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Recap / Left Behind Book 12: Glorious Appearing

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It is the day of the Lord's coming. As the Tribulation Force members scramble to find two of its people that are not accounted for, Buck Williams and Rayford Steele, Nicolae Carpathia is taking heat for the destruction of New Babylon, which has caused the loss of fortunes and disruption of vital services everywhere in the world. The armies of the world have Petra and Jerusalem completely surrounded and ready to annihilate their residents when all of a sudden, the Lord comes with His army of saints on horseback, ready to bring waste to the armies of the world and to send the Antichrist and the False Prophet to the Lake of Fire. Following the defeat of the entire Global Community army, the Lord brings comfort to all the saints waiting for His return and restores Jerusalem to its former glory. He also brings the citizens of the world into the newly-created Valley of Jehoshaphat for judgment of the "sheep" and "goats", separating those who cared for "the least of His brethren" (meaning the people of Israel) and those who did not. However, instead of being judged like that, Real True Christians end up making it to the Millennial Kingdom, and everyone else goes to Hell. After this, Jesus rewarded the Old Testament saints for their faith, and then rewarded the Tribulation martyrs for their faithful witness. When this was done, Rayford is happily reunited with his wife Irene and his son Raymie, now fully grown, as well as with his friends and family members that went on to be with Jesus ahead of him. Buck (now going by his first name Cameron) and Chloe re-unite with Kenny, Tsion and Chaim are re-united as well as Abdullah and his wife Yasmine. Rayford amusingly tells Irene that she is entitled to "one cosmic I-told-you-so" before they are all re-united with the rest of the resurrected members of the Tribulation force.

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This story provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Bright Light: Jesus emits a very bright shadowless light upon His arrival from heaven.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: In Jesus' judgment of the "sheep and goats" near the end of this book, Jesus judges the "goats" (most likely GC and Carpathia loyalists) for doing nothing good for "the least of My brethren" (contextually talking about the people of Israel), saying that what they didn't do for them, they also didn't do for Him. In other words, they're just as guilty as if they were actively coming against the Jews and Christians themselves, and doing that to the Jews means you're also doing that to Christ.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Leon Fortunato, when he faces Jesus, begs pitifully to be spared his fate in the Lake of Fire, even going so far as to renounce his association with Nicolae and Satan and pledging his allegiance to Jesus. Unfortunately for him, Jesus isn't changing His mind.
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  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: The Dramatic Audio presentation has the sound of a crowd cheering wildly as Michael locks Satan away in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. However, Satan does get out in time for the Final Battle.
  • Angel Unaware: In the judgment of the "sheep" and "goats", Jesus tells both groups, "Whatever you did (or did not do) to the least of these My brethren [referring to the people of Israel], you did it (or did not do it) to Me."
  • The Armies of Heaven: Jesus and His army of saints emerging from heaven in the midway part of the story.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: The GC Unity Army has overrun Jerusalem, Buck Williams and Tsion Ben-Judah have been slain in battle, and the Unity Army is poised to overrun Petra in Armageddon. Then Jesus arrives. Curb-Stomp Battle ensues.
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  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Jesus rewarding the Tribulation Martyrs with a martyr's crown.
  • Back from the Dead: The Tribulation Force members that died during the Tribulation are resurrected in this story.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention the destruction of New Babylon to Nicolae Carpathia if you happen to be working for him, if you don't want the taste of the rattan rod before you get killed.
  • Big Blackout: A supernatural one occurs for about a minute or so, as the "sign of the Son of Man" disappears from the sky, leaving the Petra region in darkness and the Unity Army without any power or even the ability to use their weapons. This is just a prelude to the Absurdly Bright Light that appears when Jesus and His army of saints show up.
  • Big Good: Jesus shows up in the middle of the story to save the day.
  • Big "NO!": Leon Fortunato utters this (half-screaming, half-crying, actually) as he is hauled to the pit which will send him and Carpathia to the Lake of Fire.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Attempted and failed with Nicolae Carpathia in the Dramatic Audio version of Glorious Appearing when Jesus just goes on and on speaking The Word Of God while the Unity Army troops die.
    Nicolae Carpathia: And someone SHUT HIM UP!!!
    • Gabriel, on the other hand, is more successful in his attempt, as he does this to Carpathia himself when he and Fortunato are brought before Jesus.
    Gabriel: My King, I accuse in your presence, those who have worked against your love and grace. Those who have established themselves from old as your enemies! Those who have sought to defile your created ones!
    Carpathia: They are my created ones!
    Gabriel: SILENCE! (Carpathia shuts up) Your time has not yet come!
  • Blackface: Mac McCullum had his skin tinted dark to disguise himself as a Global Community officer of a different race so that he could go into Jerusalem to find Buck Williams. At that point, nobody on either side of the conflict either notices this or even cares to be offended by it. It also helps that Zeke Jr. is just that good of a makeup artist.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: After the Seventh Bowl Judgment rains down huge hailstones on the GC, the temperature goes back up to normal, melting the hailstones into water, causing it to mix with the blood to create a high-enough river that Leon gets soaked in trying to get Nicolae's vehicle out of so he could drive to higher ground.
  • Bottomless Pit: Satan gets chained up and tossed into one. He will remain there for the duration of the Millennial Kingdom.
  • The Bus Came Back: The people of The Place reappear in this story, their street ministry continuing up until the Lord's return.
  • The Cavalry: Jesus and His army of saints. Of course, Jesus does most of the fighting just by speaking the Word of God while the calvary follows to praise Him.
  • A Chat with Satan: Satan has to remind Nicolae Carpathia who is the boss when the Antichrist gets a bit big for his britches.
    Satan: You dare suggest you have anything to offer me besides your pathetic frame?! You are drunk with a power whose source is far beyond your own! You are merely a vessel, a tool, a jar of clay for my purposes, and yet you parade yourself as if you had a shred of value!
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When Jesus comes into the scene and slaughters Global Community troops en masse just by speaking the Word of God, it's a total Game-Breaker. He's also unstoppable, as evidenced in the Dramatic Audio presentation where the Antichrist armies launch rockets at Him with no success.
  • The Day of Reckoning: Final day of the Great Tribulation sees the destruction of the Unity Army, the deaths of Baal, Ashtaroth, and Cankerworm, Carpathia and Fortunato's Angel-assisted swan dive into the Lake of Fire, and Satan chained up and tossed into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years.
  • Defiant to the End: Carpathia is this when he stands before Jesus...until Jesus cast Satan out of him.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The Global Community wastes almost the entire broadcast network crew trying to get Chaim Rosenzweig and his Scriptural message off the air.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: The fate of both Nicolae Carpathia and Leon Fortunato as they are pushed by Michael the archangel into the Lake Of Fire.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Mac McCullum dresses as a Global Community officer with the addition of Blackface while he goes into Jerusalem to find Buck Williams.
  • Driven to Suicide: After the destruction of New Babylon, people with lost fortunes commit suicide in droves.
  • Earthquakes Cause Fissures: During the battle of Armageddon, one particular earthquake renders the entire Earth flat, while at the same time, causing the city of Jerusalem to rise 300 feet from the ground.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In the Dramatic Audio, though, Viv Ivins gets killed by a hailstone, and Nicolae just casually shrugs off her death.
    Fortunato: (after Viv gets splattered by said hailstone) Excellency...I am so sorry.
    Carpathia: Yes. Terrible loss.
  • Exalted Torturer: Jesus, though He says "like My Father, with whom I am one, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked."
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The events of this story take place within the course of a single day, not counting the amount of time Jesus took to reward the Old Testament saints following His return.
  • Feathered Fiend: The birds that are called by God to feast on the flesh of the fallen Global Community armed forces in Petra, whether they are dead or still alive.
  • Final Confession: After Jesus casts Satan out of Carpathia, the defeated Antichrist acknowledges that Jesus is indeed Lord.
    Carpathia: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, who died for the sins of the world and rose again the third day as the Scriptures predicted...I confess that my life was a waste. Worthless. A mistake. I rebelled against the God of the universe, whom I now know loved me.
    • He still gets tossed into the Lake of Fire.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The Lake of Fire, which the Antichrist and False Prophet are sent into.
  • Fix Fic: Carpathia's hyper-competent subordinates in charge of running the phone and data networks had three years to get ready for the Glorious Appearing, and in the community Role-Playing Game Tripocalypse, ensure that the Battle of Armageddon ends in a stalemate by means of a deployable bridge and clever application of Loud of War to contrast Jesus' own, and force the survivors to negotiate a cease-fire. The universe isn't quite sure how to deal with it.
  • Give Me a Sign: The "sign of the Son of Man", in the form of an electrical cross, which heals believers and protects them from harm.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Both Jesus and Carpatia (while possessed by Satan) commit plenty of war crimes in this book, with the main difference being that Jesus racks up a significantly higher body count.
  • Gorn: Plenty of this in this book, as Jesus turns the Unity Army into bloody chunks of human salsa.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Leon Fortunato, at the end of the story. He repents, but it is too late for him.
  • Hot God: Jesus gets this from Naomi Tiberias in the Dramatic Audio version when she comments to Chang Wong on how handsome He is.
  • Humiliation Conga: Mostly within this story, where Carpathia finds himself unable to prevail against Jesus Christ in the battle of Armageddon, and is only further humiliated when he is forced to kneel before the Lord before he gets sent to the Lake of Fire. Of course, the believers are basically surprised that Jesus is more sad than dancing with unbridled glee at having the Antichrist at His mercy.
    • In Mac's case, however, he would be sticking it to Carpathia were he was in Jesus' place.
    Not such a big man now, are you? Where's the sword? Where's the army? Where's the cabinet, the sub-potentates? Now you're only the supreme impotentate, aren't you?
  • Hyper Competent Sidekicks: The Global Community communications people. Things like communications and even the Internet literally operate through the Battle of Armageddon and its aftermath. Why didn't Carpathia put them in charge of anti-supernatural operations?
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • With The Sign of the Son of Man during the Battle of Armageddon, the believers are nigh invunerable to bullets...and everything else. Rayford and the other believers defending Petra have some fun with this, goading the Unity Army into attacking them, but with no success from the latter.
    • In the dramatic audio presentation, Mac's chopper is rigged with grenades. Mac's faith pretty much saved both him and his chopper when the grenades go boom.
    • Jesus Christ Himself is also immune to what the Unity Army throws at Him and the army of saints, notably missiles in the dramatic audio.
  • Inconvenient Summons: With Jesus summoning the last remaining quarter of humanity to the Valley of Jehoshaphat for judgment (who at that point are mostly GC and Carpathia loyalists), some are pulled out of various things they were doing just for the sake of being judged.
  • I Warned You: Rayford tells his wife Irene that she is entitled to "one cosmic I-told-you-so."
  • Kneel Before God: Nicolae Carpathia's humiliated bow before Jesus Christ. Of course, Nicolae is left powerless to resist after Lucifer is cast out of him. Lucifer, on the other hand...
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: A good deal of the Global Community armed forces not situated in the Holy Land at the time of the battle of Armageddon, who realize that they are without any resources coming from New Babylon to make sure they're paid (all because said city is destroyed), decide that they might as well quit even though they face a court martial for doing so.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: Jesus. He just speaks The Word and people die.
  • Last Villain Stand: Carpathia, Fortunato, and The Unity Army does this in Jerusalem...until Michael catches up to them. Cue Oh, Crap! from the two bad guys.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: After Jesus' arrival, Jerusalem butcher Ezer Bornstein is surprised to find that there were a lot of livestock waiting outside his door, lining up to be made into meat.
  • Light Is Not Good: Lucifer, when he takes on his pure form after departing from Nicolae Carpathia.
  • Loud of War: Jesus' main weapon; His sonic blasts literally puree millions of soldiers (and thousands of noncombatants).
  • Manly Tears: Rayford literally breaks down in tears in front of Jesus as He tells Rayford all about his faults and triumphs.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": During the 'sheep and goats' judgment, the reactions of the unsaved and those who had taken the Mark of the Beast when Jesus condemns them to the Lake of Fire for not caring for "the least of My brethren", referring to Israel. Basically saying that if you're not a friend to Israel and the Jews during the Tribulation, you're going to Hell.
    Jesus Christ: Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me. Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. You will go away into everlasting punishment.
  • Mass Resurrection: The Old Testament saints and the Tribulation saints are all resurrected at the end of the Tribulation to be rewarded by Jesus.
  • Million Mook March: Jesus' army of saints from heaven.
  • Miracle Food: God blesses Ezer Bornstein, a Jewish butcher, with so many animals to make meat from that he's giving it away for free to the survivors of the Tribulation.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Jesus tells Rayford Steele to take His hands, and Rayford sees that Jesus still has the nail prints in His hands from His death on the cross.
  • Mystical Plague/Stripped to the Bone: The flesh-dissolving plague that God strikes the GC army with during their attempt to storm the hideout of the Jerusalem rebels, affecting all but Nicolae and Leon (thus fulfilling Zechariah 14:12).
  • Nostalgic Narrator: In the Dramatic Audio version, a grown-up Kenny Williams (the son of Buck and Chloe Williams) narrates some of the events that took place in the book from sometime in the future.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the Dramatic Audio version, the reactions of Fortunato and Carpathia when the Archangel Michael corners them.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Apparently it's fine for Jesus to commit several war crimes, from giving no quarters to enemies who have surrendered, to excessive violence, to outright genocide. Of course, when He's Lord and Creator of the universe, and you can't appeal to anyone higher than Him because there is no one higher than God or Jesus in all creation, what are you going to do?
  • One True Threesome: Subverted in-universe. Rayford's two wives, Irene and Amanda, come back to life at the end of his book, and he will have to deal with that. However, since they have Glorified bodies, they are also asexual, leaving Rayford with a millennium of enforced involuntary celibacy to look forward to, though not without having the joy of the Lord being present in the world to replace what he lost.
  • Power Glows: Jesus, as He is "the Light of the world".
  • Praise The Lord And Pass The Popcorn!: In the Dramatic Audio presentation, Rayford Steele plus the entire population of believers in Petra, who was now made near-invulnerable by God during the battle of Armageddon, were like this when they were watching the Antichrist's armies getting decimated by Jesus Christ. Rayford even mentions that all he needs now is the popcorn. Strangely, not even this is handled in-universe as a Moral Event Horizon moment for the supposed good guys.
  • Race Against the Clock: In the Dramatic Audio version, a Global Community agent threatens the network broadcast crew to cut the signal of Chaim Rosenzweig's message by giving each member, starting from the top brass down, sixty seconds to get the signal cut before they are murdered.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jesus to Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.
  • Rejected Apology: Leon Fortunato when he stood before Jesus Christ in judgment alongside Nicolae Carpathia.
  • Rightful King Returns: Jesus, come to take His place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The Seventh Bowl Judgment takes place after Jesus appears, in which 100-pound hailstones fall from the sky and crush people who are part of the Unity Army. Viv Ivins also gets smooshed by one in the Dramatic Audio.
  • Screw The War, We're Praising The Lord!: The people in Petra were like this when the Global Community Unity Army has them completely surrounded, totally outgunned, and ready to overrun the place. Somewhat justified in that God has made them nigh-invulnerable to enemy fire at that point...and also in that Jesus was going to come and save them in a literal Deus ex Machina.
  • Second Coming: The story is basically about this event taking place.
  • Shout-Out: Mac McCullum comments that Nicolae Carpathia would be Zorro if he added a hat and mask to the ensemble he wore at the battle of Armageddon. In fairness, Nicolae at this point is trying to protect his people from a genocidal ruler who was about to send him and Leon to the Lake of Fire as well as his followers to their judgment.
  • Storming the Castle: Attempted twice by Nicolae Carpathia and the Unity Army forces, once at Petra, the other at Jerusalem, only for both times to fail spectacularly. The first attempt is foiled by God causing a supernatural Big Blackout to occur which immobilizes them at their most crucial moment, only to soon follow it up with the appearance of Jesus and His army of saints. The second attempt goes badly when God causes a flesh-dissolving plague to hit both riders and horses charging toward the rebels in Jerusalem, save for both Nicolae and Leon.
  • Super Cell Reception: Despite God causing severe shaking of the earth, the protagonists are still able to get perfect cell-phone reception so they could talk to each other. In the Dramatic Audio version, Chang Wong wonders if their cell-phones would still work after the Lord has appeared, and Naomi Tiberias tells him to stop worrying about it because it no longer matters.
  • Supernormal Bindings: The Archangel Michael binds up Satan in a Variable-Length Chain that he can't break out of until the time appointed to him before he is sealed up in the Bottomless Pit.
  • Super Speed: The Remnant in Petra make a divinely-assisted mad dash from Petra to Jerusalem. Hilarious in the Dramatic Audio as both Rayford and Mac joke about Abdullah being passed by pedestrians on foot.
  • Translator Microbes: Jesus speaks to each of His followers supernaturally in their own native language.
  • Variable-Length Chain: The Archangel Michael has one for binding up Satan before tossing him into the Bottomless Pit.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In the Dramatic Audio adaptation, some GC hooked up grenades to Mac McCullum's helicopter in the hopes that it would blow up when he takes off in it. The sabotage fails to destroy the helicopter, though, thanks to Mac's faith in God.
  • Was Too Hard On Them: Jesus claimed to not like having to send Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and all their followers to their judgment, but does so with considerable gusto anyway.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: Jesus slays the armies of the world just by speaking The Word of God and proclaiming who He is.
  • World-Healing Wave: Possibly played straight, when a nearly devastated Jerusalem is instantly restored and void of any dead bodies littering the streets after Jesus gets rid of the Global Community.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: What Jesus pretty much says to the Antichrist in His "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him before he is sentenced to the Lake of Fire: every blessing God gave him was wasted for serving Satan. This is a point of contention for certain readers since Jesus pretty much berated Carpathia for what God destined him to function as.
  • Zip Mode: Jesus does this on a massive scale to what's left of the human population, transporting them to the Valley of Jehoshaphat for the Sheep and Goats judgment.
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