Dear Friends, does Jonah in the Bible and Levi Caspertein from the Last Dawn Trilogy have anything in common? (Other than Levi is a fictional character, and Jonah is not.) One was an Israelite prophet, and the other is a COIL pilgrim traveling through post-apocalyptic America. One was swallowed by a great fish, and the other is chased by blood-thirsty killers across deserts and mountains. Are they linked at all?
Social Justice or Spiritual Confrontation?
At first glance, the Prophet Jonah and Survivalist Levi Caspertein have little in common, but in closer observation, we find that the themes they each largely represent bear important lessons for Christians today. Let me explain.
The Book of Jonah is about much more than a big fish that swallows a runaway prophet. Taken as a whole, the Book is about racial bigotry. Jonah had an attitude problem about the immoral Ninevites. In Jonah’s eyes, the people of Nineveh were too sinful to receive forgiveness from our merciful God. So, Jonah ran away.
But God confronted a spiritual problem in Jonah that was much more dangerous than the racism on the surface. The underlying problem in Jonah was self-righteousness. Jonah thought he was a better person, and that the Ninevites deserved to die.
Levi Caspertein, on the other hand, as he travels across America’s violent and racially-charged landscape, recognizes only the physical and spiritual needs of the people, no matter their race. How can he do that? It’s because he knows very intimately how God has shown him mercy and forgiveness, so he doesn’t hesitate to show grace to others.
Facing Our Sin Problem
Society’s growing disdain today for all things pertaining to biblical Christianity keeps feeding us catch phrases to define social injustices across our land. But that’s like focusing only on the fact that Jonah tried to run away from his calling. The running away was the result, not the cause, of a deeper sin problem.
Instead, we need to understand the root of Jonah’s problem of self-righteousness. He thought he was better than the next people group. It wasn’t about skin color or class. It was about Jonah not realizing that all people need God, just like Jonah himself needed God.
Sensitivity Training or Salvation Teaching?
Let’s swing the spotlight back to Levi Caspertein. Levi didn’t need sensitivity training classes during the apocalypse of the Meridia Virus to learn how to treat his neighbors with respect and unconditional love. No, as a youth, he had been taught the Bible accurately by his father and mother, Titus and Annette Caspertein. He had studied the Bible himself as a young man, and learned to pray to his compassionate and truth-loving God.
At the feet of his Savior, Jesus Christ, Levi had come to understand his humble state, and so, later in life, as he comes across people who are different than himself, he only sees them as those who need grace.
Jonah’s story is one of discouragement, because he sees people with his eyes of flesh, and not from a spiritual perspective, as God sees. But Levi Caspertein’s story is one of courage and heroism, because he sees people’s spiritual needs, and remembers the rescue he himself received from Jesus Christ by His death, burial, and resurrection.
So, yes, is seems Jonah and Levi are linked by each providing us with important life lessons.
It is my prayer through writing these novels that we recognize in our own version of America’s last days the deep need to care for lost souls. They need Jesus like we ourselves have needed Jesus—not because society has intimidated us to blindly accept the results of unmasked rebellion and sin.
Levi Caspertein will continue to hold to the high calling of Christians in the Last Dawn Trilogy. I hope his boldness for Christ encourages you on your own pilgrim journey!
See you on the next page!
COMING UP: Join us next time for some background on the upcoming Resolution Series in, “Self-sacrifice–Main Theme in Resolution Series.”