Book Review: Voices - a novel of the end times by Steven Iracategories: Book, End Times, Tribulation, Jacob's Trouble, Israel's Future, Revived Roman Empire, Rapture of Church, Seventieth Week, World Church, Angels, Resurrected Saints, Christian Thriller
Steven Iraabout this book: What if the Bible's prophesies about the end of our age turn out to be literally true? What might it be like to live in those chaotic times?
On a late September morning a few years from now, Daniel Goldman, an American Jew, is about to find out. He wakes to the audible voice of a man who has been gone from the earth for thirteen months, but that strange event soon becomes the least of his problems. As a fabulously wealthy international investor, Daniel had always thought he had a worthy mission in life. But over the next ten days, as he is drawn deeper and deeper into a cosmic drama of intrigue and deception, he learns what was really expected of him all along.
Since Voices is a novel, most of it is purely imaginary. This is especially true of the characters. The Bible has little or nothing to say about the individual characters in the story, but it has a great deal to say about the geopolitical backdrop in the period between the Rapture of the Church and the Second Advent of Christ, which is the setting of the novel. The Biblical books of Daniel and the Revelation especially describe in great detail the conditions and circumstances of that time. Yet even in this area the Bible allows wide latitude for imagination since it describes only the social and geopolitical essences of that time. Accordingly, in Voices, the characters' personal qualities are entirely fictional, while the setting and geopolitical backdrop are consistent with the essences of conditions and circumstances prophesied for the period.
This means the personalities of Daniel Goldman, Rebecca Shaul, the Harpers, Guryon and Rachael Shaul, Henry Sperling—and even, to an extent, of the Beasts themselves—were simply made up. I gave these people qualities I thought fit the story and, hopefully, made them interesting. On the other hand, the social and geopolitical backdrop of the novel—while still fictional—was carefully crafted to reflect the essences of the period as prophesied in the Bible.
By social and geopolitical backdrop I mean such things as the Roman Lake League, the Mutual Defense Treaty, the number of countries aligning with the Beasts, the Beasts' assumption of universal military power, etc. These things offered fewer degrees of freedom. For example, while the Bible names so such organization as the Roman Lake League—nor does it specify that an international think tank of any other name will provide the vehicle for the Beasts' rise to power—it does say there will be exactly that kind of rise to power, that there will be a decidedly Roman character to that rise, and that the seminal event marking that rise will be a Peace Treaty with Israel.
Consider the faux Roman Coliseum in League headquarters. This element was invented to further emphasize the Biblical revelation of the Roman character of the final Gentile power. (And it provided a good place to stage the novel's climax.)
And consider Romani, the first Beast. The Bible does not say he will use false names and be an expert in the use of masks, but it does indicate he will burst onto the scene from obscurity and that he will practice deceit.
Then there is Akiva Sharabani, the second Beast. The Bible does not say he will have been driven away from any semblance of Judaic orthodoxy by an attempted forced exorcism, but it does suggest he will be a Jew. And his willingness to betray his people by assisting the first Beast, who is clearly a Gentile, strongly suggests some kind of serious falling-out with his nation. In light of the Biblical ascription of Satanic influence over both Sharabani and Romani—and because I found the idea of forced exorcism interesting and dramatic—I chose to give Sharabani that particular background.
The Bible does not say there will be a brilliant rabbi who re-discovers the use of the ancient Urim and Thummim in the latter days. It does say there will be twelve thousand sealed servants of God from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. And since there remain no reliable Jewish genealogical records following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, some method of determining tribe of origin needed to come forth. So, in Voices, Rabbi Magid uses the Urim and Thummim to provide a plausible way to identify tribal descent.
Voices was written to entertain the reader and honor Christ. But, while it is merely a novel and not an eschatological treatise, it was governed by the rule: be faithful to literal Biblical revelation—just as far as that revelation goes. When there are no specific details, feel free to fill in the blanks, just as long as the essence of revelation is not violated.
In the future novels of the series I will follow the same rule. The result should be a fairly complete picture of what those times could look like.
preview: read a sample from this book
what to read next: if you read and liked this book...
Great bookA very well written book about the end times. I like reading end time novels, and this one did not disappoint! The minute I was done reading this book, I checked hoping to find a part 2! I can't wait for the next book!
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