Peter wrote about false prophets whom he described as “wells without water” (2 Peter 2:17). Jude said much the same thing, calling them “clouds without water” (Jude 12). The thought being expressed in both passages is that these are people whom others turn to, hoping to find something that will quench their thirst, but they go away feeling cheated.

Unfortunately, that appears to have been a conscious part of the marketing strategy behind the “Left Behind” series. What could have been said in one book has been spun out over an interminable number of books (all selling at exorbitant prices that are raking in tens of millions of dollars for the “prophets” who have set the whole thing up). And each book has offered only a few drops of really helpful information for the thirsty millions who have turned to them.


I have, for example, just finished reading “Apollyon”, which I somehow skipped when I went through the series earlier. I was particularly interested in finding out what La Haye and Jenkins had to say about the fifth trumpet in The Revelation, from which we get the word Apollyon. (Revelation 9:1-11). I read nearly 300 pages of that book before coming across any reference at all to the fifth trumpet. And that has been much the same with each of the other books in the series. We get romances, car chases, airplane chases, and lots of special effects, but very little that will really solve the deeply rooted spiritual problems of the age in which we live.


So what was the real thrust of “Apollyon”? The bulk of the book is taken up with a three-day churchy convention in Jerusalem. (Wow!) At a time when the world is recovering from several of the worst disasters and wars in its history, and about to head into even worse disasters, the greatest spiritual giants on earth... the 144,000 faithful witnesses who follow the Lamb withersoever he goes, are summoned to a large stadium in Jersualem, so that they can have a convention for three days.


Some of the wealthier members of the audience fly in on private jets, while the Antichrist clears the way for them to proceed with their celebration. (Seriously!) The convention starts with cheerleaders getting the audience to spell out J. E. S. U. S. rah! rah! rah! (See page 43.) The crowd goes wild with enthusiasm at their chance to see their great leader, Tsion Ben Judah in the flesh. (See page 46.) Supposedly they have been reading Brother Tsion’s teachings on the internet, every day now for quite some number of months, but they have all left their callings around the world to participate in the spectacle of a mass rally in Jerusalem with the learned Rabbi. (NOTE: There is not a shred of evidence in scripture for such a foolhardy act on the part of the 144,000... and certainly not right under the nose of the Antichrist.) Presumably, they come expecting to hear something really special... something they would not have been able to get over the internet in the months leading up to the convention, something that would make all of the risk and all of the expense worthwhile.


It is the aim of a good disaster story, to break people out of their comfortable, middle-class existence and to get them to question fundamental issues. Yet LaHaye and Jenkins find it hard to pull themselves away from the myths of traditional Christianity... the idea that Christians are mostly American, that they drive fast cars, jet around the world, use the best computers and cell phones, just generally make a lot of money, and find their greatest joy in crowds... the bigger the better. They continue to preach that Christians are people who say a little prayer asking Jesus into their hearts, and then go on living pretty much the same as everyone else... well, the same as everyone else in middle-class (or better) American society, even when the world around them is in ruins.


Notice next that we are hardly ever told what the great Tsion Ben Judah says each day on his website. What he IS reported as saying is little more than what the average Christian could read in their own Bible. It has been our experience all over the world that there is a kind of Emperor’s New Clothes approach to most sermons, where the audience, too embarrassed to admit that they haven’t really understood what has been said, all praise the preacher incessantly to cover for their ignorance. No one ever considers that maybe the others are just as confused as themselves.


I often have people rave to me about a religious book or a religious speaker, and I ask them what it is that the speaker or the book says (in their own words) and they become speechless. “I can’t say it like they did,” they confess. “You just have to hear it for yourself.” This approach leaves the masses incapable of preaching (or even thinking) for themselves. They just invite people to come and hear what their pastor has to say.


What I am saying is that this “wells without waters” syndrome happens every Sunday at church, that it happens in the Left Behind books in general, and that it happens with regard to the great Tsion Ben Judah’s teachings. People go to church expecting to hear something new, buy the books hoping to find some real answers, and in the book, they ooh and ahh over what a mighty man of God Tsion Ben Judah is; yet when it comes time for him to actually do whatever it is that a mighty man of God does at a huge convention, he quotes John 3:16.


We have nothing against John 3:16, and there is always the chance that there will be someone in a meeting, and especially a meeting in a huge stadium, who has not heard it before. But why is it that the saved, the sealed, the chosen 144,000 STILL get the same pablum over and over and over again? Tsion preaches it at both the opening and closing meetings of his convention. (See pages 48, 68, and 188.) Remember that even if there ARE unsaved people at such a meeting, virtually everyone else in the audience should be able to tend to their need to hear John 3:16. But what do the people who have already HEARD (and accepted) John 3:16 most need to hear?


It would be safe to say that 99.9% of those who fork out good money for the Left Behind books have also heard the simple salvation message. Maybe the percentage was lower on the first book in the series, and so it was understandable that the message was included in that volume; but considering that it was preached several times in that one alone, it seems strange that it goes on and on and on in each succeeding sequel. Don’t Le Haye and Jenkins have anything more than that to offer?


Of course, John 3:16 is certainly not heresy. The wells are not entirely without water. There is some moisture there. But the truth of John 3:16 seems to be lost in the fact that “faith in Jesus”does not go so far as to take seriously the rest of what Jesus taught. And yet we firmly believe that it is because of this that even John 3:16 begins to sound hollow. How can people really “believe on him” if they are not being told what he said?


In Apollyon, Christians are portrayed ridiculing, hating, and seeking to kill the bad guys (pages 3, 20, and 256), fretting over the loss of their incredibly high-paying jobs with the Antichrist (pages 19, and 26), and haggling with each other over incredible wealth (page 340). One hero of the book boasts that he has “never been good at leaving things with the Lord”, and he is told by an even greater hero that it doesn’t matter, that “the Lord himself allows some latitude on that during the Tribulation. The admonition to not worry was written to people who lived before all the judgments.” (page 374) What kind of faith is that? Sadly, that is what the church does with virtually everything that Jesus taught... they say that he taught people who didn’t have the problems that we in the Twenty-First Century have.


The book jumps from totally unbelievable fiction (It cannot even be called SCIENCE fiction, when we are told that all over the world, the sun comes up two hours late and sets two hours early! Where does it go for the missing hours if it cannot sneak to the other side of the world?) (page 262) Anyway, it jumps from such incredible displays of magic, which break all the laws of science and physics, and claims of invincibility that say even jumping in front of a train will not kill someone, to a statement from the great Tsion Ben Judah himself (about his own physical safety) that “one can’t be too careful.” (page 152)



The most amazing thing is that this same God who is able to make the sun disappear from one side of the world without appearing on the other side, is portrayed as totally useless when it comes to feeding his children. The authors resort to a Huckleberry Finn type plot, where the good guys dig up treasure chests full of gold to get them through the Great Tribulation... as though the local grocery store would accept gold coins in lieu of the Mark of the Beast! Truly, all the evidence suggests that faith in GOLD, rather than faith in GOD is what the LaHaye/Jenkins “well” has to offer as consolation for the coming troubles on the earth. (Maybe they need to get the “L” out of their false God!)


On the other hand, the gold coins MAY be what the Christians themselves are supposed to use as a medium of exchange in their own alternative economy, complete with their own private banks (page 198) and their own buying and selling (page 258), as though that is how life will function in the kingdom of heaven. Really now! The only reason for money in the first place was because of fear and distrust. If Christians are truly living by faith, and dealing with other Christians who are truly living by faith, then why would one of us need a gold coin to get the others to share some of their fish with us?


The best I can say for LaHaye and Jenkins is that they may have just not had enough experience of either reality in the rest of the world or of the teachings of Jesus to know that God has given us the answer in Jesus’ teachings. Jesus said that when the storm (i.e. the Great Tribulation) comes, if we have heard his teachings and if we have obeyed them (Matthew 7:24-25) we will be ready for it. And what do his teachings say? They say: “Consider the flowers. They don’t have jobs. Consider the birds. They don’t have jobs. So why are you concerned about things like food and clothing? If God can take care of the flowers and the birds, he can take care of you. Work on building his kingdom and let HIM take care of your provisions.” (Matthew 6:25-33)


I am in the process of writing a revised version of the Left Behind story. It is an attempt to tell the same story, but based on genuine faith in the teachings of Jesus. It is still under construction. We won’t be charging exorbitant prices for it, when it comes out next year, and we are hopeful we can squeeze it into one volume. We hope to make it available entirely free on the internet, and we will be happy to get a dollar or two to cover the printing for the hard copies. The book will probably be called "Survivors". [As you can see, the book is now in print and in your hands. Praise God!]