Kingdom come the final v.., p.16
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       Kingdom Come: The Final Victory, p.16
 

         Part #13 of Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye
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  “Cameron helped me escape by driving me across the Negev, not far from this very point, in an ancient bus. We had many dangerous and close calls, and we were pursued all the way. Once, the Lord allowed me to escape detection because nature called just when the security guards were boarding the bus and would have surely found me. But the most dramatic incident happened at a checkpoint where I had no time to exit the bus before the authorities checked it out. Cameron was inside their post, trying to stall them, but I missed the opportunity to slip out. All I could do when I heard footsteps was crawl under a seat and pray. There was no way they would forget to look under the seats and equally no possibility I would not be seen, unless the Lord blinded their eyes.

  “As I huddled there, trembling, wondering if it would be the end for me, I could see a flashlight beam darting here and there through the windows. Then a single pair of footsteps boarding the bus. I knew it was not Cameron, as he would have identified himself.

  “When the feet came down the aisle, I could see that the man was wearing uniform pants and shoes. Suddenly he knelt and shined the beam right into my eyes. And God did not blind him. He dropped to his elbows and knees, and keeping the flashlight in my face with one hand, he reached with the other to grab my shirt. He pulled me close to him, and I thought my heart would burst. I imagined myself dragged into the building, a trophy for a young officer.

  “He whispered hoarsely to me through clenched teeth in Hebrew, ‘You had better be who I think you are, or you are a dead man.’ What could I do? There was no more hiding, no hope in pretending I wasn’t there. I said to him, ‘Young man, my name is Tsion Ben-Judah.’

  “Still holding my shirt in his fist and with his flashlight blinding me, he said, ‘Rabbi Ben-Judah, my name is Anis. Pray as you have never prayed before that my report will be believed. And now may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and give you peace.’ As God is my witness, the young man stood and walked out of the bus. I lay there praising God with my tears until Cameron reboarded and drove away.”

  Tsion, wiping away tears, as were the others, added, “He didn’t know what had happened, whether I had been arrested or even killed, until the lights of the border crossing disappeared behind us and he pulled off the road and said, ‘Tsion, are you on this bus? Come out now, wherever you are.’ Why, I could barely find my voice, I was so overcome. I said, ‘I am here. Praise the Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.’

  “The strange thing was, I never found out whether the young Anis was an angel or a man, but I know he was sent from God.”

  Chaim said, “I suspect that he was otherworldly, because much later I saw him outside the Garden Tomb—the same young man. Could it have been coincidence that he was assigned twice where our paths would intersect?”

  “It was no accident,” came a new voice, causing Rayford and the others to jerk around. Standing just outside their shelter, the moon illuminating him and the fire dancing on his cheeks, was a man in silhouette. “I was your rear guard that night,” he said, “just as I am on this mission.”

  And with that his image faded, and Rayford and the others fell on their faces, praising and thanking God.

  NINETEEN

  AT THE END of the next day, Chloe asked to see Kenny and Ekaterina in her office.

  Bahira, Abdullah’s daughter, was with them. “I’ve just met Kenny’s Kat,” she said. “And I approve.”

  Ekaterina looked shocked, and Kenny said, “Bahira! First off, she’s not mine. And second, there’s nothing to approve.”

  “Thank you, Kenny,” Kat said.

  “You’re welcome,” Bahira said, winking at Chloe.

  “Sit, everyone, please,” Chloe said. “Ekaterina, how goes your new role?”

  “We’re still trying to figure out how it’s going to work, and a certain someone seems very jealous that I seem to have my own agenda, but Mattie is keeping him away from me, as promised.”

  “Qasim?” Bahira said, rolling her eyes.

  “You know, Bahira,” Chloe said, “it’s actually good that you’re here for this, because this is an awkward meeting. Back before the millennial kingdom, had Kenny’s father and I not gone to heaven, I can imagine having a meeting like this, probably when Kenny reached junior high school or so. I hear all sorts of gossip and talk and who said what about whose boyfriend or girlfriend, and it strikes me that it’s so juvenile for such a time as this. Scripture says that you all are to be considered children until you reach age one hundred, but because you’re twice as old now as my parents were when I died . . . I don’t know; I guess I expect you to be more mature.”

  Chloe had no idea whether she was getting through to them. They sat there glumly, especially Bahira, perhaps because she felt singled out.

  “It’s all of you,” Chloe said. “Ekaterina is the only one still living with her parents, but you’re all old enough to be on your own. It just doesn’t seem like you’re acting it. Shouldn’t we be above all this petty stuff now that we’re living in a time when Jesus is reigning over His millennial kingdom?”

  “Maybe my brother should be here,” Bahira said. “It was his trying to bring Qasim into the Millennium Force that started a lot of this. Everybody knew it was wrong. Raymie hasn’t been happy about it.”

  “Where do you think I’ve been getting my information?” Chloe said. “I’m grateful my brother trusts me enough to confide in me, but I confess he’d not likely be happy to know that I have taken this into my own hands. He’s perfectly capable of fighting his own battles. And Bahira, he thinks the world of you.”

  “I love him too, you know, in the way that those we met in heaven love each other. Without complication.”

  “And that’s the way it should be. Our lives now should be filled with praising and worshiping Jesus and carrying out His mission on this earth. There are still millions of young people who will not live past their hundredth birthdays unless we stay at the task. That’s what COT is all about. And if you’re going to have a Millennium Force that mirrors the old Tribulation Force, it needs to be single-minded too. We had one goal, one mission, and that was to thwart Antichrist as best we could by what?”

  They all looked blank.

  “Come on; did I surprise you with a rhetorical question, or do you really not know? Kenny, I must have bored you to death with this over the last century.”

  “By adding as many people to the family of God as you could.”

  “Exactly. That’s what the Millennium Force ought to be about, and in talking to Raymie, I know that’s his passion. It sounds to me like it has deteriorated into a he-said-she-said free-for-all. And with Satan out of the picture for nine hundred or so more years, this all has to be self-motivated. I can’t see what part of the world makes this kind of thing attractive, so that leaves the flesh. Just something to think about. Will you think about it? I’m sorry to come off like the mom here, but you’re all coming off like juveniles.”

  Abdullah was studying one evening and Yasmine was praying when he was startled by a knock at the door. Yasmine looked up quickly.

  “Does anyone know we’re here?” Abdullah said.

  “Only those in Israel,” she whispered. “But do not fear.”

  That was easy for her to say, with her glorified mind and body. Abdullah crept to the door and put his ear near it. He jumped when someone called from the other side.

  “I am a friend of your son, and I bring you news! May I come in?”

  “What is my son’s name?”

  “Zaki Ababneh, and his sister is Bahira, also a friend of mine!”

  “And what is your name?”

  “Qasim Marid!”

  Abdullah looked to Yasmine, who signaled him to open the door. She immediately rose to get them something to eat and drink.

  Qasim embraced Abdullah, who pointed him to a seat. The young man wasted no time getting to his point as Yasmine joined them with bread and wine.

  “Zaki told me of your mission, an
d I can only assume that you will try to infiltrate the Other Light here. I can tell you who the principals are, where they are headquartered, and I can even help pave the way for them to somehow believe that someone who looks like you could be their age. I have infiltrated TOL at the international level and so can make the introductions.”

  “I will gratefully accept the information, but persuading them that I am younger than I look will not be necessary because—”

  “Oh yes—begging your pardon, sir, but it will be crucial. They will be suspicious from the beginning, and you would be in danger. There is no possibility that you could infiltrate unless we come up with some story of trauma or disease that makes you look forty or so years older than they.”

  Abdullah laughed aloud. “I have suffered these insults from my own family and old friends, but now even from their friends?”

  “I don’t mean to offend you, sir. I am just being realistic. As a representative of the Millennium Force, I am expert in these things.”

  “Just tell me who is in charge and where I can find them, Mr. Marid. I will follow the Lord’s leading from there. And you would do well to distance yourself from any appearance of knowing me or speaking for me, for if you do not, your own identity within TOL will be compromised.”

  “Being associated with you would blow my cover? How?”

  “Because I do not plan to hide who I am. I am a believer, serving the living Christ. They will know from the first instant, and—”

  “Your very life will be in danger, sir.”

  “I rest in the protection of the Lord God.”

  “If you insist on persisting in this, I am glad to know it so I can distance myself from you.”

  “That would be wise. Are you still willing to give me the information I need?”

  “Certainly, but be as circumspect about me as I will be about you.”

  “On that you have my pledge, young man.”

  Kenny found himself confiding more and more in Ekaterina. She had taken well his mother’s admonitions and proved more than spiritually mature in her response. Nightly now they spent hours together, talking until it was time to go to their respective homes. They told each other every detail of their lives they could remember. Kenny wasn’t entirely sure where Ekaterina’s heart was, but she had stolen his. He prayed his love for her would not interfere with his devotion to Christ, and that was the subject of his nearly constant prayer.

  One night he arrived home late to another message from the Jospins. This time it had been written by the younger brother, and it showed less patience than the previous missive.

  We are at the point where we need solid information. You remain in a strategic place. Don’t make us worry or wonder where your true loyalties lie. You can be important to the cause. If you have questions or concerns, raise them now. Otherwise, we will expect tangible results from you soon. Please respond and give us an update.

  If it would help you to come to Paris and meet with us, we can make that happen. We are guessing that would be preferable to our visiting you, because it is becoming more and more difficult for us to move about in public, as most people are beginning to understand where we are coming from.

  We look forward with great anticipation to hearing from you very soon. Don’t let us down. In the memory of our cousin and your friend, Cendrillon, and with loyalty to the Other Light,

  Lothair Jospin

  TWENTY

  CHLOE STRUCK out in her efforts to determine who had put the phony employee document in her box. She had begun to interview Ekaterina’s coworkers, but after a half dozen painful conversations, she realized her investigation was doing more harm than good. In nearly a century, she had not had to deal with any problem more serious than hurt feelings between employees. With Jesus on the world’s throne and King David, the Lord’s prince, ruling Israel from the temple, all matters of law and judgment seemed to go smoothly and quickly.

  She called in Mattie Cleveland and suggested they just chalk up the crisis, such as it was, to an ill-conceived prank and let it die. “It hasn’t caused too much controversy within your staff, has it?”

  Mattie shrugged. “Actually, it has. Everyone is talking about it, pointing fingers, the whole bit. I would have loved to have been able to say we found the culprit, dealt with him or her, got an apology, and moved on. But this is all right too.”

  “You can blame it on me, Mattie. Tell the staff I decided it wasn’t worth pursuing.”

  “Whatever you say, Chloe. I agree we need to get on with what we’re here for. I will say this: Qasim has been particularly solicitous ever since this started getting around.”

  “The one who’s been so annoying to Ekaterina?”

  “He’s really cleaned up his act. He leaves her alone, and he has been much more helpful to me lately. Qasim has even commiserated with me over this mess.”

  “But I didn’t even interview him. What does he know about it?”

  “Just what everyone else is saying, I guess. He made the effort to set an appointment with me, counseled me not to take it personally, and reminded me how much esteem he and the rest of the staff had for me. It was really sweet.”

  Chloe nodded. “A little out of character?”

  Mattie cocked her head. “But still sweet. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt.”

  The day finally arrived when Abdullah knew it was time to act. He told Yasmine he was venturing out to the Other Light’s secret headquarters and asked that she pray fervently for him while he was gone.

  “I will, and I shall not worry,” she said, “because you represent the Most High God.”

  “True,” he said, “but I also want to assure you that I will not be revealing to them that my ministry partner is also here in Amman or giving them any hint as to where I live.”

  “That is wise, but neither do I fear mere human children, especially those who have chosen to remain outside the kingdom.”

  Kenny begged off from lunch with Ekaterina to meet briefly with Raymie. He told her he would reconnect with her at the end of the day. Raymie joined him at the far end of the mess hall, where they could talk privately.

  “Just a few items,” Kenny said. “I want to know where things stand with Qasim. I want to know what you think I should do about the persistence of the Jospins. And we need to talk about Ekaterina.”

  Raymie, whom Kenny had always found both wise and decisive, did not disappoint. “I don’t know what Qasim is telling anyone else, but I have totally distanced myself and the Millennium Force from him. I told him he has no standing with us, and that regardless what he chooses to do in relation to the Other Light, we don’t want so much as a report from him, not even a secondhand report through Zaki.”

  “And he’s okay with that?”

  “Of course not. He was angry, which showed me his true colors. And Zaki is not happy either. I had to tell him that he would be next if he couldn’t see the wisdom of our totally parting ways with Qasim. I feared offending Bahira if I did that, but she has never trusted Qasim, and I suppose you know we have a sort of mutual admiration society.”

  Kenny smiled. “Kat and I have speculated on what might have become of you two—as a couple, I mean—if you were naturals.”

  Raymie shook his head and looked away. “I have wondered the same. As has she. We can talk about it openly because it is so far from the realm of possibility. It’s strange that we admire and respect and truly love each other so deeply, and yet the idea of romance never enters the picture. We’re simply not wired that way anymore. That allows us to spend a lot of time together, really as brother and sister, worshiping, praying, studying, planning. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is.”

  “And I can’t tell you how much fun it is to have someone like that in my life,” Kenny said, “plus adding the romance to it.”

  “I’m happy for you. I really am.”

  “I can tell. Thanks.”

  “Let’s save TOL for last, then, and tell me or ask me whatever it was you wan
ted to about Ekaterina.”

  Kenny wiped his mouth and shifted in his seat. “Well, it’s just that our relationship really seems to be headed somewhere. Obviously she’s not my wife yet—she’s not even my fiancée—but that is certainly in our future. There’s little I don’t tell her, Raymie, and very little I want to keep from her. I’m not asking that she be made a member of the Force just yet, but I need you to know that I seek her wisdom and counsel about a lot of the stuff we talk about.”

  Raymie slid his plate aside and leaned on the table. “I guess I can’t tell you not to do that. I’d be careful though. You know relationships don’t always end up the way we expect. What happens if a year from now you’re just friends or acquaintances?”

  “I can’t imagine it, but I see what you’re saying. Still, this pressure from Ignace and now Lothair to, in essence, put up or shut up weighs too heavily on me not to talk about it to the woman I love. She would be able to tell something was on my mind anyway, and it’s not fair to her to keep it from her.”

  “And I gather that you haven’t—kept it from her, I mean.”

  “No, I haven’t.”

  “And what is she saying?”

  “Kat thinks I should pursue it, do it right, and—unlike Qasim—act under the authority of the Force. In other words, make sure everybody knows what I’m doing so they can pray for me, keep track of me, and give advice.”

  Raymie sat back and folded his arms. “I like this girl more all the time. Maybe she will make a good Force member someday.”

  “Do we need a meeting?”

  “Of the Force? Sure, if you plan to respond to these guys. What’re you thinking, that you would visit them in France?”

  “That or start feeding them bogus information. Just enough to keep them on the string.”

 
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