The year was 1995. I was living in Miami and had just started my own business as an Internet marketing consultant. I was a member of First Christian Church of North Miami, a United Church of Christ (UCC). I joined that church after a lot church shopping in 1988.
I Thought Good Works was Enough
I was very involved. I sang in the choir, was the chair of the Outreach Board that funded many Christian charities, I ran the singles ministry, and was a member of the women’s group. My thinking was that I didn’t have much money to give, so I’d give my time. I did eventually burn myself out, but that’s not what this post is about.
Five years down the line, we were looking at the year 2000. Y2K fears hadn’t started yet, but there was a lot of buzz about the “last days” and “end times prophecies” in the Bible. Were they coming true? I guess every time there’s a new century — in this case a new millennium — different theories would arise. What would the 21st Century bring? Would it bring all the cool sci-fi things we saw at the World Fairs and Epcot? I, like most people, was curious.
Enter Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days
It starts on a 747 somewhere over the Atlantic ocean. It’s a flight heading from Chicago O’Hare to London. Flying the jet is Captain Rayford Steele. One of the passengers is a well-known journalist, Buck Williams. All of a sudden, half the passengers disappear! They’re gone! Only their clothes, eyeglasses and jewelry are left on their seats. Their baffled and worried spouses, parents and/or companions were wondering where they went.
Now, let’s take this all in. They’re on an jet, over the ocean. There’s no way to safely get off! And what’s the one thing they all had in common? They were described as “overly religious”.
Captain Steele radios and discovers that it’s happened everywhere — all over the world. Planes crashed because both the pilots and copilots were gone. One strange thing was that all children under 12 disappeared as well as babies, newborn and still in the womb. Expectant mothers found that they were no longer pregnant.
Besides that, driverless cars crashed on the roads and highways causing pile-up after pile-up. Well, you can imagine. The book really takes you through what everyone is thinking. No body could explain the sudden disappearances.
Enter a Christian Pastor Left Behind
This is the part that got to me.
When Captain Steele gets home, he finds that his wife and son are both gone. In grief, he begins to put the last few months of their lives in perspective. His wife and son were born-again Christians. They both tried to get him and Chloe, their college-aged daughter, to convert, but they both were hesitant.
So Ray goes to the church his wife and son were attending. There he finds Pastor Bruce Barnes very distraught because he missed it. He was left behind. He, who thought he had the whole Christianity thing down. Educated, well-read, he even preached every so often. However, he had book-knowledge of who Jesus was and what being a Christian should look like, but he didn’t have Jesus in his heart. He hadn’t gone “all the way” to being born-again.
His boss, the head pastor of the church, who obviously was gone, had anticipated the Rapture and had recorded a video — even made DVD copies for whoever was left behind to share. I’m thinking I should do one of those videos. It would go something like this…
If you’re watching this, the Rapture of the Christian believers just happened and you’ve lost family, friends and your world is in turmoil. You were left behind. Why? Simply because you failed to believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and accept His salvation of grace. You were never born-again. Sorry for the bluntness, but there’s no time to waste. You still have a second chance! What’s coming next is detailed in the Book of Revelation. I encourage you to study it. Believe in the true salvation of Jesus Christ now and you will have the power of the Holy Spirit to guide you through the coming 7 years of tribulation….
What Changed My Life…
That chapter stopped me cold.
Would I get left behind?
I wasn’t sure.
Was I saved?
I wasn’t sure.
Would I go to Heaven if I died?
I wasn’t sure.
That’s when I got down on my knees and prayed the prayer in the book.
From that moment on, I had a hunger to learn more about Jesus. I took any Bible study class that fit my schedule. I read books and more books, watched DVDs — anything that I could get my hands on. Somehow, I was still missing something and it took me 11 years to finally understand that I had to be baptized again. You can read/listen to my testimony in these posts…
- From Catholic to Prodigal: Surviving College
- From Prodigal to Progressive: Surviving Hurricanes
- From Progressive to Born Again Christian: Surviving Unemployment
What about the Left Behind Movie?
Let me warn you that the movie differs a lot from the book. I prefer the first one, released in 2000, starring Kirk Cameron as Buck Willams and Brad Johnson as Rayford Steele. The latest one with Nicolas Cage as Captain Steele was awful. I wish they would have left well enough alone. The sequels to the first one also divert significantly from the books. I recommend reading the books rather than watching the movies — they are fast reads and you can’t put them down! But if you only have a couple of hours to understand the Rapture, then watch the original Left Behind movie.
Now comes an important question…
Will You be Left Behind?
With what’s going on in the world today, I sincerely believe that we are living in the end times. The Coronavirus, the riots and unrest, the earthquakes and locusts, they are just the birth pains. Jesus tells us that in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 — I’ll let you read them for yourself. Now’s the time to search your soul. It’s not too late — yet. No one knows WHEN the Rapture will happen. Only God the Father knows. But Jesus tells us to be ready…
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.Matthew 24:36-44
If you want the assurance of salvation and a 1-way, non-stop ticket to paradise — to Heaven and that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture — which could happen any day now, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great daily devotionals and Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
Jesus also said…
“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”Matthew 24:14 NLT
Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — to God Alone be the Glory!