God is to deceive people about the Bible." But, is LaHaye himself deceiving people about the Bible? That is a serious question, and a charge not to be made lightly. However, the undeniable truth is that LaHaye is misleading the public about what the Bible really says.
First, LaHaye insists that the book of Revelation is being fulfilled, or is about to be fulfilled in our day. This is a blatant contradiction to what the book says. Read Revelation 1:1-3. John says twice that the events being foretold were "at hand," and "must shortly come to pass." There is no way to make the passing of 2000 years a statement of "at hand" and "must shortly come to pass."
Of course it will be responded that God does not see time as man does, but this is hardly true. God created time. God can tell time better than you and I can. The question is, if "at hand" did not mean near when John wrote Revelation, why does it mean near now? If God wanted to tell John that the fulfillment was at hand, back then, how else could He have said, "these things must shortly come to pass," and really meant that it was near?
Second, LaHaye tells is that the Man of Sin is still future. Yet, Paul said the Man of Sin was alive in the first century and being restrained by the Restrainer then (2 Thessalonians 2). Now unless Paul was wrong, if the Man of Sin is "alive somewhere in Europe today" as LaHaye and others have stated, then he must be one old guy, because Paul said he was alive in his day! So, if Paul was right, LaHaye is wrong.
Third, LaHaye says, depending on which of his books you read, that Babylon of Revelation is either a restored literal city in Iraq, or, the apostate Christian church in the end times. The trouble is that Revelation teaches that Babylon was Old Covenant Jerusalem. Babylon was the city "where the Lord was slain" (Revelation 11:8). That cannot be apostate Christianity, and it cannot be either ancient or restored literal Babylon. Revelation is about the judgment of the city that had killed the prophets, and Jesus said it was Old Covenant Jerusalem that had killed all the prophets: "It is not possible for a prophets to perish outside of Jerusalem" (Luke 13:31-33). LaHaye is guilty of misguiding people about the Bible in respect to this very significant and important issue.
The additional problem with the Left Behind theology is that it is costing the lives of America’s young people in Iraq. The Dispensational community carries a lot of weight in our White House. Media sources around the world are beginning to realize that the invasion of Iraq was driven by theology, not the presence of weapons of mass destruction. The American Religious Right, driven by LaHaye and other so-called prophecy experts, are leading America down the path to Armageddon, not because that is what the Bible predicts, but because of their misguided view of what the Bible says. This is serious stuff indeed, and as LaHaye says: "The worst thing a person can do against God is to deceive people about the Bible." In my view, Mr. LaHaye, thou art the man!
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