Jerry Jenkins Responds to Readers' Questions
Response to Glorious Appearing has been overwhelmingly positive. But there have been some questions and criticisms from readers. We sent some of your comments to Jerry Jenkins, and he was kind enough to provide answers to many of them.
(Note: Jerry is the king of short answers, so we've added comments here and there if we could give more information. You'll find those marked LB.)
What did Jesus say?
Carol: I am very disturbed by what I read when reading Glorious Appearing. I was to the part of the book when Jesus returned. I know the difference between fact and fiction, and I understand that this book is fiction based on fact … but even in fiction, the facts must be presented correctly.
Jerry Jenkins: I couldn't agree with you more. That's why I would never dare have something come from Jesus' mouth about Himself and His character that was not straight from Scripture.
Carol: When Jesus returns he says, "I am the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God,"… When was God created?
JJ: That is directly from Revelation 3:14b, where Jesus is talking about Himself. Since we know, as you say, that God was not created, we must assume He's referring to Himself as the Creator. Many people don't realize that as the second person of the Godhead, Jesus (not His name then, of course) was not only present at creation but was the Creator.
Carol: Every Bible study I have ever been in clearly states that God is/was/and ever will be … not created. I can only hope that I had a misprint …
JJ: Not unless it's a misprint in the Bible.
Carol: … and that the line meant that Jesus was there at the time of creation. Please let me know. I haven't been able to finish the book, it disturbed me that much.
JJ: Hope you can enjoy the rest of the book, Carol. I'll look forward to hearing your response.
LB: Some readers commented that Jesus' words sounded too stilted at times, primarily because of the use of the formal language of the New King James translation instead of using a more contemporary translation, such as the New Living Translation or a paraphrase like the Living Bible or the Message. As Jerry Jenkins said, he and Dr. LaHaye chose not to put words in Jesus' mouth, so they quoted extensively from Scripture. Those familiar with Dr. LaHaye's writing and speaking know of his preference for the King James version.
It can also be helpful to check different translations when you have questions. Since most of us aren't Greek and Hebrew scholars, this can give us an insight into the possibility that there are nuances in the original language that are difficult to capture in English. For example, in Rev. 3:14, the NLT says "the ruler of God's creation," with a note suggested that "ruler" can also be translated "source."
Turned off by the butchers
Paulette: I just finished Glorious Appearing. There is no description on how I felt when I read about Jesus first appearing in the clouds. The book was wonderful until it came to the butchers.
JJ: The butchers? I don't understand.
LB: The scene Paulette is referring to is likely the exchange between Chaim and Ezer, a butcher, who provides beef and pork for one of the first meals with the reunited Trib Force after the Glorious Appearing (pp. 336-37).
Paulette: I was crushed. Reading the Scriptures, I really feel God will make the world back to the way he first intended it to be in Eden. I went back to Isaiah and I truly feel there will be no killing, including his animals he created. I think the authors' interpretation was wrong there. After reading that I felt depressed, and it kind of ruined it for me. I've read all of the other books with anticipation. But this last part messed me up. However it did provoke me to go back and read the Scriptures. Thank you for letting me respond.
LB: This is a good question. Is there evidence that everyone will be vegetarian during the Millennium? What about the passages in Isaiah? Do they refer to the Millennium or to eternity in Heaven? Or what about the sacrifices required by God in the Old Testament? When done in the right spirit, they were a fragrant and pleasing aroma to God. We'll have to see how Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins handle questions like that in the sequel, which will deal with life in the Millennial kingdom.
216 is driving me crazy!
Karen: I just finished Glorious Appearing, and it was wonderful. I was moved to tears by the closeness of Jesus to everyone (even me). This was a very satisfying ending to a years-long, 12-book journey and adventure. My only problem was that I still don't know the significance of the number 216. Did I miss something? It's driving me crazy! Maybe this means that more books are yet to come? Hope so! Thank you for this wonderful experience.
Beth: … why the number 216? Somewhere I have missed the significance, and I am puzzled by why you did not simply use a triple 6.
JJ: 216 is the product of a mathematical equation. I mean, Antichrist would know enough not to blatantly use 666 (which is a clue).
LB: We can't actually give you the solution to 216, but you should be able to figure it out with the hint from Jerry above. As to why 666 is not used in the Left Behind books, we have to go to the theological source. There is in fact some disagreement on this issue. In The Truth Behind Left Behind by Mark Hitchcock and Thomas Ice (Multnomah, 2004), their chapter on the Mark of the Beast argues for a literal 666 while urging against the wild speculation and calculations about the mark that goes on now. 2 Thessalonians 2:6 indicates that Antichrist will not be revealed until his time. In Are We Living in the End Times? by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins (Tyndale, 1999, p 287), we're reminded that the mark itself will be administered by the false prophet. "Everything the false prophet does is calculated to increase the power and authority of the Antichrist."
I thought Rayford died
Sarah: I found Glorious Appearing fascinating and difficult to put down. However, I was disappointed by some significant inconsistencies. The last paragraph of Armageddon clearly says that Rayford died. Other inconsistencies had to do with the general timeline. They didn't make the book difficult to enjoy, but for a series buff they were quite disappointing.
JJ: No, the end of Armageddon says "… he died." It does not say whom, and clearly you know by now it was not Rayford.
Beth: Satan didn't acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. … he still had a tongue, though stifled. Does this happen after the Millennial Kingdom? I know you may not want to answer that one directly, but I do know that EVERY tongue confesses. …
JJ: There's more to come.
Beth: Well, thank you, sir, for your time. God bless you as you continue to spread the Good News of our Savior in this fantastic way. Thank you for your abundant and appropriate use of Scripture, too.
Just for the money?
Tiffany: I've read the entire series. I truly feel this could have been written in three books maybe less. After the third book I became aware that the authors were in it for the money. Shame on you. I just hope some of the proceeds were given to charities or people in need. We will all be judged one day. Where do you stand?
JJ: Where do I stand? I don't judge the motives of people I don't know. Shame on you. If we were in it for the money, we could have quit long ago. If you were the writers, would that be your motive?
LB: The success of the Left Behind series was clearly a movement of God that has benefited millions of readers and helped expand the work of Tyndale Publishing House, including the ability to fund the development costs of projects like iLumina. It has also enabled Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye to support major projects, like the Christian Writers Guild and prophecy study, that most writers only dream of.
Larry: I've supported every single book and Audio Drama version of the Left Behind series. But I have serious concerns about the entire series. My question to you is why is the Audio Drama team all White—there's not one black on the team. Yet the Left Behind series is inspiring to anyone who takes time to read one of the books. Also, the characters in the Left Behind series are mostly all white with a few foreigners sprinkled throughout the series. The very foreigners that white America embraced whole-heartedly are the same races that HATE you. The only Blacks in the series were portrayed as pimps and whores.
JJ: Really? Dr. Chuck? And the head of the airport? Among many others. You weren't reading carefully enough.
Larry: I am appalled at the lack of inclusiveness of blacks in this series. I am a black professional and I am just sick of the character assassinations on blacks. If you think for one moment that there will be an all white heaven, you are in for a BIG disappointment.
JJ: Nothing in the books event hints at such blasphemy.
No joy and awe
Sue: I adored the first half of this one. I wondered about several things in the latter half. I've studied the Bible and Revelation for decades and love eschatology! There are questions in my mind about some of the events in the second half. Why was a point made about Jesus being "late?" That didn't seem to serve any purpose. And why were some of the good guys running around doing other things when Jesus was available to talk to them? Some were worried about this or that when Jesus was there? There were also a few other things that just didn't seem to make any sense and that I have not been able to find in Scripture. Most was unfolded very well. I guess there just wasn't the kind of joy and awe that I know really will occur when Jesus comes back. We're supposed to be done with the hustle and bustle!
JJ: There wasn't joy and awe?
LB: Whether you felt it or not from the book, we know you'll be moved by the portrayal of the reunions in the dramatic audio version, coming out in late summer. We had an opportunity to sit in on the recording session and found it thrilling to hear all the characters come together for the first time since the Rapture. (In the case of several characters, it was a literal reunion since not all the actors had been together since they were raptured in book one!). We'll present an article about that before the production is ready for sale.
The only problem—it ended
Gail: I was sitting on pins and needles waiting for this book to come out. I can't imagine that I'm alone in that feeling. Anyway, I bought the book the first day it came out to make sure I got my copy. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. I was especially moved when the remnant and other saints were receiving their rewards from Christ and he told them those seven words every Christian wants to hear, "My good and faithful servant, well done." That did something to me. The only problem I have with the book is that it ended. Although I know what's going to happen, I would really love for you to explore life during and after the millennium period when Satan is released.
JJ: More is coming.
Chris: I just finished Glorious Appearing, and I was deeply moved by how the book portrayed the glorious appearing. I had chills the entire time, and I felt as though I could see exactly what was going on when Jesus crowns the martyrs and the remnant are all applauding. The detail is incredible. One question, though. What's the deal with the prequel and sequel stuff on the coming soon list? Is there going to be more on life in the millennial kingdom?
JJ: Yes. First, the prequel will be about the characters before the rapture and then some in heaven after the rapture. The real music comes in finding out more about Antichrist.