Kingdom come the final v.., p.20
Kingdom Come: The Final Victory,
Part #13 of Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye
“I know. I’m sorry. I just want you to know what I’m dealing with. Can you think of anyone who would want to stir up this kind of trouble?”
“Only Qasim,” Kenny said, “and Mattie claims he’s turned over a new leaf.”
“It’s true,” Kat said, nodding. “He’s been a perfect gentleman ever since I started my new role. And I don’t think he’s faking it. He doesn’t disappear when we need help anymore. He seems to go out of his way to pitch in.”
“How about the spiritual part?” Chloe said. “Does he seem any more interested in talking with kids about the Lord?”
“I can’t say that he does, but then we don’t get that much opportunity for that in rec. Plus now I think people sort of leave that part of it to me. Which is all right with me. It just gives me more opportunities.”
“Yes,” Chloe said, “but evangelism is what we’re all about. It’s why we’re here. I want people working for us, even in your area, who care about these children’s hearts and souls.”
They sat in silence for a moment. Finally Kenny said, “Let’s just forget this other, Mom. It’s not worth the time, really.”
ABDULLAH HAD Yasmine’s permission to show her letter to whomever he felt it necessary, but already he was repenting of promising to show it to Sarsour. It was so personal, and frankly so painful. . . .
And yet if it could somehow turn a stubborn heart toward God, he didn’t have a choice.
When he and Sarsour were sitting across from one another again, the young man’s countenance and demeanor had reverted to their first days together. “What is troubling you, son?”
“I don’t know,” Sarsour said, his mouth full of his snack and his tone evidencing that he did, in fact, know. “It’s only fair to tell you that so far you have not changed my mind a whit. You are a curiosity, and I like a good story as well as the next man. But don’t start thinking you are getting to me.”
“Fair enough. But it is not your mind I care so much about, Sarsour. It is your heart. That is what God is after too.”
“You sound like my parents.”
“They know your mission, your work?”
The young man shook his head. “It would be cruel to tell them. They know I am not a believer, that I have a lot of questions and accusations against God. That hurts them enough. I don’t need to nail the final lid in their coffin.”
“They are not the ones who will die, son.”
“But it is true! They entered the kingdom redeemed of the Lord, and while they will age—because they are naturals—they are promised eternity with God. They will be ushered from this kingdom to the next. How old are you, Sarsour?”
The young man shrugged.
“Come, come, everyone knows his own age.”
“I am two months younger than Mudawar.”
“And he is?”
“Nearly a hundred.”
“Sarsour, please, we have no time to waste. You boys must come to your senses, come to the Lord. Consider all this foolishness just youthful independence and rebellion, but turn now to what you have to know is the truth.”
“I know nothing of the sort!”
“Listen, let’s say you’re right. Let’s say that despite all you TOLers dying off at the end of your hundred years you are somehow able to keep this torch burning down through the centuries as the population expands. By the last century of the Millennium, you have amassed this great army, and all right, let’s say that against all odds and logic and prophecy and the very Word of God, your side prevails. Let me postulate that those of you who thought this up and schemed and strategized are still dead and still in hell and that your leader does not have the power to resurrect you. Convince me I am wrong.”
“Well, Lucifer would be returned to his rightful place. He would be the king then, in charge, on the throne.”
“And he would inherit the powers of God Himself?”
“Sure. Why not?”
“Because it doesn’t work that way. If he was almost God, almost as good as Jesus, and had himself overestimated, why was he kicked out of heaven? Why didn’t he stay and fight? Because he doesn’t have the power, and the power will not be endowed him, regardless what happens in that final conflict. Think of the irony. Your side wins, and you all still lose.”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Neither does your stubborn insistence on winning. You cannot name one prophecy of the Bible, Old Testament or New, that has not been fulfilled exactly as it was foretold. Not one. And yet you have the audacity to tell me that when it comes down to the final moment in the history of natural man, a bunch of rebels from the last millennium will change everything.”
Sarsour stood and moved to a window, averting his eyes. He actually pulled back the curtains and raised the blinds.
Abdullah had to stifle a laugh. “How’s the view?” he said. “From the basement.” He looked past Sarsour to a wall of bricks. “Beautiful day, isn’t it?”
Sarsour turned quickly. “Okay, all right, so I’m not as smart and articulate as you and I can’t frame my argument the best. Mudawar can. You should be debating him.”
“Oh, friend, hear me. The problem with your argument is not you! It’s simply that you’re wrong. When I was raging against my wife, I was as prideful as you are. I sincerely believed she was wrong and that I could somehow bring her to her senses. I was angry. I was self-righteous, even as my life was flying out of control.”
Abdullah was overcome with emotion. His lips trembled and his voice grew thick. “I was almost too late in seeing it myself! Imagine if I had been killed in the chaotic aftermath of the Rapture. I’d have been lost forever. God granted me the grace to dig out my wife’s letters and remind myself what she said. Sarsour, this is your chance! You won’t get another. If you die at one hundred, there’s no more hope for you.”
Sarsour returned to his seat and seemed to study Abdullah. “Why does this trouble you so? Why don’t you just leave me to my hopelessness, my wrongness, my—as you call it—foolishness. What am I to you?”
“You’re my friend.”
“Ya Bek, I am your enemy. I disagree with everything you say. I mock your God. I accuse Him. I hold Him accountable.”
“And I am instructed to love my enemy and to pray for those who spitefully use me.”
Sarsour shook his head. “Talk about foolishness.”
“I don’t know what else to say to you, Sarsour. If you are so resolute . . .” Abdullah carefully folded Yasmine’s letter and began to tuck it back into his Bible.
“Oh, let me see that,” Sarsour said, reaching for it.
Abdullah, I believe—and I am certain you agree—that God hates divorce. It was not my intention that my new faith would result in the end of our marriage. This was your choice, but I concede that staying with you and allowing you influence over our children would have also been untenable as long as you feel the way you do about me now.
I know this letter will anger you, and neither is that my intention. We have talked and talked about the differences between Islam and Christianity, but please indulge me and allow me to get my thoughts down in order. Hopefully God will help me make them clear.
I do not expect that you will suddenly see the truth because of my words, but I pray that God will open your heart and will one day reveal Himself to you. As I have said over and over, the difference between what you call “our religions” is that mine is not religion. I have come to believe that religion is man’s effort to please God. I had always been bound by rules, acts of service, good deeds. I was trying as hard as I could to win the favor of Allah so that in the end I would find heaven on earth.
But I could never be good enough, Abdullah, and as wonderful as you were for many years, you couldn’t either. That became clear with your unreasonable reaction to my coming to faith in the one true God and Father of Jesus Christ. To you it was anathema, despite the fact that, like me, you had drifted even fr
I believe that to you, my converting was a public humiliation. I regret that, but I could no more hide my true feelings and beliefs than I could ask you to give up flying.
Just once more, let me clarify: Christians believe the Bible teaches that everyone is born in sin and that the penalty for sin is death. But Jesus paid the price by living a sinless life and dying as a sacrifice for all who believe. Abdullah, you must admit you have never met a perfect person, and we each know the other is not perfect. We are sinners in need of salvation. We can’t save ourselves, can’t change ourselves. I am most encouraged by your discipline and your efforts. You are now more like the man I married, but don’t you see? You will never be good enough to qualify for heaven, because you would have to be entirely perfect.
Someday, when you are ready—and I hope it will not be too late—just pray and tell God that you know that you are a sinner, that you are sorry and want to repent and be forgiven. Ask Him to take over your life. The day is coming, prophesied in Scripture, when Jesus will return in the clouds and snatch away all true believers in an instant. No one will see this happen except for those to whom it happens. Those left behind will simply realize that it is all true. Christians from all over the world will disappear. I hope it does not take a tragedy like that—though it will be anything but tragic for those of us who go—to get you to swallow your pride, examine yourself, and humble yourself before God. Of course, if this does happen before you come to true faith, you will know what has occurred. And you will be without excuse. I just pray that you do not lose your life in the resulting chaos before you can become a believer, not in a religion but in a person. Jesus the Christ.
With fond memories and deep affection, praying for you,
Sarsour handed the document back to Abdullah. “And so you did what she said? Became a believer?”
“And she and your children were gone? You didn’t see them until they returned from heaven? My parents had reunions like that with their friends.”
“Sarsour, who could accomplish that? How could the evil one hope to prevail over a God like that?”
The young man pressed his lips together and shook his head. “I have to get back to work,” he said. “We have a delegation coming from France in a few days.”
“That’s it then, Sarsour? The end of our discussion?”
“It hasn’t been a discussion, sir. It has been a sermon. Why waste your time here with just the two of us? Why are you not out preaching to the masses? There are a lot more undecided young people out there than in here, and they have to be more open-minded than we of the Other Light. We ought to know. They are our audience, our prospects.”
“You are my prospects,” Abdullah said. “I am here in obedience to my Lord Christ, who knows best.”
Ekaterina was tearful at Kenny’s news that he would be gone a few days to France. “I wish I could go with you,” she said.
“Me too. Pray for me while I’m gone.”
“I pray for you all the time, love. Of course I will.”
“I gave Ignace and Lothair some very innocuous information about COT. I merely told them where it was, how many children we hosted, how large the staff was, and that the big deal now had been the visits from biblical heroes. They were not impressed. Ignace fired back a message that said, ‘Tell us something we don’t know. Tell us something that not everybody in the world knows. And tell us in person.’ I think he was really surprised when I told him I would be there tomorrow. I believe they were really starting to suspect me.”
“You know what I miss?” Bruce said late one night in the Negev as he and Rayford sat outside by a small fire. “Darkness.”
The rest of the team slept in the massive trailer, heavy shades pulled against the daylight-like beaming of the moon.
Rayford chuckled. “You know what the Bible says about that. Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.”
“Yeah, I think I was the one who taught you that, Ray. And yep, that’s me. Evil.”
“I know what you mean, though, Bruce. I’d love a starlit night to aid my sleep. But you’ve been to heaven, where there is no night, not even shadow. Were you tired of it there?”
Bruce shook his head. “Heaven is different. And I can’t wait till the books are opened and all the believers go. As fascinating as this world and this kingdom are, I can’t think they hold a candle to the next.”
They chatted long into the night, plotting the coming weeks of their mission. Bruce told Rayford of Kenny’s call. “Think of it, man. Who’d have ever thought I’d officiate your second wedding, your daughter’s, and her son’s?”
KENNY HAD cleared several days off so he could complete his clandestine mission to Paris, but almost as soon as he got there he heard from Ekaterina, asking whether he could return and postpone his trip.
“Why? What’s going on?”
“Your father has just announced our next heroic visitor. Kenny, he’s your favorite.”
“The prince himself.”
“I can’t believe it! When?”
“Within the next couple of days.”
“I don’t plan to return until Saturday.”
“I know. That’s why I’m saying maybe you could—”
“But I prayed about this, sweetheart. I know this is where God wants me, and I have to think that if I make this sacrifice, He will somehow make it up to me.”
“Who knows? Maybe by giving me an audience with David as He did my grandfather. I guess someday I’ll have all the time I want with all the biblical characters.”
“I know you’re right, Kenny. And you’ve taught me that God favors obedience even over sacrifice. That’s just hard for me right now, because I was hoping this news would be enough to bring you back to me.”
“I’ll be back soon enough.”
“Oh, and Kenny? This visit from David is different from all the others. We’re not to tell anyone.”
“You weren’t even supposed to tell me?”
“Well, you’re on staff. But no kids, no parents, no friends. We’ve all been sworn to secrecy. That priest friend of your father’s supposedly told him that if even one outsider shows up, the visit is off.”
“And yet we don’t even know when it is.”
“Not exactly, no.”
“Well, I’ll bet ol’ Qasim makes this one for sure.”
“Actually, he’s off the rest of this week too.”
Abdullah knocked lightly on Mudawar’s door.
He pushed it open slowly. “Sorry to intrude. It’s just that Sarsour mentioned perhaps a visiting delegation sometime soon and—”
“And you were wondering whether you should make yourself scarce?”
“On the contrary. I wish to offer my services to them, too. If they are friends of yours, they are friends of mine, and I am eager to meet their needs.”
“They don’t have needs, Abdullah. And they aren’t my friends. They are my bosses. More than that, they are my mentors, the ones who got me into this. The fact is, I idolize them and want to make a good impression, and right now I can’t imagine for the life of me how it’s going to look if I have you ensconced in one of my offices. They’re coming the day after tomorrow, and if you really want to help, I want this place sparkling by then.”
“I am pleased to help.”
“And then I want you out of here for a few days. No sign of you. Nothing left on your desk.”
“That I will not do.”
“You heard me, Mudawar. I repeat my pledge from the first. I am here under assignment from almighty God. You may be under some illusion or delusion that you—in some moment of madness or genius—decided to allow me in. But the fact is, the Lord has ordained it.”
“You don’t think I can kick you out of my own s
“Oh, I know you can. But you also know that I would then be stationed in front of your door with my little table and my Bible and my smile, and I will be greeting your honored guests every time they enter or leave. And we both know people are somehow drawn to me.”
“Yes! Out of morbid curiosity! You’re a relic, Abdullah, a peculiarity.”
“Whatever it takes to attract a listening ear. Once I have their attention, I merely talk about the Lord. The rest is up to Him, not this imperfect vessel.”
“You are a crazy man.”
“The apostle Paul would have called me a fool for Christ.”
“And so, what? It’s either you in here, making me look like an idiot before my mentors, or out by the front door, being the dunce yourself?”
“Either way it reflects upon you, I suppose. You have not consulted me in some time, though Sarsour has been at least cordial—”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”
“—but a word to the wise: If I were you, I would represent my presence in your offices as your idea, a stroke of brilliance, going against the grain, zigging when the rest of the world is zagging. If you can’t persuade your mentors there’s some benefit to the cause in this, that you have somehow convinced me that my time is better spent here than trying to persuade the same target audience, then perhaps you are not qualified for the role you have been given. Give it some thought.”
Kenny was in his Paris hotel room the next morning when he was informed of a message waiting for him at the desk. It read: Meet us at the address on the reverse, 30 minutes. I & L
The location was easy to get to by mass transit. Ignace and Lothair nodded at him from a wrought iron table at an outdoor café as he crossed the street.
“Hey, guys,” Kenny said, pretending not to notice that they didn’t look happy.
“Just sit down,” Ignace said. “Who do you think you’re kidding anyway?”
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