Note: This book was co-written by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.
Airline Captain Rayford Steele gets an important message while flying his 747. Nearly a hundred of his passengers have gone missing, leaving their clothes, glasses, contacts, and hearing aids behind them. All around the globe, people have disappeared, including all the children and babies (born and unborn) on earth. Rayford's wife and son are among those that have vanished, leaving him and his daughter Cloe behind. Some blame the disappearances on aliens, while others claim that it was the Rapture. Rayford doesn't know what it was, but he won't stop until he finds out.
All in all, the morality is very good. After Rayford makes a mistake, he approaches his friend and asks the wronged person to forgive him. He has a great relationship with his daughter, and it's well demonstrated as they care for each other during these hard times.
On a more negative note, Rayford considers starting an affair with a flight attendant at the beginning of the novel. He recognizes this was wrong later on and makes up for it. Several men confess to reading dirty magazines and feeding their lusts. A couple friends discuss how the abortion clinics are all out of business. Buck Williams, a reporter for "Global Weekly," struggled with the relationship between him and his family.
Different theories regarding the disappearances include aliens, nuclear weaponry malfunction, and the Rapture of the Bible. We are shown, of course, that the disappearances are because of the Rapture. The whole book, (and the whole series) are based on Bible prophesy. While there is an element of fiction in it, it is mostly based on what the Bible says will happen in the end times.
The message of salvation is repeatedly shared throughout the book, and several people ask Jesus to be their Savior. Two Jewish prophets arrive in Israel, teaching that Jesus is the Messiah. When the two men are attacked, the attackers fall down dead. The Antichrist is another matter frequently discussed in the book. He has the power of hypnotism, among other things.
Jerry B. Jenkins and Dr. Tim LaHaye are the authors of the Left Behind series. Dr. Tim LaHaye is a renowned prophesy scholar. At times, it's difficult to know what is fact and what is fiction, but in many places, there are Bible verses and passages showing that these things are really going to happen.
There's a fair amount of violence in this book. Buck gets a message that one of his friends were shot, and he witnesses another friend get into a car, just before the car blows up. A friend of Rayford's commits suicide after his whole family disappears in the Rapture, and near the end of the book, two men are shot violently before Buck's eyes. The violence is described well, in a way that is not too gory or makes the reader uncomfortable.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Rayford mentions a period in his life where he had "drunk more in that period then ever before..." When he's really lonely and all alone one night after the Rapture, he downs half a bottle of whiskey. Buck drinks two pints of ale with a friend in a restaurant.
Like I mentioned before, Rayford contemplates whether or not to start an affair. Some men confess reading dirty magazines. Rayford also confesses to God that he once had a make-out session with a woman he didn't know twelve years ago, without ever telling his wife.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
I overheard a student ask the librarian what this book was about. Her response was, "It's a Science Fiction novel, with a Christian twist. It's what they think will happen at the end of the world. It's a little strange, but we have to have a mix of everything here!" Her response made me laugh.
This book is more than an exciting read. It makes me think deeply about what will happen at the end of the world. I'll be gone by then, Jesus will carry me away in the Rapture. However, I have friends and family that don't know God. They will still be here when all this evil comes. We need to be ready!
I wouldn't recommend this book to non-believers, because, like my librarian, they are likely not to understand what it is all about. However, I encourage anyone else who is looking for an exciting, thought provoking novel to read it. It might just change your life.
Note from the Editor:
The Left Behind series is controversial among Christians because of different viewpoints concerning the book of Revelation. Some Christians take Revelation more literally than others; so, depending on your view, you may want to exercise discretion in the reading of this series. This is a work of fiction, so it is not a step-by-step plan of what will happen at the end times.