Left Behind III: World at War DVDWatch Trailer
- Director: Craig R. Baxley
- Producer: Nicholas D. Tabarrok, Anore Van Heerden
- Languages: English
- Release Date: 12/31/65
- Run Time: 95 minutes
- Screen Format: WS
- Subtitles: English
- Closed Captioning: Yes
- Region Code: 1 See More
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Left Behind III: World at War
Left Behind III: World at War is the third and final movie in the Left Behind trilogy. The Tribulation Force, a group of Christians, has just formed and is determined to start converting people. However, the world in which they live has become an extremely dangerous place. Nicolae Carpathia, who has revealed himself as the Anti-Christ, is stirring up turmoil in the world. The seven years of tribulation after the rapture have begun, leaving those on earth to deal with the Anti-Christ's reign. Carpathia detonates several nuclear bombs all across the world, creating even more turmoil. These attacks specifically target the Tribulation Force and another group led by the President of the United States, Gerald Fitzhugh. The Tribulation Force's mission has been revealed to Carpathia, who becomes enraged at the prospect of Christianity being spread. This film is a thrilling and fast-paced conclusion to the Left Behind movie trilogy that will cause viewers to think deeply about their faith and the future.
Amillennialism vs. Premillennialism
The Left Behind series goes into great depth regarding the end times and ideas presented in Revelations. Though it is fictional, the basic ideas presented in the movies come directly from the Bible's depiction of the end times. Originally, Clarence Gilyard Jr. was going to return as the character of Bruce Barnes in the third movie, but was unable to do so, due to a conflict. Gilyard Jr., being a devout Catholic did not agree with many of the teachings presented in the movies. His priest was extremely pleased that he was not going to reprise his role, as the premillennial ideas of the end times were in direct conflict with the Catholic teachings of amillennialism.
The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus' thousand year reign depicted in the book of Revelation is not literal. They believe that his thousand year reign is a symbolic number, not a literal thousand years. They believe that the reign began with the church, and is identical to the current age of the church. Their teachings state that Jesus' current reign is spiritual in nature, and at the end of the church age, he will return. This will be the final judgment and he will reign permanently in a new heaven and a new earth.
Many Catholics strongly dislike the term "amillenial" because it greatly emphasizes that they are different from those who hold premillennialist beliefs. Instead of focusing on their differences with premillennialism, they prefer to focus on their beliefs on the millennium.
Left Behind: The Movie depicts the beginning of the millennium, starting with the rapture of those who are faithful to Jesus Christ. After this comes the tribulation and the reign of the Anti-Christ. This is what is happening at the time of the Left Behind movies. These films stirred up controversy among those who do not believe in a literal interpretation of the millennium.
The films present an interesting viewpoint on the warfare depicted in Revelation. Many hold to the belief that it will be spiritual warfare, not a physical war on earth. The Left Behind movies present it as both physical and spiritual. There is an actual war on earth happening, between the Anti-Christ and the remaining Christians. Carpathia's nuclear attack is one such example of the physical war on earth. However, there is also a great spiritual battle happening on the earth, as evil attempts to obliterate all good on earth. The Tribulation Force is a small group of people compared to the Anti-Christ and his followers. However, Christ has already won the battle.
Those left on earth struggle with feelings of hopelessness, as it seems that evil is going to completely overtake the world. Even those who know the end result of the spiritual warfare around them deal with doubt and misery as they wonder if the tribulation will ever end. The ideas of premillennialist theology presented in the Left Behind trilogy bring up many wonderful, deep discussions about what will truly happen in the end times. Themes of faith, suffering, and hope make the movies more than just simple entertainment.
The Movie vs. The Books
The Left Behind series did not start out as a trilogy of movies, but was a series of sixteen novels. These novels became extremely popular and were eventually made into Christian films. Left Behind III: World at War is based upon several of the books, but is not entirely accurate to the original stories. Many major parts of the movie were not in any of the books, and were added to the screenplay.
For instance, the character of Gerald Fitzhugh, the US president, attempts to assassinate Carpathia. However, this never happened in any of the books. Fitzhugh's group that he has formed support his attempt and his hatred for Carpathia. This was added to the film to create a more intense plot and develop the relationship between Fitzhugh and Carpathia.
The character of Nicolae Carpathia, the Anti-Christ, is presented quite differently in the movies than in the books. In the films, he is presented as a very supernatural, other-worldly being. In one scene of Left Behind III: World at War, a building that Carpathia was inside is blown apart and is destroyed. However, he emerges from the wreckage completely unscathed. This emphasizes that he is more of a supernatural being. In the series of books, however, he is presented as a normal man. He does not possess any supernatural powers, as he does in the movies, but is simply a man who is leading the remaining inhabitants of earth into evil. He causes great turmoil by detonating nuclear bombs all over the globe, but does not exhibit any other worldly talents.
Left Behind III: World at War is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America. It contains many violent scenes and discussions, and has material that may be too intense for younger audiences. It is strongly recommended that parents preview all content to determine what is suitable for their family to view.