Revelations starts out with the IED explosion in Bagdad. Here is the first few pages of the book.
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Doug didn’t feel the explosion. All he saw was a flash of light and a multitude of angels fading in through the smoke and cinders until they were clear and bright, like an all-consuming flame. With slight wonder, Doug realized they had been there all along letting nothing happen to destroy those things God wanted preserved from the prevailing evil of the day.
They came in quickly, diving forward, arms stretched out, chiseled faces tight with resolve. One led the way, curly chocolate brown hair streaming behind him like a war banner, midnight eyes focused intently on his target.
Doug faltered as the ramifications became clear. He thought of his son Dak, only sixteen months old.
Then he thought of Nic.
It seemed like only yesterday he had bowed to one knee and asked her for her hand in marriage. Now, over six years later, they were still just as happy. Whenever Nic saw an elderly couple holding hands she would lean close and whisper, “That’s us when we get old, Doug.”
But the angels.
They advanced swiftly, their brilliant white garments curving around their bodies as they steadied their decent. Muscular frames ranging from slender to robust were tense with conviction. They were all vastly different, yet each of them had the same fierce resolve, the same surety of purpose, and the same concentrated piercing gaze. The lead angel’s midnight eyes captured Doug’s attention. They bore through him with an understanding so vast that Doug felt his spirit shiver. This angel was the first to reach him and the first to grip his soul.
He thought of Nic and her dream of holding hands when they grew old and for a brief moment his spirit protested the angelic escort, but their grip was too certain, their silence too stark, and their urgency far too real.
They set their sights skyward, never once hesitating in their flight. Their firm hands gently gripped what were now his arms. Their silence stood in stark contrast to the fiery inferno below.
He saw his vehicle burning as another small explosion resonated in the afternoon air. His soldiers sprinted toward the blaze, shouting his name, but knowing they were too late. Their commanding officer was gone.
Doug wanted to reassure them but his voice wouldn’t come. The sorrow emanating from the angels tore him to the core. They mourned for him even as they directed him from the blaze. He could hear their silent words, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will you refrain from judging those who dwell on the Earth?”
They rocketed skyward until the smoke from the blaze was a distant dream. Starlight streaked by him, cutting the blackness like thin knives.
A brilliant light appeared above him. Within moments, it encompassed everything in his vision. Doug tried to look back but the stars were either no longer there or hidden by the light. Its brilliance was brighter than anything he had ever known yet it contained no glare or heat. It was a fire’s flame without consumption, a volcano’s intensity without destruction. It was consuming but not crushing.
When Doug’s eyes shifted to the source of the light, his fears evaporated like dew in the desert. He didn’t recall the angels melting away or the seconds that led him there. He didn’t even recall the explosion. Every thought was focused on the spellbinding figure before him.
The Lamb was robed in white linen with a golden sash loosely draped around His waist. His rich velvet hair danced with starlight and His face radiated a thousand suns. His dark eyes were intense, yet gentle, and His smile reflected a love so vast the blackest night could not conceal it.
The scars on His hands and feet were plainly visible, almost a black hole in the crystal clear brilliance, yet those scars sent the already glorious light into spectrums of color. The understanding in the lines of His face was far deeper than the angels’, so much so that when Jesus looked at him, Doug was known, as he had never been known before. Every emotion he had felt, every thought he had pondered, every deed he had done lay naked and exposed before the One who cast the stars in the sky.
Doug fell to his knees, overcome with the knowledge of God. He was but a grain of sand, one created being in untold billions. How did he come to capture the favor of God?
“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”
The Word came to him easily, as if he had recited it by memory hundreds of times before. The Spirit was alive here, unhindered by human desires and the enemy’s tactics. It flowed through his veins and brought to mind verses that wrapped him in vast reassurances of his Savior’s love.
He felt his tears come without any reservation. The spectrums of light radiating from his Savior’s nail scared feet washed through Doug with overwhelming compassion. He was clean, washed by the blood of the Lamb. He heard his voice whispering a heartfelt thanks. Without Jesus sacrifice on the cross the angels wouldn’t have come for him. Without Jesus there would have been no hope at all.
Jesus placed a firm hand on his shoulder, “Well done, my child.” It was the voice that commanded the light to form, the sound of a rushing river, a coming train, thunder without lightning, an earthquake without destruction. It could make the sun shrivel and the moon explode yet it was as a feather on his cheek and dew on the wings of an eagle. It was power, yet it was love. That was the voice of his Savior. It was the voice that would one day command the dust that was now his body to take to the sky. The light, the peace, and Jesus mere presence filled every part of Doug’s spirit without any weight.
There was no weight here.
Doug blinked back tears as he thought of Nic. The weight she would now carry would threaten to crush her.
Jesus tightened His grip, halting any anxious thoughts. Doug lifted his eyes to his Savior. Jesus smiled. The light emanating from His face became a crown, a silent witness to the promise of His coming reign. Doug couldn’t form the words to express the reassurance he felt. No amount of evil in this world could stop his King from coming; no amount of destruction Satan’s minions could unleash would hinder the millennial reign of Christ.
“Thy kingdom come,” was in the Lord’s Prayer, but not many people realized what those words truly meant.
“Amen and amen,” Doug said. “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
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