#1 – The Holy Bible
The most popular and best-selling book of all time is The Holy Bible. No book has had more influence on the world. Its pages tell the story of the creation, fall, and redemption of mankind. Re-live the story of creation and the fall of man in Genesis. Cross the wilderness with Moses in Exodus. Welcome the coming of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. The Holy Bible contains epic stories of history, heroism, and hope.
#2- The Stand
In 1978, Stephen King published The Stand, the novel that is now considered to be one of Stephen King’s finest works. It depicts his apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. It is a gripping work with the scope and moral complexity of a true epic. Those reading The Stand for the first time will discover a triumphant and eerily plausible work of the imagination that takes on the issues that will determine our survival. I enjoyed the movie as well as the book.
#3 – The Da Vinci Code
This book by Dan Brown and the movie is wonderful. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Robert Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci — clues visible for all to see — yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. The Da Vinci Code heralds the arrival of a new breed of lightning-paced, intelligent thriller…utterly unpredictable right up to its stunning conclusion.
#4 – Angels and Demons
Dan brown is amazing with his style of test while reading his book. When a canister of anti-matter is stolen from a Swiss research facility, Robert Langdon is called in to investigate. In Angels & Demons, a Harvard professor, Langdon is an expert on the ancient, quasi-scientific, and widely feared organization know as the Illuminati, who may or may not be wrapped up in the mystery.
#5 – The Left Behind Series
I think this series has been one of great learning reads of my entire life. Whether you are a believer or not you can easily find this book to be an enjoyable read.
The story basically starts off with all of God’s true believers being removed from our planet in one fell swoop- scene from the movie shows people on an air plane disappear, vanish, gone. Those left behind learn that they are Left Behind to deal with the 7 years of tribulation while the Anti-Christ tries to take over.
Over the course of these books the storyline increases quickly and progresses into a book that really makes you think and question what could happen (and if you are not a believer, it’s simply a great work of fiction!)
I loved this series; the books are exciting and are very quick reads. Pick up the first one, I’ll bet you can’t put them down after that! I couldn’t.
I have read all of the Left Behind Series and have enjoyed them. This series is an adventurous reading that focuses on those left behind after the rapture of the church. The story has a future seven years in which there will be great tribulation on the earth. The message of this book is to give your life to Jesus now, because you do not want to be here to have to go through the tribulation. In my opinion these books fail in this regard, because they are so adventurous that it seems that Christians would want to be here for such excitement. The threat of death by the Anti-Christ is not as great as the adventure itself. After all, most Christians that read these books will never have the opportunity to die for Jesus through testimony or at least they will never take it. In fact most of us will die for nothing, but at least Buck, Chloe, Rayford and the others put their lives on the line for the Lord. This is an exciting, page-turning read that if you buy this box set, you will not have to go through what I did and that is waiting for the next one to come out, because I am left hanging at the end of each. You will get attached to the characters and live vicariously through them and for me that is very good writing. Having said this, I now turn to look at some of the theological question marks of the series.
First, I have already pointed out the adventure aspect of being left behind. I do not think the books intend to have this affect, but they do, at least for some.
Second, the rapture is forced into where the dispensationalist want it in the Book of Revelation and in a natural reading of Revelation, one would never get the idea that a rapture even had to occur, at least not until the end of Revelation, but the dispensationalist imagine it to come at Revelation 4:1 (with a couple of exceptions). To speak of the rapture at all is to bring it in from 1 Thessalonians and then force it into a pre-conjectured future scheme that one has already made of Revelation. Some will have no trouble finding this acceptable, but it deserves at least to be looked at with a critical eye. The problem is that the most popular thing going is LaHaye’s brand of seeing the future and so many never know that there are other less forced ways of reading Revelation.
Third, a major concern for me is the message that returning violence for violence is okay under the imagined circumstances that LaHaye and Jenkins give us. Buck, in one scene needs to make his escape and he hits a man and kills him in order to do so and the conclusion is reached that is okay to kill the enemy. Lost altogether is Jesus message to “take up your cross and follow me.” What happened to love your enemy and bless those who persecute you? It is tragically lost in this series. This reflects the current message of many in the pulpits of America today who espouse war and violence against “terrorists” or the “axis of evil.” This kind of preaching is not only missing from the lips of Jesus, but the opposite is preached from him. “Put away your sword…he that lives by the sword will die by the sword.” In the book of Revelation the 144,000 are said to follow the Lamb wherever he goes. He went to the cross and died for the sins of the world. In LaHaye and Jenkins scheme the Tribulation Force gathers arms and fights with and kills in violent bloody warfare the enemy. I can hear Paul saying “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” In the imagined Christian world of LaHaye and Jenkins it is violence and not prayer and life in the Spirit. The only way the cross enters in for LaHaye in Jenkins is that it gets you out of Hell and into Heaven and that is it, but other than that it means nothing.
Fourth, Jesus reconstituted Israel in himself and he was the Messiah or Israel’s true representative. Let us just take Matthew’s Gospel to examine this for a moment. Joseph and Mary take Jesus and flee down to Egypt to escape Herod. When Herod dies, Joseph is bringing Jesus back out, Matthew quotes Hosea 11:1 “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” In Exodus 4:22 YHWH speaking to Moses says to him to go tell Pharaoh “Israel is my first born son, go tell Pharaoh to let my first born son go.” When Hosea quotes the passage he is speaking of Israel being brought up out of Egypt. Matthew has taken this prophecy and applied it to Jesus. Jesus is being brought up out of Egypt enacting the role of Israel. Then next we see him at the Jordan getting Baptized by John which he was going though the waters (Red Sea) just as Israel had done and the heavens open and a voice says “This is my beloved son and in him I am well pleased.” From there Jesus goes into the wilderness just as Israel had went through the waters leaving Egypt behind, Jesus goes through the waters leaving Egypt behind and then into the wilderness. In the wilderness Israel failed temptation, but Jesus would not fail, but overcame in the wilderness. My point is to show Jesus in the role of Israel. This is why Paul says in Galatians 3:29 “Whoever has put on Christ belongs to Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” In Romans 10:12 Paul says “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all and merciful to all who call upon him.”
Now, LaHaye would say that one cannot take the word Israel in the Bible and replace it with the word Church and if one could do so then he would have to take the curses that are pronounced against Israel for disobedience and apply them to the Church and as he said in an interview “I do not think anybody wants to do that.” Again, he misses the meaning of the New Testament and Jesus in Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”. It is not the Church but Jesus that is the true Israel and the Church by extension of being in him.
Added Note: The read is fun, but there is more fiction here than just the characters. The theology is fictitious as well.