‘Left Behind’ author responds to pre-trib rapture story on God Reports blog


By Jerry B. Jenkins

Jerry B. Jenkins
Jerry B. Jenkins

Could we put to rest this fiction that the very idea of the rapture was originated by John Nelson Darby in 1827? Having worked with Dr. Tim LaHaye on the “Left Behind” series for more than 20 years, it seems I have been exposed to every end times theory ever posited.

I have seen evidence of mentions of the rapture doctrine from as far back as 1590, when a Jesuit, Francisco Ribera, taught the idea that the bulk of Revelation was about the future and that the rapture would happen near the end of a three-and-a-half-year Tribulation period.

While we still debate timing and details, and there is no doubt that Darby helped popularize the doctrine, it hardly originated as recently as the early 1800s.

Can we not disagree about this non-essential doctrine that has nothing to do with anyone’s salvation without demonizing the other side? Many devout scholars take opposing positions on this without name-calling, separating from fellowship with one another, becoming dogmatic, or assuming that they have it all right and thus everyone else must have it all wrong. If we are expected to reject a Pre-Tribulational, Pre-Millennial view, are we to then ask Dallas Theological Seminary, Moody Bible Institute, and many other respected institutions of their ilk to simply close their doors?

Or can we resp ect each other’s scholarship, encourage meaningful debate, and major on the majors?

Let’s not argue about who’s going to sit where on the lifeboats while souls go down with the ship.


Related story: Pre-trib rapture contrarian swims against ‘Left Behind’ tide



  1. The secret rapture is “Non-essential doctrine”? Really? When this theology teaches that there is a second chance at salvation whereas the Bible teaches everyone must make up their minds before Christ returns – that sounds super essential to me!

    When Jesus warned there would be great deception and widespread confusion regarding His Second Coming, that sounds quite essential to me that we know the Truth of Scripture. He specifically calls out any notion of a “secret return” of Christ.

    Here are His telling words: Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
    Mat 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.
    Mat 24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
    Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

  2. If you read Steve’s article more closely, he never says the rapture originated with Darby, it was made popular by Darby. If you check Steve’s other resources, he clearly says that the idea originated with the Jesuit Priest. Truth does matter. And I commend Steve for sticking to the Bible. If people think they are going to get a second chance after a so-called secret rapture, then they are going to be lost. That is what makes the pre-trib rapture so dangerous. Satan loves your books and especially your movie for this very reason. Please substantiate your position from the Bible instead of issuing a politically correct response in an age where truth is considered hate speech and tolerance is taught as love.

  3. I commend Jerry B. Jenkins’ acknowledgement of Francisco Ribera’s teachings from the era of the Protestant Reformation. It seems that many contemporary Christians do not understand the underlying issues of the Reformation or the convictions of those valiant reformers who held the Bible as their source of truth “sola scriptura”. The universal church of that time promoted tradition over scripture; many of their traditions were rooted in paganism and in defense of the Papal supremacy. For those who may wish to investigate contemporary Jesuit teachings, they will discover consistency between past and present.
    As for the prospect of closing the doors of “respected institutions”; these great institutions have been a blessing to many. On the other hand, not a bad idea –but only if they do so long enough to re-open and acknowledge themselves as followers of Jesuit theology rather than misrepresent themselves as Protestant institutions. These great institutions have been a blessing to many; however mixing truth with tradition and Jesuit fostered error(s) has potential for dangerous concoction(s).
    What if… we find ourselves in a great tribulation and no rapture?
    What If… we should find ourselves among “the left behind” without a second chance?
    What if… the possibility exists of then discovering that our second chances were the chances we actually have today?
    What if we may have been deceived? Is this really a “non-essential doctrine?

  4. First of all, I believe in a rapture just not the pre-tribulation type. There is also no dispensationalism. As for the books, many people came to Christ because of the gospel message that was in those books. For many they would never have become Christians if they had not read the Left Behind novels, God used them in their lives. He converted atheists, nominal Christians, etc. I also understand that these books are fictional novels and show some events that could happen. We are already seeing craziness in Iraq, Syria, Israel, etc. One of these things that we are seeing is forecast in Revelation 20:4b, And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. We are also seeing possible candidates of what the mark might be that will be put on the nonbeliever’s foreheads. I used to think it was a spiritual mark, now we have many candidates. The mark that we accept homosexuality as normal, God-ordained, etc or be labeled a bigot, racist, heterosexist, etc, the mark that ISIS, Boko Haram, etc fighters are wearing, or the RFID chip that they want to embed on your forehand or on your hands. Also, we are having some shifts that would have been unthinkable years ago, a lot of misguided Christians are giving into what the world wants and not giving them the good news and the truth of what the Bible says about their lifestyle along with other sins. Some are even sugar-coating it or not focusing on the other characteristics of God, that is usually a red flag. We are having an increase of false co-exist sentiment, false cries for tolerance while the other side is being intolerant, and Christians being blacklisted, fired, fined, or in Canada can be put in jail because of their views about human sexuality. No, I believe that these books are even more relevant now, than when they were first published and I pray that God would use the new Left Behind movie to reach more souls for Christ even if they do not believe the theology. May God open their eyes to the truth of Jesus. God bless.

  5. First of all a person who believes in dispensationalist pre-tribulation rapture is not believing that the rapture is the second coming of Christ. That is a misconception about that view. There is no secret return by Jesus to earth during that rapture. According to that view and according to the novels, people who are Christians are caught up and lifted into heaven who are saved, the rest it starts to go from good to worse as soon as this happens. Now, do I believe that this is how it is going to happen? No. I believe that the end-times have been going on since Jesus left earth and are not rapidly accelerating until they hit on the climax of his return to Earth, where then those who are raptured along with the OT and NT saints etc, will brought into heaven, as described in these verses in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. I also believe that we might be right now in the midst of the great tribulation and it is going to get worse, a lot worse now. God bless. May many more come to Christ and accept him as their personal Savior and sovereign Lord.

  6. Three points:

    You confess your theory has it’s origins in a counter-reformation Jesuit plan to undo what Protestants were doing.

    You appeal to history to counter Steve Wohlberg, but not the Bible. Why?

    When has the majority ever been right? Appealing to the status quo? Brother, appeal to the Bible!

  7. Dear Brother in Christ:

    My heart goes out to you as criticism is a difficult pill for any of us whether given wrongly or constructively it is difficult; however, necessary. I did not see any name calling whatsoever as Brother Wohlburg addressed the theological and eschatological issues against a pretribulation rapture and biblical supports as well as the reasonably considered outcomes if one puts off salvation, etc. I used to believe the Furturist view. After putting adude my 30+ years of belief, I came aware of and realized there were other views and that I wanted God’s real Truth more than breath. I wondered, and prayed seeking and pleading for The Lord to help me find Truth and not just go with what I had been taught all those years. I became a true student praying daily to for Him to help me study without bias. After 2-3 years I came to the conclusion that I had to leave Futurism, Pre-tribulation rapture, and Dispensationalism behind.

    I have attended, read books, and watch Brother Wohlburg’s approaches when delivering and handling God’s Word. I have always seen his Christlike approach in dealing with issues and with people. I know that he cares about you and is not attacking you but attacking error and in doing this protecting God’s people so that they will “not be deceived” as we approach His soon coming.

    I pray that you can try to put down any defenses and “reason together” to see what God’s message was so we can unite in one Truth. All who are truly born again are His children and each have the ability of being deceived and fall from grace. May we each humbly continue to ask to seek Truth and be open to correction.

    I would like to add that in the days of Noah, the ones that were “taken” were those destroyed. So to be “taken” are the ones destroyed and those who are “left” are those who remain alive. Those “left” therefore, are not the unlucky ine’s “left behind” but as in the days if Noah, will be the blessed ones. raptured (caught up in the air”. This is crucial or Jesus would not have warned us to look at what happened to the unrepented ones in Noah’s day. Please brother check the Greek for the words “took” and “taken” in these passages that run together. It is crucial.

    Mat 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    Mat 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

    Mat 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    Mat 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

    Mat 24:41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. You say it is unimportant; however, I know you cannot mean that because anything that Jesus says is important to any that live Him as you (and Wohlburg) do. I have capitalized “took” and “taken” below and added translation likeness behind each. They must be treated as the same in meaning to do justice in studying God’s wonderful words and the message He left for us His people.

    Mat 24:37. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    Mat 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

    Mat 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and TOOK (destroyed) them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    Mat 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be TAKEN (destroyed), and the other LEFT (alive).

    Mat 24:41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be TAKEN (destroyed) , and the other left ( alive).

    Mat 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

    Those LEFT alive will be those who are translated and raptured.

    Brother Jenkin’s, I perceive as a man that loves Jesus and therefore love His flock and will consider this so to not lead any astray regarding Truth. This particular Truth is crucial for many who put-off salvation thinking they will wait and repent and believe if all the Christians disappear someday. I know you would not want their blood on your hands so will give this an honest view.

    In Christ’s Agape,
    Darlene Newman

  8. Dear Brother Wohlberg:

    Please forgive me for inadvertently misspelling your name in my response.


  9. For more light, Google “Catholics Did NOT Invent the Rapture,” “John Darby Did NOT Invent the Rapture,” “Left Behind’s Jerry Jenkins: Casino Hypocrite,” and “Left Behind or Led Astray?” (You Tube).


    Rev. 21:9 is about The New Jerusalem, the Bride, the Wife (Married already) of the Lamb (this is after the end of the Millennium, and start of the New Heaven and New Earth)

    9 ONE OF THE SEVEN ANGEL who had the SEVEN BOWLS full of the SEVEN LAST PLAGUES came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the BRIDE, the WIFE of the LAMB.”

    (I hope we don’t have another bride in mind, like what pretribbers did to Matthew 24:29,30, making it the second rapture/resurrection, which they say is still an integral part of the first resurrection of Rev. 20. Jesus will get His Bride one time only, not several times)

    Why does it have to be ONE OF THE SEVEN ANGELS WHO HAD THE SEVEN BOWLS, after he had done his tasked a thousand years ago, be the one appointed by Jesus to show to John the Bride? Why not one of the seven angels who had the trumpets, or Michael, or Gabriel, or any other Angels? Have you wondered why is this angel worth mentioning in introducing the Bride to John?

    Checkout Rev. 16:12-15
    12 THE SIXTH ANGEL POUR OUT HIS BOWL on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

    15 Behold I come like a THIEF (to snatch or steal away)! BLESSED is the ONE who stays awake (WISE VIRGINS?) and remains clothed (OIL/HOLY SPIRIT/ROBE), so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Matthew 22

    Why this sudden insertion in the execution of the Sixth Bowl Judgement and just prior to the punishment of the Great Whore (opposite of the Bride) and prior to Armageddon? What is the relevance of this passage in the coming chaotic and troublesome scenario?

    Answer: So Obvious. Unless Jesus just wanted to mention it for no reason at all.

    To make the above more logically valid, here is another scripture to back it up:

    Rev. 16:17-19
    17 The SEVENTH ANGEL poured out his BOWL into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered BABYLON THE GREAT and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.

    Rev. 17:1
    17 ONE of the SEVEN ANGELS who had the SEVEN BOWLS came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the GREAT PROSTITUTE, who sits by many waters.

    Here is the Logic:

    The Sixth Angel who holds the Sixth Bowl Judgement introduced the Bride because he is the one who witnessed the resurrection of the dead in Christ and rapture of the alive in Christ.

    The Seventh Angel who holds the Seventh Bowl Judgement introduced the Great Whore because he is the one who witnessed the punishment of the Great Whore/Babylon the Great/Mystery Babylon/Mother of Harlots.

    After Jesus snatched his Bride, he then turned and deal with the Great Whore. Just rightly so isn’t it?

    Boooom!!! There you have it, no amount of twisting or allegory can refute this scriptures.

    God help us in this trying and deceptive end times.


  11. If you think you’ve heard everything about who wrote the “Left Behind” books, you haven’t if you haven’t Googled “Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation – Joe Ortiz” and then opened up “Jerry Jenkins: Betting on Pretrib!”

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