Questions and Answers
Is Jesus coming back before 2018?
(laughs) That's a loaded question that will make the pundit's ears stand up. Let me preface by saying this: No one can know the day or hour. Jesus specifically said this. However, we can know the season. The problem with any type of date setting is that the critics keep harping about the all the weirdoes who set exact dates and times which was not Scriptural.
So again, is Jesus coming back before 2018?
I believe He is if you believe a Biblical generation is 70 years and if you believe the trigger for the clock to start ticking was 1948 when Israel became a nation. That means we are the final generation.
Explain what a 'final generation' is?
Jesus taught us that the generation which sees the 'budding of the fig tree', the birth of the nation Israel in 1948, will be the generation that sees the Lord's return. However, it's conceivable that Jesus is dating the beginning of the generation from 1967, when Jerusalem was again under Israeli control for the first time since 587 B.C.
What constitutes a generation?
Some believe it's 40 years. That's the time it took for that generation to die in the wilderness following Israel's disobedience. Others believe it's 51.4 years if you divide the Biblical genealogies in Matthew 1:17. But the general consensus seems to be 70 years as Psalm 90:10 defines a generation as "The days of our years are threescore years and ten" or 70 years. Thus, if you add 70 years to 1948 you arrive at 2018.
In your book, most of the characters die in the end. Was this your vision?
Absolutely. I wanted to portray the Rapture as a very serious, sobering, and tragic event. It's not a soap opera and it's not the haunted mansion for kids in the suburbs. It's a righteous judgment that befalls on a Christ-rejecting civilization. I'm very passionate about writing a realistic portrayal of the Rapture.
What is your take on the 'Left Behind' series?
First off, I love Jerry Jenkins and Tim Lahaye. I've met Jerry and I know his son, Dallas, well. He came to the premiere of my second movie. I've also been honored to know Tim's grandson, Randy. I think they helped set in motion what would have taken 100 more years to do: namely, let people around the world know we're in the final days. I agree with Tim that this was a 'God-thing'.
What is your next book, Final: Year Two on?
It will again look at four more characters, but this time the setting will be London, Bangkok, Sydney, and other locations around the world.
And the characters will die again?
Most will, yes. But this is the Tribulation. And death, like in 'Year One' can be uplifting. You will die knowing Christ.
Why study or read about the End Times at all?
Jesus told us that no man knows the day or the hour of His return. But of the times and season we are not to be ignorant. 1 Thessalonians 5:1 says: "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you." And of course Jesus said, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near".
We know Jesus is not playing "Simon Says" and when He says 'look up', He really means to look up. We are to be prepared. Unfortunately so many of us are playing 'Christian' and not really expecting the Lord to return at all.
Explain why the Rapture is Biblical?
Because the entire Bible is clear that will be two distinct events, the Rapture and the Second Coming. The church was not present during the first 69 weeks in Daniel's prophecy and it won't be present in the last week.
The best verse that solidifies the Rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
In Latin, this expression 'caught up' is rapere, from which "rapture" is derived. I much prefer 'rapere' over 'rapture' as the word 'rapture' is too overused to have the biting significance it needs. Also, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 that reads: "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." If you look at God's character, he doesn't bring sweeping judgment on the righteous and wicked. Abraham asked the Lord if he would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah over 10 righteous people and God said 'no'. He then 'rapered' Lot and his family. Same with Noah. He was rapered in the boat.
Finally, Christ can't come as a 'thief in the night' if we are to go through the Tribulation as we will all know the exact day following the abomination of desolation by the Anti-Christ; nor can He separate the sheep from the goats. If the rapture occurs at the same time as the second coming, all believers would be gone. This would leave only unbelievers or the 'goats' So there wouldn't be any separation of the sheep and goat because there would only be goats thus rendering Matthew 25 invalid.
You've mentioned during the times when you were at Harvard, and later as an attorney, you were hostile towards Christianity? Can you explain?
I told many people that Christianity should be abolished. I persecuted Christians and mocked them. I tore up the Bible my mother gave me and threw it into the trashcan.
I truly believed at the time that Christianity was a fraternity for nice people from the suburbs. I later discovered how wrong I was.
What changed you?
I was in the Philippines after having gone to a strip club - one of many - and I came back to my hotel and had a nervous breakdown. Anyone, who's ever had one, knows it's the worst possible medical condition to get. It's not amusing like Hollywood loves to make light of. I had red marks all over my chest from scratching myself because I couldn't stand the sound of the air conditioner in the hotel. It grew louder and louder.
I got down on my knees and committed my life to Jesus Christ right there. The worst day of my life turned out to be the best day of my life.
And by the way, I didn't spend a single hour with a shrink, didn't take any medication, and didn't do any yoga - I was made whole through Jesus Christ. It didn't take 12 steps with me, only one. I may be the exception, but I believe in the power of God Almighty.
You wrote and directed the #1 international, best-selling Christian film, 'The Genius Club' starring Stephen Baldwin and the perennial best-selling film, 'Gone', which was seen by 1.2 million people, when do expect to direct 'Final'?
We're going to shoot 'Final' in early-2010, God-willing, and release it into the theaters in the fall 2010.
Are you looking for investors?
We're always looking for Christian investors. Movie-making is powerful evangelism and extremely rewarding. I tell investors if the Lord is leading them, it's one of the most magnificent and adventurous ways to bring glory to Christ. Just think Ben Hur and that sums it up. We need more great Christian movies.
What are the benefits of investing in Christian film?
There are many, but the big one, of course, is fulfilling the Great Commission. Our films have been translated into different languages and have gone to all four corners of the earth. 'The Genius Club' was in the theaters in Mexico for 11 months and was also one of the best-selling films in Japan. It's hitting people who normally wouldn't go to church.
Another is tax incentives. The 2004 Jobs Creation Act specifically has a provision for film investing where you can deduct 100% of your film investment in the first year. Before, it was amortized in 5 years. Now, if you need to get into the lower income bracket immediately, you can use this provision to lower your taxes. You can discuss this with your tax advisor.