Kingdom come the final v.., p.12
Kingdom Come: The Final Victory,
Part #13 of Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye
“YOU LOOK wonderful for your age, Abdullah,” Yasmine said. “But if I may be frank, not even your friend Zeke—”
“I know, I know,” Abdullah said. “He’s a miracle worker, but how do you camouflage the aging of more than a century? Imagine what I would have looked like had I lived this long before the Millennium.”
That made Yasmine laugh, but she quickly covered her mouth when Abdullah feigned offense. “What would Zeke do with you, and what would be the plan if you were made to look like a young person?”
Abdullah shrugged. “This was the Lord’s idea. He’s going to have to tell me what to do.”
“The Lord really is a miracle worker, of course. But those young people will know, if it’s obvious you’ve survived your hundredth birthday, that you’re an interloper. And while I don’t worry that they can do you harm when you belong to Jesus, even finding you out couldn’t be good for our cause.”
“Anyway,” Ekaterina said, “I think he likes me.”
“Qasim, the Jord—”
“I know who you’re talking about. Why do you think he likes you? Has he said so? Have you spent any time together?”
“Not really. We were in charge of relays the other day, and he asked me all about my background. Then he started teasing me. It seemed like flirting, and while I was not rude, I didn’t engage him in the banter. Later he told me he would like to see me.”
“See you? As in go out with you?”
She nodded. “And I agreed.”
“What? Tell me you didn’t!”
“Kenny! What’s the matter? I didn’t want to be rude. He just wants to take me to dinner Friday night. What can be the harm? You know him better than I. Is there some reason I should not accept an invitation from a brother?”
A brother? Kenny wasn’t so sure. Raymie was suspicious of Qasim, and his personality grated on Kenny. But that wasn’t enough to make him bad-mouth the guy to Ekaterina. Kenny knew full well why he had a problem with Qasim’s interest in Kat. He had merely beaten Kenny to the punch.
“Well?” she said. “No warnings? No dire stories?”
Kenny shook his head. He wanted to blurt out that he cared for her and would rather date her himself, but it was too late. He had missed his window of opportunity. He would look jealous and desperate. Would he have to compete with Qasim to see her at all now?
Three days later, on Friday afternoon, Cameron and Chloe had just bidden farewell to the last straggler at COT and were sitting down to a heaping bowl of fresh fruit when the priest Yerik appeared at their back door. As he began to introduce himself, Cameron said, “We know who you are, sir. May we offer you anything?”
“Thank you, no,” Yerik said. “I come bearing news. You know of the arrangement between your father-in-law and King David regarding the men—”
“Of the Bible who are to come, yes.”
“I am here to inform you that if you can avail some time tomorrow, Noah is prepared to be here.”
“Oh, certainly! Of course, we had hoped for more notice so we could let our people know and ensure the largest crowd possible. And we’d also like to prepare the children by reminding them of his story.”
Yerik smiled. “The children don’t know his story?”
“Well, sure, but . . .”
“Just so you’re aware, he’ll be here alone. He will require nothing. No food, no drink, no introduction. And while there may be no way to preclude this, neither is he comfortable with praise. No doubt the children will want to cheer him, but there’s no need to encourage it. And as for drawing a large crowd, allow me to ask you, sir: have you already thought of whom you might inform as soon as I leave?”
Chloe laughed. “I don’t know about Cam, but I have! Starting with our staff, of course.”
“Then I daresay,” Yerik said, “that news will spread quickly. There will not likely be a family associated with your ministry who will not be aware of tomorrow’s visitor. And you should probably plan for a crowd that extends beyond your ministry families as well.”
“Your families will tell their friends, and people will arrive who have no children in COT.”
News of the new name of Egypt spread quickly through that nation, and as Rayford, Irene, Chaim, Tsion, Mac, Bruce, and his wife visited the various cities, the people would cry out, “Long live Osaze, ‘loved by God,’ and long live our King, the Lord Christ!”
But after one of the team preached and young people under one hundred streamed forward to commit their lives to Christ, someone was always bound to demand to know when God would lift His curse.
“That is up to you!” Bruce or Tsion would boom. “We believe the Lord is waiting to bless repentant hearts and minds and spirits.”
“But we have seen our sin and confessed!” the people would yell. “And ours was a sin of omission! We allowed others to sway us, but we did not choose to oppose the Lord!”
Rayford’s team never left an area without constructing, developing, advising, counseling, and even initiating technological advances. But even Rayford himself wondered how long it would be before God lifted His hand of discipline from the land.
It was all Kenny could do to contain himself Friday evening, knowing that Qasim was at dinner with Ekaterina. He had got Kat to agree to come and see him later to tell him everything, and she had chuckled that it would be like “telling everything to a girlfriend, but of course you’re not a girl at all—I didn’t mean to imply that. But we’re chums, aren’t we? I should be able to tell a friend everything, especially about a date, shouldn’t I?”
All Kenny could do was nod. He’d rather not know her or even be her enemy than be her chum, but he would take what he could get. He had to talk himself out of praying that Qasim would make a bad impression on her.
“You’re not really going to go down that road, are you, Kenneth?” the Lord said.
“Albania?” Yasmine said. “What is Zeke doing there?”
“A little of everything, I guess,” Abdullah said. “Farming and teaching young people.”
“I can’t imagine he’s still in the forgery and disguise business.”
“I plan to find out. Will you fly with me?”
“How far is it?”
“A thousand miles or so. Maybe eleven hundred. An hour’s flight.”
It was very late, but Kenny knew Kat wouldn’t forget to call. He wouldn’t sleep until he heard from her, but when his implanted cell phone sounded, it was Raymie.
“You sound disappointed,” Raymie said.
“No, sorry. Just had my mind elsewhere.”
“Well, it’s good to know you weren’t thinking about me,” Raymie said, laughing. “Listen, I just got the strangest call from my sister, and she wanted me to call a few people for her. You’re one of them.”
“You’ll never guess who’s coming to speak to the kids tomorrow.”
Kenny decided Raymie had been right: he wouldn’t have guessed Noah in a million years. Much as he wanted a full rundown of the evening from Kat, now he had something even more dramatic to share with her.
“Needless to say,” he told Raymie, “I’ll be there.”
“Somehow I guessed that. You’ll want to be early. I have a feeling the place will be overrun.”
To Abdullah it appeared that Gustaf Zuckermandel Jr. hadn’t changed in a hundred years. He was still large and baby faced, though he did seem to have a smile that wouldn’t quit. The big man greeted Yasmine with a bear hug. “I heard all about you, ma’am,” he said. “I sure did. Tell you what—I’da been your husband, you’d have changed my mind.” As soon as he said it he appeared to realize how it sounded, blushed, and apologized. “I just meant . . . you know . . . never mind.”
Abdullah and Yasmine had entered Zeke’s humble dwelling and found him listening to music at the end of
It turned out that Zeke was primarily farming, but he had started a ministry he called For the Undecided. He advertised to “anyone honestly still seeking answers about the Lord. If you’re a genuine seeker, let’s talk.”
He said he had led “probably thousands” to Christ, “mostly people in their seventies and eighties. They all have the same story, pretty much. Raised by believers, of course, they just have a lot of questions and worry that they’re just inheriting their parents’ faith. I get a few scoffers or even potential TOLers, but I just tell ’em up front, ‘If you’re not open and honest about your search, you’re probably talking to the wrong guy. I’m not here to argue and fight or defend the Lord. He sure doesn’t need that, especially from me.’ These young people sure like to hear Tribulation stories, though, and I’ve got a million of ’em, as you know.”
When Abdullah told Zeke of his assignment from the Lord, the younger man recoiled. “Sorry, man, but nobody in TOL is going to believe you’re under a hundred.”
“That’s why I’m here. You’re the best.”
“Yeah, but I’m no plastic surgeon, man. Hey, sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I mean, for one thing, I haven’t been in the craft for decades. With technology the way it is now, I could make you a killer new ID, but it’s only as good as the disguise, and unless you were wearing a mask, I mean, come on. Now don’t look at me that way, Smitty. You know I’d do it if I could. I’m not trying to be a wise guy, but you ought to tell the Lord that if He really wants you playing a young guy, He’s going to have to work a miracle. Now Yasmine here—you don’t mind if I use your first name, do you, ma’am?”
“Not at all.”
“I could make her look eighty, maybe even seventy. She doesn’t look older than twenty-five or so in the kind of years we used to live. Making up a glorified face would be a trick, though, and I don’t think I’d want to even try it. Seems sacrilegious, you know? But then that’s not what you’re asking.”
“Don’t think I haven’t thought of checking to be sure I wasn’t getting her assignment,” Abdullah said. “I just thought you might have an idea, other than reminding me how ancient I look.”
“You know I didn’t mean anything by it. . . .”
“I’m teasing you, my friend. I don’t know what I was hoping for. If the best I get is reconnecting with you, it was worth the trip.”
“You gotta promise me something though, Smitty. You’ve got to tell me what comes of all this. God must have something in mind, and if He does, it’s going to be special.”
It was well after midnight when Kat called Kenny, suggesting it was too late to visit.
“Are you kidding? I’ve been waiting. I need to hear everything.”
“You are just like a girlfriend,” she said, obviously delighted. But she must have been able to tell from his silence that that was the last thing he wanted to hear. “Oops,” she said. “Sorry.”
“Just come over,” he said. “Unless you don’t want to.”
“I want to.”
Before retiring to their respective chambers, Chloe said, “Cam, I’m wondering whether the Lord has let Dad know that his request is going to be honored, starting tomorrow. I know he’d want to be here.”
“Really? You think I should?”
“Of course. Find out if he knows, and if he doesn’t, tell him. And invite him.”
“But he’s got such important work going there in Egypt.”
“Still, Chlo’, if I were him, I’d at least want to be given the option. You know your mom would want to be here.”
“Here’s hoping their . . . um . . . Boss gives them some time off.”
“I FOUND Qasim hilarious,” Ekaterina reported, plopping herself on Kenny’s couch and declining his offer of grapes. “I’m stuffed. He took me to the Valley Bistro, where you had your meeting.”
“Your Millennium Force meeting. Anyway, it was great. Did you just love it? I did. And Qasim was chivalrous, full of stories, talked a mile a minute—in fact, I feel like I’ve just now caught that from him. Have I? Am I just talking incessantly? Stop me if I am. I don’t mean to be. He wants to see me again. I probably will let him, but I didn’t promise.”
Kenny’s mind was whirling. He liked the quiet and shy Kat better, and he hated that she seemed so intrigued by Qasim. But her knowing about the Millennium Force troubled him most.
“The Millennium Force?”
“Yes! Don’t play dumb, Kenny. I’m surprised you hadn’t told me about it, all clandestine and skulduggery. He told me how you’re pretending to be a TOLer, telling them that you’re working undercover at COT, playing both ends against the middle. It sounds so exciting. And Qasim infiltrating in Paris? Wow.”
Kenny looked away and popped three grapes into his mouth, tucking them into his cheek. “So, he didn’t leave me anything to tell you.”
“He doesn’t even know we know each other!”
“And still he told you my business?”
“It’s his business too, Kenny. He admits he’s not an official member of the Millennium Force, but he’s your primary outside contractor.”
“Well, not for money, but who knows what might come of it now that he’s delivered the goods.”
“The TOL manifesto.”
“He didn’t leave a thing out.”
“Don’t worry; he swore me to secrecy. Hush-hush.”
“Yeah, that Qasim. Real tight-lipped.”
“He thinks I would make a good undercover infiltrator too.”
“Because I look young for my age, I could tell them I’m ten or twenty years younger and stay on the inside a lot longer.”
“You don’t think so?”
Kenny strode to the window and pulled the drapes apart, letting in the bright moonlight. “I think you’re most valuable and productive right where you are. I mean, I’d rather you were working directly with me, but don’t you feel as if you’re where God wants you?”
He heard Ekaterina lean forward. “Look at me, Kenny.”
“You’re upset. You’re taking this way too seriously. I’m not considering anything Qasim mentioned tonight. All that stuff is just fantasy. I mean, I’m impressed that he does it and that you and your friends are trying to figure ways to thwart TOL. But you’re right. The best way to do that, at least for me, is to keep doing what I’m doing. I would rather lead one child to Christ than expose a dozen TOL cells. If their dying off doesn’t convince them they’re destined to lose in the end, nothing I say or you say or Qasim says is going to change their minds.”
“I worry that they’re affecting young people, though, Kat. Kids like you were—honest seekers. Those types could be swayed.”
“True. So let’s get kids saved early; then these characters won’t have any impact on them. But again, Kenny, you’re overreacting to this. Why so troubled?”
Kenny sighed. This was Qasim’s fault. He had put everything on the table, proving again that he was a loose cannon, impossible to trust, the quintessentially wrong person for the job. Kenny sat again, picking a handful of grapes from the bunch and swirling them in his palm. “I need to tell you about Qasim, but I don’t want you to take it the wrong way.”
“What would be the wrong way to take it?”
“I don’t know. Maybe that instead of giving you a brotherly warning about a guy, I was just being jealous.”
“Jealous of what?”
That seemed to stop her. She looked genuinely surprised. “Don’t tease me, Kenny.”
“You needn’t be jealous of anyone seeming to have my attention. I’ve wanted your attention since the day we met.”
“Seriously? I’ve been afraid to—”
“I just figured you saw me as too young, too new in the faith, a little flaky because it took me so long to become a believer. I don’t know; maybe you thought I was too immature, hadn’t had enough real ministry experience. Or maybe you just didn’t think of me in, you know, those terms. Attention terms.”
Kenny tried to put the grapes in his mouth, but one missed and rolled down his front, bouncing off his belt buckle and rolling across the floor. Ekaterina made a move to retrieve it, which embarrassed him. He said, “I’ll get it,” but with his mouth full, his words sounded mushy, which made him laugh, and another grape came shooting out.
Now Ekaterina was laughing, and they were on their hands and knees, gathering the errant grapes. “At least let me get the one that’s been in my mouth,” Kenny said, and she howled all the more.
Once they were both seated again and Kenny felt the color receding from his face, Ekaterina reached for his hand. He wiped it on his pants to be sure it wasn’t sticky with grape juice and extended it. No one but his parents had ever held his hand.
“Now, you’re going to tell me about Qasim. And then I’m going to tell you how innocently I view him regardless. And then we’re going to tell each other why we’re so interested in each other’s attention.”
“It’s always good to hear from you, sweetheart,” Rayford said. “How’s Cam?”
When Chloe finished bringing her father up to date on everything and everyone, she asked if he knew Noah was on the COT schedule the next day.
“I didn’t know. But isn’t that just like David or the Lord or whoever arranged this? Scheduling him on the Sabbath.”
“I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe that’s to keep the crowd down.”
“Or up. If it’s all right for a patriarch like that to be there, it’s certainly all right for everyone else. I’d sure like to be there, and we both know your mother would. We’re scheduled for Siwa tomorrow, which is more than six hundred miles from you.”
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