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How Are Jews and Israel Portrayed in the Left Behind Series?

A Historical Discussion of Jewish-Christian Relations
  • Yaakov Ariel
Chapter

Abstract

Page 6 of Left Behind introduces the readers to the first Jewish character in the novel and in the series at large: Chosen by a major journal as its “man of the year,” Chaim Rosenzweig is a scientist-wizard whose secret formula has helped turn Israel into a thriving nation.1 When a journalist for the Global Weekly interviews Rosenzweig, a major Russian attack on Israel takes place. Jews and Israel loom large in the novel and its sequels, and one cannot but notice their important role. Jews are neither ordinary figures nor incidental characters in the novel; nor is the State of Israel just one commonwealth among many. The Jews in the Left Behind series come to represent something much larger than their individual selves, just as their country plays a crucial role in the unfolding of the eschatological drama.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1995), 6–14.Google Scholar
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    E.g., Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Soul Harvest: The World Takes Sides (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1998), 245.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Gideon Aran, “From Religious Zionism to Zionist Religion: the Roots of Gush Emunim,” Studies in Contemporary Jewry 2 (1986), 118.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Ehud Sprinzak, The Ascendance of Israel’s Radical Right (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 279–288.Google Scholar
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    E.g., Don Stewart and Chuck Missler, The Coming Temple: Center Stage for the Final Countdown (Orange, Calif.: Dart Press, 1991), 157–170.Google Scholar
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    Quoted in Robert I. Friedman, Zealots for Zion (New York: Random House, 1992), 144.Google Scholar
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    On Chuck Smith, see Donald E. Miller, Reinventing American Protestantism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).Google Scholar
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    See Yisrayl Hawkins, A Peaceful Solution to Building the Next Temple in Yerusalem (Abilene, Tex.: House of Yahweh, 1989).Google Scholar
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    Lawrence Wright, “Forcing the End,” The New Yorker 74, no. 20 (July 20, 1998), 42–53; Jewish Telegraph Agency, September 2, 1999, www.jta.org/sep99/02-cows.htm.Google Scholar
  59. 64.
    See, e.g., C. W. Sleming, These Are the Garments (Fort Washington, Pa.: Christian Literature Crusade, n.d.); Wead, Lewis, and Donaldson, Where Is the Lost Ark?; Stewart and Missler, In Search of the Lost Ark; Thomas Ice and Randall Price, Ready to Rebuild (Eugene, Oreg.: Harvest House, 1992).Google Scholar
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    E.g., LaHaye and Jenkins, Left Behind, 415; LaHaye and Jenkins, Nicolae, 369; Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Tribulation Force: The Continuing Drama of Those Left Behind (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1996), 208.Google Scholar
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    E.g., Gershom Gorenberg, “Israel Pushes Out ‘Elijah’ for Promising to Bring the Redemption,” The Jerusalem Report, September 27, 1999.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Melani McAlister, “An Empire of Their Own,” The Nation, September 22, 2003.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Bruce David Forbes and Jeanne Halgren Kilde 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yaakov Ariel

There are no affiliations available

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