How well do you know the "Left Behind" series?

By: Torrance Grey

About This Quiz

If Tom Clancy and Billy Graham had teamed up on a thriller series, it might look a lot like "Left Behind." How well do you know these popular Christian books? Find out now with our quiz! (Note: This quiz covers the adult novels, not the "The Kids" spinoff series or the comics).

How many books are in the "Left Behind" series?

The "Left Behind" series is more than a dozen books strong. It's undeniably the most successful series in Christian fiction in the 21st Century.

The authors of the series are Tim ______ and Jerry B. ________.

Tim LaHaye was a Christian minister and speaker; Jenkins is a professional writer who brought his ideas to life. LaHaye died in 2016 at the age of 90.

In "Left Behind," after what event are the characters left behind?

The Rapture is a theoretical future event in which truly faithful Christians are taken directly to heaven. Whether this idea is supported by scriptural evidence is debated among Christian scholars.

What, other than family and friends, do the Christians who are raptured leave behind?

The stewardess on Rayford's flight is upset because people have disappeared from the plane mid-flight, leaving clothes behind in their seats. And jewelry, and even dental fillings.

What did Rayford Steele, one of the series' major characters, do for a living?

Rayford Steele is an airline pilot at the controls of a New York - London flight when the Rapture occurs. This plays off a classic what-if: What if an airplane is being piloted by two Christians when the Rapture occurs, leaving no one at the controls? Fortunately, Rayford is a nonbeliever at this point.

In the first book, what is causing marital tension between the Steeles?

Irene and their son, Raymie, have become devout Christians. Rayford and their older daughter have not. This causes a certain amount of tension in the family.

What is the name of Rayford Steele's daughter?

Chloe is an independent thinker who got into a prestigious college. But in the world of "Left Behind," skepticism and studiousness won't get you very far, as Chloe will soon find out.

Outside what city do the Steeles live?

The flight Rayford Steele is piloting in the first book, during which the Rapture occurs, is a New York to London flight. Don't be fooled, though; he's based in Chicago.

What is the "Tribulation"?

In general, the word "tribulation" means trying times or events. In Christian theology, the Tribulation refers specifically to a period of great crisis just before the return of Christ.

Which of these were included in the Rapture, surprising some readers?

Pregnant women suddenly find their wombs empty, meaning the unborn babies have evidently been taken to heaven. In Christian theology, it's a matter of debate whether unborn babies are in a "state of grace;" LaHaye's books seem to vote "yes."

What is journalist Cameron Williams' nickname?

Cameron Williams is a reporter for Global Weekly, and his nickname is "Buck." Happily, it wasn't "Scoop" -- even in 1995, nobody thought that was a cool nickname for reporters anymore.

Which of these major figures is raptured in the first book?

The books explain that the Pope appeared to have embraced some tenets of Protestantism. This was likely to appease evangelical readers who see Catholics as "not really Christian," and would have otherwise seen the rapturing of the Pope as an appeasement to Catholics and secular-media critics (which it likely was).

If Bruce Barnes was a Christian pastor, why wasn't he raptured?

Barnes never truly believed what he preached, resulting in him being around to counsel Rayford and other brand-new believers. A video explaining the Rapture -- left by a truly faithful Christian minister -- helped Barnes to understand what happened and to commit fully to God.

What university did Chloe Steele attend?

It's a good bit harder to get into Stanford than modern fiction would have you believe. It seems to be a go-to West Coast school for writers creating relatively-smart, straight-arrow characters like Chloe Steele.

Which character is the Antichrist?

Nicolae Carpathia is a Romanian politician who becomes the Secretary-General of the United Nations and then the de facto leader of the entire world. The books might have been using his Romanian name to evoke dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, or Carpathian legend Vlad the Impaler, or both.

What was notable about Nicolae Carpathia's mother's pregnancy?

Though most of their fictional conflict is driven by scripture, the "Left Behind" books sneak in a little modern technophobia by having Carpathia be the product of genetic engineering. Could this be a point of agreement between Christian conservatives and GMO-fearing liberals? Peace in our time!

What is "Global Community"?

"Global" is a world with a bad rap in "Left Behind." Though on its surface it just means "worldwide," it's both the name of Buck WIlliams' secular/godless media outlet and of Nicolae Carpathia's godless one-world government.

What is the name of the group that Rayford Steele and his friends form?

The Tribulation Force grows throughout the series, gathering members who have converted to Christianity. One criticism of the books, made by Christians themselves, is that The Book of Revelation does not allude to any such Christian resistance during the End Times -- it's portrayed simply as a time of suffering for those who would not accept the message of salvation.

How does Pastor Bruce Barnes die?

Pastor Barnes gets sick on an overseas mission, then is killed when the hospital in which he's staying is bombed. However, the film, "Tribulation Force: World at War," shows Barnes dying from a virus, not in a bombing.

In which nation is the headquarters of the new one-world government located?

Both Israel and Iraq are important to the "Left Behind" series. Iraq is home to a city called "New Babylon," which in turn is home to Carpathia's "Global Community."

What do we learn about Buck in "Tribulation Force"?

A romantic relationship develops between Buck and Chloe Steele, and he tells her that he's still a virgin at 30. This is somewhat surprising given that Buck wasn't a Christian before the events of the first book, making it unlikely that religious beliefs got in the way of sex.

Which character carries the Antichrist's child?

Poor Hattie doesn't have much luck with men. Early in the book, she's crushing on the married Rayford Steele. Then she gets pregnant by Carpathia, who kills their unborn child by poisoning her. Harsh!

Which of these characters is a nurse?

Hannah Palemoon was David Hassid's love interest. She met him while treating him for sunstroke, which he suffered while searching for another Tribulation Force member in the desert.

Which character can call down lightning?

Leon Fortunato is the secret power behind Carpathia's rise. Satan later gives him the power to call down lightning, and Fortunato uses it to kill Tribulation Force member Annie Christopher.

For what is the term "loyalty enforcement facilitator" a euphemism?

The Antichrist and his followers often use a kind of Orwellian doublespeak, such as "loyalty enforcement facilitator," for guillotine. This might have been LaHaye's way of poking fun at educated liberal elites, a common target of Christian conservatives.

What was controversial among Christians about Chang Wong's character?

According to Revelation, no one who receives the Mark of the Beast can be saved. But Chang seems to be an exception, because he was drugged and given the Mark against his will. Afterward, believers can still see the Mark of God on him, suggesting that he is still in a state of grace.

What is Children of the Tribulation?

Late in the series, Buck and Chloe open the school to teach children born after the Rapture about Christ. This happens during the Millennial Kingdom, a 1,000-year period in which Christ reigns on earth.

What are Naturals?

The opposite of the Naturals are the Glorifieds -- believers who have been resurrected and given "glorified" bodies that cannot age. In the final book of the series, Rayford Steele is a "natural" while his daughter and son-in-law are in glorified bodies.

Who do members of The Other Light serve?

Even after Christ has returned to earth, some people just can't get with the program. They follow Lucifer, who leads their army in the final battle.

How many movies have been made from the "Left Behind" books?

The first book has been made into a film twice: in 1999 and again in 2014. LaHaye expressed disappointment with the first film version, saying the film studio promised to spend $40 million but instead only put $17 million in, resulting in an unimpressive final product.

What role did real-life evangelical, Kirk Cameron, play in the first film version?

Kirk Cameron, the onetime star of "Growing Pains," largely left Hollywood to pursue his Christian faith. He co-hosts the show, "Way of the Master," on TBN.

Who took on the role of Rayford Steele in the 2014 "Left Behind"?

If Cage is an evangelical Christian, he's keeping it pretty close to the vest. It seems more likely that he took the Steele role as part of an anything-for-a-paycheck ethic that saw him take lead roles in dismal "Ghost Rider" and "Wicker Man" remakes around the same time.

How many "Left Behind" books take place before the Rapture?

LaHaye and Jenkins wrote three prequels, stories about the events leading up to the Rapture. These books were published late in the series, just before "Glorious Appearing," the book about Christ's return.

Which of these is NOT the subtitle of a "Left Behind" book?

"Soul Harvest," "Assassins" and "The Remnant" are just a few of the compelling subtitles in the series. However, "Provenance" wasn't (though it was an episode title on "Supernatural.")

On which book of the Bible does the "Left Behind" series draw most heavily?

The Book of Revelation is the last in the Bible, said to be the result of a vision given to St. John of Patmos. How much of the tale is supposed to be taken as prophecy is debated by theologians.

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