|Book Series||Left Behind|
|Author||Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins|
|Publisher||Tyndale House Publishing|
|Preceded By||Glorious Appearing (publishing order)|
|Followed By||The Regime|
The Rising: Antichrist Is Born/Before They Were Left Behind is the first of a prequel trilogy to the Left Behind Series, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins and published in 2005.
The story starts about 34 years prior to the Rapture, and alternates between the story of Nicolae Carpathia, the main antagonist of the series, and that of Rayford Steele, the main protagonist of the series. It also focuses on Irene Steele becoming a believer.
Marilena Carpathia, a university student in Romania who is married to her professor and colleague Sorin Carpathia, has lived a marriage devoid of any love and now desires to have a child, despite her husband not wishing to have one with her. Her desire has her seek out a group of spiritualists led by a Luciferian named Viviana Ivinisova, who tells the seeking Marilena that loyalty to her lord can give her the baby she wants so badly. As she contemplates this, Jesus speaks to her, trying to dissuade her from going along with such a plan. Marilena refuses to listen and even rejects Jesus, choosing instead to accept Viviana's faith as her own for the sake of having a child.
Nicolae begins to show remarkable intelligence even as an infant, being able to walk and talk before most children. Nicolae becomes fluent in numerous languages, and becomes manipulative towards other kids in school as he grows up. In a plan by Viv Ivins, Nicolae bites Marilena, poisoning her. Right before she dies, Marilena asks God to forgive her for what she's done. Nicolae gets a council of advisors, and soon becomes a wealthy millionaire in his early 20s, running an import/export industry.
Sometime after Nicolae became a powerful businessman, a demon took him into the desert where he fasted for forty days, as Jesus did at the beginning of His earthly ministry. After the forty days, the demon led Nicolae through the same three temptations that Jesus withstood: when Nicolae was told to command the stones to become bread, he spoke and so they became bread; when Nicolae was told to throw himself off the high point of the Temple, he did so and managed to land safely; and when Nicolae was told he could have all the kingdoms in the world if he bowed down and worshiped Lucifer, he was bowing down and worshiping him. Soon after, he returned to Romania, ready for service unto his lord.
Rayford Steele enters the story as a 10 year-old boy who is embarrassed by his family's low socio-economic stature, and decides that he is going to attend college and become either a professional athlete or a pilot. He has friends that play videogames with him that try to share their faith in Jesus Christ with him, which he doesn't accept. One day when his mother went into a store while he waited in the car, it seemed that she took more time than usual to leave and assumed the worst, so Rayford prayed to God about her and then called his father on a cell phone to ask about her when his mother returned, wondering what he was doing. As he was later scolded by his parents for making them worry needlessly over something rather minor, Rayford took back what he prayed to God for.
Rayford becomes a ROTC in College, and dates a Fraternity girl named Katherine Wyliens, who mocks his family, and tries to control and manipulate him, while he becomes friends with a fellow ROTC student named Irene. Rayford eventually breaks up with Katherine, and pursues a relationship with Irene. Nearly as soon as he marries Irene, his father begins to show signs of Alzheimer's Disease, which slowly begins to develop in his mother as well, as their daughter Chloe is born. Rayford also becomes a pilot for Pan-Continental Airways, which is one of the world's largest airlines.
Irene and Rayford have another child, this time a son which they name Rayford Steele Jr. (nicknamed "Raymie.") During a conversation with her friend Jackie, Irene realizes that just going to church, and trying to be a good person isn't enough to be saved and go to heaven. That night, she accepts Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and becomes born-again.
Characters In The Rising
- Rayford Steele, ROTC officer who becomes a pilot for Pan-Continental
- Irene Steele, ROTC officer who becomes the wife of Rayford Steele prior to the Rapture
- Chloe Steele, daughter of Rayford Steele
- Nicolae Carpathia, the future Antichrist
- Marilena Carpathia, the mother of Nicolae Carpathia
- Sorin Carpathia, the former husband of Marilena Carpathia
- Viv Ivins, spiritual mentor to both Marilena and Nicolae Carpathia
- Jonathan Stonagal, international businessman
- Reiche Planchette, part of Project People's Victory