Tag Archives: Rapture

I Want to be Left Behind: Matthew 24 and the Return of Jesus

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I Want to be Left Behind: Matthew 24 from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

The video game taking Christian America by storm, apparently is called‘Left Behind: Eternal Forces’. Controversially it encourages players to kill anyone who resists conversion to Christianity. As Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft battle it out for domination of the electronic game world, the games’ creator anticipates a ready market among those who have already bought 63 million copies of the ‘Left Behind’ novels.

The game is set in New York City, a rather unusual venue for Armageddon you might think since New York doesn’t actually get a mention in the Bible. It is, however, the location of the United Nations headquarters and that is the clue. Never popular in some Christian circles, in Left Behind: Eternal Forces, the bad guys are the Global Community Peacekeepers, who are on a search and destroy mission in Manhattan. Their target is the remnant of newly converted Bible-believers, left behind when Christians were secretly raptured to heaven. These new believers, left on earth, form a Christian army called the Tribulation Force. Under the heading ‘Turn or Burn?’ a review by Focus on the Family asks,

How do peace and prayer go hand in hand with tanks, attack choppers and street battles? … Yes, you’re offered sniper rifles, gun turrets, even tanks and helicopters. And there are points at which a gun battle is necessary to avoid a massacre. It’s easier to convert a group of enemies than it is to shoot them. Still, post-Rapture warfare is integral to the game…books and movies.

In an interview, Tim LaHaye, the author justified the use of violence by Christians as the “self preservation instinct of the much-persecuted saints during the Tribulation.”[1] What a relief. It’s all right then. Christians can kill as long as its “self preservation” killing… in the name of Jesus. A rather more sceptical review by a Jewish website observes that,

The goals of the game are simple: Spread the gospel, and stay alive. But staying alive may sometimes lead to the taking of life — “fighting hellfire with hellfire”.  And that raises a knotty moral conundrum for any game designer who worships Jesus, the Prince of Peace.[2]

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