The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye: Countdown to the Earth's Last Days (Before They Were Left Behind Series #3)

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In the moments leading up to the Rapture, nobody knows it is coming as the clock silently ticks down. Choices are made. The stage is set as Nicolae Carpathia ruthlessly eliminates any obstacles in his rise to power. In the twinkling of an eye, loved ones disappear without a good-bye. Heaven rejoices as millions are welcomed into the unspeakable presence of God. The darkest days may lie ahead for those who have been left behind. On o6-o6-o6, read the story that leads you right ...
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In the moments leading up to the Rapture, nobody knows it is coming as the clock silently ticks down. Choices are made. The stage is set as Nicolae Carpathia ruthlessly eliminates any obstacles in his rise to power. In the twinkling of an eye, loved ones disappear without a good-bye. Heaven rejoices as millions are welcomed into the unspeakable presence of God. The darkest days may lie ahead for those who have been left behind. On o6-o6-o6, read the story that leads you right into Left Behind.

Time seems to slow as the clock ticks down. . . .

Pan-Con Airlines captain Rayford Steele prepares for a flight to London with beautiful flight attendant Hattie Durham. Because of his wife’s newfound faith, Rayford looks forward to time--and the possibilities--with Hattie.

Journalist Cameron "Buck" Williams is in Israel when the Russians attack, and he experiences for himself the miraculous deliverance of the Holy Land. Buck cannot deny Chicago bureau chief Lucinda Washington’s insistence that the event was prophesied in Scripture, though he dares not consider the personal ramifications.

Meanwhile, Nicolae Carpathia eliminates any obstacles in his path to power. As the newly appointed president of Romania, Nicolae is invited to speak before the U.N.

Without warning, millions disappear and are welcomed into the unspeakable presence of God.

On earth some realize what has happened . . . what they’ve lost . . . what they’ve missed.

And the darkest days lie ahead for those left behind.

The Rapture is the third book in the Countdown to the Rapture. The first fourteen books in the Left Behind series, with sales of more than 42,000,000, comprise the fastest-selling adult fiction series ever. Seven of the titles reached number one on the New York Times best-seller list as well as those of USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

Desecration, book nine, was the best-selling novel in the world in 2001.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419396694
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 6/30/2006
  • Series: Before They Were Left Behind Series , #3
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 6
  • Product dimensions: 7.68 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 2.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye
Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye
When the Left Behind series became a publishing phenomenon, no one was more surprised than its authors, evangelical preacher Tim LaHaye (left) and fiction writer Jerry B. Jenkins. Audiences gobbled up the duo’s thrilling novels, which combine romance, morality questions, and high-tech gadgetry against the dramatic backdrop of the apocalypse.


Sometimes, while sitting on airplanes, evangelical preacher Tim LaHaye would ask himself, “What if the Rapture occurred on an airplane?" That germ of an idea grew into the phenomenally successful Left Behind series, which LaHaye coauthors with fiction writer Jerry B. Jenkins. The books combine Biblical prophecy with speculative fiction to produce an action-packed thriller about events between the Rapture, when (according to one Christian tradition) the faithful will ascend to heaven, and the Second Coming.

Before the series began, Jenkins had carved out a career writing other people's autobiographies -- he ghostwrote or co-wrote those of Billy Graham, Orel Herschiser, Hank Aaron, and Nolan Ryan, among others -- as well as writing novels and a few inspirational books on marriage and parenting. Tim LaHaye also wrote books on marriage and faith, served as the pastor for a ministry in California, and co-founded The Pre-Trib Research Center, a Bible scholarship group dedicated to the study of end-times prophecy. LaHaye spent several years searching for a coauthor who could take his vision of the earth's last days -- including that intriguing image of passengers vanishing from an airplane -- and spin it into fiction. Finally, LaHaye and Jenkins were introduced by their mutual literary agent at Alive Communications, and Jenkins began writing the story of airline captain Rayford Steele, whose wife and son vanish along with millions of other true believers. Those "left behind" on Earth have a last chance to choose sides in the ensuing battle between good and evil.

The books became a blockbuster hit. Sales of the Left Behind series soared with each successive volume, and by 2001, ABC News reported, 50 million had been sold. "The formula combines Tom Clancy-like suspense with touches of romance, high-tech flash and Biblical references," The New York Times wrote, explaining how its authors pulled off "an unparalleled achievement for an evangelical novel." LaHaye and Jenkins were stunned by their own success: "I've been writing for 40 years, with 12 million books in print, but I've never seen anything like this," said LaHaye.

The series has spawned a slew of spinoffs: comic books, calendars, a young adults' series, dramatized audio recordings and a movie based on the first book. It has also generated controversy, both within and without the Christian community, for issues ranging from politics (the U.N. figures into the story as a tool of the Antichrist) to Scriptural interpretation (many New Testament scholars reject LaHaye's belief, first popularized by John Nelson Darby in the 1830s, in a seven-year tribulation period following the Rapture).

But LaHaye and Jenkins are convinced that their message is getting through to their readers. They estimate that more than 2,000 people have converted as a result of reading the Left Behind books. "And needless to say, for us that's more important than bestsellers, or money, or anything else," says Jenkins.

Good To Know

Jerry Jenkins is also the writer of a syndicated comic strip, "Gil Thorp," which runs in 60 newspapers nationwide.
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    1. Hometown:
      Jerry B. Jenkins lives in Black Forest, Colorado
    1. Education:
      Tim LaHaye has a B.A., Bob Jones University; and a Doctorate of Ministries, Western Baptist Seminary
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


By Tim LaHaye Jerry B. Jenkins

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-4143-0580-X

Chapter One

Buck Williams realized he would be no more dead outside under the erupting Haifa night skies than he would be inside the command center. This was not bravado; it was the unique, insatiable curiosity of the journalist. He would be the lone casualty at this post who would see and know what killed him. On rubbery legs, he made his way to a door. No one seemed to notice or care to caution him. It was as if they had all been sentenced to death.

He forced open the door against a furnace blast and shielded his eyes from the whiteness of the blaze. The sky was afire. Jets screamed over the din of the inferno, and exploding missiles sent more showers of flame into the air. He stood in stark terror, amazed as the great machines of war plummeted all over the city, crashing and bouncing and rolling and burning. But these all seemed to fall between buildings and in deserted streets and fields.

Buck's face blistered and his body poured sweat. What in the world was happening?

* * *

Nicolae Carpathia was a light sleeper, thus the quiet buzz programmed into a tiny device in his headboard woke him immediately at just after one-thirty in the morning.

Hesat up, vigorously rubbed his eyes and face, and pressed the intercom button. "Gabriella?"

"Yes, sir. My apologies, but Mr. Fortunato is here and assures me you would want to be awakened."

So it had happened. It was done.

Less than a minute later, Nicolae had dragged a wet comb through his hair and pulled on a luxurious robe. He padded to the elevator, which opened into his parlor and brought him face-to-face with his most trusted adviser.

Carpathia fought to suppress a smile. "Leon, what is it?"

"Israel is being obliterated as we speak."

Nicolae clapped. "The Russians?" he said, as if guessing.

Fortunato nodded, smiling. "There's evidence Libya and Ethiopia are cooperating."

"Perfect. Dr. Rosenzweig knew exactly what I wanted and would not budge. Wonder what he is thinking now. Or whether he will ever think again. Hoarding his formula was a waste. No one could maximize the benefits as I can."

Fortunato grimaced.

"What?" Nicolae said. He pointed to a divan. "Sit, my friend."

Leon settled heavily onto the couch. "Don't assume the Kremlin will bring you in on this, Nicolae. My sources tell me this offensive is as costly a single assault as they have ever attempted. The cadre I introduced you to will likely want to license you only a portion of the rights to market in certain areas."

Nicolae sat across from Leon on a large ottoman. "And you have some illusion that this would be enough for me? Surely you are sporting."

"I know how you feel, Nicolae; it simply may not be as easy as we'd like. Forgive me, chief, but why do you continue to grin like the Cheshire cat?"

A chuckle escaped Carpathia. "The deal has already been made, Leon."


"You did not hear me or did not understand?"

"The latter, sir."

"Between Jonathan Stonagal and me, we financed this operation and settled on terms before the first plane left the ground. Russia will have unlimited use of the formula for their entire expanse, as will Ethiopia and Libya, but the marketing of it throughout the rest of the world is under my purview, and they get an appropriate royalty. Seven percent."

Leon shook his head and leaned back, squinting at Nicolae. "You can't be serious."

"Of course I am. I would not make light of billions of dollars. Would you like the privilege of informing Mr. Stonagal? It is just before seven in New York, and the old man will be on his treadmill."

Leon sighed. "He's the one who informed me."

"But he did not tell you of the arrangement?"

Leon stood, jamming his hands into his pockets. "Neither of you did. My role has been clarified."

"Oh, make no mistake about that, Leon. You know more than anyone in my orbit, but you do not need to know all-neither shall you ever. You will know what you need to know and when I feel you should know it. Understood?"

"As I said, my role has been clarified."

* * *

Chunks of ice and hailstones as big as golf balls forced Buck to cover his head with his jacket as the earth shook and resounded, throwing him to the ground. Facedown in the freezing shards, he felt rain wash over him. Suddenly the only sound was the fire in the sky, and it began to fade as it drifted lower. After ten minutes of thunderous roaring, the fire dissipated, and scattered balls of flame flickered on the ground. The firelight disappeared as quickly as it had come. Stillness settled over the land.

As clouds of smoke wafted away on a gentle breeze, the night sky reappeared in its blue-blackness and stars shone peacefully as if nothing had gone awry.

Buck turned back to the building, his muddy leather jacket in his fist. The doorknob was still hot, and inside, military leaders wept and shuddered. The radio was alive with reports from Israeli pilots. They had not been able to get airborne in time to do anything but watch as the entire Russian air offensive seemed to destroy itself.

Miraculously, not one casualty was reported in all of Israel. Otherwise Buck might have believed some mysterious malfunction had caused missile and plane to destroy each other. But as he interviewed the shaken men and women who had monitored the thing on computer screens, they told another story.

A young female Israeli soldier, in heavily accented but precise English, told him, "It was a firestorm, along with rain and hail and an earthquake. That is what saved us from destruction."

It was the story of a lifetime, and Buck quickly appropriated a jeep and raced throughout the country, interviewing leaders, civilians, soldiers. Dotting the landscape for as far as he drove were hundreds and thousands of chunks of burning, twisted, molten steel that had smashed to the ground in Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Jericho, even Bethlehem-leveling ancient walls but not so much as scratching one living creature.

That was beyond Buck's comprehension; he simply could not make it compute.

As dawn broke several hours later, special task forces competed with buzzards and vultures for the flesh of the enemy dead, scrambling to bury them before their bones were picked clean and disease threatened the nation.

Buck was greatly relieved to find that Dr. Rosenzweig had escaped unscathed. "Had I not been here and seen it myself, I would not have believed it," he told the scientist. "It will take more than I have in me to make my readers buy it either."

Rosenzweig seemed strangely quiet.

"What is it, Doctor?" Buck said.

"Well, it is just that I feel strange broaching this subject, as an agnostic at best, but would you allow me to introduce you to some scholars who might have an interesting take on this?"

Rosenzweig introduced Buck to university professors who pointed out passages from the Bible that talked about God destroying Israel's enemies with a firestorm, an earthquake, hail, and rain. Buck was stunned to read Ezekiel 38 and 39 about a great enemy from the north invading Israel with the help of Persia, Libya, and Ethiopia. More stark was that the Scriptures foretold of weapons of war used as fire fuel and enemy soldiers eaten by birds or buried in a common grave.

Buck wasn't prepared to become religious, he told himself, but he certainly became a different person and a different journalist. Nothing would ever again be beyond his belief.

And if there was one person he wanted to talk to about all this, it was his Chicago colleague Lucinda Washington.


Excerpted from THE RAPTURE by Tim LaHaye Jerry B. Jenkins Copyright ©2006 by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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