The Truth Behind Left Behind: A Biblical View of the End Times


With the unparalleled worldwide success of the Left Behind series, both fans and critics are curious about the relationship between Bible prophecy and the events depicted in the novels. Responding to recent works that question Left Behind's biblical accuracy, two respected theologians set forth solid, biblical answers in this reader-friendly resource. Beginning with a clear presentation of prophecy interpretation and dispensationalism, the authors examine specific end times events represented in Left Behind and ...
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The Truth Behind Left Behind: A Biblical View of the End Times

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With the unparalleled worldwide success of the Left Behind series, both fans and critics are curious about the relationship between Bible prophecy and the events depicted in the novels. Responding to recent works that question Left Behind's biblical accuracy, two respected theologians set forth solid, biblical answers in this reader-friendly resource. Beginning with a clear presentation of prophecy interpretation and dispensationalism, the authors examine specific end times events represented in Left Behind and offer historical and biblical support for each event.

Story Behind the Book

With the incredible success of this series, we believe that it would be beneficial to the body of Christ for someone to publish a book that gives solid, thoughtful, biblical answers to the critics of the Left Behind theology. With the questions that are being raised and will continue to be raised, many may begin to wonder if the Left Behind theology is really biblical. Some of the impact of the series could be undermined. This book would set forth substantive biblical points in favor of the various end times events presented in the series.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590523667
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 578,849
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Hitchcock

Mark Hitchcock earned his master of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and is presently a Ph.D. candidate at the same school. He has pastored Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, since 1991 and has written eleven books. Mark and his wife, Cheryl, live in Oklahoma with their two sons, Justin and Samuel.

Thomas Ice

Thomas Ice, executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center, holds a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Tyndale Theological Seminary. Ice is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books and dozens of articles. He has served as a pastor for fifteen years. Tommy and his wife, Janice, have three sons and live in Arlington, Texas.

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Read an Excerpt


By Mark Hitchcock Thomas Ice

Multnomah Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 Mark Hitchcock and Thomas Ice
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59052-366-0

Chapter One


The Left Behind series has enjoyed an incredible run in the publishing world.

Talk about understatement!

Left Behind has blown the lid off previous publishing records. It has been wildly successful. It's not just the new standard in the world of fiction; it's its own standard. And the juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down.

Millions of readers can't wait for the next installment. They mark the release date on their calendars and wait with eager anticipation-even prebuying the book weeks before it hits the shelves. They look forward to rejoining the story and continuing the breathtaking journey through the book of Revelation and the major events of the end times.

As you might well imagine, the success of the series has brought out two distinct and very different responses: one positive and one negative. This book was written to address both of these responses.

Beyond all doubt, the Left Behind series has led many people to assess or reassess their relationship to Jesus Christ. Authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have received thousands of accounts of people trusting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior from reading these books. At the same time, the series has also aroused a renewed interest in study of the end times-much as Hal Lindsay did with his milestone book The Late Great Planet Earth back in the early seventies. People who read the books are left wanting to know more about the climactic final days of our world as prophesied in the Bible.

Haven't you wondered, after reading these books, what the Bible really says about the final days of our world? Wouldn't you like to know more about the fact behind the fiction? Wouldn't it be great to know more about the Rapture, the Antichrist, the mark of the beast, and the future city of New Babylon?

If so, then this book is for you. One of our key reasons for writing this book was to provide the readers of the Left Behind books with more information on what the Bible says about God's plan for the ages. After all, everybody knows that Bible prophecy can sometimes (to put it modestly) be a bit confusing. Many sincere and diligent students of the Bible experience difficulty in attempting to sort it all out. This is where The Truth Behind Left Behind comes in. We wrote this book with you in mind, to help you gain a deeper understanding of the end times-and how some of the key persons, places, and events fit together.

But there is another reason for this book as well. Even though the Left Behind series has engaged millions of readers worldwide, a handful of well-placed critics have been calling into question the whole premise of these books. As we will see in the coming pages, these detractors are claiming that both the stories and the theology of the series are nothing but fiction.

We take strong issue with such attacks.

And we want to show you why.


We all know that when something-anything-enjoys great success, it will inevitably stir up some controversy. That's just the nature of things. Success always brings a swarm of critics. Detractors immediately begin lining up to take their best shot.

The Left Behind phenomenon is certainly no exception. People have criticized the series from every angle-even going so far as to question the intentions and motives of the authors and publisher.

If you think we're exaggerating, just go on-line and search for "Left Behind," "fiction," and other related words. You'll find dozens of articles and reviews attacking the fiction, faith, and alleged faulty end times theology of the series.

But the most steady, sustained, serious criticism has come from those who say that the entire series is based on fiction. Of course, the series is fictional; what we have here are immensely entertaining stories. But what the critics mean is that the whole end time view of the series is nothing but fiction-that the future events portrayed in the story are completely fabricated and unbiblical.

In the last few years, numerous books, papers, and articles have tried to chip away at the very foundation of the series. They have leveled strong attacks on the entire theology or end time view that undergirds these books.

Among the detractors of Left Behind are some of the major Protestant denominations, such as the Presbyterian Church USA, Seventh-day Adventists, and some fundamental Baptists. Left Behind has also been strongly condemned by Roman Catholics as "anti-Catholic." Roman Catholics have stated clearly, "We don't believe in the rapture."

Additionally, numerous books have been written with the express purpose of critiquing or in some cases even mocking the Left Behind view of the end times or some aspect of it.

Some of the better known books include:

End Times Fiction: A Biblical Consideration of the Left Behind Theology (Gary DeMar, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001).

Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"? A Catholic Critique of the Rapture and Today's Prophecy Preachers (Carl E. Olson, Ft. Collins, CO: Ignatius, 2003).

The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to "End Times" Fever (Paul Thigpen, West Chester, PA: Ascension, 2001).

The Left Behind Deception: Revealing Dangerous Errors About the Rapture and the Antichrist (Steve Wohlberg, Ft. Worth, TX: Texas Media Center, 2001).

IRAQ: Babylon of the End-Times? (C. Marvin Pate and J. Daniel Hays, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2003).

I Want to Be Left Behind (Ted Noel, Maitland, FL: BibleOnly Press, 2002).

I Want to Be "Left Behind": An Examination of the Ideas Behind the Popular Series and the End Times (Tim Kirk, Campbell, CA: Writers Club Press, 2002).

Since the end time view of Left Behind is the foundation of the entire series, we believe these criticisms need to be addressed. Otherwise the credibility of these powerful volumes could be seriously undermined. After reading some of these critiques, people might be left wondering....

Have the authors totally misread and misunderstood Revelation?

Is the Left Behind view of the end times unbiblical? Is there really going to be a rapture?

Will millions truly be left behind?

Does the Bible actually say that there will be a future, terrible time of tribulation?

Will there be a future person called Antichrist who will rule the world? Will people really have to take the mark of the beast or die?

Can people be saved after the Rapture?

An undiscerning acceptance of the criticisms of Left Behind could easily lead unsuspecting readers to view the series just like any other New York Times fiction bestseller. It could take the cutting edge off the overriding message of the books-the need to receive Jesus Christ by faith as your Savior from sin before it's too late. It could even cause many who have believed the gospel from reading these books to entertain serious doubts. To wonder if it's all just fiction.

We don't want this to happen.


The purpose of this book is to take a fresh look at the end time view presented in the Left Behind series-and to demonstrate that it is firmly supported by both God's Word and church history. We want to make it clear at the outset that we harbor no ill feelings toward those who disagree with our view. We aren't writing this book because we dislike any person or group who has criticized Left Behind. Our purpose is not to condemn or make fun of the views of others, but rather to present what we believe is the biblical view of the end times in light of the mounting criticisms that have come against those teachings.

To accomplish this purpose, we want to take you step-by-step through the key events presented in the Left Behind series and show you what some of the critics are saying. Following this, we will offer biblical and historical support for the Left Behind view of the end times. In order to keep the book more reader-friendly, we have tried to put most of the technical information in endnotes. Feel free to take your time and read the endnotes as you go. We think the information there will help you understand the background for much of what we have to say.

Here are some of the major events we will consider in this book:

the pretribulational Rapture

the coming Russian/Islamic invasion of Israel

the future seven-year Tribulation

salvation during the Tribulation period

the Antichrist

666-the mark of the beast

the city of New Babylon

While Left Behind is a fictional series, we believe that the key events in the book are anything but fiction. In fact, this series proves the maxim that truth is stranger than fiction. Jenkins and LaHaye have told a story that has gripped and captivated a massive audience. But as incredible and enthralling as that story might be, the real events themselves-when they are unfolded in the end times-will eclipse anything people could imagine in their wildest dreams ... or nightmares. We firmly believe that the basic end time events in the Left Behind series will transpire someday. Perhaps very soon.


It's very possible that many of you who have picked up this book don't really know much or care much about the criticism of Left Behind. You've read the books, and all you want to do is take a more in-depth look at the truth behind the fiction. Maybe you would like to see the biblical evidence for the events in Left Behind laid out in a clear, easy-to-read format.

In either case-whether you have a strong interest in answering the Left Behind critics, or just want a concise primer on prophetic events-this book is for you. Our desire is for you to use this book as a kind of companion or support for the series. Our prayer is that God will use it to demonstrate and to confirm to the millions of faithful readers that the end time view presented in Left Behind is true, valid, and trustworthy. In other words, that it squares solidly with the Bible.

More than anything, we don't want the gripping, life-changing truth of the imminent, any-moment coming of Jesus Christ to get left behind.

So join us now, as we begin to look at The Truth Behind Left Behind. May God use it to give you greater confidence in Him, His Word, and His great plan for the end of this age ... and the beginning of the next.

As you will see, this plan has already begun to unfold.

Great events are just ahead.

Perhaps closer than any of us have imagined.


Excerpted from THE TRUTH BEHIND LEFT BEHIND by Mark Hitchcock Thomas Ice Copyright © 2004 by Mark Hitchcock and Thomas Ice. 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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Table of Contents

Introduction 5
Part 1 Headlines
1. The Truth Behind the Fiction 13
2. The Rapture: Left Behind 20
3. The Coming Russian/Islamic Invasion: Left Behind 43
4. Israel: God's Super Sign: Tribulation Force 56
5. Salvation for Those Left Behind: Soul Harvest 75
6. The Seven-Year Tribulation: Tribulation Force 88
7. New Babylon: Left Behind 101
8. Antichrist: Nicolae 127
9. The Mark of the Beast: The Mark 141
10. World News and Left Behind 152
Part 2 Foundations
11. How Should We Interpret Bible Prophecy? 163
12. What Is Dispensationalism? 178
13. The History of the Rapture 191
Notes 207
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 16, 2011

    It gives an accurate biblical basis for the series. SHOW OTHERS THE TRUTH!

    It is about time this book was published, we have seen dozens of attacks on the series, because they want to take people away from the message of the Book. The best way they can do this is to take the arguments (discussions) about the differences in end time theology, and try to prove that those are proof of fallacies in our faith. The LEFT BEHIND SERIES is entertainment, based on facts and interpretations of Revalations from God to man. Use this book to help people understand the bible, and where the basis of this series is the Word of God. Thanks for reading my thoughts on the book, Kenneth Cleek.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2005

    excellent reading

    I started reading this after my mother kept talking about the series. I read the entire series in a little under 2 weeks. Excellent reading, kept me addicted all the way through. The last book could have been a little different. I would like to have seen them go more into meeting the profits from the O.T. All in all, great book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2005

    Great idea, not so great writing.

    Intrigued by the book as I was I grew less and less enthusiastic about the story. Not so much the overarching plot. That is great. But the details I found hard to swallow...too unrealistic. I know it's a Christian novel, that's great, I'm a Christian. But if the world people are disapearing left and right, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone calm, and not letting out a curse everynow and again, if not a constant stream. Over all, the massive storyline of all the Left Behind series is a comendable undertaking. I just want more realism.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2005

    Way to go! Jesus rocks and so does this book.

    I am currently on book 4 of the Left behind series and I love them. For years in Sunday School I was taught of the coming apocalypse---so to see some serious theologians debunk the Left Behind books (they seemed to feel the books were accurate enough!) was a real relief. Way cool story!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2005

    great book

    This is by far one of the best books i have ever read, im still trying to read the rest of series

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Rebekah Gould

    Pastor Mark Hitchcock is the pastor at the church I attend and although I am only 16 years old and there are still alot of questions that I would love to ask him, he has done so much for my life and he is a huge inspiration to me. This book was amazing and I cant wait to say congrats to him!:) I understand that it wasnt just him who was behind this awesome book, so I would also like to thank Tim LaHaye d anyone else who made this book.

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