Kingdom come the final v.., p.19
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       Kingdom Come: The Final Victory, p.19
 

         Part #13 of Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye
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  “ ‘It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat.’

  “I called the priests together and told them what the Lord had told me. And I instructed the people, ‘Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord. You shall not shout, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, “Shout!” Then you shall shout.’

  “So I had the ark of the Lord circle the city, going around it once. Then we came into the camp and lodged. And I rose early in the morning, and the second day did the same thing. We did this every day for six days as the Lord had commanded.

  “Well, you know what happened next, so perhaps my friend and I should leave now?”

  The children leaped to their feet, crying, “No! No! Stay and tell the rest!”

  Joshua smiled broadly and signaled them to sit and be quiet. “All right, you persuaded me. On the seventh day we rose about dawn and marched around the city, only this day we circled it seven times. On the seventh time around, when the priests blew their trumpets, I said to the people, ‘Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! The city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. All the silver and gold and vessels of bronze and iron are consecrated to the Lord and shall come into His treasury.’

  “So when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, they shouted with a great shout, and the wall fell down flat.”

  The children were cheering again.

  “Then we marched straight in and took the city as the Lord had commanded. We utterly destroyed it and everything in it with the edge of the sword and with fire, protecting only the harlot, who had been faithful to the Lord, and her family.”

  Caleb stepped forward once again. “So you see, little ones, the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country. You too can be blessed of the Lord if you remain strong and have courage, trust in the Lord with all your heart, and remain obedient and faithful.”

  Joshua closed the time with the children by praying, but when he finished, the children pressed forward. They wanted to touch the men, to ask more questions. For more than an hour, until Cameron could restore order, kids milled about, leaning in, their faces expectant as they clearly longed for their moment with these heroes.

  Unlike when Noah had visited, for some reason very few of the children left with their parents when it was over. Kenny was overwhelmed with kids who had questions and others who wanted to act out the scenes they had just heard. Some asked if they could build stone monuments, and Kenny promised to try to find stones small enough so everyone who wanted to could do it.

  He was most impressed, however, with children who had deduced that the Commander of the Lord’s army was Jesus Himself. One little boy said, “Mr. Williams, I want to be in Jesus’ army.”

  “Oh, don’t you realize,” Kenny said, “He accepts only those who trust Him for forgiveness of their sins and for salvation?”

  “I will.”

  “You will? How will you do that?”

  “I’ll tell Him.”

  “Right now?”

  “Can I?”

  “Yes, and you don’t even have to travel to the temple. Just pray to Him and tell Him that you know you are a sinner and that you want His forgiveness. Then ask Him to be your Savior and thank Him for dying on the cross for your sins. You know that story, don’t you?”

  “Sure, everybody knows that. At least everybody here.”

  “Do you understand that Jesus wants you to decide to follow Him?”

  The little boy nodded, and Kenny prayed with him. He couldn’t wait to tell Ekaterina, and he was sure she would have similar stories.

  Abdullah sat in his cramped new office at the back of TOL headquarters in Amman, reading his Bible and making notes for a lesson he was prepared to give if ever asked. He looked up when he realized Sarsour was peering at him from the other room.

  “Need anything?” Abdullah said.

  The young man, wiry and nimble, shook his head, but his body language gave him away. He seemed drawn to Abdullah.

  “Feel free to come in. Anytime. Chat. Or just sit.”

  Sarsour wandered in as if he could take or leave the invitation. He pretended to study stuff taped to the walls, but it was all old and faded and likely had been affixed there by him, so Abdullah knew he was just self-conscious. Abdullah went back to his reading, keeping an ear open. He began to hum an old hymn and then softly sing.

  “Oh, the love that sought me,

  Oh, the blood that bought me,

  Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold,

  Wondrous grace that brought me to the fold.”

  Finally Sarsour sat. Abdullah slid his Bible and his papers to the side and looked at him expectantly.

  “You really believe this stuff, huh?” Sarsour said.

  “I do. And you don’t?”

  “’Course I don’t. I’m a TOLer.”

  “Your parents have to be believers.”

  “Yeah. But it’s not for me. They tried to raise me in it, but as soon as I started reading other stuff and talking to other people, I realized the Bible isn’t the only idea.”

  “What about all the prophecies that have been fulfilled, all the people who have been resurrected, the ones who have already been in heaven? And what about the fact that Jesus is with us now and sits on the throne, judging the nations?”

  Sarsour shrugged. “It’s like He’s head of the occupying army. We’re the resistance, that’s all. The rebels.”

  “And you don’t feel destined to lose in the end?”

  “We’re outnumbered. We’re the outcasts, the rejects, the dregs. But we won’t give up hope until it’s all over. And then we’ll see who wins.”

  “Your compatriots, the ones who reach one hundred, are dying every day.”

  “I know.”

  “Do you know of any exceptions?”

  “No.”

  “And that doesn’t tell you anything?”

  “It just proves God isn’t who He says He is.”

  “How do you figure?”

  “He’s mean and unloving and unforgiving, violent and judgmental. Disagree and you get killed.”

  “He’s not willing that any should perish. Even you, Sarsour.”

  “Don’t start with me.”

  “How about I tell you my own story? I wasn’t always a believer, you know. I was raised in another religion entirely.”

  Sarsour shrugged again and looked away. “I don’t need to hear it.”

  Abdullah cocked his head. “Sometimes I just need to tell it. How about I talk and you listen only if you care to?”

  “I already told you; I don’t need to hear it.”

  “And I told you; I need to tell it. I was married to a beautiful woman and had two precious children. I was a decorated fighter pilot in the Royal Jordanian Air Force.”

  Sarsour had stood and was moving away, as if he couldn’t care less. But that last stopped him. “You were?”

  “Yes. I was what some would call a star. I taught. And I was given the best assignments. I considered myself religious because I followed all the tenets of my faith. Keeping away from impure things. Trying to do right. Praying at prescribed times every day. Then something happened to my wife. . . .”

  Abdullah fell silent, and Sarsour sat back down. “What? What happened to her?”

  “Oh, you don’t want to hear it.”

  “It’s okay. If you need to tell it, you can keep going.”

  TWENTY-THREE

  OVER THE next several days, Kenny vacillated between the thrill of his relationship with Ekaterina—they had both professed their love by now and had begun enjoying brief good-night kisses—and a dread over what he was
going to do about communicating with Ignace and Lothair Jospin. There would soon be no more putting them off.

  He had an idea, a fun one he thought Ekaterina would love, but also one that might help him find valuable counsel. He wanted to update Bruce Barnes, his parents’ old friend, on him and Kat and see if he was willing to officiate at their wedding someday. But maybe Bruce would be a good adviser too. Kenny got Bruce’s number from his mother and called him in Osaze. Bruce was in the middle of a project but promised to call him back that evening.

  Chloe was troubled. She’d thought the phony Ekaterina Risto personnel report had blown over, and frustrated as she was to have never gotten a handle on where it came from, she had been able to put it behind her. And the more she got to know Kat, the happier she was for Kenny. It was clear that relationship had developed into love, and she and Cameron adored Kat. Chloe only hoped Kenny was calling Bruce for the reason she suspected.

  But that day her in-box had brought another upsetting note. Unsigned, of course. Cameron had told her she ought to institute a policy that she look first to see if suggestions or complaints were signed and summarily trash them if not. “If a person isn’t willing to stand by what he says . . .”

  This note read: Kenneth B. Williams is your culprit in the Risto personnel matter.

  That made no sense, of course. Ludicrous. And yet Chloe carried the crumpled note around all morning. What was she supposed to do with something like that? Finally she paged Cameron. “It’s not urgent,” she said. “But when you have a moment . . .”

  It felt weird to Abdullah to be strolling to “work” every day with a portfolio full of papers and his Bible, setting up shop, as he liked to call it, in the enemy’s lair. It violated every boundary of logic he had ever been aware of, and yet God knew. His ways are not our ways, Abdullah reminded himself.

  Abdullah had the strange feeling that he had somehow captivated Sarsour, and from the looks they both got from Mudawar, it was clear he wasn’t happy. Every time Mudawar emerged from his office, it seemed, Sarsour was sitting with Abdullah and listening to some tale. “Back to work, bug,” Mudawar would bark.

  On the other hand, Mudawar himself had actually been consulting Abdullah almost daily. Despite Mudawar’s appearing to take out his impatience and frustration on Sarsour, he seemed to treat Abdullah with more and more deference. Gone was the sarcastic tone and the ridicule. Often he would ask earnestly, “If I wrote something like this about God, would believers say I was wrong or unfair, or would they just be bothered because they don’t understand Him either?”

  Abdullah would study the paragraph and at times even feel led to advise Mudawar how to better frame his argument against God. When the fleshy little man would retreat to his office, Abdullah would seek the Lord. “Is this really what You want from me? I feel as if I am aiding and abetting.”

  But Abdullah felt God compel him to love the man as Jesus would. No argument of man could besmirch the name of the Lord.

  Down deep Abdullah had an inkling of what seemed to be changing these men’s minds about him. He really was loving them and caring for them and praying for them. Mudawar had a favorite drink, an especially thick, rich, and dark coffee available only from a certain street vendor. Every day he arrived nursing one of those drinks. And every day, Abdullah would slip away late in the morning and bring him another.

  To win over Sarsour while stringing him along daily with snippets of his own story of his raptured wife, Abdullah discovered Sarsour’s love for a particular kind of hummus, a mash of chickpeas and sesame seeds flavored with garlic and lemon. When he ducked out for Mudawar’s drink, he would also bring back that treat for Sarsour.

  It was clear the young men did not know what to make of Abdullah, but they were growing more civil to him every day.

  On his break, Sarsour glanced at Mudawar’s closed door and slid a chair next to Abdullah’s desk. “So you divorced your wife when she became a believer, and you turned against your own faith, drinking and carousing. When she and your children were taken in the Rapture, you dug out her old letters. And what did they say?”

  Abdullah sat back and studied the young man. “Now we are getting very personal.”

  Sarsour threw up his hands. “Oh, I don’t mean to pry. But you began this story. I merely want to hear the end of it.”

  “I’ll tell you what,” Abdullah said. “On Monday I will bring the most potent of the letters and let you read it.”

  “You know how I feel about garbage like that,” Cameron said. “Toss it.”

  “I know, hon,” Chloe said, having expected that response. “But we haven’t had this kind of mischief, and I don’t want it now. Isn’t there a way to find out who’s doing this?”

  Cameron sighed. “Before the Rapture, I would have blamed it on the wiles of the devil, devising time wasters to keep us from what’s important. It’s almost worse to know he has nothing to do with it. This is the flesh. Why don’t you ask Kenny if he knows of any enemies who might have some motive for getting him into trouble?”

  “I hate to even show him this.”

  “Then toss it and forget it.”

  But Chloe knew she couldn’t.

  Kenny was walking Ekaterina home when Bruce called back. “Oh, hello, Pastor,” he said. “Actually now I can’t talk.”

  “Oh, she’s right there?” Bruce said.

  “How’d you know?”

  “Why else would you have called me in the first place?”

  “A couple of reasons, actually. I’ll call you later, Pastor.”

  “Pastor?” Ekaterina said as Kenny finished. “What pastor?”

  “Oh, just an old friend of my parents.”

  “Bruce?”

  Kenny blushed and nodded. “I want to get an outside opinion on what I should do about the Jospins.”

  That seemed to satisfy Kat, and they spent the dinner hour with her parents, talking openly about their future. Nothing was official yet, of course, but their conversations had progressed even to the logistics of where they would live. Kenny wanted to make his actual proposal something dramatic and special.

  __

  That night Raymie called a meeting of the Millennium Force, and it was clear Zaki was not happy. “You still pining over your buddy?” Raymie said. “I don’t get it. All of us except Kenny here have glorified minds, and you’re still obsessing over what I had to say to Qasim.”

  Zaki shook his head. “I felt ganged up on, and I know Qasim did. I want to go on record that you overreacted and that you had no right to ban him from our meetings.”

  “He didn’t belong here!” Bahira said. “He was never a member, and Raymie made it clear he was not to even pretend to represent us, but still he did just that! He called himself our TOL infiltration expert!”

  “He was just trying to help.”

  Kenny remembered when these meetings had been positive and consisted mostly of prayer for the undecideds they so longed to reach. “I can’t stay long tonight,” he said. “I have a call I need to make.”

  “But you suggested this meeting,” Raymie said.

  “I know, and I appreciate it. I just think we need to get off the subject of Qasim and talk about what you all think I should do about the Jospins.”

  “It’s time to act,” Zaki said. “You’ve got a chance here to really get next to them and find out what’s going on. One more delay or misstep and you lose all credibility with them.”

  “I can’t argue with that,” Raymie said. “Bahira?”

  “Much as I hate to agree with my brother—”

  “Hey!”

  “Kidding! I agree it’s time to act.”

  “Guess that means a green light from us,” Raymie said. “Be careful and keep us posted.”

  __

  “Of course,” Bruce said. “Kenny, I would be honored. And I agree it’s a nice touch, tying your wedding to that of your parents. But you must get Ekaterina on board. She may have another idea. It has to be her call. I won’t be off
ended either way.”

  While they were connected by their implanted cellular phones, Kenny filled Bruce in on the situation with the Other Light in Paris.

  “What’s the benefit compared to the risk, Kenny? What is the upside for the Millennium Force?”

  “Knowing what they’re up to. Being able to counter what they say before they say it. We’re not afraid of them. They’re not going to hurt us or any other believers. Our mission, our target, is the undecided.”

  “As long as it helps accomplish your mission, I’d say go for it.”

  Monday morning, after Abdullah had stepped out to fetch the treats for the two young men, he asked Mudawar if it was all right for him to chat with Sarsour on his break.

  “Why are you asking me? He spends a lot of his work time with you anyway. But sure, fine. You know this is a joke—a believer, a member of the opposition, officing here. It’s silly when you think about it, but I’m not amused. Fact is, really, I’m taking advantage of you. Besides learning a few things and being able to better articulate our position, I am keeping you from more important duties, keeping you from the very hearts and minds we are trying to reach. But don’t expect me to let you sit there in all your glory when we have visitors.”

  “I am surprised I haven’t seen any yet. For what purpose do they come here, and why have there been none?”

  “They come for monthly strategy sessions, and sometimes we get visitors from chapters in other parts of the world. Your presence when they arrive will be verboten.”

  “And when will that be?”

  “Nothing is currently planned, but believe me, it’ll happen.”

  “Kenny,” Chloe said, “I decided to call both of you in because I know you’ll tell Ekaterina anyway.”

  He and Kat looked at each other. “Tell her what?”

  Chloe spun the note on her desk so both could read it.

  Ekaterina said, “Oh, for the love . . .”

  “Good grief, Mom. Really, why do you even waste your time on stuff like this? You know how ridiculous this is. I’m in love with this woman and plan to marry her. I would no more do her harm than I would harm myself!”

 
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