In 12th Book of Best-Selling Series, Jesus Returns
The succeeding novels tick off the pivotal steps Dr. LaHaye foresees during the ensuing "tribulation," a seven-year period of turmoil and cataclysm when unbelievers have a last chance to see the light. The fictional Antichrist, a Romanian named Nicolae Carpathia, rises to power as head of the United Nations. He signs a peace treaty with Israel, setting off a seven-year countdown to the Second Coming, and he ultimately establishes a worldwide government, a brutal dictatorship and a false religion with himself at its head. Meanwhile, 144,000 Jews convert to evangelical Christianity, including one rabbi whose conversion takes place live on global television, and lead an underground "remnant" of believers who periodically recite passages of Scripture that Dr. LaHaye relies on as a road map to their future.
Dr. LaHaye said he believed that over all the series reflected the biblical truth.
"That's the way it's going to be during the tribulation period, according to Revelation, and if it happens to parallel what the seculars are trying to do today, so be it," he said.
"The Bible clearly teaches there's going to be a one-world government in the last days. And after the Rapture of the church, then that one-world government will coalesce, bringing together all the governments of the world and also bringing together all the religions of the world." He added, "The fact that we're seeing some of those things happen right now must be a wake-up call to some people to say, `Hey, we may be closer than we think.' "
To those unfamiliar with Dr. LaHaye's views of Revelation, the most striking aspect of the novels may be the bloody massacre Jesus wreaks on the Antichrist's unbelieving armies.
"Tens of thousands of foot soldiers dropped their weapons, grabbed their heads or their chests, fell to their knees, and writhed as they were invisibly sliced asunder," the authors write. "Their innards and entrails gushed to the desert floor, and as those around them turned to run, they too were slain, their blood pooling and rising in the unforgiving brightness of God."
That might seem like the end of the end, but Dr. LaHaye and Mr. Jenkins say they are not quite finished. They plan a postscript to the series, describing one last battle between God and Satan at the close of Jesus' 1,000-year rule on Earth, and a prequel, filling in the early history of the Antichrist.
But it may be hard to top "Glorious Appearing."
"For believers, we really are looking forward to the glorious appearing," said Steve Nelson, a Southern Baptist minister in Gallatin, Tenn., and fan of the series. "We know from reading the Word that we win in the end, and this is the winning round coming up."
Still, isn't it weird that the Antichrist is from the New
Europe? (Maybe his father was French.)