Forecasting Earth's Furious Finish

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 "Holocaust."

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..." (Matthew 24:21-22a).

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 coming Messiahs.

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 Uncle T.

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 Revelation.

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 serious concerns.

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 had.

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 happened."

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 conquer."

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 be happening!"

"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 vanished!"

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 second."

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 right back."

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 an invasion.

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 Israel."

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 remaining thought.

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 stopped."

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 Destroys Invaders."

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 the article.

"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 without effort.'

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 Land."

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 bare hands.

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 exact verse.

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 him?

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 through 16:

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 the throne.

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 scope.

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 in.

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' heard?"

"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 happened?"

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 such information?"

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 say?"

"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 of warfare."

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 of God.

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 palm.

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.