Fred Clark shared an image from the movie Left Behind II: Tribulation Force, a movie that he has been blogging about (and highlighting the problems and the shortcomings of). I share it because it illustrates well a problem with the approach to the Bible reflected in the Left Behind series and the view of the “end times” assumed in it. Here’s the photo. Can you see what they did to make the “Hebrew” part of it?
You probably have worked out by now that the “Hebrew” part of the sign was created by switching the English words into a Hebrew font, with no attempt even to change it to the appropriate direction of Hebrew, much less translate it. (People who actually know Hebrew are more prone to miss this at first, since they will instinctively keep trying to read it from right to left.)
This says a lot of important things about the Left Behind approach to the end times, such as:
- It is low-budget and uninterested in accuracy – it is not hard to get someone to render something into Hebrew for you.
- It doesn’t reflect actual knowledge of Biblical languages. Like young-earth creationism and other modern-day heresies, the Bible is allegedly important, but only in the sense that it is co-opted into the service of a worldview that reflects modern concerns and ideologies, with no interest in making sense of the Bible in the original languages and in its original cultural context.
- It doesn’t have any interest in modern languages either, or the other cultural contexts that this view of the end times reflects. Israel is important as a symbol, and I suspect that many people with this view of the end times may have been there. But learn the language? No. Understand the political realities?
This still image from the movie is thus worth highlighting, as it really does illustrate a great deal about what is wrong with the “Left Behind” system of thought. It is technically known as premillenial dispensationalist eschatology, but few of its adherents know that – which likewise is illustrative of an important fact about this viewpoint. Few of those who view the end times in this way know where these views come from, and what ignorance of the Bible and other relevant considerations it is based on.