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Commentaries on the movie "Left Behind" and book "Truth Left Behind." (Mar 01)

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 4:20 NKJ)

For the past year or so, America's so-called "Christian Right" has been promoting the movie "Left Behind", produced by Cloud Ten Productions and staring Kirk Cameron and Brad Johnson. This movie is based on a 1995 novel written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins which Barnes & Noble hailed as "one of the top ten best selling books of the twentieth century." It has even been praised by such notables as Pat Boone and Bill Bright (of Campus Crusade for Christ fame). Various Christian Right organizations have been giving away a large number of copies of the video version of the movie hoping that it will help the movie achieve "mainstream success" in our nation's movie theaters. Although "Left Behind" doesn't appear to have achieved "mainstream success" as a theatre attraction, it is nevertheless worthwhile to examine this movie, because the lies it supposedly illustrates are apparently believed by tens of millions of American voters.

In the course of this review, I will also be reviewing a paperback book called "Truth Left Behind", published by Pacific Press Publishing Association and written by Steve Wohlberg. This book demolishes the illusion of scriptural authenticity of the Christian Right's "pre-tribulation rapture" teachings and exposes other lies promoted by the movie "Left Behind." Both of these items are available for sale through www.amazon.com. I highly recommend you order them, if for no other reason than to see for yourself that the points I am making in this article are true.

Before I proceed, I wish to make it clear that when I use the terms like "satanic" or "satanically inspired", I am referring to teachings, doctrines, practices, actions, and/or attitudes that fail to conform with God's two most fundamental commandments as summarized by Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:37-40, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (NKJ) Sometimes I refer to these two commandments as "God's guiding principles of truth and love." Opposing those two commandments is like opposing truth and love.

Now to proceed. In a way, even though the movie "Left Behind" is highly misleading, I believe its producers have performed a useful service for mankind, because in spite of their apparent intentions, by carrying the teachings of America's Christian Right to a logical conclusion, this movie illustrates just how "far-fetched" (and insidious) those Christian Right teachings really are.

For example:

1. The movie starts out by portraying a massive swarm of tanks and fighter-bombers on their way to attack Israel from the East (supposedly from Iraq), but suddenly those planes (and I guess one must presume those tanks as well) mysteriously start exploding on their own, even though the Israeli government's anti-aircraft defenses have been disabled. The "lesson" that the movie attempts to teach is that God will intervene "supernaturally" to save Israel from annihilation. But did God intervene "supernaturally" to save ancient Judea from the Babylonian army when the Judeans where practicing racism and putting their real faith in Judean "national sovereignty" rather than God? NO! Did God intervene "supernaturally" to save the Judeans from the Roman army when the Judeans were AGAIN practicing racism and putting their real faith in Judean "national sovereignty" rather than God? NO! Did God intervene "supernaturally" to save Israel from Saddam Hussein's SCUD missiles when the Israelis were practicing racism and STILL putting their real faith in Israeli "national sovereignty" rather than God? Not really. And it is highly unlikely that God ever will ever intervene "supernaturally" to save Israel, unless the Jews in general trash their own satanically inspired doctrines (especially their racist prohibition against "intermarriage"). If that were to happen, the "miracle" would not be demonstrated in the form of a "supernatural" destruction of fighter-bombers heading towards Israel, it would be demonstrated in the form of a disappearance of "anti-Semitism", even among Arabs and Muslims, because for the past three thousand years, secular history as well as the Bible have REPEATEDLY shown that the phenomenon known in today's world as "anti-Semitism" has for the most part been an ideological reflection of Hebrew/Jewish racism!

2. While those planes were exploding in the sky, the movie portrays a man dressed like the prophet Daniel "supernaturally" appearing and telling a news reporter in English,

"War will continue for until the end, desolations have been decreed, he will confirm a covenant with many for seven years."

But when the news reporter replays his video recording of what that prophet said, the prophet is portrayed as speaking this prophecy in Hebrew. The movie makes it appear that the prophet was reiterating an ancient scripture like, Daniel 9:26-27:

"And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate." (NKJ)

or

"After this period of 434 years, the Anointed One will be killed, his kingdom still unrealized... and a king will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. They will be overwhelmed as with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. This king will make a seven-year treaty with the people, but after half that time, he will break his pledge and stop the Jews from all their sacrifices and their offerings; then, as a climax to all his terrible deeds, the Enemy shall utterly defile the sanctuary of God. But in God's time and plan, his judgment will be poured out upon this Evil One." (TLB)

Since these verses refer to the cutting off of the Messiah, it's clear that they are referring to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. So as you can see, the movie's rendition of these verses has been "very loosely translated", to say the least. Notice that the Old Testament text clearly says "one week", not "seven years." Isn't it America's Christian Right who like to claim that they are interpreting the scriptures "literally"? If indeed that prophecy also describes an event that has yet to occur, then consider this FAR MORE LIKELY scenario which would fulfill that prophecy even more "literally":

A nuclear war erupts (as a result of a state action, accident, terrorist plot, or whatever reason) and as many as a third of mankind "meets Christ in the air" as radioactive dust. After a few days of confusion and recognition that even more nuclear weapons are about to be used, this event FINALLY convinces the surviving religious leaders of the world to trash THEIROWN satanically inspired teachings (including their worship of "national sovereignty") and to start teaching their followers to take God's two most fundamental commandments SERIOUSLY! Seven days after that nuclear holocaust, the surviving political leaders of the world FINALLY agree to establish a true world government guided God's guiding principles of truth and love (with NO restrictions on either truth or love).

It doesn't have to happen that way, but America's so-called "Christian Right" religious leaders are DEFINITELY leading the people of the world toward making such a scenario a reality (by promoting international anarchy and the worship of "national sovereignty" rather than God). Oh, and by the way, if that scenario does occur, more likely than not, America's satanically inspired religious leaders will NOT be among the survivors, and they will NEVER have an opportunity to redeem themselves in the eyes of God and all future generations of mankind. (Rev 13:10).

3. Throughout the entire "Left Behind" movie, those who are employed in the United Nations (or who apply to work for the United Nations) are portrayed as being inherently "evil." United Nations military forces invoke a curfew and have orders to "shoot on sight." The Secretary General of the United Nations takes a pistol and executes his two financial supporters at a council meeting, and then with a wave of his hand he "hypnotizes" the rest of the council members into believing that it was a murder-suicide. Efforts by the European Common Market to promote the use of a common currency are portrayed as being "evil", efforts to better feed the people of the world are portrayed as being "evil", and in general every effort that conforms with God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves (without restrictions) is portrayed as being "evil."

But is this REALLY the kind of thinking that Jesus Christ taught? How many times do the four gospels show Jesus criticizing the Roman Empire? NEVER! How many times do the four gospels show Jesus Christ criticizing even the pagans of his day? NEVER! How often do the four gospels portray Jesus Christ criticizing the Judean religious leaders of his day for teaching and practicing violations of God's two most fundamental commandments? FREQUENTLY! Consider the following quotations which various leaders of America's so-called "Christian Right" have conveniently ignored:

Matthew 5:43-45, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven..." (NKJ)

Matthew 12:25, But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." (NKJ)

Matthew 23:37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (NKJ)

Matthew 28:19-20. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (NKJ)

Luke 9:54-56. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." (NKJ)

Acts 10:28, Then he [Peter] said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean." (NKJ)

So unlike Satan, the Pharisees, and America's Christian Right, whose teachings are designed to keep people and nations "divided against themselves", Jesus Christ attempted throughout his entire ministry to bring people together, and he placed NO restrictions on his definition of neighbor! For the most part, the teachings of America's so-called "Christian Right" are DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and you can see this quite clearly in their beloved movie "Left Behind."

4. The ideological basis for the Christian Right's hatred of the United Nations (and just about everything else that would help to unite mankind in peace) is a popular fantasy known among biblical scholars as the "pre-tribulation rapture" theory. According to Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe, and the authors of the story "Left Behind", all children and "true believers" will suddenly be "snatched up" (i.e. disappear from the earth) to physically "meet Christ in the air" in their "glorified bodies" around the time a "seven year tribulation period" begins. Then during that seven-year tribulation period, "the Antichrist" will take over the world and force people to "wear the mark of the beast", but ultimately he will be "supernaturally" defeated by a returning Jesus Christ. In the meantime, those who were not "snatched up" but who nevertheless resist that "Antichrist world dictator" will ultimately be "saved."

Evidently, this satanically inspired (and essentially selfish) doctrine of supernatural escapism (i.e. "Do what I say, and you'll avoid the tribulation") has proven to be immensely popular and profitable for those who preach it. But as Steve Wohlberg points out so clearly, neither the Old Testament or the New Testament really supports that theory. Instead, the portions of the scriptures that the proponents of the pre-tribulation rapture theory like to quote actually apply to a single noisy world-wide event that "every eye will see" (Rev 1:7) known as "Judgment Day" when Jesus Christ returns to rule the world (in Spirit, at least) at the END of that period of tribulation. Numerous verses in the Old and New Testaments show that the "true believers" definitely WILL experience (and endure) that tribulation period (Revelation 2:26). According to the scriptures however, after the event the Christian Right refers to as "The Rapture" (or perhaps more accurately, a spiritual "rising to the occasion"), there will be NO opportunity for those who are not part of that "rapture" to subsequently be "saved." Indeed, they will be ETERNALLY CONDEMNED (for their ungodly teachings and practices) in the memories of God and all future generations of mankind! (1 Thes 5:2,3)

5. The movie "Left Behind" makes it clear that rather than teaching the importance of God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves, the preachers of America's Christian Right have been teaching a VERTICLE ONLY form of "love" between their audience members and the preachers' satanically corrupted vision of "God." It's no wonder that the worship of guns and "nationals sovereignty" is so popular among those who count themselves as being part of America's Christian Right. It's also no wonder that we seem to be witnessing an increasing frequency of "school shootings" lately. It's because the religious leaders of America's Christian Right have been teaching satanically inspired (selfish) fantasies rather than God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves!

6. At one point, the movie "Left behind" portrays all children and "true believers" as silently disappearing, leaving their empty clothes behind. Perhaps one could wonder whether or not by "glorified bodies" these preachers are envisioning some kind of "nudist colony in the sky." Actually, their talk about "glorified bodies" is just another example of their efforts to promote attitudes of selfishness among their listeners.

7. The movie "Left Behind" praises the Bible and some churches, but like America's Christian Right, it NEVER teaches its audience how to interpret the Bible the way Jesus Christ did (i.e. in a way that conforms with God's commandment to love our neighbors as our selves). Perhaps they know that without such guidance, most of their audience will find the Bible to be boring and thus won't bother to check to see whether or not what they are saying about the Bible is really true.

****

In his book "Truth Left Behind", Steve Wohlberg not only demolishes the illusion of scriptural authenticity of the Christian Right's pre-tribulation rapture teachings, he also presents one of the most scriptually consistent interpretations of biblical prophecies currently being taught, essentially that of the Seventh Day Adventists. However, although the teachings of the Seventh Day Adventists include far more consideration of God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves than the teachings of most other Christian denominations, they too have allowed their interpretations of the scriptures to become twisted in order the accommodate the worship of "national sovereignty" (and national flags).

For example, because they are not following Jesus' example of interpreting ALL of the scriptures in a way that conforms with God's two most fundamental commandments, they have overlooked that the fact that throughout both the Old and New Testaments, "waters" in various forms is allegorically used to represent religious teachings and "earth" in various forms is allegorically used to represent mankind's perceptions of popular truths. Throughout his ministry, Jesus frequently used those two allegories in his own parables and teachings (Matthew 13, John 4:10). However, the Seventh Day Adventists do correctly recognize that "Eve" in the Garden of Eden parable represents the early church. The leaders of America's Christian Right, on the other hand, refuse to admit that the Garden of Eden story is in fact a parable. Instead, they insist that the story must be interpreted "literally" and then proceed to rant and rave against the theory of evolution, because it explains easily observable facts that contradict their dubious conclusions regarding how that Garden of Eden story was meant to be interpreted.

The Seventh Day Adventists teach that the beast with seven heads and ten horns is presently the Roman Catholic Church (or more specifically the Papacy) and that the two-horned false prophet in Revelation is Protestant America (or more specifically America's so-called "Christian Right"). According to their interpretation, one of the signs that we are approaching the "end times" is the current effort by America's Christian Right to seize control of governmental powers (and tax revenues), much like the Roman Catholic Church has done in the past in other parts of the world. Steve Wohlberg even quotes the dishonorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist as saying, "The wall of separation between church and state is based on bad history...It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned." So when the Christian Right completes their takeover of governmental powers in America (by gradually amending existing laws and creating new ones as they are presently doing), the resulting (beastly) union of church and state will in effect become an "image" of the Roman Catholic Church beast. And, according to this theory, if this trend is allowed to continue, those who oppose the religious doctrines of that "image of the beast" will face jail sentences or even death sentences. As we can see with the abortion issue, America's Christian Right is already seeking to "use the laws of government to enforce what they cannot inspire."

According to Wohlberg, the whole idea of a pre-tribulation rapture followed by the emergence of an "antichrist" political leader was originally devised by some Jesuits in the 1500s to divert attention away from the Protestant accusation that the Roman Catholic Church itself had been acting like an antichrist for nearly a thousand years [i.e. preferring to wield the "tools of Cain" (death sentences, jail sentences, etc.) rather than relying on the power of God's guiding principles of truth and love]. According to that interpretation, the Roman Catholic Church is the "fifth beast", following the Babylonian, Medeo-Persian, Greek, and Roman empires. This was the head on the beast that was "wounded and yet healed" when the Vatican was temporarily put out of business by one of Napoleon's generals in 1798. For Wohlberg and the Seventh Day Adventists, the "mark of the beast" is the practice of celebrating the Sabbath on Sunday rather than Saturday--a change to the Ten Commandments that was implemented by the Roman Catholic Church under the Roman Emperor Constantine in order to conform with (or to usurp) an ancient pagan custom.

Although, as Wohlberg points out, the Roman Catholic Church really did act like an antichrist for at least twelve centuries, the true "villains" were their satanically inspired assumptions and teachings. Now it's America's Christian Right religious leaders who are using that pre-tribulation rapture theory to deflect attention away from their own antichrist-like teachings. When I publish my review of How Jesus Christ viewed the book of Daniel, you will see that the issues addressed in the book of Daniel are far more fundamental than the history of any particular organization and that the origin of the "Babylon The Great" allegory goes back at least as far as the time of Ezra (with roots going all the way back to the time of Abraham).

In his book "Truth Left Behind", Steve Wohlberg says, "Again, let me clarify that I believe the authors of Left Behind and the leaders of these television ministries are genuine Christians who are doing their best to influence people for God's kingdom." I disagree. Those religious leaders aren't even trying to be "genuine Christians." As you can see from various earlier articles on www.onesalt.com (Jan 97, Aug 97, Jul 98, Oct 98, Aug 98), I've been just one of many who have been pointing out over the years to Jack Van Impe, Hal Lindsey, etc. that their teachings are diametrically opposed to the love-your-neighbor-as-yourself teachings of Jesus Christ and that they are quoting the scriptures out of context in order to "sell" their satanically inspired teachings. If those religious leaders were true servants of God, they would have changed their teachings accordingly. But instead their attitude has been more like, "Hey, we're just playing the game. This is how we make our living." So evidently, they view themselves primarily as being nothing more than profit-making entertainers. But there's a significant difference between their form of "entertainment" and other more honest forms of entertainment that address "the supernatural" like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Unlike the pre-tribulation-rapture lies being promoted by America's Christian Right, the authors and actors of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" aren't falsely claiming to represent God, or falsely claiming that their programs are illustrating "the gospel truth", or attempting to influence American foreign policies in ways that are contributing to the killing of MILLIONS of men, women, or children EACH YEAR and leading the world towards a nuclear holocaust scenario that will kill most and perhaps even ALL of mankind!

Perhaps it would help if I devised an acronym to describe such people (other than the term "antichrist" which has been so blatantly mis-used in recent years). How about "Satanically Aligned Mutually Exclusive Reducers Of The Scriptures" or "SAMEROTS." Although SAMEROTS often appear to be opposing each other throughout the world, they are all serving Satan in very similar ways:

1. They generally attempt to divert their audiences' attention AWAY from following God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves (without placing restrictions on one's definition of neighbor). Instead, they attempt to create or maintain man-made conceptual divisions among people and to inspire hatreds among people based on those conceptual divisions.

2. They often attempt to support their claims to represent God (or Allah) by quoting their religious scriptures out of context (or even dreaming up their own "quotations from the scriptures") in order to support the above efforts.

3. They often attempt to convince people to put their faith in "supernatural" rather than REAL solutions to problems (e.g. the pre-tribulation rapture theory).

4. They often use God's name in vain by promoting the worship of an idol other than God (usually "national sovereignty").

5. And they usually get a LOT of people killed, either through direct personal actions like the genocidal religious leaders of Afghanistan's Taliban, or indirectly like those who are attempting to preserve or promote international anarchy.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT THIS?

Whenever a SAMEROT uses God's name in vain by claiming to represent God while promoting violations of God's two most fundamental commandments, you should publically call him (or her) a LIAR and PROVE that charge! The Bible and Koran are LOADED with quotes that can be used to prove such a charge. Don't be afraid to do this, because by doing so, you may end up saving their lives as well as your own.

www.onesalt.com
(one grain of salt)


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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002