Question & Answer Interview Text
MILLENNIUM’S END: The Rebellion Rises
by Mark Yerkes
1. You have an interesting background. How did you get around to fiction writing?
It was a long journey. I grew up in the circus. My parents were flying trapeze artists and acrobats. We were on the road most of my childhood, which gave me an unusual perspective on the world. My dad eventually moved us to Los Angeles where he began a career doing stunts for film and television. I followed in his steps for many years as an actor and stunt performer, but I had other creative aspiration. I wrote stage and screenplays, and finally came to the point of producing my own video movies, documentaries and teaching tapes. You can see much of my work at videoparables.org
My videos are faith-based, and many cross boundaries into Filipino and Chinese culture and language. My relationship to God through Jesus Christ is very important to me. I’m not afraid to call myself a Christian. I have written a couple nonfiction books, but this novel series kept coming to mind until I finally had to write it.
2. In your novel, where did you come up with the idea of spiritual counselors in heaven?
MARK: The Bible promises that when we see Him (meaning the glorified Christ), we will be like him. What does that mean? Some think that we will be just like Jesus in every way. If you believe in the deity of Christ as a member of the triune God (as I do), then you believe that the Son has the same attributes as the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. The Son is all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing – equally God from all eternity.
But we are not equal to Almighty God. We are created beings, imperfect and weak. I believe that, at the redemption and transformation of our bodies through resurrection or the Rapture of the Church, we will become like Jesus in our new eternal, spiritual bodies. We will no longer have a sin nature, but that doesn’t mean we will be all-powerful as God, nor does it mean we will be omniscient (all-knowing). We will, however, have all eternity to learn, and part of that learning will be in context of events from our past life in the flesh.
In the novel even the mentor/advisors have mentor/advisors.
I believe every resurrected child of God will continue to learn more and more throughout eternity. We might think of the book’s mentor/advisors as a first step in a never-ending journey towards wisdom and knowledge.
3. You also presented the idea that angels and the glorified saints can make mistakes. How can that be if there is no sin in heaven?
MARK: Well, people can make wrong decisions without them being sins. I pick the slow check-out line at the grocery store all the time, but that doesn’t mean I sinned.
God created Adam and Eve with free will. They did not have a sin nature, yet they disobeyed God and became sinners. Clearly, God wants us to have free will and choose to love and obey him. I don’t see that changing when we get to heaven.
As for the angels, Lucifer was a powerful angel until he rebelled against God, and a third of God’s angels rebelled with him and were cast out of heaven to become demons. They must have a degree of free will, but they have no means of redemption.
Even the angels that serve God in heaven appear to make mistakes. The Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians tells us that Christians will judge angels. If they do everything perfectly in every way, what is there to judge?
4. Why aren’t there more books written about the Millennial Kingdom?
MARK: Ah, I think that is more an issue related to story construction. It was a problem I had to consider before writing the book. A good story needs conflict, but how do you have conflict in a world where everything is ruled by a perfect, benevolent King who is in complete control?
There is far more written in the Old Testament of the Bible about the second coming of Christ and his Millennial Kingdom than there is about his first coming. The first time the Messiah came it was as the suffering Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but He will return as the conquering King. He will rule over a faultless government. There will be worldwide peace, an unpolluted environment without disease, no lack of food, people will live hundreds of years.
Yet, the flesh-born subject of the King of Kings will still have a sin nature. They are the descendants of the God-fearing people who survived the Great Tribulation. Because they are still in the flesh, the sin nature is passed from generation to generation until the whole earth is repopulated. It’s not that there will be no sin in the Millennium, but it won’t be as rampant as it is today. There will be no demonic forces active to tempt people; there will be nothing allowed to visually entice towards lust and pride; and when people are caught in sin, it will be punished justly and quickly.
I think most Christian writers find it difficult to create conflict from such a world.
5. So, the sin nature in the world’s population is the source of conflict for the story?
MARK: Yes, that’s part of it. But keep in mind that this story picks up at the “end” of the Millennium. The inhabitants of the world know that Satan will be released from the abyss where he is imprisoned. Many people will have a distorted view of Satan and of God – just as it is today. Many hate God because He defines right and wrong. Satan appeals to our sinful nature. “Never mind God,” he says. “Do what you want to do.”
6. You said that was part of it. What other source of conflict is in the story?
MARK: Much of the story is played out in the past -- which for us is our present or near future. There’s obviously plenty of drama and conflict in our world today.
7. Can you explain how you incorporated our present into a story about a thousand years in the future? You don’t use a typical flashback or time travel device.
MARK: The Rebellion Rises is not just about our present and the future; it is about two transition periods: the transition from our present into the Tribulation, and the transition from the Millennium into eternity with a new heaven and earth.
By the way, I’m not making up these time periods. They are written in the Scriptures.
The main character of our story is Dr. Robert Carrigan, a Christian in our present who becomes Prince Robert, a member of the ruling Triad of saints over the principality of Sylvan Glade. Prince Robert sees the rebellion against the King spreading, and the Council of the Pillars has passed along instructions that the ruling saints would allow nature to take its course, because the rebellion was prophesied. But Robert is uncomfortable about this. He doesn’t believe that the glorified saints should just stand aside. He believes the faithful flesh-born should resist the rebellion and that the saints and angels should protect the innocent.
He comes to this realization through revelation from the Holy Spirit in his meditative times of refreshing. But he must also convince the two other members of the Sylvan Glade Triad. He does this through a mind-link. All three Triad members, directed by the Holy Spirit will experience every thought, emotion and physical sense that Robert Carrigan had experienced prior to the Tribulation. That’s how we enter both realities.
8. Is this a flashback or time travel?
MARK: It’s actually not time travel or flashback. Robert and the other triad members are not physically going back in time, and it is not possible for them to change past events, which is a convention of all time travel stories.
But it’s also more than a flashback. It is a re-experiencing through Robert’s mind, and it has a divine purpose. The Holy Spirit is revealing in order to teach them something they need to know and enact before the Millennium ends.
That makes the mind-link indispensable to our story.
9. I notice that every chapter contains superscripts keyed to Scripture References in the back of the book. You don’t typically find that in a novel. Why did you choose to do this?
MARK: In my Author’s Note at the beginning of the book, I explain that the novel is a work of fiction, yet I have a great respect for God’s word. I hope that my readers will open their Bibles to explore where my views and descriptions in the novel derived from. They may agree or disagree with my conclusion, but they will certainly be amazed at how much is written about the Millennial Kingdom in the Bible.
And I pray that everyone might find the same hope that I have found through my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) I do not believe he was crazy or a liar. His life and miracles, his crucifixion, and especially his resurrection prove that he was telling the truth. His resurrection guarantees our hope and future.
10. What can we expect next in the Millennium’s End series?
MARK: I have always imagined this as a trilogy. The next book will be entitled Back from the Abyss. As the title indicates, it will follow the continuing developments before and after Satan is released from his bondage. Prince Robert will continue to follow God’s direction in leading Sylvan Glade, and Satan’s followers will pursue the destruction of God's faithful.
The Final Conflict will be the third book, and the title should tell you all you need to know about its content.
11. Thank you for spending some time with us today. Where can the book be purchased?
MARK: It was my pleasure. The ebook download is available through most of the major booksellers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. Or you can go directly through the MILLENNIUM’s END website for the print copy, the ebook/audiobook USB, or the audiobook on CD. That is www.millenniums-end.com
That is millenniums (dash) end.com
The audiobook download is available at Audible.com; iTunes; and Amazon.
12. A very interesting subject matter. I wish you great success, and look forward to the second book. Again, the book is titled Millennium’s End: The Rebellion Rises by Mark Yerkes.