The Late, Great Planet Earth
|The Late, Great Planet Earth|
Carole C. Carlson
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
The Late, Great Planet Earth is the title of a best-selling 1970 book co-authored by Hal Lindsey and Carole C. Carlson, and first published by Zondervan. The book was adapted by Rolf Forsberg and Robert Amram in 1979 into a movie narrated by Orson Welles and released by Pacific International Enterprises. It was originally ghost-written by Carlson, whom later printings credited as co-author. Lindsey and Carlson went on to write several sequels, including Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth and The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon.
Premise and plot 
The Late, Great Planet Earth is a treatment of literalist, premillennial, dispensational eschatology. As such, it compared end-time prophecies in the Bible with then-current events in an attempt to broadly predict future scenarios leading to the rapture of believers before the tribulation and Second Coming of Christ to establish his thousand-year (i.e. millennial) Kingdom on Earth. Focusing on key passages in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation, Lindsey originally suggested the possibility that these climactic events might play out in the 1980s, which he interpreted as one generation from the foundation of modern Israel in 1948, a pivotal event in most evangelical (especially conservative evangelical) schools of eschatological thought. Cover art on the Bantam edition boldly suggested that the 1970s were the "era of the Antichrist as foretold by Moses and Jesus," and called the book "a penetrating look at incredible ancient prophecies involving this generation." Descriptions of alleged "fulfilled" prophecy were offered as proof of the infallibility of God's Word, and evidence that "unfulfilled" prophecies would soon find their denouement in God's plan for the planet.
He cited an increase in the frequency of famines, wars and earthquakes, as key events leading up to the end of the world. He also foretold a Soviet invasion of Israel (War of Gog and Magog). Like many previous books, The Late, Great Planet Earth postulated an Antichrist ruling over a ten-member or ten-nation European confederacy. Lindsey believed that what was then the six-member European Economic Community (later the 27-member European Union) could be a forerunner of this confederacy, which he considered to be a revival of the Roman Empire. He found little in the Bible that could represent the United States of America, but he suggested that Ezekiel 13:13 could be speaking of the United States in part.
Although Lindsey did not claim to know the dates of future events with any certainty, he suggested that Matthew 24:32-34 indicated that Jesus' return might be within "one generation" of the rebirth of the state of Israel, and the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, and Lindsey asserted that "in the Bible" one generation is forty years. Some readers took this as an indication that the Tribulation or the Rapture would occur no later than 1988. In his 1980 work The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon, Lindsey predicted that "the decade of the 1980s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it".
Popular culture 
The Late, Great Planet Earth was the first Christian prophecy book to be picked up by a secular publisher (Bantam, 1973) and sell many copies. Despite some dated content, 28 million copies had sold by 1990. The film, The Late Great Planet Earth, narrated by Orson Welles, was one of the top grossing domestic movies in 1979.
See also 
- 2012 phenomenon
- Apocalyptic literature
- Bible prophecy
- Death from the Skies, book
- Human extinction
- Unfulfilled religious prophecies
- Texe Marrs, The Scandal of Christian Ghostwriting
- Bart D. Ehrman, MDiv, PhD. Historical Jesus. 'Prophet of the New Millennium.' The Teaching Company, 2000, Lecture 24.