The rapture in the twink.., p.1
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       The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye / Countdown to the Earth's Last Days, p.1
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         Part #3 of Before They Were Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye
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The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye / Countdown to the Earth's Last Days

  The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye: Countdown to the Earth's Last Days

  Tim Lahaye

  Jerry B. Jenkins

  Time seems to slow as the clock ticks down....

  Pan-Con Airlines captain Rayford Steele prepares for a flight to London with beautiful flight attendant Hattie Durham. Because of his wife's newfound faith,

  Rayford looks forward to time--and the possibilities--with Hattie.

  Journalist Cameron "Buck" Williams is in

  Israel when the Russians attack, and he experiences for himself the miraculous

  deliverance of the Holy Land. Buck cannot deny

  Chicago bureau chief Lucinda Washington's

  insistence that the event was prophesied in

  Scripture, though he dares not consider the personal ramifications.

  Meanwhile, Nicolae Carpathia eliminates

  any obstacles in his path to power. As the newly appointed president of Romania,

  Nicolae is invited to speak before the U.N.

  Without warning, millions disappear and are welcomed into the unspeakable

  presence of God.

  On Earth some realize what has happened... what they've lost... what they've missed.

  And the darkest days lie ahead for those left behind.



  What People Are Saying about the Left Behind Series

  "This is the most successful Christian-fiction series ever." --Publishers Weekly

  "Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins... are doing for Christian fiction what John Grisham did for courtroom thrillers." --TIME

  "The authors' style continues to be thoroughly captivating and keeps the reader glued to the book, wondering what will happen next. And it leaves the reader hungry for more." --Christian Retailing

  "Combines Tom Clancy-like suspense with touches of romance, high-tech flash and Biblical references." --The New York Times

  "The most successful literary partnership of all time." --Newsweek

  "Wildly popular--and highly controversial." --USA Today

  "Christian thriller. Prophecy-based fiction. Juiced-up morality tale. Call it what you like, the Left Behind series... now has a label its creators could never have predicted: blockbuster success." --Entertainment Weekly

  "They can be fun and engaging, with fast-paced plotting, global drama, regular cliffhanger endings, and what has to be the quintessential villain: Satan himself."

  "Not just any fiction. Jenkins... employed the techniques of suspense and thriller novels to turn the end of the world into an exciting, stay-up-late-into-the-night, page-turning story." --Chicago Tribune


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  Tim LaHaye Jerry B. Jenkins

  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. CAROL STREAM, ILLINOIS


  Visit Tyndale's exciting Web site at www tyndale com

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  TYNDALE and Tyndale's quill logo are registered trademarks of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc

  Left Behind is a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc

  The Rapture

  Copyright © 2006 by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins All rights reserved

  Cover photograph copyright © by Veer All rights reserved

  Authors' photograph copyright © 2004 by Brian MacDonald All rights reserved

  Left Behind series designed by Catherine Bergstrom

  Designed by Jessie McGrath

  Scripture quotations are taken or adapted from the New King James Version Copyright © 1979, 1980 1982 by Thomas Neison, Inc Used by permission All rights reserved

  Characters in this novel sometimes speak words that are adapted from the New King James Version

  Scripture quotations in the Authors Note are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible copyrighted 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America and are used by permission All rights reserved

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  LaHaye Tim F

  The rapture in the twinkling of an eye countdown to the earth s last days / Tim LaHaye, Jerry B Jenkins

  p cm -- (Left behind series)

  Includes bibliographical references and index

  ISBN-13 978-1-4143-0580-6 (alk paper)

  ISBN-10 1-4143-0580-X(alk paper)

  ISBN-13 978-1-4143-0581-3 (pbk alk paper)

  ISBN-10 1-4143-0581-8(pbk alk paper)

  1 Steele Rayford (Fictitious character)--Fiction 2 Rapture (Christian eschatology)-- Fiction I Jenkins Jerry B II Title PS3562 A315R43 2006 813'54--dc22 2006002547

  Printed in the United States of America

  10 09 08 07 06 987654321


  To Linda and Gerald Murphy, my daughter and son-in-law, who serve me in countless ways


  And to Roger Eide, adviser, consultant, but, above all, friend


  Thanks to David Allen for expert technical consultation



  The Principals

  Abdullah ("Smith'V'Smitty") Ababneh, midtwenties, fighter pilot, Royal Jordanian Air Force, Amman

  Nicolae Carpathia, 32, multilingual import/export business tycoon and member of the lower house of Parliament, Bucharest, Romania

  Hattie Durham, 26, Pan-Continental Airlines flight attendant, Des Plaines, Illinois

  Leon Fortunato, early fifties, Carpathia's personal and political adviser, Bucharest

  Dr. Chaim Rosenzweig, late sixties, Nobel Prize-winning Israeli botanist and statesman, Haifa, Israel

  Chloe Steele, 19, freshman, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

  Irene Steele, 39, wife and mother, believer in Christ for eight years, Mt. Prospect, Illinois

  Rayford Steele, 41, Pan-Continental Airlines captain, Mt. Prospect

  Rayford (Raymie) Steele, Jr., 11, believer in Christ for three years, Mt. Prospect


han Stonagal, eighties, billionaire American, banker and financier, Manhattan

  Cameron ("Buck") Williams, 29, senior writer for Global Weekly magazine, New York City

  Viv Ivins, sixties, lifelong friend of Carpathia, Bucharest



  From The Regime

  Nicolae Carpathia had morphed into the consummate politician, diplomat, statesman, and international gadfly. He found reasons to travel, establishing alliances with heads of state who would not have thought to grant an audience to someone from the Romanian lower house, except that he was so persuasive. And he had become known as the most popular man in his home country, admired, respected, lauded by even his opponents.

  He was a man of peace. A dove. Into disarmament. That tickled the ears of his colleagues in Europe and most of the world. He had not yet visited the United States, but he was certainly known everywhere else. Carpathia's brilliance, business acumen, and accomplishments seemed somehow known by all, without his having to trumpet himself. And the way he deflected praise made people pour it on all the more. The more he got, the more he needed, and often he nearly passed out from


  the thrill of it, only to come crashing down on his way from a public appearance.

  Nicolae had learned the art of humility. Or at least of appearing humble.

  His goal was to bypass the upper house and run for president of Romania when his second term expired. Pundits already called him the favorite....

  He wanted to get on with life. It was time to move, to expand, to take what he believed was rightfully his. He had bowed the knee, worshiped his lord and master in exchange for the kingdoms of the world. Was something more required of him? He was the smartest, most well-read, articulate, multilingual man he was aware of.

  It was time for Nicolae Carpathia to emerge.

  Within the space of a year or so, Rayford Steele realized that his life and career had reached both their zenith and their nadir at once. There was nowhere else for him to go within Pan-Con Airlines, unless it was management. And that held no appeal.

  He was flying the flagships of the fleet, had his choice of routes, and virtually set his own schedule. Rayford had mediated the latest skirmish between Irene and Chloe, which resulted in Chloe's dropping out of church altogether. If anything, Irene had grown chillier than ever since then.

  Rayford didn't know what her problem was with Chloe. They could not have asked for a more ideal



  daughter. She was a gem, a keeper, his friends would say, recipient of a full-ride academic scholarship from Stanford, and while he couldn't imagine her being that far away when it seemed she had been a toddler just a month ago, he was so proud of her he could hardly stand it.

  He had the same high hopes for Raymie, but he worried about the kid. Was he becoming a mama's boy? There was nothing soft or sissified about him, except that he was so much into Irene's religion. That couldn't be good. What other boy that age--and especially older--was still enamored with church?

  The only interesting thing on Rayford's horizon remained Hattie Durham. She had finally graduated to international flights and occasionally rode on his trips to England and other points east. Her goal was senior flight attendant and enough seniority that she could choose her routes. She had made it clear she would choose his flights, if that was all right with him.

  Rayford had made it clear that this was his wish too.

  That was ironic, because for as much of a thrill as it had given him to even say such a thing, it represented way more than had ever gone on between them. In point of fact, Rayford had never touched the woman.

  He had been solicitous. He hoped his looks and gestures and tone of voice had made their points. But Hattie was the toucher in this relationship. She would lay a hand gently on his shoulder as she slid past him in the bulkhead. Would rest a hand on his back as she delivered coffee to the cockpit. She touched his hand while talking


  with him at the occasional dinner or while thanking him for frequent rides home.

  Rayford had never been inside her place, and they rarely saw each other alone. But with his life going the way it was and his midlife crisis kicking up alarmingly, Rayford began allowing himself to think of the possibilities. He told himself that if something broke, if he was tapped to fly Air Force One or Two, or if he was publicly lauded by the CIA or the Defense Department for his clandestine but admittedly limited consulting, that might get him back on track.

  He could quit fantasizing about the beautiful young flight attendant and somehow talk himself into robotically walking through his boring married life.

  Buck Williams had been with Global Weekly nearly four years. He had already written more than thirty cover stories, including three Newsmaker of the Year pieces. He wanted to bag a fourth, so he went to the next staff meeting with his nomination in mind: Dr. Chaim Rosen-zweig of Israel, the humble chemical engineer who preferred calling himself a botanist, but who had succeeded in concocting a formula that made the desert bloom like a greenhouse. The result was that the tiny nation of Israel had suddenly become one of the richest in the world.

  In the end, the writing assignment went to Buck. He had, after all, done the story when Rosenzweig had won


  the Nobel Prize. During their interview in Haifa, Dr. Rosenzweig told Buck of the many suitors who had come calling, trying to curry his favor--and access to his discovery.

  "Was anyone sincere?" Buck said. "Did anyone impress you?"

  "Yes! From the most perplexing and surprising corner of the world--Romania. I do not know if he was sent or came on his own, but I suspect the latter because I believe he is the lowest-ranking official I entertained following the award. That is one of the reasons I wanted to see him. He asked for the audience himself. He did not go through typical political and protocol channels."

  "And he was... ?"

  "Nicolae Carpathia."

  "Carpathia, like the--?"

  "Yes, like the Carpathian Mountains. A melodic name, you must admit. I found him most charming and humble. Not unlike myself!"

  "I've not heard of him."

  "You will! You will."

  "Because he's..."

  "Impressive--that is all I can say."

  Later in the interview Rosenzweig said of Carpathia, "I believe his goal is global disarmament, which we Israelis have come to distrust. But of course he must first bring about disarmament in his own country. This man is about your age, by the way. Blond and blue-eyed, like the original Romanians who came from Rome, before the Mongols affected their race."



  "What did you like so much about him?"

  "Let me count," Rosenzweig said. "He knew my language as well as his own. And he speaks fluent English. Several others also, they tell me. Well educated but also widely self-taught. And I just like him as a person. Very bright. Very honest. Very open."

  "What did he want from you?"

  "That is what I liked the best. Because I found him so open and honest, I asked him outright that question. He insisted I call him Nicolae, so I said, "Nicolae, what do you want from me?" Do you know what he said, young man? He said, "Dr. Rosenzweig, I seek only your goodwill." What could I say? I said, "Nicolae, you have it." I am a bit of a pacifist myself, you know. Not unrealistically. I did not tell him this. I merely told him he had my goodwill. Which is something you also have."

  "I suspect that is not something you bestow easily."

  "That is why I like you and why you have it. One day you must meet Carpathia. You would like each other. His goals and dreams may never be realized even in his own country, but he is a man of high ideals. If he should emerge, you will hear of him. As you are emerging in your own orbit, he will likely hear of you, or from you; am I right?"

  "I hope you are."

  Buck Williams had enjoyed a leisurely late evening meal with Chaim Rosenzweig a mile from the kibbutz and

  from the nearby military compound where Buck would stay before his dawn flight back to the States.

  Rosenzweig's driver dropped Buck off at the military compound, where he headed through the command center toward his more-than-comfortable quarters. It was already after midnight, and he was fascinated by the alert attention the strategy room personnel gave the glowing computer screens. Earlier in the week he had met the brass and been given full access to the technicians who kept their eyes on the night skies. Many nodded or waved as Buck moved through, and a couple of the command personnel called him by name.

  Before undressing for bed he stood by his window and gazed into a starry sky. He felt keyed up, not drowsy. He would have trouble sleeping; he knew it. It was at times like this when he wished he enjoyed wine the way a man like Rosenzweig did. That would have put him out.

  Maybe some late reading would do the trick. Just as he was turning from the window to dig a book or magazine from his bag, the raucous blat of sirens shook the place. A fire? Some malfunction? Buck assumed the loudspeakers would advise occupants what to do, where to go. He pulled on his leather jacket and was then drawn back to the window by something new in the skies.

  It appeared surface-to-air missiles had been launched. Was Israel under attack? Could it be? Sounds from the air overrode even the ear-rattling sirens. When the skies lit up like noon, Buck knew this was the real thing-- a full-fledged air battle. But with whom? And why?


  He bolted from his room and ran down the corridor toward the command center. "Stay in your quarters, civilian!" he heard more than once as he darted among ashen-faced men and women in various stages of dress. Many had emerged from their chambers pulling on uniforms and jamming on caps.

  The situation room was chaotic already, and this crisis was less than a minute old. Command officers huddled around screens, chirping rapid-fire commands at techies. One man wearing impossibly large earphones shouted, "One of our fighters has identified Russian MiG fighter-bombers."

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