Thursday 20 November 2014

Guest Blogger, Author Martin Roth: Interview with Lela Gilbert: Rescuing Persecuted Christians – Her New Novel

Earlier this year, I reviewed Martin Roth's Brother Half Angel Thriller series and loved it immensely. It introduced me to the subject of the persecuted Christian Church. In this series, Roth had a Korean church form a Christian special ops team specifically to rescue and aid those Christians in either Churches or other Christian organisations that are being persecuted in countries around the world. 

This topic is a passion of Roth's and a burden on his heart. It definitely sparked a passion and burden on mine as well. So when I saw Roth interview Lela Gilbert with her new book, The Levine Affair: Angel's Flight, on the same topic and sub-genre, I wanted to promote both their books in this blog and encourage readers to consider our fellow Christians who are suffering for the cause of Christ in other countries who live under a hostile regime towards Christianity and all things relating to the the God of the Bible. 

Lela's new book is one I will definitely be reading. I don't want to miss this one!

Go here for my reviews of Martin's Brother Half Angel Thrillers:

I hope you enjoy reading the following interview between Martin Roth and Lela Gilbert:

Rescuing Persecuted Christians – A New Novel from Lela Gilbert

Lela Gilbert is a prolific writer, with a particular focus (like myself) on the persecuted church, and also on Israel. Among her books are the excellent Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (with Paul Marshall and Nina Shea) and Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner.
She also writes articles for a variety of publications, including the Jerusalem Post and the Weekly Standard.
Her latest book is a thriller, The Levine Affair: Angel’s Flight, which tells the story of a team of commandoes working to help persecuted Christians. This resonated with me, as my Brother Half Angel Thrillers have a vaguely similar theme. Lela kindly agreed to answer some questions about the book.
You have authored or co-authored many non-fiction books. Why did you now decide to write a novel?
Some people prefer fiction to non-fiction for their spare-time reading. But even in non-fiction, it is always effective to interweave stories of real people – to put a “face” on a situation, to embody it. I thought it might be effective to build a novel around people that readers could relate to, and to help them see the terrifying reality of Sharia law, mob violence and religiously-inspired cruelty.
Please tell me a little about it.
I wrote three novels and two children’s books in the early 90s and found them much easier and more enjoyable to write than non-fiction. But, of course, unless they are huge sellers they are not very profitable. So they are kind of a leisure-time pursuit in my view – at least at this point of my life. But in this case, I thought it was worth the time and trouble to bring to life the real story of Christian persecution in Nigeria. Sadly,  it’s worse now than it was when I wrote it.

It has a theme of Christian persecution. Is it purely fiction, or are parts of it factual?
Just about every story in Angel’s Flight is based either on a real news story or on a military operation that actually took place, although not necessarily there. And of course the reality of Boko Haram is well-known now, more dangerous than ever.
As for religious persecution – I co-authored a major book on this subject called Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians, which came out in 2012. And my best known book, Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Visitor also looks at Jewish and Christian persecution in Muslim lands. So it’s a subject that’s never far from my attention or my heart. In fact, I just returned from Kurdistan, where I was able to visit some of the Christian refugees there who fled ISIS.
You feature a group of commandoes rescuing persecuted Christians. Do you think Christians turn the other cheek too much? Should we perhaps – somehow – have groups of Christian military personnel who are able to help Christians in distress?
I think ‘turning the other cheek’ is often misapplied to violent circumstances which are entirely unrelated to the person-to-person conflicts Jesus was talking about. There is an entire Christian teaching on Just War Theory that deals with the defence of those who cannot defend themselves. Meanwhile, pacifism has become a symptom of a very self-absorbed – even narcissistic  - form of Christianity in which little or nothing is deemed worth sacrificing or dying for.

And, in fact, some of the Christian villages and towns in Syria and Iraq are starting to form their own armed militias to keep ISIS and other brutal terrorist groups from murdering or otherwise devastating their families and communities. They have to provide their own arms, but they are being trained by “official” militias such as the Kurdish Peshmerga.
As for the idea of paramilitary groups, I guess a lot of us have grown increasingly frustrated while waiting for powerful governments to stop pontificating and take action. I got the idea of David Levine’s commando squad from a couple of rescue efforts I read about that were put together by wealthy business owners who fielded their own contracted warriors to liberate their personnel who were being held hostage.
Your co-author Jack Buckner is a retired military specialist. What particular contributions did he make to the book?
I have no idea about military weaponry, operations or culture. Jack was on the ground as a US Army Special Operator for decades and he knows how soldiers talk, think and act  when they are on the job. He sketched out the way things would have to happen, filled in the blanks on guns and grenades and mines and the like, and I wove it into the rest of the story. There’s a smattering of words scattered throughout the text that may raise a few conservative Christian eyebrows, but we decided to let it be real – for the most part.
What has been the reception so far to the book?
Most readers say that they can’t put it down – it’s very absorbing and engaging to them. I’m always happy when my friends like my work, but I’ve been especially pleased when total strangers write glowing reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. I hope Angel’s Flight sells well, but not only because of profitability. I am convinced that fiction is a great way to inform people about how things really are, and how difficult life is in some very dark parts of the world. And if it works out, we can write more similar stories.
Lela, thank you very much.

*The Levine Affair: Angel’s Flight is available at

and Barnes & Noble.

Friday 14 November 2014

Paryn's Gold: Chadash Chronicles Book 3 by David G Johnson

Paryn's Gold: Chadash Chronicles Book 3 by David G Johnson.

“The Blue Mystic’s reign of terror is over. Peace and order have been restored to the northwestern nations and all is as it should be…or is it?”

After decades of estrangement, the sibling-monarchs, Paryn and Cyrus, have begun deepening the bond of brotherly love and peace between their kingdoms. Unfortunately, someone hijacked the gold Paryn promised to send for relief to Cyrus’s impoverished kingdom. The skills and experience of the Heroes of Dragon Pass are once again needed to help find the missing gold. Can they succeed?

Our intrepid adventurers encounter traitors, pirates, bounty hunters, and foes from their past, bent on revenge. Can the heroes fight off the myriad of evil forces opposing them? Can they restore the stolen gold to the desperately needy kingdom of Cyria? Will the breach of the promised aid return Cyria and Parynland to war? Discover the answers as you ride along with our heroes in the thrilling conclusion to the Chadash Chronicles in Book Three: Paryn’s Gold.

The Guru's Review:

I reckon there needs to be a new area of psychiatry that focuses on helping readers transition from the fictional world that they have become lost in and back to the reality of their real world. I know other readers will agree with me that there are withdrawal symptoms that one experiences every time one has to leave the fictional world and return to reality. These symptoms are the worst at the end of the book regardless whether standalone novel or trilogy/series. At least if you are in a trilogy or series there is always the next book to read so you can delay these inevitable withdrawal symptoms and remain in the blissful alternative world until it ends. And oh my, having to cope with waiting until that next instalment is released! Can this ever be achieved? I wonder if a reader could sue an author for pain and suffering and depression for creating believable, alternative worlds that the reader feels at one with, but is forced to leave because the author decides the book has to end?

Well, such is my mental state after reading this last instalment in the Chadash Chronicles! I must state though, that I could/would never sue Johnson or any other author for putting me in such a position! A desirable state of mental illness this is and I guess, I am glad it is a temporary one!

I was introduced to the world of Chadash when the first two books were already released so avoided the withdrawal symptoms and depression in transitioning from Fool's Errand back to reality and to wait for book 2, Mystic's Mayhem. But from this second book to Paryn's Gold, I have not been so fortunate. Both of these symptoms I had to live with! Knowing that this next instalment was on the near horizon, maybe I should have read the first two instalments before this one like author and fellow reviewer, David Bergsland, did! This might have helped me cope better! However, when Johnson put out a call for volunteers to read an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) of this book, my depression lifted, I no longer had withdrawal symptoms and life was worth living again!

Paryn's Gold flows nicely from the Mystic Mayhem's cliffhanger end. I loved the start where possibly the most hated and evil character in the entire series, Felonius, (next to Dadao) sets out to exact his revenge on Melizar and Thatcher for the death of his wife, Pernicious, that occurred in this cliffhanger. From there, the plot thickens as they say, and creates a life of its own. From this point on, I was well and truly at peace with life as I had settled back into my second home with those characters I have come to love and respect and admittedly, hate or despise! (Hmm, getting back to that lawsuit, can I sue the author for invoking such negative and destructive feelings in a reader such as myself?). The way Johnson has developed the depth of revenge really does encourage you to read further even if you don't like what Felonius has planned and what this xueshi (blood-grudge) entails. The fact that this is not fully explained at this point also encourages you to read on to find out!

As I continued on in the plot, I chuckled at the plight of the Heroes of Dragon Pass as they were plunged in the middle of a three pronged tug of war. On one hand, there was Felonius and his band of revenge seekers hunting for Melizar and Thatcher (who are with the rest of the Heroes), and on the other, there was Marcus and his cohorts seeking the Heroes because they believed the Heroes stole Paryn's Gold, and then there is Jacob who enlisted the Heroes help (through Gideon) to recover the Gold and use them to retrieve it for his own revenge against the Cyrians and hence, the Heroes sought to sort all this out! I reckon this is more than enough to keep the plot moving and the reader absorbed in the story. Worked for me! 

It is from this point on that the plot and action revs up and where Johnson introduces new characters, plot developments, and further develops the relationships established in books 1 and 2. It was pure joy to become lost in Chadash once again.

I can see why there have been comments made that this is Johnson's best out of the trilogy and that it can be read as a standalone. Yes, I would agree, but I feel to only read this novel is really selling the reader short as for any reader to get the full benefit and experience the richness and wonder of this masterfully created world, it would be prudent to read the prequel Saga of the Everking, and then books 1 and 2 first. 

This instalment is very consistent with the previous two as far as action, plot, character development is concerned, but I feel in this one, there is an increase in the spiritual aspects. Here is where Johnson shines. He has a way of presenting the Gospel that suit the plot or character interaction and  it is not preachy and there is a gentleness and strength to this. Two instances are where Thatcher talks to Gideon about witnessing to Goldain and Gideon's counsel is wise but truthful and Gideon encouraging Melizar about the truth of the One Lord. For me, this is where I believe the Spirit uses Johnson's experiences as a missionary and his heart after God to minister to the reader who is seeking God or the Christian who may be having trouble with their faith. I must confess, I teared up reading both of these accounts especially the latter with Melizar. One highlight of this novel for me was the conversion of Melizar to faith in the One Lord. I jumped for joy, figuratively speaking and physically. I had a feeling this would happen as there were subtle hints planted in book 2, just like there were for Thatcher as well. Another highlight was the prophecy that Duncan was given by Hadaram, patron Malakim of the Durgak. What a valuable lesson Johnson has portrayed in Duncan fulfilling this prophecy and paving the way for Melizar to finally consider the One Lord as the only one to follow. It was very beautifully depicted Duncan laying down his life for Melizar and this act being the catalyst for Melizar to consider the reality of the One Lord.

As with the previous two novels, it is the Prologue that forms the backbone to each novel and gives information about the continuing battle by the Ayabim and Malakim for the lives of humans that is outlined in the first Prologue of Fool's Errand. I am still stunned as to the depth of imagination and writing that exists in this very first Prologue. I remember well reading this on a crowded train, my only thought was, "Wow!, This is just fantastic!" and nearly missing my destination train stop! I have often thought that maybe this first Prologue should be included in each instalment to refresh the reader's memory of how creative and well constructed this world of Chadash is and why it exists. Johnson is one very talented master world builder! One has only to read the Glossary at the end of this novel to discover the depth of this world. Even the detailed map of Ya-Erets supports this and is a necessary inclusion. There is so much in these novels that I feel it would be worth making the best of the e-book technology to enhance the reader's enjoyment and reading experience by making the various specific words, names and locations clickable to take the reader to the Glossary if they needed to refresh their memory or increase their understanding. I had the Glossary and map of Ya-Erets bookmarked on my Kindle so I could refer to this quickly and easily for this purpose.

I have said this before that if any reader who does not know what this author is about, they only have to read each Foreword and Afterword and will be introduced to the transparency of Johnson in his faith and love of God and how he openly states what his aims and motivation is for this trilogy are, (from the Forword), form a bridge between secular fans of fantasy and science-fiction literature and mainstream Christian readers.
and Afterword,
.....I hope that the books in the Chadash Chroicles series can be a bridge and a learning point for both Christians and secular readers alike. For Christians, there are deeper elements of understanding Hebrew tradition, culture and language that can be gleaned from within the story...There is also, hopefully, modeled in the pages examples of Christian character by one of the protagonists, Gideon, who hopefully exemplifies a human, flawed buy deeply faithful Christian. I did not wish to write this character as flawless, but as a model of what a biblical Christian could be, in hopes that believing readers may look to see more of themselves and how they interact with others with the personality of Gideon.
For the secular is my hope in the pages of these books that by seeing the interaction the believer characters have with unbelievers, one might see a more biblical model of what should happen when Christians meet and interact with others of differing worldviews.
And very successfully does Johnson achieve this. It is this that forms the richness and depth to this wonderful world of Chadash. I mentioned in my review of book 1 or 2 that I could relate to Gideon very well.

My only negative in this instalment, is that I felt the ending was a bit rushed and ended too quickly. I also felt that there was one character Felonius and the plot line concerning him was not tied up satisfactorily, but after speaking to Johnson via Facebook about this, he told me,

Yeah, let me just say this is not the last we will see of our Mitsar assassin. He and a few others (...Jeslyn, Al-Kali, Xiao Hong, and the bounty hunters) will all be making a prominent appearance in the Wizards War trilogy...with a few surprises. Tink will be back too, and so will Malandyr.
So from this we have clues to the next series, the Wizards War trilogy. I can hardly wait! It is so good to know that Paryn's Gold is not the end of this wonderful world of Chadash, and all these wonderful characters that I have now considered family.

Highly Recommended.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Background To "Snow and Ash" and My Year In Hell (Snow and Ash, from The Crossover Alliance Anthology, Volume 1)

Nathan James Norman, (Husband, Father, Pastor, storyteller, avid reader, comic fan and podcaster), is one of the contributing authors to The Crossover Alliance Anthology, Volume 1
that has been recently released and promoted on this blog. I was very touched and drawn to his short story "Snow and Ash" in the Anthology and when he published on his blog that this story was based on events in his personal life, I felt this would encourage, uplift and inspire others. It is reproduced here with his permission. 

When I read this, both the story and this account of Nathan's personal life, I must confess I cried, as it appealed to me on a deep level, about being the best father I need to be, about learning to love unconditionally and being modelled after God the Father. Above all, it resonated in me that in times of suffering, as Nathan has encouraged another on his blog, 
It is my firm belief that God works most often through pain... and he reveals himself in suffering. I'm trying not to be a person who presents himself as "that Christian who has it all together." That's not Christianity, that's not the Psalms, and that's not reality. So I share both our moments of beauty, and ugliness. My joys and angers. 
I pray that when you read the following account from Nathan's life, you can see that he is also allowing himself to be modelled and transformed after the Father and through his writing in Fiction, God is a God who is a Transformer. 

Be blessed and challenged as you read Nathan's account: 

Background on "Snow and Ash" and My Year In Hell

This past year has been a living nightmare. 

It was also an emotional hell. 

This is the backdrop of the "Snow and Ash" story appearing in The Crossover Alliance Anthology: Volume 1.

 ***Spoilers beyond this point, grab a free copy before continuing*** 

Late last year my wife and I accepted the placement of a little foster child. We'll call her "Hummingbird" here. 

She was placed in our care because we were considered a "pre-adoptive" family. When Hummingbird came into our home, we were told the adoption would be relatively short.

 It wasn't. We just adopted our daughter this past week. 

We loved Hummingbird from the moment she stepped foot into our home. She was about sixteen months old when we met her. Initially, the visits with her biological parents were difficult, but manageable. We were just getting to know our daughter, so her mood swings seemed normal. 

But pretty soon, the agency moved her visits to a location which required a four hour commitment, twice a week. The visits were an hour and a half each, but my travel time became almost two and a half hours. I lost a full day worth of work every single week. 

The trauma to my little girl was far worse though.

I would tell Hummingbird that we were going to a "visit" as we got into the car. She rebelled. She screamed. She cried. Every single time. 

Then I'd have to drive with her for a prolonged period of time for the "visit". I tried to make these experiences as easy as possible. I told her she would have fun, then I would pick her up and we'd go home again to see mommy, and Daisy & Duncan (our cats). The drop offs varied, but I often had to peel her off my leg to coax her to her biological parents. 

Several times she managed to climb up my legs into my arms, and clung to my chest. 

To her, I was her daddy. I was the man who was supposed to protect her from those who would harm her. I was supposed to shield her from pain and trauma. 

But to the State of Michigan I was little more than an over-glorified babysitter. 

I had no rights. I could not make decisions about who could see her and who could not. The State put me into a damnable position: Take her to these visits where she would be traumatized twice a week, or have her removed from the only mommy and daddy she's ever known. 

Hummingbird was a self-confident, bold, joyful and happy little girl before these visits. When she was returned to me after an hour and a half, Hummingbird was scared, timid, clingy, sad and depressed. On the way home, I often pulled over into a parking lot so I could take her out of her car seat and let her hug me as she soaked my shoulder with tears and snot. 

Twice a week. 

Most people in my life cannot understand this horror. I hope they never do. 

Over and over, family and friends would tell my wife and me, "God is on your side. This will all work out. She will be yours." But they did not sit in court hearing after court hearing. They did not see the court's obsession with reunification. They didn't talk to caseworker after caseworker about the possibility of Hummingbird going back to the biological parents' care. Or relative placement. They didn't live under the microscope of agency visit after visit in our own home. They've never been in a situation where they couldn't tell their traumatized daughter that they would never leave her. At any moment she could have been removed from our care. 

And God... well God wasn't doing much for this little girl. I prayed over her every night. I pleaded with God in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ every day. I laid both of my hands on Hummingbird and blest her moments before each and every visit: "May Yahweh protect your heart, soul, mind, and strength. May He protect you where I cannot. May He fight for you where I am powerless. In Jesus' Name. Amen." 

And people continued to say, "God wouldn't let her be put back into a situation like that. Don't worry." 

But the reality is, God does allow people to go through horrible things. Even very frightened, very little girls. 

I trusted that God was all powerful. And believed that he was in control. I believed he had a plan. But his plan might have very well been that Hummingbird be shown the grace and gospel of Jesus Christ, and then be placed back with her biological family to begin a long process of redemption for them. And God's plan might very well have involved terrible abuse of our little girl so she could be a harbinger of salvation. 

This was the backdrop of "Snow and Ash" in The Crossover Alliance Anthology: Volume 1

I, like Erik, did not want to become a father. Not like this anyway. I found myself having to bear the majority of these burdens and it was terrible. 

In the story Erik declared himself an enemy of Christ. During my own torment, there were moments where I was furious with God for not intervening. For not putting a stop to this all at once. It felt like Jesus had become my enemy. And in modern literature, I noted, there are not too many people who see themselves as enemies of Christ. Typically, a person gets angry at God, then walks away and becomes a functioning atheist. But if I'm being very honest, there were moments where I felt if I lost Hummingbird, I would be angry at God for the rest of my life. And even though I knew he was stronger than me, I would be his enemy for the rest of my days. Hence, Erik opposed his people's conversion to Christianity. 

Finally, the scene where Honey Bee is forcibly taken from Erik, was the scene that first appeared in my mind. It was how I felt twice a week. I could fight. I could pray. But in the end I was utterly powerless to help my daughter. When it came down to it, any number of thugs could take my daughter and there was nothing I could do. 

And yet, in the story God was still in control. Even Honey Bee, though she was abused greatly, could see a higher purpose in the pain. 

I wrote "Snow and Ash" at the Darcy Library of Beulah. It was downhill from the location of the visits for Hummingbird. I initially went to the local McDonalds to wait for the visits to be over, but I was harassed and stalked at that location, so I found this hidden away library. 

I love this library. In fact, it is the best small-sized library I've ever seen. 

I hope I never go there again, though. It would be too traumatic for me. 

After prying my daughter from my leg and handing her trembling body over for the "visit," I would go down to the library, pull out a composition notebook, and write. 

I also listened to the Beowulf Soundtrack composed by Alan Silvestri. It put me in the viking mood I needed to be in. But this too, is something I have no desire to revisit. I love this soundtrack, but it dredges up deep trauma for me. 

One more thing. The author picture featured on the Crossover Alliance page for the book is a picture I took on June 3, 2014 at Douglas Park in Manistee, MI. I took this photo moments after parental visits were suspended. I knew my wife and I still had a long journey ahead of us. (And we did. It took six months of battling to adopt our daughter). But for Hummingbird, the trauma was over. As far as she would be aware, victory was accomplished on that day. 

So while that place is called "Douglas Park" to me it will always be called "Yahweh Yireh," The Lord Provides. He rescued my little girl on that day. 


Sunday 2 November 2014

The Righteous Perish! by David Bergsland

The Righteous Perish By David Bergsland

The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart: and devout, merciful people are taken away, no one understanding that the righteous are taken away from the evil to come [Isaiah 57:1] 

Here begins a tale of wonder as the plans of the Lord are revealed to a church which had not considered the wisdom and complexity of God’s love for us. 

We are asked to open our hearts and minds to accept the very real possibility that Jesus meant what He said by telling us that no one knows the day nor the hour. All we need to do is remember how the religious of the day missed it when Jesus came to the manger. In fact, as you know, few figured it out until after He had risen back to be with the Father. 

It may look outrageous, but it’s possible! We must be open to the very real possibility that we really do not know how it’s going to happen. We only know that the King is coming soon! 

The Guru's Review: 

This was originally called Finally! and is now called The Rigteous Perish!. It was updated in September 2014. 

This is the only end times novel I have read where the rapture does not occur. Now that may seem to be a shock statement or a radical departure from the norm in other end times novels and therefore gives the impression that this is written from an author who has not done his homework, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Having read Bergsland's other novel, Daniel's Mighty Men (Black Sail Book 1), I can vouch for him basing his novels on detailed biblical research and much seeking in prayer and of God's direction in relation to the content. David is a seeker of the Word and of God's heart and His truth and it definitely shows in both these novels, especially this one. David's desire is to have only what God wants to say in his novels and not what David wants to say. He is very much God's vehicle in this regards. It comes as no surprise that this heart/mind attitude motivated him to write about this in his latest non fiction endeavor, Writing In Holiness: While Keeping It Real. Definitely worth checking out. It is having a positive effect on authors and challenging them to write with this mindset. 

This supports why he wrote this novel. It is based on not only that we don't know the day or the hour of Christ's return but also that similar novels in this genre seem to have missed something important relating to the issue of the rapture. Based on this, I knew I had to find out from the author why he constructed the novel this way. This is what he had to say,
In the mid- to early- 1990s, I was heavily into teaching end times prophecy. I was simply not convinced that the conventional teaching were accurate or from the Lord. So, I went on a search which lasted for 2-3 years or more. First question: Is the rapture scriptural?

That took months of prayer and searching. The final scriptures for me (though I know there are many more) were "as in the days of Noah" where just as the rains began, God shut Noah and his family into the boat. The second was the scripture I use for the name of the novel, from Isaiah 57:1

"The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
And devout men are taken away, while no one understands. 
For the righteous man is taken away from evil, 

2 He enters into peace;" 

As far as I could tell the Lord was strongly telling me that this referred to the rapture. Another is Psalms 12:1:

"Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be, 
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men."

The way Jesus quoted from scripture shows us that often only a single sentence or portion of a sentence from prophecy applies to a specific season. In Nazareth, Isaiah 61:1+ applied:

"The Spirit of the Lord [a]God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the [b]afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And [c]freedom to prisoners; 
2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" 

The rest of verse two did not:
"And the day of vengeance of our God;"

Psalm 2 seems to be about a time where the nations are plotting against the Coming King who is already seated on the throne at Jerusalem.

At the end of Revelation 20: 7-10 we see:

7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the [c]seashore. 9 And they came up on the [d]broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the [e]saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and [f]brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Then the Lord started talking to me about how almost everyone missed it when Jesus came the first time. He told me the same will happen when the King comes, also.

For the Coming of the King event, we read in Rev. 19:

"11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God." 
"He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself". 

It was clear that Yeshua (which means God is salvation) was His name when He came as savior. When He comes again as King, bringing righteousness, what will his name be? I don't know, so I came up with what I used in the novel. 

My main purpose is to get God's people sprung free from the stereotypical end times as we see in the "Left Behind" series. If "The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; And devout men are taken away, while no one understands," then it seems like the world will not notice when we go.

In Revelation, before we are seen in Heaven in Chapter 7, the great earthquake has occurred. It seems likely to me that we'll be raptured during the earthquake and the world will not notice that the true believers are gone.

Whatever will happen, it is coming soon and it will surprise almost
everyone. The only hope is to know Jesus so well that he or she can hear the trumpet when it blows and understand what is happening.

Remember, when Jesus was baptized and God said, "This is my beloved Son" the crowd thought it thundered. That happened more times in Jesus' life. It also happened when Saul was knocked off his horse on the way to Damascus.
So, we must know Jesus well enough to recognize His voice when He calls "Come up here with me" or whatever the exact words will be. That's my focus, knowing Jesus' voice through experience, from talking with Him regularly. He's never spoken to me audibly. My prayer is that I know His voice well enough to hear it when it matters. I believe I do. But it's always a walk of faith.
One more thing: bottom line: The Lord told me specifically that no one has it all figured out. No one, and that includes me. Almost everyone will be surprised again this time when He comes the second time.
I was very intrigued in this novel where David obtained the name Jesus would use when He returns, Joseph ben David, and this intrigue extended also to the verses mentioned above. I must confess that I had read that verse many times and it never registered in me that this would mean Jesus would return with another name other than the many names that I knew of Him from the bible! All this was quite a revelation to me. I can thank David for leading me to the truth of this knowledge. This was the basis of my intrigue regarding Jesus' name. Here is what David had to say regarding this, 
As far as the name, Joseph ben David, the ben David is because the Messiah as King would be the son of David who would reign forever. But actually, it would need to be son of God or ben Yahweh. But I didn't want to be presumptuous.

For Joseph, I was just praying for a rationalization I could use that would not blasphemous. I realize that my choice is a weak one. 

It could be many things. I didn't want to try to nail it. Jesus is Joshua or God is Salvation. So it could be as simple as Jorada or something like that meaning God reigns or God is King. 

The main thing is that He will not come back as Jesus or Joshua. He's already fulfilled that portion of prophecy. He's already completed the savior portion of his position. I didn't want to make any definitive statement.
It was these two main topics that I found the most challenging and intriguing but I was not particularly perturbed because of what I have mentioned about Bergsland's heart after God and His truth. If the Spirit is telling me something here, I am listening and understand! I get it! 

Putting all this aside for the moment, the rest of this novel is just a fun read without detracting from the seriousness of the genre and what Bergsland has specifically outlined that I have mentioned above. I loved the romance elements between Sarah and Isaac, Hannah and Marc, Naomi and Jacob. This added a balance to the seriousness of the genre and plot development while also strengthening the plot. Bergsland's depiction of the satanic attack on the church pastored by Sarah in Santa Fe and the demonic possession of Naomi and Jacob is creepy together with the other depictions of satanic/demonic manifestations or influence on those who seek to control the world through finance and one world religion. What impressed me here is that these depictions are very realistic and must be based on Bergland's pre conversion days in his hippie days where he had some involvement in the occult. Not only does this realism add strength and depth to the novel but like everything else that Bergsland writes about, it educates and promotes the truth of the Gospel or leads to it.

What is also realistic is his description of the church life, worship and evangelistic practices that he depicts of the church in Santa Fe. Reading these accounts, I felt that this must be based on his previous life as a Pastor. Another thought I had was that this church life was so sincere and vibrant that is was very appealing and I longed for such in my own church life. Bergsland confirmed my suspicion without me asking him in one of his replies that he included above, 

I thought I should mention that the church in Santa Fe is run the way my wife and I ran our church in Albuquerque from 1991-2005. There are fictionalized people participating and some of the actual events in the book are highly dramatized. But the church services and bible studies are the way we taught and worshipped.
Getting back to the fun side of this novel, there is action, adventure, suspense, and a thriller undertone. It is definitely edgy, speculative fiction that together with the above scriptural lessons outlined makes for one well balanced, uplifitng and edifying novel that challenges the traditional view of eschatology in a refreshing way that I believe, like the author does, that can only come form the Lord. 

Highly Recommended