Fred Clark has been blogging about the Left Behind books and movies, lately focusing on the second movie, Left Behind II: Tribulation Force. His comment about Rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah’s “research” which led him to faith in Jesus says it all:
“Ben-Judah reveals that his years of research mostly focused on the works of Josh McDowell.”
I saw the movie at some point, and found the same moment laughable. I understand that most Christians who read Matthew’s Gospel don’t look up the original context of his quotation from Hosea 11:1 in Matthew 2:15. But that a rabbi didn’t seems utterly implausible. But folks like Tim LaHaye and Josh McDowell don’t know any better, since they seem not to have looked up the original context either, and so aren’t aware that they have not done research, and thus don’t know how to depict characters doing research.
Despite what Tim LaHaye says, John of Patmos was not writing a series of Nostradamus-like predictions to be decoded thousands of years later on a continent he’d never imagined. John’s Apocalypse was written for specific people in a specific place who were suffering through a horrible story under the heel of a triumphant Empire.
John’s contention, in spite of the way this story was going, was that the triumph of the Empire was not the real end of their story. Their story, he insisted, would ultimately have a happy ending. The Empire will fall, the horse and rider will be hurled into the sea, the first will be last and the last will be first and God will wipe away every tear.
I like John’s idea of a happy ending better than LaHaye’s.