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Recap / Left Behind Book 13: Kingdom Come

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At the beginning of the story, Jesus Christ prepares to set up His Kingdom here on earth for the Millennium. He first destroys the desecrated Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and then replaces it with a new and more grand Temple from which He will rule over all the earth. A wedding feast is hosted for all the people, both glorified saints and naturals. Buck and Chloe Williams, now glorifieds, set up a new school called Children of the Tribulation, in which they hope to reach out to children born during the Tribulation and the Millennium that they would make their decision to become a believer in Christ before their 100th birthday.

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93 years into the Millennium, a natural dies on her 100th birthday, and her cousins show up at the funeral, revealing themselves to be members of a new group called The Other Light, which hope to gather followers for the Final Battle against God at the end of the Millennium and succeed in their goal of vanquishing Him through the help of their leader Satan, who is imprisoned in the Bottomless Pit for a thousand years. Realizing the danger that those who choose to oppose God would be in, considering that in the end Satan and his army will fail, Buck and Chloe's son Kenny Williams joins with Rayford Steele's son Rayford Jr. and Abdullah Smith's two children to form the Millennium Force to counter The Other Light's efforts.

800 years into the Millennium, all the Natural main characters are shown to be trapped in extremely aged bodies; a wheelchair-bound Rayford has a reunion party with a number of characters from the preceding novels.

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On the last day of the Millennium, The Other Light finally makes its move, resulting in a brief Curb-Stomp Battle at the end of which Jesus destroys the Earth and then rebuilds it again, after giving believers glorified bodies. God enacts the White Throne Judgement on everybody who was on Earth. The few people from Earth who do not end up in Hell dwell in eternity within the New Jerusalem arcology, which stands as the new Earth's only structure.

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This story provides examples of:

  • Academy of Adventure: Most of the protagonists, and at least one of the antagonists, work for the Children Of The Tribulation school, and some of the plot takes place there.
  • Age Without Youth: Happens to all Natural protagonists in the final two centuries of the Millennium, in which they are stuck in extremely aged bodies but unable to die until the Millennium is finished.
  • Anti-Climax: The Other Light battle versus Jesus Christ. It took less time in that book to be over than the Battle of Armageddon in Glorious Appearing. Chaim Rosenzweig even lampshades this fact.
  • Asexuality: The relationship of the "glorifieds" with "naturals" and with each other, mostly due to the nature of their new bodies and minds.
  • Attempted Rape: With an unbelieving under-100 "natural" (who was part of The Other Light) and a female "glorified" in the hopes of siring a child that may be able to live past 100 years of age without becoming a believer. God foiled the attempt by having the would-be rapist die in her arms and then incinerated. Given that "glorifieds" are not able to sire or have children, this would have proved to be pointless.
  • Babies Ever After: Kenny and Ekaterina spend the rest of the Millennium having and raising children in their marriage together.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Kenny Williams suggests this as a recruiting tactic for The Other Light that they should use against those who are evangelizing for the cause of Christ — that they should become upstanding citizens who simply don't agree with what the other side believes rather than try using drugs and wild parties. Of course, Kenny is also fully aware that The Other Light is destined to lose regardless of what they do.
  • Breakout Character: Cendrillon Jospin is intended to be a Posthumous Character whose brief arc shows that it is possible for a genuinely good person to go to Hell anyway if she does not submit to God. Both the commentariat and fanfic authors seem to have taken a shine to her.
  • The Cameo: In the end, we see The Beast (Nicolae Carpathia) and the False Prophet (Leon Fortunato) in the Lake of Fire screaming "JESUS IS LORD! JESUS IS LORD!"
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: The "glorifieds" are physically unable to have sex with anyone, and along with that cannot father or bear any children, but on the positive side their minds are now so focused on God and Jesus Christ, having experienced the greatest joy ever, that they do not need the pleasure of sex.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: A brutally effective one. Jesus is the proverbial head of state, the Levite priests oversee the rebuilt Temple, and the 11 apostles act as the civil governors with King David as their leader.
  • Chaste Hero: Raymie Steele. His being a "glorified" renders him permanently unable to seek any sort of sexual relationship. In fact, any child that was Caught Up in the Rapture will end up coming back as a Chaste Hero.
  • Chastity Couple: Buck and Chloe Williams stay together as a couple after they're resurrected in order to be parents to their son Kenny, but because in their new resurrected forms they could no longer have sex with each other, much less even have the desire to, they're fine with the arrangement as long as they know that the Lord will satisfy them eternally.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: "Naturals" who become believers before their 100th birthday belong to God forever and are supernaturally protected.
  • Comm Links: Citizens of the Millennial Kingdom have cell phone implants that allowed them to communicate with each other over long distances. However, other communication technology is stuck in the mid-1990s: missionaries have fax machines on their fancy RVs.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The world of the Millennium in the eyes of The Other Light, as "naturals" cannot live past 100 as unbelievers and assume that God gives them no choice but to become believers or go to Hell.
  • Crapsack World: The sky is perpetually blue, so say goodbye to starry nights. Most everyone has to wear sunglasses during the day due to the Sun and Moon's extra power output. With very few exception, everybody is an obligate vegetarian. Every mountain and most interesting geographical features on Earth have been flattened by Jesus at the beginning of the story. In the last part of the Millennium, faithful believers with a Natural bodies are trapped in extremely aged bodies but are unable to die. Finally, The Empire formed by the various territorial governments loyal to Greater Jerusalem is literally run by Omniscient Morality License. Even protagonist Rayford Steele complains that he misses a starfield or a hamburger every once in a while.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Satan's army vs. God battle was over in an instant. All that preparation and the Other Light gets smoked into ashes in seconds!
  • The Day of Reckoning: Final day of the Millennial Kingdom has Satan released from his prison, where he joins up with The Other Light forces which had surrounded Jerusalem. Jesus emerges from the Temple and simply says "I AM WHO I AM" and instantly incinerates the invaders. With Satan effectively humbled for the final time, Jesus chastises Satan for his iniquities from time immemorial, and ultimately sends him to join The Beast and the False Prophet in Hell.
  • The Dark Chick: Lothair and Ignace Jospin's cousin Nicolette, another worker for The Other Light whom Kenny meets up with. A somewhat popular fan theory notes that you never see her and Cendrillon (also Lothair and Ignace Jospin's cousin, and specifically noted to look almost identical to Nicolette) at the same time.
  • Death from Above: How The Only Light's army meets its end at the Final Battle.
  • Death's Hourglass: While lacking the actual timepiece, citizens of the Millennial Kingdom know that "naturals" who stay unbelievers by the time they reach 100 will instantly die and go to Hell. This fate can only be averted by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Other Light faction sees God Is Evil because of this and has prepared for that contingency by having their teachings passed down to the next generation of its converts so that the generation that gets to confront God and Jesus by the end of the Millennium will be "assured victory" when Satan is released. Unfortunately for them, it didn't go as they hoped.
  • Distant Finale: The last chapter, with the final battle between God and Satan being a Curb-Stomp Battle that's over in a single page; there's a 700 year Time Skip.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": An inversion: Buck Williams now goes by his actual name Cameron, as here in the Millennium there is nothing for him to "buck".
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What takes place at the end when the old earth passes away.
  • Easily Forgiven: Kenny's friends, family, and girlfriend, who know that he plans to secretly infiltrate The Other Light, believe, on specious evidence, including the word of a known traitor and liar, that he had really left the faith. They all turn against him. When the matter is resolved, everything immediately returns to status quo ante, complete with Kenny picking up where he left off with his girlfriend.
  • Endless Daytime: In the Millennial Kingdom, there's still a morning and an evening, but the Moon is as bright as the Sun used to be, while the Sun is now 49 times as bright.
    • Also in the "new heavens and new earth", there is no night.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: King David gets this kind of reaction even from the likes of Tsion Ben-Judah.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Subverted, as it is not a fatal photo. Here, Rayford requests a picture of the original Tribulation Force at an end-of-the-Millennium party. He is the only member out of the core group who is a natural, while Bruce, Cameron and Chloe are glorifieds. Even Rayford is shocked as to how old he is.
  • Final Battle: The anti-climactic Satan's Other Light army versus God battle near the end. It only takes a few pages as God just smokes Satan's entire army into ashes in seconds.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The Lake of Fire, which Satan and all those who have rejected God throughout the ages are sent to.
  • Flaunting Your Fleets: Happens in the final chapter of the book, as The Only Light grows to such massive numbers near the end of the Millennium that they start parading themselves and their weapons around. The Only Light is stated to have warships (but no air force), however they predominantly brought a land army.
  • Fountain of Youth: At the time the Millennium ends, even the longest-living "naturals" who are believers are reverted to the prime of their adult youth as they are given their glorified bodies.
  • Gaiden Game: Leave it to 4chan to spend a year running a game detailing the last century of the Millennium, in which a subfaction of The Other Light, realizing that they cannot win by conventional means, use the fixity of prophecy to engineer a Thanatos Gambit. The archive can be found at http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=left%20beyond
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: God spends a thousand years as the autocratic ruler of Earth, zapping people with lightning for various crimes and being the head of The Theocracy. Satan only shows up at the very end only to order a significant fraction of the human race into a hopeless suicide charge. God kills all of them, and then throws them into Hell.
  • Good Is Not Soft: As benevolent as Jesus was as ruler of the Millennial Kingdom, even He had to lay down the Law harshly on lawbreakers and those who were opposed to God when the Other Light became a dominant force to be reckoned with. The normally soft-spoken Tsion Ben-Judah had to come down harshly on the leaders of Egypt (which was eventually renamed Osaze) for not sending representatives to the yearly Feast of Tabernacles, not even giving the leaders a chance to defend themselves, but demanding total compliance and repentance for their misdeeds. Ultimately, at the end of the Millennium itself, Jesus had to preside as judge over the unsaved as they were resurrected from the dead to be given their eternal sentence.
  • Gratuitous Hebrew: What everyone is speaking in this story, though for the sake of the readers it's all translated into whatever language the book is published in.
  • Grow Old with Me: Kenny Bruce Williams and Ekaterina Risto in the book grow old throughout the entire Millennial Kingdom period as a married couple, as do all naturals who become believers before their 100th birthday. By the time the Millennium ends, even the longest-living naturals who become believers revert to the prime of their adult youth as they receive their glorified bodies.
  • Happily Ever After: For the believers. Everyone else goes to Hell.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: Lothair and Ignace speak to Kenny at Cendrillon's funeral, suggesting that Lord demands that the people should praise Him if they want to have a long life. Kenny tells them that's not the case.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Sarsour, a founder and former worker at the Theological Training Institute, turned against his partner Mudawar, helped Abdullah Smith expose Qasim Marid as The Mole working for The Other Light, and became a believer in the process. He interviews to continue working with Abdullah afterwards.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: Goes beyond this with the "glorifieds", since they won't even have the desire for sexual intercourse.
  • Ironic Birthday: Cendrillon Jospin's parents realized that their child would not become a believer by her 100th birthday, which in the Millennial Kingdom period means an automatic death sentence to Hell, so they celebrated her birthday before the day that she would die. She still went to Hell nonetheless.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Other Light army at the end of the Millennium get instantly smoked by God pouring down fire from the heavens.
  • Kill the God: Satan's and The Other Light's plan for the end of the Millennium, which ends up being all for nothing.
  • Lucifer Is Good: The viewpoint of the Other Light faction, claiming in their manifesto that God unfairly treated one of His angels and befouled his name and reputation by casting him out of His presence.
  • Mass Resurrection: All the unsaved dead are resurrected at the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennium.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Abdullah Smith points out to Sarsour the futility of Satan's and The Other Light's plan to overthrow God by telling him that even if Satan has a chance of winning, he wouldn't be able to resurrect all the people who died as martyrs for The Other Light because God hasn't given Satan the power to do so.
    • Which is a funny bit of discontinuity seeing as how Nicolae Carpathia could resurrect Leon Fortunato in book 3. Even the unnamed miracle worker in book 10 could kill and resurrect people. You'd think Satan could perform the same feat that the loweist of his minions could do. Or did the authors just forget?
  • The Mole: Qasim Marid was a Children of the Tribulation worker who was actually a mole working for The Other Light, trying to find information that he could use against the believers. He was eventually found out and fired from his job before he died at age 100.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Kenny Bruce Williams goes through this when he was secretly infiltrating the Other Light faction to see what they were planning to do, with an Other Light plant working at the Children of the Tribulation daycare center planting false evidence about Kenny to frame him as a traitor.
  • Oh, Crap!: The mother of all Oh Craps comes from Lucifer himself. After Jesus decimates The Other Light on the final day of the Millennial Kingdom, Lucifer "looked about him and slowly lowered his sword. He appeared to had something to say and even drew breath to say it, but fell silent." Even he knows that he is oh so very screwed.
  • Older Than They Look: Once the Millennium starts, all the naturals who enter this time period (either believers or children of believers) experience decreased aging similar to the first several generations of mankind in the book of Genesis, with the children becoming young adults by the time they reach 100. However, naturals who remain unbelievers by the time they reach 100 will instantly die and go to Hell. It's not explained how those who were already adults, including those who were already at advanced age, experience this decreased aging at the same rate as the children who enter the Millennium. By the end of the Millennium, however, the longest-living naturals (who at that point are all believers) end up really showing their age.
  • One True Threesome: Subverted in-universe. Rayford's two wives, Irene and Amanda, come back to life at the end of the previous book, and he has to deal with that. However, since they both have Glorified bodies, they are also asexual, leaving Rayford with a millennium of enforced involuntary celibacy to live with...
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: At the end, Jesus does this to the invading TOL forces.
    Satan: CHARGE!
    Jesus: I AM WHO I AM. (cue annihilation of the TOL forces via firestorm)
  • Public Domain Character: The various Old Testament heroes, including Jesus, Satan and Yahweh. In fact, the book uses enough verbatim quotes from the Bible that it had to include a special copyright notice in front, which is considerably less restrictive than that of most fictional works published recently.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Although Abdullah manages to convert Sarsour and Rayford manages to convert Rehema, these are exceptions: The Other Light goes from a tiny resistance movement to a billion-strong army throughout the book... although most of their exploits are glossed over in a time-skip. Depending on your perspective, it can also be considered Pyrrhic Villainy, as Satan gained a lot of people willing to go to Hell with him, yet he still lost the war in the end.
  • Screw Destiny: The Other Light's driving belief, which fails miserably at the Last Battle.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jesus does this to Satan yet again in this story, right before sending him into the Lake of Fire.
  • La Résistance: The Other Light and its various subsects such as The Only Light.
  • Restart the World: The old heavens and earth pass away, to suddenly be replaced with a new heavens and earth at the end. The new planet is, if possible, even less interesting than the mountainless Earth that the book took place in, since there's no more sea.
  • Shining City: New Jerusalem, which appears at the end of the story.
  • The Something Force: The Millennium Force, here portrayed as would-be volunteer enforcers for the global government.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Renowned theologian and master debater Tsion Ben-Judah makes his political point to the unbelievers who won the Egyptian elections by... shouting over everybody, not letting them get a word in edgewise, and ordering that they demolish the parliament building and replace it with a temple.
  • The Theocracy: The Millennial Kingdom government, which consists of God as ultimate ruler, Jesus as the ruler of the world, King David as the ruler of Israel, and the apostles as the rulers of the twelve tribes of Israel. It's portrayed as a fairly stark theocracy, with the establishment permitting some forms of speech but blocking open debate in territorial parliaments, having people who commit "actual crimes" be put to death by Divine lightning and people who do not commit crimes but oppose the regime be interned and/or deported to Greater Jerusalem for "audiences" with the apostles, and causing those who would not become believers in Christ to live either as unbelievers or as members of the Other Light for only 100 years before they "die of unbelief" and immediately sent to Hell.
  • Thousand-Year Reign: What this story is all about.
  • Time Skip: Two major time skips in this story: one to 93 years into the Millennium, and one to the last day of the Millennium. There is a vignette occurring about 800 years in.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The Only Light subsect of the Other Light faction, either believing God and Jesus don't exist despite the obvious evidence to the contrary, or treating them as if they didn't exist. However, this may have been deliberate misinformation planted by Ishmael.
    • The Other Light as a whole is no better than Nicolae Carpathia in this regard, as they have witness from both history and Scripture that their rebellion against God is going to fail. Nevertheless, they persisted.
  • Trash the Set: God destroying the desecrated Temple and replacing it with a new Temple. The whole earth gets destroyed at the end of the Millennium and is replaced with a new one, even duller than Millennial Earth since there are no more seas.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The last chapter is seen through Rayford's extremely aged eyes and mind; for all we know, he might be dreaming, hallucinating, or reacting to being finally Raptured.
  • Veganopia: The Millennial Kingdom is basically this, as the primary diet for all citizens is fruits, vegetables, and milk. It is only at the Lord's wedding supper that the meat restriction was lifted.
  • Voice of the Resistance: The Other Light's If It's True... manifesto, which Cendrillon's cousins share with Kenny.
  • Was Too Hard On Them: As with the end of the Tribulation period, Jesus clearly didn't like having to send the unbelievers to their sentence at the Great White Throne judgment.
  • Wedding Day: Irene Steele (one of the Christians who was Caught Up in the Rapture) recalls the day of the heavenly wedding of Jesus Christ with His bride, the church. As per the text, Jesus sounds somewhat abusive, but Irene and everyone else seems to be okay with being called unworthy on their wedding day...
  • Where Are They Now: Near the end, we see the fates of the extended members of the Tribulation Force. Most are shown to have lived a quiet life, and all are either decrepit or stuck in Ken-doll "glorified" bodies.
  • With Us or Against Us: Played straight. The author is unable to conceive the notion that someone might side both against God and against Satan, despite the book being a prime example of God and Satan Are Both Jerks. Those who do not accept Christ are considered to be on Satan's side by default, and thrown into Hell accordingly regardless of their intentions. This being based on the Bible, though, there really is no neutral ground for people in the eyes of God.
  • World-Healing Wave: A rather slow one, as Jesus Christ takes His time renovating the earth for the Millennial Kingdom. Given that the world is still flat after 93 years and that in the year 800 of the Millennium the desert has started to reclaim the Holy Land, He hasn't done a very good job of it.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Despite The Other Light's best efforts, their whole army gets smoked at the end of the Millennium and Satan gets sent to the Lake of Fire.
  • Zeerust: An interesting in-universe example. Supersonic business airplanes exist, but most people move around by horseback and gas-powered car well into the 2100s. Most everyone has an implanted cell phone, but they are voice only; smartphones and tablets don't exist, desktop computers are still prevalent, and fax machines are in more common use than email is. Considering that the book was written in the year the first iPhone came out, this may also be an example of Schizo Tech.
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