Sunday, 2 November 2014
The Righteous Perish By David Bergsland
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 meTo bring good news to the [b]afflicted;He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,To proclaim liberty to captivesAnd [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.