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Chapter 10

A stack of unopened mail lay on David's desk. After checking through it he selected two overseas letters, one from Australia, the other from Greece. His mother Ann had been staying with his sister Sarah and her family on their Australian property in far North Queensland. The hot summer had given way to warm days coloured with bright blue skies. The grain crops were the best for many years giving very high yields. Beef prices were up as the demand for safe meat increased. Another outbreak of mad cow disease had left many overseas countries low on good beef cattle. Animals had been slaughtered, depleting breeding stock. Exports of grain and beef had skyrocketed, giving Sarah and her husband Rod the finances needed for a holiday in Israel. Fortunately for them, they had purchased their tickets and travellers cheques before the banks closed.

David checked the date for their proposed return and was pleased it was the day after tomorrow, the 30th of September. The perfect time for a visit, he thought.

Autumn with its many colours and crisp days would be such a contrast to the dry, rasping summer in Australia. David found it hard to imagine the tiny outback church on their property. Ann told of special times where black came together with white to worship under an open-sided, tin roofed barn. The simplicity and child like faith of these indigenous employees was a lesson to Ann. They simply believed what they read in the Scriptures. Their beautiful wide smiles and bright shining eyes glowed with love for their God. The white man's God did not just belong to them, but He belonged to all who would accept Him. David could almost see them at worship as his mother had described. Like the white man, they knew they had been adopted into God's family, when they decided to follow Jesus. Sarah and her husband started this little church when they first bought the property over twenty years ago. Later, their two children romped and played with the station hand's children, unaware of any colour difference. Ann wrote that she was looking forward to showing her son-in-law the land of Israel when she returned.

David carefully opened the letter from Greece. He was concerned when he read Ari's news. As money was very scarce there, the Flash Card was now in operation.(1) All food stores had recently introduced this system. Reuben's multi-communication system was now on the market. Ari wrote he was alarmed at its usage. A monitor operated at all public venues and in all shops. Cameras recorded shopping locations and everyone's movements. Often a face would appear on the screen urging people to join a powerful lobby group. In the letter Ari said, "This man speaks with great conviction and is very persuasive. Evidently he is part Italian and was once linked to their Armed Forces. I heard he has spent time in Israel and some see him as a future world leader who has the ability and wisdom to rule.(2) He goes by the name of Macro. Politically he is known as Alexander Judastus."

David felt a sudden rush of blood to his temples as he read the name. Could this be the owner of Macrotech, the new owner of Reuben's latest computer technology? Macro had begun to brainwash people with his political propaganda and seemed to be in control of all communication systems around the globe. As he sat in the peacefulness of his office, David wondered what Macro's next target would be. His thoughts returned to the decision he and Sol had made regarding the sale of Granright. He felt that somehow the potential buyer was connected to Macro, the group Ari feared. Leaving the rest of the mail, he phoned his father Simon to make sure all preparations were completed for Ann's return with Sarah and Rod.

"Hello Dad. Just checking arrangements for dinner this Saturday night. I'll pick up Mum, Sarah and Rod. I know you have a welcome home meal planned. Is there anything else you need?" "No thanks son. It will be so good to have us all together after such a long time." "We should arrive around 7 P.M. if the plane touches down on time." "I'll see you then David, goodbye for now."

Sol was already working when David arrived the next morning. The giant vats of oil, honey and various grains, were filled in readiness for processing. Large cardboard cartons lay stacked in flat piles. Rolls of plastic stood ready, waiting to receive the compressed health bars as they slid along stainless steel tracks leading to the heat sealers.

"Looks like the lull before the storm Sol. How about a coffee?"

"Good idea. Just give me a few minutes to check the speed of the conveyor." Soon, employees began arriving and Friday was off to a busy start. Sol and David enjoyed this part of the day. With the factory running smoothly, they had time to check figures for orders, deliveries and stock levels. However, Sol seemed preoccupied today.

"Anything wrong Sol?" questioned David.

"Not sure really. When I arrived this morning I noticed a van parked on the perimeter of the grounds. It was hard to spot amongst the trees, but I caught a glimpse of it when the sun reflected off an aerial on its roof. As I began to walk over to investigate, the van drove off. I checked where it had been parked, but found nothing unusual."

"It does sound strange, as I can't think why anyone would be in that area. Tonight, after dark, I'll do a check of the grounds just in case something is going on."

"I'll check on Saturday night then, as you have your family arriving."

"Thanks Sol. Come over to Dad's after you've finished your rounds. I know Mum and Dad want you to meet Rod, Sarah's husband."

By the end of the day dozens of full cartons stood in a large steel holding shed at the rear of the factory, ready for despatch. As the staff left, each threw their not so white uniforms into large laundry bags and collected fresh supplies for next week. Tonight, in many of their homes, they would begin to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath, a day of rest in which all would pause from everyday labour. The spirit of their Sabbath was joy, as they remembered how God delivered them from Egyptian bondage about 3500 years ago - a pivotal point in their Jewish faith. It was a holy day for God's holy people, when bittersweet music filled their sanctuary and their homes.

Sol, being single, was welcomed into a family home each Friday evening to take part in their worship and its symbolism. The following day he would stand alongside other men as ancient Scriptures were read aloud in Hebrew. The exquisite tone of the cantors voice filled the Synagogue with heavenly music, stirring the hearts of the silent worshippers.

David picked up the large torch and set out to check the grounds. The silence was broken by a gentle sighing breeze, as it moved amidst the tops of the trees. The ground was softly carpeted with leaves not yet dead and brittle. Shafts of light from the moon hanging suspended in the cool, grey night, pierced dense clumps of evergreens. Eerie shadows gave the impression of hidden danger. A muffled sound alerted David.

Peering into the distance he thought he saw movement behind a low lying stand of trees. Silently he crept closer, hearing only the rhythmic thud of blood pumping through his veins. He heard whispered words but was too far off to understand what the two men were saying. As he watched, they gently loaded shovels and wire into the van. Through the side door, David saw the outline of other equipment. Their heads and faces, swathed in dark material, were hidden from view, leaving only small slits for their eyes. He decided to challenge them. As he approached, they leapt into the van. With a noisy revving of its motor the van bumped across the uneven ground to the road. David walked to the cleared patch of earth where they had been, but other than some loose soil, nothing seemed amiss. The sturdy wire fencing was intact and the gate remained padlocked. After continuing his walk around the plant David was satisfied nothing had been damaged.

Simon's arms welcomed Ann as she stepped into their home. As they embraced, she radiated warmth, health and vitality. His heart still seemed to skip a beat whenever he held her, just as it had many years ago. Rod and Sarah followed, but this moment was for their parents. Sarah's laugh prompted Simon to turn and hug his daughter and son-in-law.

"Welcome home my precious family! How these eyes longed to see you again."

"It is so good to be here at last Dad, even though it was hard to leave our two girls for the first time. They have grown into beautiful young women and are quite capable of overseeing our property for the next month."

David returned from the kitchen with glasses of fresh juice, cheese, olives and dates. They continued to chatter excitedly, each wanting to fill in the last years as if they were yesterday.

"What time is Sol arriving, David? Dad has often written to us in Australia telling what a blessing he is to you at the plant."

"Probably around 8:30, after he has checked the plant."

"Have you a problem at the plant David?"

"Not sure Rod. Last night I saw two men drive off in a hurry. There was no evidence of a break in, but we will keep our eyes open the next few days. Could be prospectors or land surveyors. I know someone is keen to buy up land in this area."

Sol parked his jeep in the driveway of David's home. It was a cloudless night so he slipped the wrist strap of his torch onto his belt and began his rounds. His thoughts returned to the past twenty four hours when he joined others to celebrate the Sabbath. The words of Rabbi Einson reminded him that one of the Prophets had written that there was hope for Israel. Another had written, 'As long as there is a sun and a moon, God will not reject His people.' Sol knew God and believed all things written in the Torah.(3) He struggled with the thought that the Jews were accused of killing Jesus, the man whom Christian's say was the Jewish Messiah. The Rabbi still awaited the Messiah, yet David, his partner, believed that this Jesus, Who was crucified, was indeed God's own Son, the Messiah.

Sol walked towards the security fence, enclosing the storage shed. He thought he smelt something burning. Rounding the corner he caught sight of the van both he and David had spotted previously. It was parked some distance from the shed, sheltered by the trees. Sol saw a smouldering line creep its way across the clearing and through the fence, disappearing into a narrow pipe. The fuse snaked its way until it reached the dynamite. With a deafening explosion the shed blew into dozens of jagged pieces. Huge chunks of concrete became airborne and pieces travelled like bullets through the wire fence. One struck Sol in the head, stunning him for a moment. Scrambling to his feet, he ran dodging and weaving towards the parked car. As the dust and debris settled he saw two armed men crouched beside the van, another two inside. The fire, fed by burning cartons of food, filled the air with a sickly sweet smell of burnt grain and honey.

With furious anger Sol rushed towards one of the armed men. With a courageous rugby tackle he brought him to the ground. As they struggled, Sol tore the gun from the man's hand. The loaded gun exploded against the side of his enemy killing him instantly. Blood soaked Sol's chest as he pushed the limp body from him. Sol began to stand and saw black boots with black pants neatly tucked into their tops. He tried to dodge the vicious kick to his ribs, but it connected with a sickening thud. He groaned and rolled into a ball in a vain effort to ward off the sickening kicks. He floated somewhere between consciousness and another place. He knew this was the end. His thoughts mingled with his agony..... thou shall not kill...... love your enemies....

For a split second his eyes met those of his tormentor, pleading for mercy. The assault ceased and Sol whispered, "Forgive me Father, I have broken your commandments and Your law. I forgive my tormentors."

There was a sudden report and a bullet entered Sol's heart. His blood now mingled freely with the blood of his enemy. The two men lay side by side in death, neither victorious. Both had shown courage and faithfulness to their respective leaders, even unto the end.

David and his family heard the explosion from Simon's home. As Simon, David and Rod sped towards what was left of the burning shed, they saw a van disappear in a northern direction. David saw the dark silhouettes of two lifeless bodies. Tears streamed down his face as he sat gently cradling the head of his dear friend. While David had been celebrating with his family, Sol had died alone outside the plant. Simon knelt beside David and together, their heart rendering wails echoed through the night. Rod stood back from where father and son sang their Hebrew lament. He felt like an intruder coming upon someone in private prayer. He walked to where the other man lay, closed his unseeing eyes and folded limp arms across the bloody, black shirt. This man had no one to mourn him as he lay in death's cold place.

The sound of approaching sirens ended Simon and David's mournful lament. David lifted Sol in his strong arms and carried him tenderly to his home. Later, after removing Sol's stained clothes, he lovingly bathed the bruised face and body. His last act of love was to anoint him with perfumed oil and clothe the body in new cotton pants and shirt brought back from his recent holiday in Greece. When light came, David would arrange Sol's burial. His friend had no known family to close the final chapter of his life.

The NovelNotes Feature.

These are a helpful feature of this novel. Their use is optional. They may be used if you want to understand more of the underlying Biblical aspects of the story, or the historical and factual material. However, you do not have to use these to follow the story line of the novel.

Chapter 10 NovelNotes

1. The Flash Card is the ultimate technological plastic card that will ever be available, having a capability for massive storage of personal, financial and surveillance information. This technology has been developing rapidly over the last decade.

2. This man, who eventually reveals himself as the Antichrist, is the person the Bible says will actually have power over the world for the 7 year period of the Great Tribulation. He will have great ability in politics, religion, commerce and the military, and because of his intellectual and persuasive abilities, will prove to be a genius that fools the people and leaders of the world. See Daniel Chapter 8, verse 23, Chapter 11, verse 36, Revelation Chapter 17, verse 11, Daniel Chapter 11, verse 43, 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2, verse 4 and Revelation Chapter 13, verse 8. The New World Order, now spoken of freely by the world's politicians, is promoting one world government and one world religion.

3. The Torah is the Law of Moses received by him from God. It is normally in scroll form and takes in just the first 5 books of the Old Testament of the Bible.

Continue to Chapter 11