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Tribulation Force
Book Series Left Behind
Author Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
Publisher Tyndale House Publishing
Release Date 1996
Preceded By Left Behind
Followed By Nicolae

Tribulation Force: The Continuing Drama of Those Left Behind is the second novel in the Left Behind series]], by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

Plot introduction

In a series of events that followed the Rapture, in which Jesus Christ takes away members of his church from Earth, some find themselves left behind. Eventually they meet at New Hope Village Church, located in the suburbs of Chicago. They then meet from time to time and become immersed in study of prophecies contained in the Bible. Their study reveals that the Antichrist will establish control of the Earth, and the Tribulation period lasting seven years will start after his covenant with Israel. Jesus Christ's second coming will fall on the end of the Tribulation.

Explanation of the novel's title

In the course of their study, they form a core group which Chloe Steele christens the "Tribulation Force", dedicated to fight the seven years' war with the Antichrist.

Plot summary

Rayford Steele, Chloe Steele, Buck Williams and Bruce Barnes find themselves left behind. This group of believers, as well as others left behind but becoming believers, are otherwise known as "Tribulation saints", to differentiate from the pre-Rapture designation of Christian. The question of what to do in response to this radical change in situation arises. They propose to fight the perceived threat that Antichrist Nicolae Carpathia poses, both with the signing of the seven-year agreement between the Global Community and Israel that ushers in the seven-year Tribulation period, and with Nicolae purchasing all the media corporations and publications. In addition, Nicolae supports the formation of a unified religious group that would be called Enigma Babylon One World Faith, with Roman Catholic archbishop Peter Mathews nominated as its spiritual leader. Meanwhile, the world-famous rabbi Dr. Tsion Ben-Judah is ready to reveal to the world the truth he discovered about who is the Messiah from his years of study. Buck flies to Jerusalem to meet Ben-Judah and present him to the two witnesses (described in Revelation) stationed at the Wailing Wall. Following the signing of the agreement, Ben-Judah makes the startling revelation from his research that Jesus is the one and only Messiah, thus disproving Carpathia and instantly making himself and his family an enemy of his own people.

During the prophesied eighteen months of peace following the covenant with Israel, Chloe and Buck are married, along with Rayford and new believer Amanda White. Bruce Barnes travels all around the world to evangelize the gospel to the nations and to meet with The 144,000 that were chosen by the two witnesses. However, both Buck, who becomes publisher of Global Community Weekly, formerly Global Weekly, and Rayford, who is handpicked to pilot Carpathia’s jet, are in the distressing position of watching Carpathia, now Supreme Potentate of the U.N. - now reorganized into the Global Community - strengthen his grip on the world, witnessing how he orchestrates World War III to bring the former world powers under his heel. Buck has a talk with United States President Gerald Fitzhugh, who was now stripped of his power and is now also planning with the militia forces to strike against Carpathia. As World War III breaks out, the Tribulation Force suffers its first casualty in the death of their pastor, Bruce Barnes, who was killed in a bombing in the now-decimated city of Chicago.

Characters in Tribulation Force

Major themes

Christian prophetic themes are explored in a fictional context taking a particular position on such topics as the Second Coming, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, and the Millennium.

Film or TV adaptations

The story in this book has been adapted into two feature films. The first "Left Behind II: Tribulation Force" and the second more loosely based "Left Behind: World at War"


  • The book has been criticized for having the pope preceding Peter Mathews being raptured.