A series of religious novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins about the PremillennialDispensationalist version of the Rapture. Despite criticism for hewing closely to a specific sect's interpretation of Revelation, it has gained a strong following among many religious people.The good guys are a rotating group (due to the inherent high mortality rate associated with living in the End Times and fighting the Prince of Darkness) of 4-5 who call themselves the Tribulation Force. The bad guy is Nicolae Carpathia, The Antichrist, the most evil of all Evil Overlords.The original Tribulation Force consists of: Rayford Steele, the unofficial leader and a pilot who planned on cheating on his wife (Irene) with a flight attendant (Hattie) because of how his wife's preaching annoyed him; Chloe, Ray's college-age daughter; Cameron "Buck" Williams, an adventurous, street savvy newspaper reporter who eventually marries Chloe; and Bruce, the pastor who brings them all together.Together, they launch a crusade to convert the world and protect the converts while waiting through seven years of judgments between the Rapture and the Glorious Appearing of Christ at the end of the world.The series currently consists of sixteen novels; three are prequels dealing with the birth of the Anti-Christ, the various signs leading up to the Rapture, and the Rapture itself. In publishing order, they are:
Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (1995)
Tribulation Force: The Continuing Drama of Those Left Behind (1996)
The Rising: Antichrist is Born (The first prequel novel; 2005)
The Regime: Evil Advances (The second prequel novel; 2005)
The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye (The third prequel novel; 2006)
Kingdom Come: The Final Victory (2007)
Has been made into three direct-to-video films, the first of which saw a brief theatrical release the week after the video hit the stores. It's also spun off into graphic novels, a series of young adult novels (with teen protagonists experiencing these events in their own way), and even a PC game, which has a sequel due out soon.A reboot of the film franchise has also been announced, directed by Vic Armstrong and starring Nicolas Cage, Cassi Thomson, and Chad Michael Murray.There is a blog which has been doing an in-depth analysis and criticism of the books and authors, practically page-by-page (beginning here). Though this analysis is not the only focus of the blog, it has been going on for nigh-on ten years, occupies 28 pages of blog all by itself, and is only on book three.
Provides examples of:
Absurdly Bright Light: Jesus emits a very bright shadowless light upon His arrival from heaven in the book Glorious Appearing.
In Glorious Appearing, Satan has to remind Nicolae Carpathia who is the boss when the Antichrist gets a bit big for his britches.
Satan: You dare suggest you have anything to offer me besides your pathetic frame?! You are drunk with a power whose source is far beyond your own! You are merely a vessel, a tool, a jar of clay for my purposes, and yet you parade yourself as if you had a shred of value!
Also any scene where the heroes have to talk with Nicolae counts, or at least it is treated with the same degree of dread by the act of conversing with such a prime agent of evil.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Blond-haired Chloe Steele and Nicolae Carpathia in the books get darker hair in the 2000-2005 films.
After the End: ...well, after the first end. The second end is still a while away. And not really an ending.
Air Force One: Plays a big role in the story, centering around the hiring of Rayford Steele as the primary pilot, and the president giving it to Nicolae Carpathia so he can fly around in it as the leader of the Global Community. Several elements of its purpose and functionnote such as the fact that its pilots will always be Air Force personnel rather than civilian hires, the fact that if a President is not aboard it will never use the callsign "Air Force One", or the President confiding in Buck about how upset he is by ceding it to Carpathia when in fact the President always has at least two identical planes which can serve as Air Force One in case one of them is unavailable are handily overlooked for the sake of the story.
Alien Invasion: One of the theories mentioned by one of the characters about the disappearances that took place in the Rapture.
Alphabet News Network: Global News Network in the movies, Global Community Cable News Network in the books.
Always Night: One of God's Bowl Judgments plunges New Babylon into perpetual complete darkness that no one except for believers in Christ (and Nicolae Carpathia with his Power Glows) can see their way through. (To say nothing of the Carpathia loyalists also having incurable pains and sores.) It is only lifted near the time of Jesus Christ's Second Coming, when an angel of the Lord warns believers to get out of New Babylon before it is destroyed.
Ambiguously Gay: Guy Blod sounds a tad bit fruity in the Dramatic Audio of The Indwelling.
A tad? The gay practically drips off the pages of the actual books every time he talks to David Hayseed, er, Hassid.
Anarchy Is Chaos: What Tsion Ben-Judah believes is going to happen around the time of the Bowl Judgments in The Remnant when poverty is rampant and law and order have become relics, with common citizens arming themselves for fear of thieves, rapists, and terrorists and no longer having any trust in the Global Community protecting them (even the Peacekeepers have resorted to extortion).
And Knowing Is Half the Battle: At the end of the first novel, Buck confirms to Bruce, Rayford and Chloe that Nicolae Carpathia is in fact the Antichrist foretold.
And There Was Much Rejoicing: The Dramatic Audio presentation of Glorious Appearing has the sound of a crowd cheering wildly as Michael locks Satan away in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. However, Satan does get out in time for the Final Battle.
Anti-Climax: The Other Light battle versus Jesus Christ in Kingdom Come. It took less time in that book to be over than the Battle of Armageddon in Glorious Appearing. Chaim Rosenzweig even Lampshades this fact.
Anyone Can Die: Except for one person, Rayford Steele, all of the people we get to know end up dying in various painful and/or messy ways.
Apocalypse How: a level 1 (global Depopulation Bomb) followed by a level X-4 (the annihilation of the entire physical universe or 'World', as opposed to the 'Kingdom of Heaven').
Arab-Israeli Conflict: Ended bloodlessly in the prologue. Israel, thanks to a chemical Super Miracle-Gro has bought the good will of its neighbors to the extent where they apparently have no problem with it absorbing Syria and a large chunk of Iraq.
Artistic License - Economics: A near-miraculous (almost literally in this case) fertilizer is invented by an Israeli scientist, and the exact chemical formula of it is kept secret as a matter of national security by the Israeli government. It is put to work making vast tracts of Israeli into super-productive mega-farms, turning it into an produce export powerhouse. This ignores that such a continuous bumper-crop on the market would likely depress food prices, quickly rendering the return on the investment in such a project minimal, and other nations would likely enact protectionist import policies on Israeli-grown foodstuffs to keep their own farming industries from collapsing and dragging those nations into economic ruin. More profitable for the state of Israel would be to produce and export the fertilizer itself, or to allow others to produce it under paid license agreements. However, according to the authors the Book of Revelationssays that the desert will bloom, and so goes the books.
In-universe, the Christian denominations that don't hold to that particular teaching of the end times gets left behind. However, there are some surprising exceptions, like the Catholic congregation in South America whose priest believes in the Rapture.
Combined with Artistic License - Linguistics, in The Rising, the authors have a curious etymology for Lucifer's name, from Latin lux, or lucis (light) and ferrum (iron) — in other words, Iron (or Iron-hard) Light. They may have the language and "light" part right, but, in fact, most Christian scholars can tell you that Lucifer actually came from lucem ferre — Light-Bearer. See here.
After Chloe is captured by the GC, among the things the GCNN report is that she was expelled from her university for making threats against the faculty, aborted two fetuses (with another daughter dying under unknown circumstances), and naming her son Jesus Savior Williams.
Tsion Ben-Judah. Earned the ire of his fellow Israelis by declaring that Jesus is the Messiah, wanted in the murders of his wife and stepchildren, and accused of "fleecing his flock" millions of Nicks.
By the end of the Millennium, all naturals who are believers are given glorified bodies.
Asexuality: The relationship of the "glorifieds" with "naturals" and with each other in Kingdom Come, mostly due to the nature of their new bodies and minds.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The ideas for non-American names leave something to be desired. A Chinese woman named Ming Toy? An Amerindian woman named Hannah Palemoon? (Google "Princess Palemoon" to see the problem...) A Jewish man named Tsion ben-Judah? And of course, "Nicolae Carpathia", which veers into self-parody.
Audio Adaptation: Gap Digital produced Dramatic Audio presentations of the twelve main books in the series.
Author Avatar: The authors are terrible about this, as they combine very obvious author avatars in the heroes (Rayford Steele for Tim LaHaye and Buck Williams for Jerry Jenkins) with raging Canon Sue complexes. This gets really, really hilarious when the authors get things blatantly wrong due to their limited understanding of reality (Williams, supposedly "really physically fit", is about ready to pass out after a two mile walk through the streets of New York - something that the overweight Jenkins probably would find uncomfortable).
Although it's worth mentioning that it's more severe with Buck, since Buck is Jenkins' avatar, and Jenkins is the one who does the actual writing.
Author Filibuster: The authors are not afraid of parashooting a 30 page sermon into the plot
Author Tract: The books are a narrative way of the authors communicating their end-times theology, wrapped up in an Airport Fantasy package.
Also each book takes a moment and makes you read a section "aimed" at the people of the earth to encourage them to accept Christ, but this is a very thinly veiled tract aimed at any readers who aren't already Christians.
Badass Preacher: Tsion Ben-Judah in Armageddon when he decides to help defend Jerusalem and preach to the Jews about Jesus Christ during the Battle of Armageddon
Eli and Moishe also qualify.
Bad Boss: The climax of the first book centers around Nicolae shooting two of his financiers for the sole purpose of demonstrating his "power." He then brainwashes everyone in the room into forgetting what they just saw.He has a legitimate motive (though it seems secondary at the time) in removing them from the picture, and as it is revealed in the next book, taking over their assets. However, the "power" display itself that he touts so much is still mystifying.
Beat Still, My Heart: In the Dramatic Audio version of the book Armageddon, Nicolae Carpathia holds the still-beating heart of a Global Community loyalist that he personally murdered for calling him "impotent".
Be Careful What You Wish For: The series seems to be one big Aesop against wishing for a world peace that doesn't include God as the center of that peace. Freedom to live however you want and worship whoever and whatever you want? Sure...if you don't mind having to bow the knee to Satan and the Antichrist in exchange for such "freedoms", even going so far as to sell your soul to him. Or, if you choose to be a Christian, you don't mind being hunted down and being called an enemy of the state (or a "heretic", as Enigma Babylon's leader Peter Mathews would call true believers). Ultimately the moral relativism comes back to bite people in the ass when they realize later on in the Tribulation that justice and fair play have become relics.
Because Destiny Says So: Why did Russia (and Ethiopia) attack Israel? Because it was written that they would. Why would they world agree to suddenly follow one religion after so much bloody strife? It's written that they would. Not even a handwave that The Antichrist is using mind control powers to make it happen. These people do these things solely because it's been foretold.
The Antichrist as well as The Other Light believe that they're fulfilling prophecy of Satan taking the place of God. Never mind that those same prophecies say that they're destined for failure. Also a bit of Screw Destiny because they sure don't want God, the Jews, or the Christians to win.
Big Applesauce: Since the Antichrist's plan so heavily involves the UN, New York is a major setting, which is made all the more jarring given the glaring errors written about it. In the first book, Buck (who is described as being "in great shape"), has to walk a bit through Manhattan. The journey is described like the Bataan Death March, when in reality it's less than two miles.
He walks until he's ready to collapse from exhaustion and then he finds an abandoned bike and considers it a sign from God. In less than two miles.
Big Bad: Nicolae Carpathia, throughout much of the book series.
Big Blackout: A supernatural version, as one of God's Bowl Judgments causes New Babylon to be so dark that, even though they still have power, none of Nicolae Carpathia's loyalists can see any form of light save for Nicolae's faint aura. The believers in Christ, on the other hand, can still see with the illumination level of a low-powered chandelier. The blackout lasts for a whole year until an angel of the Lord illuminated the city long enough to warn God's people to get out of New Babylon before it is destroyed. Even worse for Carpathia's loyalists is that, during the blackout, they also suffer pains and sores for which there is no relief.
Big Good: God and Jesus, naturally. Jesus turns up in person at the end of the twelfth book.
Big "NO!": In the Dramatic Audio of Glorious Appearing, Leon Fortunato utters this (half-screaming, half-crying, actually) as he is hauled to the pit which will send him and Carpathia to the Lake of Fire.
Bilingual Dialogue: While Buck is at the Wailing Wall for the first time with Tsion watching Eli and Moishe preach, Buck and Tsion hear them in their respective languages. Buck later confirms this with Tsion after asking around the crowd. One man says that they are speaking Spanish, while another says they are speaking German, and a third person hears them in Dutch.
Played straight with Jesus Himself, as the believers hear him speak to them in their own languages; Rayford, in English, Chaim in Hebrew, Chang Wong in Mandarin Chinese, Abdullah in Arabic with Mac jokingly saying that Jesus "worked a bit of West Texan...the language of Heaven."
Black and White Morality: As an example, the character list in the third book lists characters as being either part of the "The Believers", "The Enemies", or "The Undecided". Taking a Third Option in morality is not something that happens here.
Black Boss Lady: Lucinda Washington, the editor-in-chief of the Chicago office of the Global Weekly in the main book series, and mother of Lionel Washington in the spinoff Left Behind: The Kids series. In the 2000-2005 Cloud Ten Pictures film series, Verna Zee filled the role of Buck Williams' boss, being a Composite Character version of herself and Lucinda.
Black Market: Inverted with the International Commodity Co-Op, which caters to underground Christians, helping them survive the final years of the Tribulation.
Blasphemous Boast: Nicolae Carpathia in the Dramatic Audio version of Armageddon, right after confessing that he is the Antichrist.
"I will ascend into heaven! I will exalt my throne above the stars of God! I will ascend above the heights of the clouds! I will be like the Most High...for I AM THE MOST HIGH!"
Blasphemous Praise: The worship Nicolae Carpathia demands and gets from the people during the latter half of the Tribulation, with Leon Fortunato as the High Reverend Father of Carpathianism proclaiming him as "our lord and risen king".
Blood Is Squicker in Water: In the book series, the seas and springs of water turn to blood due to God's judgments. However, during the Bowl Judgments, believers in Christ are miraculously able to get fresh water from the bloody springs.
Earlier, the Two Witnesses are able to turn water to blood and vice versa, which squicks Carpathia out during his failed speech at Teddy Kollek Stadium when his mouth starts to run dry and he asks for water.
Chaim Rosenzweig as Micah the prophet is also given this ability.
Bonding Over Missing Parents: The lead characters of Left Behind: The Kids bond together when their parents were either raptured or killed, with Judd Thompson Jr. and Vicki Byrnes becoming a married couple before the Tribulation ends.
Book Burning: Or rather, Bible burning, as the furnace inside the giant Carpathia statue constructed in New Babylon is fueled by onionskin paper found in Bibles. Otherwise, the Antichrist doesn't seem to be doing much to keep people from reading God's Word.
In Left Behind: World At War, Nicolae actually wants people to read the Word Of God...with shipments of Bibles tainted with anthrax!
Brainwashed: The Antichrist's preferred method of gaining allies and resources.
Briar Patching: Rayford pulls this off with the Potentate at the end of Nicolae. Carpathia knows that Rayford is a believer and wishes to be at the meeting of the 144,000 at Teddy Kolleck Stadium. But Rayford convinces him that showing up would be to his advantage.
Rayford: The enemy has been known to imitate miracles. Imagine the audience in Israel if you were to do something like that. Here are people of faith coming together for inspiration. If you are God, if you could be the Messiah, wouldn't they be thrilled to meet you?
Carpathia: If you are suggesting that it only makes sense that the Global Community Potentate bestow upon those guests a regal welcome second to none, you may have a point...Captain Steele, schedule that flight.
Broken Bird: Prior to becoming the head nurse at Brigham Young Hospital, Leah Rose had quite the checkered past. From a broken household to a teenage drug addict who slept around, aborted a pregnancy and nearly killed herself several times before she finally cleaned herself up, got her GED and after getting married, her husband put her through nursing school and the pair adopted two boys. After their children were taken in the Rapture, she and her husband tried to kill themselves. Her husband succeeded. She didn't. In the end, she became a believer.
Abdullah Ababaneh (Smith) gets the honorable mention. He starts off as a Muslim, but when his wife Yasmine and their two children, Bahira and Zaki become Christians, they leave him following one argument too many. This drives Abdullah into a state of depression, where he loses himself in booze and women, eventhough he wants his family back.
Broken Pedestal: Nicolae Carpathia increasingly becomes this to those who once believed him to be a noble character, showing more and more what an evil sot he really is. Even Jesus calls him out on it, saying that all his God-given abilities could have been used for good, but he chose to use them all for serving Satan.
Brothers Before Lovers: Rayford invokes this against his own daughter, when he sides with her boyfriend Buck in an argument.
Even squickier when one realizes that this "argument" involved Rayford somehow presciently being aware that Buck is not, in fact, engaged.
Bury Your Gays: Within a few pages of (accidentally) outing herself, Verna Zee is squashed by the "Wrath of the Lamb" earthquake.
But Not Too Sinful: The original members of the Tribulation Force are all people who, prior to the Rapture, did not have the proper set of beliefs to be taken up by it, and hence they are left behind, only coming to believe after the event has happened. However, they are all only "sinful" in very minor ways which require little repentance. For example, Buck, despite being a highly successful go-getting globe-trotting Intrepid Reporter, remained a virgin until his marriage well into his thirties despite not having any particular reason to remain casually celibate before hand. Rayford on the other hand was married and had a faithful wife, but harbored a crush on a co-worker, though the only time he tried to act on it was when the Rapture happened. Presumably this is to make these characters more comfortable to the target demographic of church-going families who might feel threatened by someone "too sinful" before their conversion.
Averted with the members of The Place, who openly admit that they should have done time for the things some of them did, and actively question whether they are far beyond the point of God's redemption.
Also averted with Chaim Rosenzweig, who openly admits that he premeditated the murder of Nicolae Carpathia and feels that he shouldn't have been forgiven for it, even if destiny decreed that Nicolae's death was temporary.
But She Can't Be Pregnant!: Buck's reaction upon finding out that Mother Doe is in fact Chloe...and that she is pregnant with their child.
But Thou Must: In Desecration, it's Hattie's confrontation with Carpathia and Fortunato.
California Doubling: Toronto as New York for the movie, if you look closely, the international flags displayed at the UN are actually those of Canadian provinces.
Calling Your Attacks: In Desecration, Carpathia asks Morale Monitor head Loren Hut on how would he deal with dissidents. When Hut responds that he would shoot them in the head or chest, Carpathia insists that he empty his nine-round clip into the offender, starting with both hands, feet, knees, and shoulders. When they finally declare that Carpathia is indeed God, they should be executed with the final bullet to the head, followed by the immediate beheading of the head from the body.
The Cameo: In the end of Kingdom Come, we see The Beast (Nicolae Carpathia) and the False Prophet (Leon Fortunato) in the Lake of Fire screaming "JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS LORD!"
In the 2000-2005 films, Christian music artists Bob Carlisle and Rebecca St. James appear as Global News Network studio workers, while the Christian music band Jake appears as United Nations security guards along with Clay Crosse. There's also John and Diana Hagee as well as Jack and Rexella Van Impe who appear as passengers on board Rayford's plane that have vanished, and T.D. Jakes who appears as Vernon Billings.
Captain Ersatz: In the 2000-2005 film series, Ivy Goldberg is one for Global Weekly secretary Alice Nelson, who also gets confused for being Buck Williams' secret fiancee.
Car Cushion: Double Subverted in the third movie World At War. The Antichrist throws the President out of a skyscraper, and he crashes onto a car below. Nicolae looks down and sees the President's seemingly lifeless body... only for the poor guy to get up and start hobbling away. Nicolae muses "Such a thing is not humanely possible...", then glances upward at the most likely culprit.
The Cavalry: Or as one character puts it, the "Calvary cavalry", which is Jesus Christ leading His army of saints from heaven in Glorious Appearing. However, Jesus does all the fighting with only the Word Of God as His weapon while the army following Him does all the praising.
Celestial Bureaucracy: A pretty effective one in Kingdom Come. Jesus is the proverbial head of state, the Levite priests oversee the rebuilt Temple, and the 11 apostles act as the civil governors with King David as their leader.
Chaste Hero: Raymie Steele in Kingdom Come. His being a "glorified" renders him permanently unable to seek any sort of sexual relationship. In fact, any child that was Caught Up in the Rapture will end up coming back as a Chaste Hero.
Composite Character: In Left Behind II: Trbiulation Force, Verna Zee is the composite of her original character with Lucinda Washington, the African-American editor-in-chief of the Global Weekly office in Chicago who was raptured. For the most part, movie Verna is book Verna's personality in Lucinda's body (or a version of Lucinda that never became a believer).
In the Dramatic Audio version of Armageddon, GC officer Anita Sanchez is one for two female officers (a Hispanic and an African-American) working in the San Diego headquarters where Chloe Williams was incarcerated.
Conspiracy Theorist: Buck Williams' informant Dirk Burton is played as one in both the novels and the movies. He surprisingly turns out to be right, as is competing investigative reporter Eric Miller when he is working on a piece about the coming one-world government that he and his wife get murdered for.
Corrupt Church: Enigma Babylon One World Faith, which consists of the Roman Catholic Church combined with other sects of Christianity that would not hold to fundamentalist doctrine as well as other religions. It would be dissolved by the midpoint of the Tribulation with the deaths of Peter Mathews and Nicolae Carpathia, only to soon be replaced by Carpathianism after Nicolae's "resurrection".
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Joshua Todd-Cothran and Jonathan Stonagal...until Nicolae executes the both of them. Prior to becoming the President of Romania, Carpathia himself personified this trope, as anyone who stood in his way were killed or bribed into submission.
The aforementioned Slacktivist got a lot of comedy mileage out of the scene where Buck calmly buys a Land Rover (from an equally calm dealer) in the surburbs of Chicago—a few minutes after the atom bombing of downtown Chicago.
It seems to get more cozy right on the day of Jesus' second coming, at least for the believers. Conveniently, the world's economic system crashes with the destruction of New Babylon on the same day that Jesus comes. Everyone on Carpathia's side who isn't in Carpathia's Unity Army, and isn't so determined to go forward with destroying the Christians and Jews in Petra and Jerusalem, is in a world-wide panic, and those who have lost their fortunes are committing suicide by the droves.
It degenerates back into this during the Millennial Kingdom with the rise of The Other Light, with order maintained by Jesus and the promise that the forces of evil will be dealt with once and for all...which Jesus delivers on spectacularly at the Anti-ClimacticFinal Battle.
Crisis of Faith: Irene Steele experiences this before switching to New Hope Baptist Church.
Curb-Stomp Battle: When Jesus comes into the scene and slaughters Global Community troops en masse just by speaking the Word of God, it's a total Game Breaker. He's also unstoppable, as evidenced in the Dramatic Audio presentation of Glorious Appearing where the Antichrist armies launch rockets at Him with no success.
The Satan's army vs. God battle in Kingdom Come was over in an instant. All that preparation and the Other Light gets smoked into ashes in seconds!
Cut Short: The Peter and Paul LaLonde 2000-2005 film series ended with only three movies made from two of the books.
Dan Browned: The authors go to great lengths to assert that these books are accurate predictions of things that will happen once the rapture hits according to a strict interpretation of The Bible. However, the books also demonstrate not just several Critical Research Failures in many areas, but also a lot of implausible reactions on the part of people in the setting that undermines the Willing Suspension of Disbelief. To quote The Slacktivist:
"Here's where a semi-competent hack like Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, would be preferable to wholly incompetent hacks like Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins."
The Danza: Kirk Cameron playing Cameron "Buck" Williams.
Subversion; Williams was named well before Kirk Cameron got the part, since the book came out well before the movie.
Dead Guy Junior: Kenny Bruce Williams (Buck and Chloe's son) is named after their compatriots Ken Ritz and Bruce Barnes, both of whom died as martyrs during the Tribulation.
Dead Guys On Display: Eli and Moishe, after Carpathia gun the both of them down during the Global Gala. Three and a half days later, both prophets are resurrected and taken to heaven.
Nicolae Carpathia himself had his body put on public display during his wake in New Babylon when on the same day it would be "resurrected" by Satan indwelling him.
Deadpan Snarker: Plenty to go around, especially from the protagonists. Ken Ritz and Mac McCullum top the list. Nicolae Carpathia (post-indwelling) can snark with the best of them.
Deal with the Devil: The signing of the treaty that allows the Global Community to have licensed use of Chaim Rosenzweig's synthetic fertilizer formula for seven years in exchange for peace among the nations for Israel in Tribulation Force is seen as the very thing that initiates the seven-year Tribulation period, which according to Eli and Moishe is the final "week" of Daniel's "70 weeks" prophecy.
"Buck...had secretly studied the feasibility of producing an anti-Global Community Web site on the Internet."
Designer Babies: Nicolae Carpatnia, the Antichrist of the series, was a designer baby of a project funded by Jonathan Stonagal, with his genetic makeup being the hybrid sperm of two intelligent men (both of whom were gay) impregnated into a willing host, Marilena Carpathia. Of course, Jesus in Glorious Appearing reveals that it is God who gave Nicolae the gifts of beauty, wisdom, intelligence, and personality, dismissing the idea that it all came from science.
Despair Event Horizon: From the Rapture to the fall of New Babylon, those who lost the will to live usually end up committing suicide.
The Devil Is a Loser: Carpathia pre-indwelling manages to be calm, collected, and careful in his quest to bring the world under Satan's palm. Post-indwelling, with Satan actually present, he rapidly spirals down into maniacal spite and general loopiness.
Not to mention his brilliant overall strategy of using the Biblical prophecies to know where and when Jesus will appear for him to fight, then bringing the exact army to the table that those same prophecies claim Jesus will mop the floor with.
Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu? - Happens in the sixth book when a believer tells the False Prophet off to his face, and he not long after lampshades this trope. It later turns in a delayed Do Not Taunt Cthulhu when the guy who did it and his wife are killed.
Since this means he gets to ride out the rest of the Tribulation in the comfort of heaven before coming back with Jesus anyway, this might qualify as a Thanatos Gambit.
In the fifth book, Chaim Rosenzweig does this to the aforementioned False Prophet during the meeting of the 144,000 Jews. When Fortunato demands to be addressed by his proper title, Chaim responds by calling the Supreme Commander 'Supreme Nincompoop,' and gets away with it.
In Armageddon, a Global Community loyalist calls Nicolae "impotent" for not having the stones to kill him himself for speaking his mind, and Nicolae responds by personally ripping out his heart.
Mac in Glorious Appearing would have loved the opportunity to call Nicolae the "Supreme Impotentate" if he were in Jesus' place and had the Antichrist at his mercy.
Different World, Different Movies: The books apparently take place in a world where almost nobody has heard of the Rapture (since nobody outside the protagonists and a tiny handful of people like them even mention the resemblance), which means that they take place in a world where they were never written, or at least where they failed to attain the same success.
Digging Yourself Deeper: Chloe's comment to Buck trying to explain the reason for his calling a car by a girl's name in The Mark.
Disproportionate Retribution: Russia attacked Israel because it was hogging the new agricultural super growth formula they'd developed, and they try to get it by launching a massive nuclear strike at Israel. Why not just have a spy steal it (which is what most nations do in Real Life when they want to take an innovation another side has developed)?
Distressed Damsel: With as many times Hattie has been captured by the GC, she could give Princess Peach a run for her money.
Do Not Adjust Your Set: Chang Wong is able to have direct access to the Global Community television network feed so that he can interrupt its programming with messages from Dr. Tsion Ben-Judah (and later Chaim Rosenzweig) that are Biblical warnings and pleas for the undecided to come to Christ. This leads to a series of deaths among the Global Community's top brass when they fail utterly to get Tsion and Chaim off the air.
A supernatural version of this occurs in Desecration, when an angelic face appears onscreen to recite Revelation 14:9-13.
Also Doomed Hometown, as members of The Place flee Chicago before it gets nuked.
Double Standard: A combination of the author's strong support for 'Traditional gender roles' and Values Dissonance with a lot of people means you can expect quite a bit of this. But there are a few cases that are bad even by those standards. Buck and Bruce have several conversations about Hattie and Steve, both of whom work for the Antichrist. Hattie is declared not worth the risk of trying to save her from the Antichrist, since going was 'her choice' and she's possibly banging him already, the filthy slut! Steve is considered a trusted friend despite that he, unlike Hattie, admitted he knows his boss is involved in the murder of another journalist and went suspiciously silent when Buck mentioned his boss might have something to do with the Biblical endtimes.
Dragged Off to Hell: The fate of both Nicolae Carpathia and Leon Fortunato as they are pushed by Michael the archangel into the Lake Of Fire in the book Glorious Appearing.
Dying Curse: According to T.M. Delanty, upon finding out that his brother Samuel was killed while escorting Hattie Durham, Bo Hansen got wasted in a bar, pulled out a gun, cursed Nicolae, God and the world, and killed himself.
Earth Is Young: The movie version of Left Behind uses plain simple Type A. The Bible is literal truth, nothing to argue about. Critical thinking doesn't exist in this setting, and it works both ways. Protagonists who spent their entire lives with a secular world-view doesn't seem to feel any need for any explanation of how young earth creationism can possibly be true. In return, the rapture actually happening doesn't seem to give anyone else the idea that evangelical Christianity might be true after all.
Earthquakes Cause Fissures: God and Jesus' natural disaster of choice. If you want to kill a ton of condemned and unbelievers en masse, or cause massive property damage, earthquakes are the way to go.
During the battle of Armageddon, one particular earthquake renders the entire Earth flat, while at the same time, causing the city of Jerusalem to rise 300 feet from the ground.
Easily Forgiven: In Kingdom Come, Kenny's friends, family, and girlfriend, who know that he plans to secretly infiltrate The Other Light, believe, on specious evidence, including the word of a known traitor and liar, that he had really left the faith. They all turn against him. When the matter is resolved, everything immediately returns to status quo ante, complete with Kenny picking up where he left off with his girlfriend.
Easy Evangelism: Played straight with the Tribulation Force, but subverted with just about everyone else. Rayford's decidedly haughty attempt at evangelism to his copilot in book 2 is a prime example of the latter. One third of the population of the Earth disappears, specifically including all children without exception, and the possibility that divine intervention might have been involved is just completely out of the question.
Also played straight with the Enigma Babylon One World Faith, a global religion engineered by the Antichrist. Essentially, anyone who is does not hold to the "true" Christian faith gets rolled into one big spiritual group, and does so willingly. Never mind that there are a variety of traditional, theological, and dogmatic differences between these groups which would be irreconcilable with regard to joining together into one diverse-but-united faith under a central authority.
Easy Logistics: A literary example. The Antichrist's plan involves forming a One World Government, redistributing governing districts from nation-states to several arbitrary regional divisions, mashing all global religions into One True Faith, turning all public and private media worldwide into a single Propaganda Machine, disarming the nations of the world by retiring ninety percent of their armed forces and the destruction of ninety percent of their equipment, turning the remaining ten percent over to the command of the new Global Community, relocating the United Nations from New York to a newly established and rapidly developed city in the Iraqi desert, and rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. This plan is begun, implemented, and accomplished in only a few years, administrated by only a few people, despite the mind-boggling complexity that such global re-organizing would involve.
Egopolis: United Carpathian States and a minor example, Carpathia Standard Time.
Not to say that God and Jesus are not entirely guilty of this trope. Valley of Jehoshaphat, Ozase.
Elephant in the Living Room: The presence of God and Jesus Christ in the Millennial Kingdom for the Only Light believers, and pretty much for anyone born and/or raised in the Millennial Kingdom.
Elite Mooks: The Morale Monitors for the Global Community, The Only Light for The Other Light.
Embarrassing Middle Name: The Antichrist's full name is Nicolae Jetty Carpathia. Jetty. This might explain what drove him to evil. This was discussed in one of the prequels as referring to "jet black".
This is also an example of a Meaningful Name, as if you assign each letter a value according to the standard A=1, B=2 scale, they add up to 216, which is 6 cubed (6*6*6).
Enemy Civil War: Even the Global Community is not immune to rebellion among its own ranks, as Enigma Babylon leader Peter Mathews plots against Nicolae Carpathia and the United African States ends up attempting to secede from the one-world government. It all gets straightened out by the battle of Armageddon, and Carpathia's Unity Army still gets seriously owned by Jesus.
Escort Mission: In Desecration, George Sebastian is assigned to Greece to get Georgiana Stavros and Marcel Papadopoulos out of there. The mission goes FUBAR when Georgiana turns out to be a GC decoy, who kills Marcel, Lukas Miklos, and Kronos, while capturing Sebastian.
Et Tu, Brute?: In the book Assassins, Enigma Babylon leader Peter Mathews was killed in this manner by the ten subpotentates when he was invited to attend a Nasty Party where he was killed with Feather Flechettes from an ice sculpture made in his image. As it turns out, Peter's death was foretold by Scripture in the Book of Revelation, speaking of the "ten horns of the beast" that would hate the whore, that would "eat her flesh and burn her with fire", as Peter's body was then cremated under the cover story that he contracted a contagious disease.
Jonathan Stonagal, The Chess Master behind the creation of Nicolae Carpathia, also gets this from his own creation when he and Joshua Todd-Cothran were simultaneously murdered by Carpathia during the appointment of the ten regional subpotentates.
Eureka Moment: Played straight with both Rayford Steele and Buck Williams, who recognize the signs which leads to the Wrath of the Lamb Earthquake...which leads into an Oh Crap moment.
Rayford gets a second one when he notices what he originally thought was a smudge on Mac's forehead is in fact an image of a three-dimensional cross - the Seal of God, which identifies one believer from another, despite the fact that one cannot see it on their own forehead.
At the end of Assassins, David Hassid has one when upon watching a surveillance video that Rayford was not the one who murdered Carpathia.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Nicolae turns this trope on its head when he and Viv orchestrate the murder of Nicolae's mother...before he was ten.
It could be argued that Nicolae wasn't involved in that, since Viv Ivins had to inform him of her death. However, his apathy toward the situation is astounding. "How does that make you feel?" "Hungry."
Fortunato: (after Viv gets splattered by said hailstone) Excellency...I am so sorry.
Carpathia: Yes. Terrible loss.
And he was on the verge of directing an intruder to take her instead of him in The Rising.
Even Evil Has Standards: Nicoale Carpathia's But for Me, It Was Tuesday reaction to Leon Fortunato killing Hattie Durham in Desecration, described as "cooking a harmless woman with a big mouth", seems to suggest that for whatever standards Nicolae had for killing people, even that seemed to be rather pointless and unnecessary for Leon.
Everything Is Online: The Tribulation Force always has at least one living Smart Guy who can erase any incriminating records, falsify any reports, and hack into anything digital, even security cameras in a condemned building halfway across the world.
Evil All Along: In-universe, nobody but those in the Tribulation Force and those who once have been in Nicolae Carpathia's close circle of associates really know just how evil Nicolae really is, and that he is working for his "father" Satan. Of course, after Nicolae is indwelt by Satan, the facade slowly cracks and everyone gets to see the true Nicolae underneath his original public persona.
Evil Empire: The Global Community. In the minds of the Other Light in Kingdom Come, Christ's Millennial Reign.
Evil Mentor: Of the spiritual variety. Carpathia, Fortunato and Viv Ivins share the same spiritual guide - Satan himself.
Exalted Torturer: God, given that he sets all events in motion, forges all destinies, and that even the things the ostensible villains do are ultimately his responsibility. After all is said and done, he tortures everyone who is not a specific denomination of Christian, regardless of those people's potential virtues, in a lake of fire for eternity. Not that God or Jesus Christ enjoy it, as Jesus sadly watches the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and all those who rejected Him throughout the ages go to their appointed doom.
Speaking of those "potential virtues", the Bible does say that there's a way that seems right to a man, but its end thereof is death.
To quote Jesus speaking to Astaroth, Baal, and Cankerworm from the Dramatic Audio:
"Like My Father, with whom I am One, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but justice must be served, and death is your sentence."
In The Mark, Hattie comes close to killing herself, but is rescued by Rayford and Albie. She ends up ultimately faking her death to escape the Global Community.
Fallen Angel: Ashtaroth, Baal, and Cankerworm are three spiritual beings that are named as such by Jesus.
Family Business: Rayford's dad wants his son to follow in his footsteps. Rayford, however, has other plans.
Famous-Named Foreigner: Jenkins has said in his book, "Writing for the Soul", that one of his tried-and-true ways to create a foreign character's name is to take the given name of some historically important native and append the name of a notable geographical area as a family name. One little problem: Romania doesn't use family names terribly much. Instead, you usually see patronymics. Guess what "Carpathia" isn't?
Fatal Family Photo: Subverted, as it is not a fatal photo. In Kingdom Come, Rayford requests a picture of the original Tribulation Force at an end-of-the-Millennium party. He is the only member out of the core group who is a natural, while Bruce, Cameron and Chloe are glorifieds. Even Rayford is as shocked as to how old he is.
Faux Action Girl: Ming Toy. When she is introduced, a lot is made of her experience as a prison guard with combat skills — but from then on, she pretty much divides her time between office work and babysitting.
Faux Affably Evil: Nicolae Carpathia initially seems to be the humblest, most empathetic Son of Satan you'd ever meet, and comes across as a Well-Intentioned Extremist at worst. However, this is all entirely an act; in truth he's a completely self-centered sociopath and a two-dimensional thug. The movie version of Nicolae actually appears to be more genuinely Affably Evil, although still a ruthless megalomaniac.
Feather Flechettes: In the book Assassins, the razor-sharp feathers from the winged ice sculpture of Pontifex Maximus Peter Mathews are used as murder weapons by the ten subpotentates at a Nasty Party that was held for the High Priest of Enigma Babylon.
A Fête Worse than Death: The Global Gala in the book Assassins was purposely arranged to take place in Jerusalem around the same time that the Two Witnesses in the Book of Revelation were supposed to end their prophesying, with Nicolae Carpathia making a public spectacle of killing the Two Witnesses by his own hand to enforce the law of the Global Community. (It also served as an opportunity for Nicolae to quietly dispose of Pontifex Maximus Peter Mathews through a private little Nasty Party held in his honor.) In fulfillment of what the Word of God says, the bodies of the Two Witnesses were left in the street unburied for 3 1/2 days while the people celebrated their demise, but then they were dramatically resurrected and brought up to heaven in a cloud. At the same time, an earthquake caused a tenth of Jerusalem to fall and seven thousand people have died.
The Film of the Book: The 2000 film of the first book was a mixed bag. While not exactly great cinema — its reception was overwhelmingly negative, while the books were successful — it deals with some of the novel's plot inconsistencies, as well as unrealistic character behavior. It also, out of the sheer fact of being a movie, avoids one of the pitfalls of the series' writing: the stupendous lack of descriptions anywhere.
This was followed by the Movie Multipack release of Left Behind II: Tribulation Force and Left Behind: World At War, both covering the second book.
And a reboot film of the first book is currently in production and set for release in 2014.
Final Confession: After Jesus casts Satan out of Carpathia, the defeated Antichrist acknowledges that Jesus is indeed Lord.
Carpathia: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, who died for the sins of the world and rose again the third day as the Scriptures predicted...I confess that my life was a waste. Worthless. A mistake. I rebelled against the God of the universe, whom I now know loved me.
Interestingly, in Armageddon, Nicolae Carpathia alludes to "the final solution" that was attempted on the Jews during World War II that failed to destroy them completely, succeeding only in giving back their homeland Israel, during his private conference with the ten subpotentates where he reveals himself to be the Antichrist.
First World Problems: After the disappearance of 1/4 of the world's people followed by mass death and destruction, Rayford and Buck complain about long lines and traffic jams caused by said disasters. The Slacktivist blog had a field day with this one.
Flat Earth Atheist: This affects almost everyone on the planet and it isn't at all Played for Laughs. The authors seriously suggest that the majority of the world's population won't really care about all the explicit miracles.
It helps to consider that in fundamentalism, the usual conceit is that knowledge that God (a) exists, (b) is all-powerful, and (c) deserves infinite glory and fealty, is hardwired into every human being. OnlyNay-Theist-level spitefulness can account for such heavy unwillingness to follow him, even after apprisal of the threat of perdition. (Whether dystheism can be animated by anything besides spite doesn't seem to enter the picture.)
It's also worth noting that Jesus warned that, "If they would not listen to Moses and the prophets, they would not listen even to a man come back from the dead." Thus, to those in hardened moral rebellion, no sign will convince them, because they don't want to believe.
Flaunting Your Fleets: Happens in the final chapter of the book Kingdom Come, as The Other Light grows to such massive numbers near the end of the Millennium that they start parading themselves and their weapons around.
Foregone Conclusion: It can be a bit tough to care about the deaths of the protagonists when it's made explicitly clear from the start that at the end of the tribulation, the Antichrist will lose and they'll all come back to Earth anyway. Also in Kingdom Come, the Other Light attempts to build a resistance force in order to overthrow Christ at the end of the Millennium when Satan is loosed from imprisonment, despite that Scripture says it will end in failure...as it eventually does by the end of the book. The characters who earnestly believe this, and see the evidence before their eyes, are still so worried about dying. Like Buck, who worries so much that Nicolae might kill him if he speaks against or associates with him, even after his conversion. Given that he also knows that there's seven years of plagues and disasters coming up if he isn't killed, he'd be better off taunting the Anti-Christ.
Well, here's a way to look at it: you can survive all the way as a believer through the Tribulation and enter into the Millennium as a "natural" who ages slowly and is still able to have children up until the Millennium ends, where as a believer you will have your glorified body and enter the "new heavens and new earth"...or you can be a martyr and be resurrected in a body that remains in a constant adult state that never ages, with the tradeoff that you'll never be able to fall in love with anyone else, get or stay married, or even have children. It's a tough choice to make, and sometimes God may end up deciding your fate.
Foreshadowing: Book two opens by telling us "The odds are, only one of the four members of the Tribulation Force will survive the next seven years." Guess what happens. Go on, guess.
One character, Verna Zee, is depicted in her initial appearance (in Book 1) as wearing "sensible shoes", which is UK slang for being a lesbian. She is later described off-hand (in Book 2) as militant. Guess which character comes out as a lesbian in Book 3?
Moishe tells Carpathia that "a sword shall pierce your head, and you shall surely die." Guess how the world leader gets whacked?
Forgot I Could Change the Rules: Nicolae Carpathia is an expert in this trope. Case in point; in Descecration after negotiating with Micah (Chaim Rosenzweig) in lifting Bowl Judgement No.1 (the plague of sores on those who took the mark), he sends the GC after the Jewish Remnant.
For the Evulz: World War III breaks out as a simultaneous but ultimately ineffectual attempt at rebellion against the Global Community. After the initial retaliation, Carpathia orders several nuclear bombings of various cities, seemingly at random, for no particular discernible reason except because he can and he has an excuse. There might be an element of Because Destiny Says So (because WWIII is prophesied to happen) but has little other than general evilness to motivate it outside of that.
Fox News Liberal: We get the occasional sympathetically intended character who aren't WASPs steeped in the PMD culture. But in case of conflict between their own supposed culture and belief systems and the believes of PMD Christians, they always agree with the PMD's. Tsion Ben-Judah, the PMD-Jew, is probably the worst offender.
From a Certain Point of View: In Desceration, Nicolae undergoes a polygraph test, with Suhail Akbar overseeing the questioning. When it is obvious that Carpathia had blatantly lied throughout the test, he tells Suhail that "the truth is what I say it is...I am the father of truth."
Although some of his answers concerning his loyalty to the people serving under him could be considered the actual truth given that he is The Antichrist and that all he really cares about is being worshiped. The only reason he would need to care about anybody under him is to have worshipers, but Chaim as Micah does point out to Carpathia that he worships himself, so with that in mind, everyone under Carpathia is expendable.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Nicolae Jetty Carpathia, natch. He started out as a businessman running his own import-export business. Then he gets into politics, serving in the Lower House of Parliament, and ascends to President of Romania (thanks to Leon Fortunato, who had blackmailed Carpathia's predecessor to step down). After the Rapture, he is tapped to become the Secretary General of the United Nations, which he will change into the Global Community, with himself as the Supreme Potentate and ultimately, The Beast.
Leonardo Fortunato also fits this trope. Former businessman/kingmaker to Nicolae Carpathia, later the Supreme Commander of the Global Community. After Carpathia's resurrection, he is made the Most High Reverend Father of Carpathianism, ultimately becoming the False Prophet that The Bible has foretold.
The Fundamentalist: The protagonists. Ironically they were left behind because they weren't actually saved.
Genre Savvy: To be fair, there are some nice traces of this occasionally.
Ghost City: Chicago was left a ghost city in the book series after World War III and the Sixth Seal Judgment, and was mostly ignored by the GC due to fake reports of it being full of nuclear radiation until The Remnant. While the Tribulation Force was headquartered in the Strong Building during this time, Chloe Williams found survivors of an underground church group called The Place and helped them to escape the city before it was nuked.
Giant Wall of Watery Doom: In the Dramatic Audio version of Soul Harvest, one of the Christians on board a cruise liner in the middle of the ocean barely has time to lead the people in a prayer of salvation before a giant wave of water caused from the impact of a giant mountain crashing into the seas (one of God's Trumpet Judgments) reaches the ship.
The Seal of God, which identifies the believers from one another. Once you become a believer, you are pretty much safe for eternity.
The Sign of The Son of Man, which is a cross made out of lightning, and has the ability to heal the sick and injured.
Global Currency: The Nick is introduced as the standard global currency during the Tribulation until it gets replaced by the cashless "mark of loyalty" system, which is the Mark of the Beast. Nothing is mentioned in Kingdom Come about what the Millennial Reign residents use for currency.
A God Am I: Nicolae Carpathia fancies himself this after Satan takes control.
God Emperor: Nicolae Carpathia claims to be this during the Tribulation, and Jesus Christ is simply this during the Millennial Reign.
God in Human Form: Jesus, only here He returns in his true form. Nicolae Carpathia only claims to be this in the second half of the Tribulation, but is really indwelt by Satan.
Mac: "...Well, forgive the painful subject, but we recently lost our cargo chief. She would have prohibited that much weight on that particular plane, but me bein' a veteran, I thought it would handle it. Flyin' it remote and also broadcasting from it remote, I start hollerin' about a weight shift, cargo rolling, hard to control, Mayday, mayday, goodbye cruel world."
Good Guns, Bad Guns: the game Eternal Forces depict the Tribulation Forces being armed with M16/M4s, while the GC peacekeepers are armed with AKs.
Grandpa God: The series' depiction of God in the form of Jesus Christ, based on the Book of Revelation. Notably in the Dramatic Audio version of Glorious Appearing, it doesn't stop Naomi Tiberias from commenting on how handsome He is.
Gratuitous Hebrew: What everyone is speaking in Kingdom Come, though for the sake of the readers it's all translated into whatever language the book is published in.
Grow Old with Me: Kenny Bruce Williams and Ekaterina Risto in the book Kingdom Come grow old throughout the entire Millennial Kingdom period as a married couple, as do all naturals who become believers before their 100th birthday. By the time the Millennium ends, even the longest-living naturals who become believers revert to the prime of their adult youth as they receive their glorified bodies.
Happily Married: Buck and Chloe Williams may have their disagreements, but they are very happy together.
The marriage is now platonic as both Buck and Chloe are glorifieds in Kingdom Come.
This goes along with what Jesus said in Scripture that those who are worthy of the resurrection "will neither marry nor be given in marriage, but will be like the angels in heaven".
Their relationship pre-marriage was largely platonic as well, with neither party seeming interested in physical intimacy of any significant degree beyond occasionally holding hands or sharing cookies.
For the short time they were married, Rayford and Amanda were very happy.
Subverted big time with Sorin and Marilena Carpathia, as their marriage was one of convenience. Marilena wanted kids. Sorin didn't, which made her easy pickings for Viviana Ivansova - the future Viv Ivins.
Judd Thompson, Jr. and Vicki Byrnes of Left Behind: The Kids also became a couple, as did Ming Toy and Ree Woo in the main series, and Kenny and Ekaterina in Kingdom Come.
Other existing happy couples among the Tribulation Force members include Dwayne and Trudy Tuttle (both of whom died in Assassins), and George and Priscilla Sebastian.
The same can also be said of Jesus Christ and His bride, the church, when they return to Earth after the Tribulation. Of course, Chang Wong in the Dramatic Audio version of Glorious Appearing jokingly refers to those who became believers after the Rapture as being "the balcony" (where Rayford would go whenever he was late for church).
Hate Fic: Right Behind and its sequel Supergeddon.
Heat Wave: In the book The Remnant, one of God's Bowl Judgments cranks up the sun's temperature to lethal levels, causing painful burning death to animals, Nicolae Carpathia loyalists, and the undecided who are exposed to the sun during daylight hours. For the believers, though, the temperature is only a bit uncomfortably high. This judgment lasts for several months, and then it was lifted only for God to cause New Babylon to be enveloped in complete darkness immediately afterward.
Averted in one instance where a believer had the mark forced upon him while he was drugged, but still had the seal of God.
Possibly played straight with Nicolae's mother Marilena in The Rising, as she dies of poisoning and asks God to forgive her of what she's done.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: Chaim Rozensweig is torn between his friendship with Tsion Ben-Judah and his loyalties to Nicolae Carpathia. It is only after assassinating Carpathia and fleeing Israel that Chaim puts his faith in God.
He Knows Too Much: At the climax of the first book, Nicolae executes his two co-conspirators right in front of a UN meeting, with Buck present. He then brainwashes everyone to imagine that it was a murder-suicide by one of them, and that Buck was never there. This should send up alarms in the heads of normal men, as the last reporter to cross Nicolae only took the ferry halfway to Staten Island. But when Buck is called before Nicolae to explain himself, he acts like a petulant child (and gets away with it).
Hell: Where the undecided, the condemned (i.e., those who decided to follow Satan and the Antichrist), and those who come against the Jews and Israel during the Tribulation end up. It's also what follows the Horseman of Death during the Fourth Seal Judgment that takes place concurrently with the Third and Fifth Seal Judgments.
Hellish Horse: Nicolae Carpathia's mount in the Battle of Armageddon was referred to as "the horse from hell", though it pales in comparison to the description of the horses that the 200 million man army from the Sixth Trumpet Judgment ride upon, matching their description from the Book of Revelation.
Hell Seeker: Hattie Durham is one briefly, after deciding that she does believe in God and the Bible, but doesn't believe she deserves to go to Heaven. She comes around eventually.
Heroic BSOD: Tsion Ben-Judah, Chaim Rosenzweig, Buck Williams and Rayford Steele each experience this during the Tribulation. Subverted with Bo Hansen, as his case was lethal.
Heroic Sacrifice: Aplenty, but it's somewhat negated when the victims know they won't be gone for long. The most admirable characters are those willing to hold out during prolonged suffering.
Hide Your Children: Every child under 12 or so vanishes in The Rapture. In a better-written book, even if nothing else happened, the trauma from this alone would probably cause the collapse of every government on Earth.
This also extends to children in the womb. The description of a mother's stomach suddenly flattening is quite creepy.
Reality Is Unrealistic — rapturing a fetus wouldn't cause the mother's belly to instantly flatten any more than giving birth would. It takes weeks for the stretched uterus to return to normal size after giving birth.
Holy City: Jerusalem, despite the fact that Nicolae Carpathia hosts the Global Gala at that location and soon after his death and "resurrection" makes his "triumphal entry" into the city to defile the Temple.
Horde of Alien Locusts: In Apollyon, one of the Trumpet Judgments is a swarm of demon locusts that infect people without the seal of God on their foreheads with a maddening delirium that lasts for five months. Even more disconcerting is the Ominous Hebrew And Greek Chanting that the locust swarm engages in while they sweep across the globe in search of victims.
Humiliation Conga: Mostly within Glorious Appearing, where Carpathia finds himself unable to prevail against Jesus Christ in the battle of Armageddon, and is only further humiliated when he is forced to kneel before the Lord before he gets sent to the Lake of Fire. Of course, the believers are basically surprised that Jesus is more sad than dancing with unbridled glee at having the Antichrist at His mercy.
In Mac's case, however, he would be sticking it to Carpathia were he was in Jesus' place.
Not such a big man now, are you? Where's the sword? Where's the army? Where's the cabinet, the sub-potentates? Now you're only the supreme impotentate, aren't you?
I Call It Vera: The Saber Handgun Rayford acquires from Albie. Carpathia later uses a Saber to gun down the Two Witnesses.
In the Left Behind movie, Chaim Rosenzweig's super fertilizer is known as The Eden project.
I Choose to Stay: Ming Toy undergoes a dangerous mission to rescue her and Chang's parents in her native China. She finds her mother, but sadly Mr. Wong died as a martyr. Mrs. Wong decides to remain behind while in China. She does get some reassurance from an angel, saying that her mother will survive the Tribulation.
After executing both Todd-Cothran and Stonagal, Nicolae is the sole inheritor of both their estates. When the children of both men dispute the claim, Nicolae simply pays them off under the condition that they do not contest the will.
Illegal Religion: Christianity as well as all other religions except for Carpathianism become illegal to practice during the latter half of the Tribulation when Nicolae Carpathia is "resurrected" and proclaims himself to be God. Surprisingly averted by God and Jesus Christ in the Millennial Kingdom, since they allow The Other Light members to practice their religion within certain limits.
I'll Take That as a Compliment: The following exchange between Rayford and Ken in the Dramatic Audio of Apollyon after refusing to take Hattie with them:
Ken: Little spitfire hung up on me. Gotta like her spunk, though. She is a gorgeous thing, ain't she?
Rayford: (chuckles) Ritz, you've got to be on the feminists' Top 10 Most Wanted List.
Ken: Really? Hey, save me a copy when that comes out. I want to send that to Mom.
Immortal Procreation Clause: Goes beyond this with the "glorifieds" in Kingdom Come, since they won't even have the desire for sexual intercourse.
Immune to Bullets: Petra and its inhabitants are supernaturally protected from the GC. Rockets and missiles fired by the GC literally go through the believers' choppers and other aircraft to the point that it's routine for the believers.
In the same book, Mac's chopper is rigged with grenades. Mac's faith pretty much saved both him and his chopper when the grenades go boom.
Jesus Christ Himself is also immune to whatever the Unity Army throws at Him and the army of saints...especially missiles.
Improbable Antidote: The wine used for the communion shared by Rayford, Buck, and Chloe near the end of Left Behind: World At War becomes an antidote for the anthrax poisoning contracted by both Bruce and Chloe. Unfortunately, they don't find this out until after Bruce passes away.
Incessant Music Madness: "Hail Carpathia" becomes musical torture for Chloe Williams when she is held in custody by the Global Community in the book Armageddon. She counters this somewhat by singing "Fail Carpathia".
Chloe gets even in this area when she sings a bunch of Christian hymns in her solitary confinement cell, which annoys the GC guard.
Any Christian believer that goes to the chopping block in the latter half of the Tribulation that Faces Death With Dignity by singing hymns unto God, much to the irritation of Nicolae Carpathia and the GC forces.
I Need a Freaking Drink: Subverted slightly with Chaim Rosenzweig's driver, Jacov. In Apollyon, Jacov is known to fall off the wagon. Chaim even fired him at one point, but rehired him out of pity. He becomes a believer at the meeting at the 144,000 Jews, and is later found inside a bar. Instead of getting drunk, he is preaching to the patrons inside when Chaim and Buck find him afterward. After Jacov proved to his boss that he wasn't getting drunk, Chaim's response is very deadpan, but hilarious.
All of Buck's characteristics. He is billed as an amazing reporter but all of the examples of his writing are clumsy analogies. He is (we're told) an investigative reporter, who neither investigates nor reports anything; he's supposed to be worldly wise (before his conversion), but he's a 30-year-old virgin; he's your actual globetrotting journalist, "among the top 3% of air travelers in the world", but washes his underwear in the sink because he doesn't realize hotels provide laundry service; he's a sophisticated world traveler — who happens to be headquartered in New York, the international-cuisine capital of the planet — but can't order in a restaurant in Tel Aviv because he cannot begin to imagine what an Israeli restaurant might have available.
Now, on the subject of Carpathia, we're told he's a great speaker, but though his speech at the U.N. does get a lot of applause it is clear to the reader that his speech, which consists of reciting a lot of uninteresting trivia about the U.N. and also reciting a list of every member nation, has nothing to gain people's enthusiasm since it doesn't contain any actual opinion for people to agree with, apart from a general "Peace is good, mkay?"
Informed Flaw: TV or narrations keep telling us that after all the good Christians have been raptured, crime has risen spectacularly among the remaining godless hordes. Yet we never really see any of that (Rayford and Chloe's house is burgled once, but that's about it), the characters never act like they don't feel safe, and the entirety of humanity is unbelievably enthusiastic and accepting of Nicolae's message of peace, unity and brotherhood.
The Insomniac: Nicolae Carpathia becomes this for the latter half of the Tribulation after Satan indwells him.
Instant Cultured/Instant Expert: Once the protagonists, and for that matter the horde of unnamed new worshipers at their church, convert they seem to become instantly knowledgeable about the authors' beliefs regarding the Bible and how Christians should act. While this is justified in the case of Rev. Bruce and perhaps Rayford (who both have at least tangential prior exposure to such religious communities,) it's rather odd to see Buck out-debating a bishop using Bible-quotes, not to mention him and Chloe 'dating'. These two people were supposed to be a globe-trotting jet-set reporter and a secular Stanford student a week ago, yet they treat hand-holding as a deeply intimate act that should not be rushed.
Invisible to Normals: The 200 million horsemen army in the book Assassins is invisible to everybody but believers in Christ, but are nonetheless dangerous to those who aren't believers, as they have been unleashed to slay a third of the remaining world's population around the time of the Sixth Trumpet Judgment (believers not included).
Ironic Birthday: In Kingdom Come, Cendrillon Jospin's parents realized that their child would not become a believer by her 100th birthday, which in the Millennial Kingdom period means an automatic death sentence to Hell, so they celebrated her birthday before the day that she would die. She still went to Hell nonetheless.
Istanbul Not Constantinople: In Glorious Appearing, the Valley of Jehoshaphat (also called the Valley Where Jehovah Judges), formerly known as the Mount of Olives. Also in Kingdom Come, the country of Osaze (meaning 'Loved by God') is the new name for Egypt.
The reformed world under the Global Community (formerly known as the United Nations):
United North American States (North and Central America, Greenland and the Caribbeans)
United South American States (South America)
United Great Britain States (Britain, Ireland, Scotland and Wales)
United European States: (Most of the countries in Europe, save for Britain)
United African States (Africa)
United Carpathian States (formerly United Holy Land States, consisting of the Middle East)
United Indian States (The Indian Subcontinent, half of Southeast Asia)
United Asian States (China, the Korean Peninsula, Japan and Mongolia)
United Russian States (Russia)
United Pacific States (Australia, Oceania and Hawaii)
It's Not Porn, It's Art: Guy Blod, a sculptor working for the Global Community, decides an appropriate memorial for the late Antichrist would be an enormous, highly-detailed metal nude. He reacts this way to "Tribulation Saints" who find the statue unsettling. (No one else cares — by this point in the series, all television is either porn or Gorn. Even the news.)
I Want My Mommy: A dramatic one by Kenny Bruce Williams in the Dramatic Audio version of Armageddon when he learns from his dad that his mom has died and went to be with Jesus.
I Warned You: Rayford can't say that Irene didn't warn him about the Rapture. However, after surviving the Tribulation and reuniting with his wife, Rayford tells her (and Raymie in the Dramatic Audio) that she is permitted "one cosmic-I-told-you-so."
Rayford is actually supposed to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but his treatment of Hattie Durham is quite jarring; seriously, he's committing emotional abuse, not to mention ruthless evangelism.
Don't forget Buck having sport at the expense of Verna Zee. A mere two weeks after global disaster! And unlike Rayford, he never tries to warn anybody of the Apocalypse.
Also Rayford's behavior towards Bo in Assassins. Thankfully T calls him out.
Jerusalem: One of the major locations in the series. It also serves as the world capital in Kingdom Come.
Jesus Saves: The rest of the world takes material universe obliterating damage.
Karma Houdini: Russia fires all its nukes at Israel and is not blasted to oblivion by the USA and pals.
To be fair, the nukes failed to strike though...
Karmic Death: Loren Hut, the leader of the Morale Monitors. After failing to kill Chaim Rosenzweig (who was going by the name Micah), simply because Chaim was protected by God, Carpathia guns Hut down, but not before Hut tells Carpathia off.
Kill 'em All: The character turnover rate is so high that, by them end, only two of the original characters are still alive. One fun thing to do is comparing the Dramatis Personae in front of each book and seeing how many people died in the past volume.
Kill It with Fire: Try to harm the Two Witnesses of the Most High, this is the end result.
The Other Light army at the end of the Millennium in Kingdom Come get instantly smoked by God pouring down fire from the heavens.
Kneel Before God: Nicolae Carpathia's humiliated bow before Jesus Christ in Glorious Appearing. Of course, Nicolae is left powerless to resist after Lucifer is cast out of him. Lucifer, on the other hand...
Kneel Before Satan: In the prequel novels, Satan takes Nicolae to the desert, where he remains for 40 days and 40 nights without food and water. Unlike Jesus, who resisted the temptations (i.e., turning stones into bread, throwing himself from the highest building and bowing down to Lucifer), Carpathia falls to all three temptations.
Large Ham: Everyone has their moments in the Dramatic Audio, but Nicolae Carpathia (post-indwelling) takes the cake when he executes Walter Moon for failing to get Tsion Ben-Judah off the air in Desecration.
Carpathia:(BLAM) Hold out your other hand, Walter. (BLAM) Ah, the foot. (BLAM) The other foot. (BLAM) The knee. (BLAM) Is Ben-Judah still on the screen? Oh, why, yes he is. (BLAM) Still there! (BLAM) Oh look Walter, he's still there! (BLAM) Walter...you have many times stated your devotion to me. I can only assume that the appearance of Ben-Judah on our network must certainly be causing you as much discomfort as it is to me. Therefore, I want to do you a favor. (BLAM)
Honorable mention goes to once again, Carpathia (pre-indwelling) as he resurrects Leon Fortunato following the Wrath of the Lamb Earthquake in reference to Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
Carpathia: Leonardo Fortunato...you have served me well. And you will continue to serve and give testimony to the power of Nicolae Carpathia. Leonardo Fortunato, you have served me well, and you will continue to serve me. Leonardo Fortunato, you will sleep NO LONGER! You will...arise! LEONARDO...LEONARDO, COME FORTH! LEONARDO...COME FORTH! LEONARDO...I COMMAND YOU...COME FORTH!
Large Ham Title: His Excellency, Global Community Supreme Potentate Nicolae Carpathia. What a mouthful.
Supreme Commander, and later, Most High Reverend of Carpathianism, Leonardo Fortunato
Pontifex Maximus Peter Matthews, aka Peter the Second. Counts as a Meaningful Name, as no Catholic Pope has not taken the name Peter, as according to Catholic belief that Peter was the first pope of the church.
Jesus: Some of which include Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Root of David, Faithful and True, I AM, Wonderful, Counselor, Bright Morning Star
Satan: He has less titles than Jesus. His titles are Lucifer, The Devil, God Of This World/Age, Prince Of The Power Of The Air, The Serpent Of Old, The Dragon.
Laser-Guided Karma: An early example occurs in the first book, when Rayford refuses to ride on a bus the airline sent to pick up the pilots from the plane to the terminal, because he couldn't accept such a favor while his passengers have to walk maybe a mile at most. Rayford's co-pilot does accept and very slightly mocks Rayford for refusing. He dies so soon afterwards, Rayford has barely had the time to accept, without question or hesitation, two other privileges the airline gives to pilots: Avoiding the line for the pay-phones, when everyone wants to call their families to see if they didn't vanish, and a helicopter ride home to avoid the total gridlock on the roads that the book describes to such detail.
Left Hanging: The fates of a dozen or so minor characters from the beginning of the book onward, though considering where those characters were, they could be summarized by the major events that took place. The destruction of New York City, for example, took care of the fates of those who have worked for Global Weekly, with one possible exception, as there was an "Aunt Marge" mentioned at the rewarding of the martyred saints, who may or may not be Marge Potter. The fate of Viv Ivins, a major supporting character in the later books, is not mentioned, though given what happens in Glorious Appearing, she obviously doesn't live to enter into the Millennium.
Light Is Not Good: Lucifer, when he takes on his pure form after departing from Nicolae Carpathia. The Other Light faction also see God in the same light as the Christians see Lucifer, hence the name of their group.
Like Reality Unless Noted: Zig-Zagging Trope. Much of the action in the books operates like reality, but sometimes ignores other postulates the book has already set up which would affect them. For example, the Trains Run On Time despite the global rapture after a very brief initial panic, or the Anti Christ takes control of all world media, business, and nations, yet these things still seem to run as though they were still independent organizations.
Living Statue: Carpathia's massive image, which is heated by onionskin paper.
Locked Out of the Loop: The second reason, besides the Flat Earth Atheist infestation, why Easy Evangelism is averted. The main protagonists have a detailed step-by-step prophecy of what will happen in the next seven years, but whenever they can be bothered to try to convert someone, they tend to use the same speeches as evangelists do now. They don't say the next 4 things their divine prophecy predicts, and then come back after those things have happened.
And then there is Hattie. Buck wanted to impress her, so he offered to introduce her to Nicolae. When she actually seems more impressed by Nicolae, Buck explicitly loses interest in her. After learning Nicolae is the Anti Christ, Buck tries to persuade Hattie not to go on a date with him... by telling her he thinks she's "not that kind of girl". You'd think that telling her Nicolae is the devil (or at least into murder and corruption) might be more persuasive.
Lucifer Is Good: The viewpoint of the Other Light faction in Kingdom Come, claiming in their manifesto that God unfairly treated one of His angels and befouled his name and reputation by casting him out of His presence.
Make It Look Like an Accident: Mac's, Abdullah's, David's, and Hannah's plan to escape from New Babylon to go underground with the believers in The Mark is to remote-pilot a jet airplane over Tel Aviv and then crash it into the Mediterranean Sea with a load of biochips, injectors, and guillotines on board to make it appear that all four of them died in an accident.
Manly Tears: Rayford literally breaks down in tears in front of Jesus as He tells Rayford all about his faults and triumphs.
Mark of the Beast: Featuring a variant in which the numbers of each region of the Global Community are based on a mathematical equation involving three sixes.
Mass "Oh, Crap!": During the 'sheep and goats' judgement, the reactions of the unsaved and those who had taken the Mark of the Beast when Jesus condemns them to the Lake of Fire for not caring for "the least of My brethren", referring to Israel. Basically saying that if you're not a friend to Israel and the Jews during the Tribulation, you're going to Hell.
Jesus Christ: Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me. Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. You will go away into everlasting punishment.
Meaningful Name: Jenkins has a thing for them. The heroes have super-manly names like Buck Williams and Rayford Steele. How good he is at this lies with the reader...
Verna Zee, Buck's theoretically-snippy boss, can be shortened to Ms. Zee — "Missy".
Jonathan Stonagal's name ("Stone-a-gal") is a play on Rockefeller.
Carpathia's other Dragon aside from Leon Fortunato, Viv Ivins. Remove the "n-s" and you have Viv Ivi, or VI VI VI, the roman numerals for 666. This one being notable in that VI VI VI isn't the Roman-numeralish for 666, it's the Roman-numeralish for "six six six". The Number of the Beast isn't "six six six", it's (per Revelation 13:18) "six hundred sixty six" — which in Roman numerals would be DCLXVI. Thus, a more fitting name might be Declan Xavier.
More of a Meaningful Number, but Carpathia's obsession with the number 216 comes from 6 x 6 x 6 = 216. Also in a later book, each of the Ten Kingdoms is assigned a number and while the numbering system is never explained, each number can come from some mathematical combination of three sixes.
Nicolae Carpathia is a clear reference to Nicolae Ceausescu, the last Romanian dictator. It also references the Nicolaitans (a heretical sect of Christianity) in the Book of Revelation.
When the first book opens, the married Steele is sexually fixated on a woman named "Hattie Durham". As Fred Clark points out,
Eldridge Cleaver could have written volumes trying to unpack all the Southern sexual myths crammed into that name.
Meaningless Villain Victory: In the book Kingdom Come, Abdullah Smith points out to Sarsour the futility of Satan's and The Other Light's plan to overthrow God by telling him that even if Satan has a chance of winning, he wouldn't be able to resurrect all the people who died as martyrs for The Other Light because God hasn't given Satan the power to do so.
The Meddling Kids Are Useless: Buck and Rayford get into danger, but they don't affect the actual events or main plot much at all, given that they've been prophesied to happen in one specific way.
The Messiah: Jesus Christ. In Tribulation Force, Tsion Ben-Judah confirms that Jesus is the Messiah that the Jews have been waiting for...much to the displeasure of Nicolae Carpathia.
Millennium Bug: Timothy LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins expected the Y2K bug to trigger global economic chaos, which the Antichrist would use to rise to power. As the big day approached, they, like other doomsayers, backpedaled. It's a good thing, since they released a spate of books from 2000 till present.
Million Mook March: Jesus' army of saints, surprisingly. Also the 200 million horsemen that sweep across the globe during one of God's Trumpet Judgments, looking for those that do not bear the Seal of God on their foreheads to slay.
Mistaken for Cheating: In Tribulation Force, Buck and Chloe have barely started seeing each other, and Chloe sees Buck's secretary Alice Nelson outside his apartment with a ring on her finger and speaking with her fiance on the phone, making her assume that Buck was her fiance and that he was two-timing her. In the first-part movie adaptation of the book, Chloe was greeted by Ivy Goldberg at the apartment and ended up assuming the same thing of Buck.
The Mole: Carpathia had conducted a smear campaign against Amanda White-Steele, showing her that she was in fact on the GC's payroll. Hattie, however, tells Rayford that his late wife was not a mole and that she truly loved him.
Motive Rant: Carpathia confesses to Leon and the 10 subpotentates that he is the Antichrist in Armageddon.
Carpathia: Am I Antichrist? Well, if he is Christ, then yes! Yes! I am against the Christ who was falsely crowned by the pretend creator. I will ascend into heaven! I will exalt my throne above the stars of God! I will ascend above the heights of the clouds! I will be like the Most High! (...for I AM THE MOST HIGH!)
Movie Multipack: Left Behind II: Tribulation Force and Left Behind: World At War, filmed and released three years apart, both cover the second book in the main series, with Left Behind II covering the first half of the book (focusing on meeting with Tsion Ben-Judah) and World At War covering the second half (focusing on Gerald Fitzhugh and the coming World War III).
Murder by Cremation: Suhail Akbar sends the two pilots who bombed Petra (which had failed due to God protecting the city and the people) to be incinerated alive. He does sedate them before barbecuing both men.
Subverted by Carpathia's attempt to barbecue the Jewish Remnant in Petra, as they were protected by God.
Murder Suicide: What Jonathan Stonagal's and Joshua Todd-Cothran's murders by Carpathia were made out to be through Nicolae Carpathia's brainwashing the participants of the United Nations meeting, except for Buck Williams being protected by God. Chaim Rosenzweig later learns the truth when he becomes a believer.
My God, What Have I Done?: Tsion Ben-Judah's reaction in Desecration when he realizes he has given away the location of where the Israeli Jews would flee to according to what the book of Revelation says about the matter (the deserted city of Petra), fearing that he has messed up God's plan. He gets some reassurance from one of the Tribulation Force members that God may have intended for Tsion to let slip the location of where the Jews would flee to in order to lure Nicolae Carpathia's forces into a trap God has set up for them, which is all according to the Word of God.
Not to mention that "Old Nick" is one of Satan's nicknames.
If you're part of the Global Community, Jesus Christ certainly qualifies...although it won't do you any good.
Nasty Party: In the book Assassins, Pontifex Maximus Peter Mathews of Enigma Babylon One World Faith is invited to a private party hosted by the ten regional subpotentates of the Global Community to show him a massive ice sculpture made in his honor. However, in playing out what the Book of Revelation says about the "whore that sits on the beast", the ten subpotentates use that party as a united opportunity to kill Peter Mathews with sharp ice feathers from the sculpture, eventually causing Enigma Babylon to fold with the Pontifex Maximus' death and to soon be replaced with Carpathianism following Nicolae Carpathia's death and "resurrection".
Neutrality Backlash: The world during the Tribulation period in the series isn't a place for anyone to claim neutrality. If you don't get killed by Nicolae Carpathia and the Global Community for not being loyal to him (and even if you are loyal, you're still screwed no matter what), God will send you to Hell for not taking His side in the cosmic conflict.
Also counts with Hannah Palemoon and David Hassid.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: Every time the heroes' backs are against the wall with no way out, all that needs to happen is for them to pray and God will grant them whatever ability is needed to extract them from their predicament.
In the first book, Buck manages to escape Carpathia's hypnosis at the UN by praying to God, who also conveniently rewrites Carpathia's memory to erase any instance of Buck not behaving exactly as intended.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Nicolae Carpathia's plan to kill people by having them read Bibles tainted with anthrax in Left Behind: World At War may end up working against him, given that the readers could be led to their own salvation before they die.
No Hugging, No Kissing: Not outside of marriage, at least. Try telling that to David Hassid and Annie Christopher, the unmarried Christian couple in New Babylon with the relationship they don't want people to know about.
Inverted with Leon Fortunato, as he did not survive said quake. Carpathia, however, has other plans.
Gerald Fitzhugh survives a plunge from a high-rise office in Left Behind: World At War.
Nostalgic Narrator: In the Dramatic Audio version of the book Glorious Appearing, a grown-up Kenny Williams (the son of Buck and Chloe Williams) narrates some of the events that took place in the book from sometime in the future.
Not So Different: Detractors of the series claim that the books' Jesus comes off as the true Antichrist.
Hardly surprising, considering the world just switches one God-Emperor for another.
Although to God's credit, He does allow the Other Light to have their own religion, despite the fact that it's totally in error and that the 100-year age limit for unbelievers is in place. Carpathia, on the other hand, outlawed all religions except for Carpathianism by the midpoint of the Tribulation, forcing people to either take the Mark of the Beast or die, and sometimes just outright killing them after they have taken the mark. God's lethal punishments are reserved for the unbelievers who have committed a crime that is worthy of death, such as the Attempted Rape by a "natural" of a "glorified".
Also notable is that God doesn't use the media as a Propaganda Machine, as Nicolae Carpathia had when he owned the media. Dissenters in the Millennial Kingdom were allowed to have their say regardless of how much in error they really are in contesting God's Word.
Thirdly, no mention of God setting up any "concentration camps" for unbelievers during the Millennium like Nicolae eventually did for the Jews among the prison populations outside Israel in the latter half of the Tribulation. God in this series at least honors people's freedom and their decision to be saved or not before their 100th birthday rolls around.
Though the above rings incredibly hollow due to the fact that an eternity in Hell is probably many orders of magnitude worse to even a few years (and eventual death) in a concentration camp. Still, God leaves the choice of eternal life or eternal death up to the person.
Not What It Looks Like: Chloe goes over to Buck's apartment and sees his Global Weekly office co-worker Alice outside it talking on the phone to her fiancee while delivering stuff to Buck's apartment. Chloe assumes from that that Buck is Alice's fiancee and was playing her for her affections all along. It takes a private talk between Buck and Chloe to straighten the whole matter out.
This also gets carried over into the bouquet of flowers that Chloe assumed Buck had sent her, which she then threw into the trash after witnessing the previously-mentioned assumption. It turns out that the flowers were sent to Chloe by Hattie Durham as a joke.
Kenny Bruce Williams goes through this in Kingdom Come when he was secretly infiltrating the Other Light faction to see what they were planning to do, with an Other Light plant working at the Children of the Tribulation daycare center planting false evidence about Kenny to frame him as a traitor.
The Nudifier: Hinted at in the first book when people are removed from their clothes during the Rapture.
Nuke 'em: So long, London and D.C. Bye-bye, Chicago.
God pouring out fire from the skies to instantly incinerate Satan's The Other Light army is a real big Nuke 'em moment.
Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Left Behind: World At War, the third movie in the original series, was like this because it was only the second half of the second book while Left Behind II: Tribulation Force was the first half.
Older than They Look: Once the Millennium starts in Kingdom Come, all the naturals who enter this time period (either believers or children of believers) experience decreased aging similar to the first several generations of mankind in the book of Genesis, with the children becoming young adults by the time they reach 100. However, naturals who remain unbelievers by the time they reach 100 will instantly die and go to Hell. It's not explained how those who were already adults, including those who were already at advanced age, experience this decreased aging at the same rate as the children who enter the Millennium. By the end of the Millennium, however, the longest-living naturals (who at that point are all believers) end up really showing their age.
This despite the fact that the bullet in question is described several times as a hollow point, which explodes on impact and could not travel through one skull to another, even if it weren't just .38 ammo. .38's aren't that big and do not have that much firing power, a far cry from the hand cannon described in the book. That... and there is literally no way a hollow point bullet could kill two people.
Doesn't happen in the movie. Carpathia shoots twice, with the idea being that it was a murder-suicide.
Jesus using the Word of God to slay the Global Community army en masse certainly qualifies as this.
One True Faith: There's the pantheistic mishmash of all world religions called Enigma Babylon One World Faith as the official one-world religion, but there's also Christianity (as defined by the books' authors and the Tribulation Force characters), Judaism, and Islam (which in the book series ends up being a minority religion), which all become illegal to practice even when Enigma Babylon is replaced by the Luciferian-type state religion of Carpathianism around the midway point of the Tribulation. In the Millennial Kingdom, Christianity becomes the official one-world religion, though dissidents are permitted to practice the beliefs of the Other Light despite the fact that (1) it's totally in error when it comes to believing Satan is going to defeat God and Jesus by the end of the Millennium and (2) those who remain unbelievers in God and Jesus Christ by the time they reach 100 will instantly die and go to Hell.
Only a Flesh Wound: Tsion, Buck and Rayford are grievously injured in the Battle of Armageddon. Rayford survives. Tsion and Buck are not as lucky.
Some bit part characters are only known by nicknames such as Walkie-Talkie and Vest Chest.
The Other Darrin: In the first two movies, Bruce Barnes was played by Clarence Gilyard, Jr., before being replaced by Arnold Pinnock.
Due to scheduling conflicts, Gilyard was unable to reprise his role as Bruce in the third movie. That and since Gilyard is a Roman Catholic, his priest was slightly peeved about him taking the role, given the series' stance on premillennial rapturist theology, and was very happy when Gilyard did not reprise the role.
Plot Relevant Age Leveling: In the third prequel, when the elect are raptured, their glorified bodies are all the same age, 33, no matter where on the -0.75 through +969 spectrum they were in their Earthly lives. This comes from Augustine's claim that one's glorified body will be just like one's 33-year-old body was or would have been, barring anything crippling and/or hideous. It derives from Jesus being 33 when he was crucified.
Poke the Poodle: While Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind books does eventually commit evil such as ordering London nuked and demanding the executions of those who refuse to worship him as god, he gets only passing mention to such atrocities and instead focus on his Poke the Poodle moments such as him dating the hero's former love interest and treating her with respect, or "forgetting" Rayford's new wife's name. As Fred Clark on his Slacktivist page states:
So far, though, it's hard to take him seriously. He's bumblingly through the first stages of his master plan, getting himself hopelessly bogged down in details that seem less evil than simply arbitrary and weird. For example, Nicolae plans to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. That might be considered evil if he were doing it just to desecrate the Islamic holy site currently sitting there in an effort to start a deadly war, but instead he's carefully negotiated an amicable (if ridiculously implausible) solution to this age-old conflict. [snip] Or consider Nicolae's grand scheme of relocating the United Nations headquarters to an as-yet-unbuilt city in the Iraqi desert. That's capricious and foolish, but not so much evil as just terribly wasteful and inconvenient.
If there is a heroic inversion of this trope, then the main characters often play it, (see The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything above.) A lot of their resistance consists of observing Nicolae and internally disapproving, or little gestures designed to embarrass or inconvenience him rather than disrupt his plans or harm him. It would come across as petty, except, you know, they are doing it to the The Antichrist.
Power Glows: Nicolae Carpathia in the book Armageddon gives off a burnt-orange glow while he and most of his Global Community cabinet are stuck in New Babylon during the Fifth Bowl Judgment that causes complete darkness throughout the whole city.
Jesus Himself, as He is "the Light of the world".
Praise The Lord And Pass The Popcorn: In the Dramatic Audio presentation of Glorious Appearing, Rayford Steele plus the entire population of believers in Petra, who was now made near-invulnerable by God during the battle of Armageddon, were like this when they were watching the Antichrist's armies getting decimated by Jesus Christ. Rayford even mentions that all he needs now is the popcorn.
And due to their beliefs about the Rapture, the series' intended audience believe they'll be sitting back in Heaven and enjoying the show while all this goes down.
Biblically speaking, that's what some Old Testament battles Israel had with other nations ended up turning into with God taking over the battles.
Principles Zealot: The protagonists refuse to lie, even to the Anti-Christ. It's a bit undermined by several cases of them telling falsehoods due to bad writing, divine interventions that prevent any negative consequences of not lying, and liberal use of From a Certain Point of View.
Notably averted in the Millennial Kingdom, when dissenters were allowed to have their say regardless of how much in error they are in saying Satan will defeat God at the Final Battle.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: In the Left Behind universe, "good" is defined as "consistent with God's will" (or, to put the same thing another way, God's will is by definition always good).
This blog post gives us an idea of how incidental characters might view the main characters.
Prophecies Are Always Right: Interesting variant: The authors believe the prophecy used in these books is also completely true in the real world. Which makes the characters' praises of how everything in this story is happening exactly as predicted by the prophecy (which is the exact thing the authors believe in and used for writing the story) all the more smug.
Except for when reality intervenes, and the Y2K bug doesn't cause the Anti-Christ to show up as they predicted.
Public Execution: The Global Community televises the execution of Chloe Williams, although Caleb the angel interferes with its broadcast by blanking out the screen at the time of her execution.
Race Lift: Bruce Barnes and Vernon Billings were both Caucasian in the novels while the movies both men were African-American. Also Verna Zee, a Caucasian, became black, and likely a case of Composite Character (Verna with Lucinda Washington).
Raised by Grandparents: In the prequel novels, Rayford's parents are old enough to be his grandparents, as someone mistakes his parents for being his godparents, so this is a subversion of this trope. Slightly subverted again when Rayford helps raise Kenny during the Tribulation.
Rapture Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Happens all the time. Geographic distances are wildly exaggerated or ignored, things happening across a continent can affect the local city but things affecting the local city could be completely ignored in the suburbs, the given explosive payload of bombs are way off from their described effects, the amount of time it takes for a global reorganization is ignored to get that reorganization to happen on schedule with prophecy, etc.
Then again, when does God need to have a sense of scale to do anything, since Rapture writers claim that it's His universe and we're just His creations living in it? As Peter puts it in Scripture, "a day is as a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years as a day".
Jesus does this to Satan yet again in Kingdom Come, right before sending him into the Lake of Fire.
In Assassins, Carpathia himself does this to Eli and Moishe before gunning them down during the Global Gala.
Real-Life Relative: Inverted, as Kirk Cameron (Buck Williams) and Chelsea Noble (Hattie Durham) are married in real life, having met on the set of Growing Pains.
Ironically, Kirk Cameron admitted that his wife had pictured a movie adaptation in her mind with the both of them as Buck and Hattie respectively shortly after completing the first book. Several weeks later, Cameron was notified of the movie adaptation and was tapped for the role of Buck Williams. He got the part of Buck, while Chelsea Noble claimed the role of Hattie.
Reasonable Authority Figure: President Gerald Fitzhugh. He sees that Carpathia is a threat once he loses his power to the American Subpotentate and teams up with his English and Egyptian counterparts to force Carpathia out of office. It does not work, and Fitzhugh winds up getting killed.
Red Herring: Several of them, though not necessarily intentional on the part of the author, who writes as a "process of discovery" meaning that he throws in elements he thinks might be interesting and sees where they lead. This can land in some What Happened to the Mouse? moments among those which do not pan out. He believes that this makes for a more organic and believable story-telling experience, though whether it enhances or detracts from the quality of the writing is a matter of some debate and taste.
Right Wing Militia Fanatic: Portrayed very sympathetically as they are apparently the only people in the entire world, aside from the Tribulation Force, to think that One World Government and Religion is a bad thing. Note that the first book was released less than seven months after the Oklahoma City bombing.
Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Buck Williams in the book Armageddon was ready to go on this when his wife Chloe was captured by the Global Community and then transferred from San Diego to Illinois while she was drugged, but Rayford Steele and the Tribulation Force contingent in San Diego had to talk him down and let God handle her fate.
Robbing the Dead: Some opportunists in the first book of the series have been doing this to the graves of those who have been resurrected in the Rapture.
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Most of humanity dies in various disasters, including actual giant rocks falling out of the sky; many of them get sent to Hell.
Romance-Inducing Smudge: This happens early in the series, when Chloe is eating a cookie and has a bit of chocolate on her cheek. Buck leans over and wipes it off with his thumb, then eats it on impulse. Since the two have become hilariously repressed fundamentalist Christians, this is treated as a huge sexual milestone in their relationship. (Third base comes with chocolate.) Cookies later become a romantic symbol for them, almost to the point of creepy ridiculousness.
Say Your Prayers: The Christian on board the cruise liner stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with no power leads the crew in a final prayer of salvation just before the Giant Wall of Watery Doom hits it in the Dramatic Audio version of Soul Harvest.
Chloe Williams leads an unsaved woman in a prayer of salvation right before her execution in Armageddon.
Even earlier, Demetrius Demeter and Lukas Miklos' wife also lead incarcerated people in prayers of salvation in The Mark.
The Scapegoat: Thanks to Leon Fortunato, Rayford Steele is pinned for Carpathia's murder, despite evidence from Walter Moon showing that Chaim Rosenzweig was the real assassin.
Science Is Wrong: In the book series, science isn't in itself wrong, but it can be (mis)used by the Devil to make people believe that it isn't God behind any of the judgments that were being poured out on mankind during the Tribulation. In the book Apollyon, to emphasize the Propaganda Machine misuse of science to explain the sun giving only one-third of its sunlight due to one of God's Trumpet Judgments, one of the speakers in the so-called live roundtable "discussion" about the said phenomenon isn't even a scientist, but rather an entertainment celebrity.
If anything, science ultimately proves to be useless, particularly against the Bowl Judgments when medical science couldn't figure out how to deal with the outbreak of sores upon those who took the Mark of the Beast and worshiped his image.
The Bowl Judgments affect those who took the mark of loyalty and worshiped the Antichrist's image.
Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Feebly attempted by Buck when Nicolae offers him a job in his inner circle, based on Buck's out-of-nowhere concern for journalistic ethics. Of course, Buck denies Nicolae in person, having been flown from Chicago to New York first class, driven to the meeting in a limousine, and having had lunch at an exclusive Manhattan yacht club, all on Nicolae's dime. Subverted when after all the posturing he takes the job anyway.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Satan during the Millennial Reign. Some people who are part of the Other Light subsect The Only Light believe that Satan purposely sealed himself away so that he will be powerful enough to overthrow God (whom the Only Light members believe don't exist despite visible evidence to the contrary) and those that will follow Him. As keeping with what the book of Revelation says, Satan does get released to lead the Other Light army at the end of the Millennium, only for his entire army to be smoked to ashes by God in seconds, and for Satan to be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Secret Relationship: David Hassid and Annie Christopher have this kind of relationship in the series while they're both working for Nicolae Carpathia in New Babylon, with the additional secret being that they're also Christian believers. Unfortunately, Annie was killed during Carpathia's "resurrection" in The Indwelling when Leon Fortunato called down lightning to slay the disloyal among the gatherers at the funeral.
Show, Don't Tell: Just look at this excerpt, for instance. We are told that Nicolae Carpathia "spoke earnestly, with passion, with a frequent smile, and with occasional, appropriate humor", not shown this. We are told that it is a "touching scene", rather than shown why. We are told that Carpathia has a "grasp of history" and "photographic memory of dates and places". We are told that he spoke "with electricity and power". It should be noted that two-thirds of Carpathia's speech is simply reading out the names of every country in the United Nations, before then proceeding to name all the UN agencies and random facts about them. Instead of actually writing a speech that was genuinely captivating and inspiring, the authors simply resorted to Take Our Word for It.
Significant Anagram: Chaim Rosenzweig as his alter ego Micah, which really is an anagram of Chaim.
Slipping a Mickey: Chloe Williams in Armageddon drank a milkshake with a drug in it that put her to sleep, enabling the GC to transfer her from San Diego to Illinois.
Smug Snake: Nicolae is pretty clearly supposed to be seen as a purely evil but still scarily charismatic and competent Magnificent Bastard (not unlike Star Wars' Emperor), but he actually comes off as trying too hard without really knowing what he's doing. (Then again, if someone is charismatic enough to make a recitation of UN trivia riveting, maybe they do deserve to be a Magnificent Bastard...) His subordinates, namely Leon and Peter Matthews, are more deliberate Smug Snakes.
To a large extent, the protagonists themselves tend to come across as this. They are seemingly aware of their Canon Sue status and not inclined to doubt it while everyone else sings their praise. They may not speak every smug thought they have, but the reader gets to see a lot of their internal reactions to things. To quote Fred Clark:
"For LaHaye & Jenkins, hubris doesn't precede a fall. They regard it, instead, as a sign of godliness."
Some Call Me Tim: Buck's real name is Cameron Williams, of which he goes by in Kingdom Come, and Mac McCullum first name is Montgomery. Also, Gustaf Zuckermandel Sr. and Jr. go by Big Zeke and Zeke respectively. Annie Christopher's real name is Angela and Hattie's short for Harriet
The Something Force: The Tribulation Force in the main book series, the Millennium Force in Kingdom Come.
Spared by the Adaptation: Rayford's co-pilot Christopher Smith, who committed suicide after finding out his wife died and his children were taken up in the Rapture in the first book, ended up becoming a Christian in the 2000-2005 film series.
Spiteful Spit: Mainyu Mazda in Armageddon, at Albie's thought that the region mark he has is an authentic "mark of loyalty", though he still serves the GC by collecting bounty for the disloyal.
Stealth Pun: The cellular phone implant during the Millennium in Kingdom Come. It gives new meaning to the term "a ringing in your ears."
Stupid Evil: Nicolae, Leon, and Satan follow Biblical prophecies through to the letter throuhgout the entire series, despite the fact that said prophecies end with them getting their asses royally handed to them by Jesus and God. In one particularly egregious moment, Indwelt!Nicolae claims he will have a "surprise" waiting for Jesus when he descends from Heaven for Armageddon. That surprise? The exact same army the Bible specifically describes being there and then being absolutely destroyed when Jesus comes down.
Super Senses: Being Born Again gives Buck a kind of Truth-O-Vision at the end of the first book/movie; he, and he alone, can see through the Antichrist's veil of deceit with the shooting incident at the United Nations, and knows what really happened.
It also happens in Assassins, where Buck realizes that Nicolae Carpathia had just hypnotized the audience into not caring about the coming announcement of Pope Peter the Second's death at the Global Gala.
Super Speed: In Glorious Appearing, the Remnant in Petra make a divine-assisted mad dash from Petra to Jerusalem. Hilarious in the Dramatic Audio as both Rayford and Mac joke about Abdullah being passed by pedestrians on foot.
Sweet and Sour Grapes: Two of the main protagonists are offered jobs by the Antichrist, jobs that, were they offered by anyone else would seem like dream jobs. The characters are reluctant to take those jobs, rightly seeing them as tests of temptation before them. After some initial reluctance, they take the jobs anyway, as they feel that taking them was "God's will."
In any other story, the following rationalization would be Foreshadowing of some kind of Face-Heel Turn, even if we didn't already know that the Big Bad was capable of mind control. In this story, it's considered valid.
His job was ferrying Nicolae Carpathia wherever he wanted to go, and for some reason, Rayford felt compelled to sublimate his wishes, his desires, his will, and his logic. God had laid this in his lap for some reason, and as long as he didn’t have to live a lie, at least for now he would do it.
Take Your Time: In book 3, Buck is on the phone with Chloe when the latter wrecks her car and the line goes dead. Buck still has time to faff about taking calls from his father and other inconsequential things before he finally rushes off to find her.
Taking You with Me: Near the end of Left Behind: World At War, President Gerald Fitzhugh attempts to take down Nicolae Carpathia by having a missile being fired directly toward him while he was meeting Carpathia in his office. Unfortunately, Carpathia survives.
Tattooed Crook: Mainyu Mazda, a shady Middle Eastern black market dealer, tattoos himself and the victims he has killed with an M, and when Albie pays him a visit to discuss having the GC's meeting place in Al Hillah bugged for money, he is in the process of getting another M tattooed on himself, saying that sometimeshe even gets them in advance.
The "crook" part comes when he promises Albie that he will have the job done as long as he has the money, and then decides not to do the job after all and keep the money all for himself when he murders Albie.
Technology Marches On: You can tell how old the earlier books are by their lack of cell phones and their ilk. In the written-in-2005-and-2006 prequels, though...
Teen Genius: Chang Wong, computer nerd recruited by the bad guys (but used as the good guys' mole) before he is even done with high school.
Naomi Tiberias, Chang's romantic interest is also a whiz in her own right, as she runs the Petra tech center.
The Theocracy: The Millennial Kingdom government, which consists of God as ultimate ruler, Jesus as the ruler of the world, King David as the ruler of Israel, and the apostles as the rulers of the twelve tribes of Israel.
There Are No Global Consequences: God miraculously destroying Russia's military and vacuuming up 20% of the global population has absolutely NO effect on day-to-day life after the first few hours of panic.
That's nothing. In the last couple of books, you get two or three huge asteroids hitting the Earth, the oceans turning to blood, and the sun suddenly blasting out tremendous waves of heat and light powerful enough to reduce metal buildings to slag (the Global Community Palace is reduced to a metal shell when this happens). The only people that survived are the True Believers and Nicolae (who is immune), and people who managed to get to a shelter within the first few minutes. Every forest on Earth should have been ablaze, virtually all animal life that was exposed to the sun during that period should have been fried (we see one unfortunate dog that didn't get to shade in time die horribly, so we know that animals aren't immune), and virtually all of humanity would have been doomed. The oceans (which were turned into blood previously; killing everything in them, including the plankton that all life on Earth depends) would boil and evaporate, leading to massive hurricanes striking everywhere. The atmosphere would be rendered unbreathable. Asphalt roads would liquefy. Rock might turn to lava. The list goes on and on. And yet a few months after that blazing solar storm, which came after the seas of blood, global earthquakes, and the asteroids, Carpathia still has enough infrastructure (all the world's cities are still standing after that because we hear them all report about New Babylon) to create the biggest army the world has ever seen, and equip each every one with a horse to ride on. Maybe there would have been enough people left over, but I doubt anyone thought to save that many horses when they were fleeing for cover. After that one event, that should have been no need for Jesus to come back to slay the remaining unbelievers at Armageddon. Every single one of them would have been dead or dying.
Which only underscores that not only is God running the whole show, but God is also holding all things together, even beyond the point where human understanding of physics, nature, and science would find it impossible. Word of God's got to be fulfilled, and He will make sure that it is, right down to the last jot and tittle. Can't have an Armageddon if you don't have a bunch of pissed-off anti-God, anti-Jew, and anti-Christian people whipped up into a frothing frenzy living long enough to gather as an army to try killing God's Son.
Interestingly, this is both averted and exaggerated in the same series. The books seem to claim that only a tiny fraction of adults have the necessary beliefs to be raptured, but then exaggerates the consequences as if they represented a huge chunk of society. Entire parking garages full of abandoned cars, planes falling out of the sky (the entire crew was evangelical?), and most amusingly, a completely abandoned row of cabs at O'Hare airport. Of all the stereotypes they hit in this book, the foreign Sikh/Hindu/Muslim cabbie is the one they avoid.
The sheer number of plane crashes that blocked runways is especially odd. Rayford's flight to London is diverted to Chicago, despite the fact there are crashed airliners (plural) on that airport's runways. That a large number of flights are still diverted to this airport suggest all other airports are worse. It's as if every PMD-Christian pilot was trying to land his plane at the exact time of the rapture.
The pilot of a Concorde, bound for the US from France, reports that his flight "lost nearly fifty" passengers in the Rapture. Concorde carried exactly 100 passengers. As Fred Clark puts it, "LaHaye and Jenkins would have us believe that nearly 50 born-again, evangelical Christian millionaires were visiting Paris and were willing and able to spare no expense to return to New York City as fast, and in as much luxury, as humanly possible." However, there could have been children on board that were raptured.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: A couple of thermobaric missiles and a 'daisy cutter' is indeed overkill, as said payload is dropped onto Petra on Carpathia's orders. Too bad it doesn't work out the way he had hoped.
Which has absolutely nothing on Russia launching every single nuclear and conventional weapon it had against Israel, a country which (in real life) is smaller than Massachusetts.
Thermal Dissonance: All over the place with the Tribulation Force and believers in Christ during the lethal Heat Wave caused by one of God's Bowl Judgments in the book series, as vehicles and structures owned and used by them are protected from the high temperatures.
Time Skip: A few of them right in Kingdom Come. It starts off at the beginning of the Millennium, then jumps to 93 years later where it stays for most of the story, then it jumps right to the end of the Millennium.
Several time jumps are evident in the main storyline and prequel novels.
Events occur that would cause Richard Dawkins or other hard-core atheists to spontaneously convert to some form of religion, yet somehow the non-believers depicted in the series refuse to see it, even when it becomes too evident to just be dismissed.
Nicolae Carpathia fulfills Scriptural prophecy about himself to a T without any deviation, thinking that he's going to succeed against God and Jesus Christ despite growing evidence that he isn't.
Took a Level in Dumbass: Both sides, but most notably the villains competence is kept at a far lower level than the protagonists, barring a few exceptions.
Totally Radical: Some of the lingo used by the characters reveals the eras that the authors grew up in.
"Well, sir, I don’t know what to tell you, but it is a pity you’re not getting the services of the new pilot. I know him and he’s tops."
Translator Microbes: Subverted in the series. Though the Antagonist is the Anti-Christ and has the power of mass-hypnosis, he still speaks nearly every major language and will give speeches in all of them. Consecutively.
Played straight with the Christian characters when preaching, though, in that the Holy Spirit makes it so that everyone hears the sermons in their own languages.
Trash the Set: The Abomination of Desolation (Carpathia defiling the rebuilt Temple with pig's blood and placing his image and throne inside the rebuilt Temple) in Desecration.
God Himself destroying the desecrated Temple in Kingdom Come.
Trilogy Creep: Was originally planned to be one novel, then was changed to a trilogy, and ultimately ended up being thirteen books, not counting prequels or spin-offs.
Truth Serums: Chloe Williams was given one by the GC while she was incarcerated in a Statesville, IL prison in the book Armageddon. However, with God's help, Chloe was able to not give the GC any answers regarding the Tribulation Force.
Try Not to Die: In the Dramatic Audio of Apollyon, after going through the escape plan to get Tsion, Chloe and Buck out of Israel, Rayford asks for some more advice from Mac. Mac's response: "Don't get shot."
Veganopia: In the Millennium Kingdom, everyone is a vegetarian. It was only at the wedding feast at the beginning of the Millennium that the meat restriction was lifted for that event.
Vehicular Sabotage: In the Dramatic Audio adaptation of Glorious Appearing, some GC hooked up grenades to Mac McCullum's helicopter in the hopes that it would blow up when he takes off in it. The sabotage fails to destroy the helicopter, though, thanks to Mac's faith in God.
Villain Ball: Several minor bad guys seem to do their evil business the old-fashioned way, ignoring the opportunities the Rapture presents. Like the burglar who robs Steele's house instead of one of the many abandoned homes where the families where Raptured, and stealing a child's bike (every child on the planet has vanished, remember?). Or the Supreme Council Of Vagueness who stages a faked suicide when killing Buck's insider. This is within two days tops since more than a billion people worldwide vanished without a trace, which suggest a much better way to cover up the murder.
Was Too Hard On Them: An extreme example. God or Jesus Christ didn't enjoy bringing the final judgement to the wicked, as Jesus sadly watches the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and all those who rejected Him throughout the ages go to their appointed doom.
Wartime Wedding: If you count the seven-year Tribulation period as being a war, then the few weddings that took place during it of Tribulation Force members Rayford Steele and Amanda White, Buck Williams and Chloe Steele, amd Ming Toy and Ree Woo would count in the main book series. (Judd Thompson Jr. and Vicki Byrnes of the Young Tribulation Force would also count.) Rayford's marriage to Amanda lasts for about three months at the most, as Amanda died in a plane crash during the Wrath Of The Lamb earthquake, and Buck's marriage to Chloe lasts until a year before Jesus Christ's glorious appearing at the Battle of Armageddon, when she is captured and put to death by the Global Community. The only bright spot of Buck and Chloe's wedding is that they have produced a son, Kenny Bruce, during the years they were married.
We All Live in America: When Chang Wong meets an elder, he is reprimanded for wearing a hat in the elder's presence. He apologizes, saying that he is covering up a disgrace (the Mark of the Beast he was forced to take). However, in China, it is disrespectful not to be wearing a hat in the presence of an elder or at a formal occasion.
And of course, there's the humble Wartime Weddings of Rayford Steele and Amanda White, Buck Williams and Chloe Steele, Ming Toy and Ree Woo, and from The Kids series, Judd Thompson Jr. and Vicki Byrnes.
What Happened to the Mouse?: We're told that Russia emptied their arsenals at Israel. We're told that the attack failed completely. We're not told how things went for Russia afterwards, now that they had shown their willingness to use nuclear force and were unable to retaliate to attacks.
Another element that gets buried with no resolution is the document Bruce Barnes was working on before his death, that the Tribulation Force spend a lot of ink, paper, and money trying to print out.
What the Hell, Hero?: When it comes to anything Hattie-related, Rayford does some very reckless things. Leah Rose and Albie call him out on that.
Where Are They Now: In Kingdom Come, we see the fates of the extended members of the Tribulation Force.
Wicked Cultured: Attempted (not particularly successfully) with Nicolae Carpathia.
Widowed at the Wedding: In the first book, the Rapture takes place at the same time that a couple is getting married, and the groom (who is a Christian) is the one who gets taken up, leaving the bride without her husband. Technically he's only Ascended To A Higher Plane Of Existence, but imagine how crushed she would feel to see her husband mysteriously vanish leaving only his tuxedo behind.
World-Healing Wave: A rather slow one, as God and Jesus spend a few months restoring the earth to its former beauty following the end of the Tribulation to make it new for the Millennial Kingdom.
Also possibly played straight in Glorious Appearing, when a nearly devastated Jerusalem is instantly restored and void of any dead bodies littering the streets after Jesus gets rid of the Global Community.
World War III: Plays a major part in the series, as it is part of prophecy. New York, Washington, D.C., London and parts of Egypt are destroyed in the process.
Worst News Judgment Ever: Every child on the planet has just disappeared, along with a great many Christians. The planet is plagued by horrific plane crashes and car accidents as a result. The Pope himself is gone, and the Catholic church has fallen into disarray. What stories do Global Weekly consider the most important to cover? A convention of Jews in New York, and a recent recall election in Romania. This stuff wouldn't be front page material on a slow day.
There is a throwaway line that retcons that those events were covered in the previous issue (as if they wouldn't still be news a week later).
At the end of the Millennial Period in Kingdom Come, Jesus returned the Kingdom to His Father and became "subject to Him (God) that subjected all things under His (Jesus) feet."
You Can See That, Right?: In The Remnant, Mac McCullum sees the Archangel Michael beckoning him to come down to the river near a water dam in India. He asks his companions Abdullah Smith and Albie if they also see him, and Abdullah says it's probably a "cowboy marriage" (he meant "mirage").
You Can't Fight Fate: Inverted in that the bad guys are prophesied in the Bible to lose, and that every knee must bow before Jesus and every tongue must declare Him as Lord.
The Dramatic Audio presentation of Glorious Appearing turns the humiliation of the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and their demonic cohorts into a Kneel Before Zod moment.
One of the most jarring, unrealistic aspects of the series is how not one person in the world even tries to fight fate. In fact, just the opposite: the protagonists voluntarily go to work for the Antichrist and help bring about his goals because they believe the Antichrist has to win (in the short term) for their prophesied end to occur.
Carpathia: There are those among you, however, who have referred overtly to me personally as the Antichrist and this period of history as the Tribulation. You may take the following as my personal pledge...the word tribulation will not begin to describe what is in store for you. If the last three and a half years are your idea of tribulation, wait until you endure the Great Tribulation.
You Haven't Seen the Last of X: A heroic example: in the Dramatic Audio version of Assassins, the Two Witnesses at the end of their 1260 days of prophesying warn the crowd that though they will see the last of them, they will not see the last of Jesus Christ.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the prequel books, Marilena Carpathia, the mother of Nicolae Carpathia, was killed off when Nicolae, still a child, was old enough to be cared for by his mentor Viv Ivins. His two biological fathers, who were living together off payments from the corporation that funded the genetic project that brought forth Nicolae, were later killed off.
Also pretty much applies to anyone in Nicolae's circle of advisers in the Global Community.
Carpathia tries to pull this on Rayford and Hattie. It does not work.
Your Days Are Numbered: Conversed with Nicolae Carpathia and Buck Williams in the Dramatic Audio version of the book Desecration.