Today, I am pleased to welcome author Mark Yerkes to Interviews & Reviews.
Mark has an extensive background in entertainment. He has written numerous screen and stage plays, and has authored two published books. As founder of videoparables.org he has produced Christian faith-based movies and documentaries that reach across cultural boundaries. He and his wife Tess split time between California and their home in the Philippines. And today he is here to talk about his latest book Millennium's End.
Mark, welcome to Interviews & Reviews!
You have an extensive background in the entertainment industry, producing numerous faith-based movies and documentaries, plus you've written screenplays and published two books. But your heart seems to be in the Philippines. Can you share with us a little on how your ministry there began?
I was born into the circus so entertainment was a major part of my life from the beginning. After graduating high school, I went into acting and stunt work for many years. The next steps were acting in theater, then writing for theater, then writing screenplays. The frustration was that, in the film/tv business, getting one of your screenplays produced is about as likely as being struck by lightning. I had a couple screenplays optioned but never produced.
I produced my own first video in Thailand. And I wrote a book on how to produce in another country. Unfortunately, the release date for that book happened in October of 2001, the month after the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Towers. The subject matter of “Making Your Film for Less, Outside the U.S.” was of no interest to people. Nobody, for a number of years, was going to go to another country to make a film.
But that wasn’t the point. God was preparing me to produce my own work in other cultures. As I researched the book and interviewed experts in the field, I made a trip to the Philippines where I met my wife Tess for the first time. Two years later we married and immediately started using the knowledge I had gained to produce cross-culturally in the Philippines. We then started doing movie showings for outreach to many communities.
There is no doubt in my mind that God directs our paths in ways that we may not be able to see during the process. One step leads to another and another, then we can look back and go “Wow!”
That is actually a key premise of my novel: the idea that what we go through in life has a long-term purpose that may or may not be fulfilled in our physical lifetime. But, one day, and for eternity, we will be able to look back in amazement.
Is there a way for people outside the Philippines to donate to your ministry?
God has been faithful to provide all our needs to fulfill His purpose. Not only for our ministry but for every Christian. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19, NIV).
That doesn’t mean I have lots of money. I have learned to create something with very little, and God fills in the gaps where I fall short.
All that to say, “Thank you for the offer. If you would like to support this ministry, buy my books, and pray for us.”
I have read numerous fictional books on the rapture but nothing concerning the Millennial Kingdom. Is there a message you want your readers to grasp in regards to that?
There is a Scripture that sums up the purpose of all prophecy concerning the end times, the Tribulation, the Millennium, and eternity. In speaking of the world and what the world has to offer, 2 Peter 3:10-14 says,
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
We may not be able to see it now, but our lives and what we do with it bears eternal consequences. Therefore, what kind of people should we be?
Amen! Tell us about the audio book version.
I’m an actor and a video producer. I thought it would be simple enough to produce my own audio book. I was wrong. Tech stuff is not my expertise, and I had to redo chapters where I had made mistakes. ACX.com has information for producing your own audio book, and YouTube how-to videos were tremendously helpful. They also have an app called ACX Check that will tell you if your files are meeting the requirements, but it is still not easy.
The ten-hour audio book has just become available since the end of September 2018. It is available now on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, and I’m working right now through the paperwork to get distribution through Audiobooks.com. I am very pleased with the final product and from the performance standpoint, it was a lot of fun.
Why aren’t there more books written about the Millennial Kingdom?
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.
So, the sin nature in the world’s population is the source of conflict for the story?
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.”
On that note what is your favourite scripture verse and why?
I have too many favorite verses to list, but I will give you the words of the Bible that I most want to hear. They are the same words that my lead character of the novel, Robert Carrigan, had always been longing to hear.
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21 KJV).
Those words are the greatest reward of the redeemed.
Word we all want to hear. When you are not writing or filming what is your favourite pastime?
I enjoy other ministry opportunities that God has given me: Teaching Sunday School; Bible studies I teach; Discipling; occasional opportunities to preach. But I also very much enjoy the game of golf. That’s my main form of exercise and a great source for humbling me.
What is your next project?
I am currently producing a video entitled “Gambling Addiction: Riding the Dragon”. It speaks about gambling addiction generally, but its primary target is Asians. Not only is there footage from Las Vegas, but also the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Macau. I started shooting video footage, interviews and such, more than five years ago, but we were missing a key element. It wasn’t until last year that I was able to interview Chinese gambling addicts who found healing and deliverance through Jesus Christ. That project has been waiting on the back burner as I was completing my novel’s audio book. After the gambling video is completed and uploaded to Videoparables.org, where all my video productions can be viewed, I’ll concentrate on the next book Millennium’s End: Back from the Abyss.
This sounds like a book well worth reading! Thank you for spending some time with us today. Where can the book be purchased?
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. The audiobook download is available at Audible.com; iTunes; and Amazon.
If you would like to win a copy of Millennium's End enter the contest below. At this time, print copies will go to those in the U.S. only. But you can still win an ebook if you live outside the U.S. THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.
Congratulations to Albert Yalung! You have won a copy of Millennium's End. Expect an email from Interviews & Reviews soon!
In the 998th year of the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Season of Reaping is at hand. The demons have been cast into the Lake of Fire, and Satan is bound in the bottomless pit, but the biblical prophecies state that he will soon be released so that God can test the loyalties of the current flesh-born generations on earth.
Satan’s influence, a spirit of rebellion, is already being felt through the Founders of the Forum, a group of seven who have surrendered themselves to the control of Lucifer. The evil they promote is spreading like gangrene. The glorified saints, the faithful still in the flesh, the people of Israel, and the hosts of angels will all be tested in the days ahead.
Prince Robert Carrigan leads a triad of saints appointed to govern the principality of Sylvan Glade, and one overriding question has been on his mind: “How many will be deceived this time and surrender their souls to God’s arch-enemy?