by Phil Arms
Terror! Terror unimaginable and unprecedented in scope and
impact will soon convulse the inhabitants of planet earth. The horror of these
coming events will be so chilling that, according to the prophets, many of
those who simply witness them will die of sudden heart failure.
Students of history are familiar with the frightening and
powerfully destructive potential of both mankind and nature. Nature's
"groaning" has often fiercely assaulted earth's inhabitants through
hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes and dozens of other natural phenomena.
Atrocities, perpetrated by man upon man, have also left their bloody and
terrifying tracks through history as reminders of the savagery that the
depraved heart of man is capable of, unless he is redeemed by the transforming
power of God.
In my travels I have visited numerous places that stand as
vivid reminders of such cruelty. In Israel one can walk through the Yad Vashem
Memorial built to remind the world of the barbaric acts that Hitler's Third
Reich committed against the Jewish people during World War II. The repulsive
deeds of the demented, demonized Nazi regime against innocent men, women and
children were so diabolic that they physically nauseate and emotionally
traumatize many who visit the sight. This murderous rampage of sadistic, vicious
hatred, resulting in the death of six million Jews, is referred to as the
The London Dungeon at London's Museum of Medieval History
graphically chronicles the bestial means of torture and punishment during the
Middle and Dark Ages.
Likewise, in the city of York, England, is the infamous York
Dungeon, where visitors are stunned to learn about the coldblooded means
employed by the executioners and torturers of that day.
And yet, the heinousness of all history's inhumane acts by
men upon other men are but a small microcosmic view of the villainous horror
that much of mankind will soon experience. When such cruelties are combined
with the impersonal destruction of nature gone mad, it is little wonder this
period is called "the tribulation."
However, 1, along with millions of other Christians, cling
to the glorious promise of deliverance repeatedly assured to believers
throughout the Scriptures. This Blessed Hope, the imminent return of Jesus
Christ to remove His bride from the earth before this seven-year period, gives
great peace to the child of God. Certain that others have more than adequately
dealt with this wonderful moment called the rapture, I will focus our attention
on those days that follow.
Jesus, in describing these days and their increasing
crescendo of terror, says. "For then shall be great tribulation, such as
was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
And except those days should be shortened; there shall no flesh be saved..."
Daniel, the most revealing of God's prophets, writes of this
final seven- year period.' He prophesies with great precision that the
beginning of this horrible finale will be marked by the signing of a peace
treaty between Israel and one the Bible calls the antichrist. This "man of
sin," through a process of rapidfire political maneuvers, supernaturally
becomes a despotic dictator while pretending to be a benevolent ambassador of
peace. He rises to power at the helm of a revived Roman Empire, a confederacy
of European nations. Ultimately, this Wicked One will wage his final battle
against all things holy and be "destroyed by the brightness" of the
During this horrendous seven-year period, according to the
prophets, all creation will be seized with the agonizing contractions of
excruciating birth pangs. Nature, corrupted by the Edenic fall, through this
divine reclamation will be restored to an equatorial paradise.
In this tribulation period, God not only judges the world's
unrighteousness, but simultaneously redeems His chosen, Israel. The
covenant-keeping God fulfills His promises to Israel and establishes their
millennial kingdom with their true Messiah upon the throne. Though the Old
Testament prophets pointed to it and the Lord Jesus preached about it, the most
comprehensive and chronologically specific overview of this remarkable seven
years is found in the Book of Revelation.
Enough volumes have been written describing, analyzing and
speculating on the 21 judgments recorded in the last book of the Bible to
easily fill several large libraries.
And with each passing day come new technologies that create
another menagerie of Orwellian possibilities for the already complex Book of
Revelation. With no desire to add yet another echo to the substantial number of
voices, many of which are superb analyses, I have chosen to look at John's
prophecy from the perspective of the unfolding drama that will be the reality
shared by billions of people.
Let us focus upon one young man caught in the swirling
waters of this raging flood of judgment. Our character is fictional. The events
in which he is trapped are not.
(Daniel 9 & 2 Thessalonians 2:8)
Millions were missing
Not even the always-sensationalistic media had been able to
come up with a final number. The sudden, unexplained disappearance of millions
of people from all over the world had triggered a rapidfire sequence of
shocking crises that looked as though they would never end.
David sat on an old wooden crate in the squalor of what had
been his Uncle Trevor's study. The middle class neighborhood with its once-
manicured lawns, lovely tree-lined streets and well-kept homes now reminded
David of pictures he had seen of European villages just after World War II.
Those once quaint little country hamlets had been the scene of intense battles
between American GIs and a retreating German Army. The Nazis had been
determined to leave nothing of value to the liberators; hence the picturesque
villages were left as smoldering heaps of ruin.
The only room left intact in this once-lovely home was the
study in which David now sat. Every house in the small town had first been
looted, then either burned or dismantled piece by piece by the roving,
desperate mobs. It was now too dangerous to stay in these once-populated areas.
Survivors had fled to the most remote places they could find. Only in the dark
of night would some dare venture back, and then only to scavenge.
All food had long since disappeared. Those who after sunset
sneaked back into the area were looting anything that could be used to barter,
to burn for fuel or to build a better, makeshift shelter for their ragged
families, if they had any family left. David didn't.
But today he had decided to return to the area before
sundown. He was too exhausted, too hungry and too tired of struggling to
survive to care any more about the violent gangs that now controlled the area.
He had recently heard of their cruelty and that they had even turned to
cannibalizing those foolish enough to be caught here.
David, numb from hunger and emotionally depleted from his
nonstop battle to survive the unending series of crises that had destroyed his
once- comfortable, secure world, was ready to give up his struggle. His will to
go on was gone.
He had not had a hot bath or shaved in over three years. His
clothes were mere rags clinging to his emaciated frame. His hair was beyond
shoulder length. Shoes were a long-forgotten luxury. Fear was every living
being's constant companion. The world had gone mad. David had had enough. But
before it was all over, he had determined to search the remains of his uncle's
study one last time. He had to know for sure if Uncle Trevor had been right.
"If only he were here," David mumbled to himself
as he shuffled through piles of trash and debris. Kicking over his uncle's
half-burned, upended desk, he frantically scoured through the rubble in a last
desperate search for books, notes, a diary - anything to help him remember.
Frustrated after an hour of futile prospecting for even the
slightest clue, David breathlessly plopped down in the midst of the
debris-covered floor. He propped his elbows on his folded legs, thrust his face
into his hands and sobbed, "Oh, why didn't I listen? Why, why, why?"
David had been a senior at the university and was to
graduate in the spring with his degree in business. Every time there had been
any sort of family get together, ol' Uncle T was everpresent, spouting his
religious "bunk." Everyone tolerated the kind, old fella. When they
would tire of listening to his talk about the "doomsday prophecies"
of the end-times, they would simply excuse themselves. Uncle Trevor must have
understood the family's reluctance to sit and listen. He would always smile and
nod as they walked away. Then he would wait until he could corner another
"victim," as David and his cousins called those who got trapped by
But then one day in this study, Uncle T had questioned David
about his relationship with God. David had been in an especially melancholy
mood and had decided to be nice and listen to his uncle, or at least act like
he was listening.
Pleased and a bit surprised that David was willing to give
an ear, Uncle T had pulled out his well-marked and extremely worn Bible. Once
again, step- by-step, he had gone through the "last days" series of
events described by the prophets. But of special interest to David on that day
had been the events his uncle told him of that were written in the Book of
Just when Uncle T had David on the edge of his seat, the
phone had rung. It was the hospital. Dr. Trevor Watkins was needed in the
emergency room STAT. As they hurried their separate ways that afternoon, they
had promised each other that they would meet again here in the study the
following Saturday morning.
Now smiling to himself, David remembered being surprised
that he had actually looked forward to it. He had been very moved by what his
uncle had spoken of and now David had questions, more questions and some
But the next Saturday had never come for Uncle T nor for a
lot of others whom David knew shared Dr. Trevor Watkins' beliefs.
Sitting in the rubble of the ramshackle study, his head in
his hands, David was now ready to give up. "If only I could have found
something," David softly mumbled through his despair, "at least I'd
know for sure."
Finally, he decided to go. Where? He had no idea. Perhaps,
he thought, he would return to his little lean-to well-concealed in the hills
surrounding the town. As he began to get up, a brisk gust of wind stirred the
stacks of papers on the floor. As the gale whipped trash in every direction, he
caught a glimpse of something that had been buried beneath the blowing papers.
"A book!" David gasped. Looking closer, he saw it wasn't just any
book, but Uncle Trevor's personal well-marked Bible. David fell to his knees,
grasped it, clutched it to his breast, and with tears pouring down his face,
said, "Thank you, oh God, thank you, thank you."
The candle flickered. It was almost spent. Made from the old
wax drippings of other candles long since burned out, it lit only a small
corner of the lean-to that David called home. David worked hard to position the
pages so they would catch what little light the sputtering candle stingily gave
up. With his face close to the open Bible, David had read for hours in the Book
of Revelation. His uncle's scribbled comments, notes and references to
corresponding passages in the margins answered almost all the questions David
Now, in stunned, contemplative silence, having finished
reading the final book of the Bible, David sat staring at the flame as it
struggled to stay alive.
"It's all there," David sighed. "All of it.
Just like a newspaper story. Only written thousands of years before it
Glancing back down at its pages, he reread Revelation 6:2,
"And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow;
and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering and to
David's mind flashed back. Television had still been on
then. It was just after the "great disappearance." Many had blamed it
on some "alien force" that was purging Mother Earth. "Sounds so
ridiculous now," David thought, "but most people fell for it. What
fools. How could we have been such fools?"
Lying on his old cot, he laid his head back, closed his eyes
and let his mind drift back, back to the beginning of the madness. In a
semiconscious, dream-like state, the images began to return. David remembered
every detail with uncanny clarity.
It was January, some years earlier Superbowl Sunday. America
was preoccupied with "the game." Around the world, normality marked
the day. For David and his friends, it meant beer, girls, food, a party and a
big screen TV Though the game would be starting at 5:15 PM.., the party had
begun hours earlier.
Over three dozen guys and gals gathered in the campus frat
house. It was already noisy. The stereo blared in competition with the pregame
show. That, added to the cacophony of a dozen different conversations scattered
'throughout the large room, set a real party atmosphere. Laughter. Debates
about the best quarterback.
"Who wants another beer?"
"Has anyone seen my car keys?"
"Have you heard who's pregnant?"
Finally someone yelled, "Quiet! Everyone pipe down!
It's time for kickoff."
The loud roar lessened to a low rumble as all the guys
maneuvered for a good spot around the tube, and the girls, well, most of them,
grouped up in the back to continue their conversations, only quieter now.
A minute later a collective "Awwh," rose from those
around the television. "What's wrong with the TV?" "This can't
"Somebody check the power."
"It's not the power, we've got lights."
"It's the TV"
"No, it's a brand new set."
"Somebody kick it."
"You break it, you buy it!"
As a couple of guys attempted to adjust the set, others
reminisced about the World Series game in 1987. Millions of fans had been
sitting in front of their televisions to watch that game being played at San
Francisco's Candlestick Park when right at game time, screens went blank. An
earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale had shaken the city and the
coliseum, knocking off network television.
As the self-appointed repairmen in the frat house were just
about to give up their efforts, the picture returned. A disheveled news anchor
scrambled to get his notes together. The room grew silent as everyone gathered
around the set.
Clearly shaken, the anchor was not prepared for this moment.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for interrupting
the Superbowl, but at this moment confusion reigns on the field and... "
The reporter stopped, put his right index finger to his ear,
and strained to listen to someone talking over his earpiece.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he continued, "please
excuse me but we are having some major technical difficulties."
Then, speaking to someone off-camera in a frustrated,
demanding tone, he said, 'Just give me the copy now! It's all we've got."
Turning back to the camera with paper in hand, the reporter apologized again
and stammered, "Folks, as you can see, we are just as confused as you may
be about what's going on. We've got Bill Terry at the stadium and I think we've
a connection. Hello, Bill, are you there? Can you hear me?"
"Hello," came the voice of the on-scene reporter
as the picture blinked off and on.
"Yes, I'm here and I wish I could tell you more than
that. It seems that just as the kick-off was about to take place, a sudden
disturbance rolled through the stadium," stammered the reporter.
"Can you tell us the cause? Has there been an explosion
or anything like that?" interrupted the anchor.
"Uh, not that we're aware of, Randall, but things are
chaotic here. I mean the strangest thing I've ever seen happened, but there's
gotta be some explanation. It seems ... uh ... it happened in a split second.
Football players from both teams simply, suddenly vanished."
The confused anchor interrupted, "Can you explain that?
Do you mean they got kidnapped, or what?"
"Well," continued the shaken reporter, "I ...
uh, we're not sure. I've asked a cameraman to get a shot for you, a shot of the
field so you can see. There. Do you see that?" The screen showed a
close-up of an empty uniform, pads, shoes, and helmet. They looked as though
they had simply been dropped in a pile. "That's it, Randall? That's all that's
left of at least nineteen, that's the count, nineteen so far, nineteen players.
Now I'm getting reports that the same thing has happened to hundreds of
fans." Terry, speaking to someone off-camera said, "Tell camera
fourteen to pan the crowd." Then addressing the anchor, the reporter said,
"Randall, uh, I know this sounds nuts, but these people have just
Viewers saw a quick, distant crowd shot of thousands of
stunned fans in the stadium.
"Awe, come on, Terry," the anchor interrupted with
nervous laughter. "Surely you jest. People don't just disappear."
"Look," said the on-scene reporter, before
stopping to answer off-screen directors, "If it's ready now. It is?"
Turning again to face the camera, Terry said, "Randall, excuse me, but
I've just been told that we've a piece of footage that captures the exact
moment of this disappearance. This is the replay ... Let's ... Can we go with
it now? Yes? OK. Randall? Here is the shot of the teams lining up for the
kick-off." The screen showed the teams lined up on the field for kick-off.
"Now watch. Just as the head referee blows the whistle, now look,"
the excited reporter trying to describe what viewers were seeing said, "As
the kicker runs toward the ball ... boom. He's gone. Did ya' see that? Just
gone! And as we freeze-frame ... look! There're how many? Maybe a dozen more
empty uniforms suddenly lying on the field. From one frame to the next they're
gone! Wham. Just like that! It couldn't have taken more than fractions of a
With this the anchor interrupted again, saying, "Uh,
Terry, uh, this is a bit too much. I'm sure all of this has a perfectly logical
explanation. We're being told by the boss to go to break. So folks, we'll be
The students sat In stunned silence. A single ray of sun
penetrated the brush roof of David's small lean-to and lit on his forehead. The
heat woke David from a deep sleep. It took only seconds for him to reorient
himself to that which had so occupied him the night before. He had returned
very late and spent most of the night reading the retrieved Bible. Then he had
struggled to reconstruct the events that seemed to have started this nightmare
that he was now living. He had finally fallen asleep.
As he rubbed his eyes and started to stretch, he became
aware of the still- open Bible lying across his outstretched legs.
As the familiar hunger pangs stirred deep within his
stomach, he decided to forego his routine search for breakfast this morning.
Breakfast, as did every other meal, meant foraging around in the woods for
bugs, ants, beetles or an edible root or plant. Survivors had been reduced to
eating things that in better times they would have never even dreamed of
putting in their mouths.
Focusing again on the open Bible, he began comparing the
events he had been living through with those foretold in the Scriptures. The
similarities were undeniable.
He recalled how short-lived the world's preoccupation with
the "sudden disappearance" of all those people had been. Before
anyone could come up with a satisfactory explanation, war had broken out in the
Middle East. It was speculated that Russia wanted to take advantage of the
world's confusion after "the disappearance." So she had gathered her
allies and invaded the little country of Israel. David didn't know much about
the geopolitical realities of the Middle East or anywhere else for that matter.
He did, however, remember how often Uncle Trevor used to talk about just such
Uncle T's words were deeply etched in his memory.
"Thousands of years ago, Ezekiel foretold with uncanny precision even the
types of nuclear weapons to be used, of the location of the great battle, and
about how God would supernaturally move to save the little nation of
They had laughed at him behind his back. David, shaking his
head, mused out loud, "But no one's laughing now." His eyes were
drawn back to Revelation 6:2. David was deeply grateful that Uncle T had
scribbled a considerable number of related Bible references and short
explanations of each verse.
David squinted and was able to make out the words jotted in
the margins. "Antichrist, Daniel 9 ... makes a peace treaty ...
short-lived ... AC to dictate over New Roman Empire ... Euronations ...
see." Here the edge of the page had been burned, obscuring Uncle T's
But David understood. He had watched with the world as 24
hour television covered the bloody battles that had raged on the
"mountains of Israel." "That's all anyone did," David
quietly reflected. "We just watched. All of Israel's allies, America and
the other NATO countries had refused to get involved." David recalled the
excuses of his country's leaders who had claimed to be overwhelmed with
"our own struggle to survive." A week after that infamous Superbowl
Sunday, America's economy had crashed, followed by massive civil unrest.
Martial law had been declared but when communication systems were lost a short
time later, anarchy ruled most American cities. The whole country had turned
upside down. Society had convulsed. The rest of the world had been in much
worse shape than America. Chaos had gripped the globe.
The TV talking heads went on and on with their prognoses and
editorializing. "Israel will soon be no more ... Russia will be restored
as a world power. The oil supply from the Middle East to the West will be
Network anchors commented how, with a quick victory in the
Middle East, Russia's allies, the Arab nations, would finally have what they
had always wanted: millions of dead Jews, the end of Israel, the occupation of
Palestine, Jerusalem, and for Islam, The Temple Mount.
David strained to recall the events, the names and the
reports. Shaking his head, he thought with remorse, "Why didn't I pay
attention or write it down?" He was becoming convinced that everything
that had been happening since that Superbowl Sunday had been foretold in the
pages of the very
Book in his hands. "What was it Uncle T used to
say?" David mumbled. "Something like, 'The Word of God is more
current than tomorrow's newspapers!"' Suddenly David bolted up from his
prone position on the cot.
"Newspapers," David laughed. "Newspapers. Yeah!
I got newspapers." David had just remembered all those gigantic stacks of
old newspapers he had found months before. After reading and rereading them for
something to do, until he had them almost memorized, he had decided to use them
as insulation in his lean-to walls. He was ecstatic that he had kept them.
He furiously dug into the thickened walls of his little hut
until he retrieved every single page of old newspaper he had so carefully
inserted months ago. Thumbing rapidly through hundreds of pages of newsprint,
he eventually came upon all the articles he had hoped to find.
"Yes, here's another one, " David excitedly
mumbled, as he eyed the bold headlines. "Israel Saved ... Secret Weapon
The article read, "Against overwhelming odds, in a last
minute gasp for its national life, tiny Israel surprised the world with a
defense-strike capability that even most Israelis did not know existed."
He found a multitude of other related articles and
headlines. "Israelis Dance In The Streets," " 'God Saved Us,'
says Israeli Prime Minister," and "Miracles in Israel ... Enemy
Routed." The article beneath said, "Not since ancient days in
Biblical times has this little nation seen such a powerful demonstration of
miraculous intervention. Old rabbis dancing in the streets of Jerusalem, Haifa
and Tel Aviv are quick to give their God, Jehovah, all the credit for their
unexpected and sudden military victory. However, analysts are now speculating
that the salvation of Israel more likely came from new hightech secret weapons
rather than the 'Old Man Upstairs."'
David also found related stories of the war's devastation
that had made Israel a wasteland. He read of the new despair of all Israelis
over their new vulnerability in a world that, for the most part, still detested
these whom Uncle T had always called "the chosen of God."
For hours, David dug through the pile of crumbling old
newspapers. Finally his tired eyes fell on an especially large headline and
accompanying picture, giving him first a sense of exhilaration and then one of
sheer terror, "New European Prime Minister Extends Olive Branch."
Under the headline was a picture of the United States of Europe's newly elected
Prime Minister, Sir Richard Montebaum. He stood with the heads of state of ten
recently united European nations, all shaking hands with the Prime Minister of
Israel. The hair on the back of David's neck stood on end as he began to read
"Sir Richard seems to have no end to diplomatic
miracles in his new portfolio as Prime Minister of the United States of Europe.
Just as most nations were still reeling from the massive
problems following D-Day (disappearance day - when millions vanished), Sir
Richard took office. Since then he has demonstrated an almost supernatural
ability to resolve every conflict that has tested him. He is the first in
history to bring a promise of lasting peace to the Middle East. For the first
time, all parties are pleased with his new treaty's terms, especially Israel,
who finally has guaranteed borders and a security to be insured by the word and
influence of Sir Richard.
According to the Prime Minister of France, Francois
Petrouli, 'Sir Richard has the charisma of Galahad, the oratory skills of
Churchill, the love for peace of Ghandi, the intellect of Thomas Jefferson and
the political appeal of Kennedy' Petrouli added, 'To date the new United States
of Europe's Prime Minister has solved every problem facing the new
Euro-coalition, the Middle East and for that matter, the world, seemingly
The latest benefactors of Sir Richard's heartfelt longing
for world peace and prosperity are the bleeding but victorious people of
Israel. After decades of nonstop warfare and following their greatest military
victory since the crossing of the Red Sea, it appears, at last, peace, in the
person of Sir Richard, the new Prince of Peace, has come to the Holy
Finishing the article, David cynically mused, "So, Sir
Richard is the serpent. It's little wonder Mr. Peacenik couldn't keep it all
together. Uncle T had always referred to Satan as 'the Destroyer.' Well, that's
what this guy's been doing lately." As the reality sank in, David
involuntarily shivered. He had read the ninth chapter of Daniel repeatedly. All
the facts from Scripture, the well-marked references of Uncle T and the
supernatural rise to power settled the matter. Sir Richard, he now understood,
was evil incarnate.
The months of malnutrition, of exposure to the rainy winter
conditions and the complete absence of any medical attention had destroyed
David's immune system. Unable to ward off the many infectious assaults upon his
body, his physical condition had deteriorated to such a state that he was
having great difficulty breathing.
Pulling himself to his feet, David became faint. I Ie hadn't
eaten anything at all for over 24 hours and it had been months since he had had
any real nourishment other than bugs, berries and the one dead bird he had
found. What little had been left after the ants had finished it had made David
sick for days. He knew that unless something changed soon he wouldn't live much
longer. His only reason for staying alive now was to solve this horrifying
mystery that had become his life - or to at least make some sense of it.
After a long stretch, David crossed his legs, sat down in
the midst of the stacks of newspapers, and reached again for the Bible. He read
Revelation 6:4, "And there went out another horse that was red; and power
was given to him that sat on it to take peace from the earth..."
David needed no help in interpreting this verse. He had
witnessed its fulfillment. "Sir Richard's peace program was shortlived
indeed," sneered David as he recalled the devastating nuclear exchanges
that had broken out around the world only months after the signing of the peace
treaty in the Middle East.
He also remembered that only a month after "the
disappearing, " America had elected a President with isolationist
leanings. "We thought," said David as though he were addressing a
group of his friends, "America could escape a nuclear holocaust, and for a
while we did. But then one by one, our major cities over a two-week period were
annihilated by hydrogen bombs."
No one could believe how quickly, almost overnight, their
great nation, the United States of America, had been so easily and completely
destroyed. David bowed his head and softly wept. The memories were too real. He
had seen what men were capable of doing to each other, not only with
long-range, impersonal, intercontinental ballistic missiles, but with their
Yes, the "red horse" whose rider took peace from
the earth removed it not only from amongst the nations but from among friends
and even families. David had witnessed the savagery of women and even children
slaughtering each other for no other reasons than sheer hatred or to secure a
crust of bread. Humanity had been reduced to an animalistic state, no, lower
than that, to the level of the demonic.
David's tears dripped onto the pages of the Bible.
Distraught, yet determined to continue, he opened his eyes and read the next
verse about another "rider on a black horse" who would curse the
earth with famine.
David had always thought that Uncle T had been referring to
Third World countries when he talked about this passage. David had watched as
this prophecy had sprung to life before his eyes. He tried so often to shut out
the hellish vision of the emaciated bodies, the stench of death and the wanton
cries of children pleading for a piece of bread. He wanted to forget the
cruelty and the depravity. He hated the memories of watching people he had
known all his life turn into snarling, vicious animals fighting in the streets
over a carcass of something - or was it a someone? David had been repulsed,
turning his head, not wanting to know.
But these memories were seared into his soul. Memories not
of faraway places, but of the streets of his own hometown. The flashbacks of
these horrid weeks of hell caused a wave of nausea to overcome him. Gasping,
with his hand held over his mouth, he stumbled out of his lean-to.
After the nausea had subsided, David slept for three hours.
Upon awakening, he reached again for the old Bible. David had felt worse in his
life, he told himself, but he couldn't remember when.
Pulling himself into sitting position, he peered through the
worn tarp that hung over the entrance to his tent-like shelter. The sun, as he
suspected, was about to sink below the tree line. He knew he must work quickly
or else he would be forced to burn the last of his candle.
The roving violent gangs could easily spot campfires in the
dark of night, so survivors would not dare risk starting one after sunset, regardless
of how cold it got.
Straining to focus his eyes on the well-marked passages of
Revelation, David softly said, "I've got to know where and how it's all
going to end." He wondered if these pages would reveal any hope for him.
He had long feared that the only way out of this nightmare was death. As the
storm of God's judgment hammered his world, he felt his time was running out.
He looked down on Revelation 6:8 and read of the rider upon
the pale horse. "And power was given unto him ... to kill with the sword,
and with hunger and with death and with the beasts of the earth."
Closing his eyes, he could recall the terrifying images that
had filled the news reports night after miserable night.
"Such unimaginable massive hemorrhaging of
humanity," he thought as he remembered the suicides of so many of his
friends, and the reports of men killing their entire families, then themselves.
He shuddered at the memories of how various large groups of neighbors had made
death pacts and then helped each other die. It was massive insanity. Fearing
the pale horse would soon gallop into their own lives, so many, no longer able
to bear the horror, the terror, the deprivation, simply chose to end it all.
David had never understood suicidal tendencies before, but he did now. So often
he had wanted to die rather than face another day of this living death, but
something had kept him alive.
And then there were those who had lived just outside the
cities where death rained from the sky with nuclear, biological and chemical
agents of annihilation. Not close enough to be killed in the initial blasts,
they were simply left to die a little at a time. Diseases spread through
rotting corpses left unburied, the starvation of millions and the murderous
grab by survivors for any remaining food, water and shelter left in their wake
a world gasping for a breath, to live just a little longer.
Those who did live, with few exceptions, wished they hadn't.
David also contemplated the ferocity of all those animals, domestic and wild, that
had lost any fear of humans. Mad with hunger, the animal kingdom had begun to
assault people with a new savagery. But almost all animals had now become
extinct, with the exception of various insects, many of which were also
assaulting humankind with a seeming vengeance.
Shaking his head in an attempt to clear his mind, he read
again in Revelation 6:9, "1 saw under the altar the souls of them that
were slain for the word of God and (their) testimony."
David tried to remember why these particular verses had
always excited his uncle.
Scanning the margin of the Bible, he noticed the inked-in
passages and remarks. Squinting his eyes and holding the Bible sideways to
better read his uncle's scribbled notes, David was finally able to make out the
faded words, "Mercy for those who seek Him, even in the midst of
tribulation." The words arrested his attention. He read the phrase over
and over again.
Closing his eyes he could easily see the family dining over
a New Year's Day feast their last time together. At the first lull in
conversation, sweet ol' Uncle T had started sharing how some would experience
the grace of God even during the seven-year tribulation.
"Now I remember," David spoke to himself with
increasing excitement, "God will even now work in some hearts."
His eyes brimming with tears of hope, David fumbled through
the pages reading each of the Scriptures that Uncle Trevor had etched in next
to this verse. With every reference he read, his hope soared still higher.
"Is it possible, oh God," David half-prayed, "that you
care?" Finding the right book and chapter to the last reference his uncle
had written in the margin, David hurried his finger down the page to find the
Tears now burst over the rims of his eyes as he read out
loud, "Acts 16:31, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be
saved."' The words pierced David's heart with visible conviction. This is
the exact verse that he and Uncle T had been discussing that day the hospital
had called his uncle to the emergency room.
Trembling, he read the verse over and over. The same sense
of crushing need that had overwhelmed him the day his uncle had run to the
hospital again swept over him. Could he still believe? Would God still hear
Falling on his face, David sobbed. "Oh God, I've been
so wrong, so dirty, so long. How could you ever forgive me?"
A rebellious heart, once cold and bitter against God, melted
into sweet submission as the prayers of a faithful, godly uncle were answered.
In the crucible of an angry, raging furnace of judgment,
another soul found the Savior.
David spent the night on his face, broken at the feet of his
new Lord. David knew this was the beginning not only of a new day, but of a new
life. He couldn't believe how clean he felt.
He now knew that he was among those of whom he had read,
those who came to know Christ during this time of "great judgment."
He also remembered that Uncle T had always taught that the majority of those
who would turn to Christ during this period would pay with their heads. Smiling
at such a thought, David remarked to himself, "What a privilege. It'd be
such a paltry sum to pay for all He's done for me." If he was to be among
those so honored to be martyred for Christ or among the very few to witness the
second coming of his Lord before the angel of death touched them, he would be
happy. His heart was finally at peace.
Having returned to the lean-to, David read further in
Revelation. Under the subtitle of "the sixth seal," he read verses 12
I beheld .... a great earthquake .... sun became black ...
and the moon became as blood .... and men hid trembling in the caves ... and
said to the mountains.... fall on us .... hide us from the face of Him .... on
David stopped and thought back. Television, radio, and
newspaper had long since been gone. Then the only communication anyone in his
hometown had with the outside world had been a single ham radio operated and
owned by David's brother-in-law. David and a few others had gathered day and
night to listen to reports from others scattered around the hemisphere. The
broadcasts were ominous. News came of the total collapse of most national governments.
The few exceptions were in the
Far and Middle East, and the remaining European coalition.
Reports told of the total disruptions of entire civilizations and of
gargantuan, devastating earthquakes. Entire cities were swallowed by the earth
and radical continental shifts reshaped the earth's topography.
David lived in the Midwestern part of North America, in what
used to be called Ohio. This rural area was far away from metropolitan areas
that had been so completely decimated.
Some survivors like David still wandered the hills
scratching out an animalistic existence and, of course, there were the violent
squatters who controlled the demolished town. But clearly, this tiny little
corner of the globe had suffered far less than most of the world.
On rare occasions, from a distance, David would see someone
from the other side of these walls as they foraged for something to eat, but
there were no friendships. There was no trust, loyalty or, seemingly, love left
in the world. Daily life for everyone was one of hiding from every other living
soul or of killing before one was killed.
David had heard that most of North America was a vast
wasteland wrought by war, internal chaos and natural disasters unprecedented in
The fact was, civilization as David had known it no longer
existed within thousands of miles of this place or possibly anywhere on earth.
If the last few pieces of information he had heard were to be believed, then
societies in parts of Europe, Asia and some remote areas of Africa still
functioned. However, judging from what he had discovered in the Scriptures, the
world as it probably now existed was not a world that David would care to live
Long ago he had decided to live out what there was left of
his life here, in this wilderness. Sometimes he could approach river travelers,
who sometimes passed along the news that they had heard.
The scenes they described were of cataclysmic convulsions of
nature that had caused the death of literally billions of people. He had been
told that less than thirty percent of the earth's population still existed and
that many who had perished did so "while cursing the Almighty God"
whom they blamed for this "universal convulsing of all nature."
It was said that the survivors, even the once most powerful
leaders of the world, the wealthy and the influential, now lived in caves,
holes in the ground and in dens like animals.
"No wonder," David had thought when hearing such
tales, "the towns and cities lie in radioactive and chemically laced
poisonous heaps of ruin, contaminated with the smell of death and
disease." One traveler had despairingly remarked, "The whole earth is
crawling with human maggots like one giant rotting corpse."
He had wanted to close his ears to these horrid stories, to
dismiss them as foolish rantings. But, even from this, perhaps the safest place
left on the globe, David could see and hear as the earth increasingly groaned.
The heavens seemed to be collapsing like a giant circus tent that had just had
all of its poles jerked from beneath it.
Reading the Apostle's description in Revelation 6, there
remained no doubt in David's mind that this moment in time was the
"future" John had so clearly seen on the Isle of Patmos almost 2,000
years earlier. It read like a script of the hellish drama that was now being
played out on the stage of the universe.
With great effort, David walked to the highest point
overlooking the river and sat down in the shade of the few tall trees still
alive. "This may be," David sighed, "the only spot left on earth
not yet totally destroyed by the fury of the last several years." Closing
his eyes, David strained to think. "How long has all this been going
on?" He had stopped trying to keep up with the days, months, and years a
long time ago. The struggle for survival had been all-consuming. With a sigh,
David looked up into the clear sky, smiled and prayed, "Heavenly Father,
how I thank you for taking away all the fear and darkness. But now, in this
world of nightmares, what is it, Father, that you'd have me do? I feel so
alone. Please, Father, speak to my heart."
Wearily looking back to the Bible on his lap, David randomly
flipped it open. His heart leaped with joy as his eyes fell on Psalm 139. He
read the verses that Uncle Trevor had heavily underlined. "Whither shall I
go from Thy Spirit? Or whither
shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven,
Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold Thou art there. Even there
shall Thy hand lead me and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the
darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the
darkness hideth not from Thee, but the night shineth as the day; the darkness
and the light are both alike to Thee. How precious are Thy thoughts unto me, 0
God! How great is the sum of them."
Tears fell from tired eyes onto the pages of the Bible. And
then he slept. A sudden gust of wind woke David with a start. Instinctively
looking around for any danger, David realized he must have fallen asleep. Gathering
his thoughts, he decided to finish the passages describing what John the
Apostle had prophesied for those, like David, who would be alive during this
time called the tribulation.
He opened to Chapter 8 of Revelation and read through to the
end of the 9th chapter. His mind rolled through each horrible description of
six different judgments that the Apostle called "trumpets."
"This must be, it's got to be what the leader of that
last group of river people was describing," David thought. "If so,
then the end can't be much further."
Laying his head back against the tree, David thought back to
his meeting with the funny, little guy. The shabbily clad, gray-bearded, skinny
little old man had told him, "Son, down river, beyond the eastern falls
where the old state of Tennessee used to lie, on a line as far north and as far
south as one can travel, there ain't nothing! No hills, no mountains, no
cities, no towns, and certainly no people."
Hearing the man's report that there no longer existed an
eastern seaboard to North America, David had smiled.
"Laugh if you will, boy," grumbled the
gravelly-voiced old traveler, "but everything from the western-most state
line of Tennessee to the East Coast is now under the Atlantic Ocean."
David remembered politely nodding but inwardly wondering if
this leader of the two or three families with him, like so many others, had
lost his mind. "Furthermore, at least so I's told nigh on a year
ago," rambled this elder, "same thing and worse has happened on the
West side of this once-vast continent."
The old man had scratched his beard as though he was trying
to remember what he'd been told. "It seems the next generation, if there
be one, will be able to buy pretty nice beachfront property up around Denver,
Colorado. The Rockies be the only thing that stopped the 2,000 foot-high tidal
wave that struck the entire Pacific Rim."
David was dubious but shaken when he had heard that. He
couldn't help but ask, "Why? What could have caused..." The old
leader interrupted, "You sure don't know much, do ya', boy? Ain't ya'
"If you'll join up with us, you can hear it from those
who seen it, and some who've heard firsthand 'bout things - that is if the hostiles
don't get us. That's why folks roam about with me. I knows where's they ain't.
Have ye heard, son, word is, a batch of em's gone to eatin' folk."
David, ignoring the old news of cannibals, had pushed the
old fella for more details. "Then you gotta know more, more about what's
The old man had spit, cocked one eye, and said, "Boy,
ya' look old enough to know, ain't nothing for free. What ye got to trade for
David understood the language of barter. Money was
worthless. Reaching into the leather pouch hanging on his trousers David had
pulled out a closed fist. The old man's beady eyes had peered suspiciously down
a crooked nose at the fist David held out.
For a long few seconds David had watched the wrinkled face
until the old eyes looked back into his own. "Well, boy," the elder
had snapped, "you gonna tell me whatcha' holdin' in yer hand or make me
guess?" David had been forced to smile.
He had turned his fist over and in a teasing manner slowly
opened his hand as the old man's eyes returned to see the secret treasure.
"Whoa, them's good uns!" the old man exclaimed as
reached to touch the merchandise. But David had moved quickly to remake a fist
hiding away the booty that had so excited the elder. "Uh-uh," David
smiled. "First, you brief me, then the whole batch is yours. What do you
"Let's sit," said the elder, closing the deal.
Several hours later, David and the old man had stood and stretched. All
questions answered and satisfied that he had made a good deal, David had been
ready to hand over his pouch's contents.
"Wait a minute," said the elder as he had run 25
yards back to his ragged old tent, returning quickly with a beat-up pan. The
winded elder's eyes had danced with anticipation as he said, "Now, jest
dump that there pouch into this here cookin' pot. And I want all of 'em, don't
ya' hold out on me, boy."
The old man brimmed with excitement as David had emptied out
his entire pouch full of the fattest, juiciest earthworms either of them had
ever seen. It had taken David eight hours to dig this batch. Such delicacies
were rare and were the closest thing to a grand banquet anyone would dare dream
of. David knew that the half-pound of worms would've lasted him three days. He
knew the old man had no intention of rationing these beauties. Even as David
had turned to wave good-bye, he had seen that the old man was already too
preoccupied with his treasure to notice David's exit.
Glancing back over his shoulder one last time, David had
seen the excited old man with his head cocked all the way back, his mouth gaped
open and his hand holding the spaghetti-like, wiggly bunch of night crawlers
over his waiting lips. As his stomach had growled in envy, David disappeared
into the brush.
Now from his perch high above the river, David recounted the
news that he had traded his fresh worms to get. Comparing the old man's
information and with that gathered over months from various eyewitnesses with
the prophecies of the Apostle John left no doubt in David's mind.
The old man's words had rolled like a script beneath David's
closed eyes. After they had struck a bargain on the worm pouch, the old man
pulled David away from earshot of those in his group. Checking over his
shoulder to be sure no one in his small entourage could hear him, the elder had
said, "Look son, I only act the part of an ol' codger. Those I guide think
I'm an ol' river cap'n." David had indeed heard the sudden marked change
in the diction and vocabulary of the man.
"I discovered a long time ago, it's best to cover one's
tracks when moving around what's left of this country. A lot of those still
alive don't care much for those of us who used to run the nation's business.
They blame all this on us."
David had sat without answering. The older man took it as a
cue to continue. "Anyway, I am, or I used to be, Senator Norm Hathaway
from the great state of Kentucky. I was flying my private plane back to
Washington, D.C., when the bottom fell out of the world. To make a long story
short, after flying around, then running out of fuel, I crash- landed in what
was Virginia. Injured, I spent months crawling about in those hills. Guess
everyone thought I had disappeared with that flying saucer bunch. Six months
later I was found by some other survivors, chiseled out a new identity, name
and ... uh ... I guess you'd call it, 'lifestyle.' The senator had then laughed
and said with a bit of irony, "Ha! Didn't we all? I mean, change
lifestyles. Nothing was the same anymore."
Then the senator had begun to tell his story. At one point
he said he had gotten to a government installation prepared years ago as safety
bunkers for congressmen and their families in case of a national emergency. He
was, he said, able to penetrate security perimeters, get in, identify himself
and gain access to the secret communications area. "There is where most of
my info comes from, so what I'm telling about what's going on in the world
isn't hearsay. I know it's true."
David had listened in rapt attention as the senator told him
the unbelievable events that had been unfolding in the world. "At last,
toward the end of my life in the compound things began to fall apart. The 800
or so people inside, well, we ran out of food, then water. Folks started going
mad, insane ... that's when I decided to take my chances on the outside."
David had listened to the senator, knowing it was the final
confirmation he needed of all his suspicions.
Continuing, Senator Hathaway had said, "So after two or
three years this new superman, Mr. Wonderful over in Europe, began to get
weird. We had people, I mean our government had people across the pond. For a
good while they stayed in contact with us by using satellite phones, and high
tech systems most people don't even know exist. Pretty sophisticated stuff, the
best tax dollars could buy. But anyway, Mr. - I mean Sir Richard - began to act
like a new Hitler. He also invoked new laws, opened concentration camps for
dissenters, called 'em rehabilitation centers. He alone decided who ate, who
didn't, who lived, who died. He controls the military, the government. - No, he
is the government. He's even got a system for economic exchange, purchasing,
and selling all based on his own little numbers scheme.
"Then some got upset, but hey, the world's
self-destructing, right? This guy gave people a rallying point. They started
looking to him like he's a god or something, ya' know? But slowly privacy
vanished, personal rights disappeared. Hey, the SS and Hitler's Gestapo boys
are like little old ladies compared to this crowd. After a while, we all
thanked our lucky stars we were stuck here."
David had been so intrigued he did not want to interrupt the
man who kept talking, "But, then the Ruskies, still ticked about being
blown to pieces in Israel years before, came back strong. They still had all
their nukes and much of their air power though their navy was gone. America?
Ha! What America? Lots of folks said God finally judged America. No, what took
us out was, well, nobody really knows what hit us.
"It seemed like we'd escaped the limited nuclear
exchanges in Europe and the Middle East. Then some rinky-dinky terrorist group
hit DC and Red China at the same time. The Chicomms thought we hit them, we
thought they'd hit us. Before you knew it, both of us became little more then
smoldering ash heaps. Everyone thought, at least those left alive, that
everything was over then. Fact is, it was just beginning. Right when we thought
it couldn't get any worse, it got worse and all hell broke loose. NASA might have
seen it coming, but NASA had long since gone up in smoke.
"I'm sure you saw. The whole world did - the light
shows, I mean. What a sight in the skies! Fires are still raging across the
globe. We'll never know how many are dead or dying. The question is, how has
anyone survived? Last estimates before I left the compound were that less than
two billion souls, two billion out of six billion, were still alive. Those
still living turned to Mr. Answers, still running the show in Europe, but he
already had his hands full. No one knows where the creatures came from. It
seemed they covered the earth with torment. Imagine! Ungodly stinging, demonic,
uh ... things - some called 'em aliens - an army of 'em - terrorizing the world
- mean, it's like Stephen King comes alive or Hitchcock's birds gone high tech
crazy, attacking everything and everyone. They had to be the Russians' or the
Chi-comms' or uh, maybe even our own secret weapons gone awry.
"Oh, yeah, on top of all this crazy stuff, as if it's
not enough, Sir Richard decides he's not happy just ruling the known world. He
wants to be the Pope, too.
"Hey, you would pledge allegiance to his church of the
Humane or lose your head. Ha! But you know something, kid? There's one group
out there that thumbed their noses at Sir Richard the Pope. Yeah, they had
their own God. Ticks Sir Richard off big time, it does. These Christians
decided martyrdom is better than life in Sir Richard's great new world. The
more he kills of 'em, Sir Richard, I mean, the more of 'em there are.
"I'll tell ya' one thing, Davey boy, the guy, Sir
Richard, he don't quit. Hey, did ya' hear what he did next? Ha! He did the Pope
thing one better. He ups and decides being Pope isn't enough, so he goes over
to Jerusalem, Israel, walks into the new Temple they built, and claims to be
God. Yeah, God! He tells everyone to bow down and worship him. Now that's a
good one. Why didn't I ever think of that when I considered running for
President back in, uh, em ... aw ... it doesn't matter. GOD! Imagine that."
David had felt compelled to ask the senator if that had been
the last he had heard.
In response, the senator has looked down as though studying
his feet, sighed and said, "Well, guess it makes no difference if you
know. But two days ago I met an old colleague of mine. He'd gone to a different
compound than I had. It seems they lasted longer. Ultimately, he, too, had
left, but not before he found out the latest from Europe and the Middle East.
"The word is Red China's amassed a standing army of 200
million men who have been slaughtering their way across Asia.
Only a week ago they were moving into some strategic
positions south of Lebanon. Seems our eastern brothers have their own ideas
about who should be runnin' things. It's fixing to turn into one bloody mess
over there." The senator sighed and paused.
David had been stunned at what he was hearing. He had spent
the last many weeks studying this very scenario.
Knowing what was coming next, David had asked anyway,
"What will happen then?" "Well," the senator continued with
a sigh of resignation, "Sir Wonderful has brought the armies of Europe to
meet 'em and," the senator, picking up a twig and drawing a map in the
dirt, continued, "to make it real interesting, another group of nations
from the southern hemisphere, African and Moslem, with some oil-rich Arab
states like Iraq and Iran, have marched into place to make sure they get their
piece of the pie."
Again, David had known but decided to ask anyway, "And
the pie is ... ?" "It seems everyone sees the need to control these
ancient trade routes from the richest mineral fields in the world. It's no
surprise, every world leader in history understood the strategic necessity of
controlling this valley smack dab in the middle of Israel. Alexander the Great,
the Romans, Napoleon, the Ottomans, the Turks, even Hitler. The most valuable
piece of real estate on the face of this planet is this land bridge between
North Africa and Eurasia." The senator had paused, looked down at his map
in the dirt and stabbed his twig hard into the ground, saying, "Right here
in this valley are gathered the greatest armies of destruction in the history
David had said, "Armageddon."
The senator had replied, "Yep, the Valley of Megiddo.
Obviously, Davey, all the wars fought in this valley through history, and as
you probably know there's been a lot of 'em, have been dress rehearsals for
this main show."
David had thought out loud, "Then the end, I mean the
war, is probably just about to get underway, huh?"
The senator, leaning back against a tree, had replied,
"That's right. And when it's done, Sir Richard, in his new role as master
of the universe, or God, won't have much left to be God over."
It had been several days since David had talked with Senator
Hathaway. Since then, it seemed to David a lifetime had passed. He couldn't
help but wonder if the last great battle prophesied in the Word of God had
started yet. David knew now what the Scriptures taught about the second coming
of Christ. He had read it a thousand times over the last few weeks.
Still leaning against the large old tree, David recalled the
words his Uncle T had spoken so often. "And the Lord Jesus will return at
that moment when, after seven years of horrid judgments, He intervenes in man's
and Satan's mad rush to destroy all flesh."
"Hasn't it been long enough? Maybe I've just been
hoping against hope. Maybe this is hell. Maybe I was too late in reaching out
to Him. I was so foolish," David spoke out loud to himself.
Before he could finish his thought, he was suddenly
convulsed with a hacking cough. He was forced onto the ground upon his hands
and knees unable to control the coughing that brought searing pain to his
lungs. Looking on the ground beneath him he saw that he was coughing up a
steady flow of blood.
Finally, able to stop the hacking, David slumped back into a
sitting position against the tree.
Now each breath was taken with great effort as he gasped in
the air. He felt as though his lungs were already full of some kind of fluid
that resisted his excruciatingly painful efforts to breathe.
"Oh, Lord," looking upward David spoke between
gasps, "I have no strength left. I cannot go on. Please, God, help me. I
just can't go on any..." Unable to complete his sentence without any air
in his lungs, David groaned as his eyes closed involuntarily.
David felt himself dying. In a semiconscious effort, he
resigned himself to the moment as a new swirling sensation engulfed him.
"Yes," David mumbled. "Welcome death. Welcome release. Thank
God, it's over."
Suddenly, David felt a tremendous shaking. With his eyes
still closed, unable to rouse himself to full consciousness, David angrily
spoke, "No, no, no! Don't stop me. Leave me alone. Let me die!"
But the trembling of the world around him increased.
Slightly opening his eyes, he became conscious of the fact that the increased
shaking was a powerful earthquake.
Before he had time to formulate another thought, he saw a dazzlingly
brilliant point appear in the eastern sky.
Its brilliance was more intense than the sun's, but for some
reason it was not uncomfortable to look into it. Immediately, David was fully
conscious, as a feeling of intense joy and ecstatic wonder washed over him.
Then David could hardly believe his eyes. As the brilliance
began to fill the sky, he saw an innumerable host of riders upon horses.
David sat transfixed with his back to the giant old pine and
his eyes fixed in shock to the scene unfolding before him.
Out of the great hoard of horsemen a rider came straight
toward David. As he came closer, David was able to recognize the features of the
one on the horse.
"Oh, my," David breathed with his eyes fixed on
the horseman, "Uncle Trevor?" As he said the name, the beautiful
horse upon which his smiling uncle sat reared up on its back legs. David was
suddenly warmed with a peace he had never experienced. His uncle, looking like
a gallant knight, smiled broadly at David and waved his arm as if to say,
"Come on, let's go, son."
And then he heard the shouting and the cheering like nothing
he'd ever heard before. The voices of tens of thousands of thousands filled the
skies punctuated by the most beautiful music and singing of praises to the Lamb
And then, as if on cue from above the vast throngs of
victorious horsemen, there came another Rider on a magnificent white stallion.
At the sight of Him an even louder declaration of exuberant praise rolled
through the masses, "Glory to the Lamb of God," followed by an
increasing crescendo of ecstatic cheering.
As the Rider came closer, David saw His eyes were more
beautiful than the most fiery diamonds.
His head was crowned, breath-taking in beauty. The dazzling
robe upon Him was dripping with what looked like blood, though David somehow
knew it was not the rider's blood. And then he saw what was written upon the
robe, "King of kings and Lord of lords."
As David sat immobilized with an ecstatic joy over what he
was seeing, the white stallion descended until it and its rider hovered only a
few feet above him.
At that moment, David buried his face in his hands and felt
as though the shame of his wicked life was lying open for all creation to see.
He was crushed by the guilt of his own evil heart and wanted to run from the
presence of this One whose wondrous holiness now penetrated his soul. David
felt he should be condemned to a million deaths and was unworthy to even lie at
the feet of this King of kings. "Let me die, let me die!" David
wanted to yell.
But then, all the resounding praise that had filled the
universe suddenly went silent. David, still afraid to look up into the face of
all that is holy, just, righteous, and pure, felt a hand touch his shoulder. He
froze. He dared not look back into those piercing eyes.
Again, he felt the touch communicating the Master's desire
for David to look up. Slowly, with great trepidation, he began to lift his head
out of his hands.
As his eyes met those of the One before him, David was
embraced by the tender, loving, and forgiving gaze of the King of kings.
"My Lord, my God, my Savior," wept David. The
Master then reached out to David with His hand extended and opened.
David's eyes fell upon the outstretched hand. There in the
palm of His hand that crafted all that is and all that ever shall be, was a
deep scar. David reached out his own shaking hand and touched the nail-scarred
Looking with wonder back into the sweet eyes of the Lord
Jesus Christ, David heard Him say, "For you. Now, come, good and faithful
servant." David did.