Have you read “Left Behind” – the block-buster, best selling novel about end-times prophetic events by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins? These men are to be commended for their efforts to inform and warn others of events soon to come, and how being “left behind” is NOT the place to be!! There is however, a responsibility of a servant of the master to portray events correctly. This, unfortunately, is NOT the case with Left Behind, and it’s series.
To give our internet friends a balanced view of prospective senarios, we have here republished the classic work “The Day After (Christ Calls)”, by Mikkel Dahl. This is it’s first time to be published on the internet. The booklet was written in the 1953, and like “Left Behind”, is written in a novel format. It is brief and entertaining, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have (at least once per year…)
Lackadaisical Sunday was over for the Doowells who had leisurely picnicked near the beach. Enjoying their breakfast coffee with the usual smokes Mary remarked to Phillip “peculiar that I don’t see Martha out tending her flowers this morning! Never does she fail – weather permitting. So frequently she has spoken about enjoying her flowers in the morning sunshine, saying they are so much like true Christians who ever turn their face towards Christ their Lord. So often I have seen her reading and then stealing an admiring gaze at the beauty of her blooms. I hope she is well; she ever appears so spry for her age.”
Phillip noticed it was almost 8 o’clock, so he tuned in for the morning news. His proximity to the plant where he worked enabled him to get there nicely after the fifteen minute newscast. But this morning the news was on ahead of time; the announcer sounded excited – and not too coherent! Mary spilled her coffee, Philip became transfixed! Could this be a fantastic play, like many decades ago when Wells put on the “Invasion from Mars”? This was the regular announcer, his voice was too familiar to misplace, but his agitation was all too evident.
Mary was pale and shaking, “Phillip what is he saying? Thousands of people have vanished, leaving no trace behind? Telephone lines have jammed; the police department is in a frenzy! Foreign press bureaus are reporting the same, although there was yet none reported from Russia, Egypt nor China!” Both listened entranced. It was too much to believe! Surely this had to be a play – the joke of the century (yet so out of taste)! But why was it the voice of Bill Brewster they heard? He was no actor. Just then Bill interrupted the excitement by saying, “This is no stage play for your entertainment! For several hours running the press wires have been ‘burning up’, and the airways sizzling, under the most fantastic and bizarre news that ever struck the world since Resurrection Sunday! Thousands of people throughout Christendom are reported missing; they have literally vanished into thin air; there is not a trace of them – police departments are in a frenzy! Wives, husbands, fathers and children are in the streets wailing; our land is going berserk! No one has any explanation to offer; there is simply no clue to be found. The cry of ‘extra’s is already on the streets. Six inch head-lines announcing thousands missing; vanished into thin air!”
That “missing” word jarred Mary to her feet; Phillip saw her racing madly toward Martha’s back-on-the-lot house. In a daze he sat watching, as she banged out the door. Through the little window he saw her dash toward Martha’s bedroom. It must have been full three minutes till she emerged again, but now walking as if in a trance Phillip could not wait for her to arrive; he dashed out to meet her.
“Mary, what is it? Speak to me!” He shook her by the shoulders,
She looked up at him through the tears; her mind seemed to have wandered. Then she broke.. Her sobs were painful, but lifted her unseeing eyes to his, she said “Martha is not there; she too has gone. Her pajamas are in bed – like she had been sleeping in them, but they are empty! Phillip, I’m telling you, Martha is gone, she’s gone! Her slippers are by the bed; her Sunday clothes she wore when we saw her coming back from Church last evening, are carefully hung in the closet, the wrist watch which she never took off, is beside her pajamas in bed; Phil, the strap was never unfastened!”
Mary was on the verge of collapsing, but Phillip swiftly took her in his arms and into the house.
Bill Brewster was still on, as excited as ever, “Our great-great grandparents saw the opening of the Industrial Age in awe struck amazement! Then followed one unbelievable wonder after the other, until our parents saw the advent of radio and television, while you and I have seen computers, nuclear fission and inter-planetary travel. This fantastically jet-speeding age in which we live is one of such amazing wonders, that we have thought ourselves quite shock-proof. But now? Words fail me. Now the world is jarred off its feet! Hard boiled business men are moaning and weeping; young sophisticated brides are tearing their hair and screaming! Priests, and ministers of the gospel think they have the answer, but even they are in a baffling dilemma They say they have ever read and even preached that “the Lord will come as a thief in the night,” to gather His own unto Himself. But they can’t believe that he has done this – though no doubt He will sometime. Indeed! they have contacted their congregations, and their staunchest and most devout members are still with us. Only here and there, they say, is any of theirs missing, and such as are, have always been known as queers; many of them not too regular in attendance. The priests and ministers themselves are all still with us – that in itself should lie the proof – that no God of heaven has called out his own!
Mary was slumped back in her chair, with an ice pack about her head; Phil sat holding her hand, Mary spoke “Phil, you recall how Martha often told us of the Lords return being close to hand. You know how she pleaded with us to “seek the Lord” – while time was still our own. Where she got it I do not know (we never heard anything like that in our younger days while going to church), but she averred it is written, “many are the called but few are the chosen”! She said that there is a multitude of Christians, but only a small and elected group of them would the Lord take out of this world UNTO Himself. I recall how she told us it was a MUST to become ‘baptized in the fire of His Spirit.’ We could never understand – even though she tried to explain: it was as if she spoke a foreign language! Or was it because we were blind and deaf? Was it because we did not want to believe her? Phil, we wanted our own ways (we did not want our ‘pace’ interfered with). You know how on Sunday mornings we would go for a late breakfast coffee in the church basement, and then hear the meaningless oratory of the affable Doctor Moderne. He lulled us to sleep with his orations on psychiatry, and the modern scientific concept of ancient scripts – by those whom he labeled ignorant and superstitious. He said they were visionaries who lived in a dream-world, trying to objectify in story their ideals. Phil, we have wanted to be a law unto ourselves, and we have been happy playing the fools. Our ears were willfully deaf unto truth and the promises of Christ Jesus our Savior. But is He our Savior? We missed the boat! Phil, Martha is gone, hear me Phil; I’m telling you Martha is gone!
You and I know she was no phony, even though at times we thought of her as simple. She would never dream of rigging anything; take me over to her house right now and when you see what I saw, you too will know: she’s gone, I’m telling you she’s gone. She’s vanished into thin air! How can we expect the priests and ministers to have been taken with her? Doctor Moderne repudiated the atoning blood on Calvary. He told us it was wishful thinking by over zealous disciples. Their wonder working Savior who had come to redeem his people (from the iron heel of Rome) had been murdered, dying between common criminals. As etched in the vivid memories and exaggerated imagination, they walked the Galilean hills with Him – muttering like little children in conversation. Their fondest hopes had been blasted incoherently they muttered. They travailed in sorrow – reaching out for strength to live again. They commenced to see His blood as did their ancient fathers above the doors as they left behind the servitude of Egypt.
‘Phil, take me now.?” He knew what she meant. Gently, oh so tenderly he led her slowly back to Martha’s place. Long he stood in her bedroom door – stymied. Two paces inside he knelt by a small step-table where Martha had left her Bible open – reading before she had retired.
Though his brain felt numb, Phil noticed it was the book of Revelations, 3rd chapter. He recalled having heard her say that was the last book of the Bible, and had to do with our days. His eyes fastened on verses she had underscored. Aloud he began to read: “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
His eyes skipped across to the next column where he saw more verses marked, Again he read: I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
At last the ‘Doubting Thomas’ which Phillip had ever been, thought he began to understand. He felt paralyzed with awe as he turned to the bed where Martha had slept. An empty arm of her pajama jacket was still on top of the blanket, A hair-net serenely rested on her pillow – the casing so beautifully white. Like in a trance he muttered: “Martha’s ways were as clean and spotless as her life.”
Gently – as if with reverence, Mary turned up the empty sleeve – that she might turndown the covers. There they were: Phillip only stared – without saying a word, they could not have been emptier! The wristwatch still ticking, was alongside. The slippers…. her undies…
It was well past Phil’s commencing hour at the plant where he had been foreman many years, as they came back to their own lovely home. It seemed as if he couldn’t care less. Bill Brewster was still newscasting. Right then he announced that downtown stores were void of customers, with less than skeleton staffs behind the counters. He reported how none of the industrial plants were operating.
The odd one who did show up for work having gone back home. On street corners were the agitated crowds. Cathedrals and churches had opened wide their doors that the bereaved and frantic congregations might enter en masse to weep, to wail, and pray. Clamoring crowds besieged the manses, they were demanding an explanation: an explanation which none of the theologians could offer.
Mary spoke, “Phil, shall we go to church and pray?”
“To church and pray? The church has lulled us and our nation to sleep: why should we go to such houses of delusion to pray? But Mary, let us pray right here.
Mary could not recall ever having heard Phil pray before. But now his words were deep and emotion-filled: they seemed to rend the very walls. Would he never stop? Yet Mary did not interrupt: it was such a comfort to hear her Phil pray (a first in their mutual experience)” tenderly was she holding their seldom opened Bible as she looked up at him. His head was deeply bowed – big tears falling down on their coffee table.
Suddenly, she too was moved to pray, but oh, so briefly: “Lord Jesus, behold us in our misery and repentance. We have been blind, deaf, and asleep. We have swallowed the invented philosophy of conceited men. In your mercy Lord, have compassion – even on us. Open our eyes and ears to receive the truth of your word – if it isn’t already too late.” Her words trailed off into the wail of a soul bereft: “Lord Jesus, have mercy, even on us…”
By Mikkel Dahl