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Chapter 12

 

Day was just dawning in the City of Jerusalem. It was early October. The noisy police station was crowded with agitated people talking over each other in their hysteria and panic. Many had called to report the sudden disappearance of family and friends around midnight. Police officers could not cope with all their questions. They were short staffed this morning. Some colleagues had not arrived for work at their rostered times. Phones rang constantly, adding to the noise. The interview rooms were full of people wanting help. One officer sat at a computer completing his report concerning an explosion and what looked like a murder or suicide at a food plant. An old Jew, called Simon, who lived near the plant, had been questioned in the early hours of this morning. He seemed confused, and kept repeating, "I must find my family."


It seemed they too had disappeared. The investigating officer was about to leave the station to check the charred factory remains for evidence of bodies, when this crowd had suddenly arrived at the police station. As he went down the well worn steps that led to the cells below, he heard snatches of conversation.


"I went back to bed - my husband had just vanished leaving his glasses and book beside the bed."


"I tucked my children into bed and when I checked this morning they were gone."


"Mine too. A real mystery, as my daughter is physically and mentally disabled."


Another was heard to say, "I was about to kiss my girlfriend goodnight, but when I opened my eyes she had vanished."


When the officer unlocked the cell door he motioned Simon to follow him back upstairs. The old man looked tired and haggard. He walked with stooped shoulders, his hand clutching the rail in an attempt to steady himself. As they passed the interview rooms they heard mothers sobbing, fearing the worst for their children. Men and women continued to share their individual stories of missing persons.

In Athens, Ari and Helen had just finished breakfast before calling the children.


"Nicholas, Elena, hurry up or we'll be late for the early service."
Nicholas dawdled down the stairs with a scowl on his face.


"Do I have to go Dad? I reckon at 15 I should be able to decide for myself if I go to church or not!"


"Don't let's argue about that again - you're going!"


Helen came back downstairs, a frown creasing her brow.


"Where's Elena, Nicholas?"


"How should I know. I haven't seen her since last night."


"I heard you teasing her earlier in the night," growled Ari. "It's time you stopped your stupid pranks to frighten her."


"I didn't touch her. She screams before I go near her!"


"That doesn't explain where she is does it?"


Picking up the telephone, Helen dialled their neighbours' number.


"Helen here. Have you seen Elena this morning?"


"No, Catherine's gone too. Sounds like they're together somewhere."


After arranging with Sophie and her husband to keep a lookout for the girls, Helen settled a little.


"You take Nicholas with you. I'll phone some of Elena and Catherine's friends. They won't want to do this again!"


Nicholas grinned as he sat in the car beside his Dad. Serves her right he thought. She always wants to know everything I am up to.
Ari was surprised to see the usually busy car park almost empty. Although it was late he couldn't hear any singing. He opened the door and wondered why the Pastor and organist were not in their usual places. A few people turned as he and Nicholas entered. They quietly sat next to a man Ari had met at church a few weeks ago.
"Where is everyone?" whispered Ari.  "Don't know!

Someone phoned the Minister's home but there was no answer. A relation in Australia phoned me this morning. Something strange happened there about 8.A.M. their time. People were in church, when suddenly some of them disappeared in the middle of a song."
"People can't just vanish like that," scoffed Ari. "Well, how do you explain the stationary cars, buses and other public transport with passengers and no drivers? I passed quite a few on my way to church." "So did I, but I was too engrossed in my own thoughts concerning my missing daughter."


The congregation gradually wandered out into the street, not knowing whether to stay or return home. The sound of sirens, car horns and gathering crowds disturbed those who slept late. Nicholas, glad to escape another sermon, turned on the car radio and began flicking from one station to another. He was sick of media reports regarding missing people.


They heard world airline disasters being reported.

'A flight from Rome to Israel has come down in the sea just east of Tel Aviv. The passenger list has just been released. A prominent politician, Abdullah Ishamel, is among those reported missing. A group of passengers on another flight to Rome said they saw a small plane suddenly caught up, as if by a sudden current of air. They saw the pilot and all on board sucked upwards, out of the plane, as if propelled by a whirlwind!'

Ari and Nicholas arrived home to find Helen and Sophie still upset. Numerous phone calls failed to locate their daughters. Ari told the women of the confusion in Athens and the unexplained air disasters, but these were unimportant to them in their alarmed state. After just a few hours the mystery was fast becoming a frightening experience for onlookers, and a nightmare for many families.

NovelNotes for this chapter.

This event is generally referred to as the Rapture, the taking away from the earth of all believers in Jesus Christ.

When we wrote this book in 1997, 17 years ago, the general teaching of the church and out own studies was that this event would occur just prior to, or at the beginning of the 7 years of the Tribulation period.

Since then, better understandings and teaching have gone around the world and we now have quite different beliefs as to the time of the rapture. No exact dates of course for other Father God knows such things.

However, now, for a mulitude of reasons it seems as thought the rapture will occur at a much later stage, somewhere around the middle of the tribulation period.  This position is now known as the Pre Wrath position.  In other words, before God brings His wrath upon the earth via the Trumpets and Bowls (see Revelation for details) believers will be raptured from the earth into the safety of heaven.  Consequently believers will be on the earth for some period of the tribulation period - but will not suffer God's wrath, which begins after they have been taken to heaven.

Continue to Chapter 13